5 of the Greatest Grudge Matches in Movie History

04 Jan 2018

Watching two rivals slug it out in epic fashion has to be one of the cinema's greatest pleasures. From superhero showdowns to tales of redemption and underdogs versus titans, everything from the build-up to the final fight makes these battles a real treat to watch. Here are five of modern cinema's most iconic grudge matches.

Batman versus The Joker (The Dark Knight)

As far as classic match-ups go, they don't come much bigger than superheroes. Heath Ledger gave new life to a comic book legend in his sinister turn as The Joker in The Dark Knight. He even went on to win an Academy Award for doing so — a first for a comic book adaptation.


Christian Bale slipped back into the mask for his role as Batman, as The Joker's plan to break the hero from the inside out leads to one of the greatest battles of all. Expect epic action set pieces and psychological twists and turns that promise to keep the audience in full suspense.

Harry Potter versus Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)


The world's most famous wizard had his big screen showdown with He Who Must Not Be Named in arguably the most anticipated showdown of all. We all knew Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) deserved some justice for what Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) had put him through and the  spell-slinging battle in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 did not disappoint.

Every inch of the magical school we know and love is fair game in the battle that unfolds, as Harry and Voldemort weave their way through ancient halls and cast spells mid-fall. The special effects team certainly had their work cut out with this one, leading to a grudge match that did our expectations justice.

Billy "The Kid" McDonnen versus Henry "Razor" Sharp (Grudge Match)

We can't commit to a list of iconic grudge matches without showing some appreciation for this aptly named movie. Everyone loves a boxing film, while Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone is perhaps best known for appearing in them.

In Grudge Match he plays off against Robert de Niro, and the pair give zest and passion to their roles of Henry Sharp and Billy McDonnen. The characters already clashed in the 1980s, but true to the movie's name, there's a score that can only be settled back in the ring.

Andy Campbell versus Ron Strickland (Fist Fight)

A good grudge match doesn't always have to be heavy and dramatic, although our roster so far certainly fits the bill. Fist Fight, available to buy now, proves that there is still plenty of comedy to come from some good old fashioned fisticuffs.

It's the playground showdown with a difference, as this time it's the teachers themselves that are getting into the fighting spirit. Forceful Mr Strickland (Ice Cube) initially stands out as the favourite against mild-mannered Mr Campbell (Charlie Day), but audiences look set to be in suspense over who finally triumphs.

CHARLIE DAY as Andy Campbell and ICE CUBE as Strickland in the New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures comedy "FIST FIGHT," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Batman versus Superman (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)

We may have opened our list with Batman, but we just had to give his battle against Superman a shout-out too. In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a paranoid Batman (Ben Affleck) meets a powerful being from another planet in Superman (Henry Cavill), yet he's led to believe that the champion of justice is actually a villain.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ben Affleck Henry Cavill

Of course, Superman doesn't take kindly to that slight, and the ensuing match-up pits his supreme speed and strength against the advanced gadgets of Batman. Making this movie all the more epic is its introduction of other DC Comics heroes, too.

From the mythical and magical to the humdrum heroes punching above their weight, the world of cinema gives us plenty of grudge matches to sit back and enjoy. What's your defining big screen showdown?

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