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Top 10 Amazing Film Swordfights

Everyone loves a good swordfight and thankfully there have been an enormous number of movies with brilliant fighting scenes in them. This is a selection of ten of the best from some of my favorite movies. You will definitely not be disappointed by the selection given here.

Remember, if you have your own favorites that you think might deserve a place on this list, be sure to tell us so we can do a follow up at a later date. Be sure to tell us your reasons for your picks.

10

Pirates of the Carribbean
Johnny Depp vs. Orlando Bloom

Pirates

The “Pirates” series may have overstayed its welcome, but the first entry gave us some of the most inspired and thrilling action sequences in recent memory. Like any respectable blood-and-thunder epic, it comes with some mighty fancy swordplay. The high-flying acrobatics of Depp and Bloom strike just the right balance of adventure and comedy. Interestingly, if Depp had played Jack Sparrow as a classic hero instead of a rum-addled fop, it probably wouldn’t be worth mentioning.

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9

Adventures of Don Juan
Errol Flynn vs. Robert Douglas

Don Juan

Errol Flynn was no stranger to the adventure genre, and he had more than his share of swordfighting. One instance that is often overlooked is his turn as womanizing, international man-of-mystery Don Juan in 1948. In the midst of a palace coup, Flynn’s Don Juan slogs it out with Douglas’ scheming Duke de Lorca. It is every bit as grandiose as Robin Hood, and the atmosphere of dimly-lit corridors and long shadows adds an impressively artistic look to the film.

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8

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ziyi Zhang vs. Yun-fat Chow

Cthd

Hong Kong films had been using the technique dubbed “wire-fu” for years. But this film was the first major release in the West to use it, and the result was spectacular. Combat was no longer restricted by physics – here we see warriors fly through the air, run up vertical walls, and even balance themselves on flimsy tree branches. The confrontation between Jen Yu and Li Mu Bai in the pine forest is imaginative and beautiful, casting white-clad opponents against a palette of jade greens as they battle among the tree-tops.

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7

The Seven Samurai
Toshiro Mifune, et al, vs. Nasty Bandits

Sevensamurai

Although not a swordfight in the strictest sense, the final battle in this Kurosawa masterpiece is certainly one of the best action sequences of all time. We see the quiet discipline of the vastly-outnumbered samurai as they draw their sabers, ready for the coming onslaught of their enemies. The samurai dispatch many of them, even as they arrive on horseback. A swordfight against mounted cavalry. Does it get any cooler than that?

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6

Return of the Jedi
Mark Hamill vs. um…Darth Vader

Starwars

It is not the most frenetic lightsaber duel in the Star Wars saga. It is certainly not the most elaborately-choreographed. But this ultimate confrontation, between father and son, is by far the most dramatic in the series. As Luke unleashes his fury on Vader, nearly killing him, the eerie vocal score swells to convey the magnitude of this apocalyptic moment. Flashes of red and green light illuminate an otherwise pitch-black scene as sabers clash. And it gives us a nice break from the Ewok scenes.

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5

The Princess Bride
Mandy Patinkin vs. Christopher Guest

Princessbride

I must say, I am generally not drawn to films that have the words “princess” or “bride” in the title. However, this is a film that just gets better every time I see it. Rarely has there been a more enjoyable mixture of adventure, comedy, romance, and intrigue. Who could forget the climactic duel between Spanish wanderer Inigo and the sleazy, six-fingered Count Rugen? The conclusion of this fight alone is reason enough to watch the film.

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4

The Mark of Zorro
Tyrone Power vs. Basil Rathbone

Zorro

Many swordfights of Hollywood’s Golden Age were epic in scale, spanning entire castles and involving armies of extras. But in this early adventure of the masked Mexican aristocrat, the swordplay occurs entirely within the confines of one room. Zorro crosses rapiers with the magnificently slimy Captain Pasquale in a fast and furious (and likely very dangerous) battle of skill. Oh, and it was done without the use of stunt doubles or special effects.

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3

Kill Bill
Uma Thurman vs. The Crazy 88

Killbillvol1.1

There was so much blood spilled in Tarantino’s living anime that it had to be filmed in black and white for ratings purposes. No worries, in a way it actually adds to the scene. The sheer level of carnage here, morbid yet strangely beautiful, transcends reality and enters the realm of cartoon. Not only does it pay homage to the flamboyant kung-fu movies of the 70’s, it leaves us with imagery that becomes iconic in its own right.

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2

Rob Roy
Liam Neeson vs. Tim Roth

Liamneeson Robroy

One aspect of an activity as physically demanding as swordfighting that is rarely addressed in film is the exhaustion that must accompany it. Rob Roy and his opponent, the deceptively effete Cunningham, do not effortlessly fly about the room with balletic dexterity. It is a hard, brutal, draining match whose outcome seems inevitable, until old Rob does something completely unexpected. Of all the swordfights ever depicted on screen, one feels that this is the most realistic.

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1

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Harrison Ford vs. Scimitar Guy

Raiders

Is it possible that the coolest swordfight in film history never actually takes place? Rumor has it that Ford was suffering from gastroenteritis and wasn’t up to an elaborately-staged duel with an apparently badass swordsman in the streets of Cairo. The result: one of the most memorable sequences of all time. While the black-clad swordsman gives us the requisite display of skill, Indy pulls out his revolver and shoots him on the spot, to the amazement of the crowd. It is a defining moment for this iconic character who, although he probably could win such a match, would much rather take the easy way out and get on with his day.

Buy it at AmazonContributor: The Bed-headed Stranger



  • Alicia

    Princess Bride is a good read.

    • Anonymous

      I had seen the movie about a thousand times before I finally read the book and when I finally did read the book I could hear the actors saying the lines. It made reading the book even better for me.

  • vesselman

    Interesting list..

  • bismark

    love the indiana jones fight
    couldn’t pirates sword fights be higher?

    • Fachu

      Toshiro Mifune is a legend, great list!!

  • Good Wolf

    so close to 1st

  • Good Wolf

    My english teach told me that the princes bride sword fight was considered the best sword fight to grace the bigscreen. But I think that the Indie fight should be a bonus.

  • chillipacker

    surprised to see no ‘Gladiator’ in there. Interesting idea for a list though!

  • romerozombie

    I really agree with the ROTJ scene being on here. Like the list creator said, it may not be the most elaborate, but it’s definetly the most powerful of any Star Wars duel. The light flashes make it look amazing, too.

  • romerozombie

    Crooching Tiger ,Hidden Dragon make look good, but CHRIST it’s boring.

  • flamiejamie

    shit list.
    gladiator
    russel crowe vs that undefeated silver cougar guy.

  • Kreachure

    Great selection. I’m glad you included fair amounts of classic and modern movies in the list.

    But I’m confounded with your selection of the Indiana Jones fight scene as #1. I mean, sure, it’s funny, and sure, it’s memorable, but #1? It’s certainly not more memorable than the other swordfights. I would’ve included it in the list on a lower spot (but not as a bonus either).

  • Tonny SS

    Hmm… Crouching Tigers Hidden Dragon is not exactly the epitome of Chinese films swordfights, just happen to be the first one widely distributed in the west. Although I completely agreed with number 1.

  • Tonny SS

    Oh yeah, needs Zatoichi somewhere in that list.

  • AngieWangieMangie

    Great list!!
    Though I must say I was expecting to see Yoda VS Count Dooku fight (Star Wars: The Attack of the Clones)… that was a good one, simply because it was the very first time in all the Star Wars era that we got to see Yoda in action! I mean, look at that computer-animated little green guy jump all around!!! I think Obi-Wan and Anakin’s self-steem might’ve dropped at least 10 points… but I understand why it is not listed; we couldn’t have 2 Star Wars fights on the same list (as much as I love it) if there are so many other fights to be listed, right?
    Oh and great choice with “The Princess Bride”. I just love that film and watching that fight is really entertaining and exciting. Kudos to that one!

  • Ruairi

    Indiana jones! Totally agree! :D

  • Metalwrath

    How about the excellent movie The Duellists?.. Ridley Scott’s first movie (starring Harvey Keitel) which was praised by historians for its exact depiction of 19th century french swordfighting.

    For those who haven’t seen it I highly recommend you do.

  • Reggie

    No conan the barbarian

  • stevenh

    As Kreachure notes – a good mix of the onld and new.

    It wasn’t quite a sword fight, but the opening ‘fight’ of Troy (WB, 2004) – when Achilles kills Boagrius is simply graceful.

    Perhaps this and your #1 should be on a separate list: “Great swordfights that didn’t happen”.

  • Metalwrath
  • JwJwBean

    Intresting list. I was hoping for Princess Bride to be on here. And you can’t have a list of sword fights without a Zorro. And Uma in Kill Bill was amazing. I too am a little surpised by the number one pick, but it is your list to do as you wish.

    I will be the first git to point out the Princess Bride pic is Inigo and Wesley sword fighting not the scene where Inigo is fighting the six fingered man. But Ingigo vs. Wesley was a worthy sword fight too.

  • greyMatter

    huh? what? no highlander here? there can only be one, and all that?

  • warrrreagl

    I love this list! Yay for swordfights. In the Princess Bride, I like the fight shown in the picture above rather than the climactic one at the end. Also, just draw out any old random swordfight involving Errol Flynn and nobody would be disappointed. For further Errol Flynn majesty, everybody should check out The Adventures of Robin Hood where his two major swordfights involve Flynn vs a whole room full of Norman knights, and Flynn vs Sir Guy of Gisbourne. Plus the masterful music was all by Erich Korngold, so you can’t go wrong.

  • boliyou

    Excellent list. Maybe as a bonus, the duel between Obi-Wan and Darth Maul. As the only thing that made The Phantom Menace worth watching.

  • stevenh

    BTW: for those who haven’t see Troy…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEZpYe261eY

  • Joel

    Perhaps Monty Python and the Holy Grail? King Arthur vs. The Black Knight.

    ‘Tis only a flesh wound!

    • acacia

      great scene

  • sporty_dan

    How about the ‘sword’ fight in Skin Deep?

  • dizit

    The only one of these films I haven’t seen is Kill Bill and, though I could add 10 more to the List, these 10 (or 9, anyway) deserve praise.

  • islanderbst

    Nice list, haven’t seen the older films here, but I’ve heard enough to realize why they’re included.
    There are def. enough others for a follow-up:
    Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness, very funny
    something from Lord of the Rings, although, as not a big fan, I don’t know of one specifically.
    I’m not sure that #1 belongs here (not really a fight) but I do think it is a wonderful scene, worthy of being number one on some list or another

  • Clues

    The Count of Monty Cristo

  • Randall

    Well, the two missing here (at least two) are the fight between Ronald Colman and Douglas Fairbanks in “The Prisoner of Zenda” and the fight between Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

    The former is a matter of subjective opinion. The latter was an unforgivable omission; it’s ranked by most critics as the greatest film swordfight in history. It still thrills today, and it’s marvelously staged, choreographed, and photographed.

    Otherwise this is a wonderful list.

  • LooLoo

    Thanks for including Basil Rathbone – one of the very best fencers & sword fighters in movie history !!! Most people know him as Sherlock Holmes in the series of 1930s & 40s films. “The Mark of Zorro” (1940) climactic duel he had with Tyrone Power is one of the best, the one with Erroll Flynn (himself a very good sword fighter) in “Robin Hood” was second best. But please can you replace the Zorro photo on your site? Too confusing – that’s the 1920 silent one with Fairbanks Sr, altho he was a good sword fighter too. But very different films. BTW, the soundtrack to the 1940 Zorro is rousing – forget who did it…

  • ericxdraven26

    when i read the name, i expected three things
    a good star wars
    the 3 person pirates of the carribean or the one between will and jack in the beginning of the original
    and that one from Princess bride

    and after reading the others in here, i am gunna say this is one of the few ina while i completely agree with

  • Csimmons

    #1 is the best, it made me lol the first time I saw it.

  • carpe_noctem

    Great idea for a list, and it’s almost perfect, but I do agree with popular consent (well… ecxept for Csimmons!) that the Indiana Jones almost certainly deserved a bonus position, not the #1 spot. I was also slightly surprised not to see Hero on this list, there were some beautiful fights, e.g. the one with the raindrops, and the one in the lake.

    Other than that, great mix of new and old films, so well done!

  • Eric Gmeinder

    FYI, the actor who plays Darth Vader is DAVID PROWSE.

  • beep

    hector vs achilles fight scene in Troy is my fave. :)

  • shawnw

    stevenh, THANK YOU for bringing some sense to this list. :)

  • bdizzle

    no videos?

    :(

  • Cedestra

    I enjoyed this list. I do have a few tiny (minascule, really) bones to pick.
    First, you picked the fight scene with Count Rugan over the one with Cary Elwes? I would’ve chosen that one (“Ah, but you do not know that I, too, am right handed”). The picture chosen was of that scene.
    I agree with Clues. Count of Monti Cristo in place of Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones as a bonus. And King Arthur vs. the Black Knight from …the Holy Grail would be another good bonus.
    Someone want to make a “Top Ten Comical Duels”? :D
    Again, wonderful list. I do agree with most choices.

  • heavybison

    I just can’t believe it!! A list about Swordfights and no mention of The Three Musketeers (1948). Do check out this one!!!(Gene Kelly is amazing…)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLdMSsx-oDs

  • The Bed-headed Stranger

    Wow. I think I’ve found something even dorkier than writing a top ten list: being excessively critical over a completely inconsequential and totally subjective expression of personal opinion. I feel much better about myself now. Thanks a mil’!

  • draco0305

    Terrific list – I have seen all of these except the Mark of Zorro, and will now check it out. One omission that I would have squeezed in somehow – Guy Pierce and Jim Caveizel in The Count of Monte Cristo. Not strictly a sword fight, as pistols and fisticuffs do come out – but worth a mention.

  • Riley

    To add to the nit picking… the picture for the Princess Bride is not the Spanish guy and the 6 fingered man, but the Spanish guy and Wesley (which, in my opinion is a better fight anyway).

  • j0ta!

    what about Troy??
    Achilles Vs Hector

  • stevenh

    heavybison:
    Great Video. Thanks.

    Jamie:
    the login thing is fubar again :(

  • Cedestra

    LOL! You wrote a list and thought it WOULDN’T get nit-picked. Amusing. Come on, you know what site you’re writing for…

  • Brian B

    The ski pole fight in better Off Dead would’ve been a great addition.

  • lightningclash

    You should add some honourable mentions. Like the sword fight at the end of equilibrium with Christian bale…. sweet…

  • Nelia

    Good mention Lightning, i love that film.
    I would have put Princess Bride higher, though I can understand why Indy is number one. It is just a completely unexpected moment that was truly clever. I would have made it a bonus myself, but I get the idea.

  • haha i love the swordfight scene in kill bill, especially when the guys get their arms cut off and it looks like a fountain

  • YogiBarrister

    I’ve got to agree with Metalwrath, THE DUELISTS has some terrific sword fights. It’s a great movie despite the absurd casting choice for the leads. Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine are not what comes to mind when I think of 19th Century French soldiers.

  • YogiBarrister

    For your consideration:
    Jason and the Argonauts vs. the harpies was a technological masterpiece.
    BTW if you enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean you should check out the movie they stole a lot of their ideas from: THE CRIMSON PIRATE, starring Burt Lancaster. The sword fights aren’t especially memorable, but this was possibly the original action adventure comedy. Lancaster, a former circus trapeze artist, is simply amazing.

  • Samira

    If you’re looking for other sword fights for a future list, I highly recommend the fight between Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone towards the climax of the Court Jester. My google-fu is weak, and I can’t find a clip of the fight anywhere, but if you haven’t seen or heard of it, I’d honestly suggest you just find a copy of the movie and watch the whole thing so that you’ll have an idea of what’s going on.

    By that final fight, Kaye’s been hypnotized to believe he’s the greatest swordsman in history…but a snap either turns him back to normal or back into an excellent swordsman. The whole scene is hysterical, and you get to see several sword fight cliches born.

    Most people I know have never heard of the movie, so when I introduce them, I have to have the remote handy. It’s written so well that just about every line is important, and once it really gets rolling (they take the time to set everything up properly, and then it really gets funny and doesn’t stop), everyone always misses stuff because they’re laughing too hard to hear.

  • warningdontreadthis

    WHAT?!
    I can no longer visit this site Jfrater.

    No Monty Python and the Holy Grail… And you call this a top ten list.

  • warningsontreadthis: I am holiday at the moment so I can’t reply in depth – but I am not a fan of monty python. I didn’t write this list btw :)

  • monteze

    the fight between Tommy lee Jones and his student (i cant spell his name) at the end of Hunted is pretty brutal and realistic.. though it is a knife fight not a sword fight

  • warningdontreadthis

    You’re not a fan of Monty Python and I was beginning to like you D:

    No, I’m too addicted to this site, I cant stop now, I’ll let it slide this time.

  • Me

    good to see basil rathbone in the list he was a distant relation to my family like great great uncle or something my aunt traced or family tree and found it out

  • dizit

    Author: Eric Gmeinder
    Comment:
    FYI, the actor who plays Darth Vader is DAVID PROWSE.

    Actually, Darth Vader was played by several people, all of whom did different parts of the character.

  • Avi

    Highlander!!!!
    There can be only ONE!!!!!!!!!

    now that was a good fight!

  • Eupke

    My friend would run me through with his katana if I didn’t propose ‘The Sword of Doom’ for this list. It has a bunch of good swordfights, but probably my favourite is where Tatsuya Nakadai slices his way through numerous samurai, all with a completely calm look on his face. It’s truly badass, you guys should look it up!

  • Lizzie

    Great list. I’ve only seen 5 out of the 10 listed, but I’d have had to start a riot if The Princess Bride wasn’t on here. :D I’ve always enjoyed the fight (pictured above) between Inigo and Wesley over the one between Inigo and Count Rugen. But that’s just my opinion.

  • Csimmons

    I agree Carpe, Hero should have been on here, but the Raiders Of The Lost Ark sword fight is popular world-wide and very well known and in my view is the best. I am bummed though that are no videos.

  • Sandra Roberts-Anderson

    When Princess Bride was first released, my kids, 2 girls and a boy, went to see it. For years they told me how great it was, and when it was released on VHS they’d rent it time and time again, but somehow, I always missed watching it (not hard to do if you put your mind to it).
    Finally, one afternoon, they were playing it again, and, with nothing better to do, I sat with them and watched it.
    What a surprise! It was great! The sword fight was one of the best I’d seen in a modern film up to that time, but the multitude of jokes, satires, and double-entendres made it simply hilarious.
    Great choice for a plethora of reasons.

  • AhClem

    Thanks, Tonny SS (#12). I would have suggested Zatoichi if you hadn’t already. What a great character (Shintaro Katsu. Takeshi Kitano left me cold.)

  • nejikun

    Must agree with warningdontreadthis, Shame on you for omitting the Black Knight! ‘Tis but a scratch!

  • Mikkle

    Now I would like to get in a swordfight!

  • Kreachure

    The fight from the Princess Bride in the list (but not in the photo), of course, contains these now famous lines uttered by the Inigo Montoya character… no less than FOUR TIMES in that single scene.

    “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” :)

    (It’s almost like you twist my arm into saying this!)

  • ericxdraven26

    I disagree with the monty python being on this list, yes i am a huge fan, but compared to all these other fights, its not such a great fight, the actual fight is under 5 minutes, then it goes to the black night being chopped apart

    its a good movie, good scene, just not deserving of a top 10 best swordfights in film

  • Joe

    Yeah I’m suprised no Highlander at all

  • ninjabear

    I agree with most of the list—the final duel between Luke and Vader was the most realistic I’ve seen in all the Star Wars movies (I don’t know anything about stage fighting, my steel is sharp).
    Errol Flynn & Tyrone Power inspired me as a cub!

  • fivestring63

    Seriously, I agree with AVI. Highlander must be added.

  • Rodrigo

    number 3 was SUCH a sick swordfight. i will never forget it.

    haven’t seen 2 or 1 though..

  • liz156

    Love number 1! The Crouching Tiger fight was awesome.

  • slipstick

    I’m sorry, but “Highlander” should make the cut long before “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Though whether you would consider the sword fight between Ramirez and Kurgan or MacLeod and Kurgan to be the best one is debatable.

    Another good Christopher Lambert swordfight is at the end of “The Hunted.”

    I know that it’s a brief swordfight, but should receive an honorable mention is in “Yojimbo” where Yojimbo slaughters the men guarding the woman. He then proceeds to slash up the place to make it look like a major assault took place.

  • Pyrratus

    Was expecting Russel Crowe vs. Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator but still an excellent list.

  • xave69

    I absolutely cannot believe that no one actually spoke of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. it easily has the best sword fights i have ever seen . not a single movie comes close. maybe it wasnt released in theaters but it was still released as a movie on DVD’s worldwide. it deserves some credit at least as an honorary list entry.

  • Dante

    Am I the first to mention Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children between Cloud and Kadaj/Sephiroth? That swordfight was like the king of all swordfights. Now THAT was epic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1H3bQ0p7Dg

  • wyzyrd

    my vote for #1 would be “Robin and Marian” starring Sean Connery –

    a pair of aging knights slug it out in a true medeieval fashion with hand-and-a-half blades, and they get TIRED

  • Tomo

    Good idea for a list but as you can see, so many good suggestions thereafter. Maybe a top 20 list or Another Top Ten Swordfights list is in order.

    The Equilibrium fight was really cool. Also, I know we are only talking ‘films’, but there have been more than a few cool swordfights in the Samurai Jack cartoon series.

    I, too, fail to comprehend the #1 pick. Its not a swordfight at all. Very witty, but no swordfight.

  • astraya

    Princess Bride: My vote is for Westley v Inigo rather than Inigo v the Count (just!).
    In “Galaxy Quest” Alan Rickman played a space-saga actor who was forced to say “By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you *shall* be avenged!” ad infinitum at sf conventions. Mandy Patinkin probably got sick of his line, or more likely having drunks at parties quote it to him. I am trying to remember off-hand *anything* else Inigo said in the film.
    I agree that no 1 really shouldn’t be. Snopes confirms that Harrison Ford was suffering from something on that day, and pursuaded Spielberg to cut the scene short. My first comment on the List Universe was under “Great movie face-offs”, and I mentioned that scene.

  • Gerry Alanguilan

    Say what you will of the Highlander movies after the first one, but the swordfights with Duncan and the immortal gang in Endgame was just awesome.

  • Gerry Alanguilan

    Oh yeah, glad to see Seven Samurai is on there, but the graphic that came with it, if I’m not mistaken, actually comes from either Yojimbo or Sanjuro.

  • So while I’m glad you’ve included the Princess Bride on this list, because it’s my very favorite movie, the picture doesn’t match the description. That’s Inigo fighting Westley, which IMO was a better sword fight than Inigo fighting Count Rugen. Yeah, there was the whole revenge thing with the six-fingered man, but the fight with Westley had more actual sword fighting and more spectacular stunts.

  • cambrex

    As soon as I saw the title,
    I thought of the Princess Bride,
    and was so glad to see it on here.
    I love that book and movie.

    Also, the Indie one,
    that part amused me to no end when I was a kid,
    I love it.

  • nz girl

    As soon as i saw this list i just knew that the princess bride had to be on it. It is one of the best movies of all time i think and does have the most fantastic sword fight scene!

  • Amanda

    I have to ask… on the Princess Bride picture it is Mandy Patinkin fighting Cary Elwes. Is that because a picture of Mandy Patinkin and Christopher Guest wasn’t available? Sorry… it’s just bugging me so I HAD to ask.

  • anthony p

    great list, yoda vs doku (or however you spell it) was a memorable one for me and i would say number 1 may have been better of as an extra since it was more sword vs gun,

    I know its cg but cloud vs sephirtoh in advent children was a goody

  • I’m an Amanda too

    Highlander…most definitely. It might be cheese, but it’s classic cheese.

  • fgherman

    How could you leave off the Richard Lester Three Musketeers? The fights are even better than those in Robin Hood.

  • robneiderman

    I’m glad slipstick mentioned The Hunted. Awesome movie! Though I might go with the entire scene on the train. I have to watch that movie again now!
    Also, the final fight from the first Highlander movie, DEFINITELY!
    And the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene? Hilarious, but not a swordfight.

    Any list is imperfect and will be nitpicked, but major respect to The Bed-Headed Stranger for a great idea for a list and some excellent picks!

  • kentperrodin

    I have to agree with Comments 15 & 18 Metalwrath: The Duellists raised the bar in terms of historical accuracy. Another historically accurate fight that beautifully capped an excellent film was that between Sean Connery as Robin Hood and Robert Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham – a pure, exhausting, brutal medieval bludgeon-match.

  • copperdragon

    another vote for wesley v. inigo over rugen v. inigo.

    also, obi-wan and qui-gonn v. maul at the end of Phantom Menace is more interesting that Luke v. Vader.

    I always liked the sword fight in the club in Die Another Day. (bond v. graves) they switch weapons every 3 swings and run around all over the place. hilarious and fun to watch.

  • Lwheeler4

    I was looking for The Princess Bride scene.
    Fantastic!

    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoa. You killed my father, prepare to die.

    =D

  • WatAbout

    When I saw the title I told myself I’d never come back to the site if the Princess Bride scene wasn’t on this list, so no one worry, it’s ok. I’m a little disappointed there’s no lord of the rings on here, though. Or ninja turtles.

  • chershey

    The picture you used is actually from the second Pirates film, but that’s okay because Jack Davenport is in that picture and he’s yummy. ;P

  • Christine

    Ahahaha.. oh I love #1. I expected to see Princess Bride on here but that one was a surprise. I love that part of Raiders!

    Another pretty funny “swordfight” is from The Three Muskateers (if I remember correctly). I just think it’s funny how the Oliver Platt muskateer makes all that silly hiyayaya noise and then cuts a rope that holds some barrels or something that fall on the bad guy.

  • Valerie

    So glad the Princess Bride made the list…love that movie!!

  • miller

    I liked the the blade & steven frost sword fight in the first blade movie

  • Outstanding comments for outstanding sword-play!

    I was shocked that no one included this list as a reference:

    https://listverse.com/miscellaneous/top-10-badass-swords/

    I thank Miss Destiny (for inspiring me to write the list via The Princess Bride) and Jamie Frater for publishing my dorky list

    carry on…

  • https://listverse.com/miscellaneous/top-10-badass-swords/

    Thank you, Miss Destiny for inspiring me to write the above list ;)

    jfrater:

    Do you have a recording of your operatic voice!?

  • Nightstalker

    Ok, uuuuuuuuhhhh where are any of the Highlander fights???

    examples…
    1. Connor Macleod vs. The Kurgan,
    2. Duncan Macleod vs. Connor Macleod – EPIC!!!!!
    3. Duncan Macleod vs. Jacob Kell

    there were options to choose from. Now having the Princess bride swordfight on your list makes it an excellent list but the fight between Inigo and Wesley was better. Beyond that, the list was quite good.

    “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.” – The Princess Bride is an amazing movie.

  • Rafael

    I haven’t seen all of the movies on this list so I can’t honestly compare one or more to the others. That said, one movie I thought for certain would be included is “The Yakuza” starring Robert Mitchum. Although I have never fenced, I can appreciate the difference between the highly stylized and choreographed swordplay in “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and the unnerving intensity of the swordsmen in “The Yakuza”. I remember the final fight scene in Yakuza absolutely gripping me with its realistic grit.

  • CONAN121

    “SHOGUN ASSASSIN”
    nuff said!

  • BigHairyMonster

    @astraya:

    “You keep using that word. I do no’ think it means what you think it means.” :)

    Also, very sad not to see “Le Bossu” on that list. Watched it with my fencing club, and when the credits rolled, *everyone* reached for their swords…

  • astraya

    BigHairyMonster:
    Inconceivable!
    I’d forgotten that.

  • BishopWhiteT

    How about the 1950 version of Cyrano de Bergerac?
    Jose Ferrer was a pimp:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h17XUGYUiQ&feature=related

  • BishopWhiteT

    I’m not sure why it double posted. I guess because Jose Ferrer was such a pimp.

  • WildMan

    What about the Mummy 2??? Two women with great bodies battling it out????????????????

  • Doc Moonlight

    Good list, but I can think of 3 crucial omissions (all pre-1960).

    1. It’s already been mentioned, but the fight between Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone in THE COURT JESTER is absolutely classic! It’s a situation where a parody is executed with such precision that it comes off as exciting as the real thing. (BTW, I saw a lecture/reading given by Rathbone in the mid-sixties. In it he said: “I studied fencing for years, and I’ll have you know that I could have beaten Mr Errol Flynn any time I wanted to,”)

    2. Stewart Granger vs. Mel Ferrar in SCARAMOUCHE. Reportedly the longest sword fight in screen history. Takes place in a theater and has the duelers moving from the lobby to the seats to the stage. Has to be seen to be believed!

    3. Kerwin Matthews vs. The Skeleton in 7TH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD. Evil magician Torin Thatcher brings the skeleton to life and bids it to fight with Sindbad. The correography of the fight is incredible, especially when you consider that Matthews was filmed fighting alone and the skeleton was added later.

    All of these films are available on DVD and I heartily recommend that you check them out, because beyond the swordfighting sequences, they are all great films!

    ps. It’s not a swordfight, but I’m also particularly fond of the the knife fight between David Carradine and James Remar in THE LONG RIDERS.

  • morozco420

    It’s like so many have already said…the Princess Bride fight to make the list should’ve been Wesley vs. Inigo…while the final fight w/ the six fingered man is fine, and yes, the emotional climax for Inigo since he’s been searching for this man since the beginning of time and that is the essentially the basis for his existence and drive for revenge; the fight in and of itself was only so so…we can obviously see that in his search for revenge of the years (decades?) that he had surpassed the skill of the six fingered man long ago and was merely fulfilling the forgone conclusion of his defeat…

    Wesley and Inigo? Come on…THEY WERE BOTH RIGHT HANDED!!! You can’t beat that!!!

  • rp

    A bit disappointed that you were “not entertained” enough for Russell Crowe’s inclusion. Incidently, his instructor, Andy Shaw, teaches my niece and several other young students here in Shreveport.

  • RAK

    YOU MENTION THE 7 SAMURI, YET SHOW A PHOTO STILL FROM THE FINAL FIGHT IN YOJIMBO. MAYBE SHOULDA DONE A TOP 30 SWORDS FIGHTS SO AS TO PLEASE EVERYONE:-)

  • Tron

    cool list, and cool site (just found it today),
    about the Indy # 1, I read (somewhere, can’t remember where, a book of trivia or something), that the reason he (ford) shot the guy it was cuz Ford said ‘well. If I were in a fight, i’d just shoot the guy’
    so thats what they did, but NEVER told the sword guy, so he spent months practicing and then didn’t get to do any of it! poor shot man lol

  • jumbo jim

    hello my fellow sword fighting fanatics. tron i believe that the one in raiders is very entertaining and realistic if i might add, but i would have to go with anikin vs oby one kanoby in episode 111. this fight was phanominal to all sword fighting lovers in the world and parts of asia. so i belive that that sword fight should be number one.

  • ben

    dude star wars like totaly kicks all other fight’s butts. thats because of light sabers. Light sabers are actualy real, I am one of the priveledged few to own my own personal light saber. Its illegal in my state so i ordered it on the french black market.

  • someone

    What about obi-wan vs. anakin skywalker.?

  • Elle Rayne

    Haha! I love that Indiana Jones scene.

  • Slightly

    Hector Vs. Achilles during Troy was an amazing fight, the action had me on the edge of my seat, and it was so full of emotion.

  • Slightly

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf4IoxEUmHM&feature=related

    achilles vs. hector for your viewing pleasure

    or

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emTHPDKyj_4&feature=related

    the edited version with out the cut aways, makes the fight very fluid and nice.

    however after watching it again, not just a sword fight so possibly why it didn’t qualify.

  • Matt

    Great List
    Raiders scene is hilioruos but should have not made the list let alone #1!!
    I agree needs at least one scene from Highlander
    Hector Vs. Achilles at least in the top three
    and if your going to have a lightsaber fight
    Anakin vs Obi-one is the most epic.

  • ChaoticPython

    Princess Bride was the first thing I thought of when I read the title of the list. Good choice!
    Also loved the Pirates one, but I would have put it higher.
    Nice job!

  • Fazdeconta

    You either have to change the caption or the picture for The Princess Bride. I hope we’re talking about the swordfight between Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes as shown in the photo, not the later one with Christopher Guest.

  • MusicalPirate

    While I agree that the Return of the Jedi is a great sword fight, the fight at the end of the Phantom Menace is by far my favorite – even though I prefer the original trilogy of movies, The opera in the background and the fight itself, to me is far superior to any other Light Saber fight.

  • Michael Llaneza

    I have a suggestion. How about “Top 10 Amazing literary swordfights” ? Or just fights

    It’d be great. Dumas is in. Princess Bride is in *again*. Death vs the Buddha from Robert Zelazny’s is a must. David vs Goliath can be fit in too (I said *literary* not *fictional*, it was written down, ok ?). Tolkein has a lot of candidates. One from Chinese traditions is a must, but I don’t know any. There’s a Polish named Henryk Sienkiewicz who wrote terrific historical epics set in the 17th century – but if I find a candidate no one can give an honest opinion.

    Any other thoughts ?

  • Nicolelodeon

    just to put something out there, [i’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned it, i didn’t look], but the Pirates swordfight is in the 2nd movie, not the 1st.

  • Rudy

    Here is a list of some other great Swordfights in film that are equally great and deserve to be recognized

    Capt.Hook vs Peter Pan ( Hook 1991)

    mutt vs spalko (indiana Jones KOTCS)

    the count of monte crisco 2002

    Zorro vs Armand (Legend of zorro)

    Bond vs Graves (James Bond-Die another Day)

    Phantom vs Raoul (phantom of opera 2004)

    First Knight

    Moreau vs de Mayne(Scaramouche 1952)

    The Pirate Movie ( comedy swordfight but still good )

  • xplay3r

    Great list.
    But man watch the movie versus
    It has one of the best sword fights in it not to mention some bad ass fighting sequeces and awsome gun fights.

  • Rudy

    thanks

    I’ve heard of that movie – I bought a versus t-shirt awhile back cause it looked cool- personally not seen it, but now i will!

  • xplay3r

    you should its awsome between zombies karate sword fights and 50. cal sniper rifels its all around awsome lol

  • TheOddball

    The last is funny.
    Indiana is like, “FORGET THIS!!!”, and just shoots him!
    LOL x 6

  • speckles

    SCARAMOUCHE – Mel Ferrer and Steward Granger did their own fighting, and the balancing along the balcony was real and impressive to watch. movie not bad, but sword fight great.

  • speckles, not to take anything away from Mel Ferrer and Steward Granger; every Theater (or Theatre depending on where you’re from) Major learns, or used to learn, swordfighting. So everyone has some degree of adeptness. During my short-lived Theater/Film Major days (I moved on to another major), I also learned Archery. I wasn’t very good at either.

  • rudy

    yes i agree speckles, also the training session between Mel Ferrer and Steward Granger in Scaramouche is also good too

  • Katie

    I have a shirt that says “I do not mean to pry, but do you by any chance happen to have 6 fingers on your right hand?” with a picture of Inigo Montoya on it (quotation is from the fight between him and Cary Elwes, or Wesley). Oh and on the back it says “You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.” It’s great…I think I got it from Hot Topic in the 9th grade. So long ago, but my feelings for that movie definitely have not changed!!!

  • rudy

    Hey Katie, i know that shirt – i found it online, i want to buy it :) Inigo’s awesome!!

  • Steve

    Ha ha – true story. Because Harrison was so sick, he asked Steven Spielberg, “why don’t we just shoot the fucker?”. HA HA HA HA HA!

  • trfan

    I loved the climactic sword fight at the end of the original “Highlander” film (1986), partly because I’m a fan of the tie-in show but also because it’s exciting and suspenseful. Sure the climax is cheesy special effects, but it’s awesome.

    I also love the duel between Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in “The Mask of Zorro”, where she revealed her swordfighting education and ends up getting stripped. The scene is awesome, and sexually charged. :)

  • Alec

    I had to scroll down to 109 before I found a mention of what I consider to be the best cinematic sword fight –
    Stewart Granger vs Mel Ferrer in Scaramouche, others are
    Basil Rathbone vs Erroll Flynn in the Adventures of Robin Hood “You’ll come to Nottingham once too often!” Tyrone Power and Rathbone in The Mark of Zorro, Ronald Colman vs Douglas Fairbanks Jr or Stewart Granger vs James Mason in The Prisoner of Zenda & the remake. I fall over laughing at the ludicrous spectacle of Uma Thurman chopping up hundreds of opponents without sustaining any serious injury, perhaps she had some Klingon technology as a shield!

  • 14gotmyMANTRA

    GREAT list! Love movie swordfights. Lol

  • thomas

    indians jones was a classic is probably my favorite part in the movie so yeah numero uno

  • eric!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for including Rob Roy. It’s certainly one of the most memorable swordfights I’ve ever seen.

  • spack

    Jose Ferrer in Cyrano De Bergerac. Enough said

  • MJ

    love this site, and seeing everyones opinions. Often have different ones to the actual list.

    My favs
    Star wars = Darth Maul v Obi wan and Kwai Gon Jin. I know, it’s not the build up or story of vader v luke, but in terms of “sword fights” it’s up there. Obi wan v anakin in episode 3 is also good with build up and fight.

    Chinese movies = I agree with other commentors, crouching tiger is in there only cause it’s been more westernised commercially then other chinese movies.
    My fav is Jet Li in fearless v master fu. Probably my favourite sword fight of any movie. Brilliant story, build up, coreographed. everything.

    Others gladiator, troy, highlander

  • Greg

    Im sorry but this list is complete rubbish. Indy wasnt even a sword fight and its number 1? Give me a break. This list excludes notable entries such as the end fight in “Duel to the Death”, any entry from Lone Wolf and Cub’s bloody swordfights, the chick vs chick fight from Crouching Tiger (which was 20 times better than the forest fight), classic Robin Hood duel, and Empire Strikes Back lightsabre duel was better than the one in Return.

  • aiccenboy

    what about the badass fight with yoda and some evil guy in one of the new stars wars fight scene.

  • crowbar

    I thought I’d see troy (Brad pitt vs Eric Bana) on this list

  • NijimaSan

    The Mask of Zorro had some of the best swordfights I had seen on cinema. The double duel with Alejandro, de la Vega, and their respective enemies was masterful.

  • Kev

    true harrison ford had dysentery and couldnt shoot the scene so a quick fix was all that was needed

  • David
  • nicoleredz3

    Hero, starring Jet Li, had some awesome swodfights, as well…

  • mordechaimordechai

    Metalwrath said right.
    THE DUELLIST should not just be in the list but it should be number one with three bonus video.
    The whole movie revolvs around the sword, the rapier and the dagger, and most of all those cavalry sabres.
    you can really see those heavy sabres whistling around.
    I just have to remember the way the steel clang sounds real and heavy to get a boner.

  • You stupid fuck! Where is Highlander?! McLeod v. Kurgan…. hello!? Greatest sword fight of all time.

  • frolona

    try the 80’s b-movie nate and hayes. decent lighted hearted romp and good sword play

  • palm1911

    ok if anyone knew about the classics…
    my number one would definatly be between

    andre moreau and noel marquis de maynes
    at the end of the 1952 classic “scaramouche”
    they were played by stewart granger and Mel ferrer…

    trust me if you like the classics you will feel this one…its a long long drawn out scene and it has dramatics and its full of emotion…id advise you to watch the whole movie…

    if you dont like classics im sure youd hate it..but you might respect it..

  • jtvdb

    Blah.. for me personally.. none of these movies would be in a "best-swordfights" (except maybe Seven Samurai). I prefer movies that try to depict swordfights in a more realistic way. Films like the already mentioned 'The Duellists', but also the spanish film 'Alatriste' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUkavKcyrhQ and the Japanese film 'Gohatto' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekCiMFNLU5o

  • plstepp

    Wesley (in THE PRINCESS BRIDE) is NOT Christopher Guest but Cary Elwes.

  • tte

    Where is braveheart ?

  • stelthydodo

    I think pirates should be number one. But then again i am kinda biased(its my favorite movie series). but 300 should be in there even though the whole movie is pretty much just one big sword fight and its not really a "sword" fight. but that ending is pretty awesome!

  • Patrick

    Tony Curtis and Ross Martin in the Great Race, right along with best pie fight and best bar fight.
    All in one movie.

  • Richard

    Princess Bride error: Christopher guest played the 6 fingered Duke. Cary Elwes was the man in Black

  • JonC

    Hard to believe the sword fight from Aragami is not on this list… now that is an awesome fight.

  • mordechaimordechai

    the picture from n° 7 the seven samurai is actually taken from another film : Yojimbo which is also great!
    Man, i feel so smart having spotted such a meaningless fault!

  • Anna

    I would say awesome list but it’s lacking something: Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews and In the Last Samurai, the fight between the main American dude vs the Chinese man (Tom Cruise).

  • Name

    Christopher Guest doesn’t play the lead in “The Princess Bride.” The actor in the swordfight against Mandy Patinkin is Cary Elwes. Guest plays the six fingered man and is not in this scene.

  • Erick Fischert

    The fight between achilles and hector in troy is quite good

  • No Anakin vs. Obi wan in Revenge of the Sith? Prequel hate is ridiculous. If you can’t admit that was the best lightsaber fight ever there is something wrong with you. I’m sure you think that ewoks over throwing the empire is a better story than the prequels too. Grow up.

  • Joe

    There are a few excellent swordfights in Fearless (Jet Li)

  • Chet K

    This is bogus…how can you have a top ten of sword fights without the one from Star Wars, Phantom Menace. Darth Maul is very upset.

    P.S. It is also #1

  • Lostboy

    So disagree
    For Star Wars: episode 1 Darth Maul vs the Jedis or
    Obi-Won vs Anakin

    Princess Bride should’ve been higher.

    Duncun McCloud vs Conner McCloud Highlander endgame

  • Swordfights…….You won’t see better than Danny Kaye vs. Basil Rathbone in The Court Jester…………Hilarious and very clever!!

  • Erypeptspoogy

    Name

  • Walter

    The still you’re using to illustrate THE SEVEN SAMURAI is actually from YOJIMBO.

    There’s also an amazing sword fight between Mel Ferrar and Stewart Granger in SCARAMOUCHE.

  • acacia

    uh.. Fearless.. revenge scene between Master Chin and Yunjia..

  • acacia

    Fearless!! Master Chin and Yunjia… seriously??

  • Elections

    It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Paul T. Grange

    I am so surprised Franco Ziferelli’s Romeo and Juliet not listed. Now, THAT was a sword fight!

  • Lauren

    so glad you included the Rob Roy fight, Tim oth was so brilliant

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