The highest 20 duels in cinema – ranked! | Movie

20. Connor MacLeod v the Kurgan in Highlander (1986)

Impressed by Ridley Scott’s The Duellists, Gregory Widen wrote a screenplay about immortals making an attempt to hack one another’s heads off with massive swords. Former Olympic fencer Bob Anderson choreographed the showdown between Christopher Lambert and evil Clancy Brown, who’s clearly having an excessive amount of enjoyable to reside. “There might be just one!” Adopted by a zillion sequels and TV spin-offs.

19. Ogami Ittō v Retsudo in Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)

So endless is the carnage within the six-film Child Cart collection that it’s exhausting to single out only one sword struggle, however let’s go along with the fiftieth kill from the primary movie, when wandering ronin Ittō (Tomisaburō Wakayama), toddler son strapped to his again, takes a leaf out of Archimedes’ e-book through the use of reflecting daylight to blind his opponent.

18. Flying Snow v Moon in Hero (2002)

All of the fights in Zhang Yimou’s wuxia movie, with its unreliable narrator and politically ambiguous subtext, are beautiful workout routines in colour-coded gorgeousness. However with its swirling autumn leaves, Maggie Cheung serenely dealing with off towards headstrong Zhang Ziyi might be the prettiest duel of all of them, albeit not very helpful for anybody in search of sensible sword combating ideas.

17. Duc de Nevers v Lagardère in Le Bossu (1997)

The exhibition match initially of Philippe de Broca’s swashbuckler (tailored from Paul Féval’s much-filmed novel) showcases the irresistible swagger of Vincent Perez’s Duc as he demonstrates his secret sword thrust (we would as nicely name it Chekhov’s sword thrust) on the protagonist (Daniel Auteuil). Floppy shirts and age-inappropriate romance galore!

En garde! Keith Caradine as Armand d’Hubert and Harvey Keitel as Gabriel Feraud in The Duellists. {Photograph}: Allstar/Cinetext/Scott Free

16. Gabriel Feraud v Armand d’Hubert in The Duellists (1977)

Scott’s debut, an adaptation of a Joseph Conrad quick story, arguably kickstarted a mini-trend for males carrying their hair in plaits, as seen afterward Adam Ant. The second duel is notable for Keith Carradine turning apart to sneeze, and Harvey Keitel exclaiming “Là!” The sword fights have been staged by William Hobbs, of whom extra later.

For a lot of non-Asian movie followers, Ang Lee’s romantic fable was their first style of the Chinese language martial fantasy world of wuxia. Taking his cue from the King Hu basic A Contact of Zen (1971), Lee set one in every of his gravity-defying duels excessive among the many branches of a bamboo forest, the place Chow Yun-fat tries to show Zhang Ziyi a lesson.

14. Robin Hood v Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin and Marian (1976)

The bittersweet romance between the older however no wiser Robin (Sean Connery) and Marian (Audrey Hepburn) is sort of eclipsed by the frenemy bromance between Robin and his nemesis – Robert Shaw as cinema’s most sympatico Sheriff of Nottingham. Which implies, in fact, they must cross swords, with choreographer Hobbs displaying how exhausting combating might be for folks.

On a corpse-littered bridge, in a different way abled David Chiang devises a crafty means of wielding a number of weapons with only one hand to defeat the evil trainer who killed his greatest buddy. Directed by Chang Cheh, grasp of heroic bromance, however choreographed by Lau Kar-leung, who would go on to develop into one in every of Shaw Brothers’ most interesting motion administrators.

12. Andre Moreau v Marquis de Maynes in Scaramouche (1952)

Hollywood swashbuckling at its most flamboyant, with Stewart Granger performing most of his personal stunts in stripey commedia dell’arte trousers as he and Mel Ferrer parry and riposte throughout a packed theatre, making full use of balustrades and seatbacks in a thrilling duel staged by fencing grasp Fred Cavens.

11. Zatoichi v Hattori Genosuke in Zatoichi (2003)

There’s no scarcity of swordplay in Japan’s longest-running movie collection (1962-89), however for comfort’s sake let’s go along with Takeshi Kitano’s full of life remake/homage, during which the writer-director takes the blind swordsman position. He and a ronin (Tadanobu Asano) rehearse strikes of their heads (pre-Man Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes) earlier than Zatoichi confounds the opposition by altering his grip.

10. Inigo Montoya v Depend Rugen in The Princess Bride (1987)

“My title is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Put together to die.” Mandy Patinkin will get one in every of cinema’s most satisfying revenges in his showdown with “the six-fingered man”, an unrecognisable Christopher Visitor, in a struggle choreographed by Anderson.

9. Barry Lyndon v Lord Ludd in Barry Lyndon (1975)

Probably the most memorable duels in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Thackeray’s story of a bounder are in all probability those with pistols, however the wonderful pure lighting, Steven Berkoff’s excellent twirl and Ryan O’Neal’s foil-deflection and seize, coached and choreographed by Anderson, make this one a keeper.

8. Kyūzō v Tall Samurai in Seven Samurai (1954)

“How mindless,” says Kanbei, chief of the samurai, as he watches this duel. “It’s apparent what’s going to occur.” However perhaps not so apparent to the greenhorn, or to first-time viewers of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece. The aggressor is stuffed with sound and fury, however he’s no match for the badass grasp swordsman (Seiji Miyaguchi) who fells him with one excellent stroke.

7. Don Diego Vega v Captain Pasquale in The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Basil Rathbone, the best fencer in Hollywood, was invariably forged as villains, so at all times needed to lose. However he mentioned Tyrone Energy was “probably the most agile man with a sword I’ve ever confronted earlier than a digicam. Tyrone might have fenced Errol Flynn right into a cocked hat.” Their very good duel right here was staged by Cavens.

6. Hanshiro v Hikukuro in Harakiri (1962)

Takashi Miike’s 2011 remake has its moments, however nothing to equal the influence of the graveyard duel in Masaki Kobayashi’s unique masterpiece, a scathing critique of institutional hypocrisy. Black and white widescreen plus Dutch tilts (a artful means of getting a whole katana sword into body) plus the nice Tatsuya Nakadai at his frowniest add as much as a basic showdown.

One other Hobbs – choreographer extraordinaire – particular. The ultimate duel between a hero (Michael York) mad with grief-stricken fury after the homicide of his mistress, and his scheming nemesis, performed by Christopher Lee, follows the struggle right into a church (cue shocked nuns) and exhibits the bodily exertion progressively taking its toll on the combatants.

4. Golden Swallow v Jade Confronted Tiger in Come Drink With Me (1966)

King Hu, within the Shaw Brothers movie that put him on the map, revolutionised wuxia by filming his fight scenes like dance, with a number one woman (Pei-Pei Cheng, later Crouching Tiger’s villain) who had educated in ballet. Within the temple duel she holds her personal even when the villain cheats by making an attempt to put on her down along with his expendable minions.

Contemporary off his work on Captain Blood (1935), Cavens was employed so as to add pep to the struggle scenes in Michael Curtiz’s basic swashbuckler, and also you don’t get a lot peppier than Errol Flynn versus Rathbone in fabulous three-strip Technicolor. Extra parrying and lunging than may need been present in genuine medieval swordplay, maybe, however one of many all-time nice cinema duels.

2. Sanjuro vs Hanbei in Sanjuro (1962)

In one other of Kurosawa’s minimalist however thrilling duels, Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai stare at one another for what looks like hours earlier than issues are settled with a single rotating draw that sword struggle followers by no means tire of analysing. The blood was a pressurised combination of chocolate syrup and carbonated water; the hidden mechanism reportedly malfunctioned, with geyser-like outcomes.

1. Rob Roy v Archibald Cunningham in Rob Roy (1995)

Exhibit No 1 in demonstrating Hobbs’s potential to floor his struggle choreography in character is that this good showdown during which the combatants’ personalities are mirrored of their duelling strategies. Aristocratic Cunningham (Tim Roth) is expert with the rapier, however sadistic and overconfident, whereas trustworthy Rob (Liam Neeson) is all blundering round with a broadsword. Guess who wins?

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