11 Best Sam & Bucky Moments in the MCU Pre-‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

11 Best Sam & Bucky Moments in the MCU Pre-‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of odd friend couples. For starters, think of sentient tree-like creature Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and alien assassin Nebula (Karen Gillian), and even, Asgardian God of Thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and scientist Bruce Banner/the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), just to name a few.

Now, in Disney+’s newest series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we’re witnessing the formation of another dynamic duo in Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and the Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).

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The series follows the new team of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes — and, possibly, a new shield bearer.

To celebrate these two characters and the prickly-yet-affectionate bond they share, we’ve rounded up 11 of their best moments from all the Marvel movies to date.

‘Sometimes I Think You Like Getting Punched.’ (Captain America: The First Avenger)

The First Avenger is the happiest — and least traumatized — we ever see Bucky, and his bond with Steve is apparent here. Whether he’s stepping in to save his best friend from getting pummeled in a fistfight (hence, his quip about his pal “liking being punched”) or vowing to follow Captain America into the jaws of death, it’s in this movie that we see how loyal and good Buck really is — and how even when Steve, as he puts it, “had nothing, I had Bucky.” It’s too bad he falls into a snowy abyss and into Hydra’s hands, where he becomes The Winter Soldier…

‘Who the Hell is Bucky?’ (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

If you’d read the comics, you knew the big reveal — that Captain America/Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) best friend Bucky was still alive but was turned into a brainwashed assassin called the Winter Soldier — was coming. But regardless if you had knowledge of the source material, the moment when the Winter Soldier takes off his mask, and Steve recognizes him, is truly epic. Tragedy unfolds when Bucky doesn’t remember his pal, though: When Steve says his name, he asks “who the Hell” Bucky is.

On Your Left (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Our introduction to Sam is a bit more comical. He and Steve are both jogging along the same route, but of course, Steve’s superpowers mean he’s lapping Sam — over and over again. “On your left,” he keeps repeating as he whizzes past the soon-to-be Falcon, who (humorously) protests every time.

Bucky’s Breakthrough (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

The epic conclusion of Captain America: The Winter Soldier saw Bucky remember his true identity and realize Steve really was “with [him] ‘till the end of the line.” He saves Steve from drowning in the aftermath of the film’s final fight and leaves him on the shore, then goes to the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian to find out more about the man he was in the 1940s.

A Place to Lay Low (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Sam proved he was a good friend when he let Steve and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) stay with him, even though it meant putting his life in danger (at this point, pretty much all of villainous organization Hydra was after the two of them). Sam later joins Cap’s fight, proving he’s more than just a kindhearted buddy — he’s an Avenger.

A Keen Observation (Captain America: Civil War)

Sam also gets one of the best lines in Captain America: Civil War. While the Avengers team is fracturing because some of the group signed the Sokovia Accords and some (like Cap) didn’t, Falcon didn’t hesitate to side with Steve. “The people shooting at you usually wind up shooting at me, too,” he says, making it clear he’s on Steve’s side.

‘Till the End of the Line (Captain America: Civil War)

The most insight we get into Bucky’s character arrives during Civil War — really, most of the movie is Steve fighting to keep his friend safe and prove his innocence. Throughout, we see that Bucky has a kind, if tortured, heart, and learn that he’d still follow Steve in the present as he once did on the World War II battlefield.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan

Less Than Friendly (Captain America: Civil War)

While both Bucky and Sam are close with Steve, they’re not exactly fond of each other. Stuck in the car while Cap meets with his old flame’s great-niece Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), Bucky asks if Sam can “move [his] seat up.” Hey, no one likes a cramped car! Sam’s pithy response? “No.”

Fighting Together (Captain America: Civil War)

A bond begins to form, however, when these two wind up facing off together against Spider-Man (Tom Holland). As they look on from inside the airport, Bucky wonders aloud what’s up with the spider getup. “Everybody’s got a gimmick now,” Sam mutters.

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Add Sam Wilson and James ‘Bucky’ Barnes to the list of TV’s bickering crime-fighting duos.

You Couldn’t Have Done That Earlier? (Captain America: Civil War)

Well, maybe they’re still not all that friendly. After Sam uses a piece of his Falcon tech to send Spider-Man crashing through a window, an exhausted, bruised (and web-covered) Bucky asks why he couldn’t have done that earlier. “I hate you,” Sam responds. He doesn’t really mean it. Right? (Right.)

Saying Goodbye (Avengers: Endgame)

Falcon and the Winter Soldier only bonded because of their mutual affections for Steve, so it seems only fitting that they’d say their farewell to him together. Sam reluctantly accepts his friend’s patriotic, iconic shield after being told it doesn’t, “belong to someone else.” And while Bucky isn’t the fondest of Sam, he does encourage him to go talk to Steve after the latter returns from his long life in the past (remember, Endgame’s time travel let Cap spend a lifetime with the woman he loved in the ’40s). Sure, Sam might not move his seat up for Bucky, but Bucky still knows he’s the best person to take up the shield after Steve retires.

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