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Top 10 Movie Sword Fights

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Sam Lehman. Never bring a knife to a gunfight – but what about swords? In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 movie sword fights. For this list, we’re looking at sword fights in film that use at least one traditional sword-like implement in a combative engagement of two or more people. There may be spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users JakeMaringoni, Benny Ben, lukeedwardsimmons, Beto Agudelo, C4MEO, Alex Ekelmans, Siamang48, Andrew A. Dennison, James Gibson, banditobane, buddycanifinish, Raziel Machorro, TheGuyThatsAwesome, chuuma, slackerman, Awesome One, Dima Janenko, Howard Blackwell, Gabriel Matichard II, thenewjord50, phorensyk, Jason Heilbronner, TC Langston and confucius12012 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Sam Lehman.

Top 10 Movie Sword Fights


Never bring a knife to a gunfight - but what about swords? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie sword fights.

For this list, we’re looking at sword fights in film that use at least one traditional sword-like implement in a combative engagement of two or more people. There may be spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Edmond Dantès vs. Fernand Mondego
“The Count of Monte Cristo” (2002)

The tenth movie adaptation of the thrilling tome written by Alexandre Dumas tells the harrowing tale of Edmond Dantès, whose friend Fernand Mondego unintentionally betrays him to French authorities. Dantès is imprisoned; however, upon his eventual escape, he vows revenge upon Mondego. During their final confrontation, Mondego wields two swords in an effort to intimidate Dantès - though what he discovers is that his friend no longer believes him worthy of forgiveness or mercy.

#9: Hector vs. Achilles
“Troy” (2004)

In an ambitious adaptation of Homer’s “Iliad,” this epic war film serves its purpose of being entertaining, despite lacking certain specifics of the original tale. Nevertheless, this duel, between Hector, the honorable Prince of Troy, and Achilles, the great Greek warrior and demi-god, is a highlight. Trained to always think ahead of his opponent, Achilles toys with Hector as a cat would a mouse. No thought of clemency ever enters Achilles’ cold and calculating mind.

#8: Yu Shu Lien vs. Jen Yu
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000)

This confrontation between two old friends is a thing of beauty. The flashing swords and the clanging of metal creates a three-dimensional piece of art as these two evenly matched women fight for their lives. Technically sound and well choreographed, this scene from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” uses decorations and furniture as fighting implements in addition to swords. True to formal combat rules, each woman acts honorably and respects her opponent.

#7: Zorro vs. Captain Harrison Love
“The Mask of Zorro” (1998)

There is real tension in this scene from “The Mask of Zorro,” especially at the beginning when it seems as if Love might just shoot Zorro and be done with everything. However, the Captain’s dedication to defending his honor prevails and he elects to battle Zorro on his own terms. But what really makes this sword fight so special is that the sets are put to great use: Zorro swings on ropes, jumps onto platforms and almost falls to his death several times before he unmasks himself during Love’s final moments.

#6: Captain Jack Sparrow vs. Captain Hector Barbossa
“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003)

The sword fights in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies have always been one of the best components of the films. This scene from the first fantasy swashbuckler flick is arguably the greatest plot twist in the franchise - and it’s all done in stereotypical Sparrow fashion, which consists of both confusing and frustrating his opponent. Though noted as the worst swordsman in comparison to his fellows, Jack adequately defends himself as both he and Barbossa alternatively shift from their skeletal forms to flesh and blood beings.

#5: Maximus vs. Commodus
“Gladiator” (2000)

Even before this “Gladiator” fight begins, the odds are stacked against Maximus Decimus Meridius. For his opponent, Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus, has already stabbed the paradoxically merciful gladiator, played by Russell Crowe, in the side. Though Maximus is weakened, he’s not beaten, and the two engage in a duel to the death surrounded by Commodus’ Imperial guard. Despite his injury, Maximus fights with a desperate energy to free Rome from tyranny, ultimately succeeding with a strategic throat stab.

#4: Rob Roy MacGregor vs. Archibald Cunningham
“Rob Roy” (1995)

Starring acting heavy weights Tim Roth as maniac aristocrat Archibald Cunningham and Liam Neeson as Scottish folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor, this adventure film focuses on how far one man will go to protect his family. The duel between Cunningham and Roy is a revenge match of grand proportions. Armed with a small rapier, Cunningham slowly shreds Roy’s torso until Roy overpowers him with brute strength and triumphs with a well timed fatal slash.

#3: Inigo Montoya vs. the Dread Pirate Roberts
“The Princess Bride” (1987)

Expertly choreographed and wonderfully entertaining, this fight from “The Princess Bride” combines wit, civility, intelligence and skill for a treat suitable for the entire family. This particular duel between master fencer Inigo and Westley-as-Dread-Pirate-Roberts is the epitome of a fair fight as each competitor casually demonstrates his knowledge of fencing terms and the corresponding attacks or defenses associated with them. The athleticism involved is also impressive and lends a lighthearted tone to the overall serious connotation of a duel.

#2: The Bride vs. the Crazy 88
“Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003)

You know something’s about to go down when the fight scene opens with one woman, already covered in blood, surrounded by a gaggle of individuals in black suits; it just screams action. In true Tarantino style, there is no lack of blood, guts or gore. But what really makes this fight so epic is female powerhouse Uma Thurman, who makes quick work of her assailants with only one samurai sword as feel-good tunes play on in the background.

Before we unsheathe our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Scott Pilgrim vs. Gideon Graves
“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)
- King Arthur vs. the Black Knight
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)
- Connor MacLeod vs. the Kurgan
“Highlander” (1986)
- Hattori Gennosuke vs. Rival Clan
“Zatoichi” (2003)
- The Samurai vs. Tajōmaru (The Bandit)
“Rashomon” (1950)

#1: Obi-Wan Kenobi & Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul
“Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999)

While some may argue that the most iconic battle of George Lucas’ film series was that between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back,” things were taken to the next level with “Episode I.” Say what you will about the prequel, but the stellar choreography of two Jedi versus one demonic Sith with a double-bladed energy sword really got the blood pumping. Grace, speed, incredible music and a sense of dire urgency kicked off the modern era of light saber dueling here. Think a double-bladed saber doesn’t count? Well, it does get cut in half at some point, after which what you can call a traditional sword fight ensues.

Do you agree with our list? What are your favorite movie sword fights? For more fascinating Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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