My Favorite Movies: Great Swordfights!

Hi all!

This week I thought I’d talk about a few of my favorite sword-related movies. Obviously I’m a movie lover, but I go to the movies to be entertained or moved, and one of the things that always gets me excited is the prospect of a good sword fight. Choreography, pacing, and witty banter are the hallmarks of a great sword fight on screen, and these are a few of my favorites.

At the top of my list has to be The Princess Bride (1987), based on a novel of the same name by William Goldman. This movie has it all. Romance, comedy, adventure, and enough witty banter to keep even the most jaded person entertained. (That doesn’t mean they’ll BE entertained, but that’s up to them, not to me.)

The duel between Inigo and the Man in Black (Westley as the Dread Pirate Roberts) has to be my favorite sword battle of all time. Nowhere else do you get that type of swagger, sarcasm, and skill all rolled into a single scene.

Watch Princess Bride Swordfight in Entertainment Videos |  View More Free Videos Online at

After that, I have to say that The Musketeer (2001) starring Justin Chambers, Mena Suvari, Tim Roth, and Catherine Deneuve, merged east and west to create duels and sword fights with a martial arts/wire-work influence. (Yes, this is the same Justin Chambers who is currently in Grey’s Anatomy.)

Those are definitely my two favorites at this point. After that, the list gets a little muddled.

Next we have The Three Musketeers (1993). Yes, the Disney version. I know this movie isn’t the greatest thing, but it had some big things going for it… One was the fact that all of the actors (Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, and Oliver Platt) were all [gasp] young then (weren’t we all?) and attacked some of the choreography with a youthful vigor. Second, there were some HUGE sword fights in this — lots and lots of combatants, which made it easy to forget that this was a Disney flick. And third… Porthos the Pirate!!! (You can see a clip of one of the battles on YouTube here.)

Along the same vein is the earlier Three Musketeers (1973) movie starring Michael York, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay, and Richard Chamberlain, all in their prime. This was a much grittier movie than the Disney version 20 years later and showed some of the flair of earlier generations of sword duels, dating back to the days of Erol Flynn.

Another recent movie that featured some amazing sword scenes was Kill Bill. In Volume 1, we saw The Bride (Uma Thurman) fight the Crazy 88s in one heck of a bloody mess. Not my favorite movie ever, but it deserves to be mentioned.

Though I love Highlander (1987), I have to say that its duels are less individualized than some of the other movies listed here, but it’s still a great movie with some solid sword fights.

Funny enough, the Star Wars movies (yes, even the prequels) fall into this category as well. The prequels weren’t great, but they showed us some unique styles of light saber duels, and of course the light saber battle in Star Wars between Obi Wan and Darth Vader will forever be etched in my mind. 🙂

And no list of sword fight movies would be complete without discussing Erol Flynn. He was amazing. It was the early days of Hollywood and damn if the man could act AND swing a sword.

I’ll leave you with a compilation of some of the scenes from his movies.

The Sword Fights of Errol Flynn from Russ McClay on Vimeo.

I’m sure I missed many many movies that should be mentioned here. If you have some, feel free to leave me some comments so I can go watch some great swordplay. 🙂

Until next time… Go see a movie!


p.s. If you want to pick up some of these films at Amazon, click below:

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DVD Review: Day of the Dead (2007)

Hi all…

Every once in a while, I have to take in a horror movie to see whether I find it a) comical, b) grotesque, or c) all of the above. Day of the Dead is definitely in category c) for me. However, even though it was comical in places (I have a sick sense of humor), I thought this was a decent zombie movie remake. It was smart, had decent special effects, and generally held together to the end.


The 2008 version of Day of the Dead is a remake of the original Day of the Dead from George Romero. Director Steve Miner and writer Jeffrey Reddick helmed this one, starring Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon, Christa Campbell, and Ving Rhames.

This version of the movie was set in the small mountain town of Leadville, Colorado, but not filmed there. (Similar to Alien vs. Predator: Requiem that was set in but not filmed in Buena Vista, Colorado late in 2006.) An outbreak of zombie-making virus hits this pleasant mountain town, spreading like wildfire. Funny enough, you CAN have a quasi-scientific reasoning and behavior for a virus that turns you into a zombie!

Day of the Dead DVD CoverWhat did I learn about surviving an attack of virus-infected zombies by watching Day of the Dead?

  1. Don’t let your boyfriend bleed on you during a city-wide quarantine.
  2. Don’t let a friend’s mother cough on you during a city-wide quarantine.
  3. Don’t lose your keys when wrestling with a zombie. You never know when you’ll need to become a world-class sprinter to get to your car in the parking lot.
  4. If you are responsible enough to carry a gun, be sure to also carry a few extra clips and keep it loaded at all times.
  5. Don’t lock yourself into a “safe” place with infected people who really want to eat you when they change into zombies.
  6. Be sure when building a hospital sure to be attacked by zombies that you use industrial-strength ventilation ducts.
  7. If your name is Ving Rhames or Mena Suvari and you want to keep your career going, be sure to find a new agent who will give you better scripts.
  8. If you’re a zombie and need a snack, the following items will work in a pinch – your own eyeball, the intestines of a high school girl, and your wife’s face.
  9. It’s very freaky when you see a zombie crawling on the ceiling.
  10. And lastly, when it starts raining zombies from second and third story windows, it’s time to RUN!!!

I’d really like to know when high school students became marksmen, but other than that this wasn’t a bad zombie flick. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. A virus infects people. People become zombies. Those people not zombies either become food or fight back to escape the area. Pretty much the same plot in nearly every zombie movie I’ve seen, with minor variations.

My favorite part of this movie? Zombies with guns! They weren’t great marksmen, but they more than make up for it in enthusiasm. Also, who ever would expect to hear the words “Zombie” and “Crush” in the same sentence?

My least favorite part? Mena Suvari. Yes, she’s cute, but this was not her kind of role. Ving Rhames, though under-used in this film, actually did ok and probably enjoyed becoming a zombie during one scene!

The DVD includes several extras, including:

  • Cast And Crew Commentary
  • On the Set
  • an Alternate Ending
  • Several trailers (International, Unrated, and Theatrical)
  • a Photo Gallery
  • and Interviews

Overall, I have to give this movie a 2.5 out of 4. It was better than I expected, followed the traditional zombie formula, and had some great one liners. I’ve seen more intelligent zombie flicks, but this one was ok in my book.

This Day of the Dead DVD will be released on September 9, 2008 at major retailers across Canada and the United States.



p.s. If you’re interested in purchasing the Day of the Dead, check out these Amazon links:

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