One thing you’re sure to find in any action, science fiction, fantasy, or superhero film is an all-powerful (or, at least, “pretty bad-ass”) weapon. Sometimes it’s just a trusty sidearm carried by the main character wherever they go and it becomes so iconic the weapon is almost a character itself, and is usually given a proper name by the film’s characters. Other times the weapon is so unwieldy and its abilities so powerful that the destruction of the weapon is the major plot point of the film.
Big or small, these weapons have become so popular in and of themselves that the props have essentially been established as co-stars in their respective films. Could you even imagine a Jedi without a lightsaber? Could you see The Ghostbusters without their Proton Packs? How about Thor without his hammer? Of course not!
Let’s take a look at some of the incredibly cool, highly memorable, and totally destructive weapons that Hollywood has churned out over the years.
10. Ash’s Wrist Mounted Chainsaw
Featured in: Evil Dead 2 (1987), Army of Darkness (1992)
In the Evil Dead films (Army of Darkness being Evil Dead 3), an ancient evil is coming back to our plane of existence and possessing a number of people in remote cabin in the woods. After his hand became tainted by the Evil Dead, Ash used a chainsaw to remove his hand, as to keep the possession from spreading. Once the film hits its climax and Ash decides to take on the Evil Dead head-on, he uses information from his college text books and a number of supplies from a tool shed to create a replacement hand from the very same chainsaw he used to sever the appendage. Groovy!
9. Captain America’s Shield
Featured in: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
“When Captain America throws his mighty shield, those who chose to oppose his shield must yield!”
The Captain’s shield is a “marvel” (see what I did there?) of engineering. The shield is constructed of a fictional metal known as vibranium, making it virtually indestructible and relatively light in weight, considering its hardness. The shield is engineered in a way that allows it to be thrown like a Frisbee and when it strikes an object, it ricochets at the exact opposite angle from which it struck its target, much like a billiard ball hitting the rail of the table. The shield is so hard that it’s even been used to break a fall by slamming it into the side of an object to create a makeshift handle.
8. The Lightsaber
Featured in: Star Wars: Episodes 1 – 6 (1977 – 2005)
There probably isn’t a weapon on this list that is more well-known and more iconic than the lightsaber. There are countless sites on the internet where scientists and fans discuss the necessary equipment and circumstances needed to make a weapon like a lightsaber a reality. The verdict boils down to the conclusion that a lightsaber is entirely possible, but it would look nothing like the sleek and compact weapon we know from the Star Wars films, not to mention the fact that the heat put out by the weapon would make it extremely dangerous to the one who wields it.
7. The Proton Pack
Featured in: Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
“Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.”
This is the line dropped by Dan Aykroyd just as the Ghostbusters fire up their packs for the first time. Not only could this bad boy contain a ghost, but it had very real destructive properties on the physical world as well. According to the website Cinema Sins, the damage caused to the city of New York by the Ghostbusters and their packs would add up to about $23 million in today’s dollars. Another testament to this weapon’s power is the result of crossing the streams. According to Dr. Egon Spengler it would go a little like this:
“Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.”
6. Leg Mounted Machine Gun/Grenade Launcher
Featured in: Planet Terror (2007)
After her leg is eaten by zombies, Rose McGowan’s character initially rigs a table leg to make-up for the missing appendage. Eventually she gets an upgrade…and what an upgrade! Towards the film’s finale, Cherry opts out of the pirate look and replaces the table leg with an M-4 Carbine assault rifle modded with a knife and M203 grenade launcher. In the film’s epilogue, this artillery is swapped out with a M134 Minigun. In the true spirit of grindhouse cinema, the movie never addresses how Cherry fires these weapons without pulling the trigger. The weapons seem to operate as an extension of the leg itself.
5. Data’s Wardrobe
Featured in: The Goonies (1985)
Data’s Wardrobe is the ultimate in personal security. The wardrobe features a belt with a firing plunger dart with enough torque in the reel to pull the user towards its target. The jacket also features the Pincers of Power, a set of novelty teeth grafted to a slinky that operates like a grappling hook. Also in the jacket is a retractable pair of high intensity lights known as Bully Blinders. The last trick in the jacket is a retractable boxing glove that can punch out an attacker. Finally we get to the shoes, known as Slick Shoes, which spit out a trail of slippery grease behind the wearer. Unfortunately, Data isn’t very proficient with his own inventions and they often work against him.
4. The Big Baby
Featured in: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
The Big Baby is a massive six-barrel handgun that could only be carried by someone with the size and strength of Hellboy, the demon hero of the Hellboy comics and films. It can be held in one hand so long as the hand is his Right Hand of Doom.
The barrels don’t fire bullets, but two small specially designed rockets at a time that read “suck on this” where the caliber size would normally be printed. The gun is so powerful it was even able to take out a Forest God. In this scene in the film, Hellboy held the Big Baby in his right hand, and a real baby he was saving in the other.
3. Thor’s Hammer (Mjolnir)
Featured in: Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013)
This hammer was created by Odin and as far as anyone can tell, is totally indestructible. In addition to packing quite a hard little punch, the hammer can give the gift of flight to the one who wields it. The hammer also has the ability to control the weather; this ability is mainly used to call down thunder and lightning.
With this much power, one might worry about the hammer falling into the wrong hands. Well stop worrying so much! Mjolnir can only be picked up by an individual that it deems to be a true hero. It can also be called back into the hand of said hero from seemingly any distance
2. The Death Star
Featured in: Star Wars: Episode IV (1977) and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)
It takes two Proton Packs crossing streams to end reality as we know it, but it only takes one Death Star to destroy an entire planet.
The Death Star is the ultimate weapon. It’s the size of a moon, and with only a short amount of prep time, it readies a single laser beam that is capable of decimating an entire planet in one shot. Unfortunately, the Death Star is a little too easy to destroy for such a large weapon. It only takes one carefully aimed torpedo blast to start a chain reaction that blows the entire thing up. It also requires a crew of around 265,000 to be operational. Over 50,000 of these crew members are gunners. It might not be the most practical weapon, but it’s certainly the most destructive.
1. Red Ryder BB Gun
Featured in: A Christmas Story (1983)
We’re not kidding here. A lot of the weapons on this list are exceptionally cool and they come from some of the greatest films of all time, but as Ralphy says, “BB gun mania knows no loyalty.” This isn’t just some regular BB gun; this is “an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.” It is absolutely guaranteed to “shoot your eye out”, but that’s a risk you should be willing to take if you want to wield this bad boy.
The Red Ryder BB gun is the premier line of defense that stands between you and the dreaded Black Bart. It can also be used to scare off those turkey-thieving Bumpus hounds.