The Top 10 Movie Moments of 2009

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screen rant top 10 movie moments 2009 The Top 10 Movie Moments of 2009

Every site you go to these days has a list of their top 10 best movies of the year. But how many time can you look at slight variations of the same lists you only semi-agree with?

Besides, ranking entire movies is a big job. After much debate on the subject, we here at Screen Rant have decided that, in the end, a year in movies is perhaps best defined by specific movie moments that are now and forever burned into our collective memory.

So, without further ado, here are our picks for those 2009 movie moments which audiences collectively remember as being unforgettably awesome, hilarious, moving, inspiring or are otherwise just plain enjoyable…

(By the way, there will be some spoilers in the items below since all the movies in this list have been out for a while.)


10. The Kidnapping Scene in Taken

taken kidnapping scene The Top 10 Movie Moments of 2009

Taken is a movie that had many standout moments. But the one scene that gets the whole thrill ride started is probably the best. Ex special forces guy Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) finally gets a phone call from his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who is off running around Europe, only to learn that his daughter is moments away from being abducted by some violent criminals.

The situation is certainly every parent’s worst nightmare, but Bryan Mills handles it like a seasoned pro: He calmly instructs his daughter on what to do, knowing full well that she’s going to be taken, and when the kidnappers find her cellphone, Bryan, with unwavering calm, promises them that if they do this, he’s going to find them and kill them (which, of course, he does). In that single moment the world experienced a great revelation: Liam Neeson is a bonafide action movie badass. Move over Jason Bourne.


9. Walt Kowalski’s Last Stand in Gran Torino

ClintEastwoodGranTorino The Top 10 Movie Moments of 2009

Young folks know Clint Eastwood as the accomplished director of acclaimed films like Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and Invictus. However, us middle-to-older folks still remember a time when Clint Eastwood was one of America’s most iconic movie badasses. Gran Torino was the first time we’d seen “Tough Eastwood” onscreen in awhile, but when the movie finally reached its violent climax, we had no doubt who would be left standing when all the guns finished blazing – or so we thought.

Walt Kowalski was as brave and heroic as any other iconic Eastwood character, but where a younger Eastwood would’ve solved his problems with violence, the older, wiser, Eastwood gave us another option to consider: Noble self-sacrifice. Walt’s last stand against a gang of neighborhood thugs was deep, harrowing, and certainly thought-provoking.


8. The Closing Credits Photo Montage of The Hangover

the hangover ending photos The Top 10 Movie Moments of 2009

For the whole runtime of The Hangover, I didn’t think it could get funnier than watching those three guys (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) wake up in a drunken stupor, only to be confronted by surreal absurdities – including a live baby and a live tiger – littered about their suite. But then, just as the end credits rolled, something funnier indeed came along.

If you made an immediate run for the lobby bathroom, you missed it all; the photograph montage of what actually went down while the boys were blacked out was both outrageous and raunchy as hell. Director Todd Phillips could have left it all to your imagination and the brief explanations we got in the film – but thank god he didn’t. Hilarious stuff.


7. The Car Bomb Scene in The Hurt Locker

the hurt locker car bomb 570x296 The Top 10 Movie Moments of 2009

There were so many scenes in The Hurt Locker that we debated, including what is arguably the best sniper battle ever filmed. However, since I’m writing this, I’m going to highlight the car bomb scene. I first saw this scene screened for a NY Comic Con panel back in February, and it left my nails chewed down to the cuticles.

The scene takes place on the day that SSgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) goes out on his first mission with his new partners in the Explosive Ordinance Device unit. The mission is to disarm a car rigged with so many bombs that SSgt. James doesn’t even bother wearing protective armor – it’s pretty much a do or die situation. The bomb site is totally exposed, the bomb itself is expertly made and death could strike at any moment. With a sharp eye for photography, editing, sound and silence, director Kathryn Bigelow makes us sweat every precious tick of the clock.


6. Rorschach Delivers a Hot Grease Facial in Watchmen

watchmen rorschach prison The Top 10 Movie Moments of 2009

The crowd is still divided about stylistic choices of the overall film, but one Watchmen moment that definitely transposed perfectly from comic book page to film screen was the prison scene in which one unlucky convict tries to step up to Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley). Not only does Rorschach beat the guy with a lunch tray, he also tosses a vat of sizzling grease in the guy’s face!

After that came the all-time classic Rorschach line, “You all got it wrong: I’m not trapped in here with you – you’re trapped in here with me!” I’ve never seen an audience go from being horrified to applauding quite that fast.

Continue reading for the 5 best movie moments of 2009…

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  1. I agree whole heartedly with your selection on scene # 1, and would take it a step further and say that Inglourious Basterds was my favorite film of the year. No other film this year, had the suspense, style, humor, or quality of story telling that the latest Tarantino flick had. It made me forgive Brad Pitt for past films he had made, made me scramble to figure out just who in the heck Christoph Waltz is, and gave World War II a much happier ending. I might even be so bold as to say that this film is the best Tarantino has ever done.

  2. Absolutely agree with number one. Haven’t felt that way about a Tarantino movie since I first watched Pulp Fiction. That one scene made the movie for me. I hope to see a lot more of Waltz in the future.

  3. All I can say is that after watching Avatar, Stephen Lang is burned into my mind as possibly being the only contender to play Cable in the X-men movies. Just about the right age, and looks about as muscular as you can get for being and older man.

  4. That scene from Inglourious Basterds had so much tension, it was incredible and the intro from “Up” had me in tears.

  5. Wait, “including what is arguably the best sniper battle ever filmed.”

    Uuuhhh, sorry to burst your bubble, but that is probably one of the WORST sniper scenes ever… The insurgents had a SVD Dragunov, which is a MEDIUM RANGE MARKSMAN rifle, NOT a sniper rifle. It’s really not THAT accurate out to those distances portrayed in that movie. Yet, they were taking potshots and killing the protagonists one after the other like they got some super high precision sniper rifle, WHICH THEY DIDN’T! And not only that, even IF they had a high precision sniper rifle, a lot of the shots they took given the range and the time of travel of the rounds, they must have been highly trained to pull those shots off. If I didn’t know better, I would say that the insurgents were really spec-ops snipers…

    Then even worse, the protagonists had a Barrett M107 .50 BMG SNIPER RIFLE, which, unlike the SVD Dragunov, ACTUALLY IS A LONG RANGE SNIPER RIFLE, yet the protagonists missed more than they hit!! I think they got it a bit backward there… And I’m sorry, but a bit of blood would not keep the Barrett from going into battery. The recoil spring on that thing is… I don’t even know how many pounds it is, but it’s pretty dang hefty, and a little bit of blood on the round isn’t going to hold that thing back at all…

    That scene was by far the worst scene in the entire movie… I spent more time during that scene exclaiming “WHAT???” than actually just watching it…

    #10 and #9 definitely should have been higher on the list…

  6. Well this is interesting, I’ve been reading through many a sites best/worst of the year/decade over the past week and this is the first one that I agree with for the most part (other parts being in movies I haven’t seen yet).

    That scene from Basterds though was simply a masterpiece in tension.

    As for Star Trek, a lot of people dissed on Chris Hemsworth’s acting but I thought that scene was a great opening to the movie and he sold it perfectly.

  7. I hate to say this because I thought the movie was retarded, but Shooter had some of the most realistic long distance shooting scenes filmed.

  8. I’m so happy you included the montage from Up, and I’m even happier that it’s ranked at #2!

  9. @ KenJ,

    Agree completely with your assessment of the sniper battle. Something that’s never explained is why American EOD’s are apparently better marksmen than British SAS or SBS.

    Well, I’m assuming they were British spec ops guys. Maybe they were just London cops working as PMC’s.

    Also, I appear to be the only person on the planet who hated Inglourious Basterds and found the opening scene to be the only worthwhile one in the movie.

  10. Ken J

    My bubble is intact, no worries. The issue was movie scenes that were enjoyable. THL sniper scene was def that.

    Sorry be the one to tell you, but you probably represent the .01% of people who would complain about something like that. In the business we call it “geeking out”.

    Besides, in my Call of Duty experience (which is pretty extensive) the Dragunov does pretty extensive damage from long range. I personally prefer it to the .50 cal. So there :-)

  11. I wasn’t a fan of Basterds either. I think mostly because it was sold to me differently than what it turned out to be. I expected to see Brad Pitt and team tearing through the “Nat-zis” but instead I get long-drawn out scenes with Shoshannah. To me ALL that could have been cut. Leave in the beginning and end. The middle stuff with her was just filler to me.

    Give me more of the Basterds, please.

    But yes, that first scene was masterful.

    Off the top of my head though, I can’t think of any other movie moments from this past year that were left out… especially since the picture montage from The Hangover (my fav film this year besides Avatar) was included.

  12. The issue isn’t even the technical knowledge of the weapons. Even if both sides had the same “sniper rifle” I think logic would tell you that a group of highly trained British spec-ops guys would be able to out shoot a bunch of rag tag insurgents that probably got trained on some jungle gym playground in the desert somewhere…

  13. Three of the top 6 are in my favs of the year and I have to agree on most of those. I thought the hangover was way overrated (funny, but way too hyped up) so I can’t agree there, but we all have those. The prison scene in watchmen can be changed up with the opening credits and I would be perfectly happy (I love the prison scene though). Loved the battle in District 9, I was ok on the movie until he started turning and that battle made the movie go into my tops for the year. Up might be my favorite from the year because it takes you through so many emotions in so little time. Inglorious though was a masterpiece scene and would probably be my #2

  14. Too bad the last scene of There Will Be Blood didn’t make the list.

    “I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!”

    At any rate, all of these scenes were great.

  15. @kenj burnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

  16. I couldn’t agree more with your #2 and #1 choices.

    I was blown away by that opening sequence in ‘Up’. It was a little shocking at first because I really didn’t see it coming, but it told such an amazing story without any words being spoken that I didn’t care about the lump in my throat.

    And with the initial scene in ‘Inglorious Basterds’, I’ve actually watched that scene a couple of times on its own without finishing the entire movie because it’s just so amazing. If Christoph Waltz doesn’t get an Oscar nomination (much less a win), then something is VERY wrong with the world. He was absolutely amazing throughout the entire movie.

  17. One scene in the hurt locker that had me on edge still was when he was in the super market back home. I was still at the edge of my seat waiting for a bomb to go off or something. That movie was amazing. The number 1 and 2 scenes you guys nailed it. Great list.

  18. Montages are usually pretty cheesy, I just think about the montage from Team America “Gotta have a montage!” lol

    But Pixar usually gives us pretty good ones like the one from UP, or even the one from Toy Story 2.

  19. Yes, the first scene of IB was just epic. Fist of with a great reference to westerns, slow paced, how the starring actors’ names were displayed. And than the brilliant tension betweeon those two. I actually thought that when the frenchman was reaching for his pipe, he would break the germans neck or something. Just brilliant that scene.

  20. Yes! Thanks for the Rorshach one! Some of my many other favorites are the Avatar and Inglourious Basterds ones.

  21. Agree with number 1. Not so much Avatar being on the list at all.

    And Taken was released in 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. though i loved Gran Torino and anything Clint Eastwood does, i disagree with its placing on the list. Only because tecnacally the movie came out in 2008. so many of my friends post Slumdog Millionaire as their favorite movie of the year and i always have to remind them that it is really a 2008 movie.

    the rest of the list i agree with and you gotta add the final zombie rampage from Zombieland. the whole audience was cheering at that.

  23. Zombieland!! Yah, how can that not be on the list??

    Heck, not even a moment of the movie itself, that opening sequence of Zombies in slow motion set to Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, just freakin awesome!

  24. Taken and Gran Torino went into wide release in January of ’09.

    Ken J, I had recommended the Bill Murray scene in Zombieland but I let Kofi have final say on the list. :)


  25. “That’s like asking ‘who’s Ghandi!” lol

    Oh man, love that movie…

  26. Good thing I’m not the editor in chief of the site, I would have been an ass and changed it to “The Top 11 Movie Moments of 2009″ lol Just kidding…

  27. Vic already addressed the “Taken” and “Gran Torino” issues. The team vote was to include them.

    @ Ken J,

    I do have a handful of runner ups that I can update with, I felt they were just slightly, slightly, less known and recognized than the moments on this list.

    Zombieland was def one of them, Optimus Prime’s forest fight in TF2 (only good part), Some moments of Half Blood Prince, Moon, The Road,

    We can always update the post… :-)

  28. Interesting take on the top 10 thing Kofi. I have some spare time at work so I thought I’d comment extensively on your post.
    10. I loved the film TAKEN for its sheer pace and action. I think that scene you mentioned where Neeson’s character tells the kidnappers he’s going to kill them should have been kept out of the trailers. That line lost all its intensity on me, and the scene was ruined. But really great film and Neeson was amazing, I will never kidnap anyone in his family. :-)
    9. My favorite scene in GRAND TORINO was when Walt comes up on his new friend as she’s being harassed by two gang members. Ah living in LA, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pull out my 45 on some scumbag at work or fwy. Great film but didn’t this come out limited in 2008? ^
    8. HANGOVER, never seen it, don’t like the cast much, don’t care. EXTRACT was very funny! and prob better. ;-)
    Also anyone here ever see Galifiankis’s stand up. The guy is the black hole of comedy. His quantum flux sucks the comedy out of the known universe leaving you with little will to live, other than just enough hope to reach for the remote. Somebody can quote me on that,,,
    7. HURT LOCKER another great film. I felt the final scene with the guy who was wearing the Master-Lock vest had more tension. However the car bomb scene was pretty intense knowing that a cell phone could set it off. (Btw that was Sgt James “second mission” not the first with the new crew.) Just picked up my screener the other day, watched HL, again last night.
    6. The seen with Rorschach was classic and I think should be No 2 or 3 on this list. Ironically I used that line the other day at the DMV ! That line will also get you laughs at Starbucks.
    WATCHMEN was also one of the best films of the year! 50x better then Ang Lee’s HULK. (The comic book movie baseline)
    5. DISTRICT 9, one of the best top 3 films of the year! Loved the finale and also think this should be higher on this list No 2 or 3. This was a film that stirred up many emotions toward the end as I found myself cheering for aliens that resembled insects. The CGI was second only to AVATAR, and the hybrid documentary /first person story was pulled off seemlessly. For a first time director with a budget under 50 mil. D9, was one of the years biggest surprises and successes.
    4. Ah STAR TREK. Interesting the opening scene is No 4 on the list, as I totally agree with this one. The opening to JJ Abrams teen friendly Original Series reboot was brilliant, and without a doubt the best scene in the entire film. After about an hour into this, I found myself wondering, “what happened, the opening scene was perfect? Did Speilberg direct that? Why does the film suck now? What’s going on, this really sucks now! Ok this is just a trainwreck, can’t stand it much longer,,,! How long is this film!”
    3. AVATAR, yes the final battle was worth 10 bucks alone. Again for the second time this year I found myself embracing the destruction of humanity. I openly cheered out loud when the first hover chopper was thrown against a huge floating rock and blown to bits killing everyone inside! Few films invoke this response from me,,, Cameron, does it everytime! Even Titanic’s best scenes are when the ship breaks apart and everyones about to die horribly in an icy cold dark sea! Come on, admit it!!!
    2. UP, ???
    Here’s where I have a problem, the final scene in MOON, has more emotional resonance. The bleakness of THE ROAD, carries more of an impact. The shoot out scene in THE INTERNATIONAL, was better. The ending to PANDORUM more shocking (lol Kofi) Even the epic scale of 2012 induced more of a breathtaking rush then UP,,,
    Anyway my point is UP, should be up around No 16 on this list not No 2… 8-O
    1. TARANTINOS NAZI FLICK. A decent war fantasy, if that’s what your into. Personally I felt the film had some interesting moments even if I could see them coming down Broadway very slowly. I’m surprised Kofi you didn’t mention the part in that scene when the Waltz pulls out his Monster Truck pipe
    Overall Basterds, was entertaining yet I have 0 desire to watch it again…
    So with the exceptions of INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, and UP, not a bad list. I would have substituted THE ROAD and MOON in for those two…
    Ok I’ve gotta get back to my air traffic controler gig. Travel safe this News Years everyone! I can’t believe its 2010 and still no flying cars!!!!!

  29. I have to agree with 790. I use the line from Watchman myself. Moon and District 9 were just brilliant!