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A thrilling and well-filmed shootout can define a film, and a film chock full of thrilling, quality shootouts can define a genre. Every year a new flurry of action movies The Best Sites To Watch Movie Trailers Online The Best Sites To Watch Movie Trailers Online Read More make it into cinemas, but how many make it into the hall of fame?

Today’s Stuff to Watch takes a look at the action movie genre and features a few of the juiciest shootout scenes ever captured on film. Of course there’s no way I can include every quality shootout, so be sure to add your own in the comments underneath this article. Let’s lock and load!

Heat (1995) [IMDB]

Every time I think of this movie I can’t help but remember how gripped I was the first time I watched this scene. Of course the whole film is a quality production – but this particular scene sticks in your mind, has spawned countless references and even inspired a virtually identical mission in Rockstar Games’ GTA4 GTA : 6 Great Websites For The Grand Theft Auto Aficionado GTA : 6 Great Websites For The Grand Theft Auto Aficionado Can you remember 1997? Those of you who can might also recall the hysteria, outrage and above all critical acclaim festooned on one of the most iconic and original video games of the time -... Read More .

Without a doubt a “must-see” action film, Heat stars Al Pacino and Robert De Niro but doesn’t rely on high profile actors to sell the movie. Take a look at the clip below; it sells itself.

Watch: Heat Downtown Shootout Scene @ YouTube (Embedding disabled on all uploaded videos of this scene, sorry!)


Hard Boiled (1992) [IMDB]

It should come as no surprise that John Woo knows how to make a good action film, and with Chow Yun-Fat in a lead roll then you know the body count will be high. The plot’s as loose as it needs to be, but provides the perfect set-up: world’s toughest cop teams up with an undercover agent to take down mob boss and uh… people get shot.

Hard Boiled is often hailed as one of the grittiest, bloodiest and most violent films of its kind and this point is demonstrated excellently in the clip below. If this looks good then you’ll be delighted to hear that the film is full of sequences like this.

A Better Tomorrow (1986) [IMDB]

Another John Woo film (and not the last either), A Better Tomorrow tells the tale of an ex-gangster trying to break ties with his gang whilst reconciling with his brother. The fact that his brother is in the police force means they’re both well trained in the ass-kicking department, and that’s all the set-up you need for an action flick.

The following scene is the kind of gory, all-guns-blazing bloodbath that made John Woo a “household” name.

A Better Tomorrow Part 2 (1987) [IMDB]

Remember that tough cop and his ex-gangster brother? Well this time round they’re teaming up with a restaurant owner and (in true action movie style) they’re out for revenge. There’s the plot over with – can you guess what comes next?

Here’s one of those typical over-the-top sequences action films have become so well-known for, except this one’s tinged with John Woo’s brutality and special effects 10 Neat Movies On YouTube With Cool Visual & Special Effects 10 Neat Movies On YouTube With Cool Visual & Special Effects Read More department!

The Killer (1989) [IMDB]

The Killer is a tale of remorse and double-crossings as a retired hitman undertakes one last job in order to care for his girlfriend and repay a debt he owes (not your usual debt, either).

My only criticism of this particular scene is that the bad guy with the incendiary shotgun ammo only fires one round. Now that’s not much of a criticism, but then again this is another John Woo and it’s hard to complain about ferocious gunplay.

Boondock Saints (1999) [IMDB]

The most recent film on the list, Boondock Saints is a tale of two brothers, the mafia and an FBI agent who begins to question right and wrong. The clip below is a thrilling and gory clash, but this isn’t your usual movie shoot-out.

Instead we’re treated to a slightly less orthodox firefight, recalled and narrated by Willem “and then there was a firefight!” Dafoe.

The Wild Bunch (1969) [IMDB]

No list is complete without this tour-de-force, and no action fan is complete until they’ve watched this movie. Set at a time when the American “wild west” was disappearing, a group of outlaws are hot on the heels of one last big score.

This particular scene is actually the final shootout, so if you’ve not seen the film then you might want to skip it for now. If you have seen the film then I doubt you’ll be able to resist clicking play in the video below.


I’m very sorry I didn’t include your favourite shoot-out scene on this list (or maybe I did), but with so many to choose from it was tough to narrow it down to these few. Please leave your favourite scenes, films and recommendations in the comments below this article.In case you’ve missed Stuff to Watch recently, here are the last few entries:

Did you like these clips? Have you seen the films? Any favourite writers, directors or actors? Chat below!

  1. Bank dla nastolatków
    March 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Awesome design! Where did you get this layout?

  2. klu9
    December 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Yeaaarrrsss ago, I did my bachelor's dissertation on the movies of John Woo. For purely academic purposes of course ;)  I did a casualty count for Hard Boiled.

    It was a long hard slog with the VHS machine and remote, but eventually I counted on screen a total of something over *300* people shot, stabbed, blown up... or run over by motorcycles :D

    • Tim Brookes
      December 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

      That sounds like one hell of a fun dissertation! I did mine on choice of language in the mainstream British press... so I think I'd have had more fun watching John Woo at work (though appreciate you probably had to do a lot of boring methodology and case study stuff... ah university!).

  3. Anonymous
    December 28, 2011 at 5:55 am

    How could you not include Die Hard? It had at least two or three great shoot-outs. When Karl tries to get McLane on the roof.  "thanks for the advice" and most esp.  "Shoot the glass"

    • Tim Brookes
      December 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      Die Hard might actually be the best action movie ever for a variety of reasons I won't go into here! I made a similar decision with The Matrix and decided to highlight a few less-mainstream movies.

      Die Hard is great thought, Die Hard 3 isn't bad either. Shame about Die Hard 2 and 4.

  4. Fake
    December 28, 2011 at 5:16 am

    I might have included 'The Professional'.

  5. John
    December 28, 2011 at 4:10 am

    The Commando scene on the grounds of the bad guy's mansion is pretty great. Arnold wields an M-60 like it's a toy (of course with unlimited ammo). Not real gory but a lot of fun.

  6. Chris Wyld
    December 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    How could you leave out 'The Matrix'?

    • Tim Brookes
      December 27, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      Trust me it crossed my mind but I thought I'd rather stick with the classic action genre for this post. I also hazard that most people have seen The Matrix, whereas some of the films on this list might be slightly less well-known.

      Hope you enjoyed, anyway!

  7. Cotswold Bed and Breakfast
    December 27, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Good write-up. I am a regular visitor of your website and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I will be a frequent visitor for a really long time.

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