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December 02, 2008

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Bourjaily: My Favorite Gun Movie

Today’s topic is Favorite Gun Movies, a category that includes any film in which movie makers actually try to get guns, hunting or shooting right. Winchester ’73 is a great gun movie (with showman-shooter Herb Parsons standing off camera, “stunt” shooting for Jimmy Stewart). Saving Private Ryan is a great gun movie. As a shotgunner, I really like The Shooting Party, a detailed look at a weekend of aristocratic driven-pheasant shooting on the eve of World War I.

My favorite, though, is 1975’s The Wind and the Lion. . It’s a hoot of a movie, a high-spirited, tongue-in-cheek politically incorrect tale of gunboat diplomacy in the era of The Big Stick. Set in 1904, it is very loosely based on a real historical incident, the kidnapping of American citizen Ion Pedicaris in Morocco by a Berber bandit named Risuli.

It has:

Brian Keith, perfect as Teddy Roosevelt. In the clip he discusses taxidermy and gun fit.

A pre-Murphy Brown Candice Bergen holding Dallas’ Steve Kanaly at gunpoint with a Model 97.

Sean Connery as a Berber bandit chieftain with a Scottish accent.

The Marines practicing a bit of successful regime change.

The Germans as the bad guys.

Lots of cool turn of the century ordnance, including Maxim guns, Colt Potato Diggers, Krag-Jorgensens, Model 97s, an 1895 Winchester, a broomhandle Mauser and more.

So that’s my favorite gun movie. I’ve seen it at least five times. The floor is now open to your nominations.


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WA Mtnhunter

A lot more Arab and Berber "princes" & sheiks at bayonet point sounds pretty good about now.



"Jeremiah Johnson" stamped the Hawken rifle in my young brain, where it has remained ever since!

Never forget the scene where Redford pries the Hawken from Hatchet Jack's frozen carcass and reads the note attached: "I, Hatchet Jack, of sound mind and broke legs, leave this Hawken rifle to him that finds it. It is a good rifle and kilt the bear that kilt me..."


A Christmas Story. The Red Rider BB Gun. You'll shoot your eye out. I never wanted a gun as much as I wonted that gun at that time in my life.

Heat is an excellent gun movie where the actors seem to have been trained very well on the use of their weapons.


Can't leave Dirty Harry and his 44 magnum off the list. Do you feel lucky punk?


You nailed it with Winchester ’73


I liked "The Wind and the Lion" too, but the best of all 'gun movies', even if it is a made-for-TV movie, was "The Rough Riders". It too had all the good ordinance of the time and dealt with real personalities, Teddy, Leonard Wood, Bucky O'Neil, and a hoot of the ex-confederate general who led the corps the RRs were attached too.


Good choice, Phil. The opening scene, where the English bodyguard coolly stands his ground and shoots down five attacking Berber horsemen with what looks like some sort of Webley Bulldog before running out of ammunition ("Damn," was what he said when that happened) told you that you were in for a jolly good show.

I have two favorites. "The Outlaw Josey Wales" has lots of Colts, a Gatling gun, and what looks like a Sharps needle gun (a few years ahead of its time). The scene where Wales turns the tables on two mountain men holding him at gunpoint is worth the admission price all by itself.

The second is "Quigley Down Under." It wasn't that good a movie, but the Quigley's Sharps .45-110 rifle should have gotten an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.


Outlaw Jose Wales.

The Glockers never can comprehend cap-n-ball revolvers handling like that.


Have not we been through something similiar to this topic before? What the hell it's fun so in addition to seconding the previously mentioned movies I'll add Lonesome Dove, Tombstone, the remake of Montie Walsh (gunfight at the end), Open Range (a little hokey on the gunfighting with Kosner getting up to 16 shots from that Colt Single Action Army without reloading but we all know that's movie biz), Unforgiven (loved the Spencer and the Schofield), Last Stand at Sabre River (cool nickel & engraved Colt '51), both Young Guns, Last Man Standing (neat work with 1911s which reminds us that they were older than the Model A Ford that they arrived in), The Bear, Newton Boys, and that movie that was a takeoff on shooting reality that I watched recently with the guy protecting the baby while eating carrots and shooting bad guys (not realistic but humourous in a sick way), can't remember the name. There are lots more...

Jim in Mo

I don't know about gun movies but... I like this. When I was eight yrs old sittin on the couch at 6am sat. morning with my bowl of cereal all those guns looked cool to me authentic or not.


I like 'Band of Brothers', never get tired of seeing/hearing the Garand and those MG-42's. Plus the one paratrooper hell-bent on getting a Luger for his kid-brother.
'Enemy at the Gates' is good too.


I vote for ZARDOZ! Not only do you have an only slightly balding Sean Connery in a red loincloth (and not much else) brandishing what looks like a Webley but you have a flying giant stone head that vomits forth various munitions like a cat with a hairball. Admittedly the plot is so lame it is almost unfathomable (it is clearly Connerys "Barbarella moment")but for sheer yucks (with lots o' guns)it is hard to match. So lets all supress the brutals for Zardoz!


How about the movie "The Sand Pebbles" BAR's and '03 Springfields......


Actually, I think our standards are much too high. Every flick mentioned here doesn't allow the action to get in the way of the plot.


What about bonanza?




I got my first Red Rider when I was about 8 or 9. But, I still like the old re-runs of Gunsmoke and the Rifleman. Fancy lever on Luke's Winchester and Matt could sure shoot his hog leg. LOL


Probably couldn't tell from my first post but, I'm an old cowboy fanatic. LOL


"The Sand Pebbles" - Steve McQueen handles the BAR like an extention of himself.

"Unforgiven" - Hey, they did have something besides Colt 1873s...

"The Professionals" - Lee Marvin always equals MARINE to me.

"True Grit" - every time I see John Wayne spin his 1892 large loop Winchester I'm reminded of the story where they were making the rifle for "Stagecoach" and brought the rifle to Wayne after adding the large loop. First time he tries to spin it he smacks himself in the face with the barrel. Next mod is shorter barrel...


I personally love the movie "The Lost Battalion." It's an A&E WWI movie that has as good live action as Band of Brothers and a great story line. The gun I like best in that movie is the venerable 1911, with which the dough boys went to town on the krauts at close range.

Jack Bohm

Hmm. Already Mentioned but, Band of Brothers- I do so love those M-1A1 Carbines (the Parartoop Model), the Garand etc. I wonder why the 3rd Episode did not show German FallschirmJaegers with the FG-42- a Veteran of the battle that I know recalled seeing them.

Saving Private Ryan, enough said.

Shooter was OK.

Dirty Harry and the Sequels were great.

Blue Ox

I really like 'Tombstone'. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday was priceless.
'The Ghost & the Darkness' was pretty good too, what with Michael Douglas waving that Kodiak 45/70 double around.
(Kilmer gets knocked on his ass by firing that same gun later in the movie!)

joe casey

The Wild Bunch. It must hold the record for shots fired.

I'm in school right now

Either 'the good, the bad, and the ugly' or 'a christmas story'


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