brad pitt, actor, cinema

The Most Unforgettable Suspensful Movie Scenes

Words: Josh Rakic
Photography: Flickr/Fan the Fire

From Jurassic Park to Star Wars, these films certainly knew how to keep the viewer’s attention with these brilliant scenes 

Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King are famous for their ability to create suspense, one of the cinema’s rarest commodities that all too often, as Hitchcock stated, is confused with surprise. Surprise is the short game. Suspense is the long game, drawn-out scenes that tip-toe around the greater reveal as audiences sit edge of seat in anticipation of the outcome — death, survival, escape or arrest. Here are some of the modern film’s most memorable and suspenseful scenes .

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Jurassic Park - first time dinosaurs revealed

© YouTube/Movieclips

We know the movie’s about dinosaurs. We’re in the dinosaur park. And in truth, thanks to a badass marketing campaign, the suspense started the moment one first witnessed the T-Rex shadow on a poster. Would the 1993 CGI hold up? Heck yes. And then some. And it all came together finally, when Sam Neill and Laura Dern set eyes on the brachiosaurus. 

Gladiator - I am Maximus scene

© YouTube/Movieclips

Damn. Russell Crowe owned this movie from the beginning, but his “I am Maximus” speech and reveal in the gladiator pit, surrounded my swords begging his for his blood is up there with some of the best spine-tingling monologues in film. Then there’s the anticipation of whether the emperor will raise or drop his thumb — the likely latter signaling certain death.

Phantom Menace - Darth Maul fight scene when door opens

© YouTube/maartan bos

Yeah, the Star Wars prequels pale in comparison to the originals and the latest J.J. Abrams installment, but the final reveal of Darth Maul and the ensuing four-minute epicly choreographed lightsaber fight scene scene is up there with one of the most thrilling scenes in the franchise. Hell, a light saber staff with dual sabers?

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The Usual Suspects - Keyser Söze reveal

© YouTube/Sunil Kadam

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” It’s the line that encompasses the entire theme of the film, which is one long play featuring arguably the greatest reveal in film history. Cripple Roger “Verbal” Kint is one of only two survivors of a brutal shipyard explosion and explains to detectives a series of convoluted events that all tie back to mysterious crime boss Keyser Söze, a man detectives believes is just a silly myth.

Inglourious Basterds - Opening Scene

© YouTube/Firmus Piett

The making of Christoph Waltz’s career and arguably the climax of Quentin Tarantino’s, the opening scene to the Nazi pic is a full eight minutes of gut-wrenching suspense as “The Jew Hunter” calmly interrogates a French sympathizer hiding Jews beneath his floorboards.

No Country for Old Men - Coin Toss 

© YouTube/BadWolf

Javier Bardem is a cold-blooded killer who racks up a body count big enough to rival his bank account in this Coen Brothers’ film. But it’s a three-minute scene with a ghost town gas station clerk that proves the film’s most stomach churning, when Bardem is at his psychotic best and allows the unwitting veteran a coin toss to decide his fate.

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