->''"I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times."''

Bruce Lee is the quintessential martial arts film star, particularly for action films set in contemporary times, and is widely considered the greatest martial artist of the 20th century.

Born in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco on the 27th of November 1940 (in a Year of and at the hour of the Dragon, appropriately), he was raised in Kowloon, Hong Kong. He had a strong command of English that helped him break away from the "halted Asian accent" stereotype. He was trained in martial arts first by his father, and then by Ip Man (yes, the man whom ''Film/IpMan'' is about). His first real break came when he was cast as Kato in ''Franchise/TheGreenHornet'' TV series as a HypercompetentSidekick. Kato became a BreakoutCharacter; in Asia, the show was [[MarketBasedTitle renamed]] ''The Kato Show''. He proceeded to gain a strong fanbase for Asian MartialArtsMovie films until he was made an international star with the (internationally-produced) ''Film/EnterTheDragon''.

''Time'' named Lee a person of the 20th century as the shining example of personal improvement through physical fitness, and he is universally recognized as one of the ultimate film star "tough guys". He achieved this status with only one TV series, a scattering of TV guest appearances, and five martial arts films done in his adulthood, one of which (''[[Film/GameOfDeath The Game of Death]]'') was unfinished by the time of his death. The affectionate biographical film ''Film/DragonTheBruceLeeStory'', where he was played by Jason Scott Lee (no relation), suggests that his success in America helped to reduce the offensive levels of the Engrish-speaking, AsianAndNerdy, and [[AsianRudeness rude Asian]] stereotypes -- though Lee's work did help grow the AllAsiansKnowMartialArts stereotype as a result.

Lee was, and still is, a revered figure in the world of martial arts. He espoused a CombatPragmatist fighting style and created his own approach, Jeet Kune Do (Way of the Intercepting Fist), in order to create more practical martial arts. This style and the philosophy behind it (the most well-known tenet being "Absorb what is useful") has led some to call him the founding father of UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts, though the sentiment is hardly unanimous. The popularity of ''[[FightingWithChucks nunchaku]]'' ("nunchuks") is directly tied to his use of them in several films, including ''Enter the Dragon''. And his skill as a martial artist doesn't mean he was a slouch in intellectual matters: Lee studied drama at the University of Washington and also studied philosophy extensively. He used the knowledge gleamed from those philosophical studies to write a book about the philosophy behind his martial art. In short, this Asian man embodied the Greek ideal of having a sound mind in a sound body.

Lee was said to be a DanceBattler, since he was both a badass WarriorPoet ''and'' an award-winning cha-cha-cha dancer.

Lee died tragically young (32 years old) on the 20th of July 1973, reportedly from a cerebral oedema caused by an allergic reaction to an ingredient in an equagesic painkiller. His sudden death combined with his young age sparked urban legends about the "true" cause of his death -- these range from suicide to his being a target of the [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triads]]. Much like Music/ElvisPresley, there are those who believe he [[ElvisLives faked his own death]]. His death devastated the Hong Kong film industry to the point where producers began casting numerous {{Bruce Lee Clone}}s in their movies; they hoped that audiences starved for more Bruce Lee would simply accept the poor imitations. [[EpicFail While, by and large, it didn't work]], there are a few renowned martial arts stars who managed to get their first break during this period (notably Creator/JetLi and Creator/JackieChan, the latter of which worked as a stuntman in ''The Fist of Fury'' and ''Enter the Dragon'').

As a tragic postscript to his life, Lee's son, Brandon, [[FatalMethodActing died from a prop gun accident]] on the set of ''Film/TheCrow''.


!!Notable roles:

* ''Franchise/TheGreenHornet'': Kato
* ''Film/{{Marlowe}}'': Mr. Wong
* ''Series/{{Longstreet}}'': Li Tsung
* ''Film/TheBigBoss'': Cheng Chao-an
* ''Film/FistOfFury'': Chan Zhen
* ''Film/WayOfTheDragon'': Tang Lung [[note]] Lee directed this film, and it's the only one he fully directed. He was also the original director of ''Game of Death'', but his AuthorExistenceFailure prompted Robert Clouse, the director of ''Enter the Dragon'', to finish it. [[/note]]
* ''Film/EnterTheDragon'': Lee [[note]] His most iconic role and the last film Lee was able to complete. He died only six days before this film was released in theaters. This also means this is the only main Bruce Lee film to be distributed by one of the major Hollywood studios, Creator/WarnerBros, and the only one to not be distributed by Creator/MiramaxFilms stateside at some point. [[/note]]
* ''Film/GameOfDeath'': Hai Tien [[note]]this is the last film to have Bruce Lee directly involved at all; he died during this movie's production and they used stock footage of him for both this film and ''Game of Death II''. ''Game of Death I'' was delayed by 5 years because of Lee's death and two stand-ins had to be used. [[/note]]
* ''Tower of Death'' a.k.a. ''Game of Death II'' [[note]]Sorta; this used stock footage of Lee from the original film, but at least one DVD still bills him as the star, which was called out by WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd in his "You Know What's Bullshit" series [[/note]]


!!Bruce Lee is the {{trope namer}} of:

* BruceLeeClone
* DontThinkFeel
* FunnyBruceLeeNoises


!!Tropes associated with Bruce Lee's body of work include:

* ActionHero: His standard character is a mighty martial artist.
* ArtisticLicenseMartialArts: In spite of his reputation as the world's greatest martial artist, Lee's movies feature a lot of this. He admitted that jumping high kicks are only good for movies, and he would never use them in a real fight. On the other hand, Lee's films did not rely on the WireFu and hyperactive pace that was strongly associated with the genre at the time.
* AsianAndNerdy: He also does a bit of it in ''Fist of Fury'', when he impersonates a telephone repairman to infiltrate the enemy headquarters. As the Podcast/{{Rifftrax}} guys point out, he seems like a Chinese man doing Jerry Lewis doing a Chinese man.
* BadassBoast: Bruce Lee, upon claiming that he invented a new martial art, was pitted against a former karate champion in an attempt to prove his claims. Lee, unfazed, claimed that not only would he defeat the challenger, but he would do so within one minute. He did it in 58 seconds.
* BigOlEyebrows: An unintentional example, given that Lee was born with them.
* BittersweetEnding: Characters played by Bruce tend not to have happy endings. Of the four films Lee starred in, the happiest ending his character got was a SaveTheDayTurnAway.
* BloodUpgrade: Blood is a mainstay in his fight scenes. Drawing blood from Bruce Lee's character tends to end poorly for his opponents.
* BMovie: His early movies were treated as B-movies in America. That soon changed.
* BoringInvincibleHero: At least, when it comes to fights. His opponents rarely truly endanger him and the best of them end up as CurbstompCushion.
* BrickBreak: Lee would demonstrate his famous "one inch punch" on boards, though he would criticize board breaking later on. "Boards don't hit back".
* BrieferThanTheyThink: His film career included work as a child and teenager, as well as many bit parts in Hong Kong, but he only starred in four complete films over a three-year period (plus ''Game of Death'', which was unfinished) as an adult.
* BringIt: Common in his movies, and frequently homaged.
* CharlesAtlasSuperpower:
** Lee's followers often ascribe his abilities that border on superhuman, such that the viral video (falsified by the ad company) of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqGQ72bre30 Bruce Lee playing ping pong]] using [[FightingWithChucks nunchuks]] was done well enough and Lee's own superhuman reputation was such that many believed wholeheartedly that it was all true.
** Lee felt that many martial artists of his time did not spend enough time on physical conditioning. Lee included all elements of total fitness -- muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility -- as part of his workout routines. He also employed traditional bodybuilding techniques.
** One documentary claimed that force in one of Bruce's kicks is equivalent to a fully loaded truck going 30 miles per hour.
** He is said to able to take a coin out of your hand and replace it with another one before you could close your hand.
** It is said that he was too fast for the cameras of the day to capture his movements clearly and thus he had to be filmed at 32 frames per second rather than the standard 24.
* CombatPragmatist: While all the flashy moves he used in his films are a big part of his reputation, Lee actively cultivated an attitude based instead on this trope. He is popularly attributed the quote that a man with one year of training in wrestling and boxing would be able to defeat any martial artist with 15 years on his style. It is actually unknown if he ever made that exact claim, but it is very known that he believed it at a fundamental level: he took the view that traditional martial arts techniques were often too rigid and formalistic to be practical in scenarios of chaotic street fighting, and moreover, that the masters and teachers of his time weren't often willing to challenge their dogmas in order to test and improve their effectiveness. Thus, Lee decided to develop a fighting philosophy with an emphasis on "practicality, flexibility, speed, and efficiency". This meant doing whatever you needed to in a situation of life or death, be it biting or eye-gouging etc.
* TheComicallySerious: Once or twice. [[http://giphy.com/gifs/reaction-26jpiPaeL2LWo Especially here.]] Notably, it was the lack of humour/comedy in his roles which prompted Jackie Chan to develop his own brand of action comedy in order to step out of Bruce's shadow.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: Cuts through crowds of [[MookChivalry chivalrous mooks]], usually with only a few blows each, but his one-on-one fights last much longer.
* DeadArtistsAreBetter: Dying in his prime almost certainly aided his legendary reputation.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: According to Wrestling/GeneLeBell, he and Lee became friends when they had a brief scuffle while sparring on the set of a film. Supposedly Gene, a former UsefulNotes/{{Judo}} champion, picked Bruce up over his shoulders and carried him running around the set; Lee screamed at him to put him down, but Gene refused, pointing out that Lee was going to take his revenge on him if he released him. Only after two minutes Lee managed to crawl off, and then they sat together and had a good laugh about the incident. While it is difficult to pin down as a straight defeat, it sparked Lee's interest in expanding his martial knowledge to grappling.
* DoesNotLikeGuns: Inverted! Despite his impressive martial arts skills, Bruce Lee was known for possessing a personal collection of firearms for self-defense purposes, and even a couple of his martial arts movies have his character requesting to use a gun.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: His first "big" film, ''The Big Boss'', is very different from his other films. It's a little more cartoonish (cut-out wall punch), cheesey (the big bad's demise), and very bloody in an over-the-top way.
* FightingWithChucks: He made the nunchaku famous with sequences such as the big fight in Han's basement from ''Enter the Dragon''. He also fought with both double nunchaukus and a single [[Creator/ChuckNorris Chuck]] in ''Way of the Dragon''.
* FingerPokeOfDoom: Lee popularized the "one-inch punch" technique, which can generate a surprising amount of power over a short distance, enough to push a man with his feet squared up off balance.
* GeniusBruiser: His characters are always as intelligent as they are powerful. In real life, Lee studied philosophy in addition to ways of making himself stronger.
* GoodOldFisticuffs: While much of his movements are more along the lines of LightningBruiser territory, he dabbles into this at his slowest moments. A good example would be the Chuck Norris fight, where -- after a series of rapid punches and kicks -- Lee knocks Norris over with haymakers.
* GunsAreWorthless: Lee averted this trope, as he had no illusions about the supremacy of an armed man against an unarmed one. One of the reasons he signed on to ''Enter the Dragon'' was the possibility that, since he was playing a badass SecretAgent, he might get to carry a gun in a few scenes. He was disappointed when he learned how the script required his character to go in unarmed, so he changed the script slightly to have his character's annoyance at those rules reflect his own.
* HeCleansUpNicely: Ever seen him in a suit and tie, all groomed up? No? Then, [[http://www.suitsociety.com/bruce-lee-in-suit/ just see]]. Lee was pretty famous for being a stylish fellow. A number of years ago, Japanese toy company Medicom released an entire line of Bruce Lee 12" dolls based on the various stylish attires he wore. In another example, Bruce's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtfBaLEo2qY only English role where martial arts wasn't involved]] (an episode of ''HereComeTheBrides'' called "Marriage Chinese Style"). Likewise, his only turn as an antagonist when he played Winslow Wong in ''Marlowe'' in two different but just as stylish suits.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: With Chuck Norris, who was his training partner as well as close friend. Norris still speaks highly of Lee to this day.
* HiddenDepths: Aside from his kicks and punches, he loved grappling, and even trained extensively in judo. However, he never went for it in movies or TV because he knew people wouldn't understand the holds and would consider the action boring.
* IAmNotLeonardNimoy: Throughout his short-lived acting career, the audience almost never remembers his characters' actual names.
* IHaveManyNames: Bruce Lee, Lee Junfan (李振藩), Sai-fon, Li Yuanxin (李源鑫) [[note]]his name as recorded in the genealogy book[[/note]], Li Yuanjian (李元鉴)[[note]]given to him when he started on his formal education[[/note]] and Li Xiaolong (李小龙). The fact that he has so many names just boosts his legendary status.
* IconicOutfit: The yellow tracksuit with black stripes that Lee wore in ''Film/GameOfDeath''. Practically every self-respecting BruceLeeClone is required to wear one if they want to pay proper homage.
* {{Kiai}}: Lee's whooping kiais were intended to convey the power of his attacks and became a signature part of his fight scenes. Anyone who parodies kung-fu films will likely imitate them.
* LightningBruiser: This applies to both Lee's characters and Lee himself. When the song said "Those kicks were fast as lightning", he is the reason why.
* MartialPacifist: Especially a PapaWolf one.
* MookChivalry: Lee's films include lots of scenes where mooks surround him and attack one at a time.
* MrFanservice: Has quite a following of fangirls for being athletic ''and'' good looking, particularly in his younger days.
* RapidFireFisticuffs: Most of his fight scenes focus on the speed at which Lee could deliver his attacks.
* RatedMForManly: Most of his movies are about martial arts, and can get pretty violent.
* RealMenWearPink: Not only a martial arts god, but also a pro-level ballroom dancer (He won several cha-cha competitions), soap opera junkie (missing an episode of ''Series/GeneralHospital'' could leave him in a big blue funk for days) and something of a [[TheDandy dandy]].
* ShirtlessScene: Every single one of his completed movies has at least one. You can count on him kicking a lot more ass if his top is torn or removed.
* SilentSnarker: In most films, you could always tell what his character is thinking without him saying anything.
* StartMyOwn: Lee created Jeet Kune Do because he felt he could have won a fight in seconds instead of minutes were it not for the then-current styles of martial arts holding him back.
* TranquilFury: Most of his films often portray his anger this way; the only time he ever expresses a berserk style reaction is when he strikes a blow to someone.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: In many of his movies, the only times his torso is fully covered is when he's in one of his disguises. This suggests that his chest is more distinctive identification than his face.
* WorldsStrongestMan: At least in the opinion of Creator/ChuckNorris, he was this for his day. He at least has this reputation if nothing else.
--> '''Chuck Norris''': Bruce Lee, pound for pound, might well have been the strongest man in the world, and was certainly one of the quickest.