Back in the 1980’s, the film Highlander became hugely popular with cult film fans, featuring numerous exciting sword fights, a great villain and a spectacular piece of miscasting with Frenchman, Christopher Lambert playing a Scotsman (Connor McLeod), and the very Scottish Sean Connery playing Juan Sanchez Vlla-Lobos Ramirez! Despite the quirky accents, the film gained cult status, in large part thanks to the excellent sword fights, with fans and collectors soon seeking out replicas of the many weapons used in the film.
At the start of the films story, Connor MacLeod wields a single-handed broadsword. Although no official replica exists, there are numerous unlicensed versions available to buy, mostly of decent quality although none are 100% accurate to the movie prop.
Later in the film Connor MacLeod wields an ancient Japanese Katana that once belonged to his mentor, Ramirez. Previously collectors have been forced to put up with unofficial replicas, often badly sculpted, and rarely accurate to the original film. Excitingly, United Cutlery have recently release a new, officially licensed version, that accurately matches the film versions intricately carved dragon-head handle, and features a hand-forged carbon-steel blade. Serious collectors should spend the extra money and get this, as it is a huge improvement over previous available versions.
After the first highlander film, there were several sequels, but none that were as memorable or entertaining as the first. During the 1990’s a Highlander TV spinoff show was created that followed the adventures of another MacLeod family member, Duncan. Like Connor he also wielded a dragon-head katana, although of a slightly different design. The show is generally considered to be the best follow-up to the original movie and attracted a large cult following, with things eventually coming full circle with a film that united Duncan and Connor.
Like Connor’s Katana, there are a number of mass-produced unlicensed replicas available of Duncan’s Sword, although for copyright reasons none is an exact replica. Fortunately, collectors can now buy an officially licensed version made by United Cutlery, manufactured to the same high standards as their reproduction of Connor’s sword, and also an exact copy of the prop versions used on the show. This is definitely the version collectors should go for, as it uses a higher-quality full carbon steel blade, and the intricate ivory dragon-head is replicated exactly using a weathered single piece resin casting that replicates the original exactly.
There are numerous other memorable swords used in the movies and series, such as the Kurgan’s multi-part blade, but there are very few replicas of these available to buy, other than a few very limited editions.
The fate of the Highlander series is now unknown. The series has now finished, and recent films, while they have their loyal fans, were not particularly big commercial successes. Given the money earned by other recent sword-filled fantasy films such as 300, The Lord of the Rings and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it’s not surprising that there is talk of re-booting the franchise with a re-make of the original. Whatever the eventual result of this, with the recent United Cutlery releases, fans of Highlander can at least own true replica’s of the most iconic swords from the Highlander franchise.