Welcome back folks, last time we talked about the top 10 Hollywood gun guy scenes. Before we get started with today’s list, I’d like to add an honorable mention that you guys felt should have been on the previous list.
Final shootout – the way of the gun (2000)
Reader “RGB” in the comments garnered the most upvotes with the suggestion of this movie. Although the film was not a huge box office success, it has since garnered cult status, most likely because of its gratuitous use of firearms.
The final shootout scene features some of the best gunplay in any Hollywood movie, really any scene from this movie can be appreciated for its great gunplay. Most prominently featured is the Colt MK IV Series 70, which was converted to 9mm for the film. The film makes a point to show characters frequently reloading and shooting through cover at enemies which adds to the realistic feel of the scene.
Top 10 gun guy scenes from war movies
The criteria for this list are simple if the plot doesn’t center around war or the armed forces of the world, it doesn’t make the list. War movies have long been a staple for cinema as it is something we can all understand to a certain extent. Gun guys, in particular, enjoy these movies because, well, in modern times the tools of war are firearms. Swords making way for rifles and pistols to take center stage in the arena of combat.
1. Operation Neptune Spear – Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Zero Dark Thirty is a chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in the wake of the September 2001 attacks. The movie follows the investigation leading up to his death at the hands of the Navy SEALs Team 6 in May 2011.
This scene contains too many good elements to list. While most of the movie is absent of action, the payoff is beyond worth it. The seals are armed with Heckler & Koch HK416 carbines with 10-inch barrels and a variety of accessories, including Advanced Armament Corp. suppressors, EOTech EXPS3/SU-231A/PEQ sights and AN/PEQ-15 ATPIALs. These qualities make for the perfect cinematic dramatization of the real raid.
2. Hot Extraction – Act of Valor (2012)
Again featuring the Navy SEALs and making its debut in 2012, Act of Valor follows a U.S. Navy SEAL team as they embark upon a black operation to recover a kidnapped CIA agent.
I think the best part about this movie and by extension, this scene is that not only are the men in this film actual SEAL team members but during the filming of the movie some were still active-duty team members. In addition, the film was shot around each Team member’s deployment. The action scenes were also developed by Team members to show true authenticity to the tactics and professionalism of any Special Operations, which in my opinion shows in the quality of the action.
3. D-Day Omaha Beach – Saving Private Ryan (1998)
In the opening of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Saving Private Ryan, we witness an unflinching depiction of the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach.
As army ranger Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) attempts to storm the beach, many lives are lost and the scenes are absolutely visceral. The German lines blink with the sounds and fire of MG42 machine gun emplacements while the allied forces stormed the beach. Featuring M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, Thompson Submachine guns, and even the venerated M1903 Springfield. Interesting note: Private Daniel Jackson (Barry Pepper), carries the sniper variant of the M1903 Springfield, the M1903A4 Sniper Rifle. Since Jackson (and likely Barry) is left-handed, he can frequently be seen having trouble cycling the rifle using his left hand.
4. Sniper Scene – Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Another classic movie with widespread praise, Full Metal Jacket centers around a US Marine nicknamed “Joker” (Matthew Modine) through his initiation into Marine boot camp up to his tour in Vietnam as a reporter for Stars and Stripes. The sniper scene takes place at the Battle of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
Having one of their squadmates shot, the entire line of infantrymen open up with everything they’ve got. M16’s light up, the M60 unloads its barrage of belt-fed 7.62x51mm and a marine fires an M72 LAW at the Viet Cong Sniper.
5. Corridor Holdout – Where Eagles Dare (1968)
Starring Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton, Where Eagles Dare is a screenplay adaptation of a novel by the same name. The story involves commandos sent on a mission to infiltrate a German fortress in the Alps and rescue an American Army general. All scenes were shot on location in Austria Bavaria
On the heels of their successful mission, the commandos attempt to radio Admiral Rolland “Danny Boy” to communicate their success. Lieutenant Schaeffer (Eastwood) fends off the encroaching Germans with an MP40. The Germans bring their own hardware to the battle, even setting up an MG42 in the corridor in hopes of taking out the commandos before they escape.
6. Insurgent Snipers – The Hurt Locker (2009)
During the course of the war in Iraq, cinema attempted to shift towards movies that dramatized and portrayed the struggles in the controversial war. The Hurt Locker follows William James and his EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team throughout their year-long deployment.
During the course of the movie, the protagonists are attacked by insurgents. Sergeants James and Sanborn borrow a Barrett M82A1M from some British PMC operatives to shoot several of the attackers. Producer Tony Mark commented that armorer David Fencl spent hours trying to make proper bullets for the Barrett to use when the actual ammunition was not cleared by Jordanian customs in time for the filming of the sniper scene. Also, the ammunition used Chinese fireworks powder for gunpowder like most of the firearms in the film used because of import restrictions on military props.
7. Final Battle – The Wilde Geese (1978)
The plot of The Wild Geese revolves around a group of Mercenaries starred by a veritable stable of 1970’s stars Roger Moore, Hardy Kruger, Richard Harris, and Richard burton perform together in this classic action movie where they try to rescue a South African President from Execution by the “Simbas”.
The final battle scene is nothing short of amazing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Uzi and Masden SMGs in a film all at once. Our Heros skillfully take down their Soviet-trained enemies with ease but taking some tough to swallow casualties by the end. It’s good to see the Soviets were teaching the Simbas the age-old tactic of “Run straight into enemy fire.” If you haven’t seen this movie, go check it out now.
8. Black Hawk Down – Delta Team Snipers (2001)
Probably my favorite movie on this list and containing far more than just this one great scene, Black Hawk Down dramatizes the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia during Operation Gothic Serpent. This movie is a yearly re-watch for me as it’s just got too much good to ignore.
Based on real events, two Delta snipers, Master Sergeant Gary Gordon, and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart, were inserted by the second down Black Hawk Super 62, piloted by Mike Goffena. Their first two requests to be inserted were denied, but they were finally granted permission after their third request. They inflicted heavy casualties on the approaching Somali mob before finally heroically falling to the enemy. Randy and Gary were the first two US Military personnel to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
9. Ride of the Valkyries – Apocalypse Now (1979)
An absolute classic and staple of Vietnam War movies, the film follows a river journey from South Vietnam into Cambodia undertaken by Captain Benjamin L. Willard (a character based on Conrad’s Marlow and played by Sheen). Willard is on a secret mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Brando, with the character being based on Conrad’s Mr. Kurtz), a renegade Army Special Forces officer accused of murder and who is presumed insane. The film is famously a loose adaptation of the 1899 novella The Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad) with the 19th-century Congo being replaced with the Vietnam War.
In one of the best scenes of this movie, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) attacks a Vietnamese village from the air while the music of Wagner rings out as a battle cry and intimidation tactic. Meanwhile, those aboard the Helicopters rein down fire from their M16s and M60s in tandem with the cannon and rocket fire from the Little Birds and UH-1 Huey helicopters. Truly an epic and memorable scene.
10. Opening Scene – Tropic Thunder (2008)
My final entry into this list is going to be a bit of a departure from the war theme. While it’s strictly not a war movie, it does center around characters attempting to portray a Vietnam War movie – very badly. In a hilarious attempt of silver screen greatness, the main characters of Tropic Thunder attempt to film a dramatic rescue and evac from a Vietnam Warzone.
Keen-eyed viewers will notice several inconsistencies and ham-fisted acting and over the top antics of this opening scene. Things like Speedman (Ben Stiller) being shot well over a dozen times and deflecting a hand grenade away with his bare hands just add to the hilarity. Jeff “Fats” Portnoy (Jack Black) can be witnessed running at break-neck speed while firing an M60. Meanwhile, Lazarus (Robert Downy Jr.) circuitously shoots an M1911A1 behind his back while dispatching enemy soldiers (actors).
Moments later it is revealed that all these antics are part of a film shoot on an on-location movie set. Despite the tom-foolery with the guns, the movie is enjoyable to watch, if not for all the over the top gun handling and action.
Thanks again for stopping by to read the top 10 War Movie Gun guy scenes. What did we miss on this list and what are some of your favorite gun scenes from war movies? As always, leave your comments, concerns, and grievances down in the comments.