Five Things Movies Always Get Wrong about Swords

Movies get things wrong a lot of the time and there’s usually a reason for it. The idea behind swords and their use in movies is usually quite erroneous because to do anything else would be to alienate the fans and lose a great deal of money since people love to watch sword fighting in cinema. The problem with this is that swords in the movies are a great deal different than they are in real life. In the films they are either grand and seemingly noble in their purpose or they are big, ungainly things that are good for bashing people’s faces in and skewering them like kabobs. The one immutable truth about any sword is that they are highly dangerous if sharpened and built with a purpose. In film they are usually fake or at least dulled down to prevent any damage being done to the actor. In real life a sword is nothing to play around with.

They are weapons after all, even if they’re for show.

5. Swords were never designed to cut through harder materials.

The edge of the blade of any sword was never designed to cut through anything more substantial than flesh, possibly bone, and even leather armor if one is swinging hard enough. The idea of cutting through plate armor or chainmail is kind of ludicrous since those types of armor were designed to foil any slashing attack. Swords were made to slash at the unprotected parts of a person at the joints of the armor where they connect.

4. Sword fights in movies are not the norm.

In real life this fight would have been over much sooner and with dire consequences for one man. Sword fighting in real life is much quicker and does not tend to favor the person that has an unbreakable code of honor. While it is nothing to laugh at this code was often a detriment in a fight to the death. Honor is all well and good but in a fight with such high stakes it is best to be practical.

3. Japanese blades were not the epitome of the sword.

The katana is an impressive weapon but it is not endall of swords. It has its faults and shortcomings just as much as any sword does and despite being highly important to samurai and Japanese culture it is still a tool to be used. Once again it is a very impressive weapon and when made correctly is very deadly. But it’s use and the prized appearance of one is more of a cultural boon than anything.

2. There’s no such thing as a perfect sword.

Perfection is usually in the eye of the beholder and in this case the hand that wields the blade. There is no such thing as a perfect sword unless you’re talking about the perfect blade for one’s need. How it fits in your hand, how it feels when you swing it, and how it suits your needs and your personal taste is how perfect a sword will be. For me, I’m thinking anything that has a functional edge and is well-balanced. Remember, apart from being lethal weapons they’re tools of war, which means that an armory is kind of like a giant toolbox.

1. Sword-makers were uneducated laborers.

Watch any Man at Arms episode and you’ll see that sword-makers are anything but uneducated. Even back in ancient times they needed to know how to build a blade with the right proportions and how to temper it so that it wouldn’t break on the first use. This sword of course is just insane.

Swords in Hollywood are props. Those that were used in ancient times were killing tools.

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