The 20 best duels in cinema – ranked!


20. Connor MacLeod vs. Kurgan in Highlander (1986)

Inspired by Ridley Scott’s Duelists, Gregory Widen wrote a screenplay about immortals trying to cut off their heads with great swords. Former Olympic fencer Bob Anderson choreographed the confrontation between Christopher Lambert and the evil Clancy Brown, who is clearly having too much fun living. ” There can only be one! Followed by a million sequels and TV spinoffs.

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

The carnage in the six-film Baby Cart series is so endless that it’s hard to distinguish a single sword fight, but let’s get to it with the 50th murder of the first film, during the wandering of Ronin Ittō (Tomisaburō Wakayama), toddler son attached to his back, picks up a leaf from Archimedes’ book using reflective sunlight to blind his opponent.

18. Flying Snow contre Moon dans Hero (2002)

All of the fights in Zhang Yimou’s wuxia film, with its unreliable narrator and politically ambiguous subtext, are exquisite exercises in color-coded beauty. But with her swirling fall leaves, Maggie Cheung calmly confronting Zhang Ziyi is arguably the most beautiful duel of all, though not very useful for those looking for practical sword fighting advice.

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

The exhibition match at the beginning of Philippe de Broca’s cape and sword (adapted from the much filmed novel by Paul Féval) features the irresistible fanfaron of the Duke of Vincent Perez as he demonstrates his secret sword stroke (we might as well call it Chekhov’s sword stroke) on the protagonist (Daniel Auteuil). Soft shirts and age-inappropriate romance galore!

On guard! Keith Caradine as Armand d’Hubert and Harvey Keitel as Gabriel Feraud in Les Duellistes. Photographie : Allstar/Cinetext/Scott Free

16. Gabriel Feraud against Armand d’Hubert in Les Duellistes (1977)

Scott’s debut, an adaptation of a short story by Joseph Conrad, arguably started a mini-trend for men wearing their hair in braids, as we’ll see later in Adam Ant. The second duel is notable for Keith Carradine turning away to sneeze, and Harvey Keitel exclaiming “There! The sword fights were staged by William Hobbs, including later.

For many non-Asian moviegoers, Ang Lee’s romantic fable was their first glimpse into the Chinese martial fantasy world of wuxia. Inspired by King Hu’s classic A Touch of Zen (1971), Lee staged one of his gravity-defying duels among the branches of a bamboo forest, where Chow Yun-fat tries to teach Zhang a lesson. Ziyi.

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

The bittersweet romance between Robin (Sean Connery) and older but not wiser Marian (Audrey Hepburn) is almost overshadowed by the frenzied bromance between Robin and his nemesis – Robert Shaw as the friendliest sheriff in cinema from Nottingham. Which means, of course, that they have to cross swords, with choreographer Hobbs showing how grueling fights can be for the elderly.

On a bridge littered with corpses, David Chiang, with varying abilities, designs a clever way to wield multiple weapons with one hand to defeat the evil professor who killed his best friend. Directed by heroic bromance master Chang Cheh, but choreographed by Lau Kar-leung, who would go on to become one of Shaw Brothers’ best action directors.

12. André Moreau against Marquis de Maynes in Scaramouche (1952)

Hollywood swashbuckling at its most flamboyant, with Stewart Granger performing most of his own stripey stunts artistic comedy pants as he and Mel Ferrer parry and strike back all over a crowded theater, making full use of the railings and seat backs in a thrilling duel staged by fencing master Fred Cavens.

11. Zatoichi vs. Hattori Genosuke in Zatoichi (2003)

There’s no shortage of swordplay in Japan’s longest-running film series (1962-89), but for the sake of convenience let’s go with Takeshi Kitano’s animated remake / tribute, which the writer-director stars in. the role of the blind swordsman. He and a ronin (Tadanobu Asano) repeat moves in their heads (pre-Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes) before Zatoichi confuses the opposition by changing his take.

10. Inigo Montoya vs. Count Rugen in The Princess Bride (1987)

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. Mandy Patinkin gets one of the most satisfying revenges in cinema in her confrontation with ‘the man with six fingers’, an unrecognizable Christopher Guest, in a fight choreographed by Anderson.

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

Probably the most memorable duels in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Thackeray’s Tale of a Terminal Block are those with pistols, but glorious natural lighting, Steven Berkoff’s perfect whirlwind, and the deflection and grabbing of the sheet of paper. Ryan O’Neal, coached and choreographed by Anderson, make this a keeper.

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

“This is insane,” says Kanbei, leader of the samurai, as he watches this duel. “What’s going to happen is obvious. But perhaps not so obvious to the neophyte, or to the new spectators of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece. The attacker is full of noise and fury, but he is no match for the badass master swordsman (Seiji Miyaguchi) who takes him down with a perfect blow.

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

Basil Rathbone, Hollywood’s top swordsman, was invariably portrayed as a villain, so he always had to lose. But he said Tyrone Power was “the most nimble man with a sword I have ever faced in front of a camera.” Tyrone could have locked Errol Flynn in a cocked hat. Their superb duel here was staged by Cavens.

6. Hanshiro contre Hikukuro dans Harakiri (1962)

Takashi Miike’s 2011 remake has its moments, but nothing equals the impact of the graveyard duel in Masaki Kobayashi’s original masterpiece, a scathing critique of institutional hypocrisy. A large black and white screen plus Dutch tilts (a nifty way to get an entire katana sword into the frame) plus the tall Tatsuya Nakadai at his most frown add to a classic showdown.

Another Hobbs – extraordinary choreographer – special. The final duel between a hero (Michael York) mad with fury overwhelmed with grief after the murder of his mistress, and his scheming foe, played by Christopher Lee, follows the fight in a church (clue of shocked nuns) and gradually shows the physical exertion wreak havoc among the fighters.

4. Golden Swallow contre Jade Faced Tiger dans Come Drink With Me (1966)

King Hu, in the Shaw Brothers movie that put him on the map, revolutionized wuxia by filming its fight scenes like dancing, with a great lady (Pei-Pei Cheng, later the villain of Crouching Tiger ) who had trained in ballet. In the temple duel, she gets by even when the villain cheats by trying to exhaust her with her consumable minions.

Fresh out of his work on Captain Blood (1935), Cavens was hired to add pizzazz to Michael Curtiz’s classic swashbuckling fight scenes, and you don’t get much more pizzazz than Errol Flynn did against. Rathbone in a fabulous three-stripe Technicolor. More parries and lunges than you might find in an authentic medieval sword game, perhaps, but one of the greatest movie duels of all time.

2. Sanjuro contre Hanbei dans Sanjuro (1962)

In another of Kurosawa’s minimalist yet thrilling duels, Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai stare at each other for what seems like hours before things are settled with a single spinning draw that sword fighting fans never tire of. to analyze. The blood was a pressurized mixture of chocolate syrup and carbonated water; the hidden mechanism would have malfunctioned, with results similar to those of a geyser.

1. Rob Roy contre Archibald Cunningham dans Rob Roy (1995)

Play # 1 demonstrating Hobbs’ ability to anchor his combat choreography into the character is this brilliant confrontation in which the personalities of the fighters are reflected in their dueling techniques. Aristocratic Cunningham (Tim Roth) is skilled with the rapier, yet sadistic and overconfident, while honest Rob (Liam Neeson) goes wrong with a broad sword. Guess who wins?


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