The 3 Best And 3 Worst Bruce Lee Movies

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It's been nearly 50 years since Bruce Lee died suddenly in the prime of his life, but his legend lives on in ways that even he could never have imagined. Here's a look at the highlights and lowlights of his long and varied career, from the movies that made him an icon to the ones we'd rather just forget.

Game of Death was a movie famously built around the footage Bruce Lee left behind from his unfinished final film, most of which consisted of fight scenes that took place on various levels of a pagoda. After Lee's death, Enter the Dragon director Robert Clouse took that footage and integrated it into a new story about a martial arts movie star being hunted by a crime syndicate. Game of Death is also notorious for integrating footage of Lee from other movies, often to jarring effect, and at one point even uses footage of Lee's actual body in his casket.

If Game of Death had simply been made as a '70s martial arts flick full of subterfuge and slick fight scenes, it wouldn't be a bad movie at all. As it is, the footage that doesn't try to trick you into thinking you're watching Bruce Lee is solid, the opening credits are killer, and John Barry's score is probably the best thing about it. Watching it in context as a film cobbled together from Lee's unfinished work, however, makes it a trying viewing experience, and a sad reminder of what might have been.

The Game of Death was supposed to star Bruce Lee as a retired martial artist who is coerced into retrieving something valuable from the top of a mysterious pagoda — with each level guarded by a martial artist with a different fighting style. As you know, however, the true version of the movie never came to fruition, thanks to Lee's untimely passing. What footage did exist was later released as part of the documentary Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey.

The Game of Death's climax featured Lee in his now-iconic yellow tracksuit, taking on these martial artists in a series of precisely choreographed battles, culminating in a fight with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's character at the pagoda's summit. Watching what exists of The Game of Death is a bittersweet experience, because while we'll never get to see the full film, seeing what Lee was able to do with this level of creative control and precision is truly astonishing nonetheless.

Bruce Lee's first major introduction to American audiences was as Kato in The Green Hornet, the superhero action-adventure series in which he stole the show as sidekick to the titular masked hero. The show was successful in America, but overseas it made Lee an even bigger star, to the point that in Hong Kong it became known as "The Kato Show." Keep watching the video for the 3 best and 3 worst Bruce Lee movies!

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Worst: Game of Death | 0:16
Best: The Game of Death | 1:10
Worst: The Green Hornet | 1:57
Best: The Way of the Dragon | 2:45
Worst: The Big Boss | 3:47
Best: Enter the Dragon | 4:31
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