A Touch of Zen
A Touch of Zen (1969)

An influential martial arts film and an acknowledged influence on Ang Lee's amazing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, King Hu's A Touch of Zen opens with young scholar Ku Shen-chai working at his portraiture stand in a small frontier… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: January 1, 1969
DVD Release Date: December 10, 2002
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Critic Score: 94% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Tony Rayns
Time Out

The visual style will set your eyes on fire.

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Matt Prigge

Its closest analog may be Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon a Time in the West': arty yet dirty, super-long and instantly iconic yet enjoyable as pure genre junk.

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Anton Bitel
Little White Lies

...the film's supernatural machinery evaporates only to be replaced with a magical kind of Buddhist spiritualism (the titular 'touch of Zen') that reconfigures everything that has preceded into religio-philosophical allegory.

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A.H. Weiler
New York Times

[King Hu] has not ignored traditional mayhem here, but he has demonstrated that pictorial artistry, Zen mysticism and the stylized martial arts, can make a fascinating mix.

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Daniel Eagan
Film Journal International

Often stiff and ungainly, A Touch of Zen is still undeniably impressive.

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David Parkinson
Radio Times

A Touch of Zen is at the same time a study of rural life, a ghost story, a discussion of philosophical ideas and a thrilling fight film, with each element being handled with rare skill by Hu.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

A widely acclaimed martial arts film (1971) by Hong Kong's King Hu, one of the handful of directors to have worked in the genre with artistic ambitions.

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Michael Jaconelli
The Skinny

King Hu's visionary Ming Dynasty epic stands as one of the cornerstones of the wuxia genre.

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Total Film

Looking as fresh as if it was made yesterday, rather than three decades ago, A Touch Of Zen is Eastern cinema at its most dynamic and grown-up.

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More reviews for A Touch of Zen

Flixster Audience Score: 81% Flixster User Reviews
Stella Dallas
it's not a typical wuxia film. it's a philosophical epic from the most artistic of the original martial arts directors, king hu, that takes a full… More
A few months back someone recommended this to me as a predecessor to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The movie did exactly what it was recommended to do for me,… More
Lanning : )
The length of this movie does not bother me. I'll sit through any engaging film, no matter how long it is. What bothers me is the engagement angle. If a… More
Lesley N
Early 70's wuxia film about Ku, living with his mum in an abandoned fort, Yang mysterious and attractive and baddy Eunuch Wei who's trying to kill… More