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Video: Great sword fights

Date posted: 7 Nov 2014Author: STC Production: Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac demands some very skilled swordplay from its actors. Fight Director Nigel Poulton, who has worked on several Sydney Theatre Company productions in the past, as well as big-budget Hollywood movies, has been leading the actors through daily practice. But, for those of us at STC who prefer to engage with sabres and cutlasses from a safe distance, there's a far less arduous way to prepare...

Here are six of our favourite cinematic sword fights. The easiest way to get in a swashbuckling mood.

 

1. PRINCESS BRIDE  

Rob Reiner's cult classic film has only grown in status since its release. In this famous scene, Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes duel with one foot always firmly planted in the ironic. Despite the comedy, the swordsmanship is actually very good.

 

2. ROBIN HOOD

It's hard to go past Errol Flynn when you talk about swashbuckling heroes. In both Robin Hood and other classics like Captain Blood, he set the benchmark for Hollywood in the 30s.

 

3. CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON  

In this intricately choreographed fight, Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh have way too much skill to limit themselves to swords, or be restricted by gravity. By the end, it's a thrilling draw.

 

4. ROB ROY  

In something of a David and Goliath battle, but where Goliath is the hero, the lumbering Liam Neeson takes on the fancy footwork of Tim Roth in this duel to the death.

 

5. FEARLESS  

Jet Li is a wushu-trained megastar of Chinese cinema. This scene from Fearless, one of his most popular recent movies, displays many of his hallmark talents: extaordinary acrobatics, deft precision and a ferocious punch. Be warned, things get pretty nasty.

 

6. DIE ANOTHER DAY  

James Bond may be better known for his martini than his épée but, in Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan shows that any self-respecting MI6 operative has to know his way around a fencing academy. Though it must be said that this ferocious battle against Toby Stephens departs rather a lot from a classical fencing match.

 

7. THE MASK OF ZORRO  

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas took a few liberties with classical sword-fighting etiquette, but no one complained. Hats off.

 

 

Cyrano de Bergerac, 11 Nov - 20 Dec 2014, Sydney Theatre