Highlander (1986)

highlander poster 1986 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Highland flashbacks, Sean Connery, the Kurgan

Dated FX, romance story unbelievable

Movie Info

Movie Name: Highlander

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movies

Release Date(s): March 7, 1986

MPAA Rating: R


I can’t wait for the 1980’s…I see VCRs, answering machines…New Coke…It will rock!

There can only be one!  A mysterious man (Christopher Lambert) at wrestling match is attacked in the parking garage and the swordfight that breaks out ends up with his attacker decapitated.  Forensics expert Brenda Wyatt (Roxanne Hart) begins to investigate and finds herself pulled in an ancient war between immortal warriors…and the endgame that is quickly approaching.

Highlander was directed by Russell Mulcahy and turned into a big sleeper hit (especially when it hit video).  It became a late night staple on TV and grew in popularity.  The movie was bolstered by an ‘80s soundtrack provided by Queen and is full of ‘80s style so it now has become a bit of a throwback to over-the-top action movies of the time.


Hold up…why am I in Highlander 2: The Quickening again?

The story of the Highlander is kind of interesting.  It has a bit of a Enter the Dragon feel, with a competition to be the best (aka the Gathering) and it also has a nice love story inserted in it involving Connor MacLeod (Lambert’s character) and his love in the 16th Century played by Beatie Edney.

The 16th Century stuff is arguably the more interesting part of Highlander, and it appears it is where they spent most of the budget.  The highland locations are beautiful and you’ve also got the Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramierez (Sean Connery) character teaching MacLeod what it means to be immortal.  The 1980s stuff is ok, but now it looks dated and cheap at points.


That’s right MacLeod…I’m coming for you!

Highlander is also aided by over-the-top performances by Sean Connery and the villain the Kurgan (Clancy Brown).  Both completely dive into the roles as swordsmen.  Kurgan has almost been driven crazy by the power of immortality and Ramierez has come to understand what immortality means.  The two form a nice yin and yang around Lambert.

Another problem with the 1980s stuff is McLeod and Wyatt’s romance.  It just doesn’t seem realistic, developed, or very necessary.  Lambert is creepy as hell in the movie, and it doesn’t seem like there is any reason for the girl to fall for him, especially when he hasn’t told her about his immortal past…he’s just a murder suspect that seems to be following her around.


Bring on the obvious wire-work, bad animation, and badly choreographed sword fights…I will be the One!

The special FX of Highlander also look really bad by today’s standards.  Obviously they aren’t computer animated, but many are hand animated including the climatic ending.  That isn’t as troublesome as the obvious wires and stuff during scenes and for immortal swordsmen, the sword fights aren’t that impressive.

Even with its faults, Highlander is a fun movie.  It was played to death by cable, but if you haven’t seen it in years, it is a fun watch.  The movie spawned sequels, comics, books, a television series and now there is talk of a remake…but remember, there can only be one…Highlander.


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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