Revolvers are making a comback on screen.


March 28, 2005, 07:13 PM
During most of the '90's, judging from action flicks and TV shows, the revolvers had been relegated to the ash heap. But I've noticed what may or may not be a trend on the big and small screen of late. Wheelguns appear to be making a comeback. Here are some sightings:

--In the trailers to "Sin City," I spy one of the main characters fingering what appears to be a Single Action Army while saying "This will do" or something to that effect.

--The new "Kojack" character packs a Ruger SP-101 variant

--In the final "Matrix" flick, even the auto-obsessed creators of that series put a Smith & Wesson in the hands of one of the bad guys, the Conductor IIRC.

--In "Hellboy" the main character's weapon is an oversized break-top revolver.

Is it a trend or a flash in the pan?

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March 28, 2005, 07:26 PM
Trend I would think.

The revolver is being used as a statement about the character. For some, like Hellboy, that statement is "I can handle anything with this." With the human characters the statement is, "This is all I need to put you down." It's the same message that was present in the Dirty Harry flicks, just now this message is somehow radical in the age of the high capacity auto pistol.

The "new school" view of the revolver carrier as a person not to be messed with was on display in that recent NYT article about the old salts of the NYPD who were still carrying wheelguns. Of course, the old breed could also be seen to be hanging onto the revolver as a colorful touch to their own roles as veteran cops.

The message is still one of "I am confident I can get it done in six or less."

March 29, 2005, 10:02 AM
Just wrapped work on an Indie movie here in Seattle... the last two movies I've worked on now have requested a pair of revolvers as the hero's weapon of choice.

There definitely is a stylistic element to it, but another note- revolvers are much easier to do for films. The purpose-built blank guns (like you can buy on ebay) jam all the time, but with a revolver that's less an issue... plus you can put blanks in a real revolver (if you observe the appropriate safety on set) without it jamming, and without having to fiddle with restrictors or other gunsmithing.

March 29, 2005, 10:19 AM
In the director's commentary for the remake of Dawn of the Dead, they mentioned that they wanted to use guns people whould be likely to have. The movie's gun guy showed up the first day with things like DEagles and MP5s, (Typical "Hollywood" guns,) and they made him come back with other stuff. Hence, the 12ga, .357, model92, etc that showed up in the film.

March 29, 2005, 10:25 AM
With Hellboy and (I’d assume) Sin City, the characters used revolvers in the comics. I imagine Kojak used a revolver back in the original. But there is probably something to them working more reliably with blanks. I’d definitely rather see a bunch of blank-firing revolvers on screen than a slew of autos with CG fire effects.

March 29, 2005, 10:46 AM
Besides, nobody has to reload except at important plot points anyway, so what's the point in having a large magazine capacity? :rolleyes:

March 29, 2005, 10:48 AM
Revolvers vs Autos...

[tin foil mode]

Revolvers = better times when men were men and heroes were heroes. The good guys wore white hats and rode white horses. The good guy always won and always got the girl.

Semi-Autos = evil black weapons used by gangstas, spies and the anti-heroes of contemporary movies. Men are either cry-baby wimps or evil thugs. Women are tough broads perfectly capable of using a bullet hose to wipe out any man with the audacity to question their equality.

It's all a Hollywierd conspiracy to make the sheep equate autos with evil. Get those bullet hoses off the street, etc. etc.

[/tin foil mode]

Seriously - revolvers do harken back to a simpler and, many believe, kinder, gentler time in America.


It could just be that the current crop of Hollywierd writers just think that revolvers are COOOOL!

Gordon Fink
March 29, 2005, 11:19 AM
I’ve never noticed a lack of revolvers in the movies, though I have often noticed a lack of any firearms where they were obviously sorely needed. :D

~G. Fink

Billy the Kid
March 29, 2005, 11:32 AM
Dirty Harry WAS an Anti Hero.He used Revolvers.

I personally think Revolvers signify a tougher more confident approach. Not so fast, more paced and more accurate sort of. You never see anyone trigger mash with a revolver on film, they seem to take thier time. While when theyre using non-revolvers they seems to spray and pray more than take thier time with each shot.

March 29, 2005, 11:40 AM
Was written in the script that way all along, but I think it worked out well- the last film I worked on, the (anti-)hero starts out pulling a heist with two DEagles (and he's actually a big enough guy he could pull that off). Being the crappy little props they were (8mm blank fire) they jammed repeatedly in the street exit shootout scene, so it kinda makes sense that he uses a pair of Colt Pythons and various shotguns for the rest of the movie.

Cool Hand Luke 22:36
March 29, 2005, 12:24 PM
--The new "Kojack" character packs a Ruger SP-101 variant

It doesn't look like one from the trailer to the show.

March 29, 2005, 12:27 PM
hehehe, in Dawn of the Dead's remake I couldn't help but notice that the revolvers the security guys were carrying had the firing pin on the hammer...

Couldn't ID though. Lack of knowledge on my part :rolleyes:

March 29, 2005, 12:50 PM
Vin Diesel also used a tricked out revolver in XXX. i don't know remember what it was, but it had a c-more on it and laser grips.

March 29, 2005, 01:44 PM
Even our hero James Bond used a revolver in Die Another Day while he was in Cuba.

March 29, 2005, 03:38 PM
You'd see that revolvers have always been in style! :D

March 29, 2005, 04:28 PM
Revolvers are also more reliable, semi's can jam, auto's always have a new cartridge ready regardless if the previous fired

March 29, 2005, 05:13 PM
--In "Hellboy" the main character's weapon is an oversized break-top revolver.

Mentioned this revolver in another "gun movie" thread ... love it but "oversized" is an understatement! Think it would qualify as a "Z-frame"! :eek:

March 29, 2005, 07:42 PM
In Kill Bill Vol 2, David Carradine had a single action with a birds head grip. I like seeing single actions in things other than Westerns. I can't wait for them to make a Metal Gear Solid movie so I can see Revolver Ocelot do his thing.

March 29, 2005, 09:40 PM
MGS MOVIE!?!?!?!


March 29, 2005, 09:53 PM
I agree DOTD (remake) is another good example. IIRC, the security guards had a S&W Model 13 (maybe 10) and possibly a Ruger Security Six, though my eyes and memory may be off on that. I did like their choice of realistic firearms, and the comment on the utility of .357 vs. 9mm :D

Boss Spearman
March 29, 2005, 11:15 PM
Bruce Willis' character carries a revolver in Sin City.
And I would encourage all gun lovers to check out the series Firefly on dvd. It had a short run on FOX, was cancelled, but has a movie called Serenity coming out next fall.
It's classified as scifi, but in reality it's more a series about humans in space in the future. Kind of like the old west in space. Lots of cool firearms, no aliens, or anything hokey. Lots of cool western-style firearms also.

October 27, 2005, 06:28 PM
Revolvers speak of power and stability. Plus they have a neat "retro" look. Occassionally I'll wear my Colt DS and leave my Sig at home,which I can do becasue I'm an investigator. The younger officers will always home in on the Colt when I wear it. "Hey you're wearing a wheelgun. Wow. " Revolvers will probably never return to where they used to be, but they seem to be enjoying a modest comeback. I think it's because all the younger shooters from the 80's and 90's are getting older (like me) and have come to realize that the wheelgun has it's virtues.

October 27, 2005, 06:41 PM
I think it's because all the younger shooters from the 80's and 90's are getting older (like me) and have come to realize that the wheelgun has it's virtues.

you might be on to something there. growing up as a kid, i never even looked twice at any of my fathers wheel guns. i always wanted to shoot the semi autos. just within the last couple of years, i have become a big fan of western films and old west history. i went to the gun store a week ago and handled a new Beretta Stampede. Now i have a HARD ON for a SAA clone! :D

October 27, 2005, 07:04 PM
My main carry gun is a Taurus 450. It only holds 5 rounds but I have a great deal of confidence in the .45 LC. I can't say why, but somehow I feel more 'American' when I carry a revolver. Plus, the way it's built, it'd make one helluva pistol-whipper.:evil:

October 27, 2005, 07:08 PM
Revolver Ocelot is the epitome of badazz :cool:

October 27, 2005, 07:47 PM
Take the "Back to the Future" movies, as a non-action movie example. Part 1 had Doc (trying to) use a revolver to shoot at the Libyans. Part 2 had Evil Biff try to kill Marty with a snubnose.

Revolvers have always been popular on screen, for all the reasons people have stated. They look more impressive than autos, since the cylinder isn't covered by the actor's hands. Autos sometimes end up looking like just a black rectangle on film (part of the reason directors sometimes use Desert Eagles for more impressive firepower).

Even today's "gangsta" culture embraces the revolver; "don't mess with that guy because he only needs six shots to do the job."

I just picked up my first revolver this past summer, and there is a peculiar satisfaction in owning and shooting one.

George Hill
October 27, 2005, 08:28 PM
Revolvers have unquestioned reliability, superior accuracy in most cases, and the ability to fire over-powered, buffalo stomping ammunition that automatics can't. Autos only work with ammo in a specific power range thanks to compromises between recoil/gas strength and spring strength... things that don't come into effect with a revolver.
This is why the US Navy still has .357 Magnums in inventory for their SEAL teams... or so I've been told by Navy guys.
The revolver is far from dead... which is why most of Taurus' new guns are all revolvers.
Look at size and weights... you can pack a Walther PPK is in .32 or .380 with 6 or 7 shots (I forget) or you could pack a .357 magnum with 5 shots. I don't know about you guy's but I'm taking the maggie.

October 27, 2005, 08:34 PM
I would rather see a wheelgun in a movie than a Desert Eagle. After all, people in real life still use wheelguns, but how many actually carry Desert Eagles?

I understand about the visual impact of the Desert Eagle on the screen, but they always look silly to me.

October 27, 2005, 08:52 PM
I don't think it was any kinda political thing with Doc and Biff -- Doc had a SAA as I recall -- a perfect foreshadowing for the "Old West" segment. :)

But yeah, revolvers do seem to be getting more screentime lately. Kinda neat, actually. Maybe we'll get more westerns next! :D

October 27, 2005, 08:57 PM
Dirty Harry always had enough to get the job done, the bad guys with UZI's were just wasting ammo, and he never put ketchup on a hot-dog. :D

October 28, 2005, 10:00 AM
From a cinematic perspective, most autos are just blue/black hunks of metal. Even the big autos, aside from the Desert Eagle's, have no real sense of style. A Glock is visually unappealing. However, as I was watching I Love The 80's 3-D last night, and saw Hawk on the bit about Spencer for Hire, and again began drooling over that Colt Python (nickle or stainless), it had a definite visual appeal, and a screen presence you cannot find in an auto.

Matt G
October 28, 2005, 10:08 AM
Skimming this thread, WarMachine, I find that your last post raises questions that I really don't think I want the answer to.

Disproportionately large single-actions?

Spurs and BDUs?

Two pistols, one on strongside and the other one evidently crossdraw and primary?

Narrow little belts?

Matt G
October 28, 2005, 10:17 AM
And while I've nothing against the actual pistol model, if I NEVER see another Desert Eagle in a movie or schlocky TV show again, I'd be plenty happy. They especially like to put them in the hands of cute females, for the contrast.

Frankly, if a director wants to make an impact to me that the protagonist knows what he or she is doing, he'll have them use safe gun-handling skills, use cover when available, reload when possible, observe their front sight and take aimed shots, and take controlled shots. Talk about a formidable opponent!

October 28, 2005, 03:30 PM
Anybody ever see "Mother, Jugs and Speed"? It's a black comedy about LA ambulance personnel made in 1976. Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch, Larry Hagman and the actor* who played the pimp in Taxi Driver is in it. It's so-so, but there's a great scene where Cosby uses a nickel plated Colt Python with a six inch barrel.

Actually Taxi Driver has some great wheelgun action in it as well. Who can forget Deniro with his mohawk and that Model 29 with the 8-3/4 barrel? "You talking to me?"

Gotta love the seventies. 44 magnums, disco and Richard Nixon. Cool.:cool:

*The actor's name is Harvery Keitel. He's still around.

October 28, 2005, 05:21 PM
James Caan used a revolver in The Way of the Gun. With the all the other weapons in the movie, it seemed to be a part of his old-school character more than anything.

Great quote in the movie too... [pause for quick trip to]...

Joe Sarno: The only thing you can guess about a broken down old man is that he is a survivor.

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