A strong story line is the back bone of a great film. The screenplay comes in at close second while the acting, editing, and other technical details follow. But one thing people often take note of is that one scene that audiences won’t stop chattering about as soon as they leave the cinema. These can sometimes even be better than the entire movie itself.
ExploreTalent has put up a list of the most unforgettable movie scenes of all time. Find out if your pick made it in the list below:
1. American History X
Scene: Say good night
This movie gave Edward Norton an Oscar nomination and it was a well-deserved one. In the film, Norton plays a young man named Derek who practices neo-Nazism and influences his younger brother to do the same. Together they fall into a life of crime involving racism and even murder.
The whole movie was filled with shocking scenes, including the brutal rape and beating of Derek during his time in jail by fellow neo-Nazis. But another scene that had audiences at the edge of their seat was Derek taking revenge on the men who stole his truck in a rather violent outburst. He comes to the point where he pins one of the thugs to the curb and crushes his teeth as his younger brother watches. It immediately makes the audience question why anyone would go that far in response of a stolen truck. This particular scene displays Derek’s white supremacy and how the same beliefs lead to his own downfall.
2. Silence of the Lambs
Scene: Pitch black
It is no question that Hannibal Lecter is the most terrifying fictional serial killer of all time. But people often forget that Buffalo Bill was the main antagonist of the film Silence of the Lambs, and he happened to be a part of one of the most thrilling movie scenes of all time.
When FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodi Foster) is unwittingly lured to Buffalo Bill’s lair, she finds herself blind when he cuts the power out. What happens next is a deeply unsettling scene that audience can view through Bill’s night vision goggles. However, Starling proves to be the gifted agent that she was sought out to be and ultimately gets the upper hand.
3. Toy Story 3
Scene: Incinerator scene
This entry may raise some eyebrows as both Pixar and Disney have to be the most family-friendly production studios out there. But in Toy Story 3, one particular scene had the audiences biting their nails, even the adults! That is the infamous incinerator scene where Woody and the other toys that were loved since childhood almost met their fiery doom. The toys held hands—and there probably wasn’t a dry eye in the audience as many were convinced that this was the end of the Toy Story series. But as fate (and Disney magic) would have it, they were rescued by a blinding light and by characters that have been in the story line since the very beginning. It is not only an interesting twist but a very satisfying one that proves that Pixar is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Scene: The Box
The movie Se7en has been dubbed as one of the best neo-noir thrillers in film history. All of the movie scenes involve a shocking death depicting each of the seven deadly scenes. As soon as Detectives Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and his hotheaded yet quick-thinking partner Mills (Brad Pitt) capture John Doe (Kevin Spacey), they are led through a series of mind games, which conclude in a dessert where they are presented with a mysterious box.
Mills ultimately becomes a victim himself as he plays out the last deadly sin, wrath, after violently shooting John Doe. It is pretty understandable why this character did so, but it left audiences at awe on how gripping the whole scene was that many forgot that they were only acting.
5. Full Metal Jacket
Scene: Pyle’s death
Every film buff knows that Stanley Kubrick is more than capable of creating a masterpiece, and one of his most notable works is Full Metal Jacket, which centers around a platoon of marines throughout their training period. While the movie is full of groundbreaking movie scenes, seeing the character Pyle (Vincent D’ Onofrio) succumb to his mental breakdown was particularly heartbreaking and terrifyingly brutal at the same time.
The whole scene plays out as Private “Joker” is confronted by Pyle in the bathrooms. The latter is in a dangerous state of mind and has live ammunition in tow. It just showed how much the bullying Pyle had undergone throughout the film had finally taken its toll. Their sergeant steps in and yells at Pyle to pull himself together, but it is unsuccessful as Pyle shoots him anyway, and just as the audience gears up to see Joker shot as well, Pyle turns the rifle to himself.