There seems to be a romantic fascination with swords in the movies. For example, the current posters for Transformers and Wonder Woman show both with a sword. I mean, come on, the guy is a futuristic robotic from an advanced civilization and the best weapon he can come up with is a sword? Swords have been more or less obsolete in modern civilization since the Crimean War (1853-1856), going down with the Light Brigade, yet we keep making movies with sword-wielding heroes. Is this some deep psychic need?


  • 3
    Swords don't run out of ammo!
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 19:00
  • 2
    plus...you know...mythology and stuff!
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 19:02
  • 4
    Opinion based: I find sword fighting much more interesting to watch than bullet exchanging and big explosions.
    – LeonX
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 19:18
  • 2
    We're all compensating for something (Warning: TV Tropes link)
    – Longshanks
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


When I think "Knight", I kinda think "Sword". Plus, the Transformers story is supposed to be intertwined with the King Arthur legend.

And if you watched Wonder Woman, you know that the sword came from the Gods, and that whole Greek mythology thing predates the Crimean Wars.

Not sure about Cars 3, though. ;o)


Sword are impractical once you have cartridge ammunition and multi-round capabilities with firearms (revolvers, magazines, etc.) That said, soldiers still carry short blades as a backup, and are trained in their use.

In all of the examples you list, there are in-universe rules that make swords feasible. For instance, Wonder Woman can block bullets with her bracelets, and has a bullet-proof shield.

Swords have a unique property in that they can sever, which is a highly effective form of neutralization of threat. You might be able to shoot a transformers arm off, but you can definitely chop it off. So if you can close with the opponent without being shot down, the sword is useful.

But mainly:

QT does an interesting thing in Kill Bill, where the only scene that has a mushy, "romantic" feeling is when Hanzō brings Beatrix up to the attic to see all of his swords. The way she approaches them is almost a parody of the idea of the wonder of first love.

You omitted the great auteur Del Toro's Pacific Rim, which makes a good case that with Kaiju, you sometimes have to "duke it out", and in that scenario, swords are very effective. Doesn't mean the giant robot isn't going to pump some plasma rounds through the Kaiju's thoracic cavity if the operators get the chance, but the cannon, though powerful, in this case takes time to charge and has a lot of moving parts.

  • Swords are simple and reliable

You may also be interested in the 1995 film Screamers, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, the visionary behind Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and Scanner Darkly. The plot of Screamers involves "Autonomous Mobile Swords" (AMS) which are intelligent, self-replicating machines that hunt down human soldiers.

In Dick's take, guns aren't particularly effective against the AMS, which are compact, and can travel underground.

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