The Situation: Okay, here’s the deal: you need to storm a castle and rescue the princess/steal back the peasants’ taxes/stop the lunatic usurping the throne. The only problem is you’re just one person and the castle is guarded by legions of well-armed, if slightly thick, soldiers. What’s a guy to do? Simple. Assemble a crackerjack squad of swashbucklers to lend you a hand…and a sword.
The Criteria: Sure, part of what makes a good swashbuckler is skill. You have to know how to handle a sword. However, if you truly want to buckle a good swash (or, if you’re really talented, swash a good buckle), then you need to know how to use anything and everything in your immediate vicinity: chairs, tables, chandeliers, servants, mules, suits of armor, etc.
1. Robin Hood (The Adventures of Robin Hood)
When I think “swashbuckler”, the first image that pops into my head is watching Errol Flynn dueling Basil Rathbone on that stone staircase. I think that I can safely say that, for most people, Flynn’s Hood is the definitive Hood.
2. Westley & Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)
Cary Elwes’ Westley and Mandy Patinkin’s Inigo (neither of them left-handed) can do it all: scale cliffs, seek revenge, survive the dangers of the Fire Swamp, reunite with their true love, befriend giants, return from being “mostly-dead”, and outsmart a Sicilian when death is on the line.
3. Lagardere (On Guard)
A former soldier–who learns the deadly “Nevers attack” after befriending a great swordsman–romps through the French countryside with his fetching adopted daughter and a troupe of travelling performers. Years later, Lagardere (Daniel Auteuil) must avenge the swordsman’s death by facing his wicked cousin. Oh…and there are hunchbacks.
4. Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean, et al.)
Whether or not you liked the Pirates movies, you can not deny that Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow has the swashiest buckle in Hollywood. As a pirate, Captain Jack might not be much help storming a castle, but he knows how to handle a sword, and could probably pick a lock or two along the way.