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The Character You Likely Forgot Jackie Chan Played In Bruce Lee's Enter The Dragon

Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee are two legends of martial arts cinema. Chan's star initially rose in the '70s, during which he played many background characters in popular action films (via IMDb). He soon forged his own path in classics like the "Police Story" and "Drunken Master" films, with many people constantly comparing him to Lee. But the two never actually shared the screen properly, due to Lee's untimely death in 1973 (via History). Unless, of course, you count "Enter the Dragon," Lee's leading man debut in an American studio blockbuster.

"Enter the Dragon" stars Lee as well as John Saxon and Jim Kelly as three martial arts fighters competing in an underground fighting competition for their own unique reasons. It's an absolute classic of genre cinema — combining martial arts with the superspy and blaxploitation crazes of the early '70s — and remains a favorite of kung fu fans today. What many people forget is that Chan does indeed appear in the movie, before he became the international film star we know him as now.

Chan was a mere extra in Enter the Dragon

Jackie Chan plays one of the many, many nameless henchmen and flunkies who get destroyed by Bruce Lee over the course of "Enter the Dragon," but eagle-eyed viewers have little trouble spotting him now.

Chan might not have much of a role to speak of in "Enter the Dragon," but fortunately, he does have a memory from production that he still demonstrably treasures decades after the fact. In a 2013 video interview with George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, Chan shares a hilarious story about how Lee accidentally hit him with a wooden pole for real during one of his "Enter The Dragon" fights. Chan recovered from the incident quickly, but he says he exaggerated the blow's effects in order to get more attention and respect from superstar Lee. "I just wanted Bruce Lee to hold me as long as he can," remembers Chan. 

In the segment, Chan calls the story his best, an impressive feat given the later heights he would reach in his long career in entertainment. But it is a pretty great story, and it permanently ties together the two arguably greatest martial arts film stars of all time.