Naadam. Everyone’s favourite time of year. A three day festival in Mongolia to celebrate the country’s independence, the event consists of archery, wrestling and horse riding competitions. So here’s a list of the top nine scenes of archery, wrestling, or horse riding. Because reasons.

ARCHERY
Rambo II

Archery gives giant men a good chance to look all muscular and stuff, so it is perfect for Rambo II, abortive sequel to Rambo. Sylvester Stallone uses archery to provide a silent advantage over his enemies, even though such treacherous actions would normally be beneath him. John Rambo, has it come to this?

Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven is remembered for two reasons – Keira Knightley‘s enhanced poster cleavage, and being awful. While the director’s cut made it better again, Oliver Stone‘s film featured many-a-scene of archery in its too-short running time. The arrows flew through the air like hollow shafts of wood fired from a wooden bow. Truly beautiful, and the cause of many deaths.

Robin Hood

To say that Robin Hood is defined by his archery skills is trite nowadays – it is what marks him out as a legend. His multi-regional accent aside, Russell Crowe‘s portrayal of the man who steals from the rich to give to the poor left was reasonably good. He certainly had the appearance of a man used to living in forests, killing and robbing to make his living. Though all Robin Hood films feature archery to some extent, none do it so well as his latest cinematic incarnation.

HORSE RIDING
The Man From Snowy River

A little-seen Australian drama, The Man From Snowy River stars Kirk Douglas as a pair of brothers and many, many scenes of horse riding. The film is about horses, and the chase to rescue a horse from rustlers. It’s beautiful, it’s memorable, and it’s based on a poem by a “bush poet”. Heh. If you want scenes of horses, then you should definitely watch this film, because horses.

The Lord Of The Rings

There are more horses in The Lord of the Rings than there are in actual real life. There’s loads of them. Loads. So many cavalries charging, so many battles, so much horse-based action. Although this is three films, it counts as one because the three films as three entries would be incredibly boring. They don’t just fight, though – they work. There are ponies, and Legolas rides a horse called Arod. Some of the Nazgul ride horses, and they’re even used in the funeral procession for King Theoden. So yeah.

Seabiscuit

This film is actually about horse racing. Although it would be interesting to see a film about horse racing that doesn’t actually feature any horses, this is not that film. This film features many a horse. So many horses. If you don’t like horses, you will not like this film. It’s about a horse called Seabiscuit who was a famous American racing horse. The film itself stars Tobey Maguire as his jockey, and they have some bad times then some great times racing. The ending is a real sucker punch though. If you like horses, you’ll love it.

 

WRESTLING
The Wrestler

This one is self-explanatory – the film is actually about a wrestler, played by Mickey Rourke. He’s had some great times but now he’s a bit down-on-his-luck, wrestling at really small independent shows now and not earning anywhere near as much as he used to, because of his many injuries. His daughter wants him to quit, and he meets a woman who also thinks he should quit, but he won’t. But it’s not just an affecting movie – it features scenes of pretty convincing wrestling. It looks like real wrestling like you’d actually see at those shows. Rourke was trained by wrestlers and wrestling trainers, and really put the work in. It shows in the finished product.

Man on the Moon

Man on the Moon is the biography of legendary comedian Andy Kaufman. Why does this movie feature wrestling? Well, it was one facet of his insane personality, and a gimmick that landed him with nationwide notoriety – he would wrestle women. Challenge women to wrestling matches. In the film, it’s how he meets his wife. This wrestling gimmick becomes a real (possibly, still unconfirmed) feud with professional wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler, who agrees to wrestle him live on television – the injuries Kaufman received as a result led to him repeatedly appearing on television in a neck brace. A funny film about an even funnier man.

Beyond The Mat

More realistic than the others given it’s a documentary about what life is like in and around the wrestling business, it also features some really interesting scenes of wrestling itself. While the showbiz aspects are covered, the actual technical skill involved in selling these dangerous performances night after night is something to admire, and is an aspect that the film makes crystal clear. These guys are athletes – even though they may not actually hate each others’ guts in real life, that doesn’t diminish the physical and mental traumas that they put themselves through in the name of their art.

So there you have it – Nadaam.

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  1. Jack Bottomley

    Great list!