Although it’s been overshadowed by a stream of crummy sequels, an awful animated series, and a quite good in its own way TV show, the original 1986 Highlander starring Christopher Lambert, Clancy Brown, and Sean Connery deserves a serious watch.
It’s the first movie I’d seen about immortals that really addressed the issues that come with being immortal. The central love story between Connor and Heather, is poignant, moving, and powerful.
And although it does hew to the myth of redemptive violence, it does at least show Connor’s disillusionment with violence, his understanding that war – even a clan skirmish – is pain, loss, and suffering.
Even for an immortal.
Although his body heals from all wounds, he carries the scars from violence with him into the present day.
But that isn’t to say that the film is all grim. The dialogue is frequently witty, especially when Connor speaks with some of the less cultured police investigators. And of course Sean Connery is Sean Connery.
There’s a real operatic feel to many of the scenes between the immortals, especially when Clancy Brown’s Kurgan is involved.
And while Highlander is still a product of its times, its gender roles are pretty progressive for a mid-80’s action film. Brenda and Heather are both much more than just damsels or trophies.
I don’t want to say too much, since Highlander is so much better the less you know about it going in, but please, give it a watch. It is well worth your time, and one of the best movies to come out of the 1980’s.