The Big Boss (lost original Mandarin cut of martial arts film; 1971)

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Original Hong Kong film poster.

Status: Lost

The Big Boss is a 1971 martial arts film starring Bruce Lee. This film is often credited as Lee's break-out film, earning him international acclaim for his strong performance.[1] The film grossed nearly $50,000,000 worldwide against a tight budget of $100,000 making it was the highest-grossing Hong Kong film up until Lee's next film, Fist of Fury (1972).[2]

The original release included scenes that were removed during the "1972 Hong Kong Censorship Crackdown." The removed scenes were noteworthy for their violent content, including mutilation and gore,[3] and are mentioned in full detail on Wikipedia. The last time the original cut was seen was in Chinese cinema clubs from Britain back in June 1972.[4]


Some of these clips have been recovered from trailers of the film, while others believe the Mandarin cut to be in the possession of collectors, though this has not been confirmed. In 2004, a low-budget DVD company called Video Asia announced The Big Boss: The Version You've Never Seen! This was widely speculated to be the Mandarin cut of the film. However, the DVD release was ultimately cancelled, likely due to copyright issues from Orange Sky Golden Harvest, the film's distributor. In 2023, Arrow Video was stated to be in possession of the original Mandarin cut, featuring ten minutes of previously unreleased footage, with the intention of releasing it in their upcoming Bruce Lee box set later in the year.[5]

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