Enter the Dragon Movie Poster Image

Enter the Dragon

Legendary Bruce Lee actioner has some raw elements.
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What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some racial stereotyping. Bruce Lee's character is stoic, upstanding, righteous -- but murderous in avenging his late sister. Producers thought U.S. audiences wouldn't accept an Asian lead alone. To appeal to the most racially diverse audience they back him up with two supporting good-guy fighters (said to be Vietnam War comrades), a white and a black American, who are a little more roguish (running from gambling debts, for example). Uniformed American police portrayed as racist thugs, the Asian villain as a white slaver (a movie stereotype going back to silent days).


Countless martial-arts poundings, many ending in death. Bloodshed as the villain utilizes a variety of slashing/edged weapons on his missing hand. A death via impaling. A female character, threatened with rape, kills herself with a jagged piece of glass (not shown explicitly).


Brief nudity -- bare breasts and backsides -- in a harem of girls supplied to martial-arts athletes like goodie bags (implicit in this scene is a stereotype about a black man's awesome sexual prowess; he selects several concubines, while a white hero settles for one).

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The villain is a heroin dealer, and we see the results in both corpses with needle-marks in the arms of addicts and in a rather silly psychedelic drug-party full of face-painted girls.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the villain's nefarious activities include peddling heroin and turning drug-addicted women into international sex slaves. The girls are offered to the heroes, and there is brief female nudity in the bedroom, as well as imagery of a drugged-up, hippie-style party. Rampant martial-arts violence ranges from non-lethal bouts to kung-fu fatalities, with snapped necks, crushed bodies, and speared corpses. Watching it on a cropped, full-screen version loses the composition of the action setpieces; try to get a "letterboxed" edition instead.

What's the story?

ENTER THE DRAGON was a breakthrough as a joint U.S.-Hong Kong big-budget martial-arts extravaganza (filmed in English), its repute only enhanced by the sudden death of star Bruce Lee immediately before its release. He plays a peerless master/teacher of personal combat at the Shaolin Temple, approached by an international crime-busting agency to help bring down an elusive crime lord called Han -- himself a Shaolin disciple gone bad. Han runs his drug/prostitution/slavery empire from a private island stronghold where guns are forbidden; instead he recruits world-class martial artists as his guards and enforcers. Lee goes to the island on the pretext of competing in Han's tournaments, but in fact he's to make contact with an agent already there undercover. It's an excuse for the fight scenes at which Bruce Lee and other actor-athletes here excel.

Is it any good?


The plotline is like one of those much-parodied, cheapo James Bond knockoffs (except Lee's character isn't allowed to show any interest in romance), and character development is slight at best. But Bruce Lee's wiry physique, strong presence, and hyperkinetic action-acrobatics have ensured ENTER THE DRAGON a solid place in the hearts of action-fans of all ages, and Lee's long, final duel with Han is a classic.

Even with its silly, dated, and schlocky elements, there's something so straightforward about how Enter the Dragon delivers the goods that it even earned respect from the Western critics who automatically condemned any kung-fu movie as trash (at least before Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon came along). Sadly, we'll never know how much earlier Asian action tales would have been embraced had Lee survived to make bigger and better movies.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of Bruce Lee. What makes him special among the big screen's action heroes? How about his philosophy of martial arts briefly expounded in the pre-credit sequence (the distinction of fighting with emotion but avoiding anger)? You can watch documentaries about Lee and kung-fu cinema (two examples: Bruce Lee, the Legend and Chop Socky) and ask why it took so long for such movies to become "respectable" in the West. Was it critical racism, or were kung-fu films just low quality? What kinds of roles do you think Lee would have played had he not died so tragically young?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 19, 1973
DVD/Streaming release date:May 18, 2004
Cast:Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly, John Saxon
Director:Robert Clouse
Studio:Warner Home Video
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:R

This review of Enter the Dragon was written by

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Teen, 13 years old Written byThedude68683 November 16, 2013

My thoughts

This movie is awesome if you have a weakness for Kung fu movies this is for you it's another awesome bruce lee movie
Kid, 9 years old August 6, 2014

violent movie

good movie but there are some violent scenes when a man puts a man in hot boiling water and he dies and when bruce lee kicks a man into a pin and the man dies and this man called balo breaks almost every ones bones
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written byoctober1985 July 13, 2009
Very tame for an R-rated movie. There is martial arts violence involving some blood, but it's not too bad. There is also some brief nudity. Anyone over 8 should be fine