While cool movie moments happen for a variety of reasons – killer acting, awesome writing, gorgeous cinematography, the perfectly delivered line – they all ultimately leave you feeling the same way: wanting more.
They’re the moments you never forget, the ones you keep yammering on to your friends about, and the ones no one gets sick of. More than anything else, they’re what keep us coming back to the movies for more, and in celebration of that, we bring you our list of the 50 coolest movie moments ever.
50 Coolest Movie Moments Of All Time
50. “You shall not pass! – Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Gandalf takes on a Balrog and in doing so reveals himself to be a total badass instead of the kindly old wizard he seems to be. Sir Ian McKellan’s defiant “You shall not pass!” sums up the trilogy’s theme of standing grimly resolute against impossible odds – even if it means almost certain death.
49. Sweet Emotion – Dazed and Confused
The opening scene of Dazed and Confused sets the tone for the entire movie as an orange Pontiac GTO slowly rolls through the school parking lot while Milla Jovovich sits inside rolling a joint all while Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” plays. The ‘70s, ladies and gentlemen, in all their badass glory.
48. “Dodge this.” – The Matrix
The whole last half hour or so of The Matrix falls under the heading of cool, or as Keanu would say, “Whoa…”, but the apex of cool probably comes when Trinity, lady badass, follows the wild slow-motion bullet action by sticking a gun in a fool’s face and telling him simply “Dodge this” before pulling the trigger. Screw Keanu, she’s The One for me.
47. “Like tears in rain.” – Blade Runner
Rutger Hauer goes out with a speech that remains the coolest and most memorable moment of Blade Runner. Even more incredibly, he reportedly improvised the now legendary “like tears in rain” line on the spot.
46. “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius…” – Gladiator
Maximus reveals himself after owning everyone in the arena and in doing so causes Emperor Commodus and his boys to soil their pants in fear. Everyone in this scene plays their roles perfectly and the result is something straight out of WWE. The only thing missing was Maximus giving Commodus a Stone Cold Stunner.
45. Bodhi’s Last Ride – Point Break
After tracking Patrick Swayze around the world, Keanu Reeves catches up with him on an Australian beach, only to let him go for one last ride on the waves because both men know he won’t survive it. Bodhi goes out like a champ and Keanu gives everyone a template for how cool bros handle things when one is a federal agent and one is, uh, a President Reagan mask-wearing bank-robbing psychopath.
44. Wyatt Earp slaps Billy Bob – Tombstone
Wyatt Earp calmly strolls over to a loudmouth dealer played by a tubby Billy Bob Thornton and proceeds to calmly slap him silly. There are so many cool things in this scene – and so many cool lines — to detail, but in a movie full of cool moments, rest assured that this is one of the coolest.
43. “Get away from her, you bitch!” – Aliens
Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley once again proves she’s the biggest badass in the universe after marching over to the giant alien queen in a mechanical suit of armor and throwing down. “Get away from her, you bitch!” are fightin’ words understood everywhere from the Jersey Shore to Omicron Persei 8.
42. Django gets his revenge – Django Unchained
After years of being the malevolent power behind the throne, Samuel L. Jackson’s Stephen and the rest of Candieland finally get theirs, as Django mows through the entire ranch before calmly kneecapping Stephen and leaves him for dead.
41. The Bride vs. The Crazy 88s – Kill Bill, Vol. 1
The climactic scene of Kill Bill, Vol. 1 sees Uma Thurman face off with a crazy Japanese gang in an epic bloodbath that puts all other bloodbaths to shame. Epically violent, this scene cements The Bride as one of the coolest, most badass characters in movie history.
40. The Under the Sea Dance – Back to the Future
The entire Under the Sea Dance belongs here. I mean, in one glorious scene, George McFly knocks out Biff, stands up to the world, macks on Lorraine and Marty saves the future while inventing rock and roll. Beats whatever the hell you and your parents did when you were in high school.
39. The Baptism Murders – The Godfather
In one epic scene, Michael calmly gets his nephew baptized while his boys kill all his enemies in a frenzy of violent revenge and murder. The scene that sent the message that you don’t mess with Michael Corleone, this moment cemented Michael as *the man* and hammered home how much of his soul he was sacrificing in the process. Just a perfect scene.
38. “I ain’t got time to bleed.” – Predator
Jesse Ventura leaps into movie immortality with his “I ain’t got time to bleed” line after being wounded. The ultimate in movie badassery, the only thing that keeps this moment from being ranked higher is because it turns out that, well, he has plenty of time to bleed after all.
37. John Wayne walks away – The Searchers
John Wayne saves the day and then just walks away like a boss. This scene sums up the archetypical lone wolf American cowboy better than just about anything – and John Wayne’s lasting appeal as a symbol of American manhood.
36. Tuco and his bowl of soup – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Just a perfectly acted scene. Unrepentant fiend Tuco confronts his priest brother and then reveals his vulnerable side for the first time after spending the movie as bastard number one. And all the while, Clint Eastwood just listens to his bluster about brotherhood and bowls of soup with a patient yet skeptical understanding. I dare you to find a better acted moment than the one where a vulnerable Tuco forces his swagger back to the surface while chomping on a cigar while that infamous music swells. Maybe the most underrated cool moment in movie history.
35. “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.” – Ghostbusters
Who doesn’t love a good movie montage? In two and a half glorious minutes Bill Murray and company confirm their status as the coolest dudes in New York, all while Ray Parker, Jr.’s famous theme song plays over the action. Oh, and Dan Aykroyd gets blown by a ghost.
34. The Diner Scene – Pulp Fiction
Samuel L. Jackson confirms that he is the coolest man alive in this scene. Again, this is one of those scenes where just too many cool things are happening to discuss here. Just watch and be amazed by the sheer coolness of it all.
33. Coin Toss – No Country for Old Men
An incredibly tense scene made cool by the perfect acting of Javier Bardem, whose psycho killer redefines the nature of cinematic evil by making it unpredictable, governed by simple chance more than any sort of moral code. Utterly terrifying if you think about this for a few seconds – and utterly mesmerizing.
32. Layla – Goodfellas
The infamous Goodfellas montage with the wistful piano coda of “Layla” playing over it while Henry describes Jimmy’s murderous rampage is just a beautiful piece of art. It captures the feel of the movie as well, if not better, than anything else in the film and is so cool that it’s the first thing a lot of people associate with both the movie and with “Layla.”
31. Jack Rabbit Slim’s – Pulp Fiction
This scene is just delightfully weird, and cool in a way that’s tough to really put into words. This is the moment that slammed home to people that John Travolta was officially back and that whatever magic he still had from his iconic late 70’s performances, in which he danced his way into the culture’s heart, was still there.
30. Butch and Sundance take on the Bolivian army – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Now *this* is how you go out like a boss. Against insurmountable odds, Butch and Sundance stick together to the end and go out firing. Friends forever. Where’s their Tumblr page?
29. Opening Titles – Reservoir Dogs
After a scene in which the characters just sit around in a diner shooting the breeze came this iconic scene, which made Tarantino an A-list name on the spot and instantly became one of the coolest and most oft-imitated scenes in movie history. This set the tone not only for the movie but for Tarantino’s whole career.
28. “Yippee Ki Yay!” – Die Hard
“Yippee Ki Yay, motherf—er.” And with that line, an action hero legend is born. The American cowboy is all grown up.
27. The Final Showdown – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Quite simply, this is the greatest – and coolest – gunfight showdown scene in movie history. The music, the acting, the cinematography…they all create an absolutely unforgettable scene in which the tension is ratcheted up for almost five full minutes before it ends with a quick explosion of violence. The coolest threesome ever not involving a lady.
26. “Cut me, Mick” – Rocky
This quick line sums up everything you need to know about Rocky’s heart and soul, which itself is the heart and soul of the Rocky franchise. He’s gotten his ass kicked so badly that he can’t even see anymore and instead of calling it a day he tells his trainer, Mick, to slice his hideous eye-lump open so that he can see again well enough to go out and start swinging even though there’s little to no hope of victory.
25. The Final Gunfight – The Wild Bunch
Deliriously violent, this final scene is so unforgettable – and so cool – because it was the first movie that really broke the rules and reveled in its own messy blood-soaked carnage. There are no good guys here, just bad guys being completely and utterly terrible. It doesn’t try to redeem itself, which was a radical concept at the time.
24. Ride of the Valkyries – Apocalypse Now
The madness and terror of the Vietnam War summed up in one unforgettably cool scene. American helicopters sweep in like some sort of horrible death angels out of some medieval Norse saga. Ugly, brutal, yet stylish, nothing like this had been seen in a war movie before, and to be honest, nothing has since either.
23. Big Kahuna Burger – Pulp Fiction
Samuel L. Jackson lays down the law and provides the coolest moment from Pulp Fiction, quoting the Bible and kicking ass like a boss. Yet again, there are some many cool things in this scene that it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one or two. All you can do is watch with a goofy smile on your face.
22. “I’m your Huckleberry.” – Tombstone
A terminally ill Doc Holiday shows up to fight Johnny Ringo, who was expecting Wyatt Earp and, uh, isn’t exactly thrilled with the change in plans. In fact, Johnny just about craps his pants when Doc looks up and drops the famous “I’m Your Huckleberry” line with languid confidence. This is Val Kilmer’s crowning moment and the coolest moment in a movie full of cool moments.
21. The Copacabana – Goodfellas
This scene is like cinematic ecstasy for the cinephile, a one-take tracking shot that both adds dizzying grandeur to the movie and makes you feel Henry’s world and how much of it sits in the palm of his hand. In short, it’s such a cool scene because it isn’t just arty for its own sake; it enhances everything about the movie.
20.” Here’s looking at you, kid.” – Casablanca
Even though Rick is in love with Ilsa, he does the responsible and right thing and tells her to get on that plane with her husband before walking away like a boss. He’s just so incomparably cool right here. I mean, who has the balls to do that?
19. Opening Monologue – Full Metal Jacket
R. Lee Ermey bursts onto the scene with this tornado of an opening speech and sets the tone for a war movie unlike any other. This scene is so amazingly cool because it is so unbelievably creative, and what makes it even better is that R. Lee Ermey reportedly improvised the entire scene.
18. “What do you got?” – The Wild One
“What are you rebelling against?”
“What do you got?”
Cool? Incredibly cool.
17. Silva’s Introduction – Skyfall
2012’s Skyfall is what happens when a James Bond movie operates at its highest possible level and Javier Bardem’s villainous Silva, particularly his spine-tingling introduction where he explains to 007 how to change a living thing’s very nature, is the epitome of that.
16. Crane Kick – The Karate Kid
With a broken leg, ultimate underdog Daniel hits the bad guy with the impossible Crane Kick, gets mobbed and macked on by young Elisabeth Shue and wins the big karate tournament. If this scene doesn’t give you chills, you’re dead inside.
15. “I drink your milkshake!” – There Will Be Blood
Daniel Day Lewis goes completely nuts and drops the oddly awesome and utterly absurd “I drink your milkshake!” line and proceeds to destroy poor Eli, calling him, among other things, afterbirth that should have been put in a glass jar. Now this is how you commit to a role.
14. “Say hello to my little friend!” – Scarface
The most macho scene from maybe the most machismo-dripping movie ever made. Tony Montana goes out like a G and in the process introduces the world to a catchphrase that people still break out 30 years later.
13. Pencil Trick – The Dark Knight
Macabrely funny, brutally violent…this is everything that the perfect Joker is supposed to be, all summed up in one cooler than cool moment. I’m pretty sure half the people watching immediately began rooting for him instead of Batman and his leather-master voice.
12. “My name is Inigo Montoya.” – The Princess Bride
Inigo Montoya gets a gutshot from Count Rugen – who as Inigo isn’t afraid of reminding everyone, killed his father – but Inigo says forget that noise and smokes the Count, all while repeating that famously magical incantation like a war chant. The perfect scene from the perfect movie.
11. Mad Max: Fury Road
No, not a particular scene from Mad Max: Fury Road, but rather, the entire film as a whole. The 2015 Best Picture nominee is virtually the perfect action movie.
10. “Frankly, my dear…” – Gone With the Wind
This is some straight-up gangster s–t right here. This is still ice cold today so you can only imagine how audiences reacted to this in 1939. Someone needs to scrape poor Scarlett off the floor.
9. Match Cut – Lawrence of Arabia
The greatest cut in the history of film. David Lean takes Peter O’Toole blowing out a match and transitions to the sun rising orange and terrible and beautiful over the Arabian desert, followed by the swell of that famous score. This is cinematic excellence.
8. Han Shoots First – Star Wars
Han Solo’s introduction scene sees him immediately established as a badass rogue, as he calmly shoots bounty hunter Greedo. Of course, since George Lucas doesn’t even understand his own characters, he later changed the scene so that Greedo shot first, only to miss hilariously from only two feet away, before Han iced him. As always, the lesson here is that Han Solo is the coolest dude in this or any other universe and that George Lucas is the lamest.
7. Introducing Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth – Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
There have been few cinematic thrills in recent years quite like seeing Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, the *two biggest* movie stars of their generation, share the screen for the first time.
6. “Bond, James Bond” – Dr. No
You know the line. This is where it all started. Sean Connery drops the line perfectly, that familiar music starts up, and this is how the magic happens, kids.
5. Bill’s Death – Kill Bill, Vol. 2
The coolest death scene ever. Bill gets waxed by the Bride and takes the time to tell her she’s his favorite person before adjusting his jacket and pimp walking to his death. Now that’s how you do it, David Carradine.
4. Keyser Soze Reveal – The Usual Suspects
This scene was so cool it pretty much single-handedly won Kevin Spacey an Oscar. Watching Spacey’s pathetic gimp Verbal Kint transform into the ultra-badass Keyser Soze is just, well, it’s just damn cool. “And like that… he’s gone.” Chills.
3. “Do you feel lucky? – Dirty Harry
If I have to tell you why this is cool, well…
2. Indy Shoots the Swordsman – Raiders of the Lost Ark
Confronted by a master swordsman, our man Indy just wearily whips out a pistol and shoots him dead. Apparently, this whole scene was Harrison Ford’s idea which pretty much makes him the coolest dude ever.
1. “I know.” – The Empire Strikes Back
After two whole movies of will they, won’t they bickering/flirting, Leia finally tells Han Solo that she loves him just as he’s being led off to a life of frozen agony. His response? “I know.” I told you, the coolest cat in the galaxy. Also, yet again, this line was apparently Harrison Ford’s idea, which means that he’s personally responsible for both the conception and the execution of the two coolest movie moments ever. I wish he was my dad.