When you think about it, guns and movies have always had a very close relationship, but what are the best gun movies ever? Some of the greats not only feature firearms, but also owe much of their success to them. War films, detective stories, melodramas—even animation, all relied on firearms to some lesser or greater extent to help push the story forward.
Both of my parents were actors. I was born in Hollywood and grew up in the motion picture business. I used to go and watch them being made and never missed a western, war or adventure film. I’m sure, for better or worse, this had much to do with my getting interested in firearms in the first place. Over the years I’ve also collected films that have really impressed me, firearms-wise—hence this article involving a pick of my personal favorites of the many thousands of flicks that I’ve seen.
Of course authenticity is always important, and I’m impressed when a filmmaker goes out of his way to make sure the guns, costumes and sets are appropriate to a particular locale or period—but accuracy isn’t necessarily a paramount consideration. Some films, like a couple you’ll see later on, might be wrong in many details, but the way a firearm is used to advance the plot or the way in which it is handled by the actors also has a strong influence on selection–as does the types of arms used in relationship to when a movie was made. I’m not going to try to put this list in order of merit, because the types of movies represented are so diverse that the ranking would be virtually meaningless, and more than a little subjective.
So here we go, my own favorites, chronologically.