10) 1993 Tony Scott Christian Slater Patricia Arquette
Romantic crime film. A neon-lit, fuel-injected Bonnie And Clyde from the 90’s that features Brad Pitt as the classic stoner, Lloyd. Finale could have been completely avoided, but there was no way Tarantino was going to let us down with a wimpy handshake and money exchange. He gave us betrayal, bloodshed and lots and lots of pillow feathers.
9) 2008 Sylvester Stallone Sylvester Stallone
Action film. The biggest thing that stands out here, other than the 200+ body count, is how well the sound is cut. It makes the carnage really transcend to the next level. That, combined with the scene’s noticeable length, makes for a great experience.
8) 1999 Troy Duffy Sean Patrick Flanery Norman Reedus
Vigilante film. This scene hits the nail on the head with choosing unique gunfights. Troy Duffy may rip off Tarantino sometimes, but that does not mean that this sequence isn’t good. Over directed? Big time, but an epic sense of campiness is embraced. Unintentional or not, it works. There’s a sense of coolness to the scene’s framing, and cross plotting.
7) 1983 Brian De Palma Al Pacino
Crime drama. This cocaine-drenched gun battle between two criminal empires succeeds due to its hard pounding relentlessness and its thematic backbone of “Tony vs. The World.”
6) 1976 Martin Scorsese Robert De Niro Jodie Foster
Vigilante film. Scorsese shows us a film gunfight can be successful when it capitalizes on grittiness. In this entire scene, Travis knows exactly what he is doing, but we can still tell there might be a sense of hesitation about his actions – showing us that his transformation was genuinely a bad mixture of his mental state and the environment around him, not pure evil.
5) 2003 Kevin Costner Robert Duvall Kevin Costner
Western. Crafted with an acute sense of meticulousness. Costner nails it here by giving us a lengthy western duel that injects realism into its finale – guns run out of bullets quickly, guns jam, and people miss from far away distances. Alongside the realism of this gun battle, is the theme of right vs. wrong.
4) 1999 The Wachowski Brothers Keanu Reeves Laurence Fishburne
American–Australian science fiction action film. One word: cinematography. The Wachowskis birthed new ways to shoot a gun sequence, popularizing a visual effect known as 'bullet time'. A lot of credit goes to the stunt coordinator here, as this scene would not be what it is without the highly unique style of action.
3) 1966 Sergio Leone Clint Eastwood Lee Van Cleef Eli Wallach
Italian Spaghetti western film. One of the most memorable standoffs ever to be filmed, it can be seen as the backbone of Tarantino’s film career, the scene infuses a classic score with some of the best faces in one scene…ever. Never has a climax been so built up. This Mexican standoff wins because of the nervousness it creates for the viewer before the guns go off.
2) 1995 Michael Mann Al Pacino Robert De Niro
Crime film. The guns used are as real as it gets with no sound cropping whatsoever. Notice that earth shattering loud pop with each click of the AK triggers? Yes, that sound has not been tampered with at all. Small bits like this are what make up beautiful scenes like this one. So much so that Christopher Nolan modeled the opening scene of The Dark Knight after this exact scene. Not only this, but also this scene was so well done that it has been used as a training video for U.S. Marines on how to properly retreat during a shootout and the time in which to reload an automatic weapon’s clip.
1) 1997 James Mangold Sylvester Stallone Harvey Keitel
Crime drama film. Freddy is on his last leg, and his bad ear is completely gone. We see and hear what he has to go through during this entire standoff. He has one last thing to do before he “dies” and that is standup for what is right, no matter whose toes he is stepping on. Again, there is a great sense of reality here, as guns jam and characters are killed with one shot, not ten. Along with the return of Figgis, who saves Freddy’s life, the final line of “I can’t hear you, Ray” makes this entire scene and film.
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