The first Highlander should really be considered…the only Highlander. After all…There Can Be Only One. Besides, let’s face it, all the rest of them stink and by association have messed up a perfect thing. The first one was glorious…great directing, great acting, great transitions and cinematography, great script…It’s just a perfect thing, all by itself.
Russell Mulcahy does a fantastic job with the direction of the film and I especially love the transitions from modern day to the past…they really add to the whole mood and atmosphere of the film. He’s got some really cool shots, like the camera swooping into a crowded wrestling arena to focus in on Connor MacLeod. Connor is played by Christopher Lambert and this is by far his best film, although my brother and I really liked him in a very over-looked little film called Fortress. Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner, Sting , Mel Gibson and Patrick Swayze were all considered for the role of Connor Macleod and reportedly, Kurt Russell was actually cast in the role but later dropped out due to the insistence of Goldie Hawn.
Sean Connery does a very good job, as always and is fun as Connor’s mentor Ramirez. Lee Van Cleef, Clint Eastwood, Malcolm McDowell, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine and Peter O’Toole were considered for the role of Ramirez before Sean Connery was cast. Now, the real stand-out in the film is Clancy Brown, who steals every scene he is in and just chews up scenery like nobody I’ve ever seen before. He’s just awesome as The Kurgan, Victor Kruger and is a top favorite actor of my brother and I ever since. When the film was in it’s early development, Scott Glenn and Roy Scheider were the top choices for the role of The Kurgan.
Also, who could forget the amazing music by Queen? Queen originally intended to record only one song for the film, but after viewing footage from the movie, they were inspired to write more. The band members each had a favorite scene and composed songs specifically for them. Brian May wrote “Who Wants to Live Forever” during the cab ride home after seeing the film, and Roger Taylor used the line “It’s a kind of magic” as the basis for the end title song.