William Hobbs, who directed classic fight scenes for SF/fantasy productions including Brazil, Flash Gordon and Willow has passed away at the age of 79.

Hobbs’ career spanned the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s, during which time he staged action for many major film and TV productions. Probably his most famous fight scenes appear in The Duellists (with Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine) and Rob Roy (with Liam Neeson and Tim Roth).

It’s not an exaggeration to state the William Hobbs singlehandedly revolutionized cinematic fight direction. That’s probably because, unlike previous generations of fight directors, who tended to be fencing masters with little experience in dramatic storytelling, Hobbs began as an actor. His fight scenes always prioritized realism and grew organically from the story, rather than just serving as swordfighting spectacles.