Pinned down into his NY apartment by Gary Oldman's crooked cop and his crew, the gig looks up for Leon, the gallic hitman-cum-surrogate parent. But he'll be goddamned if he's going down without a fight. For a cleaner, he sure makes a mess out of the assorted SWAT goons out for his blood.
19. OH DANNY BOY
MILLER'S CROSSING (1990)
Beautifully shot but savagely violent, this clip sees Albert Finney's badass gang lord Leo tackle a pair of assassins with trademark Coen cool: the expression doesn't change from 'mildly perturbed', even when he's unloading a torrent of lead into one hitman's back. Finney even gives the Terminator a run for his money - what is he, bullet-proof?
18. "KEEP YOUR LOVIN' BROTHER HAPPY"
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)
At a base level, this climactic shootout is just two guys staring each other down. But the cinephile knows it's more than that. Charles Bronson is gunning for revenge against Henry Fonda's beady-eyed villain, the pair circling each other like vultures until their fingers twitch and their fate is sealed. More atmospheric than the entire ozone layer.
17. HOUSE INVADERS
THE KILLER (1989)
John Woo can kiss goodbye to his security deposit, because there's precious little left of the house he hired to film this frantic Hong Kong shootout. The climactic church shootout rivals this scene for overblown theatrics and emotion, but for sheer bloody destruction, this is unbeatable. Why can't you make movies this good any more, John?
16. NO MAN LEFT BEHIND
BLACK HAWK DOWN (2001)
Films based on true events tend to be difficult to enjoy; watching the conflict in Black Hawk Down unfold is an testing - if utterly thrilling - experience. After a US whirlybird spins out of control in war-torn Somalia, the soldiers within are besieged by locals baying for blood - their resolve only lasts so long before they're overwhelmed.
15. FRIENDS AND ENEMIES
BATTLE ROYALE (2000)
Here's a gunfight where emotions run as high as the body count. Trapped on an island and forced to even out their own numbers by vengeful adults, a group of unruly schoolkids turn their weapons on each other. Even the few that stick together don't survive for long.
14. GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL
The definitive take on the most legendary gunfight in American history. The actual gunfight itself is short but sweet, as Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp takes on the Clanton lot with the help of brothers Bill Paxton and Sam Elliot, flanked by Val Kilmer's hacking gunslinger Doc Holliday, who inevitably steals the show.
13. HIGH TIME FOR A GUNFIGHT
HIGH NOON (1952)
All Will Kane (Gary Cooper) wanted to do was leave town with his beautiful new bride, but the criminal fraternity had other ideas. Deciding to face the music instead of running like a girl might have been the best decision Kane ever made - it won Cooper an Oscar after all.
12. INTRODUCING GUNKATA
Kurt Wimmer's futuristic ultra-violent actioner might just have been the first time we smelled a whiff of super stardom from Batman-to-be Christian Bale. Certainly his execution of fake-sounding martial art 'Gunkata' stuck in the memory - it's not often you see faceless goons dispatched with such style.
11. CHIGURH CHECKS OUT
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007)
Here's a showdown in which every shot counts - hell, it might be their last. Josh Brolin's cowboy cowers on one side of his hotel room door, while Javier Bardem's bowl-cutted nutjob readies his gas-powered stun-gun on the other. The result is an extraordinarily tense scene that helped bag the Coens an Oscar.
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