seven swords

Released in 2005, Seven Swords ( 七劍 ) is a Hong Kong wuxia movie very loosely based on Lian Yusheng’s novel Quijan Xia Tianshan. The plot is also similar to Akie Kurosawa’s 1954 movie Seven Samurai, with a motley crew of seven warriors agreeing to risk their lives to protect a village. Seven Swords was selected to be the opening film of the 2005 Venice Film Festival, as an homage to Akira Kurosawa.

Unlike Seven Samurai, which takes place in Japan, Seven Swords is set in 17th century China, where the Qing dynasty has just outlawed martial arts. The corrupt officer Fire-Wind sets ut to enforce the ban, making a fortune in the process by plundering civilians. As he and his men approache Martial Village, the old executioner Fu Qingzhu sets out together with two young villagers to find warriors willing to protect the community and put an end to Fire-Wind’s raids. He finds four other swordsmen, and the mysterious swordsmith Master Shadow-Glow equippes each of the seven men with a unique and powerful sword.

The film’s director Tsui Hark both co-produced the movie and co-wrote the screenplay, and the movie starrs Leon Lai, Donnie Yen, Charlie Yeung, Sun Honglei, Lu Yi, and Kim So-yeon.

The movie was well recieved in Asia and was nominated for numerous awards in Hong Kong and China. Outside Asia, the reviews were more mixed, and generally not favorable. In the United States, the movie only got a limited release in theatres.

The initial cut made by Angie Lam was a four hour long movie, but the distributors worried that such a long film would scare away the audience, so Tsui Hark re-edited the film and created two shorter versions: one 150 minutes and one 120 minutes. The 150 minutes version was the one that was ultimately selected for theatres.


Basic info

Title 七劍
English title Seven Swords
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin


Lenght 2 hours and 33 minutes
Budget 18 million USD
Box office 3,473,290 USD


Behind the scenes

Producers Tsui Hark
Ma Zhongjun
Lee Joo-ick
Pan Zhizhong
Production company
Film Workshop
Director Tsui Hark
Screenplay by Tsui Hark
Cheung Chi-sing
Chun Tin-nam
Music by Kenji Kawai
Cinematographers Keung Kwok-man
Herman Yau
Choi Shung-fai
Edited by Angie Lam
Distributeed by Mandarin Films Distribution Co. Ltd.
Eng Wah Cinema
The Weinstein Company
Tokyo Shock


Leon Lai
Donnie Yen
Charlie Yeung
Sun Honglei
Lu Yi
Kim So-yeon


Actor Role Info
Donnie Yen Chu Zhaonan Wielder of the Dragon sword
Leon Lai Yang Yuncong Wielder of the Transience sword
Lau Kar-leung Fu Qinzhu Wielder of the Unlearnt sword
Charlie Yeung Wu Yuanying Wielder of the Heven’s Fall sword
Lu Yi Han Zhibang Wielder of the Diety sword
Duncan Chow Muland Wielder of the Celestial Beam sword
Tai Li-wu Xin Longzi Wielder of the Star Chasers sword
Sun Honglei Fire-Wind Warlord and currupt officer
Kim So-yeon Green Pearl Fire-Wind’s slave from Korea
Ma Jingwu Shadow-Glow Swordsmith and swordsman
Jason Pai Liu Jingyi Village chief
Zhang Jingchu Liu Yufang Liu Jingyi’s (the chief) daughter

Lover of Han Zhibang’s

Michael Wong Prince Dokado Manchu nobility
Chi Kuan-chun Qiu Dongluo Villager
Huang Peng Guan Sandao Villager
Zhang Chao Zhang Huazhao Villager
Xie Zhang Bald Lion One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Wang Chi-man Dagger Peak One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Zhang Jie Hair Wolf One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Guo Fengqiang Black Spirit One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Tang Tengfei Stone Beast One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Liu Zhenbao Mud Trot One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Liu Mingzhe Jiacoci One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Li Haitao Siyilang One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Jiang Guangjin Sanzi One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Lin Haibin Sangen One of Fire-Wind’s warriors
Jia Kun Bangmuzi One of Fire-Wind’s warriors


  • During the filming of the ending fight scene, Donnie Yen accidently injured Sun Honglei because Yen erroneosly assumed that Honglei was trained in martial arts. Honglei was rushed to a hospital in Beijing with an injury near the eye. Since his eye sight wasn’t impaired by the injury, he went back to Xinjiang a day later to finnish his scenes.
  • Tsui Hark originally planned for Seven Swords to be the first in a franchise consisting of a total of six movies. So far, these plans have not been realized.