Swords and Movies – The Blades That Made The Film

Swords and movies go to together beautifully, nothing like an epic medieval invasion or modern cut film on the Greco-Persian Wars.  I get goosebumps watching these movies because of the swords in them.  I’m a bit of sucker for the sword-and-sandal genre, always have been.  I’m pretty sure it comes from my love of ancient history and the heroes that lived in those times.  Listed below are the swords that deserve some recognition whether it be you just reading this or thinking “Yep.  I need that hanging on my wall.”


The Arn Sword






Braveheart William Wallace's SwordIf you haven’t seen this film then you’re missing out.  Braveheart tells the story of William Wallace (Mel Gibson) a Scottish farmer who is forced into taking up arms against English rule.  He inspires a nation of peasants and commoners to rally together to take what is rightfully theirs.  Their Freedom!  He struggles though against the politics of Scottish royalty and faces a brutal, ruthless English king who will not see Scottish independence during his reign.  Throw in some damsel-in-distresses and you’ve got the perfect knights-and-armor war movie.  



Directed and starring Mel Gibson as well as Brendan Gleeson, Sophie Marceau and Brian Cox.


William Wallace’s Sword

My favorite sword.  I love the scene at the end of this movie where Hamish (Brendan Gleeson) hurls this sword into the air and has it pierce upright into the battlefield before them.  As the movie ends you see the the Scots who are fully armed to the teeth, rush the ground to insight another fight for freedom against the British waiting tentatively across the ground.  Glorious.  Throughout the movie you’ll see this sword thrown around by William Wallace without mercy or grace.  It’s a blade of death.






Star Wars

 Trailers can be seen full screen.

These movies shouldn’t need any introduction.  It’s the top film franchise of all time in relation to fan-base, box office numbers and simply being stupendously cool.  It started in 1977 with A New Hope, then later films included The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  A young man Luke Skywalker destined to be a Jedi Knight to save the galaxy from the Empire.  Star Wars takes us across planets, seeing all sorts of extra-terrestrials, and fighting all sorts of bad guys.  Mainly though, Darth Vader.  Who we find out was a Jedi Knight as well.  Long story short, big intergalactic battles with star ships, androids, aliens, lasers and my favorite the Lightsaber!!  

The franchise was kicked off again with a prequel trilogy starting with The Phantom Menace in 1999.  Following films included Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.  These movies go into Darth Vader’s beginnings, chilling stuff.  If you haven’t seen these films, I suggest you have a Star Wars weekend soon.


The Lightsaber

Nothing better than pretending to be Jedi, having a some sort of stick or sword fighting with your brother and making those cools sounds with your mouth mimicking you’ve got a lightsaber in hand.  Maybe not now as a grown man but definitely before at least 18 years of age, it was still cool.  There are tons of lightsaber fight scenes in the Star Wars franchise that get the blood pumping.  With special thanks to WatchMojo.com, here are the top 10 battles.  

The lightsaber was pure energy and about 3 feet long.  It could cut through every material and was quite proficient of relieving an enemy of their arms and legs.  It was the only weapon a Jedi needed since close combat was just about no contest (unless fighting Sith) and laserblasts from guns could be reflected back at the shooter.


The Jedi Weapon

There isn’t really one particular lightsaber.  Red beams indicates a Sith Lord or the Dark Side of the Force.  Blue and green blades is the standard for the Jedi (I have a preference for green).  Master Yoda (our little green friend) has a cute little green one, much shorter than the normal 4 feet, but that does mean he’s any less dangerous, on the contrary.  Darth Maul wielded a dual-bladed lightsaber, wreaking havoc on Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon (Liam Neeson).  Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) has purple lightsaber, the only one.  






“There can only be one.”  The tagline from the 80’s cult classic Highlander.  This movie tells the tale of a Scottish Highlander MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) born in the 16th century who finds out he’s immortal after surviving what should have been a mortal wound suffered in a clan skirmish.  After being banished from his own clan he’s taken under the tutelage of a millennial old immortal Ramirez (Sean Connery) who teaches him the ways of the immortals.  Told in both present and past storylines; MacLeod faces his final battle in 1985 New York City.  Also starring Clancy Brown.



Christopher Lambert – Connor MacLeod’s Sword

The protagonist’s sword, it’s your typical two-handed medieval Scottish claymore neatly designed to open up a man’s skull with a barbaric war cry.  MacLeod uses it throughout the film in the flashback scenes while he’s still in the Highlands.  He departs with this blade after the death of his wife; a shame really.  I know I’d feel more like a man with this thing hanging off my hip.



Sean Connery – Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez Sword

MacLeod’s mentor Ramirez has a wicked katana.  Made for him by his Japanese father-in-law centuries before they were supposedly made in Japan.  This mystical decapitator *the only way to kill an immortal is to lob off the head* is folded 200 times and is stronger than any sword ever forged.  In the film, after Ramirez’ passing we see it is used by MacLeod in present day New York City.  Personally, I’d rather go with the above Claymore but this still has death written all over it.


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First Knight & King Arthur

King ArthurThese two movies are about the most noble and legendary king of kings, Arthur Pendragon.  Since I was a little boy of relished the stories of King Arthur, his knights, the round table, Camelot, Merlin, and the fabled sword Excalibur.  The tales surrounding these mystical heroes of adventure, war, love and betrayal were my childhood.  I guess this is why I love these two movies.


First Knight

This movie has two story lines.  There is focus on the the love affair between Arthur’s wife and queen, Lady Guinevere and his champion knight Lancelot.  Secondly, a banished knight of Arthur’s seeks Camelot for himself and pillages neighboring lands and villages which draws King Arthur and his army into war.  This film doesn’t have any focus on Excalibur, Merlin or the fable about the sword in the stone.  However, it is too good of a movie to leave out when I’m going to talk about Excalibur.  

It stars Sean Connery as King Arthur, Richard Gere as Lancelot and Julia Ormond as Guinevere.  Released in 1995.


King Arthur

I was pretty excited when I heard about this film and when I found out what it really was about, I felt discouraged to a certain degree.  It was short lived though since this movie dominates.  It’s gritty, dirty and gory, with real men swinging battleaxes, fighting Saxons.  I love it.  The film doesn’t focus on the traditional Arthurian fables at all but instead delves into the supposed real man behind the legend, Artorius Castus.  

The Romans have control of England (Britannia at the time) using an outfit of skilled horseman from a distant conquered land as the Roman military presence.  Artorius is their commander and the horseman are his knights, they sit at a round table, and fight the Woads; who turn out to be led by Merlin with Guinevere among them.  However, they must unify against a common enemy.  You can’t really see much resemblance other than that pertaining to the usual tales of Arthurian legend.  There is a mention in the film though about Arthur and his legendary Excalibur.

It stars Clive Owen as Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot and Kiera Knightley as Guinevere.



The movies don’t go into too much detail about Excalibur yetClive Owen portrays King Arthur it is almost a character in itself of King Arthur’s legend.  I felt it deserves a place in this post so I’m giving it a go.

Excalibur was the most illustrious yet fiercest sword in all of Britain.  There are several versions of how Arthur came into possession of Excalibur so I guess you can pick the one you like the most, I did.  My grandmother told me the version of the Sword in the Stone and the Lady and the Lake entwined.

A sword appeared in an anvil with an inscription citing that whoever pulls out the sword is the true king of the land.
Many knights tried but failed, where young stable boy named Arthur succeeded.  Excalibur was laded with jewels, had mystical powers and glistened in the sun like no other.  As a man he founded Camelot, the greatest kingdom in all the land with many foes wanting to claim its glory.  However, Arthur had Merlin, a powerful wizard as well as his loyal knights to help him rule his dominion.  

Merlin’s story is quite exceptional as well, having been taught his wizardry by the Lady of the Lake. 

Anyway over time, Camelot became a place for all to be safe as well as the guardian of other lands too weak to defend themselves.  Much happens, so I’ll cut to the part where Arthur has been mortally wounded and lies on the battlefield near death.  He asks a faithful knight of his to throw Excalibur in to the lake.  The knight fails twice, keeping the sword not wanting to throw away such a beautiful blade.  Each time he comes back to Arthur saying the task is complete.

Excalibur and The Lady of the Lake

However, Arthur asks the knight what happens when the sword hits the water where the knight lies and tells glorious tales of the sword’s departure.  He can’t give the right answer because Arthur knows what should happen.  The third time the knight throws the sword into the water where a hand simply grabs it and unceremoniously lowers it beneath the surface.







Lord of the Rings

The One Ring


Sauron the Dark Lord

Sauron the Dark Lord

Elvish Armor

Elvish Armor

For anybody into swords being thrown around mercilessly in movies, I think these films will satisfy your palate.  There are three films Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.  Together they’ve accumulated nearly $3 billion in box office revenue which is quite astounding.  These movies have been adapted from the volumes of timeless adventure novel The Lord of the Rings.  Now for a brief overview.  The story takes place in the fictional realm of Middle Earth, a land of orks, hobbits, dragons, trolls, wizards, dwarfs, elves etc.

Arwen Evenstar Necklace

Arwen’s Evenstar Necklace worn by Aragorn

A partially resurrected, destructive and hateful warlord named Sauron seeks the source of his power that he lost long ago, a magical ring.  In a turn of events, the ring has fallen unexpectedly into the hands of a young hobbit (a very small, manlike being) who realizes the ring must be destroyed to eradicate the Warlord’s evil once and for all.  However, he must be the one to do it and it must be done by travelling a long, dangerous and treacherous journey.  He is helped and hindered by men, elves, orks and other various creatures and beings.  




Directed by Peter Jackson.  Starring one helluva cast with Viggo Mortenson, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, Hugo Weaving, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Christopher Lee, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Marton Csokas, and Any Serkis.

Lord of the Rings Weaponry

Throughout the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy there is an array of weapons used to cause someone or something agonizing pain.  Swords, shields, spears, bows and arrows, axes and even a wizards’ shafts are all used to defend oneself.  It seems that each race considers themselves the best in weapon forgery with a particular dispute between the elves and dwarfs.  It seems that the world of Men use swords, Elves like the bow and arrow, and Dwarves seem to fancy axes.  

The main antagonists in Middle Earth seem to be the poor old Orks.  They seem to get the short end of the stick by only getting rusty old swords and shields, that are far more likely to cause someone to die from tetanus than stab wounds.


The Anduril Sword

Viggo Mortensen Portrays Aragorn

Viggo Mortensen Portrays Aragorn

I distinctly like Aragorn’s (Viggo Mortensen) birthright sword.  This sword was used by his ancestor, which was fragmented at the time to severe the ringfinger of Sauron during the last battle of Mordor and subsequently removed the Dark Lord’s power.  It was fabricated by the elves and re-forged for Aragron in Return of the Kings.  Used to summon and yield the Undead as well as to rightfully claim the thrown of Gondor.  I believe it is the most legendary sword out of LOTR and by far the most important weapon…….other than the One Ring, of course.





Swords and Movies 2 Coming Soon (well, one day)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.  I’ve watched most of these films, some are included in this post, some are not and will be.  And some not at all.  I’m definitely doing another post about awesome films and their swords.  

If you have any queries, questions or suggestions, just comment below and I’ll reply in prompt time.  Thanks for reading.  

MCM’s Rohan.


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