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Cyrano de Bergerac

While some say sword duels are akin to poetry in motion, this duel features poetry during the sword play!

The character of Cyrano de Bergerac (Gerard Depardieu) is many things: lover, mentor, poet, and fighter. The latter is shown in his mastery of the sword, as displayed when one unfortunate fool chose to insult Cyrano’s large nose, only to get a lesson in swordplay and sharp wit.

Star Wars Episode 1

The sprawling Star Wars saga features plenty of sword, sorry, light sabre duels to choose from. Yet the best is the two on one battle to the death between Jedi’s Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and demon like baddie Darth Maul (Ray Park).

Filled with great action choreography and a shocking twist, the scene served as a lynchpin in the development of creator George Lucas’ space opera, while also standing on its own.



BLADE (1998)
Blade poster

For those who don’t know, Marvel Studios domination of the multiplexes began back in 1998 with the release of Blade, a vampire hunter with superhuman capabilities played well by one time box office draw Wesley Snipes.

Yet most important for this list, Blade’s favourite weapon for slaying was a sword, which he puts to good use especially in an epic duel with uber-vampire Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff). One word: ferocious.



Gladiator poster

While most sword fights rely on finesse, Gladiator was all about brutality. Highlighted here is the face off between wronged general Maximus (Russell Crowe) and veteran gladiator Tigris (Sven-Ole Thorsen). To up the ante was the presence of two man eating lions.

Needless to say, blood was spilt in the colosseum on that day.


The Princess Bride poster

Placed in the right hands, and a sword fight can be damn good fun. An example is the duel between masked swordsman Westley (Cary Elwes) and revenge seeking Spaniard, Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) in Rob Reiner’s classic The Princess Bride.

Brilliantly choreographed and featuring quips as sharp as their swords, the scene is an example of how action, comedy, and suspense can be rolled into one package.



ROB ROY (1995)
Rob Roy poster

The sword fight scene from Rob Roy is one filled with as much emotion as there is bloodshed.

Scottish folk hero Rob Roy (Liam Neeson) and English henchman Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth) come to the battle as bitter enemies, with a brutal act midway through the film escalating their rivalry from nationalistic pride to personnel vendetta.

Suitably, a bloody and ferocious duel would end their feud.



Monty Python and the Holy Grail poster

As a sword fight, it features little in the way of choreography or finesse. Yet as a piece of entertainment, the duel between crusading King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and the “invincible” Black Knight (John Cleese) in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, is one of the best.

Blood, chainmail, and the Python’s dry, satirical humour blend very well, while “It’s just a flesh wound” is one of the most quoted lines in this ever quotable movie.


The Three Musketeers poster

The adventures of The Three Musketeers has been adapted to the silver screen several times. Yet for this list, it is the 1948 version starring Gene Kelly as D’Artagnan that triumphs over all.

Although over 60 years old, the swordplay still holds up very well, with the forever brilliant Kelly owning the scene with his magnificent athleticism and never ending energy.



Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

The Wuxia film is ripe for great fight scenes, and sword fights are no exception.

Chosen here is a scene from one of the genre’s best Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and boy it’s a cracker of a sword fight. In one corner is the forever badass Michelle Yeoh as the honourable Yu Shu Lien. In the other is spunky Ziyi Zhang as the cocky Jen Yu. In her hands is the invincible Green Blade of Destiny, stolen not earned from its rightful master.

Watch how Yeoh tries to get it back with stunning, brutal, poetry in motion.



KILL BILL (2003)
Kill Bill Vol 1 poster

In sheer size and pure ferocity alone, this scene is a winner. Throw in an amazing performance from Uma Thurman and writer / director Quentin Tarantino’s patented blacker than black humour, and The Bride vs the Crazy 88 is the best, balls out, bloody sword fight to ever grace the silver screen.

Running for __ minutes and featuring enough blood to make Dracula faint, the scene especially excels due to the action choreography by Yuen Woo-ping, who also worked on Drunken Master and The Matrix.



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