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The Gentleman's Agreement On 2004's Troy That Cost Brad Pitt $750

Sing, O Muse, of the wager of Brad Pitt, and his opponent, Eric Bana, which cost Pitt dearly for each slip of his spear and sword.

Okay, so Wolfgang Petersen's 2004 sword-and-sandals epic Troy hasn't become an all-time classic like its source material — Homer's Iliad — but just about everyone can agree on what the film's high point was: the epic, life-or-death duel between the Greek champion Achilles (Pitt) and the protector of Troy, Hector (Bana).

Pitt and Bana agreed to film the sequence themselves, without using stunt doubles, allowing Petersen to keep the focus squarely on his two leading men. The fight looks grueling, encompassing nearly three minutes in screentime, like a full round of boxing performed whilst wielding spear, shield, and sword. The two combatants range back and forth across a wide area beneath the walls of Troy, stabbing, slashing, grappling, and shoving one another as they seek out a killing blow.

How much each accidental hit cost Brad Pitt and Eric Bana

In pacing, it's quite remarkably like another famous (nearly) stuntman-free film fight: the fencing duel between Inigo Montoya and Westley in The Princess Bride. In Troy, Achilles is in control for nearly the entirety of the bout, and every small victory earned by Hector serves only to highlight this further, in much the same way that it turns out that Westley isn't left-handed either. He breaks Achilles' spear, but only after Achilles has broken his. He puts a scratch in Achilles' armor, and Achilles kicks him backward, where he trips over a stone and loses his shield. There is no doubt throughout the fight that Achilles has earned his reputation; he is the superior fighter.

But who, between the two actors, was the better movie fighter? It turns out we have a record of that, at least in one small category. The pair agreed before filming to put a little bit extra on the line to ensure they brought their A-games to the sequence: specifically, a set of penalties to be doled out every time one of them missed his mark and made actual, unscripted contact with the other one. The pair each agreed to dole out $50 for each love tap and $100 for a big hit. Chump change for a pair of movie stars, but suddenly it's a contest; now there's also pride on the line.

Why Brad Pitt was always likely to lose his Troy wager with Eric Bana

And in that contest, Bana emerged the victor, with Pitt finishing the six-day shoot owing him $750, according to Today. There's no breakdown of how many of those were $50s and how many were $100s, but Bana did mention in multiple interviews at the time getting clobbered by "a full-fledged backhand fist to the face," so safe to say it wasn't 15 small hits.

There's a version of this factoid going around that says Bana owed Pitt nothing at the end of the fight, but the Chicago Tribune printed at the time that his share of accidental damages was actually $200. Either way, a much lower figure.

But that analysis is not quite fair to Pitt, as one Reddit user points out. Achilles is, remember, the far better fighter, and as such it's he who is pushing the initiative much of the time. 

"Bana plays defense for most of the fight," the commenter writes, "parrying and backing away. By my count Pitt throws about 3 times as many strikes as Bana in their fight."

And for all the blows Bana took, it was Pitt who walked — or, rather, didn't walk — away with the more gruesome injury from their time making the film. He landed awkwardly during a battle sequence earlier in production and ruptured his Achilles tendon. Those Greeks really love their irony!