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7th Sea Movie Inspirations List


Abduction Club, The ( 2002 )  Dir. Stefan Schwartz. Starring Matthew Rhys, Daniel Lapaine, Alice Evans, Sophia Myles.

Andrew: This is quite a recent film that should be available. A few lads despair of ever finding the right kind of girl. So they kidnap a collection of local beauties and hope to win their affection. This is little more than a more refined version of bashing her on the head and dragging her to your cave, but needless to say, the guys get a lot more than they bargained for.

Nancy: (from IMDB) “A group of Irish noblemen kidnap girls in order to marry into their fortune and avoid becoming priests or soldiers.” Why does this sound like people we know?

Adventures of Baron Munchausen , The ( 1988 )  Dir. Terry Gilliam. Starring John Neville, Eric Idle, Oliver Reed, Jonathan Pryce, Uma Thurman, and many others.

Rob: A Glamour mage's instruction book.

Affair of the Necklace, The ( 2001 )  Dir. Charles Shyer. Starring Hilary Swank, Jonathan Pryce, Simon Baker, Christopher Walken. Musketeers & Montaigne Revolution
A Knight’s Tale ( 2001 )  Dir. Brian Helgeland. Starring Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Mark Addy, Laura Frazer. Silly but fun.
A Man for All Seasons ( 1966 )  Dir. Fred Zinneman. Starring Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Robert Shaw, Orson Wells. Early Avalon - The martyring of Sir (later Saint) Thomas More (Paul Scofield) by his boyhood friend Henry VIII (Robert Shaw). Another masterpiece of politics vs. church. Utterly brilliant.
Against All Flags ( 1952 )  Dir. George Sherman. Starring Errol Flynn, Maureen O’Hara, Anthony Quinn. Pirate/Avalon – Errol Flynn, 1700, Madagascar pirates – aarh!
Artemisia ( 1997 )  Dir. Agnes Merlet. Starring Valentina Carvi, Michel Serrault, Miki Manojlovic. A young woman in early 17th century Italy (Artemisia Gentileschi) breaks tradition by becoming the first commissioned female artist in the world. Lots of intense study and artistic passion.
At Sword’s Point ( 1952 )  Dir. Lewis Allen. Starring Cornell Wilde, Maureen O’Hara – a must-see for all lady musketeers! Nancy’s favorite line:  As Maureen O’Hara reaches for her rapier “Claire, daughter of Athos!”
Bai fa mo nu zhuan (Bride with White Hair, The) ( 1993 )  Dir. Ronny Yu. Cathay – part of a fantasy trilogy (Legacy of Rage, The Phantom Lover) Bride With White Hair) set in China’s past. Widely regarded as a classic.
Barry Lyndon ( 1975 )  Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Starring Ryan O’Neil, Marisa Berenson, Patrick McGee.

Nancy: Warning. Very long. Very very long. 18th C. Europe so it’s a bit late, but there is some swashbuckling. Do not see on a double-bill with “The Duellists” unless you suffer from insomnia.

Beckett ( 1964 )  Dir. Peter Glenville. Starring Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole. Early Avalon - The life of Church of Avalon, err, England Archbishop Thomas à Beckett (Richard Burton), who was executed by his boyhood friend, King Henry II (Peter O'Toole). Excellent for ideas on how to use the power of the church to meddle in politics.
Black Pirate, The ( 1926 )  Dir. Albert Parker. Starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Pirates ‘n romance.
Black Rose, The ( 1950 )  Dir. Henry Hathaway. Starring Tyron Power, Orson Wells. Early Avalon & Cathay

Nancy: This is a great movie!

Braveheart ( 1995 )  Dir. Mel Gibson. Starring Mel Gibson. Early Highland Marches

Nancy: This is one of my most hated movies of all time (along with the Leo di Caprio “The Man in the Iron Mask” and “The Duellists”). I HATE Randall Wallace and I am oh so tired of Mel Gibson’s need to show hours of torture on the screen.

Captain Blood ( 1935 )  Dir. Michael Curtiz. Starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland. Pirates - Errol Flynn perfection!
Captain from Castille ( 1947 )  Dir. Henry King. Starring Tyrone Power, Cesar Romero as Cortez. Great for Castille, Inquisition, and the New World.
More Than a Miracle ( 1967 )  Dir. Carlo Ponti. Sophia Loren and Omar Sharif, Late 16th C. Fantasy Spain - INCREDIBLE costumes and horses. Big thumbs up from Nancy!
Count of Monte Cristo, The ( 1975 )  Dir. David Greene. Starring Richard Chamberlain, Kate Nelligan, Tony Curtis, Louis Jourdan, Donald Pleasance, Trevor Howard.

Nancy: Of the 18-odd versions of this made over the last almost 100 years, this TV miniseries is probably the best one other than the Depardieu version.

Count of Monte Cristo, The ( 2002 )  Dir. Kevin Reynolds. Starring Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Dagmara Domineyzk

Andrew: Another classic story remade recently. There may be better versions of the tale, but in this version almost every other line is worthy of quoting. The story involves our hero sent to prison when his best friend who wants his girl betrays him. However he escapes decides to get revenge using a great fortune he has acquired. The script is excellent, and all the characters play larger than life without overacting. Again, there are not too many sword fights, but the banter level more than makes up for it.

Crimson Pirate, The ( 1952 )  Dir. Robert Siodmak. Starring Burt Lancaster. Silly but fun.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ( 2000 )  Dir. Ang Lee. Starring Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun Fat

Andrew: This story of unrequited love, honour and fighting society is full of the swashbuckling elements. Granted, it isn’t restoration, but very useful as a Cathay supplement. The action sequences are superb, and suggest eastern sword schools. Either way, this is such a good film, you should watch it anyway!

Nancy: There just aren’t words to express the impact this film had on me … well, ok, yes there are – it’s called “Cathay: Jewel of the East”!

Cutthroat Island ( 1995 )  Dir. Renny Harlin. Starring Geena Davis, Matthew Modine. This is renowned as one of the worst films in history. It isn’t that great, but it isn’t that bad either. It involves the quest of a charming (and dangerous) lady pirate to claim all three parts of a treasure map so she can claim her inheritance. Unfortunately two of the parts are in the hands of her uncles, and the entire family are pirates. The whole thing is too straight-forward to be truly good, but it is a lot of fun to watch. Come on, it’s even set in 1668!

Nancy: This is what happens when you are an actress and your husband is a director with funding.

Cyrano de Bergerac ( 1990 ) French with subtitles Dir. Jean-Paul Rappeneau. Starring Gerard Depardieu, Vincent Perez, Anne Brochet.

Andrew: This is also one of the most fantastic films ever made. The entire cast performs this old story of unrequited love brilliantly. Depardieu plays Cyrano, a man who believes himself too ugly to woo the object of his love, Roxanne. He is upset to discover she fancies a dashing young chevalier under his command. But as luck would have it the young man is totally tongue-tied when it comes to girls and asks Cyrano’s help to chat her up. If your game has half of the tragic passion of this film you are doing well, and if you are not in tears by the end of it then you really weren’t paying any attention.

D’Artagnan’s Daughter ( 1994 ) French with subtitles Dir. Bertrand Tavernier. Starring Sophie Marceau, Phillipe Noiret, Claude Rich, Sami Frey

Andrew: In this film the characters do everything I have come to expect from my players in my 7th Sea game. D’Artagnan’s daughter (now all grown up) gets completely the wrong end of the stick about the plots of the bad guys and charges out to right wrongs. Luckily everyone is so paranoid that their plots begin to unravel, through no fault of our heroine. Watch in awe as the carefully plotted scenario falls apart and the GM improvises feverishly to catch up with clever but hopelessly misdirected characters.

Dangerous Beauty ( 1998 )  Dir. Marshall Herskovitz. Starring Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt, Jacqueline Bisset

Nancy: This is certainly how I envision Vodacce! It’s a wonderful film.

Duellists, The ( 1977 )  Dir. Ridley Scott. Starring Keith Caradine, Harvey Keitel, Albert Finney.

Andrew: Late period (Napoleonic) but a lot of one-on-one combat.

Nancy: It’s Ridley Scott but it’s really boooooring. Do not watch in a double-bill with “Barry Lyndon.”

Elizabeth ( 1998 )  Dir. Shekhar Kapur. Starring Cate Blanchett, Joseph Finnes, Christopher Eccleston, Geoffrey Rush.

Andrew: While this is a little outside the Théan timeline, this film of the ascension of Elizabeth the First to the English throne is still a must see. Few films give you this depth of political drama and thriller. It is almost a historical Tom Clancy novel. Actually, few films are this good as well. For me, this is how Avalon looks.

Nancy: With all due respect to Andrew, this movie is oh so not real-world historically accurate! (The costumes aren’t either but they’re close.) It is always a bafflement why writers can’t accept the fact that Elizabeth loved her country more than she loved a man!

Emperor’s New Clothes, The ( 2001 )  Dir. Alan Taylor. Starring Ian Holm.

Rob: A slight, but very charming film about Napoleon.

Fifth Musketeer , The ( 1979 )  Dir. Ken Annakin. Starring Beau Bridges, Cornel Wilde, Ursula Andress, Ian McShane. Montaigne – an adequate remake of “The Man in the Iron Mask”
Flame & the Arrow, The ( 1950 )  Dir. Jacques Tourneur. Starring Burt Lancaster and Virginia Mayo - set in medieval Vodacce, fighting against the cruel Eisen.
Fong Sai-Yuk I ( 1993 )  Dir. Corey Yeun. Starring Jet Li. The perfect combination of silly (but technically fantastic) kung-fu, humour and just enough seriousness at times; story of Cantonese hero Fong Sai-Yuk during the Manchu dynasty.
Forever Amber ( 1947 )  Dir. Otto Preminger. Starring Cornell Wilde, Richard Green, Linda Darnell,  and George Sanders as Charles II.

Nancy:  1660 Avalon - A MUST SEE!!

Frenchman’s Creek ( 1944 )  Dir. Mitchell Leisen. Starring Joan Fontaine, Arturo de Cordova and Basil Rathbone as a wonderful villain. Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier.

Nancy: 1660’s Avalon - Ships ‘n dueling ‘n cannons!

Hero ( 2003 )  Dir. Yimour Zhang. Starring Jet Li, Maggie Cheung. Ziyi Zhang. The rise of the Qin dynasty. By all reports, even sadder than CTHD.
Hong xiguan zhi Shaolin wu zu (New Legend of Shaolin) ( 1994 )  Dir. Jing Wong & Corey Yuen. Starring Jet Li. Chinese version of “Lone Wolf and Cub”
Horatio Hornblower ( Various ) Although the historical period is late for 7th Sea, any of these (the old movie, the new TV movies) give a fantastic visual reference for ships ‘n sea battles. The TV series with Ioan Gruffyd is more authentic to the books, and the sea battles are spectacular.
La Belle et La Bête (Beauty & the Beast) ( 1946 )  Dir. Jean Cocteau. Starring Jean Marais, Josette Day. Amazing B&W fantasy with beautiful costumes and wonderful eerie sets. Tres Montaigne!
Lady and the Highwayman, The ( 1989 ) Dir John Hough. Starring Hugh Grant, Lysette Anthony, Emma Samms, Oliver Reed, John Mills

Andrew: Avalon: This adaptation of a Barbara Cartland novel is so bad, not even the incredible cast can save it. It is almost as if they are all trying to be bad so not to show any of the others up. Either that or the script is just so bad they know there is no hope whatever they do. But if you like well filmed panto, this is for you. It has all the usual elements, beautiful woman in danger of loosing her fortune becomes besotted with a mysterious highwayman. Like ‘Sunset Beach’ or a car accident, you know it’s terrible but you just can’t stop watching. It’s wrong, but I really liked it!

Le Bossu (“The Hunchback” – not of Notre Dame) ( 1997 ) French with subtitles Dir. Phillippe De Broca. Starring Daniel Auteuil, Vincent Perez, Marie Gillain, Fabrice Luchini.

Andrew: A brilliant film that shows the power of mastering a swordsman’s knack!  The plot twists and turns over several years, as a man looks after the baby of his noble friend. The opening sequence contains one of my favourite banter sessions of all time. I won’t spoil it, but watch for the reason our hero was thrown out of the army. The only down side is that the romantic resolution makes you worry about the French attitude to acceptable relationships!

Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) ( 2001 )  Dir. Christopher Gans. Starring Monica Belluci. Montaigne – one of the top favorites of posters on 7th Sea lists
Lion in Winter, The ( 1968 )  Dir. Anthony Harvey. Starring Peter O'Toole, Anthony Hopkins, Timothy Dalton, Katherine Hepburn Early Avalon - A classic movie about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, full of political maneuvering and backstabbing.

Nancy: Lotsa dialogue. Lots. Like all they do is talk.

Longitude ( 2000 ) Dir: Charles Sturridge. Starring Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons. A BBC miniseries about the development of the marine chronometer.

Rob: It's slow in points, but it details the creation of the ship's chronometer, and contains some fascinating historical tidbits.

Man in the Iron Mask, The ( 1977 )  Dir. Mike Newell. Starring Richard Chamberlain, Patrick McGoohan, Jenny Agutter, Louis Jourdan, Ian Holm.

Nancy: Probably the best rendition of the novel ever!

Man in the Iron Mask, The ( 1998 )  Dir. Randall Wallace. Starring Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne, Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich, Leonardo DiCaprio

Andrew: I am surprised Leonardo made this film. He should have known from the start he would be blown off the screen by his co-stars. The story involves a plot by the three musketeers to put a new king on the throne, their new king being the old ones twin brother. There are plenty of versions of this classic story, but this recent one is a lot of fun. It is rare to see a line up of actors like this as well, which makes it very watchable. The scene where D’Artagnan stops a peasant riot over rotten fruit is pure General Montague.

Nancy: Put on your flak jackets. I HATE THIS MOVIE. I HATE RANDALL WALLACE. He has NO respect for history and he’s actually proud of it! The ladies’ dresses have zippers. The acting is egregious. The wigmaker should have been strung up by his thumbs. A total waste of good actors.

Marquise ( 1997 ) French with subtitles Dir. Vera Belmont. Starring Sophie Marceau, Lambert Wilson. Sophie Marceau as a streetwalker who becomes a celebrated actress when more than her usual talent is spotted.
Mask of Zorro, The ( 1998 )  Dir. Martin Campbell. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta Jones.

Andrew: If you even consider running a Castille or El Vago campaign, you must see this film. For me, this is what Castille looks like, and exactly the style of El Vago. There are plenty of Zorro films out there, but this modern version is my favourite. The sword fighting is superb, especially as Zorro fights using Gallegos!  There are several top lines to add to the list of Repartee. My favourite is this exchange during the party: Captain Love: “Do you mind?  The lady and I were trying to dance.” Alejandro: “No, you were trying, she was succeeding. I’m sorry, captain, a shameless joke at your expense, I’m sure it will not be the last.”

Nancy: As a devotee of Zorro movies and tv shows, this is definitive in so many ways, not the least of which is the inclusion of the legend of Joaquin Murrieta. With all due apologies to our players in Spain, this is El Vago! (As a side note, the author of the original Zorro story, Johnston McCulley, was a police reporter and writer of pulp fiction in the 1920’s-1940’s who had never been to California! We have The Curse of Capistrano to thank for the swashbuckling film genre. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. took the dime novel on his honeymoon and when he returned, The Mark of Zorro was the first movie he made at his new studio. The rest is, as they say, …

Master and Commander ( 2003 )  Dir. Peter Weir. Starring Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany. Based on the brilliant series by Patrick O’Brien, the movie (although late for 7th Sea’s period) gives an unflinching picture of life at sea.
Mummy, The ( 1999 ) and Mummy Returns, The ( 2001 ) Dir. Stephen Summers. Starring Brendan Fraser, Rachael Weisz, John Hannah

Andrew: Alright, I know what you are thinking, this has nothing to do with Restoration Europe. You would be right, but the style of this film is so utterly swashbuckling you cannot possibly discount it. These films follow a group of heroes trying to avert the destruction of the world by a force they were foolish enough to play with. Sound like your players?  They are put together so well that if your game has this level of action and repartee, you are doing well.

Muppet Treasure Island ( 1996 )  Dir. Brian Henson. Starring The Muppets, Tim Curry.

Nancy: Hey! Not everything has to be serious! Pirates & frogs – the perfect match!

Musketeer, The ( 2001 )  Dir. Peter Hyams. Starring Justin Chambers, Mena Suvari, Tim Roth

Andrew: This recent film seemed an attempt to bring “The Matrix” to swashbuckling. It is the story of the three musketeers, but without much of the three musketeers themselves. Somehow it seems to work. Especially Tim Roth who is obviously enjoying playing a bad guy far too much. The fights are a lot to take in, as they are often done on wires and involve the entire contents of the room. Put it this way, if Yoda fighting with a lightsabre in Episode 2 was cool rather than ridiculous (or both) to you, then you will enjoy this film a lot.

Nancy: Personally, I think Dumas would have LOVED this movie! And compared to that wretched Wallace “Man in the Iron Mask,” THESE costumes are actually authentic! And the sets are great. And people actually look like they have real dirt on them!

Pirates of the Caribbean ( 2003 )  Dir. Gore Verbinski. Starring Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush. What can we say? It’s… it’s…. 7th Sea! (And whoo hoo! A sequel is in the works!)
Plunkett & Macleane ( 1999 )  Dir. Jake Scott. Starring Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Liv Tyler. Highwaymen – A little late for 7th Sea (1700s) but lots of swash ‘n buckle with “Gentlemen Highwaymen.”
Prince of Foxes, The ( 1949 )  Dir. Henry King. Starring Tyrone Power, Orson Welles. Medieval Vodacce but very swashbuckly
Princess Bride, The ( 1987 )  Dir. Rob Reiner. Starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin and many others…

Andrew: OK, stop here. If you haven’t seen this film, go out and see it now before you go any further. This film is as essential to a game of 7th Sea/SBA as the main rule book. It is packed with comedy, action, romance, charm and wit. It has its own style, but one you will instantly recognise. Somehow it is so over the top it is underplayed. It is exactly what your game should aspire to. I would tell you more, but telling you any of the plot would put you off, you have to see it to get the point. There are no words to recommend this film highly enough, go out and get a copy now!

Quills ( 2000 )  Dir. Philip Kaufman. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine

Andrew: Scandal and depravity abound in this tale about the Marquis de Sade and his explicit literature. His nemesis is played by Michael Caine, whose devout Puritanism proves far more monstrous than De Sade’s depravity. The cast is excellent, featuring Kate Winslet as the Marquis’s friend and confidante, and Phoenix as the priest trying to bring him under a little control.

Restoration ( 1995 )  Dir. Michael Hoffman. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Sam Neill. The story of the rise and fall of a doctor in late 17th C. Avalon. How he begins with a life of debauchery, but learns that some things need to be taken seriously. There is almost no sword fighting, as it is about a man’s life rather than his swordplay. However it shows very well how the favour of a king can rise you to the greatest heights and the darkest lows.

Nancy: This film is just utterly brilliant. Sets, costumes, characterization. Sam Neill is…. well, perfect as always.

Ridicule ( 1996 )  Dir. Patrice Leconte. French. Court intrigue in Montaigne.
Robin & Marian ( 1976 )  Dir. Richard Lester. Starring Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Shaw, Richard Harris. The exploits of the elder Robin Hood.

Nancy: Hmph. No one in their right mind would put on a chainmail shirt without a proper undershirt. Great archery but soppy story.

Scaramouche ( 1952 )  Dir. George Sidney. Starring Stewart Granger, Eleanor Parker, Mel Ferrer, Janet Leigh. Theatrics ‘n swashbuckling during the French Revolution.
Sea Hawk, The ( 1940 )  Dir. Michael Curtiz. Starring Errol Flynn. Swashbuckling on the high seas during the reign of Elizabeth I. One of Rob’s faves.
Shakespeare in Love ( 1998 )  Dir. John Madden. Gwenyth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck, Judy Dench

Nancy: This may be one of the finest renditions of Elizabethan England on film. The acting is superb, the details in the film show that they really did their homework, and any time Ben Affleck is feeling wretched about “Paycheck” (as well he should), he can watch himself in this and feel a lot better!

Sleepy Hollow ( 1999 )  Dir. Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci

Andrew: If you are interested in running a darker Théan adventure, give this film a look. It is as good as set in Eisen near Die Schwartzen Walden. Johnny Depp plays a policeman sent to the dark town to investigate a series of murders. Each victim has had their head cut off, and the villagers say the murderer is the ghost of a headless horseman. The style is everything we have come to expect of Tim Burton, and includes a heavy dose of haunting romance and dark hellborn ghost story.

Taras Bulba ( 1962 )  Dir. J. Lee Thompson. Starring Yul Brynner, Tony Curtis. The Crescent Empire meets Ussura!
Three Musketeers, The ( 1973 )  Dir. Richard Lester. Starring Richard Chamberlain, Frank Finlay, Michael York, Oliver Reed, Faye Dunaway, Raquel Welch, Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee. Brilliant, definitive Musketeer movie. Look for exceptionally deft & subtle performance by Charlton Heston as Richelieu (see “The Four Musketeers” and “The Return of the Musketeers”). The costumes are wonderful and the swordplay is exceptional. Dumas would have been proud!
Three Musketeers, The ( 1993 )  Dir. Stephen Herek. Starring Keifer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Chris O’Donnell, Tim Curry.

Nancy: Disney dumbs down Dumas. The ONLY good thing in this one is the utterly gorgeous horses.

Tous les matins du monde (All the Mornings of the World) ( 1991 )  Dir. Alain Corneau. Starring Gerard Depardieu.

Nancy: Montaigne – en Francais. Late 1600s. Exquisite film. Have a hankie handy. Ok, have several.

Vatel ( 2000 )  Dir. Roland Joffe. Starring Gerard Depardieu, Uma Therman, Tim Roth, Julian Sands.

Andrew: The fortunes of Gerard Depardieu’s character are failing rather quickly. So he spends everything on one lavish dinner at which the king will be a guest. He desperately hopes the king will be impressed and this will restore his fortune.


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