Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Big Guns: The Weapons Of Hollywood's Greatest Heroes And Villains

An Italian art director compiles the most iconic firearms from Hollywood’s past.

  • <p>Federico Mauro is fascinated by the <em>things</em> that populate a movie.</p>

<p>Above: John Travolta’s Vincent Vega and Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules Winnfield’s guns, as seen in <em>Pulp Fiction</em>.</p>
  • <p>An art director in the Italian film industry, Mauro enjoys picking out the objects that fill in the camera frame’s scenery.</p>

<p>Above: John Wayne’s trademark Winchester Model 1892 rifle.</p>
  • <p>His "Famous Things" series spotlights the most iconic objects and props in movie and pop history, including Eric Clapton’s guitar and Forrest Gump’s Nike Cortez sneakers.</p>

<p>Above: John Dillinger’s tommy gun.</p>
  • <p>Mauro’s "Famous Guns" collects all Hollywood’s most recognizable firearms and the characters they’ve come to embody.</p>

<p>Above: <em>Robocop</em>'s Auto 9 handgun.</p>
  • <p>Mauro found all of the guns through Google Image search; he then edited the images to refine imperfections.</p>

<p>Above: The <em>Green Hornet</em>'s gas gun.</p>
  • <p>The guns are shot on white backgrounds and displayed in sequence as if they composed an imaginary title sequence to a film that doesn’t follow.</p>

<p>Above: The grapple gun Michael Keaton’s Batman used.</p>
  • <p>“The guns were particularly interesting because they are a mutable object, and the design is very versatile,” Mauro says.</p>

<p>Above: The Walther PPK pistol fitted with a silencer that’s all Bond.</p>
  • <p>The collection is vast and far-reaching, consisting of real and sci-fi guns.</p>

<p>Above: <em>Dirty Harry</em>'s gun.</p>
  • <p>Mauro concedes that the format and the series’ aesthetic draws on the minimalist poster trend online.</p>

<p>Above: Tony Montana’s modified M16A1 Assault rifle that lights up the climax of <em>Scarface</em>.</p>
  • <p>“The idea I think is in line with many creations on the Web that have the same approach: a synthetic and minimal iconic [form] of a movie and/or character.”</p>

<p>Above: Sylvester Stallone’s gun in <em>Cobra</em>.</p>
  • <p><em>El Mariachi</em>'s machine gun concealed in a guitar case.</p>
  • <p>Ellen Ripley’s M41A Pulse Rifle from <em>Alien</em>.</p>
  • <p>He-Man’s gun from <em>Masters of the Universe</em>.</p>
  • <p>Han Solo’s DL-44 blaster from the (first) <em>Star Wars</em> trilogy.</p>
  • <p>The <em>Ghostbusters</em>' proton pack.</p>
  • <p><em>Bonnie & Clyde</em>'s guns of choice.</p>
  • <p>Joan Jett’s squirt gun from <em>The Runaways</em>, needless to point out, not a Hollywood classic by any means.</p>
  • 01 /17
    | Famous Guns

    Federico Mauro is fascinated by the things that populate a movie.

    Above: John Travolta’s Vincent Vega and Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules Winnfield’s guns, as seen in Pulp Fiction.

  • 02 /17

    An art director in the Italian film industry, Mauro enjoys picking out the objects that fill in the camera frame’s scenery.

    Above: John Wayne’s trademark Winchester Model 1892 rifle.

  • 03 /17

    His "Famous Things" series spotlights the most iconic objects and props in movie and pop history, including Eric Clapton’s guitar and Forrest Gump’s Nike Cortez sneakers.

    Above: John Dillinger’s tommy gun.

  • 04 /17

    Mauro’s "Famous Guns" collects all Hollywood’s most recognizable firearms and the characters they’ve come to embody.

    Above: Robocop's Auto 9 handgun.

  • 05 /17

    Mauro found all of the guns through Google Image search; he then edited the images to refine imperfections.

    Above: The Green Hornet's gas gun.

  • 06 /17

    The guns are shot on white backgrounds and displayed in sequence as if they composed an imaginary title sequence to a film that doesn’t follow.

    Above: The grapple gun Michael Keaton’s Batman used.

  • 07 /17

    “The guns were particularly interesting because they are a mutable object, and the design is very versatile,” Mauro says.

    Above: The Walther PPK pistol fitted with a silencer that’s all Bond.

  • 08 /17

    The collection is vast and far-reaching, consisting of real and sci-fi guns.

    Above: Dirty Harry's gun.

  • 09 /17

    Mauro concedes that the format and the series’ aesthetic draws on the minimalist poster trend online.

    Above: Tony Montana’s modified M16A1 Assault rifle that lights up the climax of Scarface.

  • 10 /17

    “The idea I think is in line with many creations on the Web that have the same approach: a synthetic and minimal iconic [form] of a movie and/or character.”

    Above: Sylvester Stallone’s gun in Cobra.

  • 11 /17

    El Mariachi's machine gun concealed in a guitar case.

  • 12 /17

    Ellen Ripley’s M41A Pulse Rifle from Alien.

  • 13 /17

    He-Man’s gun from Masters of the Universe.

  • 14 /17

    Han Solo’s DL-44 blaster from the (first) Star Wars trilogy.

  • 15 /17

    The Ghostbusters' proton pack.

  • 16 /17

    Bonnie & Clyde's guns of choice.

  • 17 /17

    Joan Jett’s squirt gun from The Runaways, needless to point out, not a Hollywood classic by any means.

In Hollywood, it’s the props—namely, the guns—that make the man. Imagine James Bond without his silenced Walther PPK pistol. You can’t. John Wayne’s gunslinging persona was forged with a Winchester Model 1892 rifle. And Han just isn’t Han without his trusty, always-shoots-first DL-44 blaster at his side.

Italian art director Federico Mauro has cataloged all of movie history’s most memorable guns, real and fictional. His visual dictionary of "Famous Guns" unfolds in cinematic fashion, mixing real-life firearms like John Dillinger’s tommy gun with colorful sci-fi weaponry, such as the Green Hornet’s gas gun and Ellen Ripley’s seriously awesome M41A Pulse Rifle from Alien.

For Mauro, who’s been in the Italian film industry for over a decade, the project is just one of a larger series that aims to distill pop culture into its most iconic ephemera. His "Famous Things" casts a wide net over movies, music, art, and pop that drags up tons of quasi-cultural artifacts, ranging from Woody Allen’s trademark glasses to Chuck Berry’s fire-red guitar to Marty McFly’s classic Nike high-tops. "The guns," he tells Co.Design, "were particularly interesting because they are a mutable object and the design is very versatile."

All of the props were found using Google Image search. That was only half of the exhaustive process; he then had to format all of the photographs, editing out backgrounds or imperfections to isolate the pieces. Mauro drops them onto a white frame, whose corners are slightly dimmed by a receding shadow.

"Throughout popular culture, we have come to associate specific objects, things, wear, looks, and styles with certain people," Mauro explains. "There’s an iconic legacy between an object and a famous person, be it real or imaginary."

He acknowledges that the idea to make a "simple and immediate" pictorial lexicon owes a lot to the minimalist web craze, which privileges the figurative avatar over other forms of graphic representation. "The idea I think is in line with many creations on the Web that have the same approach: a synthetic and minimal iconic [form] of a movie and/or character."

Scan through the slide show to see all of the guns, including a few that aren’t guns at all, like the Ghostbusters’ proton pack and Anton Chigurh’s makeshift killing machine from No Country for Old Men. Mauro’s favorite piece? Ted Pike’s gun from David Cronenberg’s Existenz. I would have gone with Solo.

loading