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G&A Ranks the Best Movie Shootouts

by G&A Online Editors   |  February 3rd, 2012 204

The history of Hollywood’s shoot ‘em up movies stretches as far back as cinema itself. The shootout has always been the plot device of choice for action films, westerns and gangster flicks. Some of the most legendary actors have made their names with one-liners famously delivered before firing the first shot. A gun fight can define a film, a career and even an entire genre.

Let’s face it, the movie shootout is and always has been an art. The guns, the actors and the authenticity of the action all play a part in creating a crowd-pleasing battle.

We considered breaking these down into categories like “best barroom shootouts” or “best western shootouts,” but it just seems more fun to consider the entire history of gun fights on the Silver Screen.

We ranked the following shootouts based on a few criterion:

  • Guns: Were the guns used as much a part of popular culture as the movies themselves?
  • Notoriety: How firmly is the shootout engrained in shooting lore?
  • Cool Factor: How eye-poppingly awesome was the shootout?
  • Authenticity: Was the use of firearms authentic and believable throughout?

How does Tony Montana’s final overture compare to Wyatt Earp’s legendary stand-off? We had a pretty lively in-house debate, and we have a feeling that it’s not over just yet.

  • Stephen

    Don't forget about the shotguns used in L.A. Confidential!

    • Sporkmaker

      Ithaca 37 is actually on the list.

    • blac220

      All of you aare forgetting the best. shootout o all time…Heat!
      No film has even come close.

  • Guest

    The Way of the Gun?

    • roadkil2

      I agree! "Way Of The Gun" seemed the most realistic of all that I have seen in a while. I would put "Heat"/"Saving Private Ryan" together as a close 2nd.

    • Mike

      What this guy said.

  • JRB

    Those are some great shootouts in those movies, but Pale Rider, and The Long Riders deserved mentioning as well. Another great article guys, keep up the good work.

  • Pete

    Both Shooting USA and now Guns & Ammo have had their lists. I just don't understand how the sensational shootout at the end of "Way Of The Gun" seems to be omitted each time. The tactics and authentic one handed reloads make this one I can watch over and over again. Maybe because of the lack of redeeming qualities of the two main characters. Or maybe there is some underground boycott of the film that I am unaware of.

    • richiecotite

      This. Quite simply, Way of the Gun had some of the best gun battles in recordedd cinema

      • Vann Morrison

        I really liked the shoot out at the end of Way of the Gun. However, these guys are supposed to be professional "gun slingers" and they go into a shoot out scenerio with Galil assault rifle with only one extra magazine! And then use up all the ammo trying to blindly shoot one guy! Then again, it's only a movie. Good use of the shot gun though.

    • Mike

      Again, this movie is overlooked and it is awesome.

  • browcs

    Great scenes yes, but some others that may have been nominated but I particularly "enjoyed" were the final shootout in "Miami Vice," the truck/police car chase scene/shootout in "Robocop,"the shootout in the Nepalese bar in "Raiders of the Lost Ark,' the highway to building shootout (and grenade and RPG lobbing) in "The Kingdom," and finally, Tom Cruise's speed rock and disco shootout in "Collateral."

    Incidentally, the McClane character used a Beretta Px4 Storm in "Live Free Die Hard."

  • Tom Honeycutt

    The Way of The Gun
    Smokin' Aces

  • browcs

    ….missed one, the escalator and elevator (with Rachael Ticotin) scenes in "Total Recall."

  • Stephen

    What Public Enemies? Thompson sub machine guns, 1911's, B.A.R's, shotguns. What more could you ask for? I know the Bourne Trilogy didn't have a lot of "shootouts" but there were a lot of great guns used in the movies.

    • spike1point5

      And don't forget the very brief appeareance of Dillinger's (real-life) Colt .38 Super "Machine Pistol." You can see it here… a few of the gangsters of that era owned them.

    • jmm

      The shootout in the woods is the best ever, period.

  • Cyrano

    I cannot believe that the Dirty Harry series starring Clint Eastwood did not make this list. With the exception of the Mafia hit squad that chased Harry up into a parking structure and were subsequently killed from ambush by Callahan after they expended all their ammo shooting up a box of traction sand, there really aren't any serious multi-gun shootouts; Harry's just too good a shot. On the other hand, Harry Callahan is responsible for a number of great Hollywood quotes, from his "So what you have to ask yourself is, 'Do I feel lucky?' " speech in Dirty Harry, to the immortal "Go ahead. Make my day." sequence in Sudden Impact, to the "You forgot your fortune cookie" sequence in The Dead Pool That he delivers just before or just after he shoots somebody that he deserves a mention on the list.

    I also point out that Harry Callahan is directly responsible for the popularity of me Smith & Wesson Model 29, turning it into an iconic Hollywood gun right up there with the Colt Single Action Army, the Model 1921 Tommy Gun and the Winchester 73 lever action rifle. That has to count for something.

    Clint Eastwood's Harry Callahan movies really do deserve a place on your list, certainly far more than cinematic drivel like The Matrix, which I find so unbelievable as to be unwatchable.

  • Ben_OBrien

    We considered Dirty Harry for sure, but went with "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" instead. Also, "The Way of the Gun" was also discussed but just fell to the wayside in favor of "Desperado."

    Thanks for the comments!

    Ben O'Brien
    Online Managing Editor

    • Draeger

      but Desperado was such a piece of crap movie.

    • Mike

      While desperado is cool, there is something about the "realism" of Way of the Gun", that makes it such a favorite.

  • Tony

    Battle of Los Angeles is one continuous shootout!

  • mikebike


    Did I miss "Last man standing" or did You?

    We have even named a club contest after that movie, we shoot at six targets with one gun in each hand, but they don't have to be 1911's. I personally use a M29 6" and a M24 3". My personal best is less than 3 seconds…..

    • Tom

      Yep, they really missed the mark by not mentioning "Last Man Standing." Either the Bruce Willis version or the old western version…

    • Greg

      i think the 50 cal. sniper is the top of all guns

    • Sgt. L94

      You asked my question. Period pictures are my favorite and the older colt auto's and 97 winchesters make them even better. I'm glad you asked, you didn't miss it, they did.

  • LTJR

    Saving Private Ryan

  • Russ

    My only problem with "Open Range" is after Costner is laboriously shown reloading his six gun, he comes out and fan-fires 9 shots out of it.

    • Dwight Hill

      That's how fast he was in the run , hah !!

    • Greg

      same here

  • Bryan

    With all the Zombie stuff flying around these days, I can't see why you didn't include Resident Evil in this list… It should be toward the top.


      Ah so you don't believe in Zombies. They are real, they all voted in 2008, and they voted for an alien.
      Wake up and smell the rott.
      Yes we can!

  • sportzmun

    I can't believe that you would include "The Wild Bunch" and omit (by accident I hope) the bloody machine gun used in the final shoot out!

  • spike1point5

    Can't believe there's no mention here of "True Grit," with the Sharps (A weapon of uncanny power and precision) and of course, Rooster's final great charge. Also, for sheer over-the-top showmanship, "Equilibrium." Come on, the idea of being able to dodge bullets purely through training is an awesome one, no matter what the context. Add to that the very rare appearance of the Walther WA2000, albeit as a futuristic shotgun, and the use of specially weighted mags for somewhat…unorthodox reloads, plus the sleeve rigs similar to Desperado, and you have a brilliantly entertaining, if somewhat unrealistic, action scene.

    • Draeger

      Quigley down under

    • Doug

      Spike, agree. The remake "True Grit" for me anyway is by far and away tops. Don't know if you are talking about the Duke or not but to each his own I always say.

    • Ryan

      My sentiment exactly fill your hand you son-of-a

  • quietman

    How could you not include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?

    • Linda

      Too many good movies to choose from men. LOL Maybe top 100? hahaha

  • Charles Creed


    • Bill

      Companion to "The Matrix"

  • ADulay

    Smokin' Aces – The dark elevator shoot out scene.

  • Sal

    Yep, Resident Evil, any of the releases, but in the latest "Afterlife" Alice (SMOKIN HOT Milla Jovovich) packs a pair of S&W 460Vs shooting them one handed and blowing zombies heads off like watermelons. Then she switches to the pair of sawed off shotguns she has strapped to her back. Zombie movies don't get any better and Milla Jovovich is eye candy not to be missed.

  • hicusdicus

    What happen to When we were soldiers. The mini gun scene on the helicopter.

    • Linda

      Good one!

  • seanx40

    Heat should be #1. But not a single John Woo movie? No HARD BOILED? No THE KILLER?

    • Tom Bender

      There was some good shootouts in John Woo's Windtalkers.
      Rock Gallotti did the firearms while I played in the powder and FX part of the film.
      John has a favorite saying – MORE BIGGER !

  • Paul

    I guess U.S. Marines storming the sultan's palace in "The Wind and the Lion" must not count as a shootout!

    • old vet

      Storming the palace was a good one. But the final battle at end of movie was classic. Wind and The Lion SHOULD have been on the list.

  • LiveEasyDieHard

    I agree with seanx40, that robbery/shootout scene in HEAT is absolutely waaaaaay more heartpounding than the SCAREFACE scene.
    What about the shootout in 'The Replacement Killers' (with ChowYunFat & Mira Sorvino) where hitmen storm her 'office'? Great flick and lots of guns.

  • Alan

    I realize that this list is all subjective and just for fun BUT I DEMAND A RE – DO ! I'm gonna thrash about on the floor , kick my feet and hold my breath ' till I turn blue ! I want the stop action , fade to sepia , frame pullout with the army voice – over , final shoot out scene of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid ! I ! ! I also want RONIN ! ! ! ! AND The GODFATHER ! ! ! ! ….. And I'm not gonna leave 'till you do ! … MOM ! Mooooooooooooom , make Guns & Ammo rank my shoot outs !
    But seriously , all 3 of these films should have made your list .

    • spike1point5


  • Shalimar


  • Rico

    Tears of the Sun?

  • old vet

    The Wild Bunch, How could you not mention the star of the show, the Maxim Machine Gun?

    • Vann Morrison

      It wasn't a Maxim, it was a 1917 Browning water cooled.

      • old vet

        My bad

        • old vet

          Was still a bad S.O.B.

  • Rich Rizzuto

    Blackhawk Down…nuff said

    • Linda

      Good pick!

  • R.Martinez

    HEAT…..with Pacino and Di Nero….bank robbery scene especially!

  • Linda

    I don't rememember the name, but there is a movie on TV about this man who has a guitar in Mexico and just shoots up all of Mexico awful? Anyone seen this one? The guitar was a gun if I remember right? hahaha

    • old vet

      Sounds like a Bandaras movie.

      • WYO DAVE


    • spike1point5

      If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's the first of the Mexico trilogy, and it's called El Mariachi. Desperado is the sequel to it.

    • Al Brady

      Uhm, this was quite a few years ago, maybe from the mid 70s or earlier. It was a Lee van Cleef Western. Seems like it was a banjo built into a rifle. Or a rifle built into a banjo. A fun movie, but not very realistic.

  • R.Martinez

    Oh, and don't forge BLACK HAWK DOWN!!

  • old vet

    Silverado was another good one, had the sound of the black powder down.

    • Tom

      The opening scene with the "through the roof" shootout was superb. What a way to start a movie!

  • BJC

    Open range is one of my favorite western shoot outs but what about predator Jessy Ventura with the mini gun, or No country for old men.

  • MICK


    • old vet

      I agree, Open Range was a work of art, that was one ugly shootout at the end.

  • Abdiver

    I did not read all the comments but I was disappointed the Quigley Down Under did not make the list. Great weapons; good line' " I said I ddn't like the revolver…didn't say that I did not know how to use one".

    • old vet

      VERY goood! Can't beat the Quig.

    • nerdybaldguy

      Yeah, one of the best final gunfights in movie history and a great final line.

  • Dick

    Last Man Standing has to be the most shots fired by any one person using a 1911. No one mentioned Quigley Down Under the only movie staring a Sharps!

    • EDfromTEXAS

      Sharps was used in "valdez is coming" with Burt Lancaster. Great movie

  • Dean

    No matter the criteria, Heat was the best gun fight of all time, period. Nothing comes close

  • guest

    Hey you left out the AMT Hardballer Longslide with the laser sight.(G)
    I only mention it because I have one.

    • old vet

      Only Hollywood could take a P.O.S. and turn it into a star.

  • Bob

    The Matrix, come on you guys may as well put Tomb Raider on the list. ALL of these should be on the list The Departed (no chance of a sequel), Saving Private Ryan (#1 on the list), Band of Brothers, Last Man Standing, We Were Soldiers, Blackhawn Down, Shooter, The Quick and The Dead and The Patriot ("Aim small miss small").

  • Stephen

    Enemy at the gates and The Punisher.

  • jack

    another 'Last Man Standing' fan here, even if it is a remake of one of the 'Dollars' movies. Also, it was cheesy, but I am a big fan of 'Young Guns', you even have Patrick Wayne

  • Mike

    The restaurant scene in Godfather I and Tommy "wacking" Stax in Goodfellas, although lacking in flash and special effects, are my favorites.

  • John

    I cannot believe HEAT is not the Number #1 choice. There was so many good scenes through this entire movie. The GUN FIGHTS, along with the dialog make it high on my list of all time greats.

  • dlae

    What about "The Crow"?


    So many to choose from but as your friend and confidant I must recomend PRIME CUT, Staring Lee Marvin BIG RED ONE and many others, also staring Gene Hackman, of THE FRENCH CONNECTION. Now I know most everyone is saying to themselves, "I have never heard of this movie!" Well consider it my gift to all you champions of liberty and by the way.
    Zombies. They are real, they all voted in 2008, and they voted for an alien.
    Wake up and smell the rott.
    Yes we can!

  • porkchop6209

    Lots of great movies and a couple of yuk ones that really shouldn't have made the list, but I simply cannot believe that Saving Private Ryan didn't rank number one, and here's why-the opening scene of the movie was absolutely true and the most realistic war scene ever shot. Every high school senior should have to watch this movie before they graduate to realize the horrible sacrifices made to preserve their freedom. The incredible odds and heinous slaughter suffered by the initial landing waves and airbourne troops made it a wonder anyone survived at all, much less driving back and prevailing against Hitler's forces. I live just down the road from Bedford, Va. and that community suffered the highest per capita losses of men from the Va. National Guard/29th Infantry Brigade that hit the beaches first. We owe those guys everything.

  • Joe Bob

    OK, you forgot Quigley Down Under – a full on gun movie, how was it left out? Then Clint Eastwood again… but come on, you left out The Outlaw Josie Wells, a GREAT shoot out, and the gun work was top notch. Fist Full of Dollars / Last man Standing, both great shoot-out gun movies, or the same movie with different guns and setting. Maybe Clint and Bruce both need their own categories with Terrentino.

    • Draeger

      i totally forgot about Josie Wales. that movie is awesome

  • Fred

    How could you include Taxi Driver and not list the S&W Model 29 with the 8+" barrel Travis carried in a shoulder holster?

    • mikebike


  • greg

    How about Saving Private Ryan? GI & Nazi guns, plus tanks, bombs & artillery.

  • Rick

    What about True Grit? "Fill your hands, you son of bitch!"

    • spike1point5

      And Rooster's practice of keeping one chamber empty? How many films actually show that? Definitely should be up.

  • Tom Bender

    Here are a few suggestions from someone that had over 20 years in the biz.
    The Long Riders – The Culpepper Cattle Company – Mullholland Falls – The original True Grit, filmed in and around Ridgway Colorado – Lonesome Dove – Year of the Dragon – Tears of the Sun – The Wild Bunch – The Magnificent Seven – Ronin – A Walk in the Sun – etc., etc..
    You see, this is an aspect of film that is dependent upon the movie goer.

    • Guest

      "The original True Grit, filmed in and around Ridgway Colorado" Actually, just above Ouray not too far from the Camp Bird mine for the snake pit scene and a few others. I was only nine but remember it like it was yesterday, my parents owned a house there and in Telluride.

      • Tom Bender

        The backbar of The True Grit Cafe in Ridgway is the side of a brick building with the mural still on.
        The park houses the stone jail used in the film.
        I have 80 acres on the mesa above Ridgway.

        • DAVE WYO.

          Tom Bender, you must know "cowboy Bob" Devinney, sp, plays his cowboy songs in that cafe, used to play at some of the guest ranches in Jackson, Wyo. area years ago, after ridin the hills checkin cows on open range.

  • John Darbyshire

    Ronin & Dogs of War.

    • Tom Bender

      Dogs of War was excellent.

  • glenn blanchard

    How about Red Dawn, directed by an NRA board member. Don't forget Young Guns.

  • Glenn Talley

    Zulu and The Professionals.Lee Marvin's closing remark to Ralph Bellamy is as good as it gets!

  • Okie


  • The Man w/No Name

    The Outlaw Josey Wales & The Untouchables.



  • Anthony Cruz

    "NO Mercy" with Richard Gere for a shotgun shootout , "Water Hole #3" and "Rolling Thunder" for whorehouse shootouts.

  • JaTo

    you have that junk Matrix in there and exclude The Magnificent Seven????? What are you thinking????

  • therev

    Have you never seen "The Butcher" ? "… the rest is all fundamentals." Catch a clue, boys.

  • don


  • don

    For a Few Dollars More

  • Cassino


  • Tim

    Revolver. A simple Glock used by Mark Strongs character. Has a great full auto glock moment.

  • Guest

    C'mon guys… ALL the scenes with Hit-Girl in KICK-ASS…. tryin' to save Big Daddy and Kick-Ass by takin' out the baddies in a strobe-lighted gunfight… and the Hallway scene!!!! I bought the blu-ray just for the bonus features to see how they pulled it off…

  • richiecotite

    Also, the last gunbattle in "The Kingdom" was pretty damn good. Definitely worth a mention.

  • fenderfiver03

    Although it was already mentioned; I feel the final shootout in Equilibrium should be on here. I think Christian Bale's character in that film broke a record for "most on-screen kills" in that sequence. Not to mention the film has an excellent 1984/Brave New World-esq plot to it. Also it has one of my favorite lines in a film "No… Not without incident!". I'm guessing it's not included because the film is realitively unkown.

  • Shadow1911

    If G&A should ever do a "Best B Movie Shootouts" I would highly recommend "Sinners and Saints" staring former Spezsnaz Soldier Sonny Puzikas. The apertment complex parking lot shoot out was awesome in that movie.

  • nerdybaldguy

    It's obscure, a litle 1998 film called "Montana" with Kyra Sedgewick, Stanley Tucci (he steals the show, I think it's his best role ever), John Ritter, Robin Tunney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robbie Coltrane…… and a unique final gunfight.

  • Pa Deuce

    "The Green Berets" for the "Puff the Magic Dragon" scene. +1 for Zulu, Enemy At The Gates, and Saving Private Ryan.

    • old vet

      Have seen the real "dragon" in action so movie version ended up kind of lame. Agree with the rest of your calls.

  • Ryan Jones

    You're all forgetting "The Expendables" one movie made for shoot outs and guns period. Maybe no where near real world but you'd have to get a napkin to clean off the drool from the gun porn in that movie.

  • Mike

    saving pvt ryan & blackhawk down should be there also Quick & the dead & Predator

  • Snug

    Hey guys, how about "Gettysburg" with Tom Berringer ? When that was "shot" at Gettysburg it shook windows in Philadelphia, more than a hundred miles distant!

  • Jrholden43

    Appaloosa; most realistic. Done quickly with 2 heroes wounded on ground. Mortenson's character says "that was quick". Harris' character says "everybody could shoot". Classic.

    • old vet

      Totally forgot Appaloosa, don't know why but did not get a lot of recognition, really good pick though.

  • Sanjuancb

    Billy Connolly as Ill Duce in "Boondock Saints" is simply awesome. I think he is my favorite of the group. So many pistols!

  • jimk61

    The Outlaw Josey Wales should definitely be on the list.

  • Robert Luther

    Joe Kidd

  • Jarhead

    no way that you didn't mention The Way Of The Gun!!! that was an awesome movie with some pretty good shooting … plus, the actors plays their part right when it comes to reloading and gun handling …

  • John

    Final of John Wayne's The Cowboys

  • anishinabi

    I would have found room for Bruce Willis in the Last Man Standing. I saw that and went out and bought 10 mags for my 1911.

  • TexasSwede

    I am surprised that "A Better Tomorrow" (especially the scene at the restaurant) is not on the list, or even mentioned. I see a lot of (what I consider) "Hollywoodish" action scenes mentioned (even if "Red Dawn" was a fun movie to watch, c'mon, the shooting part was not very realistic)…
    "Heat" and several other ones on the list I totally agree on. But let's remove all the unrealistic ones and just keep the ones that are actually more or less realistic (when it comes to gun handling, reloading, jams, etc).
    I would also add "Cross of Iron", both the scene in the beginning right after the titles and the end scene when Steiner and his platoon are coming in through their own lines.

  • Doug

    I have "True Grit" dvr'ed, drives the wife crazy. I'm afraid to admit I've saw the final shoot out over 100 times (this year)

  • fedup

    Wahlberg's "Shooter" is a good one. Long range stuff as opposed to close up…

  • Sherm

    As long as were making a list lets add "Taken", bad guy body count is hard to track.

  • bullsi1911

    What the hell, you missed 'Miller's Crossing!'
    Tommy Gun, Bathrobe, Slippers and 'Danny Boy' playing as incredible amounts of ammo were turned to muzzle flashes. That needed to be in the top 5 along with 'Way of The Gun'

  • Luis

    I agree with FIRE as the best, but RESERVOIR DOGS of Q. Tarantino (bank robbery escape scene) must be included as one of the TOP 5

  • guest

    I was glad to see Open Range on this list. Great western shootout! A lot of misses and smoke. The shotgun blast through the wall was a little hokey. Ronin should definitely be on the list.

  • Topher Christian

    I'll add my vote to 'Way of the Gun' (action-packed and fundamentally-sound tactics) and 'The Long Riders' (this movie forever defined the western shootout for me), and also have to recommend 'Face/Off' for the shootout in the apartment set to "Over the Rainbow."

  • paullyg

    What about "The Cullpepper Cattle Co" with Billy Greenbush-Bo Hopkins-Luke Askew- Goephury Lewis? This was a great western cattle drive gone to hell.

    • Gregory J. Hill

      Exactly right, paullyg…the 'Bar Shootout' is a Classic Western one, at that, and the 'Final Shootout', with Wayne Sutherlin, Geoffery Lewis, Luke Askew and Bo Hopkins all perishing, is another Classic Shootout, even with the 'twist' ending. Seems 'the Kid' doesn't want to be a 'gunslinger', after all…

  • desert shellback

    Every engagement in "Act of Valor".
    Supposedly every firefight was with standard military issue ammo excepting the kill shots.

  • Skip

    Appoloosa ! I think this is more the way it would have been in a shoot out.

    • old vet

      Appaloosa AND Heat were both closer to real world, as in real life in gun and knife fights, almost everyone ends up bloody.

  • Coach

    The street battle from Heat as #3? That is without doubt, the GREATEST gun battle in film history!

  • Bob

    I cannot believe you've left out the following movies:

    The International
    Smokin' Aces
    The A-Team
    The Losers
    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    The Departed
    Resident Evil

  • Kevin

    Tombstone! Doc Holiday! "He reminds me of….ME"

  • Christine

    I know I'm late to the party, but what about the shoot out at the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? "You call that running?" "You call that cover?"

  • Lynn F. Lamm

    Hey……I like the Hollywood shoot-outs as much as the next guy……having said that, I am a bit surprised that no one has mentioned the docu-dramas, which are as close to the real thing as you can get, as well as those videos captured by police video cams. Just for starters, "44 Minutes, the Hollywood Shootout" and "In the Line of Duty, the FBI Miami shoot out. Real cops who gave their lives so the rest of us can continue to "go to the movies." There are many short videos of the real deal and it doesn't get any more adrenalin pumping than that……..Lynn

    • Tom Bender

      I worked on 44 minutes.
      I also had the pleasure of attending a speaking engagement where the speaker was a survivor of the Miami

  • phill55

    Really? No mention of Saving Private Ryan? Or Band of Brothers?

  • Brian in Seattle

    No mention of "Red"? Amazing. Just the scene with Helen Mirren firing a Browning M2 in an evening gown should qualify this movie. Several good shootouts, lots of the latest guns. And pretty funny too.

  • SemperFlyBoy

    My favorite recent Clint Eastwood movie was Grand Torino. In the final shootout, Eastwood got rid of all of the bad guys without firing a single shot.

    • nigel66

      This is a wonderful list and very thorough, all my favorites and well done, i just wanted to drop by and mention that the final shootout in The way of the gun deserves a nod. keep up the good work.

  • terz81

    Copland and how about Lee Marvin , the professionals, the Killers, just to mention a few.
    Sand Pebbles and the Dirty Harry series

  • Harding

    Tony Montana might be the one that ends up on the top of the list, but 'Tombstone' should be since it is the only shootout in your list based on an actual event – not someone's idea of what it should be.

    I've read all about the OK Corral, been there, read the newspaper reports, etc. and it was much more dramatic, especially with the real-life actions and the follow-up events.

    And it's the only one of all you reviewed to have been reproduced many, many times with many of film's greatest actors (like Henry Fonda, Kirk Douglas, etc), although both Wyatt Earp and Tombstone are the most historically accurate in their depiction of the event.

  • WSA

    The best movie shootout was "HEAT"

  • @johnniewinesap

    high noon far and away the best ever shoot out and western.

  • 4n6 rule

    So many great movies here, but so far two that I really like have not been mentioned.

    First, the shoot out with Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds in "City Heat".

    Second, the final charge in "Gallipoli".

    The first will leave you rolling on the floor. The second is the one of most powerful scenes I have ever seen. Not as graphic as "Saving Private Ryan" beach scene, but a lot more jarring to the senses.

    • Octavious

      Yep…Gallipoli was terrific

  • bowserb

    Kindof ironic, isn't it? Here is a list of the biggest shoot-em-up movies of all time, and how many of the stars are well-known for their anti-gun politics? Arnold was even on G&A's "most surprising" anti-gun celebrity list just a few weeks ago.


    The Professional, where a trained (assasin -foreign national ) confronts drug dealers and NYPD's finest and the Feds inside an apartment flat ! High Noon = Gary Cooper ? yeah .

  • Mark Taylor

    OMG! Where is Dirty Harry and the bank shootout. S@W 4 MAG and the unforgetable "do you feel lucky"

  • Hersfelder

    Tombstone, RED, and Starship Troopers……..all excellent shootouts!!

  • John

    Favorite movie line “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf—ker”.

  • Vann Morrison

    In the mid 70's there was a movie called Hicky and Boggs starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. Good shoot out at the end on the beach. Culp had an 8" model 29 Smith and Micheal Moriarty was in a Hughes 500 with an M-60 machine gun. I got to sit down and listen to the late Joe Lombardi, the great special effects master,
    talk about the movies he had done the special effects for. I remember him saying that that was the first time an M-60 had been used in a movie.

  • Swamp Heathen 1

    I don't see my weapon of choice during my time in VN. A great weapon…..the U.S. Rifle 7.62mm M14.

  • MnRon


  • Twostepcharlie

    I must agree with your long in the tooth staffers who yelled out "The Wild Bunch". When I first saw it, I had been back from Vietnam two months where I had served a year with the first US Army Mechanized Infantry Unit to be sent to Vietnam. The shootout scenes struck me like no other shootout scenes that I've seen before or since. That those men were willing to put their collective behinds on the line for their comrade was something I did for 356 days of that year. I will never forget the shootout in "The Wild Bunch".

  • Julesington

    Seriously, if Heat is not on here (not the Arnie flick but the DeNiro flick) hen his thread is menstruating.

  • ww2alamoscout

    Anybody remember the 1987 movie "Hamburger Hill"?

    • old vet

      Hamburger Hill was exeptional, but a hard movie to watch, the bad news from home, the boom boom girls, the comradship. It's there along with the brutal fact that the very best die.

  • ww2alamoscout

    Tombstone over Wyatt Earp? Really?

  • Jericho9

    Scarface #1 ? Come on, you must be joking, or high as Tony Montana.

    Have you heard about a little direct-to-video movie, with an unknown director, about an obscure conflict in middle east ? The movie is named Black Hawk Down. You should rent it, it's decent and there is a bit of gunfights…

    Not a single John Woo movie there ? Face/ Off, anyone ?

    Tarentino ripped off all his shootouts from HK movies, BTW. Same as the Matrix directors.

    Not an educated list; it's mostly obvious a list of blockbuster rentals for a rainy sunday afternoon.

  • Ed Boldin

    I can't believe you left out "Bonnie & Clyde" with Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway.

  • james

    How about Desperado bar shootout scene

  • Jeff

    Heat should be number one. The Matrix has no place on the list, BlackHawk Down should be in its spot. The scene with the special forces guys protecting the downed pilot is heroism at its finest and is a true story to boot!

  • Cisco

    My top two are Open Range and Heat. Both of which made the list.

  • Cisco

    Red dawn should have made the list too.

  • NanceN

    The Getaway (Steve McQueen)

  • Vic

    My vote, certainly in the top 5.

    Collateral, alley scene. Just the way it should be done.
    And the nightclub shootout.

  • Gregg

    Bruce Willis in "Last Man Standing", defending the bridge in "Saving Private Ryan", ambush at the minefield in "Kelly's Heroes, Mel Gibson and sons ambushing the Redcoats on the country road in "The Patriot",

  • OZZY

    Despite dating myself, I saw "The Magnificent Seven" at the Terrace theater when it came out in 1960 at the ripe 'ol age of 12. Guess it made quite an impact on me as I still remember it. Have to agree with Cisco, though, "Open Range" and "Heat" for the reality check. Glad I missed the 10 round fanning after reloading from Costner, however. Thanks for pointing that out, Russ. Glad you included "The Wild Bunch" but disappointed "Enemy at the Gates" didn't make it. Up close and personal gets me everytime. Authenticity over gratuitous violence. Some great ones here, tho. Thanks men.

  • MikeE

    How about the HK P7M8 wielded by Alan Rickman in Die Hard?

    • tom

      It is actually P7M13

  • Bryce

    Young Guns?

  • Octavious




  • Ron1911

    HEAT was probably the best shootout movie as far as realism. Perfect example of breaking contact. Shoot communicate, move out. Leap frogging.

  • gary

    robert dinero robbing a bank in new york city with an m -16 dont remember the name

  • Nolan Butcher

    Me and my ex-wife saw Heat in the theaters, and I remember that was the time THX was becoming a standard in theaters. The sound of the gunshots echoing through the buildings and the sound of bullets flying by our heads was amazingly realistic. Between this scene and the great acting from DeNiro and Pacino, this is one of the best movies ever.

  • 1thorobred

    Best shootout scene especially in surround sound…I vote for the movie "Heat" bank robbery shootout!!!!! Classic cops & robbers (Robert Dinero & Al Pacino).

    see for yourself…go to:

    • El Pedroni

      Totally agree with you 100%. That shootout gives me chills because how realistic it looks and specially sounds on a good home theater.

  • Canuckle Head

    I Have to Say of everything on here the most disapointing is that there is no Chuck Norris. Seriously his Missing in Action series alone was well worth a mention for all the action packed chuck we could get. Also i believe his scene of coming out of the water with a M60 is one of the most iconic machine gun weilding scenes in scenimatic history.

  • Jerry Duncan

    Ive got to go along with Cyranos comment, How could you guys have missed Dirty Harry??? Hell, Harry Callahan put Smith & Wessons 44 Magnum on the map, the sales of this hand gun [Small Cannon] went through the roof after this movie. As for one liners [Make My Day] also [Well punk this is a 44 Magnum,the most powerful hand gun in the world and will blow your head clean off your shoulders,Now as for me in all of this confusion I cant remember weather I fired five shots or six, Well Punk,How About It, Do You Feel Lucky ? Well Do You Punk?] Great movie, all in all you guys did a good Job. There just to many good gun movies out there, but I dont think you made the publics or old Clints Day leaving this one out. Good job anyway.

  • Kevin in Cheswick Pa

    The Expendables, that (whole movie) was a guns fight.LOL

  • Jim Macklin

    Saving Private Ryan is number one [the whole movie], The Professionals, the canyon shootout with the outlaws, but please, none of the Matrix special effects. If somebody is shooting at you, gymnastics just makes you an easy target.
    Pale Rider, High Plains Drifter, Tombstone, John Wayne in True Grit, but wish that silly girl had been left behind so the recoil of a Colt horse pistol wouldn't knock her into the pit..

  • Johnny B

    Blackhawk Down was a real war scene and cannot be compared to any other on this list, yet it is not on this list.

  • Rich

    How about the final scene in Bonnie and Clyde?

  • Robert

    Not one mention of "The Getaway"(Mcqueen),tisk,tisk. Better than all of the above Same director as the wild bunch, boys. Also butch C. & S.Kid and last but not least Tom horn.

  • Porthos du Vallon

    Im really surprised Hard Boiled isnt on this list.

  • Jacen

    Go to for more information on the guns used in these movies

  • Chad Underdonk

    Some of those movies don’t belong on the list. ONE that absolutely does and apparently was missed is “Way of the Gun”. Each and every scene with gun-play in it is amazingly well done.

  • Alan

    Last man standing with Bruce Willis should be in the top 3!

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