Hollywood and Guns have had a long and storied (literally) history. Guns have been featured in the film in every era and every genre. From Action, Drama, Thrillers, Horror and even the dreaded rom-com, guns are found in every single one of them. Today we’re going to select 10 of the best gun movie scenes from Hollywood. The rules are simple – No John Wick.
1. Cyberdyne Showdown – Terminator 2 (1991)
This movie is choc-full of salacious gun scenes. From the initial showdown with the T-1000 to the high-speed mag dumping chase on the highway there is no shortage of firearms. My favorite scene will have to be the entirety of the Showdown at the Cyberdyne systems building.
The Austrian cyborg faces off against the LAPD kicking the showdown off with a Handheld M134 Minigun. Followed closely by an M79 Grenade Launcher. Despite the lethality of both of these firearms, the Terminator’s goal was deterrence, not death and he winds up putting on a nice show of force to which the LAPD officers in the film retaliate with their own hail of fire. Using MP5s (Actually chopped and converted HK94A3’s), CAR-15/XM177 “Commando” rifles and Ithaca 37 shotguns.
Weapons Master Harry Lu procured over 32 different types of firearms for the film including some very rare and odd guns such as the Franchi SPAS-15 and the Muzzelite MZ14 Bullpup for some of the movies futuristic scenes. T2 will always have a special place in my heart for its great attention to detail with a wide variety of weapons and their clever inclusion in the film’s story.
2. Bank Robbery shootout scene – heat (1995)
This movie was previously featured in one of TFTV’s videos as one of the Top 5 Gun Guy Movies. We here at TFB and TFBTV like it so much we think it deserves a second shake if not just for the shootout scene after the bank robbery.
With the wide array of unique and cinematic looking guns to the great acting and execution of the actors, it’s no surprise that even the reload Val Kilmer does with his Colt Model 733 (M16) is used as training material to this day.
T2 and Heat also share the same style of MP5’s as they are also cut down HK94’s. My absolute favorite gun in this particular scene has to be the FN FNC-80. Despite being capable of full-auto fire, Director Michael Mann instructed Al Pachino to only fire the weapon in semi-auto, as this would likely be how law- enforcement would choose to engage hostiles in this type of situation. Attention to detail and a variety of interesting guns put this movie solidly in this top 10 list.
3. Border Engagement Scene – Sicario (2015)
Breaking from the 90’s we enter into some more recent territory with Sicario (Spanish for “Hitman”). The scene at the Mexican border has operative Steve Forsing (portrayed by Jeffery Donavan from Burn Notice) taking on a group of cartel members with an M4A1, taking down several hostiles in short order.
The setup and execution of the scene are great. Our protagonists are tense upon reaching the border knowing they’re sitting ducks should their enemies choose to attack, which they do. The film’s portrayal of realistic weaponry adds to the authentic feeling of the scene, having the Delta Force operators armed with M4’s and M9’s while their Cartel bad guys sport a mish-mash of MP5’s, AKMS’ and Smith & Wesson M76 submachine guns.
4. Revenge Scene – The Patriot (2000)
In a touching display of family bonding, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) and two of his sons take up arms (several each) to free their captured Son and Brother Gabriel and enact revenge for the death of their brother Thomas at the hands of the British.
The movie makes heavy use of period correct flintlock muskets, one of which was specially made for actor Mel Gibson. The black-powder enthusiast inside me will always enjoy this scene for its gritty depiction of revolutionary war combat.
5. That My Briefcase? – Collateral (2004)
For this scene Tom Cruise (portraying hitman Vincent) spent months with Mick Gould, former 22 SAS, to perfect his work with the HK USP45. After his briefcase is stolen from lackey/hostage/friend Max (Jamie Foxx), Vincent must retrieve the briefcase to continue his mission.
Vincent retrieves his briefcase with six rounds of .45 ACP. After double tapping the first thug, he uses the “Mozambique Drill” against the second. A note of interest: In the script, the goal of this confrontation was to be 5 shots in 1.6 seconds. Tom Cruise clocked in at 1.39 seconds, beating the script. For me, the sound design of this scene is second to none and seals it in my mind as one of the best gun scenes in any movie.
6. Gang fight scene – predator 2 (1990)
This scene takes the prize for “most guns in one shot.” While ridiculous and gory, this scene packs a lot of high-powered hardware. 50 Cals, M60’s, grenade launchers and a fist full of cocaine, not even the most badass hardware could have saved these thugs from the Predator and LAPD.
LAPD Detective Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover), fights his way through the gangsters with his 100% completely standard-issue Magnum Research Desert Eagle. Who knew the LAPD packed such serious hand cannons as duty weapons at the turn of the decade?
7. Night Vision Scene – Patriot games (1992)
Our resident Night Vision Nerd Nicholas C. probably has this scene on a perpetual loop in his house. When terrorists infiltrate the Ryans’ home, Cathy (Anne Archer) must protect her young daughter. Armed with only an over-under (resembling a Remmington 1100) she takes on an attacker with an Uzi Submachine Gun and Night Vision Goggles.
Cathy, unfortunately, doesn’t follow conventional wisdom and proceeds to set up her defense without ammo. Lucky for Cathy our bad guy in this scene is also an idiot and decides to invade a home during a lightning storm and thus blinds himself and falling victim to a firm strike from the butt of Cathy’s Over-Under shotgun.
8. Lobby Shootout Scene – The Matrix (1999)
Probably one of the more recognizable scenes from this list. The sci-fi blockbuster brings us some Pre-Wick Keanu Reeves gunplay with a nice sheen of puke green slathered all over the camera lens.
This scene brings together all the guns. Almost entirely done with practical effects and blank-firing prop guns instead of CGI. It’s why this scene holds up so well even in 2018 when Matrix: Reloaded scenes became dated after only a couple of years. The lobby scene sports a plethora of pistols, rifles, shotguns and even machine pistols sealing the end of the millennium with another great gun-guy movie scene. Truly this was a golden age of Cinema.
9. Ending Shootout Scene – 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
We couldn’t do this list without including a Western. 3:10 to Yuma is not only a great story but its a great gun guy movie.
For me, this scene makes the list purely on the performance of Charlie Prince (Ben Foster), who is the right-hand man of the Main Villian Ben Wade (Russell Crowe). Armed with a pair of Smith & Wesson Schofield Model 3’s, Prince is a force to be reckoned with by both friend and foe alike. Charlie Prince’s Model 3’s were made by Will Ghormley who also furnished the holsters for the guns.
10. Rescuing Dia scene – Blood Diamond (2006)
Aviation nerds like myself can drool over this one too as it contains heavy use of a Soviet Hind-D Attack Helicopter. This movie is an absolute AK lover’s wet-dream.
In this scene, Danny (DeCaprio) charges across the battlefield to rescue Solomon’s son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers & Djimon Hounsou). The scene is tastefully contrasted with the precise and accurate shots and tactical discipline of the mercenary trained Danny to the Child Soldiers’ inaccurate and dangerous weapon handling (not to mention their fruitless effort to shoot down an armored attack helicopter with small arms). Meanwhile, Solomon beats down his enemies with a shovel. Fantastic.
Gun Guy Scene Sequel?
This has been our top 10 list of most gun guy movie scenes but what are yours? Did your movie get on this list? If not, let us know down in the comments what your favorite scenes are and why (John Wick posters need not apply).