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Top Ten Sword, Sandals and Sorcery Movies of the Last Thirty Years

I've picked what I consider to be the best representatives of this genre.
Well, the Sword, Sandals and Sorcery fansite has been up for a week now. I try to keep a generally broad and open minded theory to this genre. Most of the info I will bring here will usually have at least 2 of the 3 S's however I am not opposed to bringing in news and opinion on swashbucklers, pirates or even the occasional alien if it comes from the same story lines. Though they are usually reserved for end of the year round ups, I figured I would present you my own personal Top Ten Sword, Sandals and sorcery Films of the last thirty years. Why 30 years, you ask? Well, 1980 seems to be around the right starting point of the "modern era" of filmmaking as it applies to this and most genres. The "old" classics need their own rankings and the 50's and 60's Italian Sword & Sandal movies have their own little niche as well.

Without further ado, Let the Games Begin!

10. Beastmaster (1982) This sword-and-sorcery film was only a modest box-office performer during its initial 1982 release, grossing roughly $14 million against an estimated $8-million budget, but it has steadily built a strong cult following over the years.[1] It subsequently received significant local TV and cable airplay, notably HBO and TBS where it became a TV mainstay and viewer favorite.

9. Clash of the Titans (1981) Classic use of stop motion animation by the great Ray Harryhausen. This movie truly bridged the gap between old and modern movie making.

The remake will be out this April 2nd. It remains to be seen if the mechanical owl, Bubo, will appear in the new movie.

8. The 13th Warrior (1999) This was panned by many critics but is one of my personal favorites. The story is of an Arab who is banished and forced to be an "ambassador to the North". There, he meets a shipload of Viking raiders whose king has just died. The Vikings learn they must come to the aid of a distant village to fight the Wendol, who seem to have the appearance of both man and bear. Through the commands of an oracle, it is decided that exactly thirteen men must go to face this danger, and that the thirteenth must not be a Norseman; thus Ahmed is recruited.

Next year's Thor could definitely take some cues from the Viking imagery in this movie.

7. Highlander (1986) "There can be only one!"

Not a traditional Sword & Sorcery movie but it has all the great elements of one plus it brings the genre to modern times.

One of the greatest villains-The Kurgan!

6. Excalibur (1981) Many have called this the greatest film version of King Arthur's tale. The movie was released in both a PG and a R rated version at the same time. Many of the set pieces were originally made for The Lord of the Rings but director John Boorman could not acquire the rights to the book. There is also a remake in the works for this movie to be helmed by Bryan Singer of the first two X-Men movies.

5. 300 (2006) An instant classic that appears to have been "lifted" straight from the graphic novel of the same name. Critics have both praised and panned the stylized violence but it is simply a great popcorn flick! Most of the movie was shot on set in front of green screens.

4. Braveheart (1995) Mel Gibson portrays William Wallace, a Scottish warrior who gained recognition when he came to the forefront of the First War of Scottish Independence by opposing King Edward I of England (also known as "Longshanks"). It is a stunning film to watch.

The film won five Academy Awards at the 68th Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director, and had been nominated for an additional five.

"Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!"

3. Conan The Barbarian (1982) By Crom! THE benchmark movie for conquering hero versus villainous overlord. This movie set Arnold on the path to Action Hero glory. Filled with epic fight scenes and a female warrior that truly looks and acts the part in Sandahl Bergman.

Another classic on its way to a remake. Filming for the new Conan starts some time this Spring.

2. Gladiator (2000) "Were you not entertained?"

Another Best Picture winner, this movie has received much critical acclaim. It works both as a great Swords & Sandal action movie AND an intriguing heartfelt drama. Something for both the boys and the girls. Russell Crowe is at his leanest best in this while Joaquin Phoenix gives a scary performance as Commodus: a vain, power hungry and sociopathic young man.

Crowe will be re-teaming with director Ridley Scott for this year's Robin Hood

1. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) The top ranking really goes to the entire trilogy. Director Peter Jackson brings J.R.R. Tolkien's legendary story to life through sweeping narrative and impressive CGI. The complete CGI character Gollum shows more emotion and dramatic presence than many real life actors. It is the highest grossing trilogy in history.

The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards: Academy Award for Best Picture, Directing, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score,Song, Visual Effects, Art Direction, Costume Design, Make-up, Sound Mixing and Film Editing. The film won all the categories for which it was nominated. It tied with Ben-Hur and Titanic for the most Oscars ever won by a single film, and broke the previous record for a sweep set by Gigi and The Last Emperor at 9.

Jackson is working as an executive producer on LOTR's prequel, The Hobbit

Many thanks to Wikipedia for some of the information.

Did I miss anything? I'd love to hear your feedback.
4 Yes
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