"Chekhov's gun" is a long-standing dramatic principle, created by writer Anton Chekhov, that states a story should not introduce any unnecessary elements. More specifically, it infers that if an object is prominently shown, it should ultimately have a purpose within the plot. The concept has had multiple re-phrasings over the years; the most common says that if you show a gun in the first act, someone should fire that gun by the end of the third. Film critic Roger Ebert put his own spin on it, saying, "Every gymnast in a movie sooner or later encounters a bar."
Tons of movies utilize this principle. In some cases, the item in question really is an actual gun. In others, it's something else. When you stop and think about it, a gun is too easy. The following movies went a more creative route, introducing far less common objects in their first acts, then calling them back for their big finales. Whether it's a lion, a bear trap, or even a bottle of hot sauce, these items came in handy when the good guys needed to defeat the villains once and for all.
Which of these Chekhov's guns provided the most perfect payoff? Vote up your favorites.
- 1110 VOTES
- 295 VOTESPhoto: 20th Century Fox
- 3106 VOTESPhoto: Columbia Pictures
- 480 VOTESPhoto: 20th Century Fox
- 592 VOTESPhoto: Lionsgate
- 6116 VOTES