Question of the Day: Most Bad-Assed Knife-Wielder in Cinema

knife-wielder in cinema

I have no idea what the first blade-themed scene was in cinema history, but I imagine one possibility would be a cavalry charge in a silent film. Regardless who was first, blade-wielding heroes and villains are legion throughout the history of film. While there are certainly movie characters whose knife-induced body counts and carnage exceed that of Britt in The Magnificent Seven, few have demonstrated such style and steel-nerved bad-assery in the process.



I have been playing around a bit with a set of throwing knives, and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to make a time-critical stick with my life on the line from an unpracticed distance. But that is what makes this scene so awesome. It is an impossible feat, yet completely plausible. And it comes from one of the greatest films with one of the greatest ensemble casts of all time.

Who gets your vote for the most bad-assed movie knife-wielder?

I will also open up a sub-category to include all edged weapons, which would cover my runners up of Connor MacLeod- Highlander; and Errol Flynn – take your pick of the role. But anything from axes to pole-arms would count for Group B.



  1. morte says:

    Tcheky Karyo as the master knife-fighter “Hermes” in “The Grand Arte”.

    “Why don’t you do it yourself?” Walks off into the darkness. Classic.

  2. Mike L says:

    Wow…so many iconic scenes come to mind. We are all products of families, upbringing and culture. I grew up with the adults around me as fresh vets from WWII. Burned in my memory are stories of an uncle killing a German solider in Italy after the German had bayoneted him. How a would be burglar made the mistake of trying to break in to our apartment when my father had just returned from Europe. Good old dad chasing him up a fire escape with bayonet in hand. So my movie moments of the blade tend to be on the military side.

    A couple of iconic scenes worth watching….

    From Gettysburg, this catches Jeff Daniels giving the order to fix bayonets. Terror in his face at the realization combat face to face is close. Beautifully done…

    From Bridge on The River Quai. Holden screams to the young solider with dagger in hand. If there is 10 seconds of movieness that express the psychic energy of killing a man with cold steel it is this scene.

    Then jumping forward to Viet Nam. The classic movie We Were Soldiers Once about the battle at LZ X-Ray is haunting with the music background.

    There are lots more movies where the blade makes an indelible mark. Like Fixed Bayonets, The Guns of Navarone, Zulu, etc.

  3. Bill J says:


  4. Adam says:

    Riddick is a good choice.

    Or Arano from the Japanese film Pornostar (releases here under the name Tokyo Ranpage) seriously, you can probably YouTube some scenes from that film. Bad ass.

  5. matth says:

    the vilain’s knife in cobra with stallone

  6. Cliff says:

    Musashi Miyamoto of the Samurai Trilogy films, for the sword category.

  7. Sam L. says:

    How about Alan Ladd in The Iron Mistress? Then there’s the fight in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, though Paul doesn’t use a knife. Peter Lorre in “M”, though we never see him use it to kill the children.

    Swordfight: The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya and The Dread Pirate Roberts, or Inigo and the 6-fingered man.

  8. Alex says:

    Britt from Magnificent seven definitely takes the cake, but Denzel Washington in Book of Eli deserves a mention.

  9. Alex says:

    And don’t forget MACHETE and Crocodile Dundee

  10. ChuckN says:

    Jung WooSung in The Warrior (mostly spear use),
    Rybeck in Under Siege and Donnie Yen vs knife
    wielding baddie in Kill Zone are all pretty high on
    my list. However, Paul Atreides from Dune gets
    my vote.

  11. knightofbob says:

    I’ll throw in my vote for Hit Girl from Kick-Ass, with Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises as runner up and honorable mention for Danny Trejo in Desperado.

    As far as swords, Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction deserves consideration.

  12. Pat Carver says:

    Jack Palance in City Slickers.

  13. Cubbie says:

    Yojimbo with Toshiro Mifune, the original Man with No Name.

    William Wallace’s claymore in Braveheart.

    But there are so many good ones.

  14. Maybe for April Fools I should do a “Weapons of the Ninja Turtles” post…

  15. Tom says:

    Beatrix Kiddo

    1. Billy says:

      AKA “The Bride”

  16. Duncan Idaho says:

    Jayne Cobb from Firefly has my vote.

  17. Insipidmoniker says:

    Brock Sampson from The Venture Brothers.

  18. Tom in Oregon says:

    Mississippi (James Caan) in El Dorado.

    1. Nice pick. +1 to you sir.

  19. Tom in Oregon says:

    Ah, for the female category, Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) from NCIS.

  20. Tony says: proof that you can do this.

  21. James says:

    Cold Steel has done some throwing of folding knives that looks like it would work, as in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, but I would bet that such a duel in real life would leave both men dead, because of the stopping power issue. Still classic, though.

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Question of the Day: Most Bad-Assed Knife-Wielder in Cinema

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