As a sequel to my Top Chases and Top Firefights, I've been mulling over a list of duels, to include one vs. one or one vs. many fights (brawls and melees may be another list).
#10 Aliens (Ripley vs. Queen, aka 'Get away from her you bitch!')
At this stage in the film, we have no doubt in Ripley's kick-ass qualities and the dangerousness of the alien queen. Nevertheless, this duel to the death is a wonderful surprise for the audience.
#9 The Empire Strikes Back (Luke vs Darth Vader)
This duel is full of drama, and for the first time we harbour a solitary doubt about Vader's well-cultivated invincibility. It is not marred by any of the cut-away edits 'designed' to increase tension (say in Duel of the Fates).
#8 Scaramouche (Scaramouche vs. The Marquis)
The best fight in the best of this era's swashbucklers. This far-ranging duel defies all the dangers of the theatre (even beyond Sabatini's original vision)
#7 Kill Bill Vol. 1 (The Bride vs. Gogo & The Crazy 88s)
There are plenty of fights in the double-barrelled rampage of revenge. I almost prefer her last showdown with Copperhead in the kitchen, but for me the impossible melee against the Crazy 88s (and Gogo) takes the biscuit.
#6 through #4 next week...