The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is a Hong Kong kung fu movie starring Gordon Liu, who plays a fictionalized version of the legendary Shaolin monk San Te (birth name: Liu Yude) who trained under General Chi Shan.

In the movie, the young student Liu Yude participates in a rebellion that is quickly and violently quenched by the Manchu government. After his loved ones has been killed and his school liquidated by the authorities, the injured Liu Yude seeks out a Shaolin temple to learn kung fu and thus be better equipped to get revenge and ensure the liberation of his people.

Launched in 1978, the 36th Chamber of Shaolin is today widely hailed as one of the best kung fu films of all time and it has had a huge influence on the genre. For the director Liu Chia-liang, it proved to be a huge break-through and career turning point.


  • Student Liu Yude/Monk San Te is played by Liu Chia-Hui
  • General Tien Ta is played by Lo Lieh
  • Rice Miller Six is played yed by Wang Yu
  • Hung Hsi-Kuan is played by Yu Yang
  • Lu Ah Tsai is played by Hsu Shao-Chiang
  • Tung Chien-Ching is played by Wu Hang-Sheng
  • Abbot of Justice Office is played by Hoi Sang Lee


Basic facts about the movie

Title Traditional: 少林三十六房

Simplified: 少林三十六房

English title The 36th Chamber of the Shaolin
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin
Released in 1978
Lenght 1 hour and 55 minutes
Producer Mona Fong
Run Run Shaw
Production company Shaw Brothers
Directed by Liu Chia-Liang
Written by I Kuang
Music by Chen Yung-Yu
Cinematography Huang Yeh-tai
Edited by Geung Hing Lung
Li Yen-Hai
Distributed by Shaw Brothers Studio
United States:World Northal (dubbed)
Dragon Dynasty (DVD)


Gording Liu

Lo Lieh

Other titels

The movie is known under several alternative titles, including The Master Killer and Shao Lin Shi Liu Fang. In 2000, Crash Cinema Media released it on DVD with the title Shaolin Master Killer.


  • The matrial arts expert and actor Gordon Liu’s (also known as Lau Ka-fai) who had the lead role in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin also played two roles in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. In Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003), he plays Johnny Mo, leader of the Yakuza gang Crazy 88. In Volume 2 (2004), we see him kung fu master Pai Mei.
  • The 36th Chamber of Shaolin spawned the sequal Return to the 36th Chamber (1980), which was much more comedic. It was followed by Disciples of the 36th Chamber in 1985.
  • The 36th Chamber of Shaolin movie inspired the name of the Wu Tang Clan debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)”.