The AK-47: From Weapon of War to Action Star

If it seems like this assault weapon has been used as a tool of terror for a long time, that’s because it has. You may associate this weapon with countless action films and video games, including Battlefield and Call of Duty. However, the real-life AK-47 was actually invented at the end of World War II. Created by Mikhail Kalashnikov, it It made its formal debut as a staple of the Soviet Armed Forces in 1949, and was designed as a reliable selective fire machine-gun. To this day, it remains the most popular and iconic assault weapon in the world. Join WatchMojo.com as we take a look back at the history of the AK-47.
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The AK-47: From Weapon of War to Action Star

This is the most popular assault weapon of all time. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be taking a look back at the history of the AK-47, and how it achieved its status as a movie and video game star.

If it seems like this assault weapon has been used as a tool of terror for a long time, that’s because it has.

You may associate this firearm with countless action films and video games, including Battlefield and Call of Duty. However, the real-life AK-47 was actually invented at the end of World War II. Development of the weapon took place between 1945 and 1947, and it made its formal debut as a staple of the Soviet Armed Forces in 1949.

It was created by Mikhail Kalashnikov, and was designed as a reliable selective fire machinegun. It took on both the stock and folding form, and this was dubbed the AKS. Of course, in the decades following its unveiling, countless versions appeared by numerous manufacturers who used a variety of materials. In fact, more variants of this gun have been made than all other assault weapons combined, meaning there are hundreds of millions of these devices in use around the world.

In light of this, it’s shocking that the AK-47’s famed inventor never became wealthy from his creation’s widespread success. This was due to the fact that the Communist Soviets claimed the weapon in the name of the motherland.

However, Kalashnikov did gain worldwide infamy as Russia gratefully named the weapon after him by calling it the Avtomat Kalashnikova. He was also given countless awards, including the USSR state prize. The AK-47 was the world’s first true assault rifle, and it emerged as a symbol of Russian military might. As such, it appeared on everything from postcards to movie posters.

The gas-operated AK-47’s long-held popularity stemmed from the fact that it was extremely durable, reliable, cheap to manufacture and easy to use. These attributes made it a favorite of armies and militias around the world, and Hollywood directors used it to light up the silver screen.

The AK-47’s first foray into film came as early as 1955, in the Soviet film “Maksim Perepelitsa.” Meanwhile, Russian youth began playing with metal, plastic and wooden toy models of this popular weapon, and this plaything eventually became popular around the globe.

Hollywood presented its own version of the firearm in the 1962 feature “Escape from East Berlin.” In this film, the actors portraying East German border guards handled the weapons.

A decade later, Americans found a real-life need to begin using this tool. The AK-47s performed in the jungles of Vietnam in situations where standard American rifles failed.

The AK-47 was then formally adopted by the American Armed Forces, but the authentic war tool continued to appear on celluloid. It was used by terrorists in 1978’s “The Fury,” and played a large part in the iconic war film “Apocalypse Now” when it was handled by Viet Cong fighters.

The Russian weapon then returned to Soviet use in the James Bond film “Octopussy.” In “Rocky IV” it was used to introduce Sylvester Stallone to the motherland.

The AK-47 eventually became more than a weapon of choice for fictional terrorists and enemy combatants. It emerged as a film hero favorite in the 1980s in such action flicks as “The Delta Force,” “Iron Eagle” and “Rambo III.”

Almost comically, it was even used against large irradiated lizards in the ‘90s version of “Godzilla.”

More recently, the AK-47 starred in numerous high-profile projects. These included such films as “We Were Soldiers,” “Tears of the Sun,” “K-19: The Widowmaker,” and the blockbuster “X-Men: First Class.”

Despite all of these notable examples, the AK-47’s most central appearance may have been in the 2005 film “Lord of War.” In that film, Nicolas Cage played an arms dealer who expertly explained the significance, history and popularity of the iconic weapon.

This gun is a staple of real-life warfare, and all forms of fiction and media. Because of this, no other automatic firearm even comes close to the same level of recognition. The AK-47 is an iconic weapon from another era that will continue to be showcased well into the twenty first century.
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