I can’t even count how many lists I’ve posted regarding my favorite varieties of action scenes. This includes car chases, climaxes, one on one duels and shoot outs but now I’m really going to dig it, now it’s time to count down my favorite epic battles scenes from movies. Just to clarify, I’m not including battles from movies that are based on real and historical events. This list will only feature fictional battles you’d see in Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Adventure movies. Also, I’m not including battles from TV shows, even though there are lots of cool ones featured in “Game of Thrones”, “Battlestar Galactica”, “Deep Space 9” and even “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. So, in the words of Leonidas from “300”, “Ready your breakfast and eat hearty, for tonight we dine in Hell”.
#10 Battle of Alcatraz – “X-Men 3: The Last Stand”
Kicking of my list is one of the biggest action scenes to be featured in a comic book movie. One of the main highlights of the X-Men comics was seeing this huge team of hero’s going into battle against various foes, all using their own unique talents and abilities. While this battle isn’t a perfect recreation of that, it still packs a huge kick, with lots of mutant powers on display, flaming cars thrown through the air, and the Golden Gate Bridge used to transport an army of evil mutants. All in all, this whole climax an awesome spectacle that earns a spot on my count down.
#9 Battle of the Klendathu outpost – “Starship Troopers”
In an “Alamo” like setting, a small band of troopers defend their outpost from a much larger army of giant killer bugs. With an insanely high death count and lots of gore, this is perhaps the nastiest battle ever featured in a Sci-Fi movie. But it also has a thrilling amount of suspense as troops armed with gun turrets battle swarms of killer insects, including some that even fly through the air. Not much else to say about this one, it’s just a classy Sci-Fi battle between man and monsters.
#8 Showdown in the Hatay canyon – “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”
When a band of Nazi’s plan to obtain the sacred Holy Grail from it resting place, Indiana Jones goes on the offensive. This builds to a thrilling tank battle in the Hatay canyon which honestly stands as one of my favorite action scenes of all time. Tanks have always been awesome, and it’s nothing short of epic to see Indiana Jones go head to head with a super Nazi tank like this. While this battle isn’t as huge as the others on my list, it’s still an exciting, edge over your seat action scene, complete with desert raiders, ink pins proving to be mightier then the sword, vehicles getting destroyed left and right, and some awesome hand to hand combat scenes, especially when Indiana fights the Nazi Colonel on a moving tank that’s about to roll over a cliff.
#7 Zion’s Last Stand – “The Matrix Revolutions”
While this film is often regarded as a disappointment, it’s not without its memorable action scenes and the battle of Zion is definitely awesome in its own right. Featuring robots armed with machine guns, a lone ship battling swarms of killer sentinels, and lots of destruction, this is a rather tense battle as the humans seem out matched, out gunned and completely out of luck. There’s just a very ominous feel that the humans are about to be wiped out completely, which makes the action all the more thrilling and the striking visuals only add to the size and scope of this awesome confrontation.
#6 Battle of Helm’s Deep – “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”
There’s lots of cool battle from “The Lord of the Rings” movies to choose from, but for me, the best action scene by far is the battle of Helms Deep. Unlike all the other wars featured in “Lord of the Rings” this didn’t take place in a big open filed, instead it was a defensive battle in a castle stronghold, followed by a siege lasting all night until dawn. It’s thrilling for its size and constant tension that it could lead to a massacre. The hero’s are also vastly outnumbered, which makes the situation all the more intense and the victory at the end all the more satisfying and triumphant.
#5 Battle of Hoth – “Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back”
Well, I can’t have a proper list of greatest movie battles without this one, can I. This is a rare case in which the most epic battle of the movie is in the first half hour as opposed to the climax, and it’s even more rare for featuring the villains triumph over the heroes. Of cores, the big show stealers are the giant empyreal walkers. Without a doubt, these are the coolest battle vehicles I’ve ever seen in a motion picture, and the effects for them still hold up today. The music is sensational, the cinematography is great, I honestly don’t need to say anything else, you’ve all seen this, and you know how awesome it is. This is the classic Sci-Fi movie battle that helped make “The Empire Strikes Back” an awesome sequel and a triumph over the original.
#4 Battle of Beruna – “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”
I know most people prefer battles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies, but the Narnia movies have a certain magical touch that make their fantasy battles all the more sensational. The best Narnia battle by far is the Battle of Beruna from the first film, in which four young children lead an army of mythical creatures into battle against the menacing White Witch and her legion of monsters. Everything in this climax is brought up on a very grand and epic scale, with sweeping camera shots, and an especially epic quire. It’s also a very colorful, daylight battle, with an awesome variety of mystical creatures, memorable visuals and some high stake action to boot. Personally, I’ve never seen another fantasy battle as breath taking as this.
#3 The Battle of New York – “The Avengers”
When an army of armed to the teeth aliens attacks earth, there’s an army comprised of just six people who stand in their way. This was a dream come true, seeing a small team of popular superheroes be earth’s last line of defense against an immense threat. With a brilliant variety of action ranging from flying around on hover crafts, to rescuing innocent civilians caught in the cross fire, to the hero’s working together as a strategic team, to some laugh out loud funny moments, this battle ranks high on my list and is arguably the best action scene ever featured in a super hero movie.
#2 Battle of Endor – “Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi”
“IT’S A TRAP!”, I love that line. For all the high-tech visuals and spectacles that come out every year, this classic battle from this classic sequel will always stand as one of my favorite action scenes in film history. This was the first time multiple battles took place in one big climax, from the exciting battle in the Endor forest, to the thrilling battle in space against the empyreal fleet, and of cores the legendary final confrontation between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. There’s simply no shortage of excitement on screen, several locations featured simultaneously and the effects for the time are still just as impressive today. Just look at all the battle ships and imperial walkers featured in this, it’s awesome.
Final battle for Narnia - “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”
Battle of Hogwarts – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
Battle of Genosha – “Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones”
Nazi Raid – “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”
Borg Invade Sector 001 – “Star Trek: First Contact”
Ape war – “Planet of the Apes” (2001)
#1 The Battle for Pandora – “Avatar”
Wow, now this was as epic as cinematic battles get, while the story and anti war message from the film are familiar and obvious, it doesn’t change the fact that this movie is a sheer spectacle to behold. With a massive scope, 3D effects used well, tense human drama, and an honest sense of dread that any character can die at any time, “Avatar” is a complete thrill, and the final battle to defend the planet is the stuff of legend. When soldieries armed with battle robots and advanced helicopters declare war against the aliens of the planet, they retaliate by launching a massive Arial attack with winged creatures and ground assaults with mighty land creatures. The location of the floating mountains and the intensity of the whole situation brings everything to life on a grand scale, and to date, no other fictional battle from a movie has blown my mind quiet like this one.
Well, wars all fun until someone gets hurt, next time I'll take a more serious approach and list my favorite movie battles based on historical events. Until then, I hope you enjoyed my list and be sure to check out some of my other epic top 10 lists.