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Kung Fu: Season 1 (2004)

David Carradine , Keye Luke  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: David Carradine, Keye Luke, Philip Ahn, Radames Pera
  • Producers: Jerry Thorpe
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 780 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00013F38K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,392 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kung Fu: Season 1" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Contains all 15 episodes plus the 90-minute pilot episode all remastered in a never-before-seen widescreen format
  • "From Grasshopper to Caine: Creating Kung Fu"
  • "The Tao of Kwai Chang Caine: Production and Beyond"

Editorial Reviews

Everybody was kung-fu fighting after the 1972 premiere of this mystic western starring David Carradine (snatching the role from Bruce Lee) in his signature, Emmy-nominated role as Caine, a stoic Shaolin monk forced to flee China after killing the royal family member who slew his Master. Our wandering hero roams the west in search of his long-lost brother, while eluding American and Imperial bounty hunters, and imparting his ancient wisdom on those he encounters and is compelled to aid. Kung-Fu was never a ratings force, but its cult status was assured long before Samuel L. Jackson referenced it in Pulp Fiction. Along with the inaugural 15 episodes, this three-disc set contains the feature-length pilot that establishes the series' iconography: the inscrutable aphorisms ("When you cease to strive to understand, then you will know without understanding"); the flashbacks to Caine's youth, where the orphaned half-American and half-Chinese boy served as disciple ("Grasshopper") to the Old Man; and, of course, the anticipated moments when the peaceful Caine, like Billy Jack, is reluctantly compelled by some frontier bigot to use his fighting skills. Look for appearances by father John Carradine and brothers Keith and Robert in the episode, "Dark Angel." That's 11-year-old future Oscar-winner Jodie Foster in "Althea." Other notable episodes include the Emmy-winning "An Eye for an Eye" and "Chains," featuring an Emmy-nominated turn by Michael Greene as a not-so-gentle giant to whom an imprisoned Caine is chained. "With each ending," Caine observes in the episode, "The Third Man," comes a new beginning." Kung Fu's new beginning comes on DVD. Thanks to the timeless frontier setting and the uniqueness of its genre-bending concept, Kung Fu dates better than other '70s series. As these episodes demonstrate, the show still has plenty of kick. --Donald Liebenson

Product Description

He is a man of peace in a violent land. He is Kwai Chang Caine, schooled in the spirit-mind-body ways of the Shaolin priesthood by the blind, avuncular Master Po and the stern yet loving master Kan. Caine speaks softly but hits hard. He lives humbly yet knows great contentment. He is the Old West's most unusual hero. But hero is not a word Caine would use. He would simply say, "I am a man."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
347 of 366 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the Complete First Season March 22, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although I have not watched all 15 episodes yet, I was disappointed to discover that a total of one to two minutes in each episode were cut. While the short scenes that were cut were not crucial, they do create noticeable gaps in the smooth telling of the story.
It appears that the master tape used to make the DVD was not taken from the original series, but from a shortened version that was edited to make room for additional commercials when the show was shown in recent years. The total run time for each episode is 50 minutes.
It is also not "complete" because the top and bottom of the screen have been cut to make it fit a widescreen format.
I purchased the DVD because, although I had recorded the series on VHS, I did not have all the episodes. Therefore, I am happier with the DVD than without it; but I can only give it three stars since this is not the "complete first season." It has been cropped and shortened.
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114 of 123 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible cropping of image is unacceptable...AVOID! March 22, 2004
A TV series from 1972 is not intended for widescreen presentation. The original image has been cropped, cutting off heads, feet, and other things in the process.
I am all for widescreen presentations of widescreen movies, because I want to see the image as intended. However, in this case, they are doing the opposite, by changing the image to fit new 16X9 monitors, they have destroyed the original composition.
Do not sit still for this. Can you image I LOVE LUCY with the top and bottom of the picture cropped out? The converyor belt scene in the chocolate factory would be ruined....
Widescreen movies and recent widescreen TV shows should be widescreen on DVD, no question.
However, older non-widescreen movies and TV series should be presented as intended, not edited and cropped to placate owners of 16X9 sets who don't know any better. Besides, if those owners want to crop the images to fit their widescreens, they can do so with a button on their remotes.
Cropping a 32 year old TV series? Ridiculous.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love and destruction April 16, 2004
By A Customer
I was 11, and I loved this series. I love it now, at 43. A gentle man tries to survive while doing as little damage as possible, and sometimes offering a bit of help. However skillfully written or choreographed the episodes were, the central message of kindness remained. I see many flaws today that I didn't at age 11, but who cares? Caine was one of my most beloved teachers. That will never change.
I subtract TWO STARS for the cropping. I swear it did not even occur to me to look at the box for the ratio! Who on earth would crop a TV show? Listen, I always check the ratio on films, and I was in the vanguard of widescreen proponents, in the 80's when no one gave a damn about it. But the whole point is to RETAIN INFORMATION, to avoid destruction of the artist's creation. Somebody decided Kung Fu did not deserve that much respect. They were wrong.
So I have mixed feelings. I'm sorry I bought the tattered version, but I have watched a few episodes and they made me as happy as they did in 1972. Clean look, clean sound. If you love this series, buy it and enjoy it. But I am still hoping for an untattered version. If they produce that, I will buy it instantly, and give the widescreen version to an 11 year old.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I truly love these DVD box sets of entire seasons of shows. I buy the good ones to encourage their creation. As DVD box sets go, this isn't a good one. The advance information about the shows being cropped for 16:9 and edited for time was reason enough for me to rent instead of buy this collection. These flaws to me are fatal.
You buy the DVD to get the best version available. If I want to watch something shot in 4:3 at 16:9 I can adjust my set. The three star rating is based solely on the quality of the program. The technical quality of the DVD is the source of any flaws I find in this box set and I have to subtract at least two stars for that alone. No reservations about recommending the show itself.
The show itself is better than I remembered. I can appreciate it more now as an adult than as I kid. Very nicely done and the first season of episodes are some of the best. Episode 10 with Jodie Foster is among the best of the bunch in this collection.
I sincerely hope that future editions of this DVD, perhaps a complete box set of all seasons of Kung Fu will correct the technical flaws. They simply must transfer from the original elements of the show at the original aspect ratio and not edit the episodes for time. It was a sloppy mistake. This show deserved better care and attention.
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portrayal of Shaolin philosophy February 22, 2004
Caine, a Chinese-American immigrant, conflicts with a violent 1870's American West as he seeks a way of peace. The conflict that he feels within himself as a peaceful man who practices martial arts is portrayed excellently. The flashbacks that he has of conversations and lessons in a Shaolin temple are a glimpse into another world. An outstanding series.
A brief episode guide:
Pilot: Kung Fu: The Way of the Tiger, The Sign of the Dragon. Caine flees to the United States after killing the Emperor's nephew.
1. King of the Mountain: A bounty hunter looking for Caine endangers a woman rancher and a homeless boy. guest star (gs): John Saxon.
2. Dark Angel: Caine helps a blinded preacher learn to use his other senses. gs: Robert Carradine, John Carradine.
3. Blood Brother : Caine seeks justice for a murdered friend.
4. An Eye for An Eye: A rape victim wants Caine's help to get revenge. (This episode won Emmy's for best director and cinematographer.)
5. The Tide: A woman with an ulterior motive helps a seriously injured Caine.
6. The Soul Is the Warrior: Caine helps a sheriff facing death.
7. Nine Lives: A miner looks for a cat to replace the cat he accidentally killed. gs: Geraldine Brooks.
8. Sun and Cloud Shadow: Caine acts as intermediary between Chinese miners and a mine owner.
9. Chains: Caine escapes from prison shackled to another prisoner.
10. Alethea: A young girl testifies that she saw Caine murder a man. gs: Jodie Foster.
11. The Praying Mantis Kills: A young boy defends the jail against the men who killed his father.
12. Superstition: When Caine is forced to work in a mine, a landslide traps him inside.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's gets better, with more meaning and understanding
I've been watching this series on and off since 1974. I decided to start again, from the beginning. It's gets better, with more meaning and understanding, with each viewing. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Robert Ortega
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Kung Fu!
I really enjoy(ed) these episodes. I think that it is an intriguing series. Well done for the 70s. Too bad Carradine ended the way he did....
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Grace
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 8 days ago by Debbie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very nostalgic. I watched every episode when it first came out on TV
Published 12 days ago by Janet
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy the DVD's, skip the individual episodes
Decided to watch the first episode of Kung Fu (not the pilot), because I couldn't find it anywhere else. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Fred Flintstone
5.0 out of 5 stars The audio is in good sync with the video and we enjoy the Kung ...
The audio is in good sync with the video and we enjoy the Kung Fu stories. Thank you for a good transaction.
Published 17 days ago by Bonnie H.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I Like It !
Published 24 days ago by Edward Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Great the, good now
Plots that seemed plausible then, appear farfetched now. Also, Chinese philosophy appeared profound then, not so much today. Maybe it was the pot. Anyhow, still enjoyable to watch. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tom K
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Season there was and the worst
Best Season there was and the worst, well there wasn't one! The Philosophy is as Pertinent today as it was then if not more so!
Published 2 months ago by Michael Blanchett
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Was in a foreign language and unable to play in American made dvd players.
Published 2 months ago by Donna Smith
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