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The Best Martial Arts Movies and TV Shows on Kanopy

Finding a good Martial Arts movie and TV show to watch can be hard, so we've ranked the best ones and included where to watch them. Check out our list of the best Martial Arts movies and TV shows of all time streaming on Kanopy.

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1. Seven Samurai

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.6/10
Reelgood Logo
93/100
Released: 1954
Drama, Action & Adventure

What it's about: A samurai answers a village's request for protection after he falls on hard times. The town needs protection from bandits, so the samurai gathers six others to help him teach the people how to defend themselves, and the villagers provide the soldiers with food. A giant battle occurs when 40 bandits attack the village.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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2. In the Mood for Love

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.1/10
Reelgood Logo
86/100
Released: 2000Rated: PG
Drama, Romance

What it's about: Taking place in Hong Kong of 1962, a melancholy story about the love between a woman and a man who live in the same building and one day find out that their husband and wife had an affair with each other.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy).

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3. Sanjuro

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.1/10
Reelgood Logo
82/100
Released: 1962
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: Toshiro Mifune swaggers and snarls to brilliant comic effect in Kurosawa's tightly paced, beautifully composed "Sanjuro." In this companion piece and sequel to "Yojimbo," jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan's evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a proper samurai on its ear.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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4. Samurai Rebellion

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.4/10
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79/100
Released: 1967Rated: G
Drama, History

What it's about: Toshiro Mifune stars as Isaburo Sasahara, an aging swordsman living a quiet life until his clan lord orders that his son marry the lord's mistress, who has recently displeased the ruler. Reluctantly, father and son take in the woman, and, to the family’s surprise, the young couple fall in love. But the lord soon reverses his decision and demands the mistress’s return. Against all expectations, Isaburo and his son refuse, risking the destruction of their entire family. Director Masaki Kobayashi's Samurai Rebellion is the gripping story of a peaceful man who finally decides to take a stand against injustice.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy).

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5. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.0/10
Reelgood Logo
77/100
Released: 1972
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: In the second film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, Ogami Itto battles a group of female ninja in the employ of the Yagyu clan and must assassinate a traitor who plans to sell his clan's secrets to the Shogunate.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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6. A Prayer Before Dawn

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.9/10
Reelgood Logo
76/100
Released: 2018Rated: R
Drama, Action & Adventure

What it's about: The true story of Billy Moore, an English boxer incarcerated in Thailand's most notorious prison. Thrown into a world of drugs and violence, he finds his best chance to escape is to fight his way out in Muay Thai tournaments.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 6 services (iTunes, Google Play & 4 others).

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7. Dolemite

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
5.8/10
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64/100
Released: 1975Rated: R
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: Dolemite is a pimp who was set up by Willie Greene and the cops, who have planted drugs, stolen furs, and guns in his trunk and got him sentenced to 20 years in jail. One day, Queen B and a warden planned to get him out of Jail and get Willie Green and Mitchell busted for what they did to him.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi), stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video, Fandor & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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8. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
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59/100
Released: 1972Rated: R
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: In the third film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, Ogami Itto volunteers to be tortured by Yakuza to save a prostitute and is hired by their leader to kill an evil chamberlain.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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9. Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
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59/100
Released: 1956
Action & Adventure, Biography

What it's about: A humble and simple Takezo abandons his life as a knight errant. He's sought as a teacher and vassal by Shogun, Japan's most powerful clan leader. He's also challenged to fight by the supremely confident and skilful Sasaki Kojiro. Takezo agrees to fight Kojiro in a year's time but rejects Shogun's patronage, choosing instead to live on the edge of a village, raising vegetables. He's followed there by Otsu and later by Akemi, both in love with him. The year ends as Takezo assists the villagers against a band of brigands. He seeks Otsu's forgiveness and accepts her love, then sets off across the water to Ganryu Island for his final contest.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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10. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
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58/100
Released: 1972
Action & Adventure, Thriller

What it's about: In the fourth film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, Ogami Itto is hired to kill a tattooed female assassin and battles Retsudo, head of the Yagyu clan, and his son Gunbei.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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11. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
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58/100
Released: 1973
Action & Adventure, Crime

What it's about: In the fifth film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, Ogami Itto is challenged by five warriors, each has one fifth of Ogami's assassin fee and one fifth of the information he needs to complete his assassination.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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12. Pushing Hands

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.3/10
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54/100
Released: 1991
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: The story is about an elderly Chinese tai chi chuan teacher and grandfather who emigrates from Beijing to live with his son, American daughter-in-law, and grandson in a New York City suburb. The grandfather is increasingly distanced from the family as a "fish out of water" in Western culture.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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13. Chinese Odyssey 2002

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
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52/100
Released: 2002
Comedy, Romance

What it's about: The Emperor (Chang Chen) is desperate for the free-spirited life of a wanderer, and tries to escape from the royal palace with his sister, the Princess (Faye Wong). He's caught and returned to his angry mother by the royal guards, but the Princess, disguised as a man, manages to escape. Meanwhile, King Bully (Tony Leung) has returned to his hometown, where he is widely despised for his bullying ways, to run a restaurant with his tomboy sister, Phoenix (Vicki Zhao). They have a very close relationship. In fact, King Bully mistakenly believes that he can read his sister's mind. When the Princess arrives in town, King Bully finds himself drawn to her, but, believing she's a man, decides that his attraction is some kind of empathy with Phoenix.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.00 on 1 service (Vudu).

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14. Kebab Connection

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
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48/100
Released: 2004
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: In Hamburg, Ibrahim "Ibo" Secmez, of Turkish descent, wants to direct the first German kung-fu movie. For now, he makes commercials for his uncle's kebab restaurant. Titzie, an aspiring actress and Ibo's German girlfriend, finds she's pregnant. Ibo is uncertain about fatherhood - compounded by his father's disowning him for getting a German girl pregnant - so Titzie sends him packing. He makes attempts at getting it right, but as the birth approaches, he's still not ready. In the background are three thugs in search of good tripe soup and a Capulet-Montegue feud between the kebab joint and a Greek taverna across the street. Can Ibo be the glove upon that hand?

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi), stream on a subscription service (Fandor & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 1 service (Vudu).

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15. The 7 Grandmasters

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
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45/100
Released: 1977
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: An aged Kung Fu practitioner travels across China, challenging the best Grandmaster from each province to prove his mastery of martial arts. Meanwhile is a plot developing behind his back.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Vudu), stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $0.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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16. Dance of the Drunk Mantis

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
44/100
Released: 1979
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: A year after training young Jackie Chan in the Drunken Fist, Sam the Seed discovers he has a son, Foggy. He tries to train Foggy but to no avail. Foggy is then trained in Drunken Fist from his uncle as he must face his father's rival, Rubber Legs, another Drunken Fist master who combines it with Mantis Fist to create a deadly style.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Vudu) & stream on a subscription service (Kanopy).

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17. The Iron Monkey

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
39/100
Released: 1977
Action & Adventure

What it's about: Iron is the son of a rebel leader, but prefers to spend his days gambling and getting into fights. When his father's group is arrested and executed, Iron is forced to flee and hide in the woods as a beggar and thief. After being taken in by a Shaolin monastery and trained in the art of Monkey-Style Kung Fu, Iron vows to hunt down his father's killer and avenge his death. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $0.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).