In his hit 1970’s single “War,” singer Edwin Starr once asked, “War, huh, good god, what is it good for?” In the real world, war isn’t good for very much at all. However, when it comes to our favorite science-fiction and fantasy films, it makes for some pretty epic battle scenes.
Over the years, sci-fi and fantasy films have given us some of the most exciting simulated warfare ever produced. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at the ten greatest conflicts the genres have ever produced. Fasten your seatbelts; this is going to be fun.
10 Star Wars Episode II: Battle Of Geonosis
In terms of film franchises, few have given us as many memorable battle scenes as Star Wars. Of course, given that the word “War” is literally in the franchise’s name, one would reasonably expect a healthy dose of action in these films.
One of the most talked-about conflicts in the series took place in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clone: The Battle of Geonosis. Hopelessly outnumbered, the Jedi fought valiantly inside an impressive looking Roman-style coliseum. After an exciting few moments of action, our heroes were surrounded by droids when Master Yoda swooped in at the last second with his clone army to save the day. Perhaps the best part of this battle was finally seeing the Jedi Master in action against Count Dooku.
9 Starship Trooper: Ambush At Whiskey Outpost
While it certainly wasn’t a beloved movie in its day, Starship Trooper has aged well in the eyes of critics and moviegoers alike. The satirical sci-fi action film followed Johnny Rico and the mobile infantry as they battled an army of giant bugs. The flick featured a classic showdown between the two groups known as “The Ambush at Whiskey Outpost.”
The battle featured some amazing visual effects for its day (the movie was released in 1997). It began when the infantry responded to a distress call at an outpost that turned out to be a cleverly laid plan by the bugs. Watching the bugs swarm the outpost, and the ensuing chaos that followed, helped make the ambush an instant classic.
8 Lord Of The Rings: Battle Of Helms Deep
The Lord of the Rings trilogy certainly wasn’t short on phenomenal action scenes. Arguably the best showdown in the series was the Battle of Helms Deep.
The Uruk-hai, who were attacking Kind Theoden’s stronghold, gathered outside The Deep, which made a stunning image. The back-and-forth battle was full of plenty of exciting moments and top-notch action shots. However, the finale, where Gandolf and the riders of Rohan show up to save the day, will make anyone want to stand in cheer. The Battle of Helms Deep combined breathtaking special effects with plenty of drama to keep viewers on the edge of their seat.
7 Game Of Thrones: The Battle Of The Bastards
Game of Thrones was known for surprising plot twists and the writers' willingness to kill off seemingly any character. However, the series featured some very memorable battle scenes as well. One such epic dust-up was The Battle of the Bastards.
Ramsay Bolton was one of the most wicked characters in television history, so most fans really wanted to see Jon Snow win this battle. Moreover, the fight showed the Bolton Army surround Snow and company in a maneuver that was often used in ancient battles. Battle scenes rarely show combatants nearly crushing or trampling one another, but it was a fairly common occurrence in accident warfare. Props for making things look so realistic, GOT.
6 Star Wars Rogue One: The Battle Of Scarif
Any credible list of great sci-fi battles should definitely feature a healthy dose of Star Wars. While choosing from the many great galactic conflicts in the epic series isn’t easy, there are some scenes that certainly stand out. One such scene is Rogue One’s The Battle of Scarif.
Scarif has several mini battles going on at once, which is one of the things that made it so cool. They were fighting on land, in the air, and then we had the main characters trying to get the force field down. There was a lot for fans to sink their teeth into here. Plus (spoiler alert) the fact that the main characters die at the end reminds us that victory can be costly.
5 The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies
Those who love good sword battle have to appreciate both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. In terms of epic warfare, The Hobbit series saved the best for last with The Battle of the Five Armies.
As with most of the Peter Jackson Middle-earth films, The Battle of the Five Armies was visually stunning. That being said, in this instance, it was the diversity that made this fight so great. This showdown features so many armies with their own unique looks, weapons, and fighting styles. Plus, it was great to see a scene from the old 1977 Hobbit cartoon come to life on the big screen.
4 Avatar: Humans Vs. Na’vi
Since there’s only been one installment released thus far, Avatar doesn’t have the same kind of rabid fanbase as Star Wars. However, the 2009 film does feature plenty of great action, and the special effects were exceptional, to say the least.
The battle between the humans and Na’vi had it all, including big guns, heavy machinery, and unique forest creatures. The conflict is extremely fast-paced, and it’s filmed in a way that makes moviegoers feel like they are part of the action. If the first flick is any indicator, the long-awaited sequel, set to be released in 2021, should have some breathtaking action scenes.
3 Game Of Thrones: Battle Of Castle Black
The acting and plot twists in Game of Thrones were so good that they really didn’t need massive battle scenes to make the show great. That being said, when it came time for the big battles, the series always delivered. One of the most memorable showdowns was when the free folk tried to breach the wall in The Battle of Castle Black.
Besides the awesome-looking giants, it was the conflict between Jon Snow and Ingrid that made this scene so memorable. The former lovers found themselves on opposite sides, and poor Ingrid wound up taking an arrow in the back, much to this dismay of her former boyfriend. The battle showed the internal conflict a person can face when choosing one’s duty over happiness.
2 Star Wars: The Battle Of Yavin
Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope give fans what is arguably the first great sci-fi battle on film. The Battle of Yavin features Luke Skywalker and a squad of X-wing fighters attempting to destroy the dreaded Death Star.
Despite the fact that the film was released over forty years ago, the scene still holds up surprisingly well today. Unlike other sci-fi films from the era, the effects used aren’t overly cheesy. The battle has plenty of tense moments – particularly when Darth Vader arrives on the scene. Moreover, it’s hard not to smile when Skywalker ultimately makes the Death Star explode.
1 Star Trek: First Contact – Battle Of Sector 1
Though they’ve certainly had some decent ones over the years, Star Trek hasn’t historically been known for massive space battles. This may be why many longtime fans enjoyed The Battle of Sector 1, which took place in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact.
What made this particular scene so special is that it was really the first time Trekkies got to see a quality space battle in a Star Trek film. While a lot of the previous movies felt a bit like extended versions of the television shows, The Battle of Sector 1 helped First Contact distinguish itself.