Firearms have played a central role in motion pictures since the production of some of the earliest silent films. Whether they were used in westerns, war movies or crime stories, firearms have often served memorable and prominent positions in some of the popular films ever made. Ranking the significance of the most iconic movie guns was a tremendously difficult and extremely subjective task. Each of the firearms featured here influenced the consumer firearm market, inspired the use of similar firearms in other films, and became part of popular culture. In a way, each of these movie guns eventually became more important than the films in which they appeared.
Harry Callahan’s Smith & Wesson Model 29
When Clint Eastwood hit the silver screen in 1971 as Detective Harry Callahan, he carried with him a very special sidearm. The gun in question was a Smith & Wesson Model 29 44 Magnum. The Model 29 was first built in 1955 and was released to the shooting public in early 1956. Factory ammunition, originally produced by Remington, propelled a 240-grain bullet at nearly 1,200 feet per second. Described as “the most powerful handgun in the world” by Callahan in the film, the 44 Magnum’s ballistics were groundbreaking for that era. Callahan uses the Model 29 to great effect as he hunts criminals on the streets of San Francisco, complimenting his great shooting with some of the most famous lines ever uttered on screen. Smith & Wesson may have developed the 44 Magnum, but Dirty Harry made it famous.
by Keith Wood