vulture lists

Swords, Arrows, and Lots of Yelling: Breaking Down Ten Great Medieval Battle Scenes

Photo: HBO, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures

You could probably direct one of these scenes yourself, so ingrained have the tropes of the medieval battle become in the mind of the moviegoer. These days, any film even vaguely set in a medieval time period must include long, dirty hair and at least one bloody battle scene. It’s the law — and within the span of a week, both the cinematic Game of Thrones episode “Blackwater” and Snow White and the Huntsman abided. We’ll talk hair another day; today it’s about the battles — the rousing pre-fight speeches, the two sides charging into each other, the last-second rescue of important characters. We watched a bunch and found that those packed with the most recognizable tropes also tend to be the very best. After all, who wants a twelfth-century battle without the flaming arrows?

Breaking Down Ten Great Medieval Battle Scenes