25 years of fantasy swords in movies: a flashback
Twenty-five years ago, the movie Conan featured the Atlantean sword. They designed and created a unique sword just for the movie and this started a new trend in fantasy movie making, and today almost every fantasy movie is released with a collectible sword. Here’s a look at some of these great movies and their swords.
The film Conan, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, was released in 1982 and the sword called “The Atlantean” was designed specifically for the film and for the actor. He was given a major role in the film because he played a major role in the Conan stories and novels written by Robert E. Howard. The sword itself turned out to be very popular and replicas were created for sale on the mass market. Twenty-five years later, replicas of the Atlante are still being made and sold. This sword started a whole trend in film making and today fantasy filmmakers take great care in designing, creating and marketing unique swords as part of the film and as part of their marketing. This can be seen in the recently released movie 300, which has sparked a revival in the gladiator sword. And the new Harry Potter movie will highlight a sword wielded by Harry himself. This sword replica has already been released and is currently available in limited quantities on the mass market.
The Highlander movies (First installment released 1986) are another good example of the sword as the centerpiece of the movie. The swords play an important role in the plot of the movie, as the sword must be used to dispatch an enemy and consequently to obtain the powers of the enemy. A Scottish Claymore was used in the first film, and as the Highlander moves through time to the present, it changes to a highly stylized version of Japanese katanas. This use of the Japanese katana is one of the earliest examples of mass marketing of Japanese swords and has been followed with great success in the Kill Bill movies.
Braveheart (released 1995) is a good example of using replica swords that stay true to the flavor of the time period they portray. Mel Gibson wields a number of different weapons that fit the time of the film. These weapons include a warhammer and a flail. The most famous of the weapons he wields is A Flamberge, which is a two-handed sword with a leather wrap around part of the blade that allows the user to strangle the weapon and use it in close combat situations.
Blade (1996-2004) is a series of vampire movies that use a variety of weapons including whipping and whipping. The main weapon of the main character (Wesley Snipes) is a Japanese Katana that has the added effect of a booby trap. If a person takes the weapon, they have a few seconds to press a secret button. If they don’t, the secret blades come out of the handle and damage the hand holding it. This movie series is another good example of how the Japanese katana has become very popular in movies.
Gladiator (2000) is a good example of how the weapons of the high Roman era have left their mark on the movies and in the collection of swords. The Roman Gladius wielded by Maximus (Russell Crowe) is a good example of the weapon that was wielded at the time and remains a popular choice among gun collectors.
The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy (2001-2003) has had an impact on movie sword collecting that goes beyond all other movies. This movie returned the collector to pure fantasy sword art just like Conan’s sword. While the trend in movies was to create accurate replicas of the time, this movie series moved the entire trend towards creating fantastic swords that represented the personality of the bearers. Each main character in the movies has their own weapon. Each weapon is unique and readily available on the mass market for collectors.
Eragon (2006) continues the tradition of the unique fantasy sword in which the main character wields a beautiful sword called Zar’roc. This sword has a blue sapphire mounted at the base of the hilt and the sword itself has significant power and symbolism. It plays a major role in the movie and a major role in the replica collection world.
The last twenty-five years of filmmaking have provided us with a wonderful selection of fantasy swords that are both accurate reproductions of real swords from the past and exciting fantasy creations that never existed except in the minds of writers and blacksmiths. This trend was first started with Conan and over the next twenty-five years we will surely get an even more incredible selection of weapons and swords in the movies.