Sure the loudest explosions are in war movies but when you want to watch something that combines violence with stealth and cunning tactics, suddenly snipers come into mind. As ‘sniper’ unfortunately isn’t a dedicated film genre, therefore finding some classy movies with snipers in them is far more difficult than you can actually imagine. Here today we have compiled a comprehensive list of the best sniper movies of all time that will literally make you sit at the edge of your seat:
15. Sun Cheung Sau (2009)
Out of all the movies on this list, this one is the least likely to have been heard of by most people. Nonetheless, it is a solid cops-and-robbers-type film set in Hong Kong.
One of the HKPD’s finest snipers, Hartman, along with a hot-tempered rookie, is given the task of chasing down an ex-cop and Hartman’s former friend who threatens to destroy the police force to get his revenge.
14. Jack Reacher (2012)
Based on the novel One Shot, the titular character Jack Reacher is an ex-military criminal investigator who investigates the case of an ex-US Army sniper who, what appears to be, went on a killing spree and killed five civilians.
Jack initially gets convinced that the sniper is indeed the culprit because of his similar actions in the past in Iraq. But, soon things take a drastic turn when he discovers a Russian mob’s involvement in the killings.
13. Elephant White (2011)
Elephant White is an action-drama movie that has its ups and downs but still manages to be an entertaining and watchable film. A wealthy businessman hires a sniper to seek revenge on the Thai traders responsible for his daughter’s murder.
Although this film isn’t a critic’s favorite, it still deserves credit for its artful execution and sniper-centric plot.
12. Two Minute Warning (1976)
A psychopathic sniper launches an assault on a stadium during a major game. The police, led by two of the best captains, assemble a squad and rush to the civilians’ assistance.
However, it is a race against the clock as an all-star team looks down the barrel of a loaded gun.
11. The American (2010)
An American assassin and craftsman, Jack is given the task of creating a powerful customized sniper. However, while creating the weapon he falls in love and befriends a priest, breaking his secrecy rules which causes him to be double-crossed and mortally wounded by the end of the film, leaving his fate to be determined by the viewers.
10. Rambo 4 (2008)
A 20-year late sequel to Rambo III, the story this time sees John Rambo and a band of warriors’ journey to Burma which is ravaged by war, to save the lives of a Christian aid team who have been abducted by a cruel gang of Thai soldiers.
The sniper in the film plays an important role in all tactical battles and secures some of the finest sniper kills that have ever been depicted in cinematic history.
9. Wanted (2008)
Wesley Gibson meets the mysterious Sloan, who tells him that his father was murdered. Training under Fox, he masters his sniping skills and sets his eyes on his father’s killer Cross. However, it turns out Cross was his true father and Sloan had deceived him, resulting in Wesley pulling a clever scam to get Sloan out in the open and end his life once and for all.
Although the systematic sniper shots and swinging bullets depicted in the film are pure sci-fi and nowhere close to reality, the film still deserves a good place in our sniper movies list.
8. Phone Booth (2002)
The arrogant Stu Shepard’s life is completely shaken up when he gets trapped in a booth with a sniper whose aim’s on him.
The sniper knows every detail of Stu’s life and uses the information to challenge Stu to various mental games. Now, he somehow must survive both the sniper and the police who consider him to be a killer (and is unaware of the presence of the sniper).
7. Jarhead (2005)
Anthony Swofford (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) joins the marines just so he could use his sniping skills for action. During the first Gulf War, his team is stationed in Saudi Arabia but all that awaits them is 175 days of boredom, misery, and heat.
After having his only chance of killing an Iraqi commander taken away (which would, in turn, have made him actually fire his rifle in combat), he returns home only to find that his girlfriend had moved on with someone else.
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
A genre-defining war movie, Saving Private Ryan is about a general trying to locate the last surviving son of a mother who has already lost three sons to the war. A unit is sent behind enemy lines to try and retrieve Ryan as a result of which each member of the squad gets killed one after another by enemy action.
This great war film features several memorable sniper scenes including a short sniper duel.
5. The Jackal (1997)
The Jackal, based on a novel by Frederick Forsyth, is an above-par action flick, spiced with wit and style.
When an unknown assassin known as ‘The Jackal’ begins a killing spree, an imprisoned IRA sniper is set free for being the only one to have a loose connection with him. He is then assigned the mission of stopping the Jackal from carrying out his next assignment.
4. Shooter (2007)
Shooter is an impressive political thriller film, albeit rife with controversy. It features a former sharpshooter in self-imposed exile who is brought back when a plan to assassinate the president is discovered.
After getting betrayed and framed for the murder, the shooter, later on, embarks on a one-man hunt to bring the real perpetrator to justice and clear his own name.
3. Targets (1968)
Targets is a psychological mastermind film that is still being sold today.
Bobby Thompson murders his wife and mother and then starts a killing frenzy that continues on, killing numerous people while simultaneously avoiding the police until Byron Orlok, an almost retired policeman finally goes after him.
2. Sniper (1993)
A top sniper film list can never be completed without the appropriately titled Sniper. The film revolves around a US Marine Corps sniper, infamous for his squad’s death tolls, stationed in Panama, who is partnered with a novice SWAT member to bring down a rebel leader.
The film enjoys a cult following and spawned two sequels (that largely flopped), and is counted among the best sniper films out there.
1. Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Enemy at the Gates is a pure sniper film that follows the story of real-life World War 2 Russian sniper, Vassili Zaitsev who wreaked havoc on German officers during the Battle of Stalingrad. The film is centered around the evolution of Vassili from an ordinary infantry soldier into an adroit marksman and his eventual duel with the “master” of the Berlin Sniper School named König – who has dedicatedly been sent to the battlefield by Germans to hunt down Vassili.
Although this particular sniper film caused quite a stir-up in Russia for portraying a rather negative impression of the Red Army (Russian soldiers) in WW-II and for portraying the fictional love story between Vassili and Tania, nevertheless the film became a critical and commercial success and is often regarded as the best sniper movie ever.
We cannot help but mention these great runner-ups to conclude this list:
- D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear (2003)
- Sniper: Reloaded (2011)
- American Sniper (2014)
What are your favorite sniper movies of all time? Share with us a few names in the comments section below!