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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Koon Tai CHAN
陳觀泰 | CHAN Koon Tai

Shaw Brothers is an institution of higher education for film. Its production operation was clearly defined and one can get connected with different directors and teams. It developed much, which reason was to form my own company to make films. On top of acting, I gradually made directing and producing as part of my life-long career. Like writing novels, film directing can express ideals and dreams, except that directing turns the thoughts into real images, producing may be more satisfying. I’m not afraid to take risks, therefore I don’t follow trends and was always ahead of others. In addition to economic benefits, I treasure style innovation, while also working hard to let audiences understand my feelings.


Chan Koon-tai, also know as Chen Kuan-tai, was born in 1945 in Guangzhou, China. Chan practiced martial arts as a child and worked as a fireman after secondary school. In 1969, he entered a fight tournament in Singapore and won. Chan started working in the film industry in 1967, first as martial arts specialist and later as action choreographer and actor. On the recommendation of director Chang Cheh, he joined Shaw Brothers, becoming a star with The Boxer from Shantung (1972). In five years at Shaw, he appeared in 22 films, many of them cherished entries in the martial arts genre, working with directors like Chang, Lau Kar-leung and Kuei Chih-hung.

In 1976, Chan formed Datsun Film, directing his first films, The Simple-minded Fellow (1976) and The Iron Monkey (1977). Sued by Shaw for breach of contract in legal action that lasted two years, he settled with the studio and returned in 1978, continuing to star in mostly action films, while sometimes doubling as director, such as on Big Boss of Shanghai (1979) and Dangerous Person (1981). He remained active and in demand after fulfilling his contract with Shaw, starring in a few dozen films in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Chan established J & J Film in 1990, producing and starring in Sleazy Dizzy (1990), starring a budding Stephen Chow and directed by the veteran Chor Yuen, and Blood Stained Tradewinds (1990) and Forsaken Cop (1990). He also directed and starred in Return to Action (1990).

Leaving the film industry for most of the 1990s, he returned in 2000, engaging in media production and making occasional appearances on film, gaining praise for his role in the Hong Kong Film Awards Best Film winner Gallants (2010). In 2010, he founded the Chinese Traditional Kung Fu Association in Hong Kong to promote martial arts.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1990 《喋血風雲》
Return to Action
1982 《神探梟雄》
The Detective and the Gangster
1981 《危險人物》
Dangerous Person
1979 《上海灘大亨》
Big Boss of Shanghai
1978 《猴拳大決鬥》
Invincible Monkey Fist
1977 《鐵馬騮》
The Iron Monkey
1976 《大懵成》
The Simple-Minded Fellow