Saturday Art: Essential Movies (Sword and Sorcery)

This week I’m going to discuss some of the movies that I find fun to watch and watch again that fall under the loose grouping of Sword and Sorcery. You may not agree with my inclusion of some of these movies but since it’s my list, I get to make the rules. As always, this is not an inclusive list by any stretch. Some of the movies are quite well made while some of them may be on your personal list of bad movies but all are movies I can and have watched multiple times over the years.

I have to start any discussion of Sword and Sorcery movies with Ray Harryhausen and his special effects. Jason and the Argonauts is the first movie I listed for this category and The Clash of the Titans (first version) is second. Other Harryhausen produced movies on my list here are The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (with the future Mrs Bing Crosby), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

The Harryhausen Sinbad movies lead me to Sinbad the Sailor with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr and Maureen O’Hara. Only in Hollywood would an Irish woman with bright red hair be cast as an Arab princess and Maureen O’Hara was so cast twice more, in Bagdad and Flame of Araby. These aren’t the only movies from the ’40s and ’50s and even into the ’60s that I have to accept as products of their times and enjoy the story without worrying about how incredibly insulting to Arabs they were.  . . .

When the topic is sorcery, it has to include The Lord of the Rings, starting with The Fellowship of the Ring, then The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. If I were semi-normal, about here is where I would be listing all the Harry Potter movies but The Sorcerer’s Stone is the only one I’ve seen (though I have watched it multiple times). However, there is the movie Willow (directed by Ron Howard) with an “apprentice” sorcerer. And The Princess Bride where Miracle Max rules!

Dragonheart is another that I find a fun watch though it is not so much sorcery. LadyHawke though has the sorcery to go with the sword play. The first Highlander movie definitely has the sword play and there has to be some sorcery somewhere in the dealings of the Immortals! While there have been a few sequels to the original, the only other of the Highlander movies I re-watch is Endgame.

I’m not much of a fan of the horror movies so will add in a couple that probably fit the horror genre here with The Raven (with a young Jack Nicholson along with Boris Karloff and Vincent Price) and Interview With The Vampire.

I probably should have listed The Odyssey up top with it’s Greek Mythology (Isabella Rossellini as Athena!) but will let it stand by itself as a pretty good TV mini-series.

Previous in this series: Essential Movies, Essential Movies (Westerns), Essential Movies (Historical Settings pre-1500), Essential Movies (Historical Settings post-1500)

And because I can:

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