Never EVER use real or realistic swords for movie stuff.
There are three types of sword:
Stabbing (S European)
Smashing (British and N European)
All your Braveheart, etc big swords are smashing ones. They do not
have to be sharp, because they are heavy. They are designed to smash
the underlying bone structure. Most of the swords you see in films are
If you buy swords from Battle Orders (really a subsidiary of Webley
and Scott the arms manufacturer), then you will be buying a replica
sword. These are not properly made swords, they are ornaments.
You shouldn't try to sharpen them, because they're made of the wrong
type of metal. They will still smash your bones quite easily. They are
Oriental blades are generally made for slashing, cutting attacks. In
most of the oriental weaponed arts you find that half the moves are
actually performed starting with your sword sheated. They are much
lighter and move very quickly through the air. These are very hard to
use unless you are expert.
Stabbing swords are impractical too. You can stab someone to death
with a pencil pretty easily. Even a faked stabbing sword (like a foil or
an epee) is much more slender than a pencil. The wrong move at the
wrong time will leave your opponent very dead. For real.
I fenced foil and sabre for many years and have seen some terrible
accidents. My fencing instructor back in Dundee was fighting foil
with a chap and the safety end was knocked off the guy's sword. He
was performing a lunge at the time and the end of the sword went
straight through the instructor's mask, through his eyeball and into
his brain killing him instantly. His opponent stood there with a dead
man on the end of his sword. This freaked him out considerably.
The point of that story is that both of those fencers were wearing full
protective clothing, both very champions of the sport with many years
experience and both were using sports blades (designed not to take
an edge or a point very well). And despite all this someone ended up
dead. You and your mates won't be able to resist mucking around with
swords and yet you don't really understand the first thing about them.
But I'm not a total doom and gloom merchant. I would suggest that the
best thing you can use for film swords is live role playing replicas. These
are made with a carbon fibre rod as their core, fleshed out with latex
and painted up to resemble metal. They're very good, quite cheap and
you can probably borrow them for free. And you won't get hurt. And you
can muck about, jumping off roofs, etc.
Here's how to make your own:http://www.melgir.demon.co.uk/lrp/make/weapon.html
And here's a couple of Live Role Playing groups:http://www.heroquest.org/http://www.dusa.dundee.ac.uk/durps/Heros_Blood/hb_text.html
Careful now kids, you don't often get hurt with swords, you get VERY
hurt or VERY dead.