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Exploring Archery in the Movies part 2

King Richard and the Crusaders (1954) - IMD

Well, back to talk movies with archery. And last time I mentioned about 90 flicks. Hope you enjoyed it. So shall we continue with some more? Sure why not.

I include crossbows in my list of movies as they are another form of archery and only last week I watched Season of the witch starring Nicholas Cage and Ron Pearlman which contains some crossbow action. Similarly, Merlin and the war of the dragons from 2008 also sees crossbows used. The Adventures of William Tell from the 50’s - the most obvious expectation of crossbows in a movie. The Huntsman –Winters war on the other hand contains a good deal of bow and arrow action.

Indiana Jones, now there’s an adventure story or several. In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom during the well known cut rope bridge scene, while he is dangling on one end, he is shot at from the other side by a band of soldiers with strangely bright and shining eastern bows, and possible the worst archers ever. Amazing how Indie can keep his hat on during all the fighting and clambering!

Assassins Creed is another movie with bow action and if you like blood and gore there is the horror Wrong Turn. Many of us grew up with Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and one in particular - Predator, listed already in part one, sees him utilising a bow in the jungle. Another of his movie roles where there are more flying arrows - Conan the Barbarian.

The western Rocky Mountain from 1950 sees lots of flying arrows as Errol Flynn eventually dies from two nasty ones in the back. Another western, Ghost town (1956) (definitely not the 2008 comedy of the same name with Ricky Gervais) sees some impressive pin-point marksmanship from the Cheyenne Indians. Great script here including witty one liner’s too. “It’s eerie and there’s nothing here,” - the female lead says on arriving with haste into an abandoned town, referring to their narrow escape from the Indians, “We’re here!” replied the main character promptly, “... which is more than I expected a few minutes ago!

My father was a huge fan of the western. I grew up watching them with him and my mother, some in black and white, and others in technicolour. He loved John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Other actors they both liked - Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Yul Brenner, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Randolf Scott, and Lee Van Cleef, but their favourite actor of them all was Richard Widmark. Widmark starred in the western The Last wagon where as a survivalist, he uses a bow. A man called Horse another worthy western starring our own Richard Harris. Other qualifying westerns include Apache Territory, Bend of the river and Drums along the Mohawk. Commanche Station with Randolf Scott also has some archery. Other lesser known westerns featuring archery include Grey Eagle (1977), and a series of Winnetou movies through the 1960’s.

In Hard Target with Jean Claude Van Damme, there is an unorthodox rifle used by the bad guys which shoot lethal arrow projectiles but the good uncle Douvee uses a proper bow, a trad recurve and I might add with some skill too, while the sequel Hard Target 2, with Scott Atkins in the lead role also sees some archery with military grade crossbows and compounds used. Another tough guy Chuck Norris uses a bow in Missing in Action. Another bowman and guy you wouldn’t want to mess with, Dolph Lundgren in Red Scorpion.

As a trad archer myself, I like movies with bows such as longbows, flatbows or as in the following four films - horse bows. I mentioned The Mongols in article 1 but there is also the more recent epic Mongol movie from 2007 with great combat scenes. Less archery scenes however in Genghis Khan with Omar Sharif from 1965. Attila the Hun another historic adventure movie, this one starring Gerald Butler. Now if you are looking for a movie with lots of impressive hunting, tournament and battle archery, look no further than Gobi-Birth of a legend. I enjoyed this. This action-packed movie weighs heavily with scenes of flying arrows and is realistic in its production. This movie is also known as Legend of Gobi.

You might expect to see archery in King Richard and the Crusaders from 1954 and you wouldn’t be disappointed. Likewise other “royal” films such as The King (2019), Henry V (1989), Outlaw King (2018),

Timeline from 2003 is a time travel movie which returns the main characters to medieval France, and while the historical accuracy may be dubious, it is worth a look. An older film The Black Rose with Tyrone Power also has interesting archery scenes.

One of my favourite movies is The Mission with Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons. And the movie score is amazing as well as the location. The South American tribesmen use bows with really long arrows.

The Eagle with Channing Tatum contains archery scenes. So too – Ator- The fighting Eagle and William the Conqueror.

The World War 2 movie Battle of the Coral Sea is not one you would expect to see a bow and arrows but think again, there is a bow used during a prison camp escape bid.

Did you know too that in the mid 80’s, Tom Cruise starred in a fantasy movie with archery called Legend. Another fantasy adventure is Percy Jackson and the Lightning thief. There are adapted variants of crossbows in the futuristic Mad Max – Fury Road. Dead Man’s Shoes is a disturbing movie which includes a mini crossbow.

Some more movies from my list... The New World starring Colin Farrell and Christian Bale, Cyborg with Jean Claude Van Damme, Belly of the Beast with Steven Segal. Bloodrayne from 2006 with a host of familiar stars.

“Archer” leader of the Gorgonites wears a wrist crossbow in Small Soldiers. Don’t forget The Lego movie and sequel also has a familiar archer hero. Smurfs -The Lost Village also contains archery.

A comedy now, 10 things I hate about you. The female lead Bianca is practicing shooting a recurve bow when she is distracted by an offer to attend prom from a guy and she does something we all cringe at, as clearly distracted, she pans the bow left and shoots blind, hitting the coach.

Another movie series I grew up watching at my Aunt and Uncles house of a saturday afternoon... Planet of the Apes and the most recent installment War for the planet of the apes sees the apes using bows amongst other weapons.

A movie I have yet to see Big Game with Samuel L Jackson. This is from 2014 and is about a teenager camping in the woods who comes to the rescue of the American President after Air Force One is shot down... sounds dramatic. Also look out for Green Arrow- Duality, releasing in the U.S this year.

With the changes in the way movies are released nowadays with the coming of Netflix and other streaming services, not all films will attain the same level of attention as many will simply be missed by viewers and fans of the big screen. So, as you come across movies with archery perhaps send them on to me to add which I gladly will.

Before I end, which is your favourite archer from the flicks? Would it be the obvious Robin Hood, Katniss, Legolas, Merida or John Rambo? Or could it be Elektra, Hawkeye, Pocahontas, Hanna or Neytiri? or The Punisher, Kubo, Flynn Rider, Andromeda or Mulan?... or someone else entirely from the scores of other productions?

So there’s another 50+ movies involving archery for you.

Job done, till next time. Andrew out.

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