22 Best ‘Chekhov’s Guns’ in Movie History

These callbacks are the cream of the crop
22 Best ‘Chekhov’s Guns’ in Movie History

If you’ve never heard of Chekhov’s gun, it’s not the title of a lesser-known Tolstoy novel. It refers to the principle, defined by playwright Anton Chekhov, that a gun hanging on the wall in the first act must be fired in the third. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a gun, or even a physical object. Anything the writer draws the audience’s attention to should have some kind of payoff later in the story, otherwise you’re just squirting words into your narrative diaper for no reason.

It’s a concept that’s so ingrained in modern cinema that Redditor HenryWade6 could recently ask r/Movies, “What’s your favorite example of Chekov’s gun in a movie?” and get more than 1,000 responses. They ranged from the mechanical to the metaphorical to the butt pluggery, but they were always callbacks that made the audience go, “Oh, hell yes.”

Shaun of the Dead

Raiders of the Lost Ark


Top Gun: Maverick

Black Panther


Lethal Weapon 2

Avengers: Endgame

Army of Darkness



The Shawshank Redemption


Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Bullet Train



Tropic Thunder


Everything Everywhere All At Once

Hot Fuzz

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?