Friday, February 03, 2006

Movies With Trebuchets and other Catapults


Trebuchets and other catapults - they are in vogue.


Has anyone else noticed a lot of movies with trebuchets and other catapults in them? I sure have. For instance, they were the special-effects stars in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, particularly, the Return of the King. They've been on TV as well: Fox Sports, the Simpsons, Northern Exposure, PBS Nova, Warner Brother's cartoons and probably many others.

Here's my list, admittedly incomplete. If you've got more, send 'em to me.

I built a fairly large and historically accurate trebuchet a couple of years ago. I named it Ludgar, the Warwolf, after the huge trebuchet built by Edward I of England in 1304. Ludgar was really big, accounts say that Edward cut down an entire forest to obtain enough wood.

For those interested in catapults, here's a couple of links.

First, visit my building-a-catapult site and you can see the construction of my trebuchet, step by step right here.

To build your own model catapults, trebuchets, ballistas, onagers, petraries, espringales, blide, and rock slingers, check out my book The Art of the Catapult.

The List of Movies with Catapults and Trebuchets:

  • Kingdom of Heaven
  • Alexander
  • King Arthur
  • LOTR Return of the King
  • Gladiator
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (I especially like the part of this movie where John Cleese says "Fetchez la vaca" in a cheesy French accent.)
  • Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
  • Robin and Marian
  • Robin Hood Men in Tights
  • The Scorpion King
  • Flesh and Blood (the Rose)
  • Jabberwocky
  • Army of Darkness
  • Timeline
  • Young Einstein
  • Willow
  • Empire Strikes Back
  • Richie Rich
  • The Messenger
  • Excalibur
  • Joan of Arc
  • Troy
  • El Cid
Timeline was a so so movie but the trebuchet is wonderful. Kingdom of Heaven and Gladiator have excellent battle sequences with catapults. The LOTR movies have well done CGI trebuchets.

If you know of others please comment!

4 comments:

JB Zimmerman said...

Hm...don't the inmates build a trebuchet in 'The Last Castle' (Robert Redford, 2001)?

Fred said...

I really liked the trebuchets in "The Messenger" because they used them correctly (IIRC), i.e. they used them on wheels, allowing the center of gravity to shift during the throw (maximizing the throwing power).

Sheena said...

Some more movies that have trebuchets or catapults include Braveheart, Dungeons and Dragons (I think), Dragonheart.

Anonymous said...

The trebuchets in LOTR were hurling rocks heavier than the counterweight, which is physically impossible. And the Mordor trebuchets were what I have heard refered to as hollywood catapults, with the spoon instead of a sling.