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Vera Cruz

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Vera Cruz
Vera Cruz Poster.jpg
Original Theatrical Poster
Country Flag of the United States.jpg USA
Directed by Robert Aldrich
Release Date 1954
Language English
Studio Hecht-Lancaster Productions
Distributor United Artists
Main Cast
Character Actor
Benjamin Trane Gary Cooper
Joe Erin Burt Lancaster
Countess Marie Duvarre Denise Darcel
Marquis Henri de Labordere Cesar Romero
Nina Sara Montiel
Emperor Maximilian George Macready
Tex Jack Elam
Donnegan Ernest Borgnine
Little-Bit James McCallion
Gen. Ramirez Morris Ankrum

Vera Cruz is a 1954 Western film directed by Robert Aldrich and adapted from a story by Borden Chase. The movie stars Gary Cooper as Benjamin Trane, ex-Confederate soldier and Burt Lancaster as gunslinger Joe Erin, the boss of mercenary gang. During the Franco-Mexican War both men are recruited to escort Countess Duvarre (Denise Darcel), the favorite of the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, to the seaport city of Veracruz. The mission becomes even more dangerous when it turns out that Countess' stagecoach transports a large load of gold.

Note: the story is set in 1866, and nearly all weapons in the movie don't fit that time.

The following weapons were used in the film Vera Cruz:


Single Action Army

Single Action Army Civilian Model

Joe Erin's (Burt Lancaster) handgun is a nickel plated Single Action Army "Civilian" Model revolver with pearl grips. Many mercenaries, including Donnegan (Ernest Borgnine), Pittsburgh (Charles Bronson, at that time still credited as Charles Buchinsky), Reno (Charles Horvath), Little-Bit (James McCallion), Tex (Jack Elam), Ballard (Archie Savage), carry common "Civilian" revolvers; their handguns sometimes switch between "Civilian" and "Artillery" (see below) models due to numerous continuity errors.

Note: see additional screenshots and promotional images on talk page.

Colt Single Action Army with 4.75" barrel, case colored and blued, referred to as "Quick-Draw" or "Civilian" model - .45 Long Colt
Erin draws the revolver after Benjamin Trane (Gary Cooper) draws his gun (not as agression but to shoot a lame horse).
Donnegan aims his revolver at Trane during the conflict in the Mexican bar. Pittsburgh (at the left) draws an "Artillery" revolver that later switches to a "Civilian".
Donnegan and Reno hold "Civilian" revolvers in the same scene. Reno's revolver switches to an "Artillery" model in next scene.
Erin fires his revolver at Capt. Danette and his cavalrymen during the chase after the stagecoach.
Mercenaries aim their revolvers at Erin and Trane. From left to right: Little-Bit, Abilene (with "Artillery" model), and Tex.
From left to right: Donnegan, Pittsburgh and Ballard, all with "Civilian" model revolvers.
A good view of the pearl grip of Erin's revolver.
Erin fires at Ballard who drives stagecoach with gold.
Erin holds his revolver during the final duel with Trane.
A view of Erin's revolver from the back.

Single Action Army Artillery Model

Benjamin Trane's (Gary Cooper) revolver is a Single Action Army "Artillery" Model. Mercenaries Pittsburgh (Charles Bronson), Reno (Charles Horvath), Abilene (James Seay) and some unnamed ones are also seen with "Artillery" revolvers; their handguns sometimes switch between "Civilian" (see above) and "Artillery" models due to numerous continuity errors.

Note: see additional screenshots and promotional images on talk page.

Colt Single Action Army with 5.5" barrel known as the "Artillery" model - .45 Long Colt
Trane draws his revolver to shoot the lame horse.
Trane turns in saddle to fire at a cavalry officer.
Vera Cruz-SAAArtMod-4.jpg
Trane holds the revolver during the confrontation with Erin. The pearl grip of Erin's "Civilian" revolver is seen.
Pittsburgh holds an "Artillery" revolver during the conflict in a bar. Later his revolver switches to a "Civilian" model.
In the same scene Reno's revolver switches from a "Civilian" to "Artillery" model. Another mercenary (unnamed) also holds an "Artillery" revolver.
Trane shows his marksmanship in the scene in the palace.
Mercenaries aim their revolvers at Erin and Trane. Abilene (in center) holds an "Artillery" model, others are armed with "Civilian" revolvers.
Trane's revolver in holster during the final duel with Erin.
Trane stands over dead Erin.

Colt 1860 Army (Richards Conversion)

Colt 1860 Army revolvers with Richards cartridge conversion are used by officers of Emperor Maximilian's army, notably Emperor's trusted person Marquis Henri de Labordere (Cesar Romero), and by Mexicans, notably the commander of Juarista troops General Ramirez (Morris Ankrum). Most revolvers are of compact version but some full-length revolvers are also seen.

Note: see additional screenshots and promotional images on talk page.

Colt 1860 Army with Richards cartridge conversion, compact model.
Colt 1860 Army with Richards cartridge conversion.
A cavalry officer fires his revolver at Trane. This is a compact version.
Another view of the officer's revolver.
Marquis Henri de Labordere holds his revolver when he secretly sneaks to the stagecoach, loaded with gold.
One of Gen. Ramirez' men fires at a cavalry officer during the ambush on the convoy.
Vera Cruz-Colt1860Richards-5.jpg
A revolver in hand of gunned officer.
An Emperor's Guard fires a full-length revolver. Another Guard next to him readies a revolver of same version.
Gen. Ramirez holds a compact version of converted Colt 1860.
Pedro (Juan García), one of Ramirez' men, holds a revolver (in center).
A Mexican at the left holds a revolver.

Compact Smith & Wesson Revolver

Countess Marie Duvarre (Denise Darcel) owns a nickel plated compact top-break Smith & Wesson revolver of unclear model (it is possible that the revolver isn't even S&W but a production of some other manufacturer).

For comparison: Smith & Wesson 4th Model Double Action - .32 S&W
Countess Duvarre fires at an attacking Mexican.
Another view of the same scene.
Vera Cruz-PocketRevolver-3.jpg
Countess Duvarre holds the revolver when she watches the storming of Vera Cruz from the balcony.

Unidentified revolver

Capt. Danette (Henry Brandon) carries an unidentified revolver with swing out cylinder (such models appeared more than twenty years later). It appears to be some Colt model.

Capt. Danette fires at Joe Erin.
Vera Cruz-Revolver-2.jpg
Another view of Danette's revolver. The shape of the frame allows to guess that this is a Colt model.

Rifles and Muskets

Winchester Model 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine

Benjamin Trane (Gary Cooper), Joe Erin (Burt Lancaster) and several of his men, including Pittsburgh (Charles Bronson), Donnegan (Ernest Borgnine), Abilene (James Seay), Tex (Jack Elam), and Ballard (Archie Savage), use Winchester Model 1892 Saddle Ring Carbines. In the scene when Joe Erin demonstrates his Winchester to Emperor Maximilian (George Macready), the carbine is fired fourteen times a row.

Note: see additional screenshots and promotional images on talk page.

Winchester 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine - .32WCF/.38-40/.44-40/.25-20.
Joe Erin holds a Winchester when he meets Benjamin Trane.
Tex holds a Winchester.
Pittsburgh holds a Winchester during the visit in Emperor's palace.
Erin takes the Winchester from Pittsburgh and hands it to Maximilian who is interested in the modern rifle (that would appear only after about a quarter of century).
Erin demonstrates shooting of the rifle.
Trane takes the Winchester and fires at targets.
Maximilian fires the rifle.
Pittsburgh and Donnegan fire their rifles during the storming of Vera Cruz.
Trane and Erin fire their rifles during the storming of Vera Cruz.
Trane holds his Winchester after the battle.

Winchester Model 1892 Mockup

When Erin uses his Winchester for a close combat, the actual rifle is replaced with a mockup, possibly a rubber prop.

Note the bent barrel and magazine.
Mockup Winchester on the ground together with equally mockup Rolling Block carbine.
Erin uses his mockup rifle as a club.

Springfield Model 1873 Cavalry Carbine

Springfield Model 1873 Cavalry Carbines are used by Maximilian's troops, both cavalry and infantry.

Replica Springfield Model 1873 Cavalry Carbine "Trapdoor Springfield" built by Uberti Arms - .45-70
Cavalrymen fire after escaping Trane. The mixture of Napoleonic style cuirasses and helmets with breechloading rifles looks unusual.
Vera Cruz-TrapdoorCarbine-2.jpg
Cavalrymen of the escort of Countess Duvarre hold carbines during the rest stop at the monastery.
A carbine is seen in saddle holster.
Vera Cruz-TrapdoorCarbine-5.jpg
Soldiers, defending the Vera Cruz fort, are mostly armed with Trapdoor carbines.
Soldiers with Trapdoor carbines and Remington Rolling Block rifles and carbines.

Springfield Model 1873 Rifle

Springfield Model 1873 Rifles are used by Emperor's troops, including Guards (in red uniform), and Mexican republicans. Some are mocked up as flintlock muskets.

Note: see additional screenshots on talk page.

Replica Springfield Model 1873 "Trapdoor Springfield" built by Uberti Arms - .45-70
Vera Cruz-TrapdoorRifle-3.jpg
Guards in Emperor's palace.
Mexican republicans with Trapdoor rifles in the scene of the attack on the convoy.
Mexicans fire from the rooftop.
Soldiers at the Gatling Gun (see below) carry Trapdoor rifles.
Guards fire their rifles during the battle in Vera Cruz.
Vera Cruz-TrapdoorRifle-13.jpg
Guards fire at attacking Mexican republicans.

Trapdoor Springfield (Mocked Up as Flintlock Muskets)

Mexican republicans are also armed with flintlock muskets that turn out to be visually modified Trapdoor Springfield rifles and carbines. Similar props started appearing on screen as early as 1930s.

Mexicans take aim at Marquis de Labordere's cavalrymen. Their muskets are Trapdoor rifles with fake flintlocks.
Vera Cruz-Musket-2.jpg
Another view of the same scene.
Mexicans in ambush. A Trapdoor carbine with fake flintlock is seen at the left.

Remington Rolling Block Carbine

Remington Rolling Block carbines are widely used by Mexican republicans but also are seen in hands of Maximilian's soldiers.

Remington Model 1867 Rolling Block Carbine - .50-45
A man of Gen. Ramirez' unit holds a Remington Rolling Block carbine.
Rolling Block carbines in hands of Mexicans during the attack on the convoy.
A Mexican aims his carbine.
A Mexican in center holds a Rolling Block carbine.
Vera Cruz-RemingtonRBCarbine-7.jpg
A Mexican fires from a rooftop. The movement of the hammer is seen.
A Mexican spots the convoy from the stairs of the ancient pyramid.
Some soldiers of the honor guard are armed with Rolling Block carbines; Trapdoor Springfield carbines are also seen.
Vera Cruz-RemingtonRBCarbine-11.jpg
Many Mexicans, attacking the fortress in Vera Cruz, are armed with Rolling Block carbines.

Remington Rolling Block Rifle

Remington Rolling Block rifles are also used by Mexican republicans.

Remington Rolling Block Militarized - .45 caliber
Vera Cruz-RemingtonRBRifle-1.jpg
Gen. Ramirez' men on the barricade are armed with Remington Rolling Block in both rifle and carbine versions.
Vera Cruz-RemingtonRBRifle-3.jpg
Vera Cruz-RemingtonRBRifle-4.jpg
Many Mexicans, attacking the fortress in Vera Cruz, are armed with Rolling Block rifles (Rolling Block carbines are also seen).

Unidentified Rifles/Muskets

Some percussion cap muskets or rifles of unidentified models are seen in several scenes.

An artilleryman at the right carries a percussion cap musket.
A French sailor fires at Donnegan. His gun is a percussion cap musket with short, two-band barrel.

Sawed-off Flintlock Musket

An aged Mexican holds a sawed-off flintlock musket. Possibly this gun is a visually modified breechloading rifle, like full-length flintlocks (see above).

A sawed-off musket is seen in hands of an aged Mexican.
The flint lock is seen.
The pistol grip, made of sawed-off buttstock, is seen.

Machine Guns

Colt Model 1883 Gatling Gun

A Colt Model 1883 Gatling Gun is used by Maximilian's troops and later captured by Trane and Erin.

Colt Model 1883 Gatling Gun with 104-round Accles Drum - .45-70
The Gatling Gun is seen at the right.
The Gatling is aimed at the attacking Mexican republicans.
A close view of the barrel and drum.
Trane, Erin and Pittsburgh run to the Gatling after they killed the crew.
They aim the Gatling at enemy field gun.
Trane opens fire.
A close view of the muzzles of the Gatling. One barrel is currently firing.
Vera Cruz-Gatling-9.jpg
Trane and Erin rush away from the Gatling when they see a grenade thrown at them.
Erin and Trane with the Gatling Gun on a promotional image.

Other Weapons

Hand Grenade

Several hand grenades are seen near the Gatling Gun. Trane uses one of them to blow gunpowder. These spherical hand grenades with tail fins are most likely props, specially made for filming, rather than some genuine grenades. They are possibly inspired by Ketchum Grenade, used by Union troops in the American Civil War, but they still look different.

A half dozen of grenades near the destroyed Gatling gun.
Trane picks up a grenade and throws it to the field cannon in order to blow up the gunpowder and thus stop attacking enemy cavalry.
The grenade is seen in mid-air (in red circle).


Field Cannon

A muzzleloading field cannon is used in battle. This is most likely a modern replica. The cannon fires and shows correct recoil after the shot.

A cannon on position.
An artilleryman ignits the powder charge.
Vera Cruz-Cannon-3.jpg
Another view of the cannon on position. The barrel of Gatling Gun, aimed at the cannon, is seen at the foreground.

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