Top 10 Fight to the Death Movies

Script written by Matt Wende Select your weapon and prepare for battle. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Fight to the Death Movies. For this list, we're looking for films in which characters, either willingly or by force, fight to the death in arena style combat. Special thanks to our user kenn1987 for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest!
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Top 10 Fight to the Death Movies


Select your weapon and prepare for battle. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Fight to the Death Movies.

For this list, we’re looking for films in which characters, either willingly or by force, fight to the death in arena style combat. The arenasthemselves must have some form of spectatorship, and the fighting must be the main aspect of the movie. A movie like “Gladiator” failed toqualify because the scope of the movie goes far beyond the carnage of the arena. With that said, let battle commence.

#10: “Mortal Kombat” (1995)

With a plot that echoes that of Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon,” “Mortal Kombat” follows an unlikely group of heroes that includes the Shaolin monk Liu Kang, the egotistical actor Johnny Cage, and several other fighters as they travel to a mysterious island to participate in a brutal fighting tournament. There, they must fight the forces of Outworld to the death to protect the Earth Realm from certain doom. Fun visual effects combine with fantastic fight sequences to create this blast of a movie. It’s the kinda blend of violence and campiness that only the best videogame adaptations can deliver. Nothing else to say except: “get over here!”

#9: “The Human Race” (2013)

This dark and twisted film starts as a horror flick, but eventually becomes a study of human psychology. A group of people wakes up in a strange place, and come to a racetrack where a voice explains to them the rules of the warped game they’re now stuck playing What the audience is treated to is a delicious look at the extent to which human beings will go in order to survive, because before longthe participants resort to brutal violence just to stay ahead. So much for a civilized race.

#8: “The 10th Victim” (1965)

How do you avoid wars? Easy, just let innately violent people kill each other on TV. Right? To let citizens vent their violent inclinations, themore savage of mankind are given a chance to participate in a twisted entertainment show known as The Big Hunt. If you can survive 10 rounds – five as the hunter and five as the hunted – you are granted freedom, fame and fortune. What this film does right is create vibrant drama between the hunter and hunted in the final round, as one has fallen in love and the other is waiting for the right time to kill.

#7: “Series 7: The Contenders” (2001)

A satire of reality TV, this movie acts as the seventh season of a series in which six contestants, chosen at random, are given a gun and told tohunt and kill the others. But instead of telling the story from the perspective of protagonist Dawn, the series’ current champion, the film is shown as if it were – in fact – a reality show, allowing the audience to play the part of the home viewers. Complete with talking head interviews, viewers are given a glimpse of what happens when TV violence goes way too far.

#6: “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (1985)

Director George Miller knows better than anyone that a post-apocalyptic wasteland is a great arena to tell just about any kind of story – especially if you like your stories to feature death battles. While wandering the wasteland, our hero Max comes to a makeshift town in search of his stolen supplies, and is tasked with fighting an adversary in the feared Thunderdome in exchange for his goods. Directed as only George Miller could, Thunderdome explodes off the screen with his trademark grit, style and brutal violence.

#5: “Death Race 2000” (1975)

It’s the distant future of the year 2000 in this sci-fi classic, and racers are competing on a world stage for fame, fortune and glory in theTranscontinental Road Race. Of course, the objective of said race is to kill each other and everyone else in their path for points, so it’s a little tougher than most reality competitions. A critical failure that has since become a cult classic, this movie’s popularity is undoubtedly owed to its over-the-top action and satirical voice, which we can’t get enough of even today.

#4: “The Most Dangerous Game” (1932)

Based on the short story of the same name, this 1932 film explores the lowest depths of humanity’s predatory instinct. After being marooned on a jungle island following a shipwreck, Bob Rainsford meets a man who claims to have found what he calls “the most dangerous game.” Turns out, this hunter prefers prey that walks on two legs – not four – as killing humans gives him the better thrill. What follows is an almost literal cat-and-mouse game that quickly became a classic in the horror genre, and is still remembered today for its chilling tone and gritty themes.

#3: “The Running Man” (1987)

TV competitions? Fights to the death? Arnold Schwarzenegger? The ‘80s? Sounds like a recipe for awesomeness! Or at least good TV. It’s thefuture, the United States have fallen into chaos after the economy goes down the toilet, and all things cultural are banned. So, this tyrannical society has set up game shows where convicted criminals fight to the death on TV to appease the dissatisfied population. One of these is TheRunning Man, where people called runners are chased around a stadium by armed stalkers to win their freedom. Delivering on every level, this Stephen King adaptation is a hugely entertaining romp that cannot be missed by any serious Arnie fan.

#2: “The Hunger Games” (2012)

Based on Suzanne Collins’ popular book series of the same name, this film borrowed several elements from other dystopian future settings; namely, citizens are separated into different districts, and – as penance for having revolted against the government in the past – members of each sect battle to the death once every year in exchange for additional resources for their community. Katniss Everdeen enters the games tosave her young sister from a gruesome fate, and so begins this story of coming of age in a time of rebellion. The second entry was an equally strong film, but the first focused primarily on the games themselves, and we couldn’t get enough.

Before we step into the arena with our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Predators” (2010)
- “The Condemned” (2007)
- “The Tournament” (2009)
- “Gamer” (2009)

#1: “Battle Royale” (2000)

At the turn of the millennium, this Japanese film stormed onto screens and took no prisoners. A class of teenagers wakes up after being gassedto find they’re trapped on an island and are being forced to fight until only one survives. They’re equipped with various weapons, food and a map and are fitted with an electronic collar that will explode if the student misbehaves. As you can imagine, this story attracted no shortage of controversy. That criticism was shouted down, however, by those who understood the film was bringing to light the very real issue of crime and violence among youth. Becoming a classic practically overnight, “Battle Royale” fights it’s way to the top spot on our list.

Do you agree with our list? What fight to the death movies did we miss? For more Top 10s about your favorite movies, be sure to subscribe toWatchMojo.com.


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