Chances are good that you’ve seen the movie Highlander. Released in 1986 it starred Christopher Lambert as an immortal Scottish swordsman (hence “Highlander,” get it?), Sean Connery as the foppish immortal mentor and Clancy Brown as the uber-creepy immortal bad guy bent on killing all the other immortals and possibly world domination (the movie was a little vague on that point).
However, you might not remember exactly how awesome it was, so we’re here to remind you of some of the finer points of this movie’s excellence. Read on to find out some things you didn’t know, remember some you did, and in general revel in reminiscing about a high point in 80’s movie entertainment.
Music by Queen
These guys might as well have just gone ahead and starred in the movie.
We know you’re most likely just chilling right now, and you probably don’t have anything better to do, so why don’t you go and check out this site with a list of songs from the movie Highlander? You might roll your eyes and think; lots of movies have great soundtracks, what could possibly make this one so special? Then you’ll see that the first song was by rock opera superstars Queen. That’s cool, you’ll say to yourself. The next song? Also by Queen. And the next.
That’s right, Queen produced the entire soundtrack for this movie. And these songs aren’t just a bunch of Queen songs that they made the movie to fit around; some of them were actually written specifically for the purpose of being in this movie. One of the greatest bands of all time literally decided that the most important thing they could do at that time in their lives was write and perform songs for Highlander. Any movie that has the personal blessings of this amazing band has to have a lot going for it.
Playing an Egyptian/Spanish immortal with a Scottish accent: not actually his weirdest role.
We might be biased, because we’d have ten million of Sean Connery’s babies in a heartbeat, but any movie with Sean Connery in it instantly shoots up to the top of our list of best movies of all time. Even Zardoz, where Sean Connery runs around in a cloth diaper and thigh-high boots and gets sucked up into a flying stone head and stuff, is still epic, no matter how bizarre. Sean Connery always goes big, or else he just doesn’t show up.
We have to admit, when we first heard that Sean Connery was going to be in this movie, we thought, of course, that it was going to be a movie about Sean Connery, or starring Sean Connery, or that he’d at least have a meaty chunk of screen time. We were a tiny bit disappointed that he didn’t have a ton of screen time, because his character was so awesome, but the rest of the greatness of the movie makes up for it.
Implications of Immortality
Such as, you may live forever, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be beautiful or have a good fashion sense.
Humans have longed for immortality since the very first person dreamed up the concept; for example, myths abound where people seek out the healing waters and eternal life provided by fountains of youth. But how often do we really think about what it would mean to live forever?
Highlander explores all sorts of different aspects of this blessing/curse, and comes to some interesting conclusions. The immortals in this movie can only be killed if their heads get cut off, which creates opportunities for some really fun times. For example, you can’t drown, which means that technically, you can survive under water indefinitely. How cool is that? There are also some interesting dealings with aging and improving oneself. Sean Connery’s character Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, for example, is much older than Christopher Lambert’s Connor ‘The Highlander’ MacLeod, as he experienced his “First Death” later. Immortals can get stronger, but not indefinitely; they “level up” when they kill another of their kind.
The sadder aspects of living forever include having to watch your loved ones age and die while you stay the same age, and in the case of Highlander, not being able to have children.
He’s a badass no matter what the age.
We get so wrapped up in our own problems, like having to go to work every day and actually cook dinner for ourselves and clean our houses, that we forget we have it better than anyone has ever had it in the history of humans. And Highlander is really good at putting this in to perspective for us.
The movie starts out with Connor and all of his best buddies in the Scottish highlands going out to war against another clan, as they were wont to do in those times. Then Connor gets a hideous injury via a sword stab to the chest, which in those days most definitely would have meant the end of the road – they didn’t exactly have skilled surgeons and ERs back then. When he miraculously gets up the next day and starts walking around, people are understandingly suspicious. And by suspicious, we mean that the woman who wanted to marry him says that he’s possessed by the devil, and his family members and closest friends tie him up and are about to beat him to death. That’s right; his reward for miraculously surviving an injury is to die. People feared things they didn’t understand back then, and fought against the fear with wanton destruction.
This back story is interspersed as flashbacks with scenes from 80’s New York City and a few scenes from World War II. It’s just cool to see one man in different historical periods, to see how he reacts, and just to see it all put together so smoothly.
Kicking Butt Through the Ages
Is it dueling time again? It’s dueling time again!
How many ways have there ever been to kill a person? They’re pretty much all put together in this movie. How often do you get to see sword fights, explosion, guns, and regular-style beatings used all in one movie?
We go from seeing an epic battle in the beginning between the two Scottish clans, to seeing a few crazy sword fights set in modern times, and from there all sense breaks down. People use pipes as weapons, all the weapons of ancient Scotland, a variety of guns, and just about anything else that is designed to kill people (and a few things that really aren’t). This gets to the point of almost traumatically gruesome, like when the bad guy kidnaps the love interest and drives through the city plowing over civilians just because, hey, he’s immortal, and what else is he going to do with his time?
Keeping the Mystery
Such as, what the heck is up with this guy?
As much effort as Highlander puts into explaining itself, there’s still a lot that’s left out in the process. And we would argue that this makes the movie more interesting, not less. For example, we know that the immortals are born throughout history and that, one day, they’ll all have to kill each other in some grand reckoning, but we’re a little vague on the whole why of the matter. And if the villain is so good at killing the immortals, why does he wait? Why doesn’t he just engage them all in battles as soon as he finds out about them? You’d think with his level of prowess it wouldn’t take him more than 400 years to kill the Highlander.
We’re also not entirely sure how killing the last of the immortals will suddenly make this guy take over the world. There are some vague bad consequences of the Kurgan’s success that are mentioned by Sean Connery’s character, but that’s about it. We don’t think crazy-eye dude up there would really be the type given to patience; so why doesn’t he just go about dominating the world way back when instead of waiting to kill the other immortals first?
So many questions, so few answers. And so much resulting delicious brain-bending.
- – Music by Queen: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3545/3474558151_220d8ed0e2.jpg
- – Sean Connery: http://www.thestranger.com/images/blogimages/2009/09/24/1253817581-connery_ramirez.jpg
- – Implications of Immortality: http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSXFmmgkx6CXk4KXxa1ybciTAddtmeU6s5RKm8rcTc2l10i6B0D&t=1
- – Historical Accuracies: http://realityglitch.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/highlander.jpg
- – Kicking Butt Through the Ages: http://abortionsforall.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/highlander4.jpg
- – Keeping the Mystery: http://abortionsforall.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/highlander.jpg