Best Sword Fights in Movies

Here at Black Gate, this post by Violette Malan on the top five sword fights in movies.

You don’t have to read many of my posts to know that The Princess Bride is pretty well my favorite movie. And though I love the sword fighting scene between Wesley and Iñigo, and the later one between Iñigo and Count Rugen, they are not actually my favorite sword fighting scenes. In both cases, it’s really the dialogue that makes the scenes memorable. So what movies would I rank above The Princess Bride in sword fighting wonderfulness?

I’m not an expert, so I guess for me the snappy dialogue often makes the sword fight. Hence The Princess Bride is right up there for me, yes.

If you are really into sword fighting, I wonder if you can guess which movies Violette Malan picks out.

I will tell you, they are all historical.

Also, one of them is the 2002 The Count of Monte Cristo. I will say: I didn’t like it. I have never liked any Count of Monte Christo movie. It’s a tough job, making a Count of Monte Cristo that suits my taste, because it is one of my very favorite books.

On the other hand, you know what would improve every single CoMC movie ever made? Cutting the prison scenes to fifteen minutes. Maybe twenty minutes, but only if you lengthen the overall film to compensate. I mean, listen: Skip lightly over the intro and setup. Skip lightly over the solitary confinement part. Skip almost as lightly over Faria, who certainly does not need to teach Edmond Dantes how to fight. I mean, seriously, Faria? Let Dantes learn all that in mysterious fashion after the escape. You know, the way it happened in the book.

Touch just briefly on the escape.

That way you can spend nearly all your time doing the fun part: after Edmond Dantes reappears as the rich, enigmatic Count of Monte Cristo.

Why, if you do that, maybe you could make Haydée in to a real character! Shocking, I know. Also Monsieur Noirtier, one of my favorites; and if you’re including him, you might have time to develop the whole subplot with Valentine De Villefort and Maximilien Morrel.

In fact, here’s an idea: try sticking basically to the plot of the book — the annotated version would be fine. There’s a lot there, even in that version. But I bet you could do it if you cut the prison scenes down to the bare minimum. A couple thirty-second time-has-passed vignettes would let you compressing that whole part down to 15 minutes.

Ten, even.

That’s the Count of Monte Cristo movie I’d like to see.

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4 thoughts on “Best Sword Fights in Movies”

  1. That website has atrocious design.

    I’ve never understood the love for The Princess Bride movie. I think it saw it at the wrong time of life.
    I hoped the poster would have the Lester Musketeers movies and Court Jester, and Robin Hood (Errol Flynn). Two out of three, and she agrees Court Jester is good. The others she lists I’ve never seen.

    I’ve actually read the unabridged Count of MC. It was a good story but I’ve never gone back to it. I’ve never seen a movie of it, though. Do they really spend a lot of time in the prison scenes? Why do they need more than 5 minutes or so?

  2. I recently had a chance to see all three live action Rurouni Kenshin movies. Besides being excellent movies in their own right, the sword fights are incredible. The amount of cheating is at a minimum, and the actors actually pull off a number of moves I’ve only seen animated before. Those are definitely films I plan to rewatch just for the fight scenes.

  3. Elaine, yes, they totally do, and no, I have no idea why. They spend roughly half the entire movie with the setup and the prison. (It seems like more.)

    I’ve read both a very good annotated edition and the complete edition and I must admit I prefer the annotated version. Whoever annotated it did an excellent job of cutting. I only miss a little of the cut scenes when I re-read it.

    Megan, good to know. Those movies sound well worth watching.

  4. Megan, I’ve passed on your recommendation to The Teen who likes the first half of the Kenshin manga, but was dubious about the probabilities of a live action film being very good. I think we’ll be watching in the near future. (yay Amazon prime!)

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