Best swashbuckler films?

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  • Best swashbuckler films?

    It's a bit of a vague genre, as I understand it, crossing over with many others, especially piracy, but what would you say are the very best traditional swashbuckler films/scripts -- made anytime from the beginning of the sound era till now?

    (This is leaving aside, however, well-known franchises of their own, such as the various incarnations of The Three Musketeers and Robin Hood, as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean films.)

    I haven't seen as many as I'd like to, (and in particular I haven't seen any of the classic Errol Flynn movies,) but of those I have viewed, I'd put at the top of the list:

    The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
    The Mark of Zorro (1940)
    The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

    I also love Darabont's Captain Blood script (1994). Pity it wasn't made into a movie. The script for Blackbeard the Pirate (1952) is also quite good.
    Last edited by karsten; 01-12-2013, 04:57 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Best swashbuckler films?

    THE PRINCESS BRIDE has got plenty of bucklin' swash.
    Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Courier12

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    • #3
      Re: Best swashbuckler films?

      Though I think only pirates buckle their swashes, here are a few of my favorite swordplay flicks:

      SCARAMOUCHE 1952 (with one of the best ever movie sword fights, between Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer)

      CAPTAIN BLOOD 1935 (Flynn at his best)

      THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD 1938 (Flynn again at his best)

      THE THREE MUSKETEERS 1948 (Gene Kelly is incredible in this picture)
      TimeStorm & Blurred Vision Book info & blog: https://stormingtime.com//

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      • #4
        Re: Best swashbuckler films?

        The Crimson Pirate - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044517/

        Clearly a big influence on Pirates of the Caribbean and in my opinion so much better. I liked Depp in Pirates, but Burt Lancaster hits the nail right on the head in this one

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        • #5
          Re: Best swashbuckler films?

          Originally posted by Sweeney Todd View Post
          THE PRINCESS BRIDE has got plenty of bucklin' swash.
          That's the one to watch when you're done with all the others.
          "Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood."

          My YouTube channel.

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          • #6
            Re: Best swashbuckler films?

            Originally posted by Signal30 View Post
            That's the one to watch when you're done with all the others.
            Also, read the book. Written by William Goldman - although more famous for his films.

            The film is 10/10, the book is better.

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            • #7
              Re: Best swashbuckler films?

              The Robin Hood movie with Errol Flynn
              Captain Blood with Errol Flynn
              Errol Flynn
              Originally posted by Great White Mark
              Film is art? Just a tip, it's called show business, not show art.

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              • #8
                Re: Best swashbuckler films?

                Originally posted by Sweeney Todd View Post
                THE PRINCESS BRIDE has got plenty of bucklin' swash.
                I have to say, I've never liked this movie, not even a little bit. It just seems like a self-conscious send-up of the genre, one step away from outright satire.

                POTC varies from the swashbuckling tradition in different ways, but it doesn't feel like a send-up. More of an... enhancement.
                Last edited by karsten; 01-12-2013, 04:58 AM.

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                • #9
                  Re: Best swashbuckler films?

                  Originally posted by nou View Post
                  Captain Blood with Errol Flynn
                  Errol Flynn
                  Yes, Captain Blood seems to be the one that's most highly respected. As I said, the 1994 script is very good; I can well imagine that the original must be even better. I look forward to seeing the film/reading the script.

                  I'm curious to see which other Errol Flynn movies measure up, apart from the well-known Robin Hood. The Sea Hawk appears to be in the same vein as Captain Blood, based on a brief description.

                  Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.
                  Last edited by karsten; 01-12-2013, 06:41 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Best swashbuckler films?

                    Originally posted by karsten View Post
                    I have to say, I've never liked this movie, not even a little bit. It just seems like a self-conscious send-up of the genre, one step away from outright satire.

                    POTC varies from the swashbuckling tradition in different ways, but it doesn't feel like a send-up. More of an... enhancement.
                    Totally disagree with every ounce of energy I have because of Mandy Patinkin's performance in this scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6m7NR6iYjg


                    Six Fingered Man: Good heavens. Are you still trying to win?
                    You've got an over-developed sense of vengeance. It's going to get you into trouble someday....
                    (They fight, Inigo repeats his famous lines...Then, even though he starts the scene defeated and barely able to walk this is the moment he's prepared for his entire life and his overdeveloped sense of vengeance kicks in and BOOM-- somehow, despite all the odds, he's winning!)

                    Inigo: Offer me money. Power, too... promise me that. (Dipshit Six Fingered Man does)
                    Offer me everything I ask for.... (He does...) and Inigo plunges the blade into him screaming: I WANT MY FATHER BACK, YOU SON OF A BITCH!
                    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093779/quotes?qt=qt0495510

                    The rest of the movie is a 10/10. This scene cranks it up to 11.
                    Mandy Patinkin+William Goldman+ Rob Reiner= the God formula.
                    Last edited by cvolante; 01-12-2013, 06:37 AM. Reason: messed up the link

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                    • #11
                      Re: Best swashbuckler films?

                      The Sea Hawk is one of my favorite old-timey swashers.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Best swashbuckler films?

                        You can't go wrong watching Captain Blood, Sea Hawk, and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

                        I'm not sure if this counts as swashbuckling, but the 1935 Mutiny on the Bounty is also fantastic.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Best swashbuckler films?

                          Thank you for your comments, Mr. Calder.

                          This is off topic (or in fact, perhaps it isn't), but I want to thank you for writing one of the most liberating screenwriting texts I've ever come across:

                          http://keithcalder.com/post/52191389...arc-of-awesome

                          It's a necessary corrective, IMO, to the "tyranny of transformation," which holds that all main characters must be significantly flawed at the onset of the film, must arc, and must transform or "progress" over the course of the narrative -- and if they don't, that's a weakness of the screenplay. Rubbish. Many of my own personal favorite (and commercially successful) films exemplify what you so pithily term "the arc of awesome."

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                          • #14
                            Re: Best swashbuckler films?

                            Originally posted by karsten View Post
                            Thank you for your comments, Mr. Calder.

                            This is off topic (or in fact, perhaps it isn't), but I want to thank you for writing one of the most liberating screenwriting texts I've ever come across:

                            http://keithcalder.com/post/52191389...arc-of-awesome

                            It's a necessary corrective, IMO, to the "tyranny of transformation," which holds that all main characters must be significantly flawed at the onset of the film, must arc, and must transform or "progress" over the course of the narrative -- and if they don't, that's a weakness of the screenplay. Rubbish. Many of my own personal favorite (and commercially successful) films exemplify what you so pithily term "the arc of awesome."
                            Thanks! Generally I'm strongly opposed to most of the "must" rules when it comes to filmmaking, other than this one from Frank Capra:

                            There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.
                            I've been thinking of writing similar posts attacking some other common advice for screenwriters. In particular, I'd like to combat the unfortunately common and nonsensical advice against voice-over and/or flashbacks.

                            My theory is that many of these "rules" exist solely to help mediocre writers become slightly-less-mediocre. Bad writers will destroy their scripts when they try to use flashback and/or voice-over. They'll make bad scripts terrible. But that doesn't mean good writers can't use these tools to enhance their scripts. Telling writers to avoid flashback and voice-over is like telling a golfer to only use three clubs in their bags. It might be good advice for a beginner, but it's terrible advice for a pro.

                            Anyway, now we're way off topic, so I'll end there.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Best swashbuckler films?

                              Pretty much all of Citizen Kane is flashbacks.
                              "Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood."

                              My YouTube channel.

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