Highlander
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Writers: Gregory Widen, Peter Bellwood, Larry Ferguson
Stars: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connory, Clancy Brown
Release: March 7, 1986


“THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!”


Is Highlander the greatest movie ever made? Possibly. I must watch it again, for the 100th time tonight, to make sure. This time I will be taking down my thoughts. Note-for-note, I need to examine the unbelievable Connor MacLeod story.

A few quick notes before we even begin this amazing adventure.


  • Queen, yes the Freddy Mercury band, is the focal point of this soundtrack. Legit, Princes Of The Universe, is an amazing song, as well as Who Wants To Live Forever.
    • Mercury did Princes Of The Universe, Brian May did Who Wants TO Live Forever and Roger Taylor did It’s A Kind Of Magic.
This track list is amazing
  • Highlander contains some of the most unromantic romantic scenes of all time. I do not think that Christopher Lambert knew how to kiss at the start of this movie.
  • This movie uses more pyrotechnics than an WWE paper-view-event. Goldberg and Brock Lesnar are jealous of everything in Highlander.
  • Highlander was written primarily by Gregory Widen, who studied screenwriting at UCLA. The pantheon of script writing. There are so many quotable moments in this movie, but none greater than “There Can Be Only One.” It is a motto for my life.
  • According to director Russell Mulcahy, the budget for the movie was only $13 million and the shooting schedule was incredibly fast. Makes sense really.

Seriously enjoy this movie. It is primo late 1980s excessiveness. It is meant purely to entertain. It is meant to be a spectacle, and Highlander gives everything the audience could possibly order.

Let’s get to the movie!


  • Naturally, the movie begins with wrestling and the all-to easy crew to ancient Scottish warfare
  • Ok, first sword fight!
    • This is the first 3 minutes of the movie.
    • Fasil is not the most limber a fellow…UNTIL HE CAN DO CARTWHEELS AND BACKFLIPS
    • There are so many sparks flying in this sword
    • In the opening 10 minutes of Highlander, we have explosions, decapitations, flashbacks and electric pulses. There have been like five words muttered
  • Connor Macleod expositions thrown into them going into the battle is wonderfully simple and placed with such elementary school ease
  • No joke, Kurgan looks terrifying as hell with the skull helmet
  • Connor…you ask to fight, and Kurgan fells you with one fell swoop
    • THE FIRST “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!”
  • “Mr. Nash”…yea, you cops don’t know didly
    • “Don’t move pal. Don’t even breath.” – I mean that is just wonderful writing. Top notch. Impeccable
  • I need to find a women that looks at me like the way Brenda Wyatt looks at Fasil’s sword; Toledo Salamanca Rapier which is naturally worth three million dollars
  • “You talk funny Nash. Where are you from?” … “Lots of different places.”
    • Well officer, I can tell you that “Nash” is not lying to you.
      • This same cop asked Nash if he was a “Faggot”. This cop is just an asshole; plain and simple. LET MACLEOD AT HIM!!!
  • Kurgan just cruising in the car rocking out on his way to create utter chaos.
    • There are full YouTube videos just dedicated to the chaos Kurgan creates on the street
  • I totally forgot about him unpacking his sword and this hotel sequence
    • I truly mean this; a sword put together like Legos can’t be the strongest right?
    • Also his room looks EXACTLY like a solo dorm room
    • But first, “the gathering.”… but before that we have Candy.
  • MacLeod and Brenda meeting for the first time to a song just uttering the words “I falling in love with you.”
    • Okay like legit Connor looks like a bit of a creep here. This is primo 80s.
    • Brenda don’t need no man to walk her home…
  • Uh oh…Connor MacLeod sensing something…AND THAT SOMETHING IS KURGAN
    • Brenda immediately throwing a pipe to help the man who just really creeped her out
    • We have a police chopper appearing out of nowhere
      • The chopper cop literally says “Hey. Hold it right there. Come back here.”
    • Brenda has so many questions.
      • Connor tells her to value her one life…nice segway into the next flashback scene.
  • Hmmm, Connor MacLeod does not have his people behind him. He should have died, but instead he lives, and IMMEDIATELY everyone turns on him. Literally everyone. His cousins and his lovers.
    • Connor is ran out of town. Tough to see.
    • Side note, Angus MacLeod is played by James Cosmo, who is a very well known actor. Dude was in Braveheart (1995), Troy (2004), His Dark Materials (2019) and Chernobyl (2019) on HBO.
  • Okay, Connor MacLeod’s apartment is FREAKING AMAZING. What does he pay in rent? How does he have that much space? Has he been in NYC this entire time?
  • Back to Scotland, Connor just has to do the Mermaid hair flip before making love to his new wife. Not the most natural love scene of all time…
  • RAMIREZ HAS ENTERED THE CHAT WITH THAT INCREDIBLE CAP
    • Ramirez is played by Sean Connery. The Sean Connery. The one and only.
  • The modern-day police precinct has a very open floor plan.
  • “A Metallurgical History Of Ancient Sword Making” – This book written by Brenda must have been a NYT best seller. I have no doubt at all.
  • Ramirez is Egyptian.
  • “You have the manners of a goat. And you smell like a dung heap.” – Can you imagine a meaner burn? I can’t.
  • Connor falling into the river is like a wrestler throwing himself over the ropes in a Royal Rumble
    • Little bit of symbolism here with Connor learning and understanding his abilities in water…a new beginning if you will
  • Time of The Gathering…when only a few are left…they will gather to fight for The Prize…
    • Must fight till only one remains…and only safe ground is holy ground…
  • Okay, all of these training sessions are taking place in crazy areas; beach, mountains, farm, forest. Scotland has everything I guess.
    • We have the “feeling of the stag” portion – can you imagine Sean Connory reading this script
    • Christopher Lambert’s grin is crazy creepy
  • The Scottish settings in Highlander remind me of the quality of Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”
  • 2,347 years ago Ramirez was born. His sword was made in 593 B.C. Ramirez is a legend.
  • Kurgan exposition now being explained by Ramirez
    • Kurgan’s threw babies into pits. Not good people. Bad.
    • Kurgan can’t win The Prize otherwise all of humanity will suffer
    • “IN THE END THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.”
  • Ramirez feels it…Ramirez feels Kurgan
    • Okay genuinely he looks like a savage. Like a rabid Viking
  • Here me out: Kurgan = Darth Vader, Ramirez = Obi-Wan, MacLeod = Luke
  • Kurgan doesn’t like to be embarrassed…
  • A sword thrust of Kurgan can topple a tower. He is that strong.
  • Where is MacLeod during this fight between Ramirez & Kurgan? No one knows. He is contemplating life somewhere.
  • Kurgan pulling out the blade and striking down Ramirez…bye-bye Ramirez.
    • The strongest grow ever stronger
  • “Can you cook?”
    • He does not even offer to cook for Brenda?!
  • This little story about how Rachel (his secretary) comes into service of Connor is just so random
    • “Whatever you say Jack, you are the master race.” – Connor just talking trash to Nazis
  • Why is MacLeod hanging onto his coat? That is just weird.
    • HAHAHA the eye brow raise when Brenda has the Scottish portrait
    • Naturally he finds the fun in seconds…and sees the cops…with the recorder as well
  • “1783 was a very good year.” – I stole the semblance of a line for one of the stupidest jokes I ever made that got one of the biggest laughs from an ex-girlfriend. Little did she know I was taking from Highlander.
  • Well MacLeod just spoiled the mood big time with that book. He turned the tables on Brenda
    • He is getting turned on by Brenda talking about swords this way. He is attracted to her brains.
  • MacLeod is a lousy dinner date. I wonder what they were going to have for dinner?
  • OMG QUEEN BALLAD RIGHT NOW
  • “Want To Live Forever” when Heather is dying. God this is actually really sad; imagine living life like this.
    • Can we aspire to love like this? MacLeod and Heather love.
    • He leaves the sword. He is leaving that openness of MacLeod behind.
  • Kastagir…another Highlander coming to join The Gathering in NYC. Will he come to meet
    • Retelling the stores of the duel in colonial Boston
      • That is just a cruel taunting
      • Again another really random tale
  • I genuinely like the way they shoot Kurgan. They make him look like a badass at all times.
  • “I hope you get your head chopped off asshole” – The hotel clerk holding all the answers without even knowing
  • Kurgan and Kastagir dueling it out in the streets with a random tough guy trying to watch all. He unloads the bullets into Kurgan…BUT NOPE, he pulls The Undertaker move of teleporting anywhere. Kurgan throws him like a sack of potatoes.
    • SOMEHOW this “tough-guy” survives being thrown into a brick wall after being stabbed
      • Is he a Highlander? Same wound that Kurgan gave to Connor in the Scottish battle
    • The Quickening is ALWAYS filled with electricity. Lightning and sparks have to fly otherwise it didn’t happen.
  • Okay, we have Kurgan now driving around NYC with an elderly grandma hailing out the front seat like it is a bachelorette party
  • Brenda is starting to snoop around “Nash’s” history…
    • Nash died…the real nash…so then who is MacLeod, Brenda??
  • That computer technology is amazing
    • The tech guy explaining it all to Brenda like he is the mad genius who gets it all. From out of nowhere, he removes the glasses and becomes Einstein.
Highlander church scene
  • We are now on holy ground for the first time…I wonder if a line from Ramirez will come back right now?
    • Nice of MacLeod to still light the candle for Heather and remember Ramirez
      • But who is the negative energy putting out the candles? Oh, it’s Kurgan
    • Kurgan and enlightens Connor on how those two are the only ones left…
      • Uh oh…did he say “raped his women”…that was a mistake Kurgan
        • But he is quick to pick up on it…and now Connor is angry. He has some extra fuel.
    • Kurgan is just so disrespectful
      • He literally just likes a dudes hand randomly
    • This is so much randomness and suddenness in this scene. It might be the most absurd of the entire movie.
  • Brenda walking into MacLeod’s armory and museum must be like a dream to her
    • “I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I was born in 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. And I am immortal.” > “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Decide for yourself. It is really quite clear.

  • He stabs himself. Forces her to stab him. Then naturally there has to be a kiss; with the “I Want To Live Forever” instrumental
  • “Most people are afraid to die. That’s not your problem. You are afraid to live.” – THIS IS PURE GENIUS.
  • Why is Kurgan a floor above where Brenda lives?
  • We have Kurgan driving like a mad man again! The NYC streets are not safe! And Brenda is just trapped in the car where nowhere to go.
    • Kurgan legit causes like 15+ accidents
    • Oh the creepy “New York, New York.”
    • Brenda has passed out due to the craziness
  • MacLeod must save the girl and leave Rachel behind…Russell Nash dies tonight.
  • We are approaching the climax of the movie. I can no wait for all the sparks. I seriously want to shut my lights off an embrace it all.
    • HERE WE GO. Sparks central baby! The giant Silver Cup sign has no idea what’s coming for it
      • I wonder how much they paid to get this time and exposure?
        • Well the sign did come down pretty fast
          • It’s falling all around Brenda. She is still safe.
    • Fun fact in the research: Mulcahy strapped car batteries to the actors’ legs and wired them so the swords would spark. GENUIS.
    • Kurgan is literally doing ballerina twirls smashing metal and just throwing sparks everywhere.
    • We now have sparks in the water! Good job neither can be electrified to death!
    • Okay, those lighting bold effects as the “S” was falling were the EXACT SAME as Emperor Palpatine in Return Of The Jedi.
  • Brenda has been set free. Somehow and someway. She has also avoided all the water…but she is on a metal pole that is in the water
    • We have reached the empty room conveniently lined with glass windows
    • Brenda from out of nowhere to save MacLeod!
      • “What kept you.” – An actual quip that was Indiana Jones or Harry Dresden like
    • So much sparks. This is seriously like Star Wars.
    • Uh oh…is MacLeod getting hot…don’t let him get hot…
      • Kurgan has no idea what to do…except stick his tongue out like a mad man AND LOSE HIS HEAD!!!!!!
  • Omg it is iconic: “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!”
    • I legit got goosebumps. Yes. YES. YESSSSS!!!!
    • How many times do you think they rigged those windows to blow? Was it a one-take wonder?
  • These demons snatching up MacLeod this is a freaking acid trip
  • MacLeod gets the ultimate prize…of being normal and having new untold power of being one with all living things
    • Power beyond imagination but can only use in a lifetime

This movie rocks. Highlander is amazing. It is my ultimate guilty pleasure. Objectively, there are many problems with this movie. But who cares. Highlander is a cut above the rest when it comes to embracing the excess.

Now here is hope for the future. The latest news about a potential reboot of The Highlander has director Chad Stahelski attached to it. He has been part of the duo with David Leitch that lifted the John Wick franchise to amazing levels. Stahelski is quoted as saying: “If anything, I’m the one holding it back, and trying to creatively lay out everything. We just don’t want to paint ourselves into a corner creatively, like happened with the original.” It sounds like Stahelski does not want a Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) catastrophe. “We’re trying to really lay out this universe and not f— it up to the point where you cannot continue this story,” said Stahelski. “We love it so much, we’re trying to treat it with a lot of care.”

I have been waiting for this reboot for years. My cousin and I have been talking about recasting it since I was in high school. Highlander, the reboot, when it finally comes out, will be the highlight of my year.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

“Highlander” IMDB
“Highlander” Rotten Tomatoes

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