From handguns to lasers the size of a city, cinema has seen it’s fair share of destructive instruments. Today we’ll be counting down the most devastating weapons that movies have to offer; the more destructive the better. These are the firearms, lasers, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and everything in between that have stuck in audience’s heads thanks to their originality, innovation, and sheer power.
Before we pull the trigger we should lay out some ground rules for this list. While we agree that swords, especially light sabers, are no doubt some of the coolest movie weapons ever , we’re judging this list by their destructive potential and as such, they just don’t stack up with the other entries. We’re also excluding any vehicles as weapons, as well as any people, so while Officer Riggs might consider registering his hands in as lethal weapons, they just don’t qualify here.
Locked and loaded, here are the 15 Most Powerful Weapons in Movie History.
15. M41A Pulse Rifle (Aliens)
Self-described as the “ultimate squad of bad asses,” the Colonial Marines in James Cameron’s Aliens have the most sophisticated arsenal that the future military can buy. This includes but is not limited to flamethrowers, rocket launchers, shotguns, and even nukes; because you never know when they might come in handy. Among all their instruments of death, the Marines’ most iconic weapon from the film has to be the pulse rifle, which is half machine gun, half grenade launcher, and all “bad ass.”
With explosive tips in the chamber, the Pulse Rifle is certainly nothing to be messed around with. Even deadlier is the fact that attached to the rifle is a pump-action grenade launcher with enough power to puncture a massive hole in just about anything. When fighting the deadly xenomorph aliens, there is absolutely no substitute. The M41A Pulse Rifle is reliable, accurate, devastating, and as we’ve already mentioned, completely “bad ass.”
14. ZF1 Gun (The Fifth Element)
Gary Oldman’s character in The Fifth Element, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, is the kind of seedy criminal that could daylight as a used car salesman. He’s underhanded, sneaky, flamboyant, and just the kind of guy that could sell a whole batch of this deadly weapon, the ZF1 gun. Compact and armed with enough firepower to level a building (or spaceship) the ZF1 is any alien mercenary’s dream weapon.
The ZF1 is kind of like the Swiss Army knife of guns. It has every weapon you could think of from a machine gun, rocket launcher, arrow launcher (with a poisonous head), a net launcher, a flamethrower, and for the grand finale, an “ice-cube system,” which is essentially a freezing gun. No doubt the best feature of this devastating rifle is the automatic target function, which allows the user to point the gun in any direction and fire while the bullets automatically stream towards the target. Dangerous perhaps, but cool, most definitely.
13. Big Fragging Gun (Doom)
For the Big Fragging Gun, bigger is definitely better. Initially labeled the BFG, the Big Fragging Gun is a weapon of mammoth proportions. First featured as a fictional weapon in the Doom and Quake games, it made its big screen debut in 2005’s rendition of Doom starring Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban. Though the movie was panned by critics, it’s not without it’s fair share of cool action scenes, most of which involve the BFG.
Labeled in the movie as a “bio force gun,” it fires a bright blue projectile which blows up upon impact and sprays anyone near with a caustic substance. When Dwayne Johnson’s character lays eyes on it for the first time, the music slows to a crawl, and the viewer knows that this thing is going to cause some serious mayhem. Looking like it weighs as much as Johnson himself, he uses it to annihilate any of the creepy monsters roaming around an abandoned facility on Mars. The BFG is the perfect example of a weapon that is over the top, destructive, and just plain nuts.
12. Noisy Cricket (Men in Black)
Sure, the BFG is big, but the Noisy Cricket proves that size doesn’t matter. When Will Smith’s Agent J is finally assigned a gun after becoming part of the Men in Black, he thinks he’s going to be awarded a hand canon. Much to his chagrin, Tommy Lee Jones takes the big Series Four De-Aatomizer for himself, and awards Agent J with the teeny-tiny Noisy Cricket, which looks like it couldn’t take down a Ewok.
Much to Agent J’s surprise, when he finally gets to use the gun in combat, the force of the weapon catapults him into the air and through the windshield of a car. As it turns out, the Cricket is extremely powerful for its puny size, so much so that it can puncture a 5ft hole in the middle of a truck. While Agent J later upgrades to something more suitable, the Noisy Cricket scene became a hallmark moment in the franchise thanks to it’s comic shenanigans, and pure, unmatched power.
11. Sharks with Frickin’ Laser Beams Attached to Their Heads (Austin Powers)
We know we said in the beginning of this article that we weren’t doing living weapons, but this one was just too good not to include. During Dr. Evil’s tenure in the Austin Powers franchise, he had two simple dreams: try and take over the world, and to get sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads. It had seemed that the second dream would never come to fruition, being that the closest he had come by 2002’s Goldmember was mutated sea bass that were ill-tempered.
His luck finally changed when his rebellious son Scott decided to warm up to the family business, and gave his dear old dad the aquatic gift he had always longed for. To Dr. Evil’s delight, he giddily watches as a great white shark blasts one of his useless henchman with a full-blown laser beam attached to its head. The mere idea of a shark with a laser is the perfect mix of crazy, illogical, deadly, and the kind of twisted logic that seems so right. After all, we figure every creature deserves a warm meal.
10. Rail Gun (Eraser)
Movie weapons have the luxury of being over the top because they don’t have to exist in the real world; take the rail gun in 1996’s Eraser for example. In reality the smallest one, as stated in the movie by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, is about 100ft long and mounted on a battleship. The rail guns in Eraser however are compact enough so Arnie can duel wield two of them while blasting bad guys into oblivion.
Designed as a sniper rifle and equipped with a scope that allows the user to see through buildings, these rail guns are portable, convenient and most of all, devastating. Each blast has enough momentum to go through walls, and send anyone on the receiving end through a wall of their own. No doubt one of the highlights of Eraser comes when Schwarzenegger gets his hands on a couple of them and proceeds to explode a pursuing mini van, resulting in it cartwheeling in the air above his head. Bombastic? Of course it is, but we’d be lying if we said it isn’t just about the coolest thing ever.
9. Mjolnir (Thor/Avengers)
The MCU has no shortage of cool weapons, ranging from the rare Infinity Stones to Agent Coulson’s famed Destroyer Prototype Canon. However, one of the most recognizable weapons has to be Thor’s trusty hammer, Mjolnir, which translates in Norse as “The Crusher” or “The Grinder.” You know with a name like that this hammer isn’t to be taken lightly.
Endowing Thor with all of his supernatural abilities, Mjolnir is a large square-headed hammer that wasn’t made just to smash things, although it does that quite well. As well as containing the force to level mountains, Mjolnir also has the ability to emit mystical blasts of energy (or lightening). It also acts as a boomerang on steroids, able to move through entire planets to return to Thor. When it is deliberately thrown by Thor, it will always return to his hand and as a failsafe, will not budge an inch in his absence (unless you prove yourself worth that is). With traits of a loyal dog, Mjolnir gets our vote for the best weapon on this list with a personality.
8. M55 Rockets (The Rock)
In Michael Bay’s 1996 action/thriller, The Rock, a group of disgruntled U.S. Recon Marines take over the prison island of Alcatraz, armed with enough M55 rockets to level half of California. Of course, the only thing worse than a rocket is a rocket carrying deadly nerve gas, and all of their M55 rockets come equipped with the nerve agent known as VX gas. An extremely toxic substance, VX gas is classified as a weapon of mass destruction that can kill anyone who simply takes a whiff of the stuff.
Of course all is not lost, as a reluctant FBI chemist (Nicolas Cage) and an imprisoned former SAS captain (Sean Connery) lead the charge to take back Alcatraz and disarm the rockets before they can go off. That’s easier said than done however, as each rocket carries numerous tiny, green balls of death that contain the nerve agent. Just one of the balls could kill everyone on Alcatraz, giving a single rocket the potential to wipe out all of San Francisco and then some. Thank goodness Nick Cage was there to save the day.
7. The Elder Wand (Harry Potter)
Behind every great wizard is a great wand, and the Elder Wand just happens to he the greatest wand of all. One of the fabled Deathly Hollows, the wand is said to be crafted by Death itself. According to legend in the Harry Potter series, after cheating Death into sparing their lives, three brothers are allowed one wish each. The eldest brother wishes for a wand that would defeat all others. Death happily obliges, and crafts the instrument out of elder wood. Of course things don’t turn out happily for the brother, who is shortly killed thereafter for his prized possession.
As described by master wandmaker Ollivander, the Elder Wand can be traced throughout history. It changes from one owner to the next, as the person who kills the former owner then becomes the owner of the wand. Though for a while it comes under Dumbledore’s possession, it eventually winds up in the hands of the most evil wizard ever known, Voldemort. No doubt the Elder Wand in Voldemort’s clutches would have been immensely dangerous, allowing the user to never lose a duel. Luckily, Harry Potter was able to defeat Voldemort, transferring ownership over to him. Good thing, as an unbeatable wand is just about the worst thing for the most dangerous dark arts wizard in history to have.
6. Jericho Missile (Iron Man)
Before Tony Stark was a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, he was a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist that liked to blow stuff up and make a ton of money from it. Stark’s company would specialize in making some of the deadliest weapons imaginable, and one of the deadliest of them all was the Jericho Missile. In comparison to his later efforts, if the Iron Man suit is a tool for justice, then the Jericho Missile is a tool made for pure chaos and destruction.
The crown jewel of Stark Industries’ Freedom line, Stark makes a demonstration of the weapon’s ultimate power when visiting troops in the Middle East. As the missile flies into the sky it breaks down into tinier rockets, which proceed to completely decimate a mountain in the background. Some say that the best weapon is one you never have to fire. Tony Stark respectfully disagrees, and prefers the weapon you only have to fire once. With the Jericho Missile, you can rest assured you’ll never have to fire it twice
5. Oxygen Destroyer (Gojira)
It takes a lot to bring down the King of the Monsters; just ask the endless military troops who get stomped and destroyed on a regular basis. Seemingly indestructible, Godzilla has blasted through tanks, ripped apart submarines, and pulverized any opposing monster during his sixty-plus year movie career.
You might be shocked to learn however that in his very first outing, 1954’s Gojira, Godzilla was actually defeated in the end, by a human-made weapon nonetheless. Created by Dr. Serizawa (Ken Wantanabe’s character in the 2014 update), the Oxygen Destroyer is a devastating weapon of mass destruction that is both deadly and horrifying. By releasing micro-oxygen, it unleashes a chemical reaction that splits oxygen molecules, virtually destroying anything unlucky enough to be floating around in the water in which it’s released.
The Oxygen Destroyer has the privilege of being one of the only weapons strong enough to kill Godzilla, and considering that mostly everyone who has tried has failed (including the army, giant monsters, and even aliens) that’s no small feat.
4. Goldeneye Satellite (Goldeneye)
The James Bond franchise is no stranger when it comes to big, bombastic weapons. The villains in the long running spy franchise are nothing short of extravagant, and it would only make sense that their weapons mirror that excessiveness. We’ve seen everything in the series from a giant laser beam in space, to a bowler hat powerful enough to slice somebody’s head clean off, but the most devastating weapon just might be the Goldeneye satellite in 1995’s Goldeneye.
Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as 007 has him race to stop a former ally, 006, from launching an attack that would cripple Britain’s economic infrastructure. 006 plans to do this with a high-jacked satellite weapon known as “Goldeneye,” which can fire an ultra-powerful electromagnetic pulse anywhere on Earth. The audience gets to see just how devastating the satellite can be when it’s launched on an unsuspecting Russian research center which gets completely annihilated, seemingly imploding from the inside.
The Goldeneye weapon may not be a giant laser beam or a nuclear warhead, but it has the potential to be more dangerous than both of those combined. The satellite weapon has the power to send entire countries back into the Stone Age by completely wiping out any electronics; that means no computers, no cell phones, no youtube, no google, no anything. If that’s not a true test of power, then we’re not sure what is.
3. Power Stone (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Marvel’s Infinity War is almost upon us, and fans can’t wait to see Thanos finally tear it up on the big screen using the much-anticipated Infinity Gauntlet. Known to be one of the most powerful weapons in the universe, the Gauntlet is a culmination of all the Infinity Stones combined to make one awesome super-weapon. While we can’t wait to put the Gauntlet on one of our lists, we’ll just have to wait until it’s unveiled, but we can still add the Infinity Stones that have been featured in the MCU so far, and the most powerful by our measure would have to be the Power Stone from Guardians of the Galaxy.
This glowing purple gem can unleash devastating power that can level entire cities and vaporize armies in the blink of an eye. However, the power of the stone is so great that it can’t be wielded by just anyone. As we’ve seen from the Collector’s assistant, the Power Stone is so unreliable and so dangerous it can even destroy its user. Those who do have the strength and are lucky enough to wield it pretty much have the power of a god at their fingertips, which makes us even more intrigued to see what Thanos will do with it in the upcoming Infinity War.
2. Alien Laser (Independence Day)
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching alien invasion movies, it’s that the invaders always have the superior firepower. Earth’s weapons always seem to be completely ineffective against whatever monstrosity the invading aliens seem to cook up, and that’s never rung more true than the devastating laser beam used in Independence Day. Powerful and overwhelming don’t even begin to describe this weapon of mass destruction, which can level entire cities without missing a beat.
By getting the drop on planet earth, the aliens in Roland Emmerich’s invasion classic strategically place their giant ships (which are the size of most major cities) in Earth’s most populated areas. Panic and confusion run rampant among the masses, until Jeff Goldblum’s character is able to find a countdown clock in the aliens’ signal. Unfortunately, when that clock reaches zero, it’s lights out for planet Earth.
These huge destructive lasers rain down on entire cites, engulfing them in flames and vaporizing anything left standing. Buildings vanish in an instant as thousands of lives are snuffed out in a matter of seconds. Although Randy Quaid was able to destroy one by flying directly into it, these extraterrestrial lasers no doubt remain as one of the deadliest weapons on this list.
1. The Death Star/Starkiller Base (Star Wars)
This is it; the ultimate, the master: the most destructive weapon we could think to muster. The Death Star and Starkiller Base make every other weapon on this list seem pathetically miniscule in comparison. What is an explosive rocket or a hammer that can shoot lightening when compared to battle stations that have the ability to reduce planets to a smoldering fireball.
First introduced in A New Hope, the Death Star is the culmination of all advanced weaponry, and even a representation of death itself. The Empire had really out done themselves this time with the construction of a battle station as big as a moon, and containing the power to decimate entire planets. The stakes were raised even higher with last year’s The Force Awakens, which saw the Death Star’s predecessor, Starkiller Base, destroy an entire system of planets in just one blast. No longer the size of the moon, but of an entire planet, Starkiller Base is certainly more than an intimidating weapon, whose ammo is essentially made out of a sun.
We admit, these battle stations don’t have the best defensive capabilities. Luke Skywalker was able to blow up the Death Star with one blast into an exhaust port, and Starkiller was yet again blown up with some well-aimed shots at a weak spot. But, all that aside, these are still two of the most all-out destructive weapons ever seen in movies and, suffice to say, nothing even comes close.