A young martial artist embarks on an adventure, encountering other martial artists in battle until one day he meets an aging blind man who will show him the true meaning of martial arts and life.


Martial artist barbarian Cord the Seeker (Jeff Copper) has taken a vow of chastity and wanders the wastelands in search of the all-knowing mystic known as Zetan and his sacred book of knowledge. He’s found himself in the middle of a martial arts tournament in the middle of nowhere because he thinks that by winning a medallion of accomplishment that Zetan will take notice from his high place of dwelling. When he’s accused of breaking the rules in the tournament, he’s cast out and he encounters a blind shaman (played by David Carradine), who has astonishing skills in the martial arts. The blind man gives him some advice, and Cord is only too eager to seek out several other sages in the wilderness to direct him on his way to Zetan. He then encounters and fights Monkeyman (also played by Carradine), who tells him to find a rose, and then he finds the warlord Changsha (again, played by Carradine), who gives Cord one of his most beautiful brides to sleep with for the night, thus breaking his vow of chastity. Finally, he encounters Death (Carradine one more time), and deals with tragedy, while meeting up with The Blind Man again, who seems to be the only one out of the bunch who knows exactly where Cord will ultimately end up. Cord eventually finds Zetan (played by Christopher Lee) and opens the sacred book, revealing to himself the true meaning of personal philosophy and realization.

Conceived as a project by Bruce Lee, but ultimately realized by star Carradine, screenwriters James Coburn and Stirling Silliphant, and director Richard Moore (who never directed another film), Circle of Iron is a fantastic fantasy film in the tradition of Pilgrim’s Progress and The Wizard of Oz, but with a decidedly adult perspective, and with lots of martial arts. Star Jeff Cooper looks interesting on screen, but he never really did much of significance in his career, and this remains one of Carradine’s best chances to shine as a performer. Carradine as The Blind Man is quintessential Carradine (complete with a long flute as a weapon), and the filming locations in Israel are gorgeous and unique. Truly a special motion picture experience, Circle of Iron deserves to be discovered.

Blue Underground put out an exquisite looking and sounding blu ray of this film, and in full 1080p HD resolution, the movie simply looks amazing. The extras on the disc include an audio commentary by the late director Moore, interviews with Carradine, and other interviews with the late stunt coordinator Joe Lewis, and others. Totally worth the price to purchase in every way.


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About the Author

david j. moore

david j. moore is the author of World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies and the upcoming book The Good, the Tough and the Deadly: Action Movies and Stars, coming April, 2016 from Schiffer Publishing.