Highlander
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips
The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.
Visit our FAQ Help to learn more

FAQ Contents


The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Highlander can be found here.

Following a wrestling match at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) is attacked by a man carrying a sword, but MacLeod uses his own sword to kill his attacker by decapitating him. Due to lack of evidence, Connor is released, but police detective Brenda Wyatt (Roxanne Hart), an expert in metallurgy, is intrigued by the antiquity of the swords involved and continues the investigation. As the story unfolds, it is learned that Connor is immortal, born in the year 1518. Trained by another immortal, Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery), Connor is one of a race of immortals who can only be killed by beheading, until the last immortal stands, after which he will win 'The Prize'. Currently, there are only three immortals left, and The Kurgen (Clancy Brown) is out for Connor's head, because there can be only one.

Highlander is based on a story and screenplay by screenwriters Gregory Widen, Peter Bellwood, and Larry Ferguson. It was followed by four full-length movies, Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), Highlander: Endgame (2000), and Highlander: The Source (2007), a long-running TV series that included Highlander (1992-1998) and Highlander: The Raven (1998-1999), as well as numerous animated features, novelizations, comic books, and video games. A sixth Highlander movie, Highlander, said to be a remake of the original Highlander, is in production with no release date.

Technically, "Highlander" refers to anyone born in the Highlands of Scotland. In the context of this film, however, the Highlander is Connor MacLeod, an immortal swordsman from the clan MacLeod in the Northern Highlands of Scotland. His true origin is unclear, and his immortality is not evident until after his first death, when he doesn't actually die from wounds he received from the Kurgan. There are other Immortals, not all Highlanders, who cannot be killed except by decapitation but who can gain power by decapitating other Immortals. Consequently, Connor must always be ready to do battle with Immortals who are seeking to remove his head from his body with their swords.

Connor MacLeod was born in the year 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel in Northern Scotland.

After experiencing his first death, Connor appeared to have died from his stab wound, but his wound later healed and Connor returned to life. The clan believed Connor was in league with Lucifer. A mob of villagers and members of the clan beat up Connor and demanded to burn him at the stake. Connor's cousin Angus decided instead that Connor was to be banished, never to return.

To spare Connor of the pain of watching Heather grow old and die. Ramirez explains how he had three wives and was shattered when his previous wife Shakiko, the Japanese princess and daughter of the great swordsmith Masamune, died. He asked Connor to let Heather go but Connor refused.

Ramirez says that he was born 2,437 years ago in Egypt. The novelization of this film gives Ramirez's original name as Tak-Ne, his birth in 896 BC, his first "death" in 851 BC, and his marriage to Shakiko in 593 BC.

In the movie, it is revealed only that the Kurgan was born of ancient people from the Russian Steppes, other than that, there is no further hints as to his actual date of birth.

Ramirez explains: "Why does the sun come up or are the stars just pin holes in the curtain of night? Who knows?" There is no explanation given in Highlander as to why or how a few people are chosen or even how many there were in the beginning. Viewers must merely accept that a small and dwindling band make it to the gathering in New York. Highlander 2 does give an explanation although it is considered far from canon by fans.

The Gathering is the time when the last remaining Immortals will gather together to fight each other for the ultimate Prize. At the Gathering, the winning Immortal must behead all other Immortals...for there can be only one.

Ramirez explains: "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." In short, the Immortals must battle for The Prize, which only one Immortal can claim.

The Prize is actually two concepts: First is the ability to be linked mentally to all people living (knowing their thoughts and feelings, and, being able to help them communicate with one another). Connor attempts to explain this to Brenda at the end of the movie and calls it a "whirlwind" within his head. The second part of The Prize is that Connor is now mortal, can have children and will grow old and die like any mortal human.

When an Immortal wins The Prize and is the last Immortal left standing, she or he (whoever remains standing) undergoes the final Quickening. The winner will regain mortality, grow old, and have children (Immortals are infertile).

The Quickening is the sensation that an Immortal experiences when he or she moves into close proximity with another Immortal. We learn this when Ramirez first meets Connor, as he explains, "The sensation you are feeling is the quickening." This "Quickening", we are to believe, acts as an alert, to keep Immortals from sneaking up on each other, and thus maintaining a noble fight. The Quickening is also, apparently, the "shock" an Immortal receives when he has beheaded another Immortal. It is accompanied by flashes of lightning-like energy and the destruction of other items around him. The Quickening also gives the winner the knowledge and wisdom of the person defeated.

SS officer: "You should be dead!"

MacLeod: [in English:] "Move!"

SS officer: "No! First you'll have to shoot me!"

MacLeod: [laughs; in English:] "Whatever you say, Jack. You're the master race." [shoots him]

When Connor is being interviewed at the police station about Fasil's decapitation, Garfield insulted Connor by saying that he had chopped off Fasil's head, because he refused to pay for a blowjob (oral sex) and Connor, disgusted by Garfield's insult, remarked by saying "You are sick!", causing Garfield to lose his cool and punch Connor in the face.

When Connor left Scotland after the deaths of Ramirez and Heather, he went traveling all over the world, searching for answers. His accent became mixed. When he was interviewed (as Russell Nash) at the police station, the officer Garfield said "You speak funny, Nash. Where are you from?". Connor answers "Lots of different places".

Rachel is Connor's adopted daughter. Connor first met Rachel during a Nazi raid in World War II when she was 8 years old. Her parents had both been killed in the raid. Rachel learned Connor was immortal when Connor was shot by a Nazi soldier. Connor adopted and raised Rachel and brought her to the United States. She was employed as his secretary at Nash Antiques.

It shows how Connor first met Rachel when she was a little girl and how Rachel learned that Connor is immortal.

When Connor and the Kurgan, now using the name Victor Kruger, are the last remaining Immortals, Kruger kidnaps Brenda and uses her to force Connor to meet him for the final showdown on the rooftop of Silvercup Studios where he has tied Brenda to the scaffolding. When Connor climbs the scaffolding to rescue Brenda, Kruger attacks. Their swords eventually destroy the scaffolding, and Brenda finds herself hanging precariously from her wrists over the street far below. As Connor and Kruger continue their swordplay, Brenda eventually works herself free and climbs down onto the roof. Meanwhile, Connor and Kruger have fallen through the roof into a warehouse below, where Kruger has knocked Connor to the floor and is about to behead him. Just as Kruger raises his sword high, Brenda sneaks up behind him and hits him with a pole. Kruger turns around and is about to plunge his sword through Brenda when Connor, having retrieved his own sword, blocks the plunge. "What kept you?" Connor says to Brenda and continues the fight. Connor eventually manages to slash Kruger several times in the chest, and the final swing of his sword takes off Kruger's head, resulting in a maelstrom of energy that smashes all the windows in the warehouse. When it is over, Brenda cradles Connor's head in her lap. *I wanna go home," Connor says. In the final scenes, Connor and Brenda have returned to Scotland, and Connor is explaining that the Prize has given him the ability to know what people, including presidents and scientists, all over the world are thinking. Ramirez's voice can then be heard telling Connor that he is at one with all living things and that he should use this power wisely and not lose his head.

...during the opening credits:Princes of the Universe, performed by Queen.

...during the passing of Connor's life with Heather (Beatie Edney) and when Brenda kisses Connor after learning that he is immortal: Who Wants to Live Forever?, performed by Queen.

...during Kruger's crazy driving scene: New York, New York and "Don't Lose Your Head", performed by Queen.

The first two songs have gone on to become signature songs for the Highlander series, the first becoming the theme for the movies and TV series and the second becoming the song played whenever the Highlander shares a tender moment with a loved one.

Several different versions were produced of this 80's cult classic featuring different pieces of footage. Years after its first cinematical US run a Director's Cut was created that features the most complete version including footage from the European versions - in Europe, there's no Director's Cut, because the movie was shown in its longer version overseas. In total about six minutes were added to the US theatrical version featuring several story extensions like the WWII scenes. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here. In France and the US, only shortened version of Highlander made it to the movie theaters. The cuts are similar. The only relevant difference is the WW II flashback in the French Version, which has been entirely removed for the US Version. Moreover, the wrestling match is slightly different. On the other hand, the French Version lacks a tiny scene with Bedsow which is exclusively in the US Version. The French and US Version both started in movie theaters in March 1986 while any other country had to wait a few more months. That's possibly the reason for the different versions. Besides the shortened French Version, a French DVD with the uncut European Version is also available on DVD. The original French Version lacks 16 scenes with a length of 3:30 minutes. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

r73731


Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Parents Guide
Trivia Quotes Goofs
Soundtrack listing Crazy credits Alternate versions
Movie connections User reviews Main details