There have been many examples of one-on-one fight scenes in movies. Even some war movies that have massive reach contain at least one scene where the battle is just between two people. It can happen in any genre when tensions boil over between two characters to the point where things physically flare up. Some characters are old friends, while others are complete strangers, but they come to blows.
If you search Reddit for suggestions, moviegoers will find some surprising examples. Whether mentioned frequently or praised particularly strongly, Reddit users know which one-on-one punches stand out the most.
Indy Vs The Swordsman – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
When it comes time for Indiana Jones to get into a sword fight, he quickly pulls out his gun and fires. The reason behind this was a behind-the-scenes issue: Harrison Ford and many crew members had contracted dysentery. It worked out for the best, as the scene is one of the best comedic bits in the movie.
As a redditor put it, “Indy vs. the Scimitar guy. The Scimitar guy does all this ornate pre-fight bullying with his sword and Indy just pulls out his gun and shoots him. None of this is too elaborate. ..”
John Bennett vs. Ted—Ted (2012)
Like all great friendships, John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (Seth MacFarlane) have their ups and downs. One of them involves a fight between a man and a teddy bear in a hotel room. It’s a strong comedic scene that makes great use of the CGI that brings Ted to life.
Editor BangBang00 wrote: “I should take this more seriously but I can’t stop thinking about Mark Wahlberg versus Ted from the movie Ted every time I think of fight scenes…”
Several battles in the Star Wars movies
On a thread looking for the best one-on-one fight scenes in movies, Mashington14 added several of the star wars movies: “Luke vs. Vader, Anakin vs. Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan vs. Maul, Obi-Wan vs. General Grievous, or my favorite, Mace Windu vs. Palpatine. Say what you will about the prequels, but the most fights are great.”
The Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan fight against Maul doesn’t count, even though it’s a scene that made fans love the whole movie even more. There are later bits where Maul fights one and then the other, but most of the fight is two on one.
H.I. McDunnough vs. Gale Snoats – Raising Arizona (1987)
Wacky comedy by the Coen Brothers Raising Arizona features a suitably gonzo performance from Nicolas Cage as HI McDunnough, a short thief in the intelligence department. Unfortunately, he made acquaintances in prison, two of whom (John Goodman and William Forsythe) are about to steal his new baby and that of his wife, Edwina (Holly Hunter). Of course, HI and Edwina stole the baby first. Things get complicated when HI and Gale Snoats (Goodman) start trading blows.
The Bride vs. O-Ren Ishii—Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
by Quentin Tarantino Kill Bill the films have several scenes where the bride, one of cinema’s best female anti-heroes, goes after a member of the assassination team who betrayed her. Some are short, like Bride vs. She Driver in Kill Bill Flight. 2, while some last a bit longer, like Bride’s suburban fight with Vernita Green.
Bigfoot675 wrote of the two-part Tarantino: “There’s so much in the Kill Bill movies.” Mwmani then slashed it with, “I’ve always been a fan of the snow garden battle at the end of Kill Bill Flight. 1.” and his fight with O-Ren Ishii is one of his finest scenes throughout both films.
Caesar Vs Koba – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
The third act of Matt Reeves’ phenomenal Dawn of the Planet of the Apes finds Caesar miraculously alive after being betrayed by Koba, who has taken over and shattered the existing peace between humans and apes. The old friends fight to the death, with Koba receiving only that.
Captain America vs. the Winter Soldier — Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
As one of the best MCU movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier does a lot of things very well. Towards the top of the list is the fluidity of its scenes, where the characters move at a breakneck pace, but the series of images are never anything less than cohesive.
She wants defense felt that “the Captain America/Winter Soldier fight scenes were very impressive. You could almost feel the weight/force behind some of those hits.” Rhett S was one of many Redditors who agreed with the scene’s suggestion. In their words: “Not only that, but the speed of both characters, mixed with the fact that a shield, knife, and pistol can all be used in the same melee combat.”
Martin Blank versus Félix La Pubelle – Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
Gros Pointe Virgin is one of the best films to feature both John and Joan Cusack. John stars as a depressed hitman who decides to attend his high school reunion to get out of his head for a bit…and take out a target.
Darierl referred to the particularly nasty high school reunion fight: “I will always remember him killing a guy with a pen, it was brutal, like the whole fight.” Then a user now deleted added “Yes! It’s one of the greatest fight scenes ever in a Western film, and it works all the better for appearing in a black comedy…”
George Nada vs. Frank Armitage – They Live (1988)
Even the best sci-fi action movies similar to They live can’t match its alley fight scene, which is nearly six minutes long. Blow for blow, it is both brutal and almost caricatural. The brawl is so well choreographed and acted out by Keith David and former pro wrestler Roddy Piper that it manages to feel both its length and its breeze.
On a thread looking for the best fight scenes, mjxii suggested John Carpenter’s film by title. Many other Redditors chimed in on the merits of the scene, but that was 19lins90 who said it perfectly with “I love how whenever it’s asked They live is considered the best.”
John McClane vs. Karl Vreski – Die Hard (1988)
In die hard, two of Hans Gruber’s main henchmen, Karl and Tony Vreski, give John McClane a major run for his money. Tony dies soon enough, which only prompts Karl to quench his bloodlust further.
LeRideau512 wrote, “Karl was like the number two villain/enforcer gold standard,” to which Reinhardt_UNSW replied, “This actor actually had a very interesting journey to get there.” Editor dbcanuck then elaborated on the true story of Alexander Godunov, who portrayed a grieving Karl: “A Russian Cold War defector from the Bolshoi who turned into a Hollywood B-list star … Barishnikov did it fired from the American Ballet, some say out of jealousy.”
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