Watch 10-Year-Old Bruce Lee in His First Starring Role (1950)

Bruce Lee has remark­able stay­ing pow­er. Forty years after his untime­ly death, he’s still cel­e­brat­ed as a charis­mat­ic and influ­en­tial lethal weapon. Remem­ber how Pelé ush­ered in Amer­i­ca’s soc­cer craze? Bruce did the same for kung fu. For those of us who came of age in the 70’s, he was Evel Kniev­el, the Fonz, and Sylvester Stal­lone’s Rocky rolled into one.

His star qual­i­ties were in place long before those rock hard mus­cles. Take a look at this clip from The Kid (aka Xi Lu Xiang, Kid Che­ung, and My Son A‑Chang), a 1950 Can­tonese dra­ma based on Kid­dy Che­ung, a pop­u­lar and social­ly con­scious com­ic strip of the 40s. The 10-year-old Lee brings irre­sistable Lit­tle Ras­cals-esque panache to his por­tray­al of a wily, slum-dwelling orphan in the thrall of a gang­ster named Flash Blade Lee. The part pro­vides ample oppor­tu­ni­ty to swag­ger and strut, but just when things are threat­en­ing to turn phys­i­cal, the Lit­tle Drag­on is best­ed by pen­cil-necked char­ac­ter actor Yee Chau-Sui, who shames him for falling in with the local toughs. Lee upholds his rep­u­ta­tion by pulling a knife, but the pose is more than he can main­tain.

As Rosey Gri­er would sing the year after Enter the Drag­on was released, It’s All Right to Cry

Watch the com­plete film here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bruce Lee Audi­tions for The Green Hor­net (1964)

Bruce Lee: The Lost TV Inter­view

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day had the Dyna­mite mag­a­zine with Bruce Lee on the cov­er. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.