American Gun (2002 film)

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American Gun
Directed by Alan Jacobs
Produced by Brent Morris
Written by Alan Jacobs
Starring James Coburn
Virginia Madsen
Barbara Bain
Alexandra Holden
Walter Jones
Music by Anthony Marinelli
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date
June 13, 2002
Running time
89 minutes
Language English

American Gun is a 2002 drama film written and directed by Alan Jacobs. It stars James Coburn (in his final film), Virginia Madsen, Barbara Bain and Alexandra Holden.[1][2]


The film tells the story of Martin Tillman (Coburn), a World War II veteran on a cross-country journey to trace the origin of the gun used to kill his daughter Penny (Madsen). On the way he seeks for his granddaughter Mia (Holden).

Writer/director Alan Jacobs was inspired by a visit to the Smith & Wesson factory in Massachusetts, where he saw an obituary for a young girl above the workbench where a man was assembling guns. He wondered if the worker had perhaps assembled the gun that killed the girl. "At that moment it clicked," Jacobs said. "I had recently read a book called Lethal Passage by the journalist Erik Larson who tracked down the history of a submachine gun that ended up in the hands of a kid who took it to school one day. That put the idea in my head that a gun could have a history."[3]


The film was shot over a period of 40 days of principal photography which began in December, 2000 in Rutland, Vermont, followed by Los Angeles, California, Las Vegas, Nevada and Miami, Florida. The film was shot by cinematographer Phil Parmet in 35mm Kodak color, black & white, with additional footage on Sony PD150 mini-DV, and the combination of formats won the Modern Digital Cinematography Award at the Seattle Independent Film Festival in 2002.


  1. ^ Nusair, David (15 February 2004). "American Gun (February 15/04)". ReelFilm. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Rachel Deahl. "American Gun (2002) Directed by Alan Jacobs". AllMovie. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Robert Knott, Santa Fe New Mexican Film Festival Guide, 2002

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