S.H. Blannelberry took a stab at this last week, and posted some of his favorite gun-themed movie clips. It has me thinking. A lot of how I feel about guns has been shaped by my exposure to some iconic films. If you have a minute or two to spare, check some of these out.
And I’d like to put in a plug for the Internet Movie Firearms Database. This incredible site is dedicated to chronicling the guns that appear in films. If you want more details on anything below, IMFDB is easy to search.
Let’s begin at the beginning. Not the beginning of these movies, chronologically–the beginning of me. I was 4 when A New Hope (which I will always just call Star Wars) debuted. While I may have preferred the more sophisticated tools of the Jedi, I now know that nothing beats a good blaster by your side. So #1 is the old Han Shot First argument. And he did. I don’t care what Lucas has to say on the matter.
Or was it Angel Eyes who shot first?
While we’re on the topic of Han Solo, we have to go back to Angel Eyes. If you want to know where Lucas got his ideas for Star Wars, all you have to do is revisit the masters. This scene below is where Lucas got the under-the-table shot. Push through the dialogue and you’ll see why Angel Eyes is a bad, bad man.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Sergio Leone classic is so influential that I feel it deserves all 10 entries. I’ll only list it twice. Tuco is the Ugly, but he’s the prototypical Leone bad guy. And in this scene, Tuco builds an ideal revolver from the pieces and parts of several worthless guns. I’ve always wanted to go into a gun store and do this with a GLOCK.
The Outlaw Josey Wales
While I ate up the Star Wars films in theaters, I cut my teeth on westerns at home. As soon as we got cable, I’d park on the living room floor and watch hours of TBS with my old man. And this was one that we could both agree on. While the film has some campy bits, this scene stands out because of its firearms verisimilitude. And right after Wales dispatches the Yankees, he explains how he decided who to shoot first–based on the design of the soldiers’ holsters.
The Bourne Identity
One of the best all-around action movies in terms of cinematography, acting, writing, and message, The Bourne Identity (the first one anyhow) stands as a monumental anti-gun film. Bourne has the ability to solve problems with a gun, but he doesn’t. He tears them down, as he does in this scene. Yet he can’t escape the roots of violence.
The Big Lebowski
The single greatest film of all time. And I went with a scene that might surprise some of you. It isn’t Walter going ape-shit with his 1911. It isn’t the Uzi wrapped in butcher paper. It is The Jesus. There’s not even a gun in the scene–just the threat of a gun. If I had to pick a performance that really blew my mind in this film, it is that of John Tuturro–the most undervalued talent in American cinema.
La Femme Nikkita
If you haven’t seen this film, you must. Not the best date movie. And skip the lame American television remakes. Actually, maybe this is a great date movie. If your date likes this film, you have a keeper.
Grosse Point Blank
You ever see a film and think to yourself–“That could have been brilliant!” If only…. I’m not sure what the if-only is here, but I know that John Cusack and his sister Joan put in amazing performances. It is a true comedy. This un-funny scene is from the climax, when Martin Blank, a professional hit man, has returned to attend his high-school reunion. He’s being hunted by this freelancer. Strange to see Cusack kicking ass. The movie is full of hilarious gun play–like a scene near the end that includes Blank confessing his love to his high school sweetheart while repeatedly shooting a hit man (and whacking him with a cast iron skillet), but this is one of the more intense moments.
Leon (aka The Professional)
If yo like your hit-men with a more serious edge, check out Leon. Natalie Portman’s best performance ever. This film is disturbing on a number of levels, but the gun-play is epic. More importantly, there’s actually a nuanced plot.
The Lego Movie
One of the funniest bits of anti-gun bias I’ve seen recently had to do with the toys related to The Lego Movie. Some suburban mom who needs more action was bitching about how the toys included guns, and how she couldn’t support Lego anymore, and how sinful it was, especially considering the fact that there were no guns in the movie. Um… I wonder which movie she watched. It wasn’t The Lego Movie, which is full of guns. This is my favorite scene.
And because my amp goes to 11, I’ll end with this one. Man I wish it were real.