In discussion with a group of friends, the question came up: "What is the best, most realistic, historically accurate sword fight in the movies?" We weren't interested in made-for-the-camera montages that have little or nothing to do with accurate depictions of real fighting (although we all laughed at the comic duel in Zorro, The Gay Blade, where George Hamilton was at his over-the-top best).
There were a number of suggestions, but most of us agreed that the duel between Colonel Wołodyjowski and the young nobleman Andrzej Kmicic was one of the best of its kind, if not the best. It's described in Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel "The Deluge", the second book in his "Trilogy". Jerzy Hoffman adapted the novel for the film of the same name in 1974.
Here's the famous duel scene, fought according to the Sarmatian dueling code (i.e. immediately, not needing seconds or a separation in time from the incident that sparked it) using period-correct Polish cavalry sabers known as Szablas. It's gritty and realistic.
(Kmicic survives his injury, and goes on to become a hero in his own right, while the Colonel dies in a later battle.). I've seldom seen a sword fight more realistic than that. It's also very faithful to the tone and mood of the original work - something few movies can claim.
So, readers, what's your nomination? What sword fight or duel scene, in your opinion, is the most realistic and historically accurate portrayal of the genre? Please let us know in Comments, and provide a link (if possible) to the scene on a video channel.