WARNING: Our list of movie shootouts contains spoilers galore. If you haven’t seen the films listed below, we suggest watching them in full first. You won’t regret it.
When it comes to guns in Hollywood, we’re pretty vocal. We criticize Hollywood when it pulls stupid shit like it did with “The Hunt” trailer. At length we’ve spoken about Hollywood’s hypocrisy when it comes to firearms. We’ve also called out Hollywood on its ridiculous gun myths and its general lack of knowledge on gun sales.
On the flip side, we enjoy a good “shoot ’em up” pic. We’ll look the other way when a film features some fun gunplay or, though much more rare, realistic tactics, good shooting, and accurate guns. We’ve talked about our favorite guns from movies before. Today, we look at our favorite movie shootouts of all time.
Our Favorite Movie Shootouts
Our list of movie shootouts isn’t based on realism or gun-handling — though we appreciate when those elements work their way in. This list is more about fun. We went for a good plot and lots of #PewPew. We also stayed away from war films. Wars, by definition, are shootouts. We wanted this list to be more “organic,” if that’s even the right word. Plus, there are so many great war films that we could probably create a list of only war films.
It’s also our list, so you don’t have to agree with it. We’re sure you have some favorites we didn’t list here. Let us know what they are in the comment section below. Now, onto our list of our favorite movie shootouts.
There were actually several quality shootouts in “Tombstone,” like when Wyatt Earp — played quite well by all-around badass and 2A supporter Kurt Russell — “walks on water” to kill Curly Bill Brocious. However, the “Shootout at the OK Carrol” is major page in Old West history. It’d be an insult not to include it here. The borderline creepy musical score adds to the tension and a stacked cast delivers an incredible scene. Not enough can be said about how amazing Val Kilmer was as Doc Holliday in this film.
From a cinematic perspective, “L.A. Confidential” is the best film on this list and it’s not even close. A perfectly written masterpiece, the film focuses on corruption in 1950’s Los Angeles, specifically within the LAPD. It also provides a number of scenes for firearm enthusiasts, but nothing rivals the final shootout. Russell Crowe — right before his Academy Award nomination binge — truly delivered in this scene. His “surprise” shotgun blast is an all-time great.
Arguably the best gunfight on this list, the shootout in “Heat” was an over-the-top spectacle featuring two Hollywood greats duking it out in broad daylight on a busy Los Angeles street. A-listers Robert de Niro and Al Pacino —who unnecessarily yells through most of the movie — deliver amazing performances on opposite sides of the law, while Kilmer graces our list again. Our pal Larry Vickers recently released a video breaking down this entire shootout. It’s definitely worth a watch.
Better get used to seeing writer Taylor Sheridan’s films on this list because, spoiler alert, there are two more after this one. Sheridan’s 2015 debut “Sicario” focused on the wars on drugs near the Mexican border. From a firearms and tactical perspective, this film is very good, as demonstrated in the border shootout scene above. Firstly, you can cut the tension in this scene with a plastic butter knife. Beyond that, the tactical attention to detail is far above average for Hollywood. For example, notice the actor at 3:56 point his rifle to the ground to avoid muzzle sweeping his team. It’s the little things that make this film a favorite of ours. Sheridan is a gun guy and that’s evident in his writing.
Hell or High Water
Angry Texans with carry permits and a sniper on a ridge in the desert — what more could you ask for? Sheridan again delivers with the gunplay in his 2016 film “Hell or High Water” about a sheriff on the hunt for two armed robbers in Texas. Skip the part from 4:08 to 7:04 if you just want the shootout.
Sheridan’s 2017 film “Wind River” centers on a murder investigation in Wyoming. Again, he has a knack for building tension, which makes this scene. The shootout ensues in the film’s final act and it is a grade-A gunfight. However, it separates itself from the pack because of one large reason: A scoped Marlin Model 1895SBL .45-70 rifle packed with 500gr bullets.
Cheesy? Yes. Unrealistic? Very. There are ridiculous reloads, unnecessary firing tactics, missed shots within 10 feet using Uzis in an open room, zero recoil, and plenty more. But we go to movies to be entertained, and this one is pure #PewPew entertainment at its finest. There are two full-auto rifles firing out of a guitar case. And don’t even get us started on the rocket launcher guitar case — that’s just a thing of beauty.
Love him or hate him, Ben Affleck is a solid director and “The Town” might be his best work. Full of wicked awesome accents, the 2010 heist film centered around Boston — or “Baaahhston” — culminates with serious firefight at the cathedral known as Fenway Park. Criminals versus the FBI and Boston’s Finest at Fenway? We’re in.
Few direct ’em like Quentin Tarantino. As an homage to Spaghetti Westerns, his 2012 flick “Django Unchained” was filled with fun, outrageous, bloody gunplay; definitely different from the realism of “Tombstone.” The third act has the film’s title character, played by Jamie Foxx, unload on a plantation staff with every revolver he can get his hands on.
What would this list be without our pal John Wick? Keanu Reeves trained hard for the Wick series with the people at Taran Tactical. The training paid off big time, especially at the box office. The whole franchise is an overwhelming display of gun porn. However, the first film’s club scene set the standard for both body count and weapon manipulation.