Kung Fu (1972–1975)
16 user 4 critic
After avenging the death of his teacher, a Shaolin monk flees China to the American West and helps people while being pursued by bounty hunters.


Jerry Thorpe


Ed Spielman (teleplay), Howard Friedlander (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


Episode complete credited cast:
David Carradine ... Caine
Barry Sullivan ... Dillon
Albert Salmi ... Raif
Wayne Maunder ... McKay
Benson Fong ... Han Fei
Richard Loo ... Master Sun
Keye Luke ... Master Po
Philip Ahn ... Master Kan
Victor Sen Yung ... Chuen
Robert Ito ... Fong
James Hong ... Hsiang
Radames Pera ... Young Caine
Roy Jenson ... Fuller
John Leoning John Leoning ... Master Teh
David Chow David Chow ... Little Monk




From the tiger, he learns tenacity and power. From the white crane, gracefulness. And the dragon teaches him to ride the wind. It could take a lifetime to master just one of the many Kung Fu disciplines. But young Kwai Chang Caine knows them all. He was educated in a Shaolin monastery around 1800 by the monks. Against all forms of violence he face his ultimate challenge when his preferred master was killed by the hands of the imperial forces. After avenging the death of his teacher, as a Shaolin monk, he flees China to the American West and helps people defending the weak and fighting against the evil while being pursued by Chinese bounty hunters. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Did You Know?


Benson Fong and Keye Luke both played as the #1 son in many of the popular Charlie Chan mysteries in the 1930's & '40's. See more »


In a scene where Chinese laborers are pounding railroad spikes, a worker misses hitting his spike. See more »


Master Kan: Avoid, rather than check. Check, rather than hurt. Hurt, rather than maim. Maim, rather than kill. For all life is precious, nor can any be replaced.
See more »


Referenced in From Grasshopper to Caine: The Making of 'Kung Fu' (2003) See more »

User Reviews

Unique Western flick, the pilot for the series
8 June 2014 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

This 1972 made-for-TV Western was the pilot for the "Kung Fu" TV series. At a mere 74 minutes, it's short and sweet, kinda the way I wish more movies would be! It's definitely a Western, as it takes place out West in the late 19th century, but it's unique for this genre in that it incorporates Eastern wisdom and martial arts -- sorry, no quick-draw shootouts here.

A great scene appears near the beginning where Caine walks into a saloon after walking across a desert (!!) to get some water. Naturally some bigot wants to start a fight with him 'cause he's one of them "slant-eyes." Three times the guy attempts to attack Caine and three times Caine swiftly and decisively repels the attacks. The guy wisely decides not to attack again as Caine finishes his water and humbly walks out of the saloon leaving the patrons in astonishment.

There's more martial arts action toward the end, but, it should be noted, this is by no means a standard martial arts flick. The movie teaches humility and respect for elders & all fellow human beings. Despite the fact that they have very little dialogue, Caine develops a father/son relationship with blind Master Po.

Some scenes have such a reverent and touching quality to them that they actually brought tears to my eyes.

In Brian Garfield's "Western Films" guide he criticized this movie pilot as "Juvenile tripe." With all due respect to the brilliant Mr. Garfield, this film is neither juvenile nor tripe! As far as Westerns go, it's quite mature and original. Good Eastern-style music too.

Although this pilot movie is included with the First Season and Complete Series DVD sets, it's also available as a stand-alone movie on both DVD and VHS, which is good because it's definitely worth having in your Western library, even if you're not interested in owning the whole series.

The film was shot at Burbank Studios and Vasquez Rocks, California.


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Release Date:

22 February 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Warrior See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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