This week’s topic came from one of the Top 10 Show’s patrons named Matthew, who actually just had a baby girl. It is Sword and Sandal movies. Matt Knost talked about having a blindspot in some of the 1950s and 1960s movies and I would say that I am also in the same boat. However, after only having six of them last week, I was able to get the whole list filled out (but no honorable mentions).
I could probably fill up a Worst Sword and Sandal match easily. Immortals is just terrible. The remakes of Clash and its sequel… ugh.
But… here we go.
#10. Hercules. Yes, John Rocha really shot this one down during the program this morning, but I did not mind this film. Starring the Rock, I really enjoyed the odd twist that the Rock played Hercules as someone pretending to be the myth-like Hercules, but is actually normal (or was he?). It is not a great movie by any stretch, but I think compared to some of the other sword and sandal movies, this is every bit as good.
#9. Scorpion King. Another Rock film, the Scorpion King is another not great film, but is helped by the presence of the Great One. A sequel to one of the Mummy movies where Rock was a villain, the Scorpion King became more of a hero. This helped send Dwayne Johnson into the stratosphere of movie stardom.
#8. Life of Brian. Monty Python is one of the great comedic troupes of all time and Life of Brian is one of the funniest that they had. It was, of course, controversial at its release since it satires religion and it seems like sometimes senses of humor are missing. I am sure Jesus would love the movie.
#7. Conan the Barbarian. Hear the lamentations of the women! Arnold Schwarzenegger was perfectly cast as Robert E. Howard’s classic barbarian character, Conan. There have been rumors about Arnold reprising the role as King Conan and that would be awesome. Unfortunately, the sequel to this was not near the same as this one. Great origin.
#6. Ben Hur. It has been a long time since I have seen this movie and that is why it is lower on the list than it is. When you think about this type of movie, this is one of the films you think about. The sad remake of this from a couple of years ago was senseless. Why try to improve on greatness?
#5. 300. Zach Snyder’s classic of the 300 Spartans holding off the massive Persian army led by Xerxes at the Battle of Thermopylae. Gerard Butler is great and the look of 300 is like a painting. Based on a comic book/graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 is a shot for shot adaptation of the graphic novel by Miller which is an amazing achievement considering you can draw anything on a page, but are limited to what you can do on the screen. Another example where the sequel is considerable worse than the original, but that does not limit 300.
#4. Disney’s Hercules. One of the underappreciated Disney animated films that got lost during the hey day of the Disney animation. The Disney tale takes the classic myth of Hercules and makes it fit their typical animated film. Danny DeVito is great as the voice of Phil. James Woods then stole most of the film as Hades. Great animation.
#3. Spartacus. I am Spartacus! No, I am Spartacus! An iconic scene that was brought to life by a tremendous performance by Kirk Douglas. This is another one that I have not see in years, but you cannot debate that this is one of the great sword and sandal movies of all time.
#2. Gladiator. Are you not entertained? Gladiator is one of the great movies in this genre, featuring a couple of top notch performances by Oscar winner Russell Crowe and Oscar nominated Joaquin Phoenix. Gladiator also won the Academy Award in the Best Picture category. It is hard to compete with its resume.
#1. Clash of the Titans. This number one is one of those that I loved from my childhood. I know for sure that this is not the best movie on the list, but I look back on it with such a wondrous nostalgia. I loved this film as a youth and it inspired a lot of my love of mythology and story telling. I HATED the reboot version of this. It cannot stand up to the original even a little bit. Some of the special effects are really cheesy, but I don’t care. This was something that I always loved watching. I probably watched this a bunch of times. Harry Hamlin as Perseus is great. All of the monsters such as Medusa and the Kraken, along with the Greek Gods… I just loved it. And so it is my number one, even though as a movie, I know this is not anywhere near some of the others on this list. Hard to defeat something from my childhood.