Archery is badass, and these icons help to drive that point home.
From books to movies and back again, this list of fifteen fantastic archers and legendary fighters helped to shape an image of archery for all the world to see.
It showed cunning, skill, and above all else, most of these depicted the difficulties and precision of archery with pinpoint accuracy.
We’re terribly sorry in advance for the Netflix binge you’re going on after reading these.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the famous archers, we got you covered:
- 1 1. Robin Hood
- 2 2. Katniss Everdeen
- 3 3. Legolas
- 4 4. Abigail Whistler
- 5 5. Hawkeye
- 6 6. Neytiri
- 7 7. Green Arrow
- 8 8. Guinevere
- 9 9. Lara Croft
- 10 10. Ygritte
- 11 11. Daryl Dixon
- 12 12. Susan Pevensie
- 13 13. Princess Merida
- 14 14. John Rambo
- 15 15. Malcolm Merlyn
- 16 Archery is Celebrated Everywhere
1. Robin Hood
Did you really expect anyone else to be on the top?
He’s the most referenced hero that’s iconically shipped with a bow and arrow, and for good reason.
Steal from the rich, give to the needy, all that jazz, but he was also a monster with a bow that made his enemies fear him.
With legendary skill and a driving force, he’s the most well-known archer in history (well, he’s fiction, but you get the deal).
2. Katniss Everdeen
Say what you will about the surge of dystopian films and books, but Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games is the definition of a lifelong archer.
She began archery young, honed her skills, and used it to save her own life as well as others.
Going from nothing more than an old wooden bow that’s been nicked and scraped up to a high-tech compound bow in the arena, she shows that you don’t need to have the best equipment in order to achieve greatness.
Where would we be without Legolas?
Lord of the Rings is an excellent film series, and it showed us what we all knew Legolas was capable of in the books—absolute monstrous displays of speed and precision.
He’s by no means someone you can strive to be, but we can all dream, can’t we?
Despite them being available, Legolas never used a bow release.
He enjoyed feeling the string between his fingers as he gave a full release, helping to save Middle Earth with his bow and arrow.
4. Abigail Whistler
Blade: Trinity is perhaps one of the best movies ever made, and when they introduced Abigail Whistler, everyone fell in love.
Not only was she a beautiful heroine that kicks some serious butt, but as far as sequels go, she was able to add so much depth to the story.
She uses a compound bow with a traditional quiver, and extra wide limbs that help her draw back quickly and land some wicked shots.
Whether it’s from the comics or the MCU movies, Hawkeye is another perfect representation of why archery is awesome.
He’s a stonewalled and fierce archer that seemingly never blinks, and apart from his special training, he isn’t portrayed as a ruthless killer: he’s actually a very sensible and warm person.
The point is that he rocks, and he was actually originally supposed to be a villain who want sent to assassinate his co-star, Black Widow in the Marvel movies.
It’s fascinating when you dig into it, and there’s no shortage of archery action that steals the show from time to time.
Every action movie ever has a hero jumping through the air whilst firing two guns (see popular lines from Hot Fuzz).
It looks epic, but Neytiri from James Cameron’s Avatar universe has a knack for firing her bow while jumping through the air, and hitting her mark.
Her skills were put to the test to protect those who she loved and thwart an attack by a mythical beast, and archery helped her be the heroine that her universe needed to help her win.
Pretty sick, right?
7. Green Arrow
Basically the DC version of Hawkeye (or Hawkeye is the Marvel version of Green Arrow?), Oliver Queen, AKA the Green Arrow, regained popularity when it premiered as a television show on the CW.
Throughout all the comics and multiverses, Green Arrow remains rugged and calculated, but is still prone to making mistakes.
There’s nothing like the Robin Hood inspired garb and mentality, but that’s not all he’s about: he had to fight to survive, using archery as his ultimate weapon.
It’s kind of ironic that in the film adaptation of King Arthur, Keira Knightly plays a star-studded archer, given the fact that she shared a screen with Orlando Bloom (Legolas) in a non-archery film.
Two epic archers sharing the same screen with no archery in sight.
Anyway, Keira played Guinevere in King Arthur back in 2004, where her role had done away with the classic love triangle in the books, and instead replaced her persona with a bow-wielding deadly warrior that we know and love.
9. Lara Croft
Originally in video games and eventually the big screen, Lara Croft’s 2018 reboot pitted her against an evil organization planning on using supernatural artifacts to bend the will of mankind to its knees. Pretty scary stuff, yeah?
While the film wasn’t as good as the 2013-2018 trilogy that rebooted the video game franchise, she still learned archery from a young age, and uses it to knock down foe after foe in a desperate effort to save her father (who was also absent from her archery practice on their estate when she was a child).
There’s a lot of metaphors thrown into the mix here, and it’s all entertaining.
Game of Thrones is easily one of the greatest modern masterpieces, and it features Ygritte, who uses archery as a means of survival as she lives north of the wall.
Without her bow and arrow, she wouldn’t have developed the skills to survive properly against White Walkers, but thanks to her insane skill, she ends up weaving into the main storyline for a while and showing us just how flippin’ fantastic her archery skills truly are.
11. Daryl Dixon
Horror isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but even with that being said, you can’t help but fall for Daryl Dixon in AMC’s The Walking Dead and his insane crossbow skills.
Daryl isn’t primarily known as an archer, but fans always pair him with his trusty crossbow that he comes to depend on from time to time.
Without it and his precision archery skills (not to mention textbook perfect bow handling skills in the show), he might not have made it through the horrors in the early seasons.
12. Susan Pevensie
The films might not have help up just right, but The Chronicles of Narnia has been a childhood book favorite for just about everyone I know.
Through learning how to run a kingdom and fend off the witch, Susan Pevensie develops her archery skills (mostly through the help of magic arrows), and ascerns her right to be a queen of Narnia.
It’s not her most iconic piece, but without the ability to wield a sword properly, this was how she survived: patience and discipline.
13. Princess Merida
Yes, a Disney princess managed to make our list.
Disney has taken a weird turn in the last decade, but out of those, they produced gem-like films that didn’t land it with the bigger audiences, but didn’t fail to create a fantastic protagonist.
Merida is basically told she can’t continue to perform archery as it’s not “lady-like,” but it ends up being a staple in how she undoes her mistakes and saves someone that she truly loves.
She’s a wicked shot with a bow. You owe it to yourself to look up the intro sequence of Brave, even if animation isn’t quite your thing.
14. John Rambo
You can’t ignore Rambo when you’re talking about archery.
He’s one of the more subtle archers… if you can consider over 500 kills (mostly with a bow and arrow) subtle, that is.
His use of a compound bow and rapid firing techniques might not be practical, but they’re a ton of fun to watch and count up the damage as Rambo tears through his enemies.
Honorable mention to that helicopter pilot that thought he was safe.
15. Malcolm Merlyn
We really would have liked to pit him just underneath the Green Arrow, but he’s just not that good of an archer, y’know?
He was one of Green Arrow’s first nemeses, and known as the Dark Archer in the first season of CW’s Arrow.
You might know Merlyn’s boss, Ra’s al Ghul, as being the ultimate anti-hero to Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy, and you’ll certainly get a load of him throughout Arrow as well.
Malcolm uses a persona like Oliver Queen to unleash havoc, at least while he can.
Archery is Celebrated Everywhere
Everyone loves archery, even if it’s just in the pages of their favorite book or on the big screen.
You can find inspiration of archery sprinkled throughout literature and cinema since it was first around.
You can look anywhere and find its influence, and now you’re taking it into your own hands to continue spreading the image and sport of archery.