Bruce Lee forever changed martial arts movies with his unique and electric fighting. He is credited as the individual who introduced martial arts films to a worldwide audience, and created new techniques for how fight scenes are choreographed and portrayed in movies. Unsurprisingly, a number of martial arts stars list Bruce Lee as one of their biggest influences. These are the fighters who continue Bruce Lee’s legacy on the big screen.
1. Jackie Chan
2. Tony Jaa
Bruce Lee was a childhood idol for Tony Jaa when he was growing up in Thailand. The star of the Ong-bak film series was inspired to take up martial arts because of Bruce Lee.
3. Gary Daniels
Gary Daniels, who was influenced by Bruce Lee movies as a child, started training in kung-fu. Now this martial artist from the U.K. is a kickboxing champion and can be seen in movies like The Expendables.
4. Mark Dacascos
Mark Dacascos is a worldwide martial arts champion who lists Enter The Dragon as his favorite movie. He also had the chance to work with Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon, on the film The Crow. Tragically, Brandon was accidentally killed on the set of the movie when he was shot by a gun that was supposed to contain blanks.
5. Jason Statham
Jason Statham has said that he gets inspired by the realistic and graphic fight scenes in Bruce Lee films.
6. Iko Uwais
The Raid star is rumored to play Lee in the upcoming film Birth of the Dragon. There’s no doubt Uwais will be watching and re-watching all of Bruce Lee’s movies to get his fighting style down perfectly for the role.
7. Jean-Claude Van Damme
A legend in his own right, Jean-Claude Van Damme remembers seeing Enter The Dragon as a teenager with his father and described Bruce Lee as a “phenomenon” in this interview.
8. Noah Ringer
While filming The Last Airbender, director M. Night Shyamalan, instructed the film’s lead, Noah Ringer, to emulate Bruce Lee’s fighting style. Shyamalan has said that Lee was like a “god” to him and wanted intelligence behind the movie’s fight scenes, similar to Lee’s fighting philosophy. Noah is also a skilled martial artist, having earned his black belt at the age of 12.
9. Ronda Rousey
The UFC’s first women’s Bantam Weight Champion and Furious Seven actress is inspired by this Bruce Lee quote, “I’m not in the world to live up to your expectations, and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
10. Jason Scott Lee
Jason Scott Lee portrayed Bruce Lee in the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Even though Jason Scott Lee had no martial arts experience, he was chosen because he was a skilled dancer and producers believed someone with a dance background would be able to capture Bruce Lee’s fluid fighting style. Jason Scott Lee was trained extensively in martial arts for the film.
11. Billy Blanks
Billy Blanks was inspired to take up martial arts, even though he had mobility problems, after seeing Bruce Lee on TV.
12. Joey Ansah
Joey Ansah has shown-off his martial arts skills in films like The Bourne Ultimatum, and the mini-series Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist. He has said that Bruce Lee was a huge role-model for him and that he would try to analyze and break down his fights.
13. Chris Casamassa
The Mortal Combat star lists Bruce Lee, alongside his dad, as some of his biggest heroes and inspirations.
14. Scott Adkins
Scott Adkins called Enter The Dragon the movie that inspired him to be an actor saying, “I just remember Bruce Lee blowing my mind on the screen and I thought to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do for a living when I’m older'”.
15. Donnie Yen
Donnie Yen starred in Yip Man and its sequel which documents the life of Bruce Lee’s mentor, Yip Man. He has said that he’s huge Bruce Lee fan and dedicated the films Fist of Fury and Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen to his role model.
16. Loren Avedon
Has said that his favorite martial arts star is the original—Bruce Lee.
17. Randy Couture
This six-time heavyweight and lightweight MMA world champion can be seen in movies like The Expendables series. He considers Bruce Lee the father of mixed-martial arts.
18. Jeeja Yanin
Jeeja Yanin spent two years training for the martial arts movie Chocolate, which included watching Bruce Lee movies obsessively. The ice-house scene in Chocolate was inspired by Fists of Fury.
19. Frank Shamrock
Frank Shamrock has often referenced Bruce Lee as an inspiration for him and mixed-martial arts. He credits Lee’s originality that brought martial arts to the mainstream.
20. Dolph Lundgren
Dolph Lundgren, star of the Universal Soldier movies, has praised Bruce Lee’s charismatic fighting as a trait that made it popular with worldwide audiences.