Directors give guns roles just as they would famous actors. Movies have featured firearms from the beginning. The public’s reaction to weapons in movies have often caused sales to skyrocket, making the guns more popular than they might have been otherwise. Film critics and gun experts argue over the most iconic guns in popular culture, including movies. This list details some of the most iconic weapons on the silver screen.
Smith & Wesson Model 29
Clint Eastwood gave the S&W Model 29 its screen debut when he played San Francisco detective “Dirty” Harry Callahan in the 1971 movie “Dirty Harry.” The movie was the first in a series in which Eastwood carried a Model 29 44 Magnum. S&W built the Model 29 in 1955 and released it on the market in 1956. Remington produced the first ammunition, using a 240-grain bullet with a muzzle energy of nearly 1,200 feet per second.
Although there was a more powerful gun on the market, Callahan called the Model 29 “the most powerful handgun in the world.” Smith & Wesson enjoyed great success with its Model 29 as the movie became an instant classic. Director John Milius owns one of the original Model 29s. It is on display in the Hollywood Guns display at the William B. Ruger Gallery.
James Bond 007 uses a lot of weapons and is known for his guns. Many weapons have been used throughout the fictional legend’s movie career but the most iconic is the 7.65mm Walther PPK. The Walther PPK is the handgun that James Bond used in the original Ian Fleming novels. The Walther PPK described in Dr. No, Bond’s first film, was actually a PP (“police pistol”), a larger model than the PPK. Bond changed models when he used a 9mm Walther P99 in Tomorrow Never Dies, however, he went back to using a PPK in Spectre.
This gun wins the day in many movies from westerns to modern day classics. Although it’s over 100 years old, aficionados and collectors love the 1911. It plays a great role in every movie it has appeared in, including a stylized version in “Supernatural,” and as the enforcer used by Jeff Bridges in the “The Big Lebowski.”
The sleek Italian-made Beretta 92 shows up well on screen. Many movie heroes have used the flashy 9mm including Mel Gibson in “Lethal Weapon” and Bruce Willis as John McClane in the “Die Hard” series.
Colt Single Action Army
No western would be complete without an appearance by the Colt Single Action Army – AKA the Colt Peacemaker. Marshals and villains carried this gun, and it was stowed behind many bars. Wyatt Earp carried a Colt SAA, although it wasn’t the gun he used at the OK Corral. The guns are still used in Cowboy Action Shooting.
The Next Icons
Moviemakers continue to use a wide variety of weapons in their movies – real and fictitious. Along with the Desert Eagle and many ARs, guns will always play a part on the big screen and in popular culture.