The Most Iconic Moments in Film

There are certain scenes that transcend the films they appeared in and become recognisable to even those that have not even seen the movie.

I'll start the list off with a handful of films but I need your help to complete it. Check the list view for a brief description of the famous scene (although it should be pretty obvious).

BEWARE SPOILERS

Read notes
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Jaws
  • The Terminator
  • The Shining
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Bullitt
  • Psycho
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Godfather
  • Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • North by Northwest
  • The Birds
  • Carry On Camping
  • Alien
  • Aliens
  • King Kong
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • Trainspotting
  • Casablanca
  • Snakes on a Plane
  • Steamboat Bill, Jr.
  • The Italian Job
  • Safety Last!
  • Goldfinger
  • Dr. No
  • Network
  • Say Anything...
  • Taxi Driver
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Gone with the Wind
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Dirty Harry
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • From Here to Eternity
  • The Graduate
  • Titanic
  • Jurassic Park
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Home Alone
  • TRON
  • This Is Spinal Tap
  • Forrest Gump
  • Back to the Future
  • Cast Away
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • Rocky
  • Taken
  • Lost in Translation
  • Romeo + Juliet
  • There Will Be Blood
  • The Dark Knight
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Flashdance
  • Metropolis
  • The Matrix
  • Dirty Dancing
  • The Deer Hunter
  • Deliverance
  • Basic Instinct
  • Life of Brian
  • Mission: Impossible
  • Fight Club
  • Oldboy
  • Manhattan
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • American Beauty
  • Some Like It Hot
  • Blade Runner
  • Blue Velvet
  • The Seven Year Itch
  • The Exorcist
  • The Third Man
  • Ben-Hur
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Spartacus
  • Schindler's List
  • Poltergeist
  • West Side Story
  • The Sixth Sense
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  • Soylent Green
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Ghost
  • Heat
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • American Pie
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Ring
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Jailhouse Rock
  • Jerry Maguire
  • The Great Dictator
  • Thelma & Louise
  • A Trip to the Moon
  • The Seventh Seal
  • Breathless
  • Die Hard

208 Comments

  • 300: This is Sparta!?

    From Dusk Till Dawn: Pussy lovers?

    Godfather 3: Just when I thought I was out...?

    Dead Poets Society: O Captain my Captain! or Carpe diem? Even if you don't like the film, it's quite iconing.

    Full Metal Jacket: Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's speech? or Huge shit sandwich? or Gomer Pyle's suicide?

    Pumping Iron: coming, coming, coming?

    Easy Rider: Intro with Born To Be Wild?

    Birth of a Nation: Ride of the Valkyries playing? The use of the song in Apocalypse deserves to be mentioned together with the Napalm quote as well, I think.

  • Full Metal Jacket probably should have been the "me so horny" scene

  • @Nathan: Apologies I only just spotted your post from two months ago. I think a lot of those suggestions have the potential to be iconic but more time might need to pass before inclusion on the list (although the LiT scene probably fits now).

    @Steen: Some good suggestions and some I don't think quite fit. This is really for scenes that have transcended both the films and medium so whilst the Stagecoach introduction will be familiar to some I don't think it will be known to those who haven't seen the film.

    Full Metal Jacket definitely deserves a place here but I'm undecided which is the best scene for here.

  • I watched Stagecoach today for the first time and when the film got to the introduction of Kid, the first thing that popped into mind was: "hey, so that's where it's from!". The second thing was: "I wonder if that's on Adam Cook's Iconic moments list?"

  • Maybe I'm being unfair on the scene. I just don't think too many people who aren't into film being familiar with it. If other people disagree I am more than happy to add it though.

  • Me so horny is a widely parodies line but not really an iconic moment y'know? I'd saw Ermey's performance is more infulential, lots of movies have re used the exact same character. Unless it's cheating to just say the whole first half of the movie.

  • @Colin: I agree regarding the 'me so horny' line. I'm just wondering if the suicide is more iconic than Ermey's scene.

  • As I see it, the "me so horny" scene is really iconic, and I think of the scene as whole including the music and not only the hooker's lines. When I hear These Boots Are Made For Walking, I instantly think of Full Metal Jacket (it was for similar reasons I suggested the intro to Easy Rider: Born to Be Wild + bikers on the road = Easy Rider). But I find so much of Full Metal Jacket iconic, which is why it was really difficult for me to pick the right scene for my suggestions.

  • Nice list - Can I try, or does it cost money

    No Country for Old Men - Coin toss
    The Lion King - Circle of life
    Pan's Labyrinth - Pale man
    The Green Mile - Cloud of insects
    Borat - Not joke

    ..?

  • Another one:

    Downfall/Der Untergang - Adolf's rant

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