The 12 Best One-on-One Fights in Movies

tony-jaa.jpg

The other day, I wrote about the greatest one-man wrecking machines in movies. This article is similar, but kind of the exact opposite. Instead of one guy (or girl) destroying an army, I wanted to lay out what the greatest 1 v 1 match-ups have been throughout the history of cinema, complete with video evidence. Of course I a probably missed some, so feel free to let me know in the comments, as I’m know you will.

12) Fearless – Jet Li vs. O’Brien

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0wLkXDsQEs&feature=related

There were a million different Jet Li fights to choose from, but this scene from Fearless is the ultimate David v. Goliath scenario. And it’s probably a dig against American big-dick-ism as well.

11) Kill Bill Vol. 1 – Black Mamba vs. Cottonmouth

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUADAcwIocg

Eventually the Black Mamba killed all of her snake-named counterparts, but it was this intial fight with Cottonmouth that was a memorable cavalcade of suburban destruction.

10) Ong Bak – Tony Jaa vs. Steroids Guy

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy_sl-WoTEo

I subscribe to the philosophy that Tony Jaa could kick Bruce Lee’s ass if he was alive today. This fight against a steroids abusing henchman has some of sickest Muai Thai moves you’ll ever see in your life.

9) Gladiator – Maximus vs. Tigris of Gaul

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX4Kq031KCY

His group fights may have been more entertaining, but it’s the tigers that make this fight unforgettable. You’re the only undefeated arena champion in history and you lose to a guy on his back with a 400 pound tiger on him, come on!

8 ) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Ziyi Zhang vs. Michelle Yeoh

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OxQ-2gR1DU

Honestly I forgot all about this movie until I was researching for this list, but after refreshing my memory I can safely say that this might be the most impressive display of swordplay I’ve ever seen on film.

7) The Bourne Identity – Bourne vs. Assassin

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C9XSf8QrFU

It’s brutal, it’s raw, and dude gets stabbed with a pen. Bourne had many fights like this throughout his three-film career, but this initial one was certainly the most memorable.

6) The Empire Strikes Back – Luke vs. Vader

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M241GwjRy4

Definitely among the most iconic on the list, it’s only rated this low because of the actual action. In terms of a scene, it’s phenomenal, but the swordplay leaves something to be desired. Slash. Talk. Slash. Talk.

5) Fight Club – Jack vs. Tyler Durden

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPIo_4GJqhk

Or more accurately, Jack vs. Himself. You would think after realizing you were the same person as the guy you were fighting, you’d be able to get a grip on yourself, but that’s not the case as Jack learns that the dominant half of his psyche can kick his ass all over the place.

4) The Matrix – Neo vs. Agent Smith

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaLvcM-u4ns&feature=related

Before Neo could fly and Agent Smith could make a million copies of himself, we had this subway platform brawl that featured some physics bending moves and some classic lines. “You hear that Mr. Anderson? That’s the sound of inevitability…”

3) Way of the Dragon – Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLO1YIWQuXE

It was a tough decision between this and Bruce Lee fighting Kareem Abdul Jabbar in the same movie, but you have to go with the Norris here, am I right? Clean shaven (except for his chest), Chuck was a formidable opponent for Lee, until he got all of his bones broken.

2) Rocky – Rocky vs. Apollo Creed

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLBKu7AomUU&feature=related

He may not have won, but the road to get there was one of the most exhausting fights ever filmed on screen. Not just choreography and wires, this fight scene is brutal, bloody and stays with you long after the film ends.

1) Raiders of the Lost Ark – Indy vs. Big Nazi

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhCJnOFZvHc

It’s relatively simple really, but the comination of immediate danger, comedy and Indy himself makes for one hell of a fight. Sure Indy won because the other guy was an idiot, but that doesn’t make it any less badass.

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27 Comments

  1. I always loved the scene from a jacky chan flick in which he fights on top of a 30+ story building against 2 guys, one only using kicks, while the other only uses punches…wish I could remember what movie…

  2. Bruce Lee fought Kareem in the Game of Death, not Way of the Dragon.
    And Tony Jaa is only an actor, while Bruce was a martial artist who happened to make movies. Bruce FTW.

  3. I always hate saying, “Oh, blahblahblah should have been on this list because I’m a prick!” Just for the sake of being a prick, I will say that the Johnny Cage – Goro fight in Mortal Kombat deserved at least an honorable mention. Really loved the list.

  4. Morpheus vs Neo.
    Chun li vs Vega.
    Jackie Chan (Drunken Master 2, Wheels on Meals, The Young Master)
    Jet Li vs Donnie Yen (once upon a time in china 2)
    Fist of Legend
    Elle Driver Vs Beatrix Kiddo
    Toshiro Mifune (Sanjuro)

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  6. Nico, that movie you’re thinking of is Who Am I? That fight scene was epic, and the outtakes showed some pants-crapping stunts that Chan pulled off.

    Also, Bryan is correct, Bruce Lee didn’t fight Kareem and Chuck in the same movie. It was Game of Death for the Kareem fight, and Way of the Dragon for Chuck. I also agree with Bryan that Bruce Lee would beat Jaa. Watch some of his actual martial arts exhibitions if you want to see some amazing stuff. Bruce Lee was, and still is The Master.

  7. Y’know, you tend to often reference films in your posts, and as such often post spoilers.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love this site, it’s very good, but a little spoiler warning would be nice.

    Also, in Fight Club, Edward Norton’s character is not named “Jack”. He makes the statements “I am Jack’s ….” because of the books he find in Tyler’s house.

  8. I can’t believe you left out the fight from Officer and a Gentleman(I Don’t care about the movie) but the fight was so brutal that south park redid it with Jimmy and Timmy.

  9. Everyone always wants to say blahblahblah should’ve been included. Before I read the list I already was ready to type my diatribe. But you hit it on #3. Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris was not only a good fight scene, it was 2 guys who could really fight and epic for that reason because so few know that there is footage of those two going at it. To see scenes of Jet Li and Chan in other movies with Bruce is fun to dig up.

  10. IF BRUCE LEE’S NAME IS NOT IN THE TOP , THAT MEANS U GUYS DUNNO WHAT ACTION IS , AND U DINT INCLUDE THE GREATEST ACTION AND STUNT MASTER AFTER BRUCE LEE ,”JACKIE CHAN” HIS NAME IS NOT EVEN ON THE LIST ,PATHETIC , AND HARRISSON FORD ?HE IS A GREAT ACTOR , AND INDIANA JONES IS ONE OF THE BEST ACTION FILMS EVER MADE , HE BUT CANT EVEN DO A JAB
    SO HOW CAN U GIVE IT BEST ONE TO ONE FIGHT ?
    U MUST BE KIDDING ME ,
    JHON WAYNE DIED, THEN CLINT EASTWOOD REPLACED HIM ,IF CLINT EASTWOOD DIES SOMEONE ELSE WILL COME ,LIKE HOW JAMES BOND’S KEEP COMING ,
    CAN U SHOW ME ANOTHER BRUCE LEE, AND ATLEAST ANOTHER JACKIE CHAN IF HE DIES, PLZ WATCH THEIR MOVIES BEFORE RATING

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