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Circle of Iron (1978)

Richard Moore (IV) , David Carradine  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Moore (IV), David Carradine, Jeff Cooper, Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Blue Underground
  • DVD Release Date: September 28, 2004
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002TVX0A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #242,620 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Circle of Iron" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio Encoding: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Adventure Epic Written By Bruce Lee – His Dream Project He Would Never Live To See!

At the height of his international fame, the legendary Bruce Lee – along with his friend and student James Coburn and Oscar®-winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant – began to write what he believed would be the greatest achievement of his film career. Five years after his mysterious death, Lee’s vision would finally be realized. David Carradine (KILL BILL), Christopher Lee (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Roddy McDowall (PLANET OF THE APES) and Eli Wallach (THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY) star in this acclaimed cult hit that brings Lee’s personal philosophy to the screen with a still-potent combination of mysticism, humor and martial arts mayhem.

CIRCLE OF IRON – also known as THE SILENT FLUTE – has now been remastered from its original negative and features exclusive Extras that honor the legacy of Bruce Lee, including an all-new interview with David Carradine.

"The Most Elaborate And Most Beautiful Martial Arts Film To Ever Come Our Way!" –The New York Post

"Striking And Surrealistic!" –The Soho News

• Playing The Silent Flute: Interview With Star David Carradine
• Audio Commentary with Director Richard Moore
• Bruce Lee's The Silent Flute: A History By Davis Miller & Klae Moore (text essay)
• Alternate Title Sequence
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spots
• Poster & Still Galleries
• First Draft Script By Bruce Lee, James Coburn & Stirling Silliphant (DVD-Rom)

Bruce Lee and James Coburn conceived the story for this unusual blend of fantasy, martial arts adventure, and Zen mysticism that should please cult-movie collectors and action aficionados with a taste for the offbeat. The bland but serviceable Jeff Cooper stars as a lone warrior who sets out to find the mysterious Book of All Knowledge. He faces numerous physical challenges on his journey, chief among them David Carradine in four roles (including a half-man, half-monkey), as well as numerous philosophical conundrums. While the dialogue by Sterling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night) and Stanley Mann (Eye of the Needle) occasionally teeters into self-parody, the action and pace rarely lags, and the fine supporting cast, which includes Christopher Lee, Eli Wallach, and Roddy McDowall, lends a degree of gravity to the proceedings. One wonders how the film would have played with Lee in the cast (it had been a pet project of his for years, but was completed years after his death), but the end result is certainly watchable and entertaining. Blue Underground's DVD includes a wealth of extras, including a typically laid-back interview with Carradine, commentary by director Richard Moore, trailers and TV spots, an alternate title sequence, and, most intriguing of all, Lee's original script with Coburn and Silliphant (accessible only via DVD-ROM). --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Do you answer every question with a question?" July 19, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Way back in the day legendary martial artist/cinematic icon Bruce Lee set out, along with fellow actor and student James Coburn, to create a film with the intent of displaying the spiritual side of martial arts along with imparting some of their philosophical Zen beliefs. Brought in to assist the men was screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, also one of Lee's students, whose other works include In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), and The Towering Inferno (1974). Anyway, the treatment, titled The Silent Flute, was finished, but apparently there was some difficulty in getting it made into a film, until about 5 years after Lee passed away, when producer Sandy Howard (A Man Called Horse, The Island of Dr. Moreau) took interest, bringing on director Richard Moore (The Wild Angels, Devil's Angels, Wild in the Streets) who claimed the original treatment `unfilmable', to which Howard hired screenwriter Stanley Mann (Damien: Omen II, Conan the Destroyer). Mann punched it up a bit, removed some of the more graphic material (both in terms of sex and violence, which, if kept in, would have resulted in an X rating for the film), tossed in a little humor, and eventually became this film titled Circle or Iron (1978), for better or worse. Starring in the film is David Carradine (Death Race 2000, Cannonball) and Jeff Cooper, whose previous gig had him playing Derek Thurston #1 on the TV soap `The Young and the Restless'. Also appearing is an interesting list of cinematic dignitaries including Christopher Lee (Dr. Terror's House of Horrors), Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes), and Eli Wallach (The Magnificent Seven). Read more ›
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great 70's Gem November 21, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Circle of Iron (originally titled "The Silent Flute") was an attempt to capitalize on the wild popularity of Bruce Lee and the Television show "Kung Fu" starring David Carradine. The script had been sketched together by Bruce Lee, Stirling Silliphant and James Coburn shortly after the Green Hornet was cancelled and just before Lee left Hollywood to make his fortune in China. It had been mothballed and then re-written after the death of Lee and stands as a testament to the "Little Dragon's" personal philosphy on life and death. Those who have read "The Tao of Jeet Kune Do" by Bruce Lee will recognize Bruce' fighting philosophy taken to the macrocosm of life in this film.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the martial arts fight scenes are certainly not Bruce Lee, however, the "odd" fighting styles of the actors sort of add to the surreal almost magical atmosphere of this film. The movies strength does not come from its martial arts, but rather its beautiful philosphy, wonderful cinematography and breathtaking locations. The movie was filmed entirely on location in India.

The story revolves around Cord the Seeker, who is really sort of an "everyman" that attempts to find a Book of Enlightenment by defeating one master warrior after another (ala 'Game of Death'). David Carradine plays several roles in this film, each one using different styles. Though Carradine at the time was a beginner martial artist, his physical presense and movement is interesting to say the least and makes for an entertaining fight scene. Carradine also plays a blind martial arts/Zen master that helps to guide Cord. For fans of the 70's tv series, Kung Fu it's enjoyable to see Carradine finally take his place as the heir of Master Po.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extras and All Around Amusing Movie Worth a Glance October 19, 2004
By K.H.
This cult film starring David Carradine and Jeff Cooper is a fantasy/martial arts adventure trying to mix Eastern philosophy, particularly Zen Buddhism, into a film that enlightens and entertains. This is a strength in the film and a weakness. First, David Carradine does a fine job playing four different parts originally written for Bruce Lee (Lee co-wrote the story). As the flute player Carradine is great, delivering his lines well and being a believable character. The other parts he is not so believable, but all in all, enjoyable enough for the movie.

Jeff Cooper (Cord), however, is not a very good "seeker." Besides a couple one liners here and there, he just is not believable as the seeker. This in part due to average acting ability and his martial arts skills, or the lack there off, are extremely noticeable. This is not to say Carradine is a great martial artists, he is not, but he is able to pull it off - Cooper is not. Lastly, Cooper got the role when it was first casted for karate legend Joe Lewis(as least rumored so). Lewis would have been a much better fit and it would have naturally brought up the martial arts fight scenes to an acceptable and more enjoyable level.

The film quality is good, the sound track a little too much 70s TV sounding, but the sights are great, while the martial arts sequences are lacking technique and excitement. The movie, however, is a good guilty pleasure. It has enough fortune cookie philosophy to instruct, but not to be taken too seriously (after all, the movie's thesis, discovered at the end of the movie, logically fails). The movie has much of Bruce Lee's fighting philosophy (good) and Zen philosophy (muddled at best) and the movie is escapists enough to bring about a learning, yet, entertaining evening.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars David Carradine is brilliant. Actors
David Carradine is brilliant. Actors, story line, music all excellent.
Published 2 days ago by Otago
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Classic Kung Fu cinema.
Published 9 days ago by Leonard Orth
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Movie, I loved it...
Great Movie!!! I loved on VHS, had a DVD of it n it got worn out n just got this 2 DVD set which is Super Cool!!!
Published 20 days ago by KoalaGCF
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst Kung Fu movie of all times.
One of the very worse movies of all time! Disappointment cannot describe the movie left me after putting myself to watch the whole thing; in fact, this movie should have never been... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Ralph & Alma LoBianco
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good movie
Published 1 month ago by Oscar Ward Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Esoteric, occult masterpiece.
Published 1 month ago by Loui Alexandre
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silent Flute is a Better Title
The Silent Flute is a better title. This is one of the best movies to watch
Published 1 month ago by Lyndasue Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Cool movie!
Published 2 months ago by Daniel Swanson
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome movie! Based on a movie idea of Bruce ...
Awesome movie! Based on a movie idea of Bruce Lee. Great acting, and a great message.

Published 2 months ago by Rob
5.0 out of 5 stars I lost my DVD copy of this and I loved the movie
I lost my DVD copy of this and I loved the movie. The Blu ray copy has even more extras that tell the story behind the movie.
Published 2 months ago by Frodo of the Shire
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