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. Anthony
    And its nice to talk with adults who knows wat theyre talking about;)

  2. my personal best: T2 – when Sarah Connor reflects on the relationship of the T-800 and her son.

  3. For me it was going and seeing Superman Returns. This being my first time ever being able to see Superman in a theater, it was an amazing moment. I hadn’t been more excited to see a film since “Spider-Man” came out. Although it wasn’t the best Superman film it was still a great experience. Once the music started and the big red “S” came on the screen I got goosebumps. I look forward to this feeling again with Nolans new Superman film!

  4. I remember one “best shared movie moment” – Blade 1998. a cinema filled with 300+ people who had the best time with the blood shower disco scene and all went nuts with shouts and thrown popcorn with every subsequent kill by Wesley Snipes. Good times.

  5. Ive always had a soft spot for Star Wars return of the jedi .. speederbikes.. forest.. sitting on my dads lap eating popcorn.. I loved it..

    and 89 Batman opening scene on the rooftop, M Keaton, Im batman.. THe crowd went crazy

  6. I saw avatar in 3d and the 3d made no differende to me:/

    • Why Ricky, did you go see it in a regular theater and compare the two experiences? Better go out and rent it, just to make sure… ;)

      • I actually enjoyed the 2D version more! (watched it on Blu-Ray at home). I guess I had a time to re-adjust my expectations, having being told “it’ll change the face of cinema”, “it’s an amazing movie” and “it’s an action movie”; whilst the 3D/CGI was impressive, the core of the movie wasn’t.

        I enjoyed it much more at home, in glorious sharp blu-ray, bearing in mind Cameron’s environmental agenda and the flaws of the unreal hype in the cinema.

        Would recommend everyone to watch but bearing it’s flaws in mind :)

        • Yeah I think that sentiment was aimed more at the technical side of things as well. The motion capture goodness stripped of its three-D effect can still be appreciated in context of what it can bring to a movie. It will be interesting to know if Ricky feels the same or has more to add once he’s finished with his homework. At least I’m hoping he’ll grace us with a fuller elaboration… :)

  7. Most recent memory was at the GI Joe premiere when Snake Eyes jumped out the plane and whopped everyone’s a**. It was classic GI Joe and everyone was shouting in glee

  8. The first Transformers movie. At the end everyone was in shock about how good it was and they were all clapping.

    • So will you go back this month and catch it in I-max 3-D? See if that experience makes a difference, or abandon 3-D film, figuring it’s a gimmick not worth the extra cash? Is it possible that another audience experience could be had by noticing audience reaction more and the movie less now that you own it?

  9. For it me it was Star Wars: Episode III. When the “Long Time Ago…” hit the screen I was so excited because I and everyone in the theater knew that this was going to be the end, and when we watched as the Jedi are mecilessly being killed (a moment we all knew was coming) still brought that sudden tightness into my chest. And when we get to see Darth Vader on screen for the the first time in 22 years, that’s a moment I’ll always remember.

  10. Applause at the end of “Jaws”. I was ten years old, had sneaked into the theater, and when everyone clapped at the end of the movie as Brody and Cooper are kicking their way to shore, my expectations for what movies should be was forever raised. For years I thought only Speilberg movies could elicit such a response, because the next time I saw that reaction was at “Raiders”.

  11. I’m older but for me the ultimate shared movie experience was the ending scene of PLANET OF THE APES. When Charlton Heston drops to his knees and you see the Statue of Liberty everyone just gasped.

    • That’s a really interesting one, anthony. I’d always wondered what the reaction to that shot would have been the first time around, particularly from an American audience. I actually saw Beneath first (it’s a long story), and knew what the POTA ending was anyway, so my response to it wasn’t what it might have been. A bit like coming to “I AM your father” in Empire for the first time now having seen the prequels first. The Liberty beach shot has become such an iconic image since then that it’s practically unavoidable for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. It’s even on the DVD cover – how messed-up is that? I’m just glad I’m not so young that I saw the Simpsons musical version first (“Oh my God, I was wrong/It was Earth all along/You’ve finally made a monkey out of me”)…

      • Or Homer re-enacting the whole scene at the NASA press conference…

    • The real irony was that Rod Sterling believed that the audience would believe that the statue would survive 2000+ years of neglect. Would it have been better if he had found an American Standard toilet bowl? Would’ve been far more likely to have survived but who would care about a picture of Heston bowing before a Bowl seaside even 5 years down the road?Far more dramatic and readily comprehensible but most importantly eternally iconic. The rule of cool overshadowed Science in the Science Fiction story even back then…

      • “You maniacs! You blocked it up!”

  12. Two of them were seeing Darth Vader for the first time in Star Wars 3 when he first breathed, we all gasped. We knew it would happen, but actually hearing it was legendary. The second was in Paranormal Activity when Katie was walking up the stairs in the end, and the thuds just stopped. Everyone was either leaning forward in anticipation or leaning back in fear. Then BOOM Micah goes flying at the screen and I swear to god everyone there had a heart attack.

  13. Ok I might get some backlash for this one but the famous line delivered by Samuel L. Jackson during “Snakes on a Plane.” The fact that I don’t even need to specify what line I’m talking about should be evidence enough of the fact that it is truly one of those great moments. I saw the movie in theaters and while it definitely wasn’t the greatest of films it was one of the most unique movie theater experiences I’ve ever had. Every time the camera zoomed in on Jackson’s face (which was quite often) everyone in the audience was literally holding their breath in anticipation of seeing the line delivered in context. When Jackson finally did say the line, the audience literally broke out in applause; one of the only times I’ve ever witnessed that in a theater at a point in the middle of a movie and not just at the end.

    Anyone have any similar experiences seeing this movie in theaters?

  14. Hmm…for me, it’s this Nakatome building roof-top scene from the first Die Hard movie. That moment when John McClane jumped-off the roof (holding on a firehose) just as it exploded (also causing the FBI’s chopper to crash) made the audience stand up clapping and cheering.

  15. Another one I just though of when I re-watched it recently was The Departed. Everyone was already on the edge of their seats through the whole movie but at the end when


    Matt Damon shoots everyone and he just walks in to Marky Mark all ready to kill his a**. Tons of people just started cheering. Nobody walked out of that movie disappointed.

  16. Mine was actually in Mall Cop. Completely bored, I had called every part of the movie and was ready to fall asleep. Suddenly, when the good cop pulled out a gun revealing that he was a dirty cop, I jumped to my feet and pointed at the screen screaming, “I did not see that coming!” The whole theater laughed at my outburst except one girl who told me to shut up.

  17. TheOldMan
    Hahaha,hell no,im not seeing it in imax 3d too much money….
    LMFAO! wow…..

    • Aww that’s too bad, was really wanting to know if that made a difference to you. 3-D doesn’t work so well for me. I’ve seen films in the past and very rarely experience the effect. I guess I’m different, so yeah I can understand if you feel it’s a waste of money. I-Max does seem more immersive even on a regular film. I saw “Inception” that way. If your capable of perceiving and appreciate 3-D effects then you’re missing perhaps a last opportunity to see this in such an immersive environment. Indulge yourself a little and check your closest qualified theater they may have a discount matinée through the week you might consider?? Just a thought is all…

  18. haha liked that story, Ricky? Everytime I go to the movies, my friends bring it up. It’s like a running joke with us. :D

  19. jojo
    Yeah man,great story. So what u didnt know that girl that said shut up?LMAO! wow…..

  20. Ricky:
    Yep. I had no idea who the girl was. She was sitting in front of me with a few of her “friends” I guess. I think she was jealous that I got a whole sold-out movie theater to laugh at my joke. Haters… :D

    • someone actually went to see a kevin james movie?

  21. Jojo
    Hahah that makes it even funnier man :P

    Dude,i thought mall cop was funny,though i saw it at the dllar theter lol!

  22. hahaha kevin james is funny lol!

  23. Anthony:
    Kevin James is funny! I loved his character in Hitch. I really didn’t wanna see Mall Cop though. I just wanted to get out of the house!!

    I just saw grown ups and OMFG it was so effing funny,i recommend it to EVERYONE!!!!!! :P

  25. Midnight showing of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
    Sure there were many moments that were great, but the most memorable would have to be the scene where Darth Vader’s mask descends on Anakin Skywalker’s charcoaled body. The audience was deathly silent (probably still hung over from that awesome lightsaber duel and horrific burning scene); there was a tangible excitement mixed with fear mixed with “oh-shoot-this-is-IT!”, and when that final air pressure pressurized the helmet… silence. Then, the whole theater just whispered: “yes.” You could feel the chills from everyone!
    It was a really cool shared experience, and even if you disliked the film, it was a very memorable scene and movie moment. Man, it was very cool.

  26. I went to the midnight screening for Xmen 2. And the part when Magneto broke out of prison the entire theater went nuts.

  27. Wow…seriously guys…those are your movie moments?!? Ok let me show you all how it’s done:

    Chest buster scene in Alien, “I am your father!” scene in Empire, flying bike escape in E.T., Shark explodes in Jaws, Shark gets electrocuted in Jaws 2, Lois dies in Superman the Movie, Spock dies in the Wrath of Kahn, you realize he’s dead in The Sixth Sense, the heads melt and explode in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the saucer opens and the aliens come out in Close Encounters, and the most epic Hero Villain battle begins with the phrase “Get away from her you b****!” in Aliens.

    Now those were movie moments.

    • Wickamo,

      I don’t know if you’re referring to the article or comments. The article was movie moments that elicited a shared response from the audience in a movie theater, not necessarily our all time favorite movie moments.

      Although I’m seeing that would make a good article as well. :)


    • I agree! Those were probably some great moments in theaters, but I wasn’t even old enough to go see those movies when they came out…

      And I wish I could remember the theater’s reaction in Star Wars III! I was really sick when I saw it the day after it came out, so that whole experience is a blur to me!

  28. Best Audience Experience: Midnight Premiere for Toy Story 3.
    Now look, all of Pixar’s film’s, while they do have some dark themes have no real danger of having any of their main character’s dying. So there we where, watching Toy Story 3 in a sold out midnight showing with a bunch of other teens my age who had grown up with these characters ever since the first movie came out in 1995. The scene was basically where it seemed like the good guys had won, lotso was in the trash can and the toys were about to escape. Then Lotso grabs Woody and drags him down the dumpster, and then the rest of the toys accidently go into the garbage truck. For the next 10 minutes there was nothing but silence from the audience. Then the incinerator scene comes up, the toys accept their fate and prepared to die, most of the audience, it didn’t matter if they were men or women, or how young or old they were, started tearing up. I remember staring at my friend in horror and saying “This is f%cking tramautizing”. Complete silence from the theater aside from the sounds from the movie, then, the Little Green Men show up and SAVED THE TOYS! The saved our beloved heroes that we teens had grown up with! The entire theater jumped and burst into a thunderous appluase unlike anything I had ever witnessed before, some even began sobbing. It was amazing.

    By the way, from what movie screening is the first photo from?