The 32 greatest Jackie Chan movies

My Lucky Stars
(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

If there's one master of cinema who can make you laugh and cheer at the same time, it's Jackie Chan. With a long career of incredible movies under his belt, surely there must be some stone-cold classics to his name. As it turns out, there's plenty.

Since starting his career in the 1960s and rising as a superstar in the late 1970s, Jackie Chan has been renowned for his combined athleticism and comedic sensibilities; he's like Buster Keaton with ab muscles, basically. Trained at the China Drama Academy in Kowloon (along with other industry legends Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Corey Yuen, and filmmaker Yuen Woo-ping), Jackie Chan has broken barriers to become one of the most prolific Chinese movie stars all around the world. 

After emerging as a star in Hong Kong through movies like Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master, Chan accrued enough clout to lead his own stunt team - the famed Jackie Chan Stunt Team - who worked with Chan crafting their own approach to action choreography. Many of Chan's movies from Hong Kong feature death-defying stunts and slapstick humor, sometimes all at once, based on the fact that Chan has the sway to dedicate entire days to getting certain gags just right. Also: While Chan is known primarily for his comic roles as likable underdog heroes, he can also play against type, appearing in sometimes deadly serious roles. (And, at least once, he's been a bad guy.) 

With Chan's career still going strong after all these years, it's high time to look back at the 32 greatest movies Jackie Chan has ever made.

32. Enter the Dragon (1973)

Jackie Chan in Enter the Dragon

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

He's easy to miss, but nothing can take away from the fact that Jackie Chan has crossed fists with Bruce Lee. Before he was a martial arts icon in his own right, Chan was just a working stuntman and one of many faceless bad guys in Lee's lone Hollywood film Enter the Dragon, released in 1973. Chan appears onscreen for a full two seconds, being the poor dude whose hair is pulled by Lee in the movie's iconic underground brawl. In various retrospective interviews, Chan hilariously confesses to relishing the attention of a genuinely apologetic Lee after suffering an accidental injury. 

31. Gorgeous (1999)


(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

In this corny but cozy romantic comedy, model and actress Shu Qi plays a beautiful girl from a small fishing village in Taiwan who falls in love with a Hong Kong playboy millionaire (Jackie Chan, of course), though their budding romance is tested by a business rival (Emil Chau). Though Gorgeous, from director Vincent Kok, is a tad tonally uneven and suffers from an overwritten plot, it's got Chan in one of his rare romantic leading male roles, and he plays the part exceptionally well too. Hardcore Chan fans also revere his fight scenes with the late, great Brad Alan, who guest stars as a foreign boxing champ hired to fight Chan.

30. The Karate Kid (2010)

The Karate Kid

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Putting aside the fact that Jackie Chan actually instructs Jaden Smith in Chinese kung fu and not Japanese karate, the lively 2010 legacy sequel/remake The Karate Kid reimagines the '80s classic for a new generation. Smith plays an adolescent from Detroit whose family moves to Beijing. While adjusting to his new surroundings, including evading rough bullies, he is taken under the wing of an aged maintenance man (Chan) who instructs him in kung fu. While it doesn't leg sweep the original, The Karate Kid '10 maintains its own fandom who see Chan's Mr. Han as wise and capable as Mr. Miyagi.

29. The Accidental Spy (2001)

The Accidental Spy

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

Directed by Teddy Chan, The Accidental Spy is a globe-trotting adventure thriller that still makes time to let Jackie Chan be his hilarious self. Jackie Chan stars as a mediocre exercise equipment salesman who dreams of an exciting life. His wish is granted when he's inadvertently swept up in a plot of international intrigue to stop underworld crime lords. The Accidental Spy is a breezy fun movie, though try seeking out the original cut if you can. The international version, handled by Disney-owned Dimension Films, heavily altered the movie (including dubbing over dialogue that was already filmed in English) to the point it's downright incomprehensible. 

28. The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

The Forbidden Kingdom

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Though the anticipated match-up between Jackie Chan and Jet Li didn't live up to lofty expectations, The Forbidden Kingdom is still a gem of escapist Hollywood entertainment. It's also a pretty neat introduction to both Chan and Li for anyone unfamiliar with their work. Riffing off the Chinese epic folktale Journey to the West, The Forbidden Kingdom, directed by Rob Minkoff, follows an American teenager (Michael Angarano) who is flung back in time and meets a group of mystical martial artists, including the poet Lu Yan (Chan) and the fabled Monkey King (Li). The Forbidden Kingdom might lull genre die-hards to sleep, but it might enchant anyone who've yet to discover the wonderful world of wuxia cinema.

27. Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978)

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow

(Image credit: Destination Films)

Just before earning his stardom with his more legendary blockbuster Drunken Master, Jackie Chan starred in the overlooked but secretly influential Snake in the Eagle's Shadow. Chan plays a bullied orphan who meets an old beggar who becomes his teacher in Snake Kung Fu. Not only did this movie show off Jackie Chan's comedic approach to martial arts cinema before Drunken Master, it also laid down the blueprints for future hits like The Karate Kid, Bloodsport, and Creed, movies where scrappy fighters study under unsuspecting wise old masters.

26. The Young Master (1980)

The Young Master

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

Jackie Chan made his directorial debut with 1979's The Fearless Hyena, a madcap kung fu classic. But it was his second directorial effort, The Young Master in 1980, that has proved to be more enduring. In his first collaborations with Golden Harvest and writer Edward Tang, Chan stars as a martial arts student searching for his lost brother only to end up in a mishap of mistaken identity. Among hardcore fans, the most lasting image of The Young Master is Chan's fight scene with Yuen Biao, where Chan demonstrates graceful skill with a folding fan.

25. Rush Hour (1998)

Rush Hour

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Because of the international success of movies like Rumble in the Bronx and Supercop, Jackie Chan was no stranger to American audiences when his first Hollywood-made hit Rush Hour blew up in theaters. But the movie's success truly solidified Chan as a star on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. In this explosive late '90s picture from Brett Ratner, Chan plays a hard-hitting Hong Kong cop who teams with a fast-talking LAPD officer (Chris Tucker) to locate the kidnapped daughter of a Chinese diplomat. Though Chan was approaching middle age in 1998, Rush Hour marked a new chapter in his career and gave the icon a true Hollywood franchise - not to mention an equally charismatic onscreen partner in the form of Chris Tucker.

24. Rob-B-Hood (2006)


(Image credit: Lionsgate)

When Chan's fame in the United States began to wane, he returned to Hong Kong in the mid-2000s. Amid his comeback tour was the comic caper Rob-B-Hood, directed by Benny Chan. In one of his very few roles playing a criminal (instead of heroic cops), Chan plays a professional burglar and gambling addict who, along with his partners, kidnap a baby from a wealthy family. However, Chan's character starts to unearth his paternal instincts, developing a bond with the child as he grows reluctant to surrender the baby to the triads who hired him. 

23. My Lucky Stars (1985)

My Lucky Stars

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

The second installment of the semi-anthology Lucky Stars franchise puts a bigger spotlight on Jackie Chan, who appears in a more prominent role than the 1983 predecessor Winners and Sinners. Chan, Yuen Biao, and Sammo Hung (who also directs) reunite in this rollicking action-comedy where Chan plays a Hong Kong policeman working undercover in Japan on a case that involves the yakuza and stolen jewelry worth millions. Featuring high-energy choreography in amusement parks, luxury showrooms, and haunted houses (in a mesmerizing set piece that is about the closest Chan has ever gone to doing horror), My Lucky Stars is a cult classic begging to be recognized as a bigger deal.

22. Who Am I? (1998)

Who Am I?

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

In Jackie Chan's second-ever movie shot entirely in English, Chan plays an amnesiac CIA operative who, with the help of a reporter (Michelle Ferre, an actual former CNN correspondent in Japan), pieces together his identity and tracks down the renegade double-agent who compromised his team. Though the movie's English script writing clashes with clunky delivery, Who Am I? - co-directed by Benny Chan and Jackie Chan (no relation) - is a roaring good time with some of Chan's most memorable choreography and stunt gags. A shoeless foot chase through the streets of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is a highlight. 

21. City Hunter (1993)

City Hunter

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

Based on the Japanese manga by Tsukasa Hojo, Jackie Chan stars in this delightful and delirious action comedy playing Ryo Saeba, a private investigator hired to locate the runaway daughter of a media executive. Tracking her all the way to Hong Kong, they end up aboard a luxury cruise liner that is suddenly taken over by terrorists. While City Hunter has a bawdy sense of humor that almost gets off-putting, it's ultimately hard to complain when the movie fills its frames with both beautiful women and breakneck action. If nothing else, City Hunter is a must-watch for the climax where Ryo hallucinates his fight with terrorists into a Street Fighter II cosplay brawl.

20. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

In his older age, Jackie Chan has taken up voice acting, most notably with the hit Kung Fu Panda movies. In 2023, Chan joined a rare class of actors consisting of Kevin Clash, Mako, Hoon Lee, and even Tony Shalhoub to lend his voice for Master Splinter, the ninjutsu master and mentor of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the standalone CG reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, Chan voices a more eccentric iteration of Master Splinter, one that feels more like an overbearing middle aged father than a wise sensei. Still, it just feels right that Chan has a place somewhere in the expansive Ninja Turtles multiverse.

19. New Police Story (2004)

New Police Story

(Image credit: Emperor Entertainment Group)

In this somber standalone reboot of Jackie Chan's Police Story series, Chan plays an inspector who mourns his fallen squad, all of whom suffered brutal deaths by a dangerous gang. A year later, he is paired with a new partner (Nicholas Tse) who encourages to reopen the case and nail the hoodlums for good. With a stronger emphasis on drama and heavy action than its comedy-oriented predecessors, New Police Story is a rare exhibition of Jackie Chan inhabiting the souls of haunted men rather than the carefree underdogs audiences usually know him.

18. Shinjuku Incident (2009)

Shinjuku Incident

(Image credit: JCE Movies Limited)

In this pitch black gangster thriller, Jackie Chan plays an illegal immigrant from China who enters Japan in search of his fiance (Xu Jinglei). After learning she is now mixed up with yakuza leaders, Chan's character rises the ranks of the Japanese underworld as well as leading other undocumented Chinese laborers. Unlike any other Jackie Chan movie you've seen before, Shinjuku Incident ditches the laughs for weighted austerity, with minimal (but no less violent) action and explicit racism between Japanese and Chinese ethnic groups.

17. The Foreigner (2017)

The Foreigner

(Image credit: STX Films)

James Bond director Martin Campbell helms this woefully overlooked action-thriller in which both Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan find new dimensions in the twilight of their careers. Based on the 1992 novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather, Chan plays a grieving family man who seeks revenge against the IRA splinter group whose bombs killed his daughter. More than just its elevator pitch of "Taken starring Jackie Chan," The Foreigner is a riveting revenge film where revenge isn't simply best served cold, but prepared cold too.

16. Shaolin Wooden Men (1976)

Shaolin Wooden Men

(Image credit: Shout! Factory)

For the first and maybe only time in his career, Jackie Chan forgoes any verbal dialogue. In Shaolin Wooden Men from director Chen Chi-Hwa, Chan stars as a silent student at a Shaolin temple who is determined to find his father's masked killer. To graduate from his training however, Chan must square off against dozens of wooden dummies who spring to life. Chan was already a working actor by 1976, but earlier that year he made his debut as a leading man in New Fist of Fury, a film designed to market Chan as the next Bruce Lee. New Fist of Fury didn't click, and neither did his other films of '76 like The Hand of Death and The Killer Meteors. But with Shaolin Wooden Men, Chan showed early promise of what he was truly capable of - and he did so without saying a word.

15. Rush Hour 2 (2001)

Rush Hour 2

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker reunite in this dizzying sequel that brings the mismatched cops from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and then back to L.A. ("Follow the right white man"). This time, the cops are assigned to, and then later barred from, investigating a fatal bombing at the U.S. embassy in Hong Kong, with the suspect having deep personal ties to Chan's Inspector Lee. Easily the high point for the franchise with a number of quotable lines - plus a legitimately exciting hand-to-hand melee in a massage parlor - Rush Hour 2 is maybe the best movie Chan made stateside. 

14. Project A (1983)

Project A

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

Set in 19th century Hong Kong, Project A stars Jackie Chan in the role of a sailor determined to defeat seafaring pirates all while fending off resentful rivals in the police division. Project A features Jackie Chan in the absolute prime of his career, the actor dazzling the screen in tight, blistering choreography - and oodles of comic gags - that all come together like a symphony orchestra. The movie also memorably features one of Chan's deadliest stunts ever, a jaw-dropping 60-foot fall from a clock tower where Chan lands on his neck. 

13. Armour of God (1986)

Armour of God

(Image credit: Miramax)

Capitalizing on the popularity of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jackie Chan writes, directs, and stars in this pulp adventure where Chan plays a treasure hunter who must rescue his ex-girlfriend (Rosamund Kwan) after she's kidnapped by devil-worshiping cultists. A massive hit across Asia and parts of Europe, Armour of God is recognized as one of Jackie Chan's single finest movies of his long career. The movie also had one of Chan's closest calls to death, in which a stunt involving a tree went wrong and Chan actually cracked his skull.

12. Rumble in the Bronx (1995)

Rumble in the Bronx

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

The first movie that really introduced Jackie Chan into the North American mainstream, Rumble in the Bronx fittingly drops Chan, as a Hong Kong cop, who visits New York for his uncle's wedding only to run into violent street gangs who try to shake down his uncle's supermarket business. While its shooting location in Vancouver betrays any sense of Rumble in the Bronx feeling like a true New York movie, the movie kicks serious butt anyhow. On top of that, it's simply poetic that the movie that made Chan a cross-cultural superstar is all about him being the kung fu fish in strange waters.

11. First Strike (1996)

Jackie Chan's First Strike

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

While Police Story 4: First Strike is officially the fourth installment of the Police Story series, it was released totally on its own in markets outside Asia, bearing the simplified titles of "First Strike" or "Jackie Chan's First Strike." But really it doesn't matter, because Chan's Hong Kong police officer is now, suddenly somehow, a CIA operative who travels the globe in search of a black market arms dealer. An international production shot in Hong Kong, Moscow, Crimea, and Brisbane in Australia, First Strike is a true '90s action extravaganza with some of Chan's most impressive stunt gags he's ever done. Just show someone the ladder fight scene and watch them lose their minds. 

10. Police Story 2 (1988) 

Police Story 2

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

It may not reach the same exhilarating heights as its immediate predecessor, but that doesn't stop Police Story 2 from being exceptional. Following the events of Police Story, Jackie Chan's Inspector Chan Ka-Kui (or Kevin Chan in English versions) is now languishing as a traffic cop as punishment for his costly actions arresting crime lord Chu (Chor Yuen). Not only is Chu walking free and making his life hell, but Chan must now track down the ones responsible behind a wave of bomb scares. Police Story 2 is simply more of Chan being at his best, including standout action set pieces inside a restaurant and a playground.

9. Mr. Nice Guy (1997)

Mr. Nice Guy

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

In Jackie Chan's first English-language movie, the action superstar appears as a famous TV chef (also named Jackie) who is pursued by ruthless crime lords who think he has an incriminating VHS tape of a drug deal gone wrong. (Hey, remember VHS tapes?). Mixed up in the mayhem is a pretty television news journalist (Gabrielle Fitzpatrick) and Jackie's girlfriend Miki (Miki Lee). Mr. Nice Guy is easily one of Chan's most impressive movies, with vacuum-tight choreography and oversized explosions that would make Michael Bay drool. Bon appetit!

8. Crime Story (1993)

Crime Story

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

It's one of Jackie Chan's grittiest and most serious movies, but it has no shortage of edge-of-your-seat thrills either. Chan plays a guilt-ridden police detective (of course) who races to save an affluent businessman after he's kidnapped under his watch. He is paired up with a veteran detective (Kent Cheng) who happens to have his own angle on the situation. Notable for releasing during Chan's prime years and still going against his usual brand of comedy, Crime Story is a hard-hitting reminder that even nice guys don't have to play nice too.

7. Miracles (1989)


(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Jackie Chan affectionately pays tribute to classic Hollywood with this high-kicking homage to Frank Capra and his 1933 film Lady for a Day and his own 1961 remake Pocketful of Miracles. Set in fashionable 1930s Hong Kong - no, seriously, the fits are out of control here - Jackie Chan plays a kind-hearted country boy who is suddenly thrust into the role of triad leader. Things actually turn out well (thanks to some lucky roses) until rival gangs come for him and his people. However, no one is prepared for this country bumpkin to start throwing hands. Miracles lives up to its name, being nothing short of miraculous.

6. Drunken Master (1978)

Drunken Master

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

An exemplar in the kung fu film genre, Jackie Chan's star-making turn in Drunken Master is one for the ages. Chan stars in this fictionalized account of real-life martial artist Wong Fei-hung, as he studies the irreverent style of drunken boxing under the tutelage of Qing dynasty folk hero Beggar So. (In real life the two men lived centuries apart, but that doesn't stop filmmakers from imagining "What if…?") A milestone for kung fu pop culture that has influenced generations of storytellers and artists, not to mention popularizing Drunken Fist martial arts, Drunken Master is a must-see even if you don't know kung fu from Kung Pao. It's arguably only topped by its own sequel in 1994, Legend of the Drunken Master.

5. Police Story 3: Supercop (1992)


(Image credit: Miramax)

While it is indeed the third movie in the Police Story series, Police Story 3: Supercop (from director Stanley Tong) was released on its own in the U.S. under the simple title "Supercop," no doubt capitalizing on Chan's sudden popularity post-Rumble in the Bronx. Jackie Chan returns to his Police Story series role as Hong Kong "super cop" Ka-Kui, who is dispatched to Guangzhou and teams up with Chinese Interpol agent Jessica (Michelle Yeoh) to take down a powerful drug lord. You simply can't get any bigger or better than Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh working together, and Supercop delivers on every expectation.

4. Legend of the Drunken Master (1994)

Legend of the Drunken Master

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

After over a decade of playing action hero cops, Jackie Chan returned to classic wuxia filmmaking, reprising his role of Wong Fei-hung for Legend of the Drunken Master. (He also directs.) In this 1994 sequel to 1978's Drunken Master, Hong (Chan) joins his father on a trip to China where he winds up in possession of priceless artifacts that criminals intend to sell to England. Boasting some of the most elaborate and physically taxing choreography in Chan's body of work - and still plenty more of his comedic chops - Legend of the Drunken Master cranked the dial up on Chan's image, transforming a star into a bonafide legend. In 2005, Time Magazine recognized Legend of the Drunken Master as one of the 100 greatest films of all time.

3. Armor of God II: Operation Condor (1991)

Armor of God II: Operation Condor

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Still living up to its Indiana Jones influence, Jackie Chan hunts for Nazi gold in Armor of God II: Operation Condor (released simply as Operation Condor in U.S. markets). Chan returns as the daredevil treasure hunter Asian Hawk, who is hired by a Turkish duke to find stolen Nazi relics buried in the Sahara Desert. Along for the ride are three beautiful women (played by Do Do Cheng, Eva Cobo de Garcia, and Masako Ikeda) who tend to get in the way, which results in hilarious mishaps. Operation Condor may not be as explosive as Supercop or influential as Drunken Master, but it's indisputably, pound for pound, one of Jackie Chan's finest hours.

2. Wheels on Meals (1984)

Wheels on Meals

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

From writer/director Sammo Hung comes one of Jackie Chan's all-time greatest movies, bar none. Set in Barcelona, Spain, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao play Chinese cousins Thomas and David respectively who run a popular fast food van in touristy Barcelona. The cousins are recruited by a private investigator (Sammo Hung) to help protect a beautiful pickpocket named Sylvia (Lola Forner), who happens to be the daughter of David's father's new girlfriend. Hilarious and high-octane, Wheels on Meals has one of Jackie Chan's most iconic fight scenes ever: a one-on-one showdown with legit kickboxing champ Benny "The Jet" Urquidez. 

1. Police Story (1985)

Police Story

(Image credit: Golden Harvest)

Bruce Willis has Die Hard. Arnold Schwarzenegger has The Terminator. Tom Cruise has Top Gun… and Jackie Chan has Police Story. If there's just one movie all audiences must seek out to understand the powerful aura of Jackie Chan, it's his celebrated 1985 action blockbuster Police Story. In Chan's first turn as Inspector Ka-Kui, the action hero must arrest a drug lord while racing to clear his own name after he's accused of murder. Created by Chan following his frustrations on the movie The Protector, Police Story was designed from the ground-up to make Chan a true star around the world. It didn't happen right away, but eventually, the world caught on to what Jackie Chan envisioned. Today it's regarded as one of the all-time greatest action movies of all time, polled as such by outlets like Time Out in 2016. 

Eric Francisco

Eric Francisco is a freelance entertainment journalist and graduate of Rutgers University. If a movie or TV show has superheroes, spaceships, kung fu, or John Cena, he's your guy to make sense of it. A former senior writer at Inverse, his byline has also appeared at Vulture, The Daily Beast, Observer, and The Mary Sue. You can find him screaming at Devils hockey games or dodging enemy fire in Call of Duty: Warzone.