Matthew Howe writes:

As TTAG has documented many times, Hollywood isn’t particularly friendly to civilian gun rights. Despite their utterly hypocritical reliance on guns and gunplay to line their own pockets they tend to vocally appose the right to keep and bear arms by the population as a whole. Yet, in 1966, Canadian director Norman Jewison (never known for his right-wing beliefs) made a film called The Russians are Coming, The Russians are ComingIt’s a cold war comedy about a Soviet spy sub which runs aground off the coast of Massachusetts. The Russian crew infiltrates the local community trying to steal a boat big enough to drag the sub off the sandbar. Hilarity and social commentary ensue . . .

Yet it’s the climax of the film, in which the submarine’s captain faces off against the gunned-up residents of Gloucester Island, that might just be the best example Hollywood has ever filmed showing the advantages of an armed civilian population. Was that the intent of the filmmakers, or a happy (for us) accident?

What would the Entertainment Industries Council have to say if this flick were made today? I’m guessing more exploding heads than Scanners.

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57 Responses to When Hollywood Demonstrated The Benefits of an Armed Population: The Russians are Coming

    • I recommend the movie “The In-Laws” with Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. Arkin’s character is a dentist, Sheldon Kornpett. As a member of that profession for 32 years, I can tell you that his portrayal of us was spot-on and hilarious. My favorite scene is when Falk is yelling “serpentine, Shelley, serpentine!” Arkin’s response is classic!

    • When that movie was made you could order new guns and milsurps out of catalog adds and have them delivered to your door by the usps.

      We need to get back to that.

  1. Todays hollywood would play up the plight of the poor communists that are being oppressed by the intolerant residents of the town who simply are clinging to their religion and guns.

      • White guilt, yeah.

        Sorta like what happened to Cuba. Only one major economy in the world did not have a trade agreement with Cuba after 1960. That one hold-out is responsible for all the political and economic disaster Cuba has endured since.

        • Absolutely! Of course, if a single country has that much effect, maybe their opinion should be considered!

        • The only opinion that counts is the one stating that the single hold-out nation is also responsible for every negative event in the lives of all the peoples of the planet.

  2. to this day ma will work “whatcha doin’ on the wall, muriel?” into the occasional conversation.
    arkin was always sublime; the in laws, freebie and the bean.
    i think the sub would have razed the town, but then it wouldn’t have been a happy ending.

    • Ahnuld was a sheriff in an Arizona town demanding to see a permit for Knoxvilles Revolver on knoxvilles property while knoxville was open carrying.

      hollywood can’t get shit right.

      • To say nothing of Glocks that went “click-click-click” when empty, which is wrong for at least two reasons.

  3. IMHO, you have to separate the actors and the actual production studios.

    The actors/directors/guilds believe in portraying a utopia of a left liberal agenda because that is the murica they want it to be even if it is not. TV/Movies have become a social agenda propaganda. I find it hard to find a single network TV show that does not have a minority, gay or lesbian theme right now. I waiting for the illegals crossing the border reality TV show with prizes. Many shows also seem to want to lecture the audience which annoys me to no end.

    The production/distribution studios do not give a crap as long as it makes money.

    I keep finding it hard to find something I want to watch and keep deferring to books.

    • +1.. Especially about the books.

      My wife and kids have heard me scream at movies so many times that they can point out the flaws in logical self defense before i can open my mouth….. But whats the fun in a movie that could be solved in the first 10 minutes by an alert mindset and a gun?….. Drama don’t work without stupid.

  4. I live on an island and we often use the “I thought all the nuts went home after Labor Day” comment. Great implausible fun happy kind of movie that’s good for you to see once in a while

  5. Wolverines! Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

    Kidding aside, I am curious at the resilience of the “Civilian guns would do no good, ever” assertion. On the one hand we have the example of Korean neighborhoods during the LA riots. Sorry, one of the LA riots. Indeed, when order breaks down, communities and citizens can do themselves some good. One wonders if this erosion of dependence is at the root of mocking keeping a larder or a generator as “prepping.” (From my POV, the stats resolve to being able to maintain in place for about 3 days without services as one bogie. Sometimes it takes a while to get power back. And if you have to move – absent a zombie apocalypse, or similar – being able to go a couple days with what you have on hand helps you get out of the storm track, or similar.)

    On the other, “you’ll never set up meaningful insurgency”, hand the US with various configurations of allies and coalition partners have been dealing with somewhere between one and five insurgencies in and around the middle ease, for somewhere between several years and forever. They seem to be doing pretty well – the insurgencies, I mean. None of them have helicopters or 5th gen fighter jets.

    The point of armed citizens is not so much to defeat a modern army in the field. There are two other points, not nearly so straw-filled. On the one hand, armed citizens are less dependent on the state for their well being, so the “straighten up, or we’ll abandon you to the wolves” “argument” carries less weight. On the other hand, insurgencies slow them down, and especially in a world with the interweb, generate contrary political pressure. 1) Maybe the proles aren’t so in favor of what you are imposing on them for their own good. and 2) Is inflicting smaller big gulps on the unwashed really worth that much bloodshed, there Bloomie?

    • Once again, let us review the landscape”
      Ruby Ridge
      1st Bundy
      2d Bundy
      Bundy Arrested

      Egregious overreach by the central government. Where were all the patriots? Do you not think the founders would have destroyed the central government, after the constitution, if such things as above had happened during their lives?

      There are many more episodes where the central government intruded on individual rights. Protecting something directly important to an individual (like armed defense of a business during a riot) is one thing, but we have nor reason to believe armed citizens will “rise up” everywhere over “rights” that don’t impact something immediate and personal.

      I do not believe the US government will be as restrained against its own populace as it is in foreign lands. Civil war is the most vicious.

      • Well, while I suspect we’re of similar minds on what is “overreach.” I see those examples differently.

        Egregious overreach, and they’d love to have done more – yes. Yet, the presence of citizen arms increased the level of mess & publicity, making just another operation into an event, generating political push back. Some of them don’t much like cameras among the masses for similar reasons.

        We don’t get the perps of Waco indicted and strung up right away, just because there were guns on the citizens’ side, or cameras about.

        BUT, because it was a kerfuffle, every head of the Justice Dept thereafter filters things through “Is this gonna be another PR mess like Waco?” Having 300,000,000 guns out in the population raises the odds off any given over reach turning into a PR mess. People shooting back generates more noise. As another example, whatever you think of the ranchers’ stand-off in the SW not long ago, having an actual standoff elevated the issue; arms on both sides both made it news, and all that brought federal administration of “public” lands, and high-handed enforcement into a broader conversation.

        I’m noting a partial counter-pressure because there are guns in the population. Also, I noting that this does some good, independent of whether armed citizens could stand off or defeat a modern army in the field – the usual “citizens’ guns securing citizens’ rights is crap” straw-argument.

        • I admire you support of the no-shows. But your missed the question regarding how much of the overreach described would the founders have tolerated. Corollary: why do we tolerate it?
          There really hasn’t even been a notable legal or political resistance. Maybe we are collectively just keeping our heads down, hoping the government will not notice us.

        • Maybe it’s because individualists don’t organize into cohesive groups too well, so we don’t believe that the rest of our brethren will heed our battle cry and take up arms with us.
          I know if I took a stand against the redcoats no one would stand with me. I am prepared to die and kill for freedom, but I’m not going to commit suicide for nothing.

        • You accurately describe the conditions. All these claims here that “one day”, “some time”, “you just wait” and the revolution will come. If we all believed what we say, We would be reading this blog behind a barricade or from a defensive trench. No, civil war isn’t coming. Nor, apparently, is the “legal” revolution.

        • By definition all revolution is illegal, until such time as the revolting party gains power and pardens their sins.

        • You got me there. However I have never known legislation to ever work that quickly. Even the none controversial stuff is sedentary.

      • Could be. Could be not. Those of us willing to give it up need to be concerned, I gather you do not. So, why are you here?

        • “Could be. Could be not. Those of us willing to give it up need to be concerned, I gather you do not. So, why are you here?”

          I don’t quite understand your reply comment.

  6. I think the Tremors movies (and tv show) were probably the best recent examples of movies that showed civilian gun ownership in a positive light (even though Burt Gummer was portrayed as being somewhat imbalanced and paranoid).

    • Burt isn’t paranoid if there really are giant hungry sand worms (and explosive carnivorous chicken things they grow from) beneath his feet that are out to get him!

    • Best gun scene in Tremors. They have to run from their wagon to a safe rock. The teenager is too scared so survivalist guy gives him a pistol.

      They run, the kid tries to shoot the worm, but his gun is empty.

      They reach the rock. The kid is pissed that the dude tricked him. Survivalist guy says “like I’d give you a loaded gun.” He takes it back, then, even though we’ve established its unloaded, checks that it’s unloaded again before holstering it.

      Lotta respect for gun owners in that movie.

  7. I remember watching this movie on a brutally cold winter night while wrapped in a blanket about 10 years ago. Good entertainment to pass the time.

  8. I lived in Gloucester. No one calls it “Gloucester Island.” It’s a peninsula, not an island. There is a cut (canal) running across it, but that doesn’t make it an island.

  9. The Russians Are Coming was my first “real” date. At the callow age of 14 I took an older woman – she was all of 15 – to see the movie. She was kind enough to allow me to give her a quick kiss when I walked her to her door. Nothing went any further although we were good friends until I joined the navy four years later. We lost touch and I have no idea where she’s at 50 years later. I can’t watch the Russians Are Coming without thinking about those far off days when we were all knees and elbows and full of ourselves. The movie is still funny and I still wonder where they got that old WW2 vintage sub with the deck gun. And I wish Rose Mary the best and I hope that she’s had a good life.

  10. I’ve always loved the that movie. Interestingly thou when I rewatched it last week I did notice a fair bit of anti private gun ownership flavor.
    Seems Hollywood has always been anti gun.

  11. Am I the only one who didn’t like the movie. The Americans and the Russians banding together to save the little kid was too much for me.

    Even at the tender age of 11, I got that the Russians (at least the politicians and the military (except for Marcos Ramius)) were America’s enemy. So, the script having them work together (see, we’re all just people) glossed over what might have happened in the aftermath of this accidental invasion.

    Does anyone here think that a n American sub crew would be treated similarly if they made landfall in Beringovsky?

    • If one of the American sailors risked life and limb to rescue a Russian boy from falling off a church steeple, yes the result would be the same.

  12. Jewison was also the director of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, which provides a great example (by absence) of why people should be armed against tyranny. Not that I believe that was the lesson being proffered.

  13. I hope Mr. Zimmerman shoots better than he spells. ‘Appose’? Really? Not even a word. ‘Oppose’ however, fits the spot. I’m only a spelling Nazi when someone is supposed to be a writer and uses non-words, lmao.

  14. I’m kinda laughing because no one, including the author mentions: RED DAWN as the classic “citizen militia” movie.

    And while we’re talking about putting money where mouths are how about THIS:
    Federal Election Commission reporting deadline FOR ALL CANDIDATES up for election is March 31st (first quarter).
    IF you look at the campaign funding reports FOR MOST CANDIDATES FOR ALL OPEN POSITIONS – You will see that a lot of them are ‘short’ of their goals for this quarter.
    At least 90% of the people who SAY they favor a candidate don’t donate one dollar. Talk is cheap, results are not. Your choice.

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