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Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey

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Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey (2000)

100 min - Documentary - 22 October 2000
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Legendary martial artist Bruce Lee is the subject of this thoughtful documentary by Lee aficionado John Little. Using interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and action sequences from Lee's last (unfinished) film, Game of Death, Little paints a textured, complex portrait of the world's most famous action hero

Director:  John Little
Writers:  John Little, Bey Logan

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Storyline

Legendary martial artist Bruce Lee is the subject of this thoughtful documentary by Lee aficionado John Little. Using interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and action sequences from Lee's last (unfinished) film, Game of Death, Little paints a textured, complex portrait of the world's most famous action hero


Collections: John Little

Tagline: You know the legend. Now meet the man.

Genres: Documentary

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Language:  Cantonese, English
Release Date:  22 October 2000

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Runtime:  1 h 40 min

Breaking box office records with four revolutionary martial arts movies, Bruce Lee rocketed to the top of Asia’s film industry over a quarter of a century ago.

His fifth movie, The Game of Death, would have been the most innovative of them all, intertwining his own martial philosophy of individual expression into the action and story line. Tragically, he succumbed prior to its completion, leaving behind 100 minutes of mostly out-takes and re-shoots. The script notes, story line, and much of the footage went unaccounted for. But since any Bruce Lee movie released at the time would have made a fortune at the box office, producers spliced together less than 12 minutes of the footage on hand, and shot their own story using Bruce Lee look-alikes, cardboard cutouts, and other fancy tricks. While the movie they released in 1978 carried Bruce’s intended name, it bore no resemblance to the film that Bruce envisioned.

Several years later in 1994, while doing the research that has resulted the publication of many of Bruce Lee’s never-before-seen notes and writings, producer and director John Little unearthed the original script notes, choreography sketches, and was instrumental in initiating the search that would – six years later – culminate in the discovery of the “lost” original footage from The Game of Death. With the blessing of Lee’s widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, and Warner Bros., he set out to create a film that would deliver Lee’s message and showcase Lee’s footage for The Game of Death as Bruce Lee intended.

The result, Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey, displays the fruits of John Little’s labor. Half-documentary, half-feature film, it provides a philosophical and historical framework that makes the presentation of the lost footage all the more meaningful. Interwoven with clips from Bruce’s past interviews and his guest appearance on the TV series Longstreet, as well as interviews with the people who worked alongside Lee on The Game of Death with him, the final product serves as a magnificent tribute to the movie that the Little Dragon never lived to complete.

A quarter of a century after the fact, all the footage that Bruce Lee shot for the film has finally been reassembled using Lee’s own choreography writings and script notes as the blue print, to finally present the film as he himself intended. Finally, the general public can now see The Game of Death as it was meant to be and will also come to learn something about the real Bruce Lee – the man behind the legend – as well. In Linda Lee Cadwell’s words, “Twenty-eight years after Bruce ceased production on this film, I can truly say I am proud of The Game of Death. For years I have only discussed the four films that Bruce made in Hong Kong. Now I no longer have to avoid The Game of Death subject because, thanks to John Little’s creativity and imagination, Bruce’s work has once again been given life.”