A young martial artist competes for and wins the right to go on a quest for the Book of All Knowlege held by a wizard named Zetan. Along the way, he meets strange enemies and allies--often having difficulty determinimg which is which.
- circle of iron
this is a mystically inclined adventurous journey of the meaning to life having purpose and fullfillment based on helping one another find the way to enlightenment,which the teacher(the blind man),and the student/venturer of meaning(cord)do. they use their opposite individualities to conjure up a unique and unforgettable partnership,which eventually becomes a true friendship at the end which is the result of understanding each other better and allowing each other's contrasting views to coincide to develop into the unique zenforce/fighting team that they become. the scenic background is a desert based atmosphere,whether it's israel or palestine.this type of setting coupled with the compelling music make this a landscape monument for the uniquely inclined deeper striver of zen/buddhism and enlightenment. like other's on imdb have mentioned,this is not a typical bloodsport,kickboxer or streetfighter type of flick.it's a picture that illustrates and exemplifies a deeper meaning to the journey one has with fullfilling they're search for martial arts based enlightenment. must be seen several times to really understand.unless you're a good listener and attentive viewer you wont appreciate it enough the first time you check it out.that's why i recommend that you watch it at least twice.once for yourself and the other time with a friend. for it's creativity and deeper meaning of martial arts based enlightenment i give this one a 9/10 rating.
- A movie for the mind, with insight
If all you are looking for is to see someone get their butt kicked this is not your movie. In any adventure the journey is as important as the destination, and this is true for the martial arts. The movie may not be what it could have been if Bruce Lee had finished it, but it is what it is and that is not a bad thing either. I have my students watch it every few years and we discuss at length what goes on and most are surprised at how much more they see from the last time.
- "Nothing is Self..."
This film is outstanding. The level of camp it displays works well with the oddly exotic Israeli background it was filmed upon. This film is mistakenly classified as a "martial arts" film, and subsequently knocked for Jeff Cooper's lack of grace and skills. "Circle of Iron" has its flaws in direction but shines in its eccentricity, cast, zen precepts, and Cord's awakening that "there is no meaning in life except the meaning that man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers".
- A beautiful film version of the Qur'anic story of Moses and Khezr, filmed in the deserts of Palestine
The plot of this film is based in detail on the famous story in the Qur'an (Sura of the Cave) of the "initiatic trials" and teaching of the young Moses by the mysterious "divine servant" who is identified in later Islamic tradition as "al-Khadir" (Khezr/"The Green One"), the mystical messenger and guide who remains eternally on earth (much like the figure of Elijah in Jewish mysticism). The film was apparently filmed in the deserts of the Dead Sea region, which heightens the effect and connection with this archetypal Qur'anic episode--one of the most celebrated sections of the Qur'an, constantly reinterpreted and discussed throughout the classics of Sufism and Islamic mysticism.
- Cord searches for Zetan and the Book and finds a Teacher.
If you are looking for a Steven Segal-type martial arts movie, you will not find it here. This movie is about the philosophy of Kung Fu. It is done with humor as well as unique action and drama.
Each year, in a martial arts contest, someone wins the right to seek out Zetan and the Book of Enlightenment. During that search, the seeker will face many trials that are severe. Not all will succeed.
Though Cord, a man with no school, wins the fight, he is disqualified because he has broken several rules, and another is chosen. The Chosen one, however does not succeed in facing the first trial and sends Cord in his place. Before the first trial, Cord meets a blind man who becomes his teacher. It is as if this man is actually seeking for someone like Cord. The blind man plays a flute that only Cord can hear. The flute is also a staff that aids the blind man.
A special note: David Carradine learned to make bamboo flutes and he made the flute the blind man carried. In fact he made three for the movie.
The movie is filled with imagery and lessons on life and enlightenment. Thought as you watch it a second and a third time, it becomes more clear that there are Two seekers. Even a Teacher can still be a Seeker and a Seeker can also be a Teacher.
David Carradine .... The Blind Man/Monkeyman/Death/Chang-sha
Christopher Lee .... Zetan
Jeff Cooper .... Cord
Roddy McDowall .... White Robe
Anthony De Longis .... Morthond
Earl Maynard .... Black Giant
Erica Creer .... Tara
Eli Wallach .... Man in Oil.
Runtime: 91 min