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Berry Gordy's
The Last Dragon

Theatrical poster for The Last Dragon
Directed by Michael Schultz
Produced by Rupert Hitzig
Berry Gordy
Joseph Caracciolo
Written by Louis Venosta
Starring Taimak
Julius Carry
Christopher Murney
Leo O'Brien
Faith Prince
Glen Eaton
Jim Moody
Mike Starr
Music by Bruce Miller
Misha Segal
Harriet Schock[1]
Cinematography James A. Contner
Editing by Christopher Holmes
Studio Motown Productions
Distributed by Tri-Star Pictures
Release date(s) March 22, 1985 (1985-03-22)
Running time 109 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Gross revenue $25,784,554

Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon is a 1985 martial arts film, produced by Rupert Hitzig for Berry Gordy and directed by Michael Schultz. A critical disappointment but a financial success,[citation needed] The Last Dragon is now considered a cult classic. The film stars Taimak, Vanity, Julius Carry, Christopher Murney, and Faith Prince. Choreography was by Lester Wilson, and Lawrence Leritz. The film was released in theatres by TriStar Pictures on March 22, 1985.



Set in New York City, the plot follows a teenage martial arts student named Leroy Green (often referred to as "Bruce Leroy", although he never calls himself that) with dreams of becoming a great martial artist like his idol Bruce Lee. Leroy goes on a quest to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as "The Final Level". Martial artists who reach the "Final Level" possess "The Glow". As its name suggests it is a mystical energy that can be tapped into by a martial arts master. When a fighter's hands glow, he is one of the best in the world and when his entire body glows, he is the greatest fighter alive. On his journey to becoming the "Last Dragon" and wielding the power of "The Glow," Leroy must confront villains such as a crooked arcade mogul Eddie Arkadian (Murney) and the evil Sho'nuff, the Shogun of Harlem, from whom he must also protect his younger brother Richie (Leo O'Brien) and his love interest, TV music video host Laura Charles (Vanity).


This was the first acting role for Taimak, a then-20-year-old black belt who learned to act on the set of this picture. Leroy and Richie's younger sister Sophie is portrayed by Cosby Show actress, Keshia Knight Pulliam. Ernie Reyes, Jr., martial artist and actor, made his film debut at the age of twelve in this film. Leo O'Brien, the actor portraying Bruce Leroy's younger brother Richie, is the younger brother of Guy O'Brien, better known as "Master Gee" from the hip-hop group The Sugarhill Gang, as well as television host London Reyes a.k.a "B-Boy London" of the New York City Breakers. Veteran actor William H. Macy makes a brief appearance as "JJ", and Chazz Palminteri makes a brief appearance as "Hood #2". Carl Anthony Payne II, who appears in a small role as a kid in the family-owned pizza shop, went on to co-star in The Cosby Show and Martin.


Featured in this film is a DeBarge song, "Rhythm of the Night", written by Diane Warren. The song reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard R&B charts. The film's Richard Perry-produced title theme was nominated for Worst "Original" Song at the 1985 Golden Raspberry Awards, as was Vanity's song "7th Heaven". A song that was not featured but still benefited from critical acclaim was "Upset Stomach", written and performed by Stevie Wonder.

In 1997 rapper Busta Rhymes released the song Dangerous. In the music video he dressed as Sho'Nuff for one scene, repeating lines from the film.


A remake of the movie is currently in the works, with Samuel L. Jackson assuming the role of Sho'nuff. John Davis of Davis Entertainment and Gordy's son Kerry Gordy, along with the RZA are set to produce. Penning the screenplay as well as producing is Dallas Jackson, who heads up the urban family label DJ Classicz with Davis.[2] Rihanna is also starring in the movie as well.[3]


  • The film began production on exclusive New York City locations on April 16th, 1984.
  • The Dojo and workout scenes were filmed at the Harlem Karate Institute of Grandmaster Ernest Hyman, Japanese Goju-Ryu, in Harlem, New York City.
  • The Victory Theater on 42nd Street which was used for the scene where Sho-Nuff interrupts the viewing of Enter The Dragon.
  • Bernstein's-on-Essex, a kosher Chinese restaurant used in the film with its decor intact.
  • A pizza restaurant in lower Manhattan (Daddy Green's);
  • A Chinese warehouse on Walker Street in Manhattan (the Sum Dum Goy fortune cookie factory);
  • Super Amusements in Flushing in the Queens Borough of New York City (Eddie's Video Emporium);
  • An abandoned wire factory and warehouse at East 118 Street and East Side Highway in Manhattan which was used for the climatic fight between Leroy and Sho'Nuff.
  • Peter Larkin's spectacular Seventh Heaven club video set was built on Camera Mart stages at 54th and 10th Avenue, a set so impressive that Diana Ross, visiting one day, promptly asked if she could buy it for her next tour.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Simmons, Leslie (2008-10-30). "Samuel L. Jackson vs. the 'Dragon'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  3. ^

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