The Manliest Swordfights in Film



In the mood for some action movies this weekend? Ranker has some suggestions for killer swordfighting films. Yeah, we all know they are choreographed down to the inch, but some films do it so well that you can suspend your disbelief and wait for one or the other combatant to triumph over his nemesis. Check out these seven films with fight critiques and video evidence. Link

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They must never have seen or heard of [i]Sword of Doom[/i], 1966 with Tatsuya Nakadai and Toshiro Mifune

The choreography of swordfighting in movies is certainly at an aesthetic high point of development in this film. You could go for pages about the early duel's war of nerves, or the sword fight in the snow at night. Has edge play ever been made more beautiful? I seriously doubt it. This scene alone makes the film worthy of preservation and, redistribution by the high brow folks at Criterion, and worth the watching. At the conclusion of "Sword" there is of course a climactic battle in which an infinite number of killers surround and attack Nakadai's antihero. He slashes and stabs his way through them, wave after wave, but they never stop coming, and killing them seems to inflict a greater and greater toll of suffering upon Nakadai, the supposedly remorseless killer. The fighting never stops, we just withdraw and fade out from the scene. He was doomed to be bad, and this endless accumulation of guilt and suffering is the sentence he serves out in his life and/or afterlife. It's an existentialist (by way of Camus), Buddhist, 60s countercultural triumph of exploitation flick gone-art-house from a director who is reputed to have done nothing good before it or after it. But I'll concede that, compared with TVs Spartacus, there isn't a lot of beefcake on view. I mean you don't get to see a lot of well muscled, tanned and oiled leg and bum. If that's the Ranker's gripe against Sword of Doom, then they have a point. Everyone has their favorites I guess.
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Scaramouche (1952) is another that could be on the list; at the climax, Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrar sword-fight their way through an entire theater.
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