The story goes that Harrison Ford had the flu when he was supposed to shoot a fight scene for The Raiders of the Lost Ark. The result was an on-the-spot script change that will live forever in movie history as the best ever-gunfight. Of course, you may beg to differ. Don’t beg! Paste. Just paste the YouTube url in a comment below – without adding text. Anyway, why would you? Great gunfight scenes speak for themselves. And us.

188 Responses to Question of the Day: Is This the Best Gunfight Scene in Movie History?

    • Ok, let’s get picky eh! Merriam Webster defines “gunfight” as “A fight in which people shoot guns at each other”. But. like the fellow said, “The guy forgot and brought a knife to a gunfight!”

    • Nah it was still a gun fight, just they both broke some of the rules. Guy with sword broke rule #1 (have a gun) and Indiana Jones broke rule #2 (have a long gun).

  1. That ROTLA scene was shot that way because Ford and half the cast and crew had Dysentery. Ford was ready to crap his pants so he asked if he couldn’t just shoot the guy instead of fighting him with a sword.
    Also:

    • Yea Heat is one of my favs as well, the first Payday: The Heist game has a map called Heat Street, fun as hell.

      WE ARE HERE FOR THE BANKS MONEY!

    • Oh hell yeah… the thing that really impressed me about that scene was how sound of the gun fire just reverberated through the city.

      • I love the shootout from Heat for the same reason; the sound is intense and one of the few movies that I think get it right.!

  2. Sadly, the stuntman who wielded the sword in Raiders died, recently. Speaking as a professional fight director/choreographer, that scene is my favorite movie fight scene.

    • Yea it seems the few things we can agree on, are westerns, and Steve McQueen.

      Then again, I grew up with my dad watching anything that had the Duke or Clint Eastwood in it…

    • Two things: just before this opens Gibson’s character placed several loaded rifles behind several different trees nearby, and the shooting pretty well stops at 2:07.

  3. For my money, the gun fight at the end of To Live and Die in LA. It’s fast, close range, and confusing. It also makes the excellent point that even though you have hit your opponent they may in fact not actually die in a timely fashion, say, before they hit you, and powerfully as well. If there was ever a stark visual refutation to the anti’s perennial query of, ‘couldn’t they just have wounded him?’ this is it. Like the redhead too.

  4. Yes. the simplicity and anti-climactic nature was just great.

    And Indy shot first, at least until there’s a re-release.

  5. One of my faves, totally classic. Silverado near the end, Paden (Kevin Kline) and Cobb (Brian Dennehy). The good guy wins. A great gunfight!!

  6. LOL I have to admit Robert that was the absolute best fight scene in it’s day 🙂 Sure there have been others since that are close, but none equal, the look on Harrison Ford’s face is priceless.

    • That is one thing about Blackhawk Down that wasn’t very clear in the movie. Those Little Birds were running all day long. Multiple trips to reload. The movie only showed them run once but they were mowing the Somalians down almost the whole time.

  7. I am too uncool to do the video clip, but my favorite is Bruce Willis’ character taking back the bridge of the Floston Paradise Cruise Ship in the Fifth Element, I think a close top-twenty honorable mention, is the shoot-out in the lobby (same movie).

  8. My vote goes to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The battle between humans and apes with a chimpanzee shooting 2 machine guns on horseback is priceless. And hilarious. If the filmmakers were going anti-gun message they FAILED miserably. Arm up…the apes are coming!

    • I love this scene, except I doubt that Harry would have come in the place and confronted these dudes, with his 44 mag still in it’s holster??

  9. I’d also like to throw out the ending of The Man From Nowhere. There’s only about a minute of shooting before they run out of bullets and it turns into a knife fight, but it’s an intense scene nontheless.

    • You beat me to it. I love “Quigley Down Under”. There are so many great westerns and military movie gun fight scenes to pick from, that I would have a very difficult time picking just one scene. The finale of “Act of Valor” is the ultimate scene in sheer volume of fire, but classic westerns like “High Noon”, “Silverado”, “Shane”, and more obscure movies like “Valdez is Coming”, “The Professionals” and so many more. It is really hard for me to pick one and say it’s the best, so having to pick only one, It’s Quigley.

      • The best payoff ever: “I said I never had much use for one. Never said I didn’t know how to use it.”

      • Claudia Cardinale…hummahumma..

        Also, a tip of my cap to you for fleeing the NY/NJ area for the desert as well. I was born in NJ and lived there for 25+ years and i can’t possibly imagine ever moving back…

        • I made the stupid mistake of going back for a while after college. I realized right away that I made a mistake and booked it back to Free America. My wife is from NJ, she feels the same way.

        • You n me got a lot in common. I’m from NJ and the old ball and chain is from NY. Next you’re gonna tell me you studied a STEM area in college.

        • Yep. I don’t think the colleges were calling it STEM way back in 2005, but my degrees fall into that category.

  10. Wow, too many great ones to point to one as being the best. See many of my favorites referenced already. I do remember however being a kid and laughing out loud in the movie theater when ‘Indiana’ whipped out his Webley and blasted that swash-buckling sword dude. (we all laughed, it turned out to be a classic scene)

    • I always wondered about that wet bathtub pistol, in the TV series Hell on Wheels, there is a very similiar scene but the guy in the bathtub gets his blaster dropped in the bathtub.

      • IDK. What I did take from that scene years ago was:

        1) Seeking vengeance can get you killed.
        2) Always be armed; always.
        3) There’s a time to talk and there’s a time to act. Confusing the two can be deadly.

    • Not underated at all…voted best movie of 1997 by movie critics. Should have beat the lame Titannic. That scene was awesome. It made me go out and buy a pump shotgun! LOL

  11. Picking the best gunfight scene is like picking the right caliber for your weapon. They are all good, but one is clearly king, and its the .357 magnum, like Indie is wielding in Raiders

  12. The gun fight between the LAPD and a group of bank robbers in Michael Mann’s Heat is by far the best IMO. Mann is a shooting enthusiast and his attention to detail/realism shows. He is also a certified firearms instructor.

  13. Since the best shootout is the one that never happens, you gotta consider the sheriff’s split personality scene in Blazing Saddles….

  14. Can’t find any clips but two scenes from the movie “The Wind and the Lion.” are great gun fights. The Marines march to the Palace and the Marines rescue Mrs. Perdicaras and her son.

  15. The scene at the end of The Kingdom is pretty good. Also in the middle of the movie when they were ambushed.

    • My old house was in that movie during the initial attack and chase sequence. “The western housing compound” was family housing for ASU Polytechnic.

  16. I’d have to say the one from heat is by far the best. Puts you right into the action it feels like

    Also am kinda partial to the scene from the A-team movie outside the bank in Germany.

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