Gun Movie Throwdown Round 1

Editor’s Note: I bet you thought we’d forgotten about this.

Here we go with the first round of the Gun Movie Throwdown! In today’s action, the 1 seeds from across each bracket will be taking on the number 8 seeds. Here we go with the matchups, first out of the gate is the War/Military bracket.

Saving Private Ryan (1) vs. Full Metal Jacket (8)

When Saving Private Ryan came out, it changed the game for war movies. It had gritty, realistic action to the point that actual combat vets of Normandy decried the film as too realistic. The guns are great, with M1 Garands pinging their way across France in search of a lost member of the Airborne.

Full Metal Jacket is largely revered for the first half of the movie – the boot camp scenes with Gunnery Sergeant Hartman training the boots, culminating in the weird, disjointed bathroom murder suicide. The film then shifts gears to Vietnam, and just bogs down. Despite featuring a young Hero of Canton wielding an M60, the second half of the film ins’t any good.

In no surprise, Saving Private Ryan takes this one in a walk-over. It’s a better movie, it has better gunhandling, cooler guns, and is a more convincing and interesting portrayal of combat.

Our next brack is Period/Western, with Zulu in the Number 1 seed taking on scrappy underdog Quigley Down Under.

Zulu (1) vs. Quigley Down Under (8)

Zulu is regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time. Depicting the Battle of Rourke’s Drift, where 150 British soldiers defended their position against an onslaught of Zulu warriors. The movie has great guns if you’re a fan of the weapons of British Empire, but does run a little long, clocking in at 2 hours and 20 minutes. That’s a long time, and unless you’re a fan of the era, the movie can drag a bit.

Our scrappy underdog is Quigley Down Under, starring Tom Selleck, his mustache, a beautiful Sharps rifle, and Alan Rickman as the villain. If you ever meet a gun person who doesn’t like this movie, you should probably just kick them in the junk and walk away. The only downside to this movie is it was made during the inexplicable period of American history where we allowed Laura San Giacomo to be famous. Her annoying character adds nothing to the film, and everyone agrees that the best scenes in the movie are the ones without her. Still, it’s one of the great gun movies, and westerns of all time.

In a massive upset, Quigley Down Under defeats Zulu because Magnum, P.I. shoots Professor Snape in the chest.

Our next bracket is Action/Sci-Fi.

Terminator 2 (1) vs. Last Man Standing (8)

Terminator 2 is considered one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. It was a massive commercial success, and the some of the catch-phrases are still with us today, albeit primarily used ironically by hipster scum. The guns of T2 are mostly mundane, but the 1887 Winchester shotgun, sawed-off with a big loop for swing cocking could carry the film on its own. There’s also a great assortment of 1911s, the classic Beretta, and some sweet mini-gun action as well.

Last Man Standing is a Bruce Willis action vehicle, which is a straight rip of Clint Eastwood’s Fistful of Dollars. Of course, Fistful of Dollars is basically a rip-off of Yojimbo, but that’s not the point. Last Man Standing is about as straightforward Hollywood shoot ’em up as possible, with some great action sequences of Bruce Willis dual-wielding 1911s. There are a ton of great period guns from the 1930s, Colt Official Polices and Hand Ejectors galore.

In the end, Last Man Standing is a fun action piece, but it’s not good enough to beat T2. Terminator 2 wins in a close decision.

Heat (1) vs. Dirty Harry (8)

For this one, no long explanation is needed. Dirty Harry wins in an upset for one simple, shining reason. “I know what you’re thinking, punk. You’re thinking “did he fire six shots or only five?” Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow you head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself a question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?”

Dirty Harry wins because Clint Eastwood and a .44 Magnum is better than all the yelling Al Pacino in the world.

Here are the brackets going into next week, with the 2-7 matchups.


1. Saving Private Ryan
2. Black Hawk Down
3. The Dirty Dozen
4. Enemy at the Gates
5. Red Dawn (original)
6. Act of Valor
7. The Wild Geese
8. Full Metal Jacket


1. Zulu
2. Last of the Mohicans
3. Shane
4. Open Range
5. A Fistful of Dollars
6. 3:10 to Yuma (Christian Bale)
7. The Wild Bunch
8. Quigley Down Under


1. Terminator 2
2. The Expendables
3. Bad Boys 2
4. Die Hard
5. The Matrix
6. Tremors
7. Lethal Weapon
8. Last Man Standing


1. Heat
2. Collateral
3. The Kingdom
4. Ronin
5. Hard Boiled
6. Way of the Gun
7. The Professional
8. Dirty Harry


  1. Laura San Giacomo brought two things to that movie and every other role (ba-dum-bump, oink) and Yojimbo is Kirosawa doing a bang-up job of bringing Hammett to the screen.

  2. Great picks Caleb but you left one out that in my opinion should be included!!
    RED w/Bruce Willis, Maria Sorvino?, Morgan Freeman and the Man John Malkovich!! Great movie! Even better gun fight shoot’em up scenes(M2 .50cal in parking garage)!! And RED2 is no slouch either! JMHO!! Keep up the great work!

  3. Gotta give a shout-out to Nemesis, a cyberpunk B movie. In one memorable scene, a monstrous black guy in a high-top fade carries and uses an M2 50 caliber in an apartment.

    I’m going to have to find that movie, just for that scene.

  4. @nelson r colon
    Thank you Sir! Am at work and couldn’t remember her name for sure!! Awesome movie though!!

  5. The Wild Geese FTMFW. James Bond forcing a drug dealer to eat a whole kilo of bad heroin at the point of his Sig P210. The best assortment of forgotten weapons every on film. Suppressed P38. PE-57. Sterling. VZ26. Bren. Vickers. Dumbledore tossing hand grenades in illegal casinos. It’s like The Expendables with better guns, better script, and WAY better acting.

    Search your feelings. You know it to be true…

  6. I’m surprised Aliens didn’t make the Action / Sci-Fi list. M41A Pulse Rifle: 10x24mm explosive, armor-piercing, caseless, and 99 to a mag, and the integrate U1 30x72mm grenade launcher.

    Also, how are you mashing-together Action and Sci-Fi? You’re artificially limiting the contenders in what are arguably the two most gun-tastic genres in all of film! It’s like the Brady Bunch is running this bracket 😉

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