The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
”The Force is with you, young Skywalker. But you are not a Jedi yet.” Thus begins the most iconic good-versus-evil battle ever to grace the big screen, as Luke and Darth Vader clash lightsabers in their Cloud City duel. The choreography is acrobatic ballet, the sound effects are brilliant, and the climactic revelation (”I am your father!”) is one for the ages.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Evidence that cinematic throwdowns can tickle the funny bone as well as shatter it, this newscaster battle royal will make you bust a gut thanks to cameos from Channel 2’s Luke Wilson, PBS’ pipe-smoking Tim Robbins, and Spanish-language news’ Ben Stiller. And, of course, deadpan lines like this one: ”Brick, where did you get a hand grenade?”
After getting into fighting shape by pummeling a side of beef, the Italian Stallion finally learns what the beef must have felt like when he steps into the ring to take on Apollo Creed in their big title bout. Rocky may be remembered as a heart-tugging underdog tale, but watch these two beat the stuffing out of each other again and you’ll see just how sadistic and brutal this movie truly is.
Enter the Dragon (1973)
I could fill this list with five fight scenes from the Bruce Lee classic alone. But if forced to choose one, I’ve got to go with the trippy, slo-mo hall-of-mirrors finale in which the martial-arts maestro goes head-to-head with a razor-clawed baddie. It’s like watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers…with a body count.
Kill Bill — Vol. 1 (2003)
On her blood-soaked quest for vengeance, Uma Thurman’s The Bride squares off with schoolgirl assassin Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama) in a gravity-defying test of deathblows featuring a Hanzo sword and a cool razor-spiked flying mace. Giddy proof that the ladies can get just as nasty as the boys.