Home

 › 

Lifestyle

 › 

Iconic Quotes About Guns, God, and Life by Charlton Heston

Iconic Quotes About Guns, God, and Life by Charlton Heston

During his acting career, Charlton Heston wasn’t afraid to speak his mind on certain topics. Society looked to him to open up whenever something was happening. At the start of his career, Heston aligned himself with liberal policies and politicians. He held strong beliefs on equality, and he was one of the first actors to speak up for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. As time progressed, Heston shifted and started to align with conservative policies.

In the 1980s, Heston spoke out against gun control in the United States. He firmly believed guns were a right everyone in the United States should have. Starting in the late 1990s, Heston was elected as President of the NRA. During that time, Heston gave society plenty of memorable quotes. Arguably, his most famous one proclaimed that Al Gore could have his gun when he could “pry it away from [his] cold, dead fingers.” Heston held his rifle above his head when he said that.

Heston also started speaking out about his opinions on the culture war. He believed that white men were being devalued in an attempt to uplift other races and genders. He would go on for days about his feelings on the subject. There are countless memorable quotes Heston is remembered by from before his death in 2008. As a reminder, Heston was a successful actor throughout the 60s. For more 1960s movie content, click here to read about the best R-rated movies from the decade. 

To compile this list of the most famous quotes by Charlton Heston, 24/7 Tempo consulted entertainment-related sources. These include QuoteFancy.com, BrainyQuote.com, and A-Z Quotes.

Charlton Heston’s opinion of guns

Source: Graphic House / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Source: Graphic House / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Charlton Heston’s beliefs on the Second Amendment led to some passionate statements from the actor over the years. Arguably, his most famous quote of all-time came during an NRA convention in 2000. At that point, Al Gore was running against George W. Bush to become the next President of the United States.

One of Gore’s beliefs was in having more gun control. During a speech at the convention, Heston looked at the crowd and said of Gore, “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.” Heston wasn’t looking for anyone to take his gun away and he made sure Gore knew his stance.

Charlton Heston’s argument against gun control

Source: Central Press / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Source: Central Press / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

One of the most popular arguments against gun control is there’s a smaller chance of a “good guy” having a gun during a situation they need it. According to Heston, “There’s no such thing as a good gun. There’s no such thing as a bad gun. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing. A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys.” Heston believed that bad people would get a gun if they wanted one, regardless of the law. He felt that only good guys could stop them from using guns to commit crimes.

More of Charlton Heston’s thoughts on gun control

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

1980: American film actor Charlton Heston, who became world-renowned for his epic portrayals of Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956), and the title roles in Ben-Hur (1959) and El Cid (1961). (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

Those weren’t the only times Charlton Heston spoke out on gun control. In one instance, Heston took it to the extreme when bringing up dark names in history. “It’s the camel’s nose in the tent. Look at Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Idi Amin – every one of these monsters, on seizing power, their first act was to confiscate all firearms in private hands…”

Heston tried to draw a parallel between these evil men and gun control. He thought society would agree with him that the first way to ensure people can’t fight back against the government was to block them from having the weapons to do so. It’s still yet to be determined what would happen in the United States if they were to fully take guns away from people, but Heston thought it would lead to a dictatorship.

Charlton Heston’s views on political correctness

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Charlton Heston was once someone who stood up during the Civil Rights Movement and embraced the idea of equality. As time went on, Heston’s view on that changed. He believed there was a culture war going on and that white men were the victims of the circumstances. To combat that, Heston talked about the idea of being politically correct.

“Political correctness is just tyranny with manners. I wish for you the courage to be unpopular. Popularity is history’s pocket change. Courage is history’s true currency.” Heston saw that the world was heading towards a place of holding back your thoughts and feelings on certain subjects. He was convinced the world was a better place when people said how they felt and didn’t care how it made others feel. He backed that up by telling people it took courage to speak out against what they didn’t believe in.

Charlton Heston’s quote about not always doing what you’re told

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Being politically correct oftentimes comes from being told what to say and think. Heston didn’t subscribe to the narrative that people should accept what they’re being told. Instead, he thought that less direction from people in the government was better for society as a whole.

“Telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do isn’t far behind.” Heston believed that in the future, the government would realize they had absolute power over the people if everyone just followed what was being told to them. Instead of letting that happen, he thought society should do what we think and not just what we’re told. In 2024, that idea has spread rampantly throughout a large part of the United States.

Charlton Heston’s thoughts on personal freedom

Planet of the Apes (1968) | Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, and Roddy McDowall in Planet of the Apes (1968)
Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Personal freedom comes from doing what you want, saying how you feel, and living your life the way you see fit. Whenever someone who’s on your level in society tries to tell you what to do or how to feel, most people politely ignore and continue on about their day. However, when instructions come from someone in a position of power, everything changes for whatever reason.

Heston said, “You simply disobey. Peacefully, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don’t. We disobey the social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom.” He thought we’d lose all sense of individualism by listening to orders from authority figures. He believed that people who don’t think for themselves weren’t enjoying the freedoms people fought so hard for during the Revolutionary War. As radical as his message of disobeying was at the time, it resonated with people who understood the sentiment.

 Charlton Heston’s views on Moses from the Bible

Moses | Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments (1956)
Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

N/A

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Later on in life, Heston became more engrained in his religion. He always had religion on his mind, and he began speaking more about it at public during events. One of the people he was passionate about was Moses from the Bible. To Heston, Moses was what every man should aspire to be like. He believed Moses was who politicians and leaders should refer to when making major decisions.

“Moses is the keystone to every man’s ethical code. He was the first man in record of history to conceive of the law as separate from the will of a ruler, to choose whether a man should live by grace of law, or law of grace by of man. In a literal sense Moses lives at every council table today,” Heston once said.

Charlton Heston’s thoughts on God’s presence in the mind

o

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Mentions of Moses weren’t the only time Heston brought up religion in his life, though. He thought that getting messages from God was a good thing, not always a bad thing. Plenty of people around the world wish their brains would shut off from thoughts to get rest at night. To that Heston said, “Maybe it’s good if God gives you something to think about every so often.”

In Heston’s mind, it didn’t mean that God was always trying to get you to make a life-altering decision in the heat of the moment. God might be testing your strength to see if you’ll stay the track that he’s laid out in front of you. Heston thought God had the right plan for everyone and wouldn’t put something in your brain that didn’t need to be there.

Charlton Heston on the expense of movies

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Before becoming a major voice in politics, Charlton Heston was a successful actor. Over the years, he starred in countless movies like “The Ten Commandments,” “The Greatest Show on Earth,” and “Secret of the Incas.” He knew that making movies was a skill that many people didn’t have in his day. However, he also recognized that making movies wasn’t cheap at all. “Film is the only art form whose raw materials are so horrendously expensive that the artist cannot afford to buy them for himself,” he once said.

Most artists purchase things they need to create the master pieces they want. For film, the typical budget in 2024 of a blockbuster movie is close to $100 million. The average person doesn’t have the money to front that, so they have to rely on studios to pay for bells and whistles. If a movie fails, the director and writer are judged in the business, making it hard for them to land additional projects in the future. The pressure of making good movies is heavy in Hollywood.

Charlton Heston’s views on perfection

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

Heston was hard on himself as an actor. That was one of the reasons he always made such successful movies. He never expected anything less than perfection from himself, and even that was a stretch. He knew how difficult it was to be flawless at anything in that world.

Because of that, he said, “You can spend a lifetime, and, if you’re honest with yourself, never once was your work perfect.” Heston knew people strived for perfection, but he accepted that perfection was a tough feat to accomplish. Nevertheless, he still worked tirelessly to create an unforgettable reputation for himself in the industry.

Charlton Heston’s opinion on staying focused

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Most people around the world wish that they could go back in time and fix something. There’s no way for people to safely do that, yet, but keeping focused on the past isn’t the best way to make a better future for yourself. Heston saw that and gave people a memorable quote to help them stay focused on the present moment. He said, “I can’t change yesterday, but I can sure mess up today.”

Heston believed that if you spend too much time thinking about the past, you’ll carry that energy into the present and make mistakes in your future. In his mind, the best way to fix your past mistakes is by learning from them and by refusing to mess up in the same way twice. His message about forgetting what can’t be changed in the past helps people shift their focus to the present and the future. For more entertainment content, click here to read about the funniest movie lines ever written –  and delivered. 

To top