The Top 20 Film Scenes of 2013

20 Jan

Gravity-Scene1Welcome to the third installment of my year end lists. Today, we’re taking a look at the top 20 film scenes of 2013. This list is unranked.

THE FIGHT, “BEFORE MIDNIGHT”: This is easily one of the best-acted, most devastating scenes of the year. It starts out fine, then progresses into a small argument that later becomes a full-blown, ugly verbal war. It’s not cliche at all, and it’s the pinnacle of a fantastic movie.

BELFORT VS. DENHAM, “THE WOLF OF WALL STREET”: When Jordan Belfort invites FBI Agent Patrick Denham to his yacht, what results is a lengthy verbal showdown between the two. The undertones, the veiled threats, the fake cheeriness…what a fantastic scene for DiCaprio and Chandler.

THE ENDING, “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS”: This scene, by itself, elevates this movie to a whole other level. It’s a cathartic, devastating scene that showcases Hanks at his best, and it’s not the kind of ending you’d expect from a thriller.

THE HANGING, “12 YEARS A SLAVE”: When Solomon Northup is strung up on a tree, we feel every bit of his pain and the futility of the situation. He’s only barely able to keep his feet on the ground, and what makes this even more horrifying is the length of time McQueen lingers on this shot. In the background, we see people going about their day, afraid of helping him, and this goes on for an agonizingly long time.

THE PIANO DUET, “STOKER”: No other scene captures the creepy, operatic nature of the movie as this one does. It’s passionate and perverse all at once, and it’s an impeccably directed scene.

DRIVING TO THE HOSPITAL, “PRISONERS”: In a movie filled with intense scenes, none is more so than this one. Loki has to drive a dying Anna through pouring rain while he himself is losing control of his faculties, and this scene had me gripping my seat; I expected a crash at any moment. Great work, Villenueve and Deakins.

PLEASE MR. KENNEDY, “INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS”: The song itself is already a winner. It’s an infectious, catchy, and downright awesome song that brings the laughs in an otherwise fairly melancholy film.

THE OPENING SEQUENCE, “GRAVITY”: Visually striking and immersive, the opening 15 minutes of “Gravity” throws us into a spectacle like no other. Cuarón’s tracking shot is a beauty, and this sequence features the finest CGI work I have ever seen.

EVERYTIME, “SPRING BREAKERS”: In what I thought was a mediocre movie, the scene that stands out is the “Everytime” montage. It’s an interesting choice of song, but you quickly realize how perfect it is for this film; it also shows off some wonderful cinematography.

THE FINAL SCENE, “THE ACT OF KILLING”: This is a fantastic scene, one that provides an image of a man to forever be scarred by his actions. He’s overcome by a need to throw up, but nothing comes out; it’s an overwhelmingly powerful sequence that resonates with us forever.


LEMMON 714 QUAALUDES, “THE WOLF OF WALL STREET”: If you want some of the greatest physical acting ever depicted on screen, look no further than Leonardo DiCaprio’s in this scene. It’s a hilarious sequence that involves flopping around like a dead fish, a long crawl to a Lamborghini, choking, yelling, and a fantastic revelation that captures the essence of the film.

BACKSTREET’S BACK, “THIS IS THE END”: The film itself gets a bit too repetitive for my tastes, but the ending is just the right amount of absurd. It’s hilarious and crazy, and it’s a perfect ending to the film.

THE HONG KONG FIGHT, “PACIFIC RIM”: I’ll be honest, I didn’t like “Pacific Rim” at all. However, the Hong Kong fight is certainly one of the more thrilling scenes of the year, bringing us a new type of battle and new ways of destruction.

MODERN LOVE, “FRANCES HA”: In a euphoria-filled scene, Frances spins and jumps and runs down the street to the tune of “Modern Love”. The pure joy that permeates the scene is infectious.

THE ENDING, “HER”: In a quietly devastating, quietly beautiful scene, Theo and Amy make their way to the the rooftop after their OSes leave them. It’s a statement of friendship and love, and it’s gorgeous.

WOODY RETURNS HOME, “NEBRASKA”: When Woody returns to his childhood home, what follows is a heartbreaking scene that showcases Dern’s acting talent.

WANNA FIGHT?, “ONLY GOD FORGIVES”: Although the movie is a disappointment, this fight scene is a beautiful display of Refn’s attention to detail and knack for delivering impeccable visuals.

ARGUMENT WITH THE ALIEN, “THE WORLD’S END”: In the climax of the film, this hilarious exchange between Pegg and Nighy’s characters is brilliant. It avoids the cliches of an “invasion movie”, and Nighy’s final “Eh…fuck it” is amazing.

WALK IN THE WOODS, “THE SPECTACULAR NOW”: Woodley and Teller’s charm is evident right off the bat, and their walk through the woods both celebrates the now and foreshadows some of the future. It’s an endearing conversation, and the movie cements their statuses as fantastic young actors.

LET IT GO, “FROZEN”: In one of the biggest surprise of the year, Disney’s “Frozen” is complex and endearing, and the “Let It Go” musical sequence is brilliant; it’s one of the best musical moments in film in a while.


BARREL OF MONKEYS, “IRON MAN 3”: It’s an incredibly fun and surprising scene, considering at first, it seems as if these people are just going to be more victims of superhero movies. Yet, that’s not the case, and Stark manages to save all of them in a thrilling sequence.


-Gatsby’s introduction, “The Great Gatsby”

-Hide and Clap, “The Conjuring”

-Hanna teaches Belfort, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

-Live and Let Die/Sydney reveals her true identity, “American Hustle”

-The shower scene, “Stoker”

-Mud’s introduction, “Mud”

-Where’s daddy?, “Fruitvale Station”

-Barrel chase/meeting Smaug, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”

-The ending, “Blue Jasmine”

-The rap/the anniversary story/the ending, “Short Term 12”

-Pig introduction/pool scene, “Upstream Color”

-Sex surrogate, “Her”

-Return to Earth, “Gravity”

-Russell and Lena’s reunion, “Out of the Furnace”

-The ending, “The Bling Ring”

-Rayon visits her father, “Dallas Buyers Club”

-The News Team fight, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

-The longest runway ever fight, “Fast and Furious 6”

Photo credit: Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street. I own nothing.

2 Responses to “The Top 20 Film Scenes of 2013”

  1. liamdoesfilm January 21, 2014 at 2:55 am #

    You had my ones in there 🙂 glad to see Wanna Fight -OGF chosen, good list and post!

    • polarbears16 January 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

      Thanks! I liked your list as well, and yeah, that was a fantastic scene.

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