The Top 10 Movie Moments of 2009

Published 5 years ago by

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. while reading this article i probably nodded my head in agreement and mild movie-flashback glee during the whole thing. i do agree that some of the first scenes you mentioned should have been higher up on the list, but daaang, some of those scenes ARE magnificently memorable. thanks for this article, i enjoyed it immensely. :)

  2. @Taylor

    Glad you enjoyed it. :)


  3. Yeah for #1 and #2- couldn’t agree with you more Mr. Outlaw! Good list, I’d like to see your runner-ups.

  4. I would have prefered it if a top tewnty movie events was used, because there were so many good movie events in the first place this year. I am happy that District Nine was mentioned as well.

  5. I really liked this list, especially because after most of them I was like, “I totally remember that and it was awesome!” Great reminiscing.

  6. Taken was released on 28th September 2008, that is nowhere near january 2009, and although it was one of the best movies of 2008, it has no plaace on here.

    Perhaps the problem was that there wasnt enough great movie moments from this year to fill 10 spots.

  7. I’m glad Transformers 2 didn’t make it to this list.

    Good article, except for the avatar scene, it was boring as hell and the cgi is not as good as you think.

  8. @ Beckett

    Sigh… Taken was ’09 for us in the USA.

    Read it for yourself. The movie had a slow roll out starting in Europe then in the states then Asia. It’s all here….

  9. @Kofi

    That appears to be correct. I apologise.

    Nice just to see it on the list, amazing film, easily my second favourite in 2008 after Iron Man.

  10. How come the werewolf fight scene in New Moon is not there? …. I wonder.

  11. I’m surprised the opening scene from Sherlock Holmes wasn’t on this list (especially over ANYTHING from that smug jerk Tarantino). I thought the opening scene set the whole tone and pace of the movie. Sherlock Holmes is my second favorite movie of the whole year, right after Star Trek.

  12. Taken did appear in the States in early 2009, but the same cannot be said for Gran Torino. If anything, I would replace that. It also seems to me the list overall seems to a hodgepodge. Some are clearly scenes. Others, a sequence. I’m not entirely dismissive of them (even I cracked a sadistic smile when the guy in the tower got zapped into a fruit smoothie during the Last Stand in District 9)

    I’d flip flop #1 and #2 on your list.
    I thought other scenes from Watchmen wre better than the one you give, but it is hard to pick from. I’ll give you that.

    So what takes the place of Gran Torino for me?

    I”l go with the death of Bill Murray’s character in Zombieland. Bill, of course, played himself.

  13. Andy S,

    have you seen Inglorious Basterds? I’m no Tarantino fan, but that movie was amazing and that first scene was pitch-perfect. Though, I still prefer the German bar scene myself.

    But I do agree Sherlock Holmes should have made this list somewhere.

  14. Aargh. Enough with the “this opened in 2008″ comments. Gran Torino opened WIDE in the USA on January 9, 2009:

    Taken opened wide in the USA on January 30, 2009:

    But I do agree about the Bill Murray scene in Zombieland. :)


  15. @Joshua..

    I’ve never like ANY Tarantino film (including Pulp Fiction) so why in the world would I waste my time watching another movie from a director that I despise? Too much other stuff out there that actually interests me, so I can’t see wasting TIME and MONEY on Tarantino crap.

  16. Haven’t seen Gran Torino, and I’m not in a hundred percent agreement on little things like the exact ranking here (I’d swap Avatar and Star Trek, maybe even bump Avatar under D9), but I’ll still say it’s the best Top 10 article I’ve read so far.

  17. @Bangarang
    i just cant get enough of what you just said
    its ridiculously Hilarious

    and @ andy s
    plz don’t waste the seats for another tarantino movie becaus there r too many other people that actually UNDERSTAND the art of cinema and they should use does seats
    so you shouldnt engross another one of those seats of tarantinos masterpieces

  18. The only choice I disagree with is Avatar (even the Star Wars prequels had stronger moments and better fights). Other than that, this list is very solid.

  19. Watching Inglorious Basterds was the cinematic equivalent of sitting in traffic and being able to see your off ramp, but its going to take you 2 hours to get there.

    I was impressed Waltz had great line delivery, but the film was way to predictable and slow for me. It was like watching a R rated Hogans Heroes epic without the comedy.

  20. I defend the list.

    Zombieland – the Bill Murray scene was well-loved, but not as well-known. I was in the theater when that scene played: it was more “cool,” than “AWESOME!”

    The Avatar thing was not my exact pick, but that battle had a lot of hype surrounding it – and it definitely delivered on that. The Quaritch vs. Neytiri and Javatar was so sweet.

  21. @pj

    It’s always a good idea to make sure you don’t sound like an idiot while you’re calling someone else an idiot. Just some friendly advice… :-P

  22. Dont you just looove this site?

  23. I never bothered with Inglorious Basterds but anything that can keep the opening sequence of Up from the #1 slot must be worth viewing. Might just check it out.

  24. great choices, and perfection on number 1

  25. Oh. My. Sweet. Jesus. Thank you so much (and I say that with the most bitter of sarcasms) for spoiling –nay, ANNIHILATING– ZOMBIELAND for the rest of the puny world who hasn’t had the movie open yet. Here in Venezuela it opens on Jan. 22, and now I’ll go watch it now knowing about the most talked-about cameo of the year. I forgive you guys only because Screen Rant writers are such cool people and I know this did not happen with any malice, but jeez, guys, I kinda expected a bit more monitoring on the comments. Couldn’t you wait another month or two??? Sigh… I know Hollywood sometimes makes it look like the US is the center of the world, but as cool a country you guys are… you’re not.

    Well, let me try to lighten up. Great list, I agree with all the top 6 moments. Haven’t seen THE HURT LOCKER yet, and maybe I’d bump THE HANGOVER scene a bit higher.

  26. @JM

    Yes I agree, that final battle in Avatar was kind of cliche- the underdod re on the brink of losing when suddenly they pull a rabbit out of the hat. It felt like a war battle that was copied from other war movie and then replaced with other creatures and tall blue people-Na’vi.

    It should hae been lower. That scence from taken should have ben higher and I was surprised that the scence from sherlock holmes which begins from the start was not included in this list, as I though that it was much more thoughful that any film this year, and guy richie is a very intelligent director .

  27. @Juan

    I don’t blame commenters for spoiling a movie that opened in the U.S. three months ago. The average person may not even realize that it hasn’t opened in some parts of the world yet. If I recall correctly “Up” opened in the U.K. six MONTHS after opening in the U.S. – we couldn’t be expected to not talk about it in detail for that long.


  28. @Vic

    You’re right, it was around 6 months, and hence I had to tread carefully around here for that long trying not to get spoiled. That said, Up didn’t really have any major surprises in it unlike the Zombieland cameo, but hey, even with little delay between the UK and US openings of Zombieland I was spoiled on that before seeing it.

  29. I will most likely get flame-broiled for saying this, but damn I hate Tarantino. He’s a smug jerkoff whose films have never impressed me. At all. So imagine my surprise, after so many people telling me to just watch the movie and forget about who made it, that within the first few minutes of Basterds I was nervous, scared, and gripping the arms of my chair in fearful anticipation. Then I was stunned even more when the credits rolled and realized that I loved this movie. An amazing what-if tale, action, suspense, drama, humor, romance, and racism all rolled into a powerful and affecting film.