Seen a movie when the goodie and the baddie are sword-fighting and they push their swords against one another and struggle in this position? Nonsense, says Nikolas Lloyd.
"Why would anyone do that in real life? It's untenable. If I'm so close to my opponent I'm pressed against him with blades meeting at a point … they move around the pivot point."
Considering the history of these scenes, it strikes me that in the olden days, the pressed-swords manoever was depicted as a moment of informal truce while the adversaries negotiated. But at some point, they started depicting it as part of the physical struggle rather than a temporary abatement of it. I'm going to take a guess at 1990 as the inflection point: after Princess Bride, before Prince of Thieves.