Short Blades, Long Fights: 7 Classic Movie Knife Fights
Gunfights might have more flash and pizzazz, but for refined viewers of cinema, knife fights are where it's at. There's an elegance in a good knife fight that simply can't be matched by a couple of dudes blasting away at each other, so here are seven of the best knife fights in movies. One rule: no guns, unless you're Sean Connery.
"Rebel Without A Cause". The switchblade has long been a symbol of youthful rebellion, so it only makes sense that the definitive youthful rebellion movie would have a knife fight scene. The participants are James Dean and a group of no-good thugs (one of whom is Dennis Hopper) who taunt Dean with their blades. It doesn't escalate into full-on brutal violence, but the tension in the scene is very real.
"Timecop". This classic Jean-Claude Van Damme sci-fi thriller features a scene in which trained assassins bust in on JCVD as he sleeps in an attempt on his life. They should have tried harder not to wake him up, though, because they end up fighting to the death with knives. Haven't these guys ever seen any of his movies?
"Fist of Fury". In the climactic fight scene toward the end of "Fist of Fury", a gang of criminals attack Bruce Lee with knives. They should have brought guns because Bruce ends up killing a couple of them with their own knives before smashing a guy through a wall, leaving a cartoonish thug-shaped hole. It might not be the kind of reality-based fight that Bruce Lee would later make famous, but it's undoubtedly badass.
"Raiders of the Lost Ark". This isn't technically a knife fight, but we just have to include Sean Connery's classic line from "The Untouchables": "Ain't that just like a wop, bringing a knife to a gunfight." Indiana Jones would never say such a thing, of course, but that doesn't stop him from making quick work of a knife-wielding goon who makes an elaborate show of his knife skills before getting hilariously and abruptly gunned down.
"The Hunted". If you enjoy watching people fight with knives, look no further than this movie. Unlike the rest of these films, which include one or two knife fights during their running time, "The Hunted" is pretty much all knife fight. The combatants are none other than Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro, so even if you DON'T like knife fights, this is worth checking out.
"Double Team". Director Tsui Hark and fight choreographer Sammo Hung must have thought audiences were sick of watching knife fights when they made this Jean-Claude Van Damme action bonanza because they added an interesting twist: the guy holding the knife is holding it IN HIS FOOT. Why he's doing this is difficult to say, but as you can imagine, JCVD makes pretty quick work of him. Still, the guy was knife fighting with his foot. Impressive.
"Eastern Promises". Even more impressive than holding a knife with your foot is having a knife fight while completely naked, and Viggo Mortensen does just that in this gangster thriller from David Cronenberg. When rival gangsters descend upon him while in a Russian bath house, he has no choice but to fight it out while it all hangs out. It's a pretty brave scene-Bruce Lee himself probably would have scoffed at such a feat.