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HISTORY

The following prologue appears before opening credits: “From the dawn of time we came, moving silently down through the centuries. Living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you…until now.”
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: Special Thanks to: “Robert Webster, Hamish Macinnes, The National Trust for Scotland, American Wrestling Association, Flying Sequence – Jaguar Fighter Wing, Raf Lossiemouth, Sperry Ltd, Perkin-Elmer Ltd, Julia Palau, Michael Ryan, Patrick Wachsberger, Buckley Norris, Gene Margolis; Guinness Mahon & Co Ltd, Malcolm Wilde, Terry, Albion & Mo.” End credits state: “Made by Highlander Productions Ltd at Jacob Street Studios, London, England, and various locations in Scotland and New York.”
       A 29 Jun 1985 Screen International article reported that producers, Peter S. Davis and William Panzer developed the picture’s storyline after optioning University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) film student Gregory Widen’s senior thesis when it was presented to them by an agent friend. In 1982, Widen did the first rewrite of the centuries-old battle of good and evil between immortals. Then the producers brought in the writing team of Peter Bellwood and Larry Ferguson to do revisions.
       Actor Christopher Lambert claimed he spent four or five weeks before filming with a voice coach to perfect the mid-Atlantic accent needed for New York scenes and the Scottish accent needed for the Highlands sequences. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actress Beatie Edney, cast as “Heather,” is the daughter of actress Sylvia Syms.
       News items in the 8 Aug 1984, 22 Dec 1984, and 7 May ... More Less

The following prologue appears before opening credits: “From the dawn of time we came, moving silently down through the centuries. Living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you…until now.”
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: Special Thanks to: “Robert Webster, Hamish Macinnes, The National Trust for Scotland, American Wrestling Association, Flying Sequence – Jaguar Fighter Wing, Raf Lossiemouth, Sperry Ltd, Perkin-Elmer Ltd, Julia Palau, Michael Ryan, Patrick Wachsberger, Buckley Norris, Gene Margolis; Guinness Mahon & Co Ltd, Malcolm Wilde, Terry, Albion & Mo.” End credits state: “Made by Highlander Productions Ltd at Jacob Street Studios, London, England, and various locations in Scotland and New York.”
       A 29 Jun 1985 Screen International article reported that producers, Peter S. Davis and William Panzer developed the picture’s storyline after optioning University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) film student Gregory Widen’s senior thesis when it was presented to them by an agent friend. In 1982, Widen did the first rewrite of the centuries-old battle of good and evil between immortals. Then the producers brought in the writing team of Peter Bellwood and Larry Ferguson to do revisions.
       Actor Christopher Lambert claimed he spent four or five weeks before filming with a voice coach to perfect the mid-Atlantic accent needed for New York scenes and the Scottish accent needed for the Highlands sequences. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actress Beatie Edney, cast as “Heather,” is the daughter of actress Sylvia Syms.
       News items in the 8 Aug 1984, 22 Dec 1984, and 7 May 1985 HR announced principal photography on the $14 million film would begin 7 May 1985 in London, England. However, a 17 Jul 1985 Var article reported the film’s budget as $17 million. The 7 May 1985 HR stated that the production would travel to the Scottish Highlands for further shooting on 12 May 1985, as part of its twelve-week schedule. A 26 Aug 1985 Us article reported that the production spent three weeks on location in Scotland. Screen International noted that principal photography was completed in Jul after a two-week shoot in New York City.
       The Battle of Glencoe sequence shot May 1985 in the Highlands, and required four-hundred kilted and bearded background actors for the reenactment. According to Us, actor Sean Connery did many of his own stunts.
       Despite Highlander's largely negative critical reception, Russell Mulcahy returned to direct the sequel, Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991, see entry), also starring Sean Connery. The franchise continued with a series of novels, comics, three television series, and four additional feature films, both animated and live-action. According to a 21 Nov 2013 HR story, Summit Entertainment began development to "reboot" the 1986 film with writer Alex Tse and director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 1986
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 2013.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Mar 1986
p. 5.
New York Times
8 Mar 1986
p. 12.
Screen International
29 Jun 1985
p. 29.
Us
26 Aug 1985.
---
Variety
17 Jul 1985
p. 29.
Variety
12 Mar 1986
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment Presents
a Davis/Panzer Production
a Russell Mulcahy Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d unit dir London & Scotland
2d unit dir New York
Unit mgr
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
Prod mgr, 2d unit
Asst dir, 2d unit
Scottish unit mgr, 2d unit eff
Prod mgr, New York crew
1st asst dir, New York crew
2d asst dir, New York crew
1st asst dir, New York 2d unit
2d asst dir, New York 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Aerial cam op
Rock face climbing op
Focus puller
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Louma crane op
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Skycam
Gaffer
Best boy
Still photog
Cam op, 2d unit
Lighting cam, 2d unit eff
Cam op, 2d unit eff
Dir of photog, New York crew
1st asst cam, New York crew
Gaffer, New York crew
Key grip, New York crew
Dir of photog, New York 2d unit
Addl seqs, New York 2d unit
Addl seqs, New York 2d unit
Addl seqs, New York 2d unit
Addl seqs, New York 2d unit
Addl seqs, New York 2d unit
Addl seqs, New York 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Model des
Set dec
Const mgr
Prop master
Supv props
Prop buyer
Supv carpenter
Supv carpenter
Supv painter
Supv plasterer
Supv rigger
Prop master, New York crew
Spec eff props, New York crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Ward, New York crew
MUSIC
Songs and addl mus by
Mus score
Mus supv
For O. S. S.
Asst mus ed
Queen mus eng and prod by
Mus eng
Asst eng
Queen mus rec at
London
Copyist
Copyist
Cond by Michael Kamen
Rec at
London
Orch eng
Mr. Kamen's asst
Traditional mus played by
Pipes
Traditional mus played by
Mandora
Traditional mus played by
Vocals
SOUND
Dial ed
Footsteps ed
Crowd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd rec
Addl voices
Sd mixer, New York crew
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt eff ed
Spec eff supv
Sr eff tech
Sr eff tech
Sr eff tech
Matte paintings
Opt printer
Rostrum cam
Anim
Anim
Prod mgr, 2d unit eff
Opt & visual eff
Titles by
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup (Prosthetics)
Makeup artist (Sean Connery)
Hairdressing supv
Hairdressing supv
Makeup artist
Makeup eff des
Makeup eff artwork
Makeup eff mechanics des
Makeup eff mould designs
Makeup eff tech
Makeup eff tech
Makeup & Hair, New York crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting dir
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod coord
Scr supv
Prods asst
Prods asst
Dirs asst
Photobackings
Dial coach
Unit pub
Supv prod accountant
Prod accountant
Sword master
Horse master (Wrangler)
Unit driver
Unit driver
Unit driver
Prod coord, New York crew
Prod's secy, New York crew
Loc coord, New York crew
Loc, New York crew
Prod accountant, New York crew
Scr supv, New York crew
Teamster capt, New York crew
Pub
Post prod
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt artiste (men)
Stunt artiste (men)
Stunt coord, New York crew
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
7 March 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 7 March 1986
New York opening: week of 8 March 1986
Production Date:
7 May--July 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Highlander Productions, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
27 May 1986
Copyright Number:
PA288416
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28002
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, as immortal Highlander Connor MacLeod sits in Madison Square Garden impassively watching a wrestling match, he recalls being on a Scottish battlefield in the year 1536. He leaves before the match ends, walking to his car in an underground parking garage. There, an ancient immortal enemy, Aman Fasil, draws his sword, and they fight. Aman cuts off the electricity and activates the sprinkler system. When Connor is disarmed by Aman, he continues to fight with a lead pipe. Soon, Connor retrieves his sword and decapitates Aman. An electrical disturbance occurs, stirring up a gale, causing car and overhead lights to explode. With sirens wailing in the distance, Connor runs away, but first hides his sword in the ceiling ductwork. Connor remembers how he and his fellow Scottish soldiers rode into battle in 1536. Later, Connor is confused when enemy soldiers will not fight him. However, their leader, a black knight named Kurgan, wants to be the one to kill Connor, and warns his army not to touch him. When the men find each other, Kurgan impales Connor with his sword. Back in New York City, Connor speeds out of the parking lot in his roadster, but police stop and frisk him. His identification card says his name is Russell Edwin Nash and that he owns an antique shop on Hudson Street. Police arrest him. Back in Scotland, a priest gives last rites to Connor, and he dies. In the underground garage, forensics specialist, Brenda Wyatt, learns from Lieutenant Frank Morgan that officers have questioned Nash. Brenda finds Aman’s sword under a car, and recognizes the weapon as a Toledo Salamanca, a rare antique ... +


In New York City, as immortal Highlander Connor MacLeod sits in Madison Square Garden impassively watching a wrestling match, he recalls being on a Scottish battlefield in the year 1536. He leaves before the match ends, walking to his car in an underground parking garage. There, an ancient immortal enemy, Aman Fasil, draws his sword, and they fight. Aman cuts off the electricity and activates the sprinkler system. When Connor is disarmed by Aman, he continues to fight with a lead pipe. Soon, Connor retrieves his sword and decapitates Aman. An electrical disturbance occurs, stirring up a gale, causing car and overhead lights to explode. With sirens wailing in the distance, Connor runs away, but first hides his sword in the ceiling ductwork. Connor remembers how he and his fellow Scottish soldiers rode into battle in 1536. Later, Connor is confused when enemy soldiers will not fight him. However, their leader, a black knight named Kurgan, wants to be the one to kill Connor, and warns his army not to touch him. When the men find each other, Kurgan impales Connor with his sword. Back in New York City, Connor speeds out of the parking lot in his roadster, but police stop and frisk him. His identification card says his name is Russell Edwin Nash and that he owns an antique shop on Hudson Street. Police arrest him. Back in Scotland, a priest gives last rites to Connor, and he dies. In the underground garage, forensics specialist, Brenda Wyatt, learns from Lieutenant Frank Morgan that officers have questioned Nash. Brenda finds Aman’s sword under a car, and recognizes the weapon as a Toledo Salamanca, a rare antique worth $1 million. Morgan’s theory is that Aman was going to sell the sword, but when he and Connor fought about the price, Connor murdered him. Elsewhere, the immortal known as Kurgan checks into a sleazy hotel and practices his sword fighting in anticipation of “the gathering,” a contest to determine the last immortal left alive. At night, Connor/Nash returns to the parking lot to retrieve his sword. Brenda also returns with a metal detector to find other metal fragments left by the sword fight. Connor/Nash follows Brenda to a bar, and strikes up a conversation. When he offers to walk her home, she rebuffs him. However, she waits and follows Connor/Nash down the street. He hides, then grabs her, but Kurgan appears before they can speak. As Kurgan draws his weapon, Brenda pulls a sword from her purse and arms Connor/Nash. The men fight until a police helicopter appears and orders them to stop. Instead, Kurgan escapes on foot, while Brenda wants to know why he addressed Connor/Nash as “Highlander” and why there can be "only one." Connor/Nash refuses to answer her questions, and warns her not to follow him again. Back in Scotland, Connor miraculously recovers from his mortal wounds, but his friends believe the Devil inhabits his body and shun him. His loyal friend, Angus, banishes him from the kingdom of Glenfinnan to save his life, after a crowd severely beats him. Exhausted, Connor/Nash returns to his New York loft apartment. He remembers living five years in exile with his wife, Heather, when an immortal named Juan Sanchez Villalobos Ramirez, chief metallurgist to King Charles V of Spain, appears. Ramirez says they are warrior brothers with the same destiny. At the police station, Brenda discovers Connor/Nash is a chief suspect in the antique sword murder when she sneaks through the file on Lt. Morgan’s desk. At his apartment, Connor/Nash realizes Brenda is the author of a book titled A Metallurgical History of Ancient Sword-Making. He remembers how Ramirez taught him about his immortality by dumping him overboard in the middle of a lake when he could not swim. Instead of drowning, Connor emerged from the lake and tried to kill Ramirez with his sword. The blow had no effect, and Ramirez urged Connor to accept his fate that one day, only a few will be left to partake in “the gathering” to fight for an unknown prize. Ramirez trains Connor and sharpens his sword-fighting skills. When it is time for the contest, only one highlander will remain standing, and the rules state immortals cannot attack each other on holy ground. The Kurgans, a violent people originating out of Russia, are the strongest of the immortals. If Kurgan won the prize, an eternity of darkness would fall upon the mortal world. Later, Ramirez explains immortals cannot have children, and warns Connor to leave Heather. Still later, Kurgan ambushes Ramirez as he entertains Heather at dinner. They fight and Kurgan decapitates Ramirez, stealing his ancient Japanese sword. Kurgan rapes Heather when Ramirez lies and claims she is his wife. In New York City, Brenda visits Connor/Nash’s antique shop to ask him about a sword-carrying giant with a sword dating back to 600 B. C. Connor/Nash says he does not sell exotic weapons, and suggests they have dinner together. At Brenda’s apartment, Connor/Nash notices her hidden gun, police officers parked across the street in an unmarked car, and a running tape recorder. She lies and says she works at the Metropolitan Museum. However, he presents her with a copy of her book on ancient sword making, exposing her lies, and accuses her of setting a police trap. She claims her sole interest is finding the truth about the Japanese sword, which is not supposed to exist since Japan did not possess the technology to create it until the Middle Ages. If she found the sword it would be a significant discovery. Connor/Nash is not interested in her career aspirations and leaves. He remembers living with Heather until her death from old age. In a seedy part of New York, Kurgan decapitates another immortal named Sundra Kastigir. At a hospital, Lt. Morgan gets a description of Kurgan from an eyewitness, and is surprised Connor/Nash is not involved. Meanwhile, Brenda locates Connor/Nash’s birth certificate and meets with the physician who delivered him. He tells her that Nash died shortly after birth. Later, Brenda traces the antique shop property deeds back to the 1700s. The signatures of all previous owners match the handwriting of Connor/Nash. She also learns that each owner adopted an identity from the death certificate of an infant. The evidence suggests Connor/Nash has lived for several hundred years, but she does not believe it. Connor/Nash goes to church to light a candle in memory of Heather’s birthday. Kurgan meets him and says Kastigir was eliminated, and only he and Connor remain as immortals. When Connor learns that Kurgan raped Heather but she never told him, he invites Kurgan to step outside, but Kurgan is saving their fight for some future time. Brenda returns to the antique shop and confronts Connor/Nash about his false identities. He confesses that he has lived almost five centuries and cannot die. To demonstrate, he produces a dagger and places it in her hand and forces her to plunge it into his stomach. When it has no effect, Brenda cries and they make love. Later, he claims he cannot bear to become involved in a relationship. Still later, Kurgan follows Brenda home, kidnaps her, and plays “chicken” on city streets, driving the wrong way as other cars dodge his vehicle. As Kurgan races toward the Silvercup Studios, Connor/Nash listens to a voice message, challenging him to fight at Silvercup. There, Brenda is tied to the studio’s neon sign on the roof. As Connor/Nash reaches her, Kurgan appears and a deadly sword fight follows. While the immortals battle, Kurgan weakens the sign’s scaffolding, causing its letters to crash around them, and a water cistern to tip over. The men fight with water up to their thighs. As the last letter in the sign topples, Brenda becomes free from her restraints, and watches the fighting from a distance. The men crash to the floor below, and Connor loses his sword. As Kurgan thinks he is about to kill Connor, Brenda distracts him, allowing Connor to retrieve his weapon. Connor weakens Kurgan with two cuts to his chest, then decapitates him. As an energy field spews from his neck, hundreds of windows explode, and Connor/Nash is lifted into the air by another electrical field and spun around, then settles to the ground. Brenda approaches and caresses him. Later, they travel to Connor’s Scottish homeland. He says the gift gives him the power to know what important men everywhere are thinking, but it also makes him mortal and able to have children. He hears Ramirez’s voice in his head saying that he has been given tremendous power, and should learn to use it wisely. Connor and Brenda embrace. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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