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Dirty Harry's Gun and Other Facts About Firearms in Pop Culture

Image: Dirty Harry's Gun and Other Facts About Firearms in Pop Culture
A light illuminates a Magnum 44 gun, a police badge, some photographies and evidence bags on a table. (philcold/dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 29 December 2014 03:33 PM

Guns, in the name of entertainment, like Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum, or Scarface's "Little Friend" are a celebrated part of American pop culture.

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From big-budget action movies like "The Expendables," video games like "Medal of Honor: Warfighter," or popular songs, guns and explosive devices have long been a staple in action films. Putting aside the politics of gun-control legislation, guns will always populate Hollywood storylines, from innocent movies like "The Wizard of Oz" to Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry."

In addition to its timeless songs and elaborate, colorful sets, the 1939 classic starring Judy Garland contains a scene in which the Scarecrow is shown carrying a pistol, notably when he and his friends enter the Haunted Forest. Despite being torn apart by winged monkeys, set on fire by the Wicked Witch, and having to rescue Dorothy from evil soldiers, the Scarecrow never fires a shot.

It's also hard not to picture secret agent 007 James Bond without a gun. Even most of the films' introductions are shot through a gun barrel. In a bit of trivia, author Ian Fleming originally equipped his character with a .25 Beretta 418 automatic in his first five Bond novels. He then received a letter from firearms expert (and Bond fan) Geoffrey Boothroyd in 1956, which stated that the superspy's weapon was too weak for combating arch villains. Bond upgraded to a Walther PPK in future novels.

The entertainment industry has seemingly done little to quell the public's thirst for violence, even after mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; and other places across the country. While some celebrities spoke out for gun control, weapons remain prevalent in some big releases, such as 2013's "World War Z," "White House Down," and "2 Guns."

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But actor Jim Carrey took a stand when he denounced the content of his own film "Kick-Ass 2."

In music, Madonna incorporated guns into the stage show for her MDNA tour, and used guns onstage for a Colorado show, a few months after the Aurora movie theater shooting. On the criticism, she told "Good Morning America": "The thing is, guns don't kill people, people kill people."

The National Rifle Association also got in the act, though some may point out a contradiction. In January 2013 — one month after the Newtown killings -- NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre blamed Hollywood violence for the increase in mass shootings, despite his organization championing a museum exhibit called Hollywood Guns.

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Guns, in the name of entertainment, like Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum, or Scarface's Little Friend are a celebrated part of American pop culture.
dirty harry, guns, hollywood, pop culture
Monday, 29 December 2014 03:33 PM
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