Screen Rant’s Best Shared Movie Moments

Published 5 years ago by

Theater Audience Moment Screen Rants Best Shared Movie Moments

Christopher Nolan’s Inception has been the topic of discussion for over three weeks now. Many are talking about the torturous ending that left audience members gasping and trying to retrace their steps. In hindsight of that awesome moment, I’ve rounded up the troops here at Screen Rant and asked each writer to describe their favorite shared audience movie theater moment.

[This Next Part Contains Inception Ending SPOILERS]

I’ve never experienced a shared moment in the movie theater quite like that last frame of Inception. The entire film captured everybody’s attention, keeping them on the edge of their seats eager for more. The last few minutes gave Inception its emotional core, after an extended action set piece that put most other summer films to shame.

However, when that top started spinning with subtle shakes and shimmers, everybody went dead silent. Mind you, this happened at all five showings I’ve attended – it wasn’t just the midnight crowd all hopped up on adrenaline and caffeine. As that spinning top made its last effort to stay firm, the screen cut to black and Christopher Nolan prompted worldwide gasps and moans.

[End of Inception Ending SPOILERS]

Inception2 Screen Rants Best Shared Movie Moments

Some of my Screen Rant colleagues share other favorite moments of mine, but one that didn’t make the list was the silence during The Dark Knight‘s truck flip. That was my favorite shared moment until Inception took the cake and chucked it against the window. The ending to Inception was a truly great shared audience moment.

Now, let’s get to my fellow Screen Rant writers’ favorite shared movie moments – Just one note, some of these recollections are going to contain SPOILERS, albeit for movies that have been out for awhile…

Vic Holtreman – Owner/Editor-in-Chief

Raiders of the Lost Ark gun vs. sword Screen Rants Best Shared Movie Moments

“One of the best audience moments I remember experiencing is also one of my earliest: The ‘sword vs. gun’ scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yes, I’m old enough to have seen it when it was originally released in theaters. Not only that, but I watched it on opening night, not having any idea what it was about or what I was in for.

Actually, during that screening, the movie was FILLED with one “best audience moment” after another, but the sword vs. gun scene had to be the standout one (doubly so, in retrospect, because it was improvised by Harrison Ford after growing tired of so many takes of “whip vs sword”). When Indy gave that über-confident swordsman a weary look and just reached for his gun and shot the guy, the audience went nuts.

To this day that screening of Raiders remains one of the best movie viewing experiences of my entire life, and was key to sparking my lifelong love of movies.”

Kofi Outlaw – Senior Editor

The Ring Screen Rants Best Shared Movie Moments

“One of the best audience moments I’ve ever had was during the climatic scene in Gore Verbinski’s American remake of the J-horror classic, The Ring.

When The Ring came out in 2002, American audiences were just being introduced to “J-horror,” Japan’s unique sub-genre of hauntingly creepy ghost story movies. The Ring made a star of Naomi Watts, who played a journalist who encounters a haunted video tape that houses a vengeful ghost girl named Samara, who kills anyone who dares watch the tape one week after viewing it.

The Ring had a not-so-subtle theme woven into its subtext about the disproportionate role media and television play in our society. That message was hammered home by a bone-chilling third act twist that sent theater audiences everywhere into frenzies of terror.

I happened to be at the Pittsburgh Waterfront Loews Theater at the time, and made the mistake of going to see The Ring by myself. The theater was a packed house, and my only neighbor happened to be a girl who was about my age. When it was ultimately revealed how Samara was slaughtering her victims, I’m not ashamed to say I was cringing – cringing right into my neighbor’s shoulder as she buried her face in my chest, adding her voice to the chorus of screams that filled the theater.

Say whatever you want about it, The Ring was a horror movie that made strangers embrace one another in fear and moviegoers everywhere scream at the top of their lungs. That’s pretty impressive.”

Robert Keyes – Editor

deep blue sea Screen Rants Best Shared Movie Moments

“Definitely not one of the best movies I’ve seen, but providing one of the best audience moments was Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea.

With its tagline “Bigger. Smarter. Faster. Meaner.” referencing to movie’s villains, giant sharks, Deep Blue Sea was a slightly over-the-top sci-thriller that came out back in 1999. Its cast included Thomas Jane, Saffron Burros LL Cool J, Michael Rapapart, Stellan Skarsgård and who we thought was the star of the movie, Samuel L. Jackson.

We were wrong.

When the group of scientists working away on their isolated research facility, experimenting on shark brains to find a cure of Alzheimer’s disease, quickly became highly-desired food for the big nasty sharks, Samuel J. Jackon’s character gave a touching speech to inspire confidence in the survivors. Before he could finish his moment of leadership and wisdom, a monstrous shark jumped through the tank behind him and pulled him into the deep blue sea.

The packed audience I watched the film with immediatelely let out cries of shock and awe, combined with laughter and was one of the few times up until that moment that moviegoers were shown something completely unexpected in a movie starring such a high-calibre actor. The only reaction more extreme was the overacted responses of the characters on screen.”

Ben Kendrick – Editor

Star Trek 2009  Screen Rants Best Shared Movie Moments

“J.J. Abrams’ foray into the Star Trek franchise could have been an absolute disaster. Instead, Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike were treated to one of the most entertaining films of 2009.

While the film featured a number of crowd-pleasing moments, none of them compared to the climactic scene when Spock (Zachary Quinto) pilots Ambassador Spock’s vessel directly into a collision course with Nero’s ship, the Narada. Realizing that Spock intends to destroy the Narada by dispersing the red matter into the heart of the Romulan vessel, Nero (Eric Bana) unloads a barrage of missile fire toward Spock’s ship.

J.J. Abrams keeps the frame wide, so the audience can see the empty space around the two ships. Michael Giacchino’s score punctuates the seconds that pass as the massive assault of weapon-fire speeds towards Spock’s dwarfed vessel. The camera cuts to Nero’s excited face, ready to watch his nemesis destroyed before his own eyes – until another Romulan shouts, “Captain, I’ve picked up another ship!

The music soars, and the Enterprise drops out of warp, guns blazing, cutting down each and every one of the incoming missiles – clearing the way for Spock. It wasn’t the last thrilling moment of the film, but it was certainly the most exciting – and it definitely had my sold-out IMAX crowd bouncing in their seats.”

Continue to the rest of Screen Rant staff’s best shared movie moments…

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  1. In Star Trek II the wraith of Kahn:

    When the Enterprise came up behind the Reliant in the nebula and opened fire on it, the crowd just erupted in cheers. I have goose bumps just thinking about it.

    Till Next Time

    • kenoboss,

      And don’t forget the DESTRUCTION of the Enterprise in Star Trek III!!!


      • Oh man! I never came to tears during that scene.

        Weakling petaQ!!!

        Yeah yeah, Kahless. At least some Kling-frees bit the dust.


        • I meant nearly came to tears.

  2. Didn’t realise anyone actually saw Serenity at the cinema!

    I find people cheering at the cinema to be cringeworthy, luckily it doesn’t happen in the uk too much.

    But Star Trek (2009) was amazing, I may have clapped at the end, but the moment was the Enterprise slowly rising out of the atmosphere, even over the rousing score, there was a collective ‘cool’

    • DrSamBeckett,

      You CLAPPED at the end?!? [Picture of me cringing]


      Seriously though, why would be cheering in a movie theater be “cringeworthy”? I think it’s great if a scene in a film is effective enough to prompt an audience to cheer at what happens in a scene.


  3. When I was 10, and the very first HARRY POTTER came out – all of my friends and I went to see it. And at the opening of the movie right when you see the “Privet Drive’ scene the whole audience went wild. And then there was this feeling of tremendous excitement all through the prolouge right up till the main title appeared, and at that moment there was cheers and screaming and crying. It was a pretty awesome moment. Second best – the audience gasp at INCEPTION’s ending.

    • I had almost the exact same experience with Harry Potter. Except that everyone around me was saying “Private Drive.” bah.. bunch of idiots…

  4. Yoda whipping out his lightsabre in Episode II made the crowd cheer!

    …Snakes on a Plane; the crowd were giving big laughs, really positive atmosphere, with a big pop for “I’ve had it with these £*£(£$ snakes on this £*&$£^% plane!!”…..same with Zombieland.

    I thought the scene in Dark Knight with the two ships and the detonators; what they were going to do; the crowd were deathly silent to see what would happen. Everyone was glued to the screen. It was awesome.

    (Un?)Forunately I never saw Ep I in cinemas; i was doing exams at the time, I would’ve loved to have heard the cheer from SW fans eager to see a new SW film. I don’t think we’ll get it again……unless there’s a new SW in ~12 years!

  5. Anyone ever go see splice in theaters? Adrien Brody’s scene with his daughter/experiment brought out a great deal of cringing and “whoop-whoops!”

  6. En MAtrix Relouded la escena de Neo peliando contra esa gran cantidad de agentes Smith me pareceió excelente…. de las mejores que haya visto, por otra parte en la misma pelicula mientras NEo habla con el Constructor es en la escena de una pellicula donde más personas he visto dormir al mismo tiempo…jejeje

    • vic, translate that!!!

      • “In The Matrix Neo Relouded quarreling scene against the large number of agents Smith was me great …. the best I have seen elsewhere in the same film as Neo is talking to the builder at the scene of a [not sure] where more people have been sleeping at the same time … hehehe”

        • ahh thanks vic!! :):)

  7. Aliens – when Sigourney Weaver steps out of the hatch in the exosuit cargo loader and says “Get away from her you b****”!

    • oh yes! LOL, I remember the thundering cheer from the audience when she growled out those words! a VERY memorable moment.

  8. How about at near the end of “The Prestige” (another Nolan flick), when you find out that Christian Bale has been playing twin brothers throughout the entire movie? I can tell you that it was one of the biggest “WHAT?” moments I’ve had in a movie theater.

    But of course, I agree with the “Star Trek,” “Paranormal Activity,” “Tropic Thunder” and “The Dark Knight” references. :-)

  9. Paranormal Activity was the best theater experience I’ve ever had. I agree that it really isn’t that scary, but it was very effective at midnight in a dark theater. The place was full of teenagers who, at the beginning of the movie, were laughing and talking so much I was considering leaving the theater. But once the tension started ramping up, everyone went deathly quiet and the whole theater would scream at just the right moments. It was perfect.

  10. vic, im with you on the raiders audience reaction, as soon as that happened, the audience went nuts, i was deaf, ears ringing, couldnt hear any dialogue for a about 2-3 minutes afterward.

  11. In Kick-Ass, when Nick Cage is burning, and the strobes are firing….you could almost hear the twang of heartstrings breaking.

  12. kofi, about the ring, i didnt have that experience here where i saw it, infact, my date didnt even scream once, she lasughed a few times, thats about it lol. and in the end i remember whispering “watch she will come out of the TV”

    • Well it was certainly different for me. Not only did I have that experience in the theater – when The Ring came out on DVD you could walk the halls in the college apartment I lived in and hear people screaming when it got to that part. After awhile I made a prank out of it: Just when I would hear the music leading up to that moment I would spring into friends’ apartments and scare the crap out of them.

      • That scene, when she came out of the TV, creeped me out; I actually started rising from my seat, about to run. :-)

        • LOL kofi, thats funny stuff man

  13. Kick-Ass
    I was at the premiere in London, my first experience of an audience becoming one was at the moment Dave after just confessing who he is and that he lied about being gay but despite all this Wins the girl! The boob grope that then followed was met with a huge cheer from everyone!

  14. I didn’t saw the first three Indiana Jones films in theatres, ’cause i’m only 20 years old, but when I went to see the fourth one and you would hear the famous theme playing for the first time again in 19 years it gave me goosebumps. And i’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one. You just felt the legend of indiana Jones crawling upon your spine and you just knew this just something special, even if the filmwas dissapointing in some regard.

  15. The only couple that I can remember… are when I saw Iron Man 2 midnight showing, the crowd went nuts for the end of the credits scene. Also suprisingly when I saw Terminator Salvation there was a pretty big response when that music hit and the CGI arnold came on screen.

    The other real big one I remember was when I went to see Rocky Balboa the crowd was clapping and cheering for the opening and ending of the movie.

    Also peoples general shock at the joker in The Dark Knight, it was great

  16. The Matrix: Neo’s first bullet dodge. Who didn’t go nuts over that?

    • Haha you beat me to it!

      I was going to simply post:

      “Bullet Time” sure everyone would know what I meant 😉

  17. The Usual Suspects – “and like that, fwoop, he’s gone” CUT

    Honestly if you don’t think that movie is the best movie ever, I will fight you.

    Allusion to anchorman^

    Also, in Anchorman when Brick Tamland says, “Yeah, thats crazy man.. man.” The whole audience erupted with laughter.

  18. My favorite audience moment was probably when we as an audience witnessed the spectacular fight seen between Aragorn and a giant brute of an Orc in the first LOTR. When Aragorn finished the fight by removing the Orc’s head, the theater erupted with “Woo!”s and applause. Great audience moment.

  19. What about that scene in Kick-Ass where Hit Girl appears in costume for the first time and everyone was like “woah, that’s awesome. OH! DID SHE JUST SAY THAT?!!”

  20. How About the end of the Sixth Sense?
    For me the end of V for Vendetta the theatre I was in people stood up when that rousing music started playing and you could tell everyone wished that they too had a Guy Fawkes mask.

  21. Also what happend to LEo’s Character in the Departed.

  22. How about in Dragonball: Evolution when nobody entered the cinemas because it was so horrible? That showed audience unity… =)

    But seriously though, I have another one… In Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, at the end, when Mutt picked up Indy’s Fedora and everyone was like… “Is he gonna wear it? What does this mean? Is he the next Indy?” and then Indy comes in and takes the hat before Mutt could wear it, and the audience let out a huge sigh of relief that the torch will not passed on to Shia. LOL! =)

  23. Although there have been a few where I feel like everyone in the audience in of one mind and thought the one that sticks out the most for me was in “Wedding Crashers”. When Owen Wilson in his depressed state goes in search of the legendary Chaz who created all the crasher rules, only to see the shadowy figure at the top of the stairs turn out to be Will Ferell. A collective “NOOOO WAY!!” followed by cheers and mass excitement lead to everyone watching to become that much more interested in everything that was said from that point on.

  24. when will smith knocks out the alien in independence day right after it killed his friend harry conick jr. “welcome to earth” the theter went nuts. but in the beginning of the finale bill pullman gives a speech to the pilots just before the final battle. the crowd unanimously stood and applauded, there were tears and hugs with strangers.

  25. The first Matrix when Neo is about to be shot by an agent on the rooftop. Trinity holds a gun to the agent’s head and says “Dodge this” Definitely her most badass line.

    • Great one, I just watched this again recently. Totally forgot the line. I actually said, out loud to no one, Go on b!tch. Earned my nerd badge….

  26. Why did I have to be born 12 years after Raiders was released to miss it……during Toy Story 3 at the part when it seems like the gang would be incinerated and held hands, the theatre went silent,sniffles,gasps all around and just seeing everyone in my party tearing up was one hell of a moment

  27. I would have to say when the credits hit at the end of The Last Airbender was a huge audience moment because absolutely everybody in the theater sighed a sigh of relief from the excruciating pain that that awful movie had put us through. After that sigh, a cheer rang out. Not because of how good the movie was, but because it was finally over and we didn’t have to sit in that theater any more.

    • Ryan,

      Here’s a great shared audience moment: When I watched the trailer for “Devil” and on the screen appeared: “From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan.”

      The audience broke out in raucous laughter.



  28. Also even though the Star Wars Prequels weren’t that good as Oldies, you gotta admit at the end of “Sith” when Vader slowly rises and we hear that oh so familiar breathing and James Earl Jones’ voice again was a pretty breathtaking moment

  29. Here’s a few,,,

    The opening bar scene in T2.

    The scene in Matrix Reloaded when Neo saves Morpheus and the Keymaker on the freeway.

    The first shot of R2-D2 in Phantom Menace when he ignores JarJar and restores the shield generator.

    Cloverfield eats Hud

    KickAss, when Big Daddy takes out the lumber yard. Captured on the baby monitor. (Basically neutering Batman in my opinion)

    The hilarious cage match at the end of Bruno.

    • good stuff 790. ive had many great theater experioences over the years with regards to audiences. one of the most unsettling ones was Unforgiven, at the end where eastwood has his final showdown with hackman, the look in his eyes was so coldblooded it gave me shivers. as the credits rolled, the audience stood up, VERY silent and just walked out, no whispers, no nothing, it was pretty unsettling

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