October 16, 2012

Michelle Miles on: Swashbuckling Heroes

Swashbuckler: noun. A swaggering swordsman, soldier, or adventurer; daredevil.

I think the first time I heard the word “swashbuckling” I was nine and it was 1981. Yes, I’m once again referring to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones, the famous archeologist. I like going back to my roots. What can I say?

I got to thinking about all the swashbuckling heroes that were in the movies. I think for the most part “swashbucklers” are associated with “pirates”. But then along came Indiana Jones, who redefined the word for us. Now our hero carried a whip and/or a gun. Sometimes he was from the future and sometimes from the past. Some were sea-faring and some were space-galloping. But no matter who he was, he was guaranteed to make our hearts flutter and our pulses race.

Let’s explore all those famous men who have swaggered with a sword, adventured with a whip, strutted with a laser gun, and served up rapier wit and razor-sharp sarcasm.



Captain Blood – probably the first swashbuckler who brought pirates alive! Who could not love Errol Flynn? We loved him in 1935 and we still love him today. Flynn also starred in The Seahawk.

Robin Hood – Errol Flynn and Kevin Costner both played the man who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He wasn’t afraid to fight for what was right from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and he even did it while courting Maid Marian.

Indiana Jones – When Indy first arrived in 1981, it was Spielberg’s homage to those old serial movies he’d seen as a boy and loved. He wanted to bring his own version to the big screen and boy did he deliver. We have followed Indy on many adventures, witnessed his fear of snakes in the Well of Souls, cheered him on as he rescued the village children from the evil Mola Ram (all the while wooing Willie and snagging the lost Sankara stone), watched as he went through the three challenges to get to the Holy Grail and save his father. Yes, I’m partial to Indy. I grew up with him. It tickles me that my son (the next generation) enjoys the movies, too. He puts the “swash” in swashbuckler. He even knows how to use a whip.

Allan Quatermain – as played by Stewart Granger in the original version of King Solomon’s Mines (1950) with the lovely Deborah Kerr. (The remake with Richard Chamberlain was meh.) I was fairly young the first time I saw this movie and even though he didn’t compare to Indy, he was awfully suave.

Han Solo – He definitely has the swagger, the gun, the looks and the awesome sarcasm. I adore Han Solo with every fiber of my being. He’s the perfect space pirate, the cowboy among the stars that can make the ladies swoon while shooting the bad guys and saving the day with a wise crack. LOVE him. Love!

Zorro – Ah… the dashing black-clad masked outlaw who defends the people of the land. The first Zorro film appeared in 1939 and he can probably be called the original swashbuckler. He’s skilled with a sword and looks damn sexy in that mask.

Jack Sparrow – He’s deceptive and the only person he truly wants to help is himself. Both excellent qualities for a pirate, savvy? Not only is he armed with a sword and a gun with one bullet, but he’s also armed with his rapier wit and using it to get out of tough situations in lieu of fighting. Jack endears himself to us with his off-kilter manner and leaves us wondering if he’s drunk or crazy (which is probably the former since he’s concerned with the state of the rum). He’s been accused of being the worst pirate but yet no one can seem to catch him.

I know I’ve left off a bunch of swashbuckling heroes (The Three Musketeers for one) but what are some of your picks?


Michelle Miles writes contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance. You can learn more about her books at her website, follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

19 comments:

maeclair.net said...

You've picked so many good ones!
Robin Hood is a favorite of mine from legend. I'd add Nigel Terry as King Arthur in Excalibur and Oliver Tobias from the Young Warlord and Tales of the Smuggler. Then there's Anthony Andrews int he Scarlet Pimpernel and Patrick Mcgoohan in the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (I don't remember that one very well).

I loved seeing King Solmon's Mines on your list. Stewart Granger did so many wonderful swashbuckler movies. My other introduced him to me and I never looked back :)

Fantastic post!

maeclair.net said...

Eesh! I need to slow down this morning. Overlook the typos in my last post please, LOL!

I enjoyed your post so much my fingers were flying ahead of my brain :)

Liz said...

erm.....all of the above? fun post! thanks!

Alisha said...

Oh I love Indiana Jones..lol! I still remember when he watched that guy showing off by twirling his sword and Indiana just shot him like he was doing it just to end the twirling. Funny! Great post, Michelle! :)

Liz Lipperman said...

I love all your picks. For me, Harrison Ford is the ultimate one. Even now, I think he is one sexy dude.

Great post, Michelle.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

I had to laugh at Mae Clair's because the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh gave me nightmares. I've watched all Michelle listed, but love Indy. So much, I named the dog Jones. lol

RobinHaseltine said...

I think Errol Flynn tops my list with Robin Hood.

A great selection, but you left out Paul Heinried from the Spanish Main. So against his character type up to that point and he was fabulous.

Phyllis said...

All these are great, but I love Indy and Hans Solo, let's break those down...Harrison Ford.

You know, Michelle, you opened my eyes today. I NEVER thought of Swashbuckler as anything but pirates. Don't you just love dictionaries!

This is fun. Thanks!

Michelle Miles said...

LOL no worries! I loved Nigel Terry too. He was yummy! Never understood why Guinevere wanted that old ugly Lancelot. :)

Michelle Miles said...

I loved that part too!

Michelle Miles said...

I haven't see that! I'll check it out :)

Michelle Miles said...

Thanks for coming by all! :)

JL Walters said...

You are a young one. My swashbuckling heros go back to ones like Conan and Efgar Rice Burrows Mars stories. Guess that dates me.

Liese said...

I have to go with Indiana Jones. When I was little I wanted to be an archeologist, but the job never seemed to be quite as exciting as his!

Elizabeth Essex said...

Oh, my goodness. For me, my absolute favorite swashbuckling man is Horatio Hornblower, and I even put a picture of the divine Ioan Gruffuld up on my FB page this morning because I could not resist his naval deliciousness.

And Bond, James Bond. He's very buckle-worthy. I'm especially partial to the new Daniel Craig version of the man. He seems just a little bit crazy inside his bespoke suit, and that's very swashbuckle-ish.

Thanks for the fun post and for putting such lovely images in my head for the rest of the day!

Karilyn Bentley said...

I love the post! My favs are Indiana Jones and Han Solo. Like Phyllis said, the commonality is Harrison Ford. :) And I agree with Ms. Essex: James Bond. Especially Daniel Craig. Yummy!

Janice Seagraves said...

I grew up watching the old Zorro reruns. I always felt like he was California's very own swash buckling hero.

Janice~

Sasha Summers said...

OOHHHHH - Good choices Michelle. And so many more in the comments here! WOW! I'd add Malcolm Reynolds to this lovely list. And Rick O'Connel - aka Brendan Frazier - as well. :)

Sasha Summers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.