Men love swords. Why men love swords is a topic that is often debated in A Level psychology classes and usually involves a link to our very own short swords that we carry around. But regardless, men really do love swords. We can't get enough of them. Swords are up there with fast cars and women. If I was given the choice between an authentic katana, forged by a master swordsmith in rural Japan or a nice house, I would probably end up single because I would choose the sword. Well for all of you sword lovers out there - here is my personal top 10 swords in film.
10. Claymore - Braveheart (1995)
The Claymore was a Scottish variant of the English Longsword, slightly smaller in size yet, still a very large two handed sword. Claymores were used extensively during border fights with the English. What makes this sword special however, is how it is used dramatically in Braveheart. Due to Mel Gibson's short stature the Claymore is towering and almost comical. This speaks volumes about the character of William Wallace, he is just a man but he faces a giant. Mel Gibson is the only character to use a Claymore in the film, which while being unrealistic draws more focus on the sheer size of his blade. The Claymore isn't a weapon of subtlety of finesse but a hacking weapon that severs limbs.
9. The Sword of the Daywalker - Blade (1998)
Back in the late 90s Blade was the height of cool. He had a trench coat, he wore sunglasses and he knew kung fu. Well, The Matrix came along and made all those things a cliche and now Blade looks pretty lame. However, no one can deny that his sword is still ten shades of awesome. It is simple and sleek yet utterly deadly and functional. The straight double edged blade is the perfect shape for slicing and stabbing which gives the sword a great deal of versatility when ending vampires. The hilt also features a handy anti-theft device, deploying three spring loaded blades with enough force to rip a would be thief's hand to shreds.
8. Shikomi Zue - Zatoichi (2003)
Zatoichi is one of Japan's longest running samurai franchises. In 2003 Takeshi Kitano rebooted the franchise casting himself as the blind masseuse and gambler who happens to also be a master samurai. His Shikomi Zue (sword that is also a walking stick) is a beautifully simple strait blade that was made by a master swordsman and is of the same quality as a fine katana. What makes this sword great is how humble it is, it is not designed to look like a cane, it is Zatoichi's cane and he uses it everywhere he goes. Zatoichi's sword is a metaphor for his character, seemingly simple and harmless but utterly deadly when unleashed.
7. The Nameless Assassin's Sword - Hero (2002)
Jet Li's Nameless carries a simple one handed sword that is typical of the era (229 BC). The double edged straight blade has one feature that makes it stand out however, which is the sharpened hole that runs through the centre of the blade. The simple detraction from a typical design makes the sword seem both unique and exotic, it raises questions about the sword's origins and purpose. Much like Zatochi's sword, Nameless' sword is again a metaphor for the character. He is shrouded in mystery and his purpose is unknown, yet like the sword he is sharp and deadly. We get to see at least one purpose for the hole when Nameless is fighting Donnie Yen's Sky and he traps Sky's spear by knotting the tassel with his sword.
6. The Bride's Hattori Hanzo Sword - Kill Bill (2003)
Quentin Tarantino is well known for making references to obscure films and TV shows and Hattori Hanzo is no different. A historical figure famed for his skills as a Ninja, Hattori Hanzo became the subject for a series of martial arts films starring Sonny Chiba. These films have seen little attention outside of Japan however, Tarantino has certainly seen them and decided to cast Chiba in his ode to the martial arts genre, Kill Bill. In Kill Bill Hanzo is a master sword maker and crafts a blade of unrivalled quality for The Bride. Many characters in Kill Bill have a Hanzo sword but the master himself credits The Bride's blade as his finest work.
5. The Sword of The Witch King - Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
While the Witch King is rarely seen in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he leaves a lasting impression at the end of The Return of the King for one reason and one reason alone. His sword is on fire! Can you get any more bad ass than that? The answer is no. However, sadly we never see his flaming steel in action and thus, it only scores at number 5. Had we seen some flaming sword action it would have definitely ranked higher.
4. The Atlantian Sword - Conan The Barbarian (1982)
Similar in design to the claymore but much more ornate, The Atlantian Sword is a king's sword, meant to rule as well as kill. In a normal person's hands the Atlantian Sword would look ridiculous but in the hands of Arnold Schwarzenegger it seems appropriate. It is an exaggerated and over the top blade but, that is Conan through and through. He is a caricature of the hero archetype and it is only fitting that his sword is a caricature of a hero's sword.
3. Green Destiny - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
When Crouching Tiger came out it quickly became one of the top ranking movies of all time. I would be surprised if it was still so highly regarded now the dust has settled but it is still an excellent example of the Wuxai genre. The Green Destiny is the MacGuffin and also the the two lead character's weapon. It is a blade of unparalleled quality, which is demonstrated best in a scene where Michelle Yeoh must constantly change weapons as The Green Destiny shreds her weapons to pieces. The Green Destiny is what is commonly known as a Tai Chi Sword, which was a popular sword among Wu Dang warriors. The Green Destiny is by far the most ornate and beautiful sword in film history, it features a carved jade hilt and an engraved blade as well as a golden tassel. Beautiful and deadly, just like Zhang Zi Yi's Jen Yu.
2. The Dragon Head Katana - Highlander (1986)
Highlander is both a great and a terrible film. It certainly had potential and is ripe for a remake as long as it ignored absolutely everything regarding the franchise other than the concept. A fantasy tale about a group of immortals, drawn together for one purpose, sword fighting. Oh and to be the only one left of course. It is a strange premise that lends its self to leaping back and forth across different periods of history, which at times is fun and sometimes even dramatic. Sadly it is let down by the fact that is was made in the 80s and looks it. However, swords are timeless and Connor Macloed has an awesome sword. A beautiful katana that has a hilt made of ivory, carved into the head of a dragon. The sword previously belonged to Macleod's mentor, Ramirez who was also an immortal. However, Ramirez lost his head leaving his exceptional sword to Connor. Like most fine katanas the blade is made from folded and tempered steel however, Connor's sword pre-dates that particular technique by about 500 years making it both extremely rare and priceless. The long and mysterious history of the sword is much like the long and mysterious life of an immortal, a truly fitting weapon indeed.
1. Buster 6 - Final Fantasy Advent Children (2005)
The Final Fantasy series (and JRPGs in general) are known for featuring outlandish swords. Final Fantasy 7's Cloud has had some of the biggest and best to date. Advent Children is a sequel to Final Fantasy 7 in the form of a stunning animated feature. It is here that we are treated to the most outrageous sword ever conceived, Buster 6. Buster 6 is the big brother of TheBuster Sword, Cloud's starting weapon in the game. However, unlike the original Buster, Buster 6 is in fact 6 swords in 1. Cloud can (and does) use the swords in a variety of combinations and the results are insane. To celebrate this awesome Sword I have included a clip from the movie however, I strongly suggest purchasing this film or adding to your rental list or whatever as it is one of the best looking computer animated features ever made. So that's it. Yes the best sword in film history is from an animation but then animation is unbound by the physics that would make Buster 6 impossible to use in real life. Still with quality and quantity on its side I don't think many would argue that it has earned its position on this list. Did we miss out an awesome blade? Want to argue about how a lightsaber should be on the list even though it isn't a sword it is an energy weapon? Comment bellow.
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