Mainstream Cinema’s Best Duels

The duel, in its loosest sense, is a fight between two opposing individuals. Be it with swords, guns, fists or, dare I suggest it, with words (oh, the cliche!), duels are a great way to end a film. But which are the best?

WARNING: This list contains spoilers. Read and watch with caution.

Obi-Wan vs General Grievous – Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

It is strange – most don’t consider inter-species dueling to be worthy of the same praise as its unispecies counterpart. I hate to include a Star Wars prequels film on any “best of” list at The Everygeek for fear of being chased out of town with pitchforks. But what makes this duel in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith special is the fact that one side – General Grievous – fights with four weapons at once. Who could argue with that?

Jen Yu vs. Yu Shu

These special effects in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon have developed a near-cult status. Who could resist a sword fight amongst the tree-tops?

Inigo Montoya vs. The Man in Black

Before the much-quoted “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die”, there was the fight between the hero, The Man in Black, and Montoya. Just look at those sword skills.


Jack Sparrow vs Will Turner

The classic. Pirates of the Caribbean was an unexpected success, and all because of scenes like this.

Neo vs. Agent

The Matrix doesn’t feature swords, but a mano-a-mano fight shouldn’t be dismissed, especially when it’s as spectacular as this.

The Good vs. The Bad vs. The Ugly

It would be remiss not to include a three-way duel on this list, and what better than to include The Good, The Bad and the Ugly‘s final, epic stand-off?

The Mask of Zorro (1940) – The Capitán vs. Zorro

The duel between the Capitán and El Zorro in The Mask of Zorro (1940) is the most realistic on this list. It has no background music, none of that “here’s your sword back” nonsense, and ends with a nice big, slap-in-the-face stab for the Capitán. And that’s not to mention the classic “Z” cut in the wall.

The Bride vs. O-Ren Ishii

This beautifully shot traditional duel between The Bride and O-Ren Ishii concludes the first film in the gory Tarantino duo with awe. It’s not often we see a duel end in an actual, bloody death, but Kill Bill vol. 1 is not an “often” kind of film.

David Mann vs. Truck

Duel is an entire film about, well, a duel. But not your traditional head-to-head, rather a car-to-car, or car-to-truck, or car-to-enourmous-malevolent-oil-tanker.

That concludes this largely jumbled list of best duels in mainstream cinema. Do you have any improvements or suggestions to make? Leave a comment below!

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