Swashbucklers are their own brand of swaggering cool, aren't they? Devil-may-care heroes, feisty heroines, and plenty of sword fights and chases and fisticuffs to keep things galloping along. A good swashbuckler is pretty well guaranteed to raise my spirits even on the gloomiest day. Here are my favorites!
1. The Princess Bride (1987) After Buttercup's (Robin Wright) true love Westley (Cary Elwes) is murdered by pirates, she agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), but gets kidnapped before the wedding. I'll never forget the first time I saw this movie -- it changed my ideas about humor and fantasy forever.
2. The Mask of Zorro (1998) An aging Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) is unmasked and imprisoned by the greedy and cruel Don Montero (Stuart Wilson), who also steals his baby daughter Elena. When Montero and a grown Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) return to California, Zorro trains a bumbling thief (Antonio Banderas) to be his successor and fight oppression in his place. I saw this in the theater the summer before I went to college, and it kind of dominated my life for a while. I had the poster on my dorm room wall, I listened to the soundtrack until my roommates were sick of it, and I watched the movie so often I basically memorized it. Twenty-five years later, I'm still not tired of it!
3. The Black Swan (1942) Former pirate captain Jamie Waring (Tyrone Power) kidnaps, then woos, then rescues a governor's feisty daughter (Maureen O'Hara) while also helping Governor Henry Morgan (Laird Cregar) clear the pirates out of the Caribbean. This is one of the most fun movies I have ever seen, and I judge all other pirate movies by it.
4. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Robin Hood (Errol Flynn) has a jolly time robbing the rich Normans to feed the poor Saxons, wooing Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland), and foiling Prince John (Claude Rains) and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) when they plot to steal the throne from King Richard (Ian Hunter). It has everything I could possibly want in a Robin Hood movie :-D
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) resorts to commandeering, raiding, pillaging, plundering, and otherwise pilfering his weasely black guts out, all to regain his beloved ship. More fun than a barrel of undead monkeys!
6. The Three Musketeers (1993) Young d'Artagnan (Chris O'Donnell) just wants to be a Musketeer, but he ends up embroiled in unmasking a plot against the king. His three Musketeer friends (Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, and Oliver Platt) are hilarious and awesome too.
7. The Count of Monte Cristo (1975) Simple, honest sailor Edmund Dantes (Richard Chamberlain) is betrayed by his supposed friends and sent to prison on false charges. He escapes, gains staggering wealth, and seeks vengeance against his enemies. Based on the book by Alexandre Dumas, king of the swashbucklers.
8. The Mark of Zorro (1940) Diego de la Vega (Tyrone Power) returns home to California from studying in Spain and discovers oppression and injustice everywhere. He disguises himself as a cunning rogue called Zorro and sets about righting wrongs and championing the poor and dueling with Basil Rathbone and generally having a grand time.
9. Against All Flags (1952) A roguish naval officer (Errol Flynn) pretends to be a pirate in order to infiltrate a pirate stronghold, only to find himself falling for a strong-willed, lemon-tongued Pirate Captain (Maureen O'Hara). Jolly good fun.
10. The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) A British hunter (Stewart Granger) masquerades as the king (Stewart Granger) of a small European nation so that the king's enemies (including James Mason) can't usurp the throne while the king lies ill. Things get complicated when the fake king falls in love with the woman (Deborah Kerr) who is intended to marry the real king.
Well, those are my ten favorite swashbuckler movies! If you'd like to see my list of favorite swashbuckler books, I recently posted that on my book blog :-)
Have you never watched The Crimson Pirate? It stars Bert Lancaster. It used to be a huge favourite of mine as a child. I haven't been able to get a hold of it in years though.ReplyDelete
Song, I have! I went through a Burt Lancaster phase about ten years ago and discovered The Crimson Pirate then. SUCH a funny movie! I picked up a copy used pretty recently and hope to revisit it soon.Delete
Oh! That's lovely! It's very hard to find a copy here. I remember how much my sister and I found it difficult to stay in our seats. We loved watching it!Delete
Song, that's a bummer! Yes, it's one of those bounce-inducing movies, for sure :-DDelete
Rachel, good choices no doubt. I too liked that Chamberlain/Curtis version of The Count Of Monte Cristo. Power's The Mark Of Zorro is an excellent choice, especially the climatic duel with Rathbone.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Chrisk! How great that you've seen the Chamberlain/Curtis version of Monte Cristo! I rarely find anyone who has.Delete
Anytime Rathbone gets to engage in swordplay, we know we're in for a treat, since he was a great fencer in real life. I remember reading that he said it was a joy to film the sword fights in Zorro because Tyrone Power had a lot of natural fencing ability and picked up the choreography very readily -- unlike Errol Flynn, who just liked to smash his sword back and forth, lol.
Good stuff, good stuff. I still need to get back to The Mask of Zorro.ReplyDelete
Olivia, I showed Mask of Zorro to my kids over the summer, and they absolutely loved it EXCEPT for the end, which they thought was much too sad.Delete
What a great list! I love The Black Swan and The Prisoner of Zenda and I definitely have an obsession with The Mask of Zorro! Such an awesome story and soundtrack!ReplyDelete
Grace, how cool you love several of these too! Yes, the Mask of Zorro soundtrack is truly magnificent.Delete
Rachel, what a wonderful list of favorite swashbucklers. Viewing these gems will surely put the swash back in every fan's buckle. I've viewed all these movies except THE THREE MUSKETEERS(1993), but I do recall it being nicknamed "Young Swords."ReplyDelete
Referring to your comment to Chrisk, "How great that you've seen the Chamberlain/Curtis version of Monte Cristo! I rarely find anyone who has." I first recall viewing THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO(1975) the first time it was shown, which was on the BELL SYSTEM FAMILY THEATER SPECIAL on NBC-TV Friday night January 10, 1975. Yes, it was a made for tv movie. A lot of viewers tuned in, and the movie was a brilliant success. The movie was released in movie theaters internationally and did exceedingly well.
As a youngster, I was WOWED by THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and I still am. I think it is well worth viewing.
Walter, glad you enjoyed the list! Haha, I can well believe they called The Three Musketeers "young swords" when it came out -- especially since Charlie Sheen's brother Emilio Estevez starred in Young Guns!Delete
I wasn't born yet when Monte Cristo was originally released -- my husband introduced me to it on VHS when we were dating around the year 2000. It was one of the few movies he had seen before that I hadn't! The book has been one of my top favorites since I was 11 years old, so I was always a little hesitant to see a movie version, but he promised I would love it... and I do!
Rachel, have you ever viewed another Bell Systems Presentation made for tv movie THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK(1977)? This tv movie starred Richard Chamberlain, Patrick McGoohan, Louis Jourdan, Jenny Agutter, Ian Holm, and Ralph Richardson. It was first shown on NBC-TV on January 17, 1977, although I didn't get to view it until the next Sunday afternoon, because in my neck of the woods, it was preempted by a local college basketball game.Delete
THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK had the same high production values that THE COUNT FROM MONTE CRISCO had. I think that if you like well-done lavish costume dramas taken from literary classic literature, you'll like this one, also.
Walter, no, I haven't seen that version of Man in the Iron Mask! But that sounds like a great cast, and Prime Video has it, so I've added it to my watchlist. Thanks for alerting me to its existence!Delete
Rachel, I too found Chamberlain's version better than De Caprio's. Cheers Walter.ReplyDelete
Chrisk, well, since I don't generally care for DiCaprio (and his version bored me), but I quite like Chamberlain, I think I'll also enjoy it more :-)Delete
My two favourite swashbucklers are: (1) the animated Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) who is kind of a parody of all preceding swashbucklers, and (2) Kevin Kline as the Pirate King in the musical movie of Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" who is also a kind of parody of swashbucklers. Hmmm, I detect a theme here, lol!ReplyDelete
Debra, it's really a crime that I still haven't seen Puss in Boots since I love Antonio Banderas AND swashbucklers. One of these days!Delete
I haven't seen Pirates of Penzance yet either, which is also very lame of me because I really enjoy Gilbert and Sullivan musicals (and even performed in the chorus of three of them in college) AND I like Kevin Kline. I'm going to go see if my library system has either of those right now! Thanks for reminding me that I've been wanting to see them.
While doing my usual early morning walk, I recall another swashbuckling movie (an Italian production) Swordsman Of Siena starring Stewart Granger at the tail end of his career. He was not as agile as in his Scaramouche days but no doubt entertaining and fun.ReplyDelete
Chrisk, I actually have a copy of Swordsman of Sienna on my to-watch stacks! You're the first person I've run into who's seen it, but I grabbed it on a whim a while ago because it does look like fun :-)Delete
I remember when all of the promotion was going on for that first Pirates movies, all I could think was, "this movie looks so weird!" While it is in part that, it's also one of THE most entertaining movies I've seen, even to this day. In fact, I was just remembering it last week and thinking I should re-watch it. Grew up watching that 90s Musketeers movie, too! Another fun one. :)ReplyDelete
Rissi, I remember seeing the trailer for the first Pirates movie too! And just going, "What in the world is this about?!" but being fully unboard because a) Johnny Depp, and b) pirates! My kids really like it now, so I have seen it several times in the past few months ;-) I really need to show them the '90s Musketeers movie now! I am quite sure they will dig it.Delete
Wow, what a list! I agree with all of your choices, except I have yet to see the 1975 Monte Cristo, Against all Flags, and 1952 Zenda. So glad to see some love for the 1993 version of Musketeers. That cast is a blast! I also enjoy the 1939 musical comedy version with Don Ameche and the Ritz Brothers for some silly, good fun!ReplyDelete
Muse, high five to a fellow swashbuckling fan! Man, that 1993 Musketeers is pretty doggone unbeatable, isn't it? I should try to find the Ameche version sometime! I like the Gene Kelly one quite well.Delete