We all love a good fight scene. But what are the best movie fight scenes ever?
Action movies are great: explosions, chases, damsels in distress, ridiculous plots and plenty of fights. I love a good fight scene in an action movie. I’m sure most people do. But what are the best movie fight scenes ever?
Glad you asked. Let’s get into it.
Please note: The videos included below contain violence.
15. Achilles vs. Hector – Troy (2004)
Troy is a historical epic drama about the Trojan War, and it’s full of great fight scenes, including this one between Achilles and the Trojan prince Hector.
Following the death of his cousin Patroclus at the hand of the Trojan prince, the enraged Achilles rides out to the gates of Troy and challenges Hector to single combat.
Brad Pitt and Eric Bana really nail their roles as Achilles and Hector respectively, with Bana portraying Hector as a battle-weary veteran who really just wants the fighting to end, and Pitt portraying the brash youth that is Achilles.
As the fight starts and ends you can see the resignation and weariness in Hector’s eyes; all he wants is for the war to end so he can go home. He’s tormented by the death of Patroclus but knows that Achilles won’t back down.
In terms of Achilles, you can see the rage that he’s only barely leashing. The fury with which he attacks his opponent is truly frightening, but even as he strikes the prince down, there’s just a hint of remorse as he realizes what’s happened.
14. Casey Ryback vs. Stranix – Under Siege (1992)
From ancient times to the modern era, Under Siege tells the story of a former Navy Seal turned cook on the USS Missouri as she is taken over by terrorists on her way to be disarmed. Throughout the film there are a number of great fights, but this has to be the best.
Ryback (Steven Seagal) is cornered by Stranix (Tommy Lee Jones) and a fight quickly breaks out.
These two guys clearly put everything they had into this fight. The sequence is fast paced with the two actors using vastly different styles, Jones a rough and tumble approach and Seagal a kind of dance, slow, graceful and elegant and yet explosively violent and deadly.
13. Jet Li vs. Twins – Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
Jet Li plays a man who is framed for murder and has to try and clear his name. This fight towards the end of the film takes place while he’s trying to retrieve the kidnapped daughter of Bridget Fonda’s character.
I love this scene because of its sheer speed and intensity and I love how Jet’s character starts off really confused about which guy he is fighting but then turns the tables on the two and beats them both.
12. Lee vs. Everyone – LITERALLY! – Enter the Dragon (1973)
By far one of the best martial arts fight sequences ever. This awesome fight scene from Enter the Dragon sees Bruce Lee infiltrating Mr Han’s secret opium labs and sending word to the authorities, tripping an alarm in the process.
The fight that follows is equal parts silly and epic as he cleaves through Han’s pathetic guards using sticks, fists, feet and his favorite weapon: Nunchucks!
My favorite part in this whole sequence is where Lee swaps from short sticks to the nunchucks. The guy who had the nunchucks attacks and is disarmed – after watching his colleagues get beaten senseless – and is still stupid enough to try his luck!
I’ve seen Enter the Dragon multiple times, but every time this part of the scene comes up and Lee does his famous nunchuck twirling, I’m like: “Dude, give up; you’ve just seen this guy smash everyone else to bits are you really gonna…” and then he lunges and Lee cracks him over the head and I’m like: “Idiot, you wouldn’t listen and now look at you! Next time pull a Monty Python and RUN AWAY!”
11. Edmond vs. Fernand – The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
A personal favorite of mine, this film’s story of a man who seeks revenge after being betrayed by his friend and wrongfully imprisoned is somewhat slow at the outset, but once it gets going it really gets going!
Edmond Dantes, the titular count, spends the bulk of the film avenging himself upon those who wronged him. At the climax of the film he squares off with the very man who betrayed him: his childhood friend Fernand Mondego.
This is probably one of the best sword fights I’ve seen in a film – and I’ve seen a fair few of them. It’s fast-paced, energetic and a lot of fun to watch.
If you haven’t seen The Count of Monte Cristo already I highly recommend doing so.
10. Jason Statham vs. the Russians – Safe (2012)
Jason Statham plays a man trying to protect a young Chinese girl with a gift for remembering numbers from the mafia. As the girl, Mei, boards a train, a group of Russian mobsters follow and Statham has to do something crazy to get to them. When he does, the fight that follows is truly a joy to watch.
9. Ting vs. Fight Club – Ong Bak: Thai Warrior (2003)
Tony Jaa stars in this martial arts action flick as Ting, a man charged with retrieving a stolen artefact (Buddha’s head) and bringing it back to his village temple.
This scene takes place after his cousin has stolen most of his money and taken it to gamble at an underground fight club. The fights that follow are… well… oh, just watch.
Ting’s use of Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) gives him a distinct advantage and he absolutely pulverizes his opponents. My personal favorite fight in this sequence is the second one where he fights some guy with a funny bobble-head-like hairstyle.
8. The Mudslide Fight – McLintock! (1963)
John Wayne is a legendary actor probably best known for his work in westerns (although we made a list of his five best non-western films if you’re interested).
I’ve seen a lot of them, but McLintock! is by far my favorite. It tells the story of a rancher who is trying to mend fences with his estranged wife.
This scene is action-packed hilarity in a nutshell. Following on from a very serious near-lynching George Washington McLintock starts a fight by punching a newcomer to the frontier down a mudslide. All hell breaks loose, and even the Sheriff and GW’s wife (played by the wonderful Maureen O’Hara) get in on the action!
7. Alejandro Murrieta vs. Capt. Harrison Love – The Mask of Zorro (1998)
Another sword fight? Yes please!
This scene between Antonio Banderas’ Zorro and Matt Letscher’s Captain Harrison Love is full of tension. Banderas’ Alejandro Murrieta saw his brother’s death at the hands of the villainous army captain and wants revenge (I know the captain technically didn’t kill him – it’s a movie, go with it).
When the captain elects to fight Zorro on his own terms instead of just shooting him it’s an epic showdown.
I particularly like how the set was used and the way in which Zorro continually taunts his opponent, often dancing in and out of the guy’s reach. Regardless of whether you liked the movie or not, you can’t deny that this is an epic fight.
6. Daniel vs. Chozen – The Karate Kid: Part II (1986)
This fight is the epitome of the underdog story. Throughout the film we watch Daniel (Ralph Macchio) come into conflict with local bullies in his sensei’s home village, eventually leading to the leader of the bullies, a guy named Chozen, to be disowned when his pride stops him from helping Daniel save a little girl during a typhoon (I’m not sure if it’s a typhoon or hurricane).
As the village celebrates a festival in the wake of the storm, Chozen swoops in and takes Daniel’s love interest, Kumiko, hostage, demanding a fight with the younger karateka.
Chozen has the upper hand at the start of the film before Daniel hasan epiphany and mops the floor with him, before choosing not to kill him.
5. Joe Armstrong vs. Ninjas – American Ninja II (1987)
Daggy ’80s action at its finest! In this scene from the second instalment of the American Ninja series, Joe Armstrong is looking to talk to a woman whom he saw earlier.
I love how the ninjas in this sequence just can’t seem to get a break: they throw him and he throws them, trip him and he rolls into it and bounces back with a neat little counter attack.
This is a film I recommend often to ’80s action fanatics and every time I’ve recommended it I’ve received nothing but positive feedback; a lot of it is due to a specific scene later in the film where Joe’s buddy Jackson fights a couple of ninjas himself:
I don’t think I need to say more. It truly is a great film. I love how he beats these guys senseless and as the one tries to get up he yells: “Stay down!” and the guy falls flat again!
If you haven’t seen this, I highly recommend it.
4. Jason Bourne vs. 1st Assassin – The Bourne Identity (2002)
Jason Bourne and Marie (his leading lady) are in his apartment in Paris when an assassin breaks in and tries to kill them.
Matt Damon’s insomniac CIA agent gone rogue just had to make the list, the only problem was which fight to choose. Feel free to leave disgruntled comments below if you don’t approve of my choice.
My favorite part here is where Marie starts to freak out because the assassin has her picture and Jason says: “You stay there, I’ll do this.” And then the assassin jumps from the balcony, falling to his death.
3. Man with No Name vs. Red Cavanaugh – For a Few Dollars More (1965)
The introduction of Clint Eastwood’s character in the second of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti-western ‘Dollars trilogy’, this scene is notable for Eastwood’s way of fighting.
I don’t know how I didn’t notice it immediately but he’s only fighting with one hand! I don’t know if that was his idea or Leone’s idea or what but it was brilliant and is a perfect intro to the character of the Man with No Name.
2. Jackie Chan vs. Thugs – Jackie Chan’s Who Am I? (1998)
Everyone who knows this movie refers to the slide off the skyscraper towards the end of the film as the best moment, and while I enjoyed that part of the film, it’s this fight that takes place in a flea market in downtown Rotterdam that takes the cake for me.
Jackie is running to get away from the bad guys and doing his best to fight them off as needed, losing his shoes in the process. He has to get creative in order to keep his toes safe!
Honorable Mentions to Keep the Tension Building
I’ll Pay! – Ip Man 2 (2010)
This is just a funny fight scene with excellent choreography and a ton of humor.
Donnie Yen and Louis Fan have a quick battle here and a lot of damage is done by Fan – which he promises to pay for.
Dread Pirate Roberts vs. Inigo Montoya – The Princess Bride (1987)
Two swordsmen exchange casual conversation and display their knowledge of fencing in an entertaining, fun to watch scene.
My favorite part of this whole scene though has to be the end of the fight where Montoya gets conked on the head by his opponent as opposed to being run through.
Drum roll please…
1. Breaking Bones – The Protector (2005)
Remember when I said you could see the rage in Brad Pitt’s eyes in Troy? Yeah, Tony Jaa puts that to shame in this scene.
Yeah, ummm, can we all agree that this is one guy you wouldn’t want to pick a fight with? He tore through a whole army of goons and broke their bones with ease!
And while we’re on the subject of the goons, what the blazes were they thinking? Dude, if you walk into a room and a single man has just put 15 or 20 of your buddies on the floor, you don’t go near him – you run away screaming like a little kid and hope he doesn’t come after you!
So, those were my picks for the best movie fight scenes ever. What are yours?
There you have it ladies and germs, my picks for the 15 best fight scenes in movies! Now, I want to know what you think. Have you seen these movies? If so, which ones and what did you think of them? Do you agree/disagree with my picks? Why or why not? What would you count as your 15 best movie fight scenes ever and why? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know; it’s always fun to read feedback!