Wednesday, August 17

The 20 best duels of cinema: ranked! | Films


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

Inspired by Ridley Scott’s The Duellists, Gregory Widen wrote a script about immortals attempting to cut off each other’s heads with large swords. Former Olympic fencer Bob Anderson choreographed the showdown between Christopher Lambert and the evil Clancy Brown, who is clearly having too much fun to live for. “There can be only one!” Followed by a trillion TV sequels and spin-offs.

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

So endless is the carnage in the six-movie Baby Cart series that it’s hard to make out just one sword fight, but let’s go with the 50th death from the first film, when the wandering ronin Ittō (Tomisaburō Wakayama), young son tied to his back, he takes a sheet from the book of Archimedes using reflective sunlight to blind his opponent.

18. Flying Snow v Moon in Hero (2002)

All the fights in Zhang Yimou’s film wuxia, with its unreliable narrator and politically ambiguous subtext, are exquisite exercises in color-coded loveliness. But with its swirling autumn leaves, Maggie Cheung calmly facing the headstrong Zhang Ziyi is probably the prettiest duel of all, though not very helpful for anyone looking for practical advice on sword fighting.

17. Duke of Nevers vs. Lagardère in Le Bossu (1997)

The exhibition match at the beginning of Philippe de Broca’s Swordsman (adapted from Paul Féval’s much-filmed novel) showcases the irresistible arrogance of Vincent Perez’s Duc as he demonstrates his secret sword lunge (we could also call it Chekhov’s sword thrust) on the protagonist (Daniel Auteuil). Loose shirts and an abundance of age-inappropriate romance!

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Keith Caradine and Harvey Keitel in The Duellists
En garde! Keith Caradine as Armand d’Hubert and Harvey Keitel as Gabriel Feraud in The Duellists. Photograph: Allstar / Cinetext / Scott Free

16. Gabriel Feraud against Armand d’Hubert in The Duellistas (1977)

Scott’s debut, an adaptation of a short story by Joseph Conrad, arguably started a mini trend for men with braided hair, as seen later in Adam Ant. The second duel it is highlighted by Keith Carradine turning to the side to sneeze, and Harvey Keitel exclaiming “Là!” The sword fights were organized by William Hobbs, who we will talk about later.

For many non-Asian film fans, Ang Lee’s romantic fable was their first experience in the Chinese martial fantasy world of wuxia. Following the example of King Hu’s classic A Touch of Zen (1971), Lee set up one of his gravity-defying duels atop the branches of a bamboo grove, where Chow Yun-fat tries to teach Zhang Ziyi a lesson. .

14. Robin Hood vs. the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin and marian (1976)

The bittersweet romance between the older but not the wisest Robin (Sean Connery) and Marian (Audrey Hepburn) is almost overshadowed by the bromance between Robin and his nemesis, Robert Shaw as the cinema’s most sympathetic sheriff of Nottingham. Which means, of course, that they have to cross swords, and choreographer Hobbs shows how exhausting fighting can be for the old men.

On a bridge full of corpses, disabled David Chiang devises a cunning way to wield multiple weapons with one hand to defeat the evil master who killed his best friend. Directed by Chang Cheh, master of the heroic bromance, but choreographed by Lau Kar-leung, who would become one of the best Shaw Brothers action directors.

12. Andre Moreau v Marquis de Maynes in Scaramouche (1952)

Swashbuckling Hollywood at its most outrageous, with Stewart Granger performing most of his own stripey stunts. art comedy pants as he and Mel Ferrer stop and answer throughout a crowded theater, making full use of the balustrades and seat backs in a exciting duel staged by fencing master Fred Cavens.

11. Zatoichi v Hattori Genosuke in Zatoichi (2003)

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

10. Inigo Montoya v Count Rugen in The princess Bride (1987)

“My name is Íñigo 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)

The most memorable duels in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Thackeray’s rogue story are probably those of pistols, but the glorious natural lighting, Steven Berkoff’s perfect twist, and Ryan O’Neal’s blade deflection and grip, trained and choreographed by Anderson, they make this happen. one a guardian.

8. Kyūzō v Tall Samurai in Seven samurai (1954)

“How foolish,” says Kanbei, leader of the samurai, as he watches this duel. “It is obvious what will happen.” But maybe it’s not that obvious to the newbie or first-time viewers of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece. The assailant is full of sound 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 v Captain Pasquale in The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Basil Rathbone, the best fencer in Hollywood, was always cast as a villain, so he always had to lose. But he said Tyrone Power was “the most agile man with a sword that I have ever faced on camera. Tyrone could have locked Errol Flynn in a cocked hat. “His magnificent duel here was staged by Cavens.

6. Hanshiro v Hikukuro in Harakiri (1962)

Takashi Miike’s 2011 remake has its moments, but nothing that compares to the impact of the graveyard duel in Masaki Kobayashi’s original masterpiece, a scathing critique of institutional hypocrisy. Widescreen black and white plus Dutch slopes (a sneaky way to get a Katana sword in frame) plus the great Tatsuya Nakadai in his most furrowed brow add up to a classic showdown.

Another Hobbs, extraordinary, special choreographer. The final duel between a hero (Michael York) insane with grief after the murder of his lover and his scheming nemesis, played by Christopher Lee, follows the fight in a church (shocked nuns) and progressively shows physical exertion. taking its toll on the combatants.

4. Golden Swallow v Jade Faced Tiger in Come drink with me (1966)

King Hu, in the Shaw Brothers movie that put him on the map, revolutionized wuxia by filming his combat scenes as dance, with a female lead (Pei-Pei Cheng, later the villain of Crouching Tiger) who had trained in ballet. In the temple duel, she stands her ground even when the villain cheats by trying to wear her down with his expendable minions.

Fresh off his job on Captain Blood (1935), Cavens was hired to add energy to fight scenes in Michael Curtiz’s classic swordsman, and there isn’t much more energy than Errol Flynn versus Rathbone in fabulous three-strip Technicolor. Perhaps more to stop and charge than could have been found in a true medieval sword game, but one of the great cinematic duels of all time.

2. Sanjuro vs Hanbei in Sanjuro (1962)

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

1. Rob Roy v Archibald Cunningham in Rob roy (nineteen ninety five)

The number one test to demonstrate Hobbs’ ability to cement his fighting choreography in character is this brilliant showdown in which the personalities of the fighters are reflected in their dueling techniques. The aristocratic Cunningham (Tim Roth) is skilled with the rapier, but he’s sadist and overconfident, while the honest Rob (Liam Neeson) is a mess with a broadsword. Guess who wins?


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