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Favourite Movie Battles

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Favourite Movie Battles

Postby Sir Kohran » Sun Jun 18, 2006 5:48 pm

Seeing as the forum has been a bit quiet lately...let's discuss something different. What's the best Medieval, ancient or fantasy battle you've seen portrayed in entertainment (you can include books/video games, but I'm mainly thinking of movies here)?

1. Battle of Helm's Deep (The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers) - An incredible battle, with rain beating down on the walls as armoured Uruk Hai swarm in, beating down the defense, with Aragorn, Theoden and their allies putting up a desperate fight throughout the dark of the night, with Gandalf heading a final victory that makes this one for the classics.

2. Siege of Jerusalem (Kingdom Of Heaven) - Building on the success of previous battle scenes, this enormous attack is very impressive, with thousands of Saracen warriors and siege towers advancing onto the walls of the city, whilst being pelted with the defenders' arrows and boiling oil, and Balian leading a determined battle. A must see.

3. Battle of Germania (Gladiator) - A landmark in fight scene history, as it used large CGI to enhance the live action fighting. The flaming missiles really contrast with the frosty snows, as do the ordered Roman ranks with their opposing mobs of Germanian barbarians, with Maximus driving home the victory through brutal and practical slaughter.

4. Battle of the Pelennor Fields (The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King) - A spectacular charge of the Rohirrim horsemen opens this incredible spectacle, with colossal Mumakil smashing through the ranks, a stirring defeat of the Witch King by Eowyn and Merry, and an eventual win with the arrival of the King himself makes this battle an instant classic.

5. Battle of Falkirk (Braveheart) - As much as I disliked the movie, this battle is admittedly excellent, with thousands of English and Scottish soldiers clashing in the corpse-smothered fields, with Welsh longbowmen pouring arrows into the fray.

Honourable mentions:

1. Battle of Beruna (The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe) - Heroes and monsters of all kinds beat eachother mercilessly, with lots of action. However, a lack of realism and a somewhat overblown opening take this one down a bit.

2. Battle of Gaugamela (Alexander) - As bungled as the movie was, the first battle is relatively good, with historically accurate costumes and weaponry, and realistically gory fighting staining the sands red with fallen Greeks and Persians. However, a large reliance on CGI to tell the story, and unrealistically biased fighting tip this one off.

3. Battle of Camlann (Excalibur) - A violent finale to this groundbreaking movie, with knights battling their faceless enemies as King Arthur duels his own son in his last battle. However, a lack of scale and charisma holds this one down.

So, what are yours?

- Matt
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Postby RichardAM » Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:21 pm

LOTR and Braveheart definately, they go without saying!

I think it's the Mummy Returns, there's a huge battle at the start of it? It's good, as are the ones in the spin-off film The Scorpion King.
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Postby Slobey » Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:20 pm

The battle of the pelennor feilds is my favourite. Like you said the charge of the Rohirrim is awesome
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Postby Maedhros » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:36 pm

Even though it´s just "half-castley" I really like the battle in The Last Samurai... seeing the proud warriors being mowed down is just so beautiful...

I also like the Battle in the ROTK even though I don´t really like those movies... I must say that I really dislike the battle of Helm´s Deep though... it´s just too messy...
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Postby Damien » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:18 am

I think the battle before Kerak in Kingdom of Heaven was actually the best. Lots of good fighting, very entertaining without trying to be flashy.

I actually strongly dislike things like the Siege of Jerusalem - flaming balls of stupidity flying through the air. Certainly, it was more realistic than other film-sieges (FAR more realistic than the absurd siege of Minas Tirith), but it was still a bit silly at times. The battle of Kerak, at least, didn't attempt to be super-flashy. It was just gritty.

All of the battles in Alexander get an honourable mention for the same reason. And I'm sure there are other movies I'm forgetting right now that have managed at least semi-"real" fight scenes.
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Postby Mike Viper » Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:06 am

I didn't like the LOTR battles at all. The hits didn't feel real. They all centered on the main characters who did fancey moves, or a dramatic scene and someone dies. I like battles that focus on the battle. This for me was most demonstrated in the Narnia movie, when they went to fight. It was pretty good. hmmm... what would have been good was the battle in Kingdom of Heaven when those guys are massacred because they are dehydrated. I like the battles in King Arthur. That's all I can think of really. To those who like LOTR, I am sorry. I liked it to. It just didn't feel real. The way underdid the battle of the black gate.
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Postby ragnarok » Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:55 am

Bravehaeart! - It just feels real!
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Postby TheOrk » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:03 pm

So, what are yours?


It seems us Matts think alike. 8)

Except I've never seen the battle of Gaugamela or Camlann, so I'm not sure about those two. Everything specific about the battles that I would say have already been said.

My favorite types of battles are those in Ridly Scott films(Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven) they're dark, gritty and have a sense of realism the others don't have.

I hate the fight scenes in LOTR! The weapons were nice and authentic but that's pretty much where it ends. The scene with Minas Tirith and the Pelennor Fields looked like a video game.

I could say the same thing about the Battle of Beruna, but that one was cool because they were getting up close and personal, not a thousand feet above.

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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:12 pm

In no particular order:

The Ice Slaughter, from Sergei Eisenstein's masterpiece, Alexander Nevsky. Great imagery, and even appropriate to Castles.

Thermopylae, from 300 Spartans. Yeah, I know, not particularly sophisticated by today's technology, but at least the units formed up instead of the screaming mob melee beloved by Hollywood.

Ran: well heck, sorry if I forget the name (if any) of the battle, but the units are colorful and dash about the field in formation.

Battle of Pelennor Fields: Simply the most massive battle portrayed on the silver screen. No, I didn't care for every silly bit of overkill that Jackson put in, but he captured the scope that Tolkien wrote.

Battle of Germania: Gladiator. Yeah, Hollywood's and Ridley Scott's obsession in putting flaming stuff into battle because it looks cool while simultaneously not being realistic or even making the slightest ounce of sense, but the battle was very cool nevertheless. Though the strangest thing was that the Germans were shouting "ZULU!"

Battle of Roark's Drift: From the movie Zulu. Yes, the movie that supplied the chants that the germans used in Gladiator. Exits the Castle period (spank me!), has all sorts of historical innaccuracies, but nevertheless, one of the most epic of battle flicks (see Ridley Scott's rendition of Blackhawk Down for a more modern approach to The Battle IS the Movie in Africa).

Battle of Guagamela: Yes, the movie was a train wreck, but the actual battle is perhaps the most spectacular in the sense that it tried to be reasonably accurate (though including smaller details from a number of battles).

Braveheart: Okay, so, it's the screaming mob that Hollywood loves (and oh look, they even threw in some flames - who's the Spartacus that started that nonsense?), still, it was a great screaming mob and at least they made a passing reference to the pike armed shiltrons. Note that Gibson starts the charge with a warhammer, is suddenly empty handed, gets the warhammer back, and ends up swinging a two-handed sword, all without any connecting explanations of the strangely materialized and dematerialized weapons. But heck, it had ENERGY!.

Spartacus: I'm Spartacus! Yes, more foreshadowing the links! The father of flames on the battlefield, but I just liked the romans coming out in Roman Republic checkerboard maniple formations (though spank me again if I say that I think that was out of date by the time of Spartacus).

And speaking of Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis (sans Kubrick), I always loved the Castle assault in The Vikings. Stone Castle in Saxon England? So what - it was fun, what with the axe trick and Kirk climbing up them to lower the gate. Odin!
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Postby The Blue Knight » Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:41 am

I agree with most of these. I gave "Alexander" a miss and I don't regret it. Jackson's LOTR movies' fight scene seem to be about fighting, not the battle. What I mean is that the tactics are missing, and I like that element.

I think the battle called "Sterling" in Braveheart is the best medieval battle put on film. I won't go into how it didn't happen like this and all that. I appreciate the realism, from the preists blessing before, and trying to administer aid after, to the blood, tears, satisfaction of victory and the horror of the cost. And like TTK said it had energy. The parts worked well, I believe a real medieval battle would feel like that. A battle like this could have happened.

Today's movies are much better at capturing the reality of war. "Saving Private Ryan" is difficult for me to watch because (despite the fact that the story is not fact) the events are "real." By that I mean that that is truly what combat is like. A frenzy of violence and adreniline and about a hundred other emotions and reactions. "Band of Brothers" was also excellent in that regard.

One of my favorite films is "Lawerence of Arabia." There is a great seqeunce where Lawerence has persuaded a tribe to attack Aqaba. The army rides out of camp, on horse and camel, to the wails of the women. The scene is breathtaking in scope. Just look how big the army is, then how it is dwarfed by the surrounding mountains. Go rent it and you'll see.

Here's a prayer that someday we can look back on war and be able to use past tense. But to quote Alec Guiness from "Lawerence," "I dream of the vanished Gardens of Cordova. But before the Gardens must come the fighting."
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Postby JPinoy » Sat Jun 24, 2006 5:44 pm

Battle of Germania (GLADIATOR) - Definitely awesome! It showed the strategy and tactics, with troop positioning, the combined arms, and etc. I believe that since the release of that film, most other "sword battle movies" that came out after Gladiator are trying to reach the epicness of the movie and story itself. Sure Gladiator didn't have the largest, nor was it the first "battle-movie". But at the turn of the century, I think this movie established the standard for ancient/medieval infantry combat in the big screen.

Attack on Troy (TROY) - It's large and it actually had some decent battle tactics. They showed a mix of generic soldiers fighting one another, as well as what the hero characters experience during the fray. I like how the Greeks got so arrogant due to their large numbers, and came too close to the Trojan walls, where Hector took advantage and had his Trojan archers mow down the Greek army with arrow showers.

Battle at Hadrian's Wall (KING ARTHUR) - Sure the movie was a little different with regard to the standard Arthurian myth... But the battle scene was quite good. They showed how a smaller army made of Sarmatian cavalrymen of the Roman army, and their Pict allies who were out numbered, were able to defeat the invading Saxons. The smoke cover, the Pict/Celtic siege machines they used, generic warriors fighting, the tactics, and the heros duking it out against the enemy.

Battle of Pelennor Field (LORD OF THE RINGS) - MASSIVE, is the word I'd choose to describe this battle. From the huge Orc infantry armies, the Rohirrim, and the Mumakil forces. True, there was more numbers and brute force than any real tactics and strategies... but the scale of the fight was what put it above so many.

Siam -vs- Burma (THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI) - An epic battle with cannons, swords, spears, arrows, and Burmese and Siamese War Elephants that no doubt was the real life and historical inspiration for the Mumakil in LOTR. In 16th century Siam, later known as Thailand, a young woman ascends to become Queen of the Thai people. She also becomes quite the warrior as she is both a "Queen Cleopatra" and a "Joan of Arc" in terms of function to the Thai people/nation.

Battle of Sterling Bridge (BRAVEHEART) - Sure there was a lack of a bridge and any body of water... but none the less I'll let their "artistic license" do what they need to do with regard to their budget. Anyhow, this battle was very nicely done. I liked how the Scots skewered the English cavalry and the shock on the English nobilities' faces.

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Honorable mentions:

Battle of Gaugamela (ALEXANDER) - Would've been better, but too much dust clouds.

Battle of Narnia (THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA) - Great fantasy battle, but I just can't feel the epicness of it.

Roman Civil War (THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE) - It was a great battle and very close to what you'd see historically, but due to the many different armor styles... it was kind of confusing who's who.

Family Wars (RAN) - Akira Korusawa's adaptation of the Shakespeare's "King Lear".... it was also based on Samurai legends. Armies were involved, but they barely showed any real army -vs- army combat.

Qin Army Assault (HERO) - This is more like a few heros -vs- whole armies. But I thought that the Qin army looked fantastic in this movie. The story is about a nameless assasin whose job was to kill the man who would unite China, Qin Shi'Huang Di, himself. But instead backs out of it as the union of China was more important than keeping the many kingdoms separate which would only mean more wars and bloodshed.

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Modern Times - hey, they are still movie battles. :-P

Nigerian Village Combat (TEARS OF THE SUN) - Sure it captured the horror of modern warfare and ethnic cleansings, but the strategy of a few US Navy Seals -vs- a band of Fulani (Nigerian Mulsims) attacking a Egbo village was well done.

Battle of Mogadishu (BLACK HAWK DOWN) - WOW... It was gun battle after gun battle. I liked how it showed the bravery of today's modern soldiers and the wrecklessness of warlord militias. I also liked how this movie paid respect to the soldiers who gave their lives and how it lets the world know about what goes on when a country fights itself.

Siege of Stalingrad (ENEMY AT THE GATES) - Frightening, is the word I choose to describe this, especially the opening scene. It looked like HELL. Total brutality of the Germans as well as the Soviet Kommisars, towards their own Red Army conscripts.

Japanese Attack (PEARL HARBOR) - As sickening the first 2 hours of this movie was, the epic scope and action of the Japanese attack really made up for the cheesey love story. I actually thought the scene where the 200 or so Japanese warplanes flying towards Hawaii was quite an intimidating sight to behold.

Battle of Har Meggido (THE OMEGA CODE II: MEGGIDO) - I think this would be the modern military version of the Battle of Gaugamela or Battle of Pelennor Fields... Thousands of tanks, attack helicopters, fighter jets, and tens of thousands of combat infantry... wow! They had the World Union military -vs- an alliance of resistance nations like USA, China, and Mexico.
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Postby Sir Kohran » Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:22 pm

Battle of Germania (GLADIATOR) - Definitely awesome! It showed the strategy and tactics, with troop positioning, the combined arms, and etc. I believe that since the release of that film, most other "sword battle movies" that came out after Gladiator are trying to reach the epicness of the movie and story itself. Sure Gladiator didn't have the largest, nor was it the first "battle-movie". But at the turn of the century, I think this movie established the standard for ancient/medieval infantry combat in the big screen.


I'd actually say that one of the emotional movie moments that really stirs me is that bit near the end of the battle, where Maximus is about to be struck down by a Germanian, and then his dog jumps in and bites the barbarian's sword arm, and then the sounds of battle gradually fade away and you hear this very sombre, noble music playing as you see Maximus and the Romans cutting down the last of the Germanians, and the cost of the victory as you see all the piled slain and wounded soldiers in the mud. Then Maximus lifts his sword and shouts 'Roma Victor!' (or something like that). Excellent battle.

- Matt
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Postby Remyth » Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:09 am

I think that The Battle at Pellenor Fields and the Battle of Beruna are tied for the best battle that i've ever seen.
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Postby Jake, of the Palace Guard » Sat Jul 08, 2006 11:28 am

I'd have to say Helms Deep. There's nothing like a nice rainstrom, (or arrow storm if you prefer) to add to the tension of battle!!!
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Postby dJOLe_sk8 » Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:45 am

Battle of the Helm's Deep... They gave exactly what I want...
It's just so same like in the book... well almost the same... nevermind it's so great...

They had the a lot of material for battle of Pelenor,but they did nothing...
I was so dissapointed...

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