The Five Best Swashbuckler Films

ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOODThe Five Best Swashbuckler Films

One of the challenges with listing “swashbuckler films” is that they form a wide genre that defies easy categorization. Yes, a swashbuckling picture must be adventurous in spirit and include some swordplay. However, that definition cuts a wide swath, so one could include tales of knighthood, pirates, samurai, surf-and-sandal epics, and Vikings. To keep my list size to a scant five (that’s the “5 Best” rule!), I omitted the latter three groups and focused on classic films from the sound era only. I expect some disagreements (principally from Douglas Fairbanks fans and those bemoaning the inclusion of only two Flynn flicks…yes, his films could have dominated the list). But, hey, disagreements generate discussion and that’s a part of loving movies, right?

1. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

One of the greatest films of all time with one of the greatest casts ever assembled. It has action, humor, romance, and a marvelous hissable villain in Basil Rathbone. Errol Flynn was never more dashing and Olivia de Havilland is the consummate screen heroine. The climatic swordfight is so entertaining that I missed the continuity glitch for many years (watch Basil’s sword magically move between shots). It is, quite simply, the ultimate swashbuckling film.

2. Scaramouche (1952)

Stewart Granger is marvelous in a role that Errol Flynn would have played ten years earlier. Janet Leigh, who has never looked lovelier, exudes charming innocence and Eleanor Parker gives a delightful performance as the fiery red-headed Lenore. She and Granger have a natural chemistry that makes their scenes together sparkle. The famous MGM production values are very much on display; the colors are vivid, the costumes ornate, and the set design impeccable. You’ll swear that the thrilling climactic swordfight (maybe the longest in film history at 5:35 minutes…and my personal favorite) was filmed in a real Parisian theatre draped in gold, red, and white.

3. The Court Jester (1956)

Yes, it’s a comedy, but it’s such a spot-on spoof of swashbuckling films that I think it qualifies as one itself. In a rare role worthy of his talents, Danny Kaye gets to sing, dance, use funny voices, contort his expressive face, and excel at physical comedy (such as walking in magnetized armor).The Court Jester also includes Danny’s most famous routine—the one that involves the pellet with the poison in the chalice from the palace, the vessel with the pestle with the brew that is true, and (finally) the flagon with the picture of a dragon (which is used for the brew that is true after the vessel with the pestle is broken). And did I mention that Danny and Basil Rathbone engage in the funniest sword duel in the history of cinema?

4. The Mark of Zorro (1940)

I’ll probably get in trouble for listing the Tyrone Power version and not addressing Douglas Fairbanks (but I am consistent with my rules). Taking a page from Leslie Howard’s acting class, Tyrone does a fine job of playing the fop who is a fine fencer. His close quarters swordfight with Basil Rathbone (there seems to be a trend with him) is one of the more realistic duels—and it’s an entertaining one, too.

5. The Sea Hawk (1940)

There’s little similarity with Rafael Sabatini’s novel–and it should have been shot in color (by this point, Jack Warner thought Flynn was too big a draw to waste money on color). Still, The Sea Hawk is a first-rate swashbucker with Errol in top form as an English privateer who plunders Spanish ships while Queen Elizabeth looks the other way. The Sea Hawk reunites much of the Robin Hood team, including director Michael Curtiz, composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and performers Claude Rains, Alan Hale, and Una O’Connor. Errol’s big swordfight with baddie Henry Daniell even recalls Robin Hood, right down to Curtiz’s marvelous use of shadows.

Honorable mentions:  Ivanhoe, The Crimson Pirate, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Captain Blood.

What’s your favorite swashbuckler film? Let us know in the comments!

Rick29 is a film reference book author and a regular contributor at the Classic Film & TV Café/ You can also check him out on Facebook and Twitter. He’s a big fan of MovieFanFare, too, of course!

  • Fred Melnick

    The reason Basil Rathbone’s duels were so great and realistic was that he was a great swordsman in real life with a great interest in fencing.

  • Jim

    For all of us silent-movie fans, here is my list of the top five silent swashbucklers:

    1. The Black Pirate
    2. Don Juan
    3. Robin Hood
    4. The Mark of Zorro
    5. The Prisoner of Zenda

  • Tito Pannaggi

    I’m following you Jim, but you forgot THE NUMBER ONE FILM; Fred Niblo / Douglas Fairbank’s ‘The Three Musketeers’!!!

  • Hank Zangara

    Other deserving candidates:
    Burt Lancaster’s “The Crimson Pirate”
    “Cutthroat Island”
    and of course “The Princess Bride.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/whatever41 Cynthia LaRochelle

    Saw Crimson Pirate on TCM yesterday. Great film, from the ’50s’. First viewed in the theatre as a teen & had a super crush on Burt. Fantastic smile. A top athlete from the circus, he had all the moves. So nice to remember film without the gross language. Always a fan of the “swashers”. (I made that word up).

  • bonnerace

    Good comments. Between Flynn and Tyrone Power, they could have sealed up this list…but I like this genre of films. Rathbone was a fencer in real life, but I understand he started learning after he got this kind of parts. He had the look/attitude for the villianous roles. Keep the commentaries coming!

  • thom bennett

    My fave swashers are “The Prisoner of Zenda” (both the Coleman and Granger versions) and Stewart Granger’s “Scaramouche”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1313918551 Enrique Bird-Picó

    I like your list – although “Captain Blood” should be in it! Perhaps instead of “The Court Jester”, which should be in a different list. I would prefer to expand the list to 7, and, substituting “Captain Blood” for “The Court Jester”, include the original “The Prisoner of Zenda” and the Fairbanks “Mark of Zorro”.

  • John Primavera

    “Scaramouche”(1952) is my all-time favorite. “Adventures of Don Juan”(1949), “Ivanhoe”(1952),
    “Knights of the Round Table”(1953), and “Prisoner
    of Zenda”(1952).

  • Dr. Mirakle

    The Court Jester? Give me a break. 1940′s Seahawk over Captain Blood…come on. The Seahawk,((silent version), was heads and shoulders superior to the talkie and much truer to Sabatini’s novel.

  • kent gravett

    For Power don’t forget The Black Swan, very underatted but a good one. Also, if one does a stretch you might include Captain from Castille and The Black Rose. But they are a stretch. One of my old favorites which is most likely a weak film is The Spanish Main with Paul Henrid of all people. One of the first I saw when very young and loved. Thanks for Scaramouche with its full training of how to become a fencer. Even motivated me to read the book. And one cannot foget the plain joy of The Crimson Pirate.

  • Blair Kramer.

    Yep. You got it. Errol Flynn’s “The Adventures Of Robin Hood.”

  • tony

    Rick’s list is very comprehensive particularly if we only have 5 films to vote on. Although Flynn, Rathbone and Power dominate this genre I have 3 more to add:-

    * The Man in the Iron Mask (1939 version)
    * Le Bossu – a first rate french film full of duels and a great story.
    * The Mask of Zorro. The stunts were great and it had two memorable sword fights.

  • golden1

    Regarding Errol Flynn, did you know that he was NOT listed on AFI’s Top 50 Actors of all time? Incredible. Flynn owned the swashbuckler genre.

  • Roger Gilbert

    I buy Robin Hood, Sea Hawk and Zorro. I think Captain Blood should be included.

  • Jerry Bash

    Everybody’s list is great, but you have to add the duel between Robert Shaw and Peter Boyle in “Swashbuckler”. Some don’t like this movie but I do. Also, don’t forget “The Sword of Lancelot” with Cornel Wilde, who was also a fencing champion.

  • bob

    I am old enough to remember Scaramouch and the Crimson Pirate, both of which are favorites of mine.

  • Al Featherston

    Agree that Flynn’s Robin Hood has to be No. 1. Could go either way on the Sea Hawk/Captain Blood debate — they are both superb. Also agree that the silents should be treated separately.

    My one disagreement is with The Court Jester. To me, it doesn’t belong in this genre.

    But what about Richard Lester’s Three Musketeers/Four Musketeers from the early 1970s — funny, romantic and the best choreographed swordfights ever put on film?

  • Gary Vidmar

    Yes…I’m with Al Featherston…the Richard Lester set of Musketeer films are hard to beat. He got all the elements exactly right!

  • Bill Pentland

    The Crimson Pirate and The Flame and the Arrow – both Burt Lancaster vehicles.

  • Tamazon

    Kudos for including the most overlooked swashbuckler of all time, The Court Jester! It contains my favorite sword fight of all time. Hey, as great as FLynn, Fairbanks, Power, etc. may be, let’s face it, Basil Rathbone is the one who REALLY owns this category. A swashbuckler is only as good as it’s swordplay. I agree with your list, for the most part. I’d put in Captain Blood instead of The Sea Hawk, though. Scaramouche narrowly beats out the Ronald Coleman version of the Prisoner of Zenda, but only because of the much more interesting plot (and women’s roles!). Get it? Got it. Good!

  • LJ

    For my money, it’s; Captain Blood, The Adventures ofRobin Hood, The Prisoner of Zenda ( Ronald Colman), and The Sea Hawk.

  • Ludy Wilkie

    Let us not forget the Walt Disney version of TREASURE ISLAND. Robert Newton did such a great job as the one legged pirate, Long John Silver, that he spawned a sequel, RETURN TO TREASURE ISLAND ( later released as LONG JOHN SILVER) and a TV series. I believe the two latter were Australian efforts. He went on to make BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE, an exciting swashbuckler yarn though far from historically accurate.

  • Rolf the Ruf

    Hate to quibble but it seems to me the term “swashbuckler” refers to a very specific historical epoch, generally implies nautical action and swordplay in which rapiers and cutlasses are employed. Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, Knights of the Round Table, etc., have no place in this category. Those are medieval adventures (completely different time period), not swashbucklers. I suppose a nautical frame of reference is not always necessary, as the Mark of Zorro should certainly qualify, but when the term swashbuckler is employed, it calls to mind images of pirates swinging aboard with grappling hooks and knives held tight in teeth. Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, Against All Flags, The Black Swan, The Count of Monte Cristo — these are the stuff of Swashbuckling Adventure!

  • chris mattson

    THE SWASHBUCKLER OF ALL-TIME IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE ERROL FLYNN. IN ALL HIS MOVIES HE POURED OUT THAT DETERMINED GRACE AND CONFIDENCE THAT WAS- ERROL FLYNN. IT DIDN’T HURT THAT HIS FOE OFTEN WAS THE CLASSIC BASIL RATHBONE, WHO WAS SUPER TALENTED WITH A SWORD.

  • Gary Koca

    You’ve got four really good ones there. The Court Jester is more of a comedy, and I would not include it. Instead, I would add the ORIGINAL version of The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) with Louis Hayward in his greatest role as the twin brothers vying for the crown of France. Great supporting cast. Definitely top five.

  • Annette

    I agree with everybody. Loved all these stars and movies. Anything with Basil Rathbone as the villain promised great fencing. This is out of the era…so maybe doesn’t count in this category but the most fun sword fighting scene in years is in the second Pirates of the Carribean movie. I had to take my grandchildren to see it and the fight on the waterwheel made it worth the trip.

  • Gary Koca

    To me a swashbuckler implies lots of swordplay, does not have to be nautical, although that is certainly one valid interpretation. With the broader interpretation, The Adventures of Robin Hood is certainly #1.

  • ed

    louis hayward black arrow i guess is forgotting about or more modern rob roy. when i watched rob roy audience cheered when tim roth meets his end by sword. another good sword play was sterling hayden in the golden hawk a color b movie. i agree with orginal 5 choices

  • doug evans

    any flynn film and certainly Robin Hood but the 70′s 3 and 4 musketeer films have to rank up there somewhere…the 3 begins with a duel for goodness sake

  • Kathy Mills

    I love swashbucklers. I agree with all of you picks. Why not “The Court Jester”, I absolutely loved it. It has romance, sword play, intrigue, great acting and actors, superb costumes and design and a great added element comedy. I think people think it doesn’t belong because of that, why can’t a swashbuckler be funny? While they are on the run with the baby king, they even have a pretty steamy love scene between Danny Kaye and Glynnis Johns. That’s what you call chemistry! It has my vote!

  • Michael Abandopnd

    Still one of the most clever and unusual swordfights, “The Princess Bride”. They start left-handed and finish right-handed.

  • Rolf the Ruf

    Gary, I agree that swordplay is certainly central requirment of a Swashbuckler film. And I will allow that interpretations broader than my own may be acceptable. I have already allowed that a nautical theme is not entirely necessary. However, as a history buff, I have to draw distinctions between epochs. Would you consider Spartacus or Jason and the Argonauts to be swashbucklers? I think not – more properly classed as “swords and sandals” or of the classical epoch. Swashbuckling, for me, refers to a period between the 16th and 18th century, and adventures with roguish swordsmen, musketeers, pirates, and the like. Robin Hood is set in the 13th century, when men wore chainmail into combat and weilded large kite shields and swung heavy broadswords and axes at one another. For me, there is nothing less appealing about the Medieval Epoch – in fact it is one of my favorite periods. It is just not a part of the Swashbuckling period (IMHO).

  • G. Phillips

    My absolute personal favorites are:
    1. Count of Monte Cristo
    2. Mark of Zorro
    3. Adventures of Robin Hood
    4. Spanish Main (Paul Henreid; Maureen O’Hara)
    5. Scarlet Pimpernel

  • Jon DeCles

    The Crimson Pirate has to be my favorite, with Lancaster paying tribute to Fairbanks the gymnast. But I am surprised that nobody has mentioned “Robin and Marion,” which has a great sword fight at the end, one that is pretty authentic. The Richard Lester films are also great for their sword fighting.

  • Gary Koca

    Sorry to be a pest here, but if you are talking about nautical films (pirate movies), I have to agree with Jon. You won’t find a better swashbuckler than The Crimson Pirate, and Burt Lancaster is just terrific in the title role.

  • gary

    how about yellowbeard!

  • Rolf the Ruf

    The Crimson Pirate – okay!

    Yellowbeard? “I may be blind, but I ‘ave acute ‘earing.” “I’m not interested in your jewelry, cloth eyes!”

  • Ham

    I’m with on the mark of zorro. That was a great film. I saw it when i was ten and i still love it. However, i would have included three musketeers on the list.

  • John Small

    Rof, you’re the first person I’ve ever heard – history buffs included – who I’ve ever heard argue that “Robin Hood” is not a “swashbuckler.” Having taken the time to look up the dictionary definition of the word, I can confirm that the term was coined in the 16th century; but that no more means that it should not be applied to stories set in earlier times than saying a religious epic can only be set during Biblical times. As far as the vast majority of fans, critics and (I’m assuming) historians are concerned, tales like “Robin Hood” are very much swashbucklers.

    So put it in more simple terms: You’re wrong.

  • John Small

    Rof, you’re the first person I’ve ever heard – history buffs included – who I’ve ever heard argue that “Robin Hood” is not a “swashbuckler.” Having taken the time to look up the dictionary definition of the word, I can confirm that the term was coined in the 16th century; but that no more means that it should not be applied to stories set in earlier times than saying a religious epic can only be set during Biblical times. As far as the vast majority of fans, critics and (I’m assuming) historians are concerned, tales like “Robin Hood” are very much swashbucklers.

  • John Small

    My comment appears to have been posted twice my mistake. Apologies for that.

    As for my own Top Five list:

    1. The Adventures Of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn)
    2. The Mark Of Zorro (Tyrone Power)
    3. Captain Blood (Flynn)
    4. The Sea Hawk (Flynn)
    5. Against All Flags (Maureen O’Hara, my favorite female swashbuckler!)

  • Rolf the Ruf

    What you mean to say, John, is that in your esteemed opinion, I am wrong. If so stated, I accept your opinion. However, let me ask you this: Is the movie “Troy” a swashbuckler? Magnificent swordfighting scenes, well choreographed, spectacular action and adventure. Is it a swashbuckler, though? If not, why not? What is YOUR definition of a swashbuckler?

  • Glenn

    Rolf the Ruf- I looked up the definition of SWASHBUCKLER in Merriam Webster:
    1: a swaggering or daring soldier or adventurer
    2: a novel or drama dealing with a swashbuckler

    My top 5 swashbucklers (with IMDB ratings) are:
    1) The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 8.0
    2) Captain Blood (1935) 7.7
    3) The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) 7.8
    4) The Sea Hawk (1940) 7.7
    5) Scaramouche (1952) 7.7

    Three of these films had Flynn, Curtiz, and Korngold- a magical combination of acting, directing, and music. I miss Olivia de Havilland and Basil Rathbone in The Sea Hawk. All of them have great sword fights. I consider Captain Blood (1935) to be the film that re-energized the swashbuckler tradition that was started by Douglas Fairbanks in the silent era.

  • Nell Bryant

    The absolute best swashbuckler/romance/adventure film in my opinion is Franchman’s Creek. Apparently none of the others commenting have seen it. Made in 1944 (I saw it on AMC years ago) starring Joan Fontaine and Arturo DeCordova. AND, of course, one of the greatest actors in any movie, Basil Rathbone as the villain. This movie has it all. Sets and costumes are fantastic.

  • Heather

    My favorite swashers are in no particular order The Spanish Main, Crimson Pirate, and Captain Blood!

  • Rolf the Ruf

    Okay, let me help you out here, since no one can answer my question. Troy is not considered a swashbuckler because it is an attempt to portray a mythical/historical period in realistic terms. A swashbuckler film portrays swordplay in a highly flamboyant and theatrical fencing style, generally associated with a historical period known forthe use of lighter weight blades – rapiers, like the musketeers were thought to use. The reason the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood, does qualify as a swashbuckler is because it was directed and choreographed using the flayboyant fencing style of combat. While this is not historically accurate for the period it portrays, it makes for high adventure on screen and allows this movie to be lumped together in the swashbuckler category. I am okay with that, but for me personally, swashbuckling should be limited to films portraying periods where a fencing style of combat was actually used. Call it a stricter interpretation, but I am okay with the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood being considered a swashbuckler — just not the Russell Crowe version. ;-)

  • Bean

    Captain Blood is a must!

  • Manuel Castaneda

    Scaramouche is the best. the scene in which Mell Ferrer and Stewart Granger do the swordfight is superb.

  • Michelle Malkin

    Why does everyone ignore the Frank Langella
    Zorro movie? Yes, it was an outright remake
    of the Power movie with the same music, but
    it was very well done and perfectly casted. Langella was a fantastic Don Diego, Ricardo Montalban was a great villain and Henry
    Darrow was wonderful as Don Alejandro. They
    were terrific actors and all were very good-looking men.

    I am desperate to get a copy of this movie.

  • Errol the Magnificent

    Abbott and Costello meet Captain Kidd. It always comes down to A & C!!

  • rocman797

    All selections mentioned here I have greatly enjoyed over the years. just wonder why so few selections for The Three Musketeers . Because it’s become or is a workhorse of a franchise for Hollywood, possibly? Some of my favorite swordplay sequences with great stunts and choreography are the early ’70′s versions which I think were directed by Richard Lester. Very entertaining.

  • Fred Smith

    I would include two films from the 1970s starring Richard Chamberlain:
    “The Count Of Monte Cristo” and “The Man In The Iron Mask”

  • Jhong Dhu

    The word ‘swash’ means the splash of a liquid and the word ‘buckler’ means a method of defense. In combination, ‘swashbuckler’ originally was coined to denote seafaring fighters – like pirates or Naval personnel. However, history and culture have moved on and the current dictionary definition of a ‘swashbuckler’ is any flamboyant adventurer or swordsman. Therefore, the word ‘swashbuckler’ may justly apply to any adventurer or swordsman throughout the history of the world. From Biblical times to the present. Ali Baba and Sinbad the Sailor are every bit ‘swashbucklers’ along with Robin Hood, Zorro and Captain Blood. In strict terms, Uma Thurman’s character in the ‘Kill Bill’ films is a swashbuckler.

  • Ani Crotophaga

    The Three Amigos!

  • Mel Lastella

    #1-Scaramouche,#2-The Three musketers,#3-The Man In The Iron Mask,#4-The Scarlet Pimpernel

  • Rick

    The sword fight at the end of SCARAMOUCHE is the longest one filmed, and Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer did it without extras. If you recall that some of the swordfighting was done on a balcony rail they clearly earned their paychecks. This was filmed before CGI, and one misstep would have had them falling into the seats below.

  • Juanita Curtis

    Very entertaining article which has generated lots of lively discussion. I never would have considered The Adventures of Robin Hood as a swashbuckler before but I can see how it fits now. Definitely agree that Errol Flynn should be at the top of the list followed closely by Tyrone Power ( my favourite actor from the Golden years). Love Maureen O”Hara as the damsel in distress and must see Against all Flags again.

  • Lou H

    Oh,no! You forgot the greatest of them all: “The Spanish Main,” with Paul Henried, whose brash manliness and suave good looks was enough to make my six-year-old heart beat faster,and still makes my decades-older heart thump; and Maureen O’Hara, at the peak of her beauty,with her glorious red hair, green eyes, and porcelain complexion. That movie had (has) it all: Great camera work, beautiful color, splashes of comedy relief at just the rght moments, intricate plot, lots of action, and many opportunities for Paul Henried to swash his buckle. Not only that, but the bad guys got their come-uppance, the good guys got away, and the hero and heroine lived happily ever after. My all-time favorite.

  • Michael England

    Basil Rathbone was a grand fencer for real, but he came in second behind the 1934 U.S. Collegate Fencing Champion, Cornell Wilde. Wilde was scheduled to go to the 1936 Berlin Olympics as Captain of the U.S. Fencing Team, but was offered a role in a movie and split for Hollywood instead!

    The long duel in Scaramouche between Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer is my favorite by far! Victor Young’s music to this flick is one of my favorite movie scores!

    Mike England

  • Jack Jones

    The “pellet with the poison” routine in “The Court Jester” was first used in Bob Hope’s “Never Say Die”.

  • Michael Klossner

    Note the best book on the swashbucklers, Swordsmen of the Screen : From Douglas Fairbanks to Michael York, by Jeffrey Richards. My favorites — The Black Pirate (silent, Fairbanks),
    The Prisoner of Zenda (Colman) and The Mark of Zorro (Power).

  • Lou G

    There have been many screen swordfights, but to me the hands down best is the Tyrone Power Basil Rathbone clash in The Mark of Zorro. Although relatively short, it is the only swordfight that has no hint of being staged. I’ve recorded it on DVR and some of the moves can only be appreciated in slow motion. Watch the final moves in slo-mo, and you will be amazed at the complexity and speed.

  • Garry Stewart

    All the best of the English speaking swashbucklers have been covered in the above comments. Fencing masters Fred Cavens, Ralph Faulkner and Jean Heremans were the the Hollywood hot shots, staging those exciting duels for many of the stars. They also doubled for them on many occasions, and Cavens’s son Albert covered much of Tyrone Powers swordplay in The Mark of Zorro, and can be seen duelling with Jose Ferrer in the outstanding theatre foyer confrontation in” Cyrano de Bergerac .” [ 1950 ] Englishman Bob Anderson is considered the doyen of modern day screen fencing, The Mask of Zorro, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean some of his most recent work, although well into his 80′s.
    Give some thought also to European swashbucklers.
    Michel Carliez has staged some wonderful duels in ‘” Le Bossu” [aka " On Guard",]” D’artganan and the 3 Musketeers”,” Fan Fan la Tulipe”,and ” Julie, Chevalier de Maupin”, and” Lagadare”,[French] the last two were mini series .
    A couple of Spanish ones to look for, Viggo Mortensen as ” Captain Alatriste” also staged by Bob Anderson and Carliez and ” The Fencing Master”, master at arms unknown .

    • fbusch

      While I love “the Crimson Pirate”, I don’t see it as a traditional Swashbuckler. Too much humor and silliness. And while all the previous titles are greatly admired, A film which I greatly admire And can’t resist, (with great swordplay and weapon use) is “Seven Samouri”. I’ve never seen it without subtitles, but, since it spawned “The Magnificent Seven”, I know all the dialog by heart. A true swashbuckler? Who knows….. Broadening the range, The last Samari, And for swordplay, The Book of Eli…..

  • SAChip

    No particular order:
    Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.–
    The Thief of Baghdad and The Mark of Zorro
    Errol Flynn –
    The Adventures of Robin Hood and Captain Blood
    Burt Lancaster–
    The Crimson Pirate
    I’m not sure why the silents should be in a separate category….

  • richard finn

    One of my favorite swashbuckler movies is Captain Horatio Hornblower with Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo. There were great naval battles and sword play as well. I wonder what ended upon the cutting room floor. Also the scene were Peck and his fellow prisoners steal a ship and sail for England. Great Flick! Of course Peck never matches the sword play of Flynn and others.

  • B. Early

    You could name 5 swashbuckler movies each from Flynn & Power, mine are the mark of zorro, scaramouche, adventures of robin hood,the black swan, & the scarlet pimpernel. I also like the master of ballantre, capt. blood,willow, princess bride, & the count of monte cristo. Not inorder

  • Alfie

    My family loved all the swashbucklers. However, my favorite swashbuckling duel occurred between Liam Neeson and Tim Roth in “Rob Roy.” What a battle of two totally opposite styles – one with beauty, grace, and skill – the other with strength, great skill, but little grace. Tim Roth also ranks up there among my favorite villains in this period piece of 1700s Scotland. “Rob Roy” is among my classic keepers ….

  • John Stanaway

    Right on list! I am always ready to view my DVD of CAPTAIN BLOOD, never tire of it. Perhaps the most stirring and appropriate scoring of a swashhhbuckler is Korngold’s SEA HAWK. He and Miklos Rosza are largely responsible for turning me on to classical and romantic music.

  • Lisa

    People will probably cringe but I’m including The Black Shield of Falworth with Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh and Lady Hawke (Hauer/Pfieffer) . Light but lovely. My picks are (no order):
    Treasure Island (Newton),
    Count of Monte Cristo (Chamberlain),
    Frenchman’s Creek (Fontaine/DeCordova),
    Master of Ballantre
    Ivanhoe
    Seahawk
    Scarlet Pimpernel

    I think much depends on whether you are just looking for a well choreographed sword scene or you are looking at the total package. I think Monte Cristo has the full package but who could not love Robin Hood? And I’m disgusted Knights of the Roundtable is out of print! (Notice how we were only allowed five but I cleverly got these others in :D) I’m a swashie, I admit it.

  • G. Darrell Russell, Jr.

    The Three Musketeers, Four Musketeers and the Return of the Musketeers, all Richard Lester films are wonderful, entertaining swahbucklers. Also Rob Roy is a great swashbuckler with Liam Neeson playing with great physicality and moral conviction. These movies at least belong in the top ten with the Errol Flynn and Burt Lancaster classics.

  • RICHARD B.

    are there anyone out there that has “The Adventures of Don Juan” as their favorite? This is my all time favorite Errol Flynn film. Flynn had at that time found innocent in the famous rape trial of two underage women on his yacht(he was defended by the legendary attorney Louie Nizer). The famous expression “in like Flynn” found its way in the language of that day.
    When the movie came out it was a boxoffice hit. It won an acadamy award for BEST COSTUME DESIGN. It still looks good todaY BECAUSE IT WAS SHOT IN GREAT TECHNICOLOR. There are great fencing scenes in this movie, especially in the final showdown at the end. It was done so,so, tounge and cheek that you can hear in the dialogue many references to references to Flynn’s real life. There are many great funny asides between Flynn and his servent(played by Alan Hale, Sr.). Alan Hale always played opposite Flynn in many classice movies(at least 10 appearances together).
    The fencing scenes are first rate and the famous score by Max Steiner was used in its entirety by George Hamilton in his 1970′s comedy “Zoro The Gay Blade.” The Steiner theme is one of the gret thematic scores of all time. It is always my favorite film score.

    By the way we could start a new topic of discussion of the greatest film scores of all time.
    My top list is:
    1. The Adventures of Don Juan
    2. The Great Escape
    3. The Magnifient Seven
    4. The Jmaes Bond Theme
    5. The Longest Day
    6. Lawrence of Arabia
    7. Doctor Zhivago
    8. The Caine Mutiny(The Caine Mutiny March)
    9. The Alamo(The John Wayne directed version)
    10.The Sea Hawk

  • Sue

    Without a doubt, Don Juan! There’s never been a movie quite like it.

  • Marvin Kujawski

    Let’s not forget The Flame and the Arrow with Burt Lancaster and Virginia Mayo!

  • Garry Stewart

    Favourite movie scores for me would include Captain From Castile, The Sea Hawk, Adventures of Robin Hood ,Charge of the Light Brigade [ 1936], Spartacus, Adventures of Don Juan, Mark of Zorro [1940]Lawrence of Arabia,Magnificent 7,The Ghost and Mrs Muir and Goldfinger .

  • Omar Soliman

    Thank you, thank you Richard B for racing to the rescue with Adventures of Don Juan, my personal favorite swashbuckler! I think that Robin Hood gets the top spot for it’s propulsive nature. The movie moves along very fast. Which is why Korngold did not want to score it. He said that there is too much action. I think it just moves along very fast. Don Juan has some of that. AND features Flynn better than most of his other films. The story is really about his character. Robin Hood as well. Ty Powers Zorro and Black Swan needed more of that. Fairbanks Black Pirate should be on the list. As should, a Stewart Granger film called Swordsman of Sienna, which features Granger very well. I would put Richard Lester’s Musketeers film/s high on the list. I would also not put Court Jester on it at all. It is a comedy. It is much more about comedy than swashbuckling action. Flynn’s Master of Ballantrae and Coleman’s Prisoner of Zenda are both great films and deserve to be on the list. Richard Chamberlain’s Count of Monte Cristo and Man in Iron Mask also deserve honorable mention. And Cornel Wilde should get special mention on any such list. As was stated, he was probably the finest fencer hollywood EVER had. Beyond 1934 U.S. Collegate Fencing Champion, I believe he was the only actor who was also a fencing trainer in his off hours. On screen he may not have out shone Flynn or Granger. But we are lead to believe that in brandishing a blade, he was the best.

    Film scores is a whole separate category. As a film score collector, I agree that Steiner’s score for Don Juan is high on the “most effective in the movie” category. But as a stand alone score, I would rate Korngold’s Robin Hood or Captain Blood as the better score. Robin Hood is a rolling, bounding score that never stops changing and urging every moment. Steiner’s Don Juan and Newman’s Mark of Zorro, by nature of the film they are accompanying, call for much repetition of themes and musical cues,.. although they are good ones.

  • Al

    The Adventures of Robin Hood , The Mark of Zorro with Tyrone Powers and The Three Musketeers and the Four Musketeers with Michael York and Richard Chamberlain and Captain Blood and finally the Three Musketeers with Gene Kelly and Lana Turner excellent fight seens and the Costumes were all spectacular.

  • Garry Stewart

    Following up my previous comments, and others,Rick 29 is misinformed as to the theatre location of the final duel between Granger and Ferrer in” Scaramouche” . It is not a genuine Parisian theatre, it was a Parisian theatre SET, on the MGM backlot and can been seen in many other films with a theatrical background coming from MGM.
    Doug Fairbanks Snr was, in my view an enthusiastic but very average actor, an athletic but NOT a good swordsman. He eventually hired Fred Cavens to spruse up his swordsmanship in his later films. His best performance , for me, was his final swashbuckler The Iron Mask .
    Although the Flynn” Captain Blood” was a landmark film the duel with he and Rathbone on the beach is very clumsy, particularly at the start.” Robin Hood” and” The Sea Hawk” were much more stylish and exciting .”The Adv of Robin Hood” 2 disc DVD special edition has some fascinating out takes from the final duel in the castle.
    Other random thoughts- Hard to include “The Crimson Pirate” in any list. There was no significant duel, if any dueling at all !
    A couple of other swashbucklers worth a mention , both featuring Larry Parks,” The Swordsman” and “The Gallant Blade”. Perhaps more historical event rather than straight swashbuckler but some great swordplay in” The Duellists”. Other goodies- “Bandit of Sherwood Forest”, “At Swords Point” [Cornel Wilde] “Son of Monte Cristo” [ Hayward.] A couple of British ones-” The Moonraker” and” Captain Kronos, vampire hunter.” More European productions,” Da’artagnans Daughter “[ aka Revenge of the Musketeers ]” Black Tulipe “[ Alain Delon]” Scaramouche” [ Gerard Barray] “Cyrano and D’artagnan” [ Jose Ferrer ]. More recent modern day ones include” By the Sword” [ Eric Roberts ] “Ring of Steel” [ Robert Alt] ” the Last Samurai” [ Tom Cruise] and some wonderful fencing from Gene Wilder in” Start the Revolution Without Me” .He is a natural .

  • Alfred Dreher

    My vote goes to:

    Captain from Castile
    The Flame and the Arrow
    The Crimson Pirate
    The Black Swan
    The Adventures of Robin Hood
    The Three Musketeers (1948)
    The Story of Robin Hood (1952 – Walt Disney)

  • evrrdy1

    I think one of the best, and perhaps most overlooked swashbuckling movies was MGM’s 1948 version of ‘The Three Musketeers’, starring Gene Kelly, Van Heflin, Gig Young and Robert Coote as the Musketeers, with Lana Turner and June Allyson as the ladies fair. Vincent Price as Richelieu gave a chillingly sinister performance, a preview to his future career in horror films. The film was given the studio’s “A” treatment, with a top flight cast, rousing score and technicolor. The sword play is second to none. Especially surprising was Gene Kelly’s integrating of his athleticism into the well choreographed duels, such as the opening fight behind the cathedral. If you haven’t yet seen this gem, you’re missing something truly enjoyable, and easily one of this genre’s top five in my book.

    By the way…I have a copy of the Frank Langella re-make of The Mark of Zorro Michelle…

    • Michelle Malkin

      How did you get it or did you copy it to dvr off your tv? Can I get a copy? I am so jealous!

      • JoAnne McMaster

        It’s on the pay channels at lot.

    • JoAnne McMaster

      Oh, yeah. Van Heflin’s last scene with Lana Turner brought tears to my eyes. Great movie…..

  • J. Singleton

    I know it’s off the beaten path, but when I think swords, after Robin (Flynn), I think Ferrer in Cyrano. It’s classic.

  • Mika

    THE Best HAS to be Ronald Coleman in The Prisoner of Zenda!

  • Graeme Collins

    Guys, It would be fair to say that all the fabulous comments made by the previous contributors are ‘spot-on’ there is NO right or wrong in any of the observations.
    As a proud Australian one would have to have a leaning for Errol Flynn’s major contributions to the subject genre.

  • Theresa Lord

    I agree with Kent – The Spanish Main is my very favorite movie. It’s a shame that we can’t get a DVD. If we all ask for it, we may be able to get the powers that be to issue copies.

    • ceecee

      Yes, The Spanish Main! The quintessential swashbuckler with Paul Henreid and Maureen O’Hara. I’d love to get it on a DVD.

  • MaggieCutler

    Basil Rathbone was a great actor – started out on the stage in England. He loved acting and enjoyed the swashbuckling films much more than Sherlock Holmes movies. He was also a lot of fun on the set and helped other actors with their fencing scenes.

  • MaggieCutler

    I agree with Michael Abandopnd about “The Princess Bride”. It may not be considered a swashbuckler, but as far as fun sword fighting with some of the wittiest dialogue ever written, you can’t beat it.
    “I am not left handed.” “Prepare to die!”

  • RICK BERTRAM

    ANOTHER FUN FILM WOULD BE 1976′S
    ” SWASHBUCKLER” WITH ROBERT SHAW, JAMES EARL JONES
    AND GENEVIEVE BUJOLD

  • Magman

    I agree with the top 5 but there is one modern day swashbuckler which is pretty good and probably no one has seen. It’s “BY THE SWORD” with Eric Roberts and F Murray Abraham (1993). It’s an extremely rare film and unfortunately out of print.

  • Karen

    What happen to “Captain Blood” a must for a list like this.

  • J CLEARY

    GUY’S AND LADIES I AGREE WITH MOST ALL OF YOUR
    CHOICES BUT WHY IS JOHNNY DEPP NOT MENTIONED IS
    THE PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN SERIES NOT A
    SWASHBUCKLER.

  • MindyP51

    THE MARK OF ZORRO only #4?

  • MindyP51

    Although I love THE COURT JESTER, I don’t agree that it belongs in the “Five Best Swashbuckers” list, although as an Honorable Mention, it ranks #1!

    My vote to replace it is CAPTAIN BLOOD. Yep, just reverse them.

    Mindy

  • SONNY LACHNER

    WELL SOMEBODY ALREADY BEAT ME TO IT, BUT, I HAVE TO MENTION THE GREAT GENE KELLY AS DARTANIAN NOT SURE IF I SPELLED IT RIGHT…HERE WAS A GREAT DANCER, FINE SINGING VOICE, ACTOR ETC. AND BOY COULD GENE HANDLE A SWORD …HIS GREAT DANCING AND ACROBATICS WERE JUST MAGNIFICENT IN THE 1948 THE THREE MUSQUITERS …GENE DID MANY OF HIS OWN STUNTS IN HIS MOVIES WHICH SO UPSET THE BIG WHEELS AT MGM WHERE HE WAS MAKING SO MANY OF HIS GREAT FILMS…YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE HIM AS A GREAT SWASHBUCKLER AS WELL AS BASIL RATHBONE…STEWART GRANGER WHOSE REAL NAME WAS JAMES STEWART CHANGED TO STEWART GRANGER BY LOUIS B. MAYER HEAD OF MGM FOR OBVIOUS REASONS….AND YES THE GREAT DANNY KAYE….TYRONE POWER….WHO COULD FORGET HIS GREAT DUEL WITH BASIL RATHBONE IN “THE MARK OF ZORRO”…AND LET US NOT FORGET TONY CURTIS IN SEVERAL GREAT MOVIES….HOW ABOUT HIS DUEL WITH THE GREAT ACTOR ROSS MARTIN IN “THE GREAT RACE” AND IF IT EVER GETS SHOWN ON TCM OR COMES OUT ON VIDEO….”THE PURPLE MASK”….TONY WAS A GREAT STAR IN EVERYTHING HE DID…..AND ONE MORE STAR GREAT WITH A SWORD DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS JR. OF COURSE I MEAN 1940′S ” THE CORSICAN BROTHERS THAT IS NOT YET AVAILABLE ON VIDEO NOR HAS IT BEEN SHOWN ON TCM IN QUITE SOME TIME….HOPEFULLY SOON?????AND THAT DEAR FRIENDS ARE MY PICKS FOR STARS GREAT WITH A SWORD……-30-

  • Aunt Bea

    I must agree with most of your comments, but should we leave any of the Highlander movies off the list? There have been many excellant fights esp. in the series. But for movies, some of the fights scenes are great. And how about The Hunted? I might be too far off the path now, but some of these swordsmen are great.

  • Kenneth Gentile

    My list would be:
    1) Captain Blood
    2) The Sea Hawk (1940)
    3) The Black Swan
    4) The Adventures of Robin Hood
    5) El Cid (really an epic or Scaramouche or If I Were King (love Captain Horatio Hornblower but I’m not sure I consider it a swashbuckler.

    To me a swashbuckler cannot be played too much for fun. There has to be serious drama and romance in it or it doesn’t work (like Cutthroat Island didn’t work and the last three Pirates of the Carribean movies didn’t work either). That’s why to me the best swashbucklers are Captain Blood and the Sea Hawk with the Black Swan coming in a close third, but the Mark of Zorro is pretty good too). Who can forget the duel on the beach between Flynn and Rathbone in Captain Blood? It wasn’t the best swordplay, but when the surf washes over Rathbone’s face and his eyes open, that’s Michael Curtiz at his almost best, with the possible exception of the duel in the Adventures of Robin Hood where there is the snappy dialog like, “Did I upset your plans? You’ve come to Nottingham once too often. After this there will be no need for me to come again — and then Rathbone gets it and falls to his death -wow (love the sound of those arrows whistling through the air too)! Add to this Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s music and it is perfect. The same can be said for The Sea Hawk. A great drama and romance, great charactor actors and story, wonderful sea battle, and duel and again there is the snappy dialog during the duel like “I was expecting you captain, but not alone and not in a Spanish uniform. You should be wearing it. Perhaps I shall one day” and then the Korngold music, wow! The duel in the Black Swan is exceptional (though sped up)as is the one in the Mark of Zorro which is likely the best swordplay ever filmed. I like the Crimson Pirate, but it is too silly with too many bad guys tumbling on their own out of the way just like in The Flame and the Arrow (you also need a good bad guy and these two films just don’t have it). The Court Jester has too much comedy to be considered a true swashbuckler. I like the Prisoner of Zenda, but the story lacks the fast pace of a true swashbuckler and Ronald Coleman is a bit slow with the sword (still he was pretty good in the finale of If I were King). The best swashbuckler bad guys are Claude Rains and Basil Rathbone. The last thing a true swashbuckler needs is a pretty girl in distress and good triumphing over evil. And who was the best swashbuckler, Errol Flynn of course, then Tyrone Power and then Stewart Granger. They just don’t make em like they used to!

  • Dawn, From N and CF.

    I love most “swashbuckler films”.. the romance, adventure, pirates, the sword fights. If I had to pick only one “swashbuckler films”.. it would be.. The Black Swan.

  • CS9

    To narrow a list to the Top 5 is too serious but that’s why people like me will leave comments here. Others on expanded lists may include The Buccaneer with Frederich March, the Pirate with Gene Kelly. The Court Jester- great fun film, not a swashbuckler, sorry.

  • FlinFlon

    Great list and some interesting comments. But…

    Just to remind people that the criteria specified classic talkies. So nothing before 1930 or after 1969. Silent movies automatically become second-rate after you’ve heard the hero comment:”Sir Guy accepted our invitation, it would be rude not to accept his.” The seventies was the heart of the ‘New Hollywood’ which meant that any swashbuckler made since had also partaken of the cynicism and/or selfawareness that ‘Old Hollywood’ i.e. the classic era, didn’t. Which is not a bad thing usually. But for a swashbuckler, its death.

    Since the 70′s you can’t do a modern swashbuckler without it containing some self-parody, and a true swashbuckler must be earnest. That is why people object to “The Court Jester”, which is indeed the great parody of swashbucklers. Just not a true swashbuckler. Its also why the Michael York “Musketeer” movies or the Depp “PotC” movies don’t make the cut. There’s too much self-aware parody in them (the movies themselves, not just the characters’ antics) to be true swashbucklers in the classic mold. I still like them, but they’re something else.

    There are two definitions of a classic swashbuckler movie. The first is, as Rick29 stated more or less, the hero uses his wit and skill (more the former than the latter) to traverse an (or several) adventure(s) reach the finale where he duels the villian to the death (usually) with swords (always) and wins the hand of the girl (he may or may not have long since won her heart).

    The second definition is when the movie stars Errol Flynn holding a sword. Seriously. Errol was the picture definition of the swashbuckler hero, perhaps to the detriment on the genre. After Flynn, every other actor attempting the swashbuckling hero looks second rate or that he’s attempting a parody.

    The list itself:
    1. YES
    2. Been too long since I’ve seen the whole movie, hero may not be a true swashbuckling spirit, but the climatic duel certainly is. Yes.
    3. No. For reasons stated above, but otherwise every point Rick29 made is true. Great movie.
    4. Yes. Arguably the best non-Flynn swashbuckler made.
    5. Yes. A better movie than “Captain Blood”, proof that Jack was right; Flynn didn’t need colour (still would have been nice). Flora Robson was a better Elizabeth than Bette Davis. Its only flaw was Brenda Marshall when you keep expecting to see Olivia deHavilland. Not Brenda’s fault, she’s good, but Errol/Olivia just one of those duos that made everything better in a movie. Always think of what might have been.

    The ‘why the honourable mentions didn’t make the top five’:
    “Ivanhoe” – Fail due to Robert Taylor badly miscast. Too old and too leaden.
    “The Crimson Pirate” – too long since I seen it to remember, but if previous commenter correct about its lack of duels…that’s an autofail.
    “The Prisoner of Zenda” – the Granger version is usually regarded as the inferior and Coleman gets his scenes with David Niven stolen by the latter and the hero should be the one stealing the scenes. Double fail. Personally I always first think of the Peter Sellars version first anyways, so when the parody is one remembered…fail.
    “The Scarlet Pimpernel” – I love this movie, both the classic Leslie Howard and the modern Anthony Andrews or even the Richard E Grant BBC series. Though it mostly lacks the actual swordplay (which is why it fails the list, barely) the whole bit with the phony firing squad and the lines… oh my the lines…(I think I need a cigarette just thinking about the scene). It certainly has the spirit of the swashbuckler.
    “The Count of Monte Cristo” – not familiar with any particular film version, but from the book, I don’t know if a revenge-driven protagonist living for revenge really qualifies as a devil-may-care swashbuckling hero. I did mention the ‘at any cost’ revenge right?
    “Captain Blood” – oh yes. If not on the list, certainly an honourable mention. Loses out to “The Sea Hawk” only because the latter is more polished. Its Errol’s first major role in a movie (he’s learning as he goes), Olivia’s second (and both her and Errol are terrorized by Michael Curtiz), amd Basil hasn’t yet become the great swordsman he is reputed to later become (he almost takes out Errol’s eye during filming).

    Other movies mentioned in the comments:
    Some are disqualified for aforementioned reasons but just to point out “The Pirate.”
    If I’m not mistaken, that’s the one with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland directed by Vincente Minnelli. There’s dancing in that movie. Honest-to-God “Singin’ in the Rain” dancing. That is called a musical, not a swashbuckler. Its also violates the ‘earnest’ principle I mentioned above.
    The others could be good movies (I haven’t seen all those mentioned), but not top five (or ten) material.

    I can’t believe I’ve been at this for almost three hours.

  • Flip

    Let’s hear it for Dumas & Sabatini! Still waiting for remakes of Captain Blood, Sea Hawk & Black Swan, according to Rafael! (Exciting reading to this day, by the way). How about a list of the 10 greatest swordfights? The duel in Rob Roy (realistic & creative) made me think of this.

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  • hiram

    SCARAMOUCHE is my favorite and partly because of the ladies — let’s not overlook Parker and Leigh). CAPTAIN BLOOD is my choice among the Flynns. PRINCE OF FOXES, not listed among the Powers, merits another look. The relatively recent MAN IN THE IRON MASK and COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO are really very good, not self-conscious and infused with parody. Interestingly, my dictionary defines a swashbuckler as a boasting soldier of blustering daredevil. It is certainly one of the stranger words in the English language, swash meaning bluster or swagger. OK, but how does one buckle a swash?

    • R.B. Armstrong

      Ah, the ladies…. Choosing between Eleanor Parker and Janet Leigh has to rank with the most difficult decisions in film history!

  • David Anthony

    My top five includes Edgar G. Ulmer’s fabulous 1949 swashbuckling adventure, “The Pirates of Capri”, starring Louis Hayward as the revolutionary superhero Captain Sirocco, a name that directly alludes to Errol Flynn. A marvellous fast-moving film of stirring action and adventure

  • http://www.facebook.com/rusim41 Rusi S. Mahudawala

    What about “The Corsican Brothers”???

  • jwltwp

    FlinFlon’s comments are SPOT ON! And I have to agree with the author here, “The Adventures of Robin Hood” is the best swashbuckler made! Forgive me Douglas Fairbanks and Jr., but it’s the truth!

  • Roger Lynn

    though it was mislined I loved CUTTHROAT ISLAND genna daveis in renny harlem film highly under-rated film

    • R.B. Armstrong

      Yes, it’s underrated and I agree it’s criticized too harshly. But the focus of the post was on classic-era films and CUTTHROAT doesn’t fit that criteria.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1041576428 Orin Keplinger

    You’re almost correct with two for Errol Flynn, but I must suggest that “The Prisoner of Zenda” with Ronald Coleman would add more balance to your chosen actors. A chance to include the acting and voices of Ronald Coleman and cast should trump having more than one Flynn, or Granger – who’s “Sacaramouche” is better than his re-do of “The Prisoner of Zenda”.

    • R.B. Armstrong

      I loved ZENDA (even the remake is pretty good), but still believe its rightful place is with the honorable mentions.

  • GenevaP

    Master of Ballantree and the Spanish Main

  • Cara

    Scaramouche,! Scaramouche! Scaramouche! I fell in love with Stewart Granger when I first saw this movie at eight years old! I finally got hold of the VHS version and then the DVD, and every time I watch, I fall in love with him all over again. It was the best role he ever had, and he made the best of it. Anyone who doesn’t feel it worthy to be in this list just hasn’t seen it. A copy can be hard to find, but worth being in any collection.

  • Rocco

    The Crimson Pirate with Burt Lancaster. This movie had everything that a great “swashbuckler” should have.

  • Chicago Gary

    All good choices, but you missed one that should have been in the top five. The Man in the Iron Mask, 1938 version starring Louis Hayward. Definitely one of the five best.

  • John Klepper

    There is a movie I had in VCR tape that I’d like to get in DVD which is about a Japanese Samarii who comes to the old west charged with a resque of a princess by paying a ransom. He is assisted by an cowboy gun slinger & the story line is the basis of the Magnifsant Seven movies made in Mexico years ago. I think it was a HBO made for TV movie, Probably available in Japan but sadly not here. Can you folks help?

    • Mystical_fan

      to John Klepper, I think that the movie you are refering to is called The Red Sun. I can’t remember the name of the japanese actor who was the samurai but the cowboy was the late great Charles Bronson. I loved this film and I also have it on VCR. Not sure if its available on DVD. Hope this helps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lance-Liebl-Sr/1510776796 Lance Liebl Sr.

    “The Adventures pf Robin Hood” is my number one choice with “The Court Jester” coming in at almost a nose to nose finish

  • Regina

    I agree that The Court Jester is in the top 3. Why is it not avialable on DVD???????

  • torb

    The Adventures of Robin Hood gets the my vote as the best, hands down.

  • torb

    To Regina: The Court Jester is available on DVD.

  • Baron von Viking

    Saturday matinees were sci-fi, westerns, or swashbucklers. So, since swashbucklers are the topic, I’ll put forth a little list of my own: 1. Adventures of Robin Hood. 2. Sea Hawk.
    3. Captain Blood. 4. Ivanhoe. 5. El Cid. 6. The Vikings.
    7. Knights of the Round Table. 8. This movie starred Cornell Wilde as Lancelot, but I can’t remember the title, great action movie. 9. I can’t leave this one out, even though it was in the 60′s – Camelot. 10. In the seventies, Excalibur.

  • Charles R.L. Power

    Glad to see that someone remembered PRINCE OF FOXES. I’d put in a second picture, based on another novel by the same writer and also starring Tyrone Power, CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE. Like Rathbone, Power actually understood something about swordplay. But I’d like to draw attention to a much older and largely forgotten great actor, Ronald Coleman, with another great performance by Basil Rathbone, IF I WERE KING. This is near the top of my long list of “Why isn’t this on DVD?” titles.

  • Rocksta

    I agree with all but “The Court Jester” instead I would have Errol Flynn’s “The Adventures of Don Juan”. This contains, in my opinion, the best movie fencing match between Flynn and Robert Douglas. Another asset is Viveca Lindfors and the rollicking good story.

  • ceecee

    No mention (until now) of “The Spanish Main” with Paul Henreid and Maureen O’Hara?

    • ceecee

      Sorry. It was mentioned. And deservedly so.

  • P.J.

    How about ” The Black Shield Of Falworth” starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. A movie about the son of a knight who is declared a traitor and his fight to regain his family honor. For a pirate film how about “Swashbuckler” starring Robert Shaw and Peter Boyle. This may be a 70s movie but still has a great story with plenty of daring-do.

    • R.B. Armstrong

      It was a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t rate it with the “best.”

  • JoAnne McMaster

    Son of Fury with Tyrone Power and George Sanders. Not so much a major swashbuckler, but the fight scene between Powers/Sanders is classic…..Also, Basil Rathbone said of him: “Power was the most agile man with a sword I’ve ever faced before a camera. Tyrone could have fenced Errol Flynn into a cocked hat.” You have only to watch The Mark of Zorro to see how good he was…..

  • realbadger

    I must indeed contest that the Douglas Fairbanks “Mark of Zorro” was far more entertaining both in tone and action, that the sound version. By “rules,” do you only mean talkies?

  • Billy Boy

    “The Sea Hawk” gets my vote—-and the lyrics to the music–”The Sea Hawk, The Sea Hawk, the lustiest of men, so maidens guard your maiden heads, tonight he rides again!”

  • Jim

    Richard Lester’s Three Musketeers and Four Musketeers. Technically two films, but the second simply continues the story of the first.

  • Michael.S.J

    Definitely Adventures of Robin Hood is the best movie of all