The Arrow stunt department and fight crew works really hard to bring smooth action and great, cinematic fight scenes that lead the way in modern television (and seriously, how have they now won an Emmy yet?). They somehow keep making bigger, better action sequences.
Below is my pick of the top Arrow fight scenes throughout the seasons.
Who will save you?
Arrow Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot”
Oliver’s very first fight scene in the series is nothing short of athletic and a perfect set up for the rest of the fights on the series. The chair flip post-zip cuff begins the sequence with flair and is only matched by the parkour stunts that follow.
It’s a long sequence that includes jumping off roofs, flying around on chains, and ultimately breaking a man’s neck.
Shadowboxing and puppeteering.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 19 “Broken Arrow”
There’s nothing more awkward for a girl than a man who is your potential something possessing the body of your current boyfriend. But that is exactly what Oliver did during “Broken Arrow.” And the fight was pretty dang cool, too.
The mixture of shadowboxing and Ray kicking butt via Oliver was neat and definitely an out-of-the-box moment for the show.
Dig Saves the Day. Sort of.
Arrow Season 1 Episode 2 “Honor Thy Father”
The Triad isn’t known for being touchy feely, unless that feeling comes with assassination attempts. In “Honor Thy Father” they go after Laurel in her apartment, which also happens to hold one billionaire vigilante. Before Oliver can unleash the beast, John Diggle steps in. Dig shoots, he scores, and then he gets into a knife fight with Chin Na Wei. He almost wins, too.
What I love most about the fight is how practical it is. There are three shots, a brief fight, and then Oliver to the rescue. The frills are gone, and I love that about Diggle’s fighting style. He is practical, and his way of taking down bad guys is reflected in every movement.
Died on a Monday.
Arrow Season 2 Episode 9 Three Ghosts
Cyrus Gold cannot be killed. The first of Deathstroke’s super-soldiers, he’s tough, he’s strong, and has the density of common concrete. Oliver fights him several times before he’s finally able to find it within him to take him down in “Three Ghosts.”
Part of what makes the fight so great is the emotional stakes – thanks to Tommy and Roy. There’s power to the fight after the ghost-y pep talk, and Cyrus’ defeat feels like a long time coming.
Cupid just wants a little rough love.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 7 “Draw Back Your Bow”
We’ve all been there. You’re out fighting crime and someone becomes utterly obsessed with you and all the pointy arrows you like to shoot into people. It happens. Oliver pulls the lucky straw and gets someone who is not only crazy but pretty dang tough.
While Cupid’s movements may be less refined during their final fight because of her emotional state, she is a master at using her environment and gets the better of Oliver. If he hadn’t dislocated his thumb, he’d be a goner.
Laurel, Sara, and Thea play ring around the Rosie.
Arrow Season 4 Episode 6 “Lost Souls”
Two birds and Speedy manage to kick some serious HIVE butt in Lost Souls. While Oliver, Felicity, and Dig are infiltrating the higher levels, the ladies take on most of the soldiers.
I particularly like the ring they form and the way they watch each others’ backs.
Felicity’s got a metal pipe and ain’t afraid to use it.
Arrow Season 4 Episode 9 “Dark Waters”
“Dark Waters” wasn’t a fight heavy episode, but the moment Felicity, Dig, Thea, and Laurel take on the H.I.V.E. drones in the evil lair of evil is a great one. They are all working separately but with respect to the greater group. They all take down their bad guy, with some great moves by Thea and Felicity in particular.
Felicity’s weapon use may be because she’s not the expert fighter, but it is by far the most practical thing about the entire fight – aside from Papa Lance deciding to start shooting.
Oliver vs Arrow
Arrow Season 3 Episode 1 “The Calm”
What better way to show the conflict of a season than to have the main lead get into a fight with himself. Symbolism aside, Stephen Amell fighting himself makes for a fun sequence.
The fight includes the Arrow’s typical grace and athleticism but was matched by Zytle’s more charge forward tactics seen via fake-Oliver.
Slip and Slide
Arrow Season 2 Episode 14 “Time of Death”
My first thought when I saw Oliver’s entrance into the bank while facing off against the Clock King was, “Wheeeee!” My second was that sliding down the stairs was a pretty epic, cool way to join a fight.
The fight doesn’t last long, but every movement matters. This is one is more visually appealing the high-caliber technique, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Slade versus the Wrath of Queens.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 14 “The Return”
Slade’s relationship with the Queen clan is a little charged. And by charged I mean he killed their momma and they hate him with the power of a thousand rising suns.
This makes for the fight between Thea, Oliver, and Slade charged, emotional, and far more emotional than the normal fair. There is a lot of close quarters combat that helps build the tension of Thea nearly killing Slade in the end.
Diggle and Oliver storm a fortress for a guy nobody really likes.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 15 “Nanda Parbat”
Malcolm is captured. Heartbreak. Whatever.
What really matters is the way that Diggle and Oliver work together to storm Nanda Parbat. They are a unit, reading each other and watching their partner’s backs. I love the assault mentality they have going in and the fights are quick, dirty, and exactly what I like to see from the pair working in concert.
Oliver, Dig, and Roy.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 3 “Corto Maltese”
This episode taught me a lot about the dangers lurking in hotel rooms, and it wasn’t the diseases I had come to expect. Apparently whole arsenals are just there…waiting.
McGuyver weapons aside, the attempt to recover the hard drive by Roy, Oliver, and Diggle makes for a fun moment and I am a totally sucker for non-leather clad Oliver Queen bringing the smackdown on some filthy HIVE adjacent agents.
What’s in an assassination?
Arrow Season 1 Episode 16 “Dead To Rights”
Chin Na Wei has a way with knives. She also has a way of kicking ass.
What I love most about this particular fight is that it feels quicker and more realistic than some of the fights on Arrow. She uses her environment. She uses Oliver’s bodyweight against him. She flows like water around him. It’s beautiful. There were tears…or me just weirdly rooting for the bad guy.
Nyssa, Malcolm, and Oliver have some things to work out.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 4 “The Magician”
Oh, the tangled webs the League likes to weave. Everyone is someone’s grandfather, death abounds, and people just keep dying.
What makes Nyssa’s abduction of Thea and her consequent fight with both Malcolm and Oliver so much fun is that literally no one wants to help the other person. Oliver wants the fight to stop, Malcolm wants to be evil, and Nyssa wants to stab someone.
The only thing that detracted from the fight for me is that details got lost in the darkness. More light, please! Otherwise, awesome fight and spectacular synchronicity from the cast and crew.
Roy’s got a small problem.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 19 “Broken Arrow”
This fight sums up Roy’s growth over the seasons in under a minute. He’s gone from street kid jumping off buildings and doing flips, to a guy who can handle a fight in handcuffs while being outnumbered. Oliver Queen’s training is all over that fight, and, though injured, Roy manages to survive it in order to fake die another day.
Being outnumbered and the little guy in the fight doesn’t keep him from kicking some serious ass. 9 out of 10 inmates agree.
Diggle vs Isabel vs a van
Arrow Season 2 Episode 21 “City of Blood”
Isabel gets a mask, some swords, and some crazy magic juice. This leads to a standoff with Diggle. Diggle applies his typical no-nonsense approach to fighting, but Isabel is hopped up on the ‘roids and manages to win the fight.
It’s impressive that he manages to hold his own for as long as he does, and leads to one of my favorite endings ever. The van meeting Isabel was a very satisfying moment that still makes me laugh.
Damien Darhk and Oliver “shoot three arrows” Queen
Arrow Season 4 Episode 1 “Green Arrow”
If at first you don’t succeed, shoot more arrows as ineffectively as possible. The introduction to Darhk and his abilities, not only with magic but with his fighting prowess, have set him up to be powerful, terrifying, and an enemy worthy of scaring the Green Arrow.
The fight doesn’t last long, but it does absolutely everything it needs to in order to make Darhk as scary as humanly possible.
Slapped by hand that tried to save you.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 5: “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak”
While the bad guy logic of machine guns that are triggered by movement in a warehouse that you have to move in escapes me, it doesn’t stop the moment from being fun. And why else be a master criminal if you can’t find some fun?
Oliver playing tag with the automated guns isn’t my favorite part of the fight, though. Instead, it’s where Felicity Smoak holds her own. It’s her battle – the entire episode is about her demons.
And, funnily enough, the fight coordinators gave her the most efficient, practical fight scene that any woman (or man) has seen on the show. She elbows, she tugs the weapon away, and she pistol whips Cooper. That is how quick a fight usually is, and I loved that they included it and showed the effectiveness of such simplistic motion.
Poker? I hardly knew her.
Arrow Season 1 Episode 20 “Home Invasion”
Again, I’m a sucker for seeing Oliver Queen fight sans the hood. I was the same way about Batman. It’s a fatal flaw.
What I like about this one is that it carries throughout the house, down the stairs, and to the ground floor without pause. It’s done in shadow, but details are still seen and the messy nature of the fight is on full display.
Oliver does a lot of bunny hopping at the beginning of the fight, but it doesn’t stop it from feeling real and scary. Plus, the poker through the chest is both extremely gross and totally awesome.
Clock Towers are made for fights to the death.
Arrow Season 2 Episode 5 “League of Assassins”
Papa Lance, Sara, and Oliver all get a piece of the action in the final scene of 2×05. Sara’s traps, couple with her fighting prowess are a lot of fun to watch.
My favorite scene from this fight, however, is Papa Lance shooting the League member. Watch out for spares, people.
Thea vs Andy Diggle.
Arrow Season 4 Episode 7 “Brotherhood”
This was James Bamford’s directorial debut and it is clear that he’s been thinking about he would shoot a fight for some time. Shaky cam aside, Thea’s fight with Andy was one of the most unique fights on television and brilliantly handled. The continuous run of the fight, coupled with the grittiness of it, and the fluid transition and timing needed to make the elevator bit fit were genuinely sexy. Everything about the fight was perfection.
It was a great addition to season four, and I love it all the more for Thea being at the helm of it. It shows her growth as a fighter and her increasing skill.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 8 “The Brave and the Bold”
Captain Boomerang is a villain just the way I like them – cool, deadly, and looking to settle old scores. His fights throughout the episode were sleek and really fun to watch. The best was watching him storm ARGUS. He was equal parts pinpoint accuracy, slick movement, and scary determination to maim, mutilate, and kill.
It was one of the finer fights in the Arrow archive. I also really liked Felicity blowing him up a little. Really fun.
Adam Hunt, Inc.: Crime calling.
Arrow Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot”
I know that Oliver has this thing with morals and trying not to kill people, and all those…things, but I have to admit to really enjoying the stabby, punchy Oliver of the pilot and first season. He didn’t spend a lot of time equivocating over how much he should arrow someone.
This is seen in excess when he storms Adam Hunt’s office to steal the man’s money. Oliver’s fight with the main henchman is perfect in every way, as is Oliver’s effective dealing with the other henchmen we only knew from a distance. From the second that Oliver leaves the elevator, he’s in motion.
The whole scene feels like a deep inhale, before Oliver finally escapes out the window. He makes mistakes in the fight with main henchman, but it just shows how far he’s grown.
Sara’s murder problem. Duel fights in a factory.
Arrow Season 2 Episode 5 “League of Assassins”
This episode has lots of great fights. Caity Lotz is an amazing athlete, and the fact that she can do the majority of her own stunts helps carry the Canary’s aptitude.
My absolute favorite, down to how it was shot, the grace of the movement and style, and the cohesion was the one in the factory. Sara fights overhead while Oliver fights below. The fights bleed into one another. It’s just a really scene that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
Tatsu versus Maseo
Arrow Season 3 Episode 22 “This is Your Sword”
It’s hard to carry so much emotion into a fight and have it resonate. That’s exactly what happens in “This is Your Sword.”
The entire assault on Nanda Parbat is perfect – down to Felicity throwing her tablet at a guy, Malcolm being scary efficient, and Dig kicking ass, but the sequence belongs mostly to Tatsu and Maseo. Their sword fight is reminiscent of Ra’s and Oliver’s, and it ends as it always meant to end – with Maseo’s death. It’s a heartbreaking, awesome fight that was shot to perfection.
Dark Archer Takes Hostages
Arrow Season 1 Episode 9 “Year’s End”
Dual archers at opposite ends of the hall opens one of the more epic fights on Arrow. The fight takes full use of the warehouse environment, and showcases how a fight between two archers might really go.
Oliver doesn’t stand a chance, but that just makes the fight all the more memorable. With three arrows in the back, it is the fight that shows Oliver he has to be something more in order to win. It’s stylized combat that you can only have when your superhero is an archer, and is perfect.
Rescue of Walter Steele
Arrow Season 1 Episode 21 “The Undertaking”
This is the fight that I could watch on a loop. Oliver has gotten some really bad news about his mom, he’s on the outs with Dig, and he just really wants a win. He takes all of these frustrations out on the men guarding the apartment complex in Bludhaven. From the moment Oliver enters the building, he’s looking to kill as much as he is to rescue Walter Steele. His focus is laser tight and it shows with every hit, every movement.
It reminds me of Taken in some ways, and it eschews the over-the-top movements in favor of getting the job done with the least amount of effort. Animalistic Oliver is on full display and he is equal parts scary, badass, and full of all the potential heroism he will come to have in following seasons.
Oliver scales a mountain, then takes the easy way down.
Arrow Season 3 Episode 9 “The Climb”
This is the scene where Maseo is the fandom first. “Remove your shirt,” is how everyone wants to greet Oliver Queen, am I right?
That aside, the fight that Ra’s al Ghul and Oliver Queen have in the following moments is cinematic, surprising, and brutal. Ra’s toys with Oliver once the fight begins. He’s barely engaged. Oliver fights with everything he has, surprising Ra’s but barely wounding him. The dice were always loaded in Ra’s favor. Oliver went to die.
Everything about the fight is perfect. Plus, “I will take your blades from you when you are through with them,” is a really cool line.
Deathstroke dance off.
Arrow Season 2 Episode 23 “Unthinkable”
The grace and athleticism of Manu and Stephen help make this fight the best in the history of the show. What makes it epic is the emotional weight, the past fight meeting the present, the solid fluidity of the movements bleeding into the future, and the evolution of styles meshing together. The student is no longer defined by the master, and, in contrast to season one, Oliver knows exactly what he is fighting for and why. He’s a hero, and the fight encapsulates the man he has become and the hero is destined to be.