Photo: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood / Sony Pictures Releasing

15 Times Movies Delivered A Perfect Chekhov's Gun Payoff

Voting Rules
Vote up the movies that perfectly paid off the introduction of a firearm.

Although "Chekhov’s gun" was a dramatic principle developed to advise playwrights, there are many movies that deliver a perfect Chekhov’s gun payoff, too. There are several variations on the recommendation made by Russian writer Anton Chekhov, who most famously said, “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one, it should be fired. Otherwise, don’t put it there.” In other words, writers should only introduce elements into the story that will later serve a narrative purpose.

This is a principle referring to any number of introduced story elements, though the films on this list approach the concept literally and contain an actual gun of some type. After the weapon is introduced in some fashion early in the narrative, it returns in a significant way later in the story. Even more important than setting up the existence of the gun is the payoff achieved when it finally goes off.

Which films best paid off the introduction of a firearm? Vote up the best cinematic examples of Chekhov's gun.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Photo: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood / Sony Pictures Releasing