Top 10 Most Epic Movie Scenes

I’m feeling rather bored tonight, so I’ve decided to entertain myself by watching some of the most epic moments in cinema on Youtube.  The powers-that-be have edited some truly awesome content off the web, but that hasn’t stopped me from pondering, and acquiring my favourite ‘top ten’ most epic scenes in cinema of all time.

To define ‘epic’, these aren’t strictly endings, sad scenes, twists, or moments of brilliant acting or scripting. These moments are just moments that literally made you crap yourself with their epic-ness. Some of these scenes are stereotypically epic, others not so much. It can be anything, from any genre. One scene, or clip, in a movie, that you just remember for years and years to come, which becomes a highlight of quality cinema that connects with you on every level. The creme de la creme. The absolute. Everyone has their own favourites (for example, there’s no Braveheart or Gladiator on mine here).

These are my top ten most epic moments in cinema history. SPOILERS ALERT

10: Scarface – ‘A Test In Masculinity’

What can be said about one of the most famous movie endings of all time? Drug kingpin Tony Montana has risen from street punk to Cuban crime lord, and taken out all of his competitors along the way in series of double-crosses and bloodbaths. During an assassination, Tony sabotages the operation to save a young girl, but his compassion has bloody consequences. The Cuban drug-syndicate’s private army turns up on his doorstep, but instead of going quietly, he grabs the biggest gun in the entire film and runs at them head on, quoting one of the most memorable lines ever in cinema:

9: 300 – ‘Never Threaten A Scotsman’

Here is another absolute classic, though for slightly more fundamental reasons. The film 300 can be quoted as epic, mediocre, childish, boring, gory, and many others. But one thing everyone can agree on is that it became culturally relevant in the rise of the meme generation on social media. ‘What is your profession?’, ‘Tonight we dine in hell’, and ‘Fight in the shade’, are all quotes that were heavily used from the film. Although it all seems a little old-hat nowadays, there is still one line that can’t help but raise a smile, when a messenger from Persia decides to warn the king of the Spartans to surrender to the invading forces, or suffer the consequences. Whoops:

8: Taken – ‘A Man Of His Word’

Why would anybody kidnap Liam Neeson’s daughter? He fought the English as Rob Roy and Michael Collins, and the Nazis as Oscar Schindler. He’s fought wolves, Sith Lords, government agents, and even Batman. He is Zeus, he is a Jedi, he is a ninja, and in this film he is an ex-CIA agent. Sadly, he’s on the phone to his daughter as she treks around France, when suddenly a bunch of criminals break into her home and kidnap her, to be sold as a sex slave. One of the kidnappers picks up the phone, and Mr Neeson proceeds with one of the clearest, cleanest threats of all time. It wasn’t quite as dark as ‘that scene’ from Dead Man’s Shoes, but it was certainly much more epic:

7: Star Trek 2 – ‘Yep, They’re Leaving Us’

The second Star Trek movie of 1982 followed on from an episode of the original series called ‘Space Seed’. In that episode, the crew of the Enterprise discovered a genetically engineered human called Khan, who became hellbent on conquering the galaxy. Before he took the ship, Kirk defeated him, and left him and his genetic army on a barren and hostile world, along with a female crew member who had fallen in love with him. This movie saw him recovered, and back on the war path, but it isn’t until this scene that Khan realises he may finally have achieved his revenge on James T Kirk and his crew. Whilst they’re inside an asteroid laboratory, Khan beams up a planetary weapon called ‘Genesis’, closes down the warp system, and flies off, leaving Kirk and his squad… as they left him:

6: Conan The Barbarian – ‘Prayer To Crom’

Schwarzennegger was always going to be on this list somewhere. Cooler than Stallone, and with more muscles than Willis, this dude was my childhood hero. One of his first-ever movies, ‘Conan’ achieved cult status as being the film that got him discovered, but people often overlook the epic soundtrack, special effects and James Earl Jones’s steeled performance as the villain. The scene in which Conan prays to his God Crom, before also insulting him, leads to the most epic battle of the film, with an epic build-up that never fails to get the heart racing:

5: True Romance – ‘Something He Didn’t Know’

Long before he was directing Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino was helping out with several projects, testing his ability as a writer. One such scene you’ll find his credentials in is True Romance, if only for one single scene (also the only scene in the film to feature Christopher Walken!). What you predict is probably what you’ll get – Dennis Hopper plays the father of a son who has stolen a stash of drugs and gone on the run with a prostitute to make some ‘big bucks’. The mafia track his dad down, and interrogate him. Knowing he probably wont escape alive, Hopper decides he has one last card to play. Sweet Jesus, is this acting good:

4: Watchmen – ‘A Real Superhero’

In a film that is predominantly about what would happen if normal people went out and fought crime, amidst the complex and intricate narrative, Dr. Manhattan is born out of a particle experiment gone wrong, and becomes the first real ‘superhero’. Every character has their own origin story, and the character Rorschach has all the best lines, but the best scene in the film bar none was this montage of Manhattan’s origins. The complete scene lasts about ten minutes, and is one of the most heart-stopping-ly epic moments in cinema you’ll ever see. Unfortunately it’s practically impossible to find on the internet, so here’s the crux of the matter:

3: Ip Man – ‘Chinese Pride’

This surprise emotional roller-coaster of a martial arts film clocks in at number three, as the peace-loving, world-weary Ip Man takes a back seat for the first hour of the movie. Although all those around him fight each other and challenge him, the only thing he actually does is have a friendly fight with a challenger inside his house. But then, the Japanese invade during World War Two, and are quick to ruin the heart and soul of the country – particularly through their martial arts. Ip Man’s friend beats a Japanese soldier one-to-one, and then decides to challenge three at once, just to see if he can win. He is shot, simply for trying to provoke hope within the Chinese people. Needless to say, Ip Man becomes upset, and enters the arena, asking to take on ten soldiers at once. Almost one hour in, he finally decides to unleash his full potential and show what he can do. Your heart is in your mouth:

2: Unforgiven – ‘His True Colours’

Throughout the entire duration of Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood’s old, broken, fragile old character tries to forget his past. Much like aforementioned Ip Man, his days of killing and kicking ass are over, but unlike Ip Man, he is a shadow of his former self. Poor, defeated, and failing to provide for his family, he accepts a job with his old pal Morgan Freeman to assassinate two men, but the duo find themselves dangerously out of step with the industry. Even as Eastwood suffers from withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, people hint at a recognition of him, and the monstrous things he did in his youth. Whereas Ip Man waited one hour, this time it’s not until the very last scene that Eastwood finds out that the town’s evil sheriff has killed his old friend, and mean to hunt him down too. Eastwood suddenly realises he must become the monster that he used to be, just one last time, to avenge his friend. He strolls into town, and finally grants everyone’s wish to see his true form. The stuff of nightmares:

1: Once Upon In The West – ‘The Duel’

It’s funny that the top two on this list are both westerns, but if Eastwood doesn’t do it for you, look no further than Sergio Leone’s masterpiece from 1968. Not only does this film not reveal the entire point of the two-and-a-half-hour story until the closing ten minutes, but you practically forget the story until you are reminded about it here. Although a film with many narratives, the opening scene introduces a simply principle – a man playing a harmonica wants to kill a man called Frank. We don’t know why. Frank doesn’t know why. Lots of stuff happens, hours fly by, and then ten minutes from the end, we get the showdown. It’s binary opposition film studies 1-0-1. It’s shot painfully slowly and beautifully, as both characters savour every camera angle as they prepare to settle the score once and for all. Again, you wont find the full scene anywhere easily, but this sets it up quite well:

 

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