The Princess Bride was recently rereleased on DVD, and it's a movie that nearly everyone I know has enjoyed. The great fencing scene between Westley (Cary Elwes) and Inigo (Mandy Patinkin) is a treat to watch, as is a later fight scene that I won't spoil for the three remaining people who haven't seen the film.

But somehow it doesn't quite measure up to the charming and exciting swashbuckling performed by the dashing Errol Flynn in many of his early movies. Flynn's birthday is today -- he would have been 96, but died at 50 of heart failure. The above photo is from The Adventures of Robin Hood, the 1938 film in which Flynn fences daringly with Basil Rathbone's delightfully evil Sir Guy. I'm not all that fond of the film overall, but I love all the wonderful fight scenes. Flynn and Rathbone also dueled in an earlier film, Captain Blood. Both films were directed by Michael Curtiz, who went on to direct Casablanca, as well as another swashbuckling classic starring Flynn, The Sea Hawk. I've heard the theory that Henry Daniell's evil lord in The Sea Hawk was the inspiration for Christopher Guest's characterization of Count Rugen in The Princess Bride ... and so we've come full circle. All the above-mentioned films starring Flynn are available on DVD, so rent them and compare for yourself.