Although superhero movies have become the go-to blockbuster these days, in regular old action adventure flicks, you’re never too far away from a sword fight breaking out. There have been some absolutely terrific ones down the years, and this list takes a look at just what makes the very best ones so special.
Huge battle scenes that may feature knights with swords have been left out; they’re not ‘fights’, per se. Instead, this is about the personal. Two fighters staring into each other’s eyes, clashing blades and matching wits.
Some have a family friendly joy to them, others are more mature and nuanced, while others again and just completely soaked in blood. One thing’s for sure; each and every one of these duels kept viewers on the edge of their seats.
The sword fight is one of those mainstays of cinema that spans any number of genres. Historical drama is chock full of them, but they crop up in sci-fi too and in the modern day, there’s an infinite number of styles and approaches to the duel. But which is best?
10. Adventures Of Robin Hood
They quite simply don’t make them like this any more.
While it would be a stretch to claim that the rest of the sword fights on this list wouldn’t exist if not for Errol Flynn, the action-adventure genre certainly owes a lot to him. So when making a list of the best sword fights in movies, it was impossible to leave the original master out.
There’s a real sense of drama here; the long takes and rousing music combining with the clash of swords. It’s something that’s often left out these days in exchange for a more broody realism. That can be hugely effective too, but Robin Hood against Sir Guy is a testament to old hammy filmmaking at its best.
The only real flaw with it is the ending. With the lack of blood, gore or violence in old movies, it feels more like they’re playing ‘tag’ sword fights. Robin pokes Sir Guy in the stomach, and it’s all over. He sags backwards over a ledge and the fight ends. While that’s certainly a low point, the action-packed sequence before it definitely makes up the ground.