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Highlander (1986)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy  |  7 March 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 92,329 users   Metascore: 24/100
Reviews: 310 user | 99 critic | 7 from

An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponent, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled "Prize".



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan North ...
Christopher Malcolm ...
Peter Diamond ...
Billy Hartman ...
Alistair Findlay ...


In New York, the owner of a sophisticated antique shop Russell Edwin Nash is challenged to a sword fight in the parking lot of the Madison Square Garden by a man called Iman Fasil that is beheaded by Russell. He hides his sword and is arrested by the police while leaving the stadium. Russell recalls his life in the Sixteenth Century in Scotland, when he is Connor MacLeod and is deadly wounded in a battle against another Clan. However he surprisingly survives and his Clan believes he has a pact with the devil and expels him from their lands. Then he meets Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez that explains that he is immortal unless he is beheaded. Further, the immortals dispute a game killing each other and in the end only one survives receiving a price with the power of the other immortals. Russell is released by the police, but the snoopy forensic agent Brenda J. Wyatt is attracted by the case since she founds fragments of an ancient Katana and follows Russell. But the also immortal ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There can be only one. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong action violence, a scene of sexuality and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 March 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Highlander - Es kann nur einen geben  »

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)


$5,900,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (theatrical)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rutger Hauer and Nick Nolte were considered for the role of The Kurgan. See more »


During the very first shot of Eilean Donan Castle, as the camera elevates above the villagers, the sun reflects off of a car traveling along the A87. Visible very briefly, it emerges from behind the fir trees, in the top right hand side of the shot, as it follows the shoreline. See more »


Ramirez: [narrating] From the dawn of time we came; moving silently down through the centuries, living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the Gathering; when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you... until now.
See more »


Followed by Highlander (1992) See more »


Hammer To Fall
Performed by Queen
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Largely panned by the critics, but surprisingly a good, ingenious sci-fi offering.
5 January 2005 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Highlander is an ingenious and very entertaining science fiction film which has come in for rather a lot of (unwarranted) scathing criticism. Although the plot jumps around with reckless abandon, the scripters Gregory Widen, Larry Ferguson and Peter Bellwood manage to pull in all the loose ends by the climax. The word "confusing" has been used to describe the film quite often as well, but if you stick with it the confusing moments are explained quite cleverly towards the closing reels. This is, in fact, not a bad film at all. I'd venture to say it's a pretty good one.

The opening sequence has Russell Nash (Christopher Lambert) at a wrestling match in New York's Madison Square Gardens. He leaves early, and while walking through the underground car park is confronted by a man with a sword. Nash is not perturbed by this - he merely brandishes a sword of his own, and the pair of them fight to the death, resulting in the decapitation of Nash's opponent. Slowly, we learn (via flashbacks) that Nash is an immortal swordsman who has spent centuries duelling with like immortals. The only way they can die is by decapitation at the hands of one of their counterparts. Each swordsman has spent the whole of history pursuing the others, hoping to be the last one alive whereupon he will gain mortality, virility and vast knowledge.

The film is very energetic (what would you expect from a former music video director?) with dazzling camera work and a pounding, Flash Gordon-style soundtrack by Queen. Sean Connery has a pleasant supporting role as an immortal who teaches Lambert the art of swordplay, and Alan North has a funny part as a bewildered cop who can't figure out why headless corpses keep turning up in his city. The film's intentionally muddled structure is slightly irritating on the first viewing, but with repeated viewings it becomes more comprehensible, even clever. Highlander is a good, inventive piece of hokum.... and it's a real shame that those very same critics who are always grumbling about the lack of cinematic imagination these days didn't give it some merit when it was first released.

96 of 106 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The so called "first death." Digital_Cowboy
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Highlander = Corny Terminator with Swords? web-104
In alot of ways, it really sucked. But... captainonionpits
Perfect ending dan-willi84
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