Top 20 Actors in Hong Kong Cinema History

With its unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures, bustling streets filled with neon lights and stunning views of glittering skyscrapers, it’s no wonder our beloved city has provided the perfect backdrop for countless blockbusters. 

The early 90s was a golden age for the local film industry, where Hong Kong was once crowned as the “Hollywood of the East” as one of the most prominent film centers in Asia.

Of course, Hong Kong’s rich cinematic heritage is undeniable and remains influential these days. The city is home to numerous talented actors and filmmakers who truly deserve our attention and respect. 

Here, we’ve put together a list of the most influential Hong Kong actors in history, and some must-see local films that will make you fall in love with the city all over again.

Best Hong Kong Actors

1. Bruce Lee

actor | meng long guo xiang

Bruce Lee is one of the greatest icons of martial arts cinema and a major figure in modern popular media. Without Bruce Lee and his films in the early 1970s, it is debatable whether the martial arts film genre would have penetrated and influenced the North American and mainstream.

2. Jackie Chan

actor | ngo si seoi

Hong Kong’s innocent, lovable and famous movie star, Jackie Chan, after starting out in Hong Kong’s manic martial arts cinema industry, endured years of long, hard work and many injuries to establish international success.

Jackie was born on 7 April 1954 in Hong Kong’s famous…

3. Chow Yun-fat

Actor | Wo Hu Kang Lamb

Chow Yun Fat is a charismatic, athletically built and energetic Asian-born film star who first came to the attention of Western audiences through his roles in maverick HK director John Woo’s high-octane/blazing gun action films.

Chow was born in 1955 on the tranquil island of Lama, which is part of the …

4. Leslie Cheung

actor | chun gwong cha basa

Leslie Cheung was the youngest of 10 children. His father was a tailor to the late William Holden. Leslie’s parents divorced when he was young, and he claims that this is one of the reasons for his reluctance to marry. After graduating from secondary school, he studied at the University of Leeds in Great Britain…

5. Andy Lau

actor | mou gan dou

Andy Lau Tak-wah, (born 27 September 1961) is a Hong Kong actor, singer-songwriter, presenter and film producer. Lau has been one of Hong Kong’s most commercially successful film actors since the mid-1980s, starring in over 160 films while maintaining a successful singing career…

6. Tony Chiu-wai Leung

actor | fa yeung nin wah

Tony Leung Chiu Wai was born on 27 June 1962 in Hong Kong. He and his younger sister were raised by their mother after their father abandoned them. In 1982, after passing TVB’s training course, Tony became a TV actor and became famous for his comedic style in TV shows such as Tales of a Eunuch (1983) …

7. Jackie Cheung

actor | drowned cow uncle

Jackie Cheung was born on 10 July 1961 in Hong Kong. He is known for Bullet in the Head (1990), As Tears Go By (1988) and Once Upon a Time in China (1991). He has been married to May Mei-Me Lo since February 15, 1996. They have two children.

8. Stephen Chow

actor | Kung Fu

Stephen Chow was an only child in his family and grew up as a Bruce Lee fan and martial arts addict. His career began on TV, where he presented a children’s program (“430 Space Shuttle” (1983)) and became popular. After that he got some supporting roles and Taiwanese Golden…

9. Jet Li

actor | Huo Yuan Jia

Jet Li was born Li Lian Ji in Beijing, China. He began training at the age of eight at the Beijing Wushu Academy (wushu is China’s national sport, mainly a performance version of various martial art styles). He won five gold medals at the Chinese Championships, his first when he was only 11 years old. In his teenage years,…

10. Sammo Kam-Bo Hung

Stunt | IP Man

Born in Hong Kong, Samo Hung’s acting career began when he was a child training in acrobatics, martial arts and dance at the China Drama Academy and received acclaim for his performance with a troupe called “The Seven Little Fortunes”. He made his feature film debut as an actor at the age of …

11. John Lone

actor | The last emperor

Born Leung Kwok Ng in Hong Kong on 13 October 1952, John Lone was raised by a single mother until the age of 7 when he was sent to study at the Peking Opera. He never saw his mother again. Peking Opera may be a cruel and harrowing life for a boy, but he is a hardworking and…

12. Donnie Yen

actor | IP Man

Donnie Yen was born in Guangzhou, China. His mother, Bo-Sim Mark, was a kung fu master and his father, Kilster Yen, was a newspaper editor and amateur musician. When Donnie was just two years old, the family moved to Hong Kong and then, when he was 11, to Boston, Massachusetts.

13. Man-Tat Ng

actor | siu lam juk kow

A native of Fujian province, Ng Man Tat was a graduate of the 1974 class of the TVB Television Training Program where he quickly showed his chops then starred in the long-running series of Hong Kong television variety shows ‘Enjoy Yourself Tonight’ and ‘Chor Lau’. Heung’ and ‘Police Cadet 84’…

14. Tony’s Fai Leung

actor | rightfully

Tony Leung Ka-fai is a four-time Hong Kong Film Award-winning film actor. As he is often confused with actor Tony Chiu-wai Leung, Tony Leung Ka-fai is known as “Big Tony”, while Tony Chiu-wai Leung is known as “Little Tony”, nicknames that match the actors’ respective physical heights. .

15. Eric Tsang

actor | mou gan dou

Eric Tsang was born on April 14, 1953 in Hong Kong. He is an actor and producer, known for Infernal Affairs (2002), Hold You Tight (1998) and Infernal Affairs II (2003). He was previously married to Mei-Hua Wang.

16. Anthony Chow-Sang Wong

actor | mou gan dou

Anthony Wong Chau-sang was born to a British father and a Chinese mother. He never knew his father, as the man left his family when Wong was four years old. He trained in acting at ATV and later joined the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

After working in several TV serials, he shot…

17. Francis Ng

actor | Mau Gan Dou II

Francis Ng was born on 21 December 1961 in Hong Kong. He is an actor and director, known for Infernal Affairs II (2003), 2000 AD (2000) and Bullets Over Summer (1999). He has been married to Fiona Wong since 2 December 2002. They have a child.

18. Ching Wan Lau

Actor | Call Hap

Ching Wan Lau was born on 16 February 1964 in Hong Kong. He is an actor, known for Black Mask (1996), Mad Detective (2007) and Life Without Principal (2011). He has been married to Amy Kwok since 1998.

19. Akin Chang

actor | Fung Wan: Hung Ba Tin Ha

Akin Cheng Yi-kin is a Hong Kong actor and Cantopop singer. Early in his career he went by the name Noodle Cheng, though he has now reverted to a more traditional-sounding first name.

 Sometimes he uses Dyer (because that’s what it felt like when his younger sister tried to call him) as the first…

20. Roy Cheung

Actor | Gan Yuk Fang Wan

Roy Cheung was born on 20 July 1963 in Hong Kong, British Crown Colony. He is an actor, known for Prison on Fire (1987), City on Fire (1987) and Infernal Affairs II (2003).

Top 20 Actors in Hong Kong Cinema History

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