Guns have an undeniably strong presence in the movies, and it’s been like that since the early days of the cinema.
Classic lever action guns, such as Winchester or Marlin rifles, have appeared in plenty of movies and TV series, maybe more than any other type of guns.
What Is A Lever Action Rifle?
As is it implied in the name, this type of rifle uses a lever to eject a spent round and chamber the next one.
After pulling the trigger, the shooter must take his finger out of the trigger guard, then move the lever forward and then back to where it was initially. After this, the gun will be ready to shoot again.
Lever action rifles are famous thanks to their role in America’s expansion to the West, where they were used for hunting as well as home- and self-defense.
This connection to the West often gives these rifles an air of nostalgia, and it’s definitely part of their overall charm.
Lever actions make very good hunting weapons and are highly accurate.
The Henry Repeating Rifle, introduced in the early 1860s, is a good example of a great lever action rifle.
The Henry rifle then inspired the design for the Winchester rifle, one of the most famous rifles in history and the cinema.
Winchester ‘73 starring Jimmy Stewart was a very success film released in 1950 and was a fictional account of how some of the first Winchester rifles “won the West.”
Winchester Rifles in the Movies
Jimmy Steward was not the first nor the last of a long line of Western movie stars to highlight the Winchester.
The Winchester Model 1894, one of the most popular guns of its day, has appeared in numerous movies since the early days of the cinema.
Some of the most notable westerns where the gun was used include:
- Last of the Renegades (1964);
- The Desperado Trail (1965); and
- True Grit(1969).
Winchesters are so popular with movie directors that even non-western films often include this model Winchester:
- The Sugarland Express (1974);
- Crocodile Dundee II (1988);
- The Shawshank Redemption (1994);
- Manitou’s Shoe (2001);
and many, many more.
Marlin Model 1895
Another iconic lever action used in many films is the Marlin Model 1895.
This lever action gun has smooth, artistic lines, a 6-round capacity magazine, and chambered for the .45-70 Government cartridge. It measures 37 in. long, and weighs about 8 lbs.
While it does not have the same legendary reputation of the Winchester 1994, many producers and directors use it for its sleek look.
- Some films where this rifle has appeared include:
- Machine Gun McCain (1969);
- Jurassic World (2015);
- Wind River (2017); and
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017).
The Marlin was also extensively used by several characters of the space Western TV series Firefly (2002 – 2003).
Working replicas or modern designs of these film favorites are still available today.