• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

speargun in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Well-Known Member
Nov 20, 2010
I don’t know about pneumatic spearguns, but shouldn’t there be a spear point sticking out the end if it’s loaded and ready to go? The film takes place in 1969 and it appears they got all the vintage gear down pretty well, but like I said I don’t know anything about guns that look like that. Could the shaft and the spearpoint be fully enclosed and hidden?
The suggestion in the movie is that he shot his wife moments after this scene.
Thanks in advance for any help. BTW, in my opinion it was the best film of 2019 and I’ve watched it several times. It helps if you have some memory of 1969.
My primary question is simply is that if the gun is loaded and ready to shoot, wouldn’t you clearly see the shaft and the spearpoint sticking out the front. In other words it would be a flaw in the movie if the gun is clearly unloaded in this scene. I just don’t know much of anything about pneumatics. I will try and check out the info you posted above. Thanks!
  • Like
Reactions: Josepsh
There appears to be some kind of a blunt tip on a loaded shaft? Or some kind of a shroud where the spear tip would be. The first cylindrical shiny thingey might be an actual muzzle, then there is shaft sticking out of it, and then another cylinder on its end. A protective cap? Or some kind of “safe unload” tip, something you put on to safely release the shaft? I haven’t seen this particular movie, maybe there is some context, like special tip? What is he hunting? I remember back in 80’s or even earlier, there were some experiments with tips delivering compressed gas to inflate dangerous fish (sharks etc), maybe this is what it is.
The context in the movie (and this really won’t spoil the film for you if you haven’t seen it) is that the Brad Pitt character has been diving off a boat all afternoon with this setup. And soon his wife will end up dead but it’s left up to the viewer exactly how that happens but it hints that it may something to do with the speargun, whether by accident or on purpose.
His wife of course is also on the boat, complaining about being there with him.
In the pic where the gun is just laying across his lap, it looks like you can see a section of polished spearshaft just to the left of the vertical pole, coming out of what looks like it should be the end of the short muzzle. If that's the case, then I'm guessing the can on the end is a bang stick/power head.

Given the size of the hole in the end of the can, maybe it's for a shotgun shell? Looking again, it's hard to tell, that hole isn't all that big.

More likely, it's just a movie prop, meant to resemble a power head.
Last edited:
Spoolin your explanation seems to make quite a bit of sense. You can also see tanks on board so the implication is that he was on SCUBA. So with what we know now, apparently he was diving with a bang stick just for protection from sharks. Is there also the possibility in 1969 a SoCal diver might have been out hunting for sharks with a bang stick? I don’t know if people did that.

So if he did shoot his wife, it would have been with a bang stick instead of a spear. Yikes! Probably even a more gruesome way to go.

Wonder how many people on the movie set even picked up that actual spearfishermen might be wondering exactly what that gun was all about.
Commercial spearfishermen sometimes use bang sticks for bigger fish I think, if they want to be sure to stone one without fail. I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know how it might have fit into the plot. Wouldn't want to be shot with one, that's for sure.

I like those old retro-looking guns. I've got several I've been meaning to figure out how to get working again. I don't intend to use them, just like the idea of having them in working condition as wall-hangers.
Spoolin I think you are getting this all figured out! It would make perfect sense that the character Cliff would have been out commercial spearfishing for money and I do kind of recall that bang sticks were used to get big giant groupers and things like that. So if Quinton Tarintino actually thought about the scene that deeply and was meaning to convey that, that would be impressive. But it sounds like a great explanation to what we see in that short sequence. That was fun thanks for your input guys!
Now you have to see the movie.
I gather a lot of divers and spearos associate power heads with shark protection, but I guess they are also legal here in the US for commercial spearfishing as well.

If you haven't seen any of these videos, they're commercial spearfishers in the Gulf of Mexico off of Florida's west coast. Here's a couple where they use power heads on some grouper. They go as deep as 300+ feet, so they don't like to waste time. The power head is not quite the dramatic event I might have imagined, but effective. He uses a fairly powerful Russian rifle round 7.62x54R in his power heads.

Those videos are wild! I had no idea that there are commercial spearfishers who go so deep for groupers.
Thanks for posting the videos and all your info on the topic.
If you ever want a fun read, try Helldivers Rodeo by Humberto Fontova, about deep spearfishing the offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexicao. I read it before I'd done much scuba, so I didn't realize how crazy the stories were. I still don't know if it's not stretched a bit.
Yep, that’s pretty much what we’ve figured out.
The odd thing is that if someone like me didn’t recognize that, you know that 99% of the people watching the movie won’t get exactly what that gun is.
Would have made much more sense to simply have a traditional spearpoint sticking out of the end of the gun.
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.