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12 Most Paused Movie Moments of All Time

August 14, 2017
6 min read

It is an undeniable fact that the best movie-viewing experience comes from theaters. However, the onslaught of TV, DVDs and streaming has caused severe harm to cinematic intensity. But some movies contain moments that make us feel grateful to these mediums for their ‘pause’ function. Sometimes we pause to see fleeting objects, goofs, surreal gore or simply to better appreciate the sensational eroticism of a scene. Below is the list of most paused movie moments that will make you want to revisit the film.

12. Entrapment (1999) – Catherine Zeta-Jones’ bewitching flex

It must be fairly obvious why this scene had so many of us reaching out for the pause button with our mouths wide open. More than anything else, Catherine Zeta-Jones left an imprint on every viewer’s mind with this manoeuvring of laser beams. Albeit this movie also had the great Sean Connery, this scene became the main visual that made many revisit the film multiple times, only to pause at the right time.

11. The Seven Year Itch (1955) – Marilyn Monroe’s iconic blowing dress

Probably one of the most iconic and widely known moments of cinematic history is Marilyn Monroe’s dress blowing atop a subway grate. This scene from Billy Wilder’s ‘The Seven Year Itch’ has become a poster for show business. Any scene with the quintessential Hollywood beauty, Marilyn Monroe, in a frenzily blowing skirt was bound to be paused infinitely. This scene has attained seminal prominence and has been depicted endlessly – from pinups to statues.

10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Fly lands on villain’s mouth

The movies of the ‘Indiana Jones’ franchise contain any unforgettable scenes, one of which is this goof from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Just as the antagonist, Dr. Belloq, is delivering some great dialogue, an unassuming fly lands on his mouth. A few frames later the fly disappears as it reaches the edge of his lips, having apparently been devoured by the villain. However, the actor Paul Freeman did not lose character despite this, which is remarkable.

9. Man of Steel (2013) – Wayne Enterprises logo appears on a satellite

Ardent superhero fans are always looking for easter eggs and subtle references to the larger comic universe in the movies. The followers of the DC Comic world were well served by the Superman film ‘Man of Steel’ in this regard. At one point during the extraterrestrial fight between Superman and Zod, we come across a satellite with Batman’s Wayne Enterprises logo on it. This tiny detail proved significant in establishing that both Batman and Superman inhabit the same world. This paved the way for the ‘Batman vs. Superman’ film that came out three years later.

8. Total Recall (1990) – Mutant woman reveals 3 breasts

When it comes to nudity in movies, even the slightest peek at an actress’ bare torso leaves the audience gawking. So when a mutant prostitute exposed three huge boobs, countless screens were bound to be paused. ‘Total Recall’ was a sci-fi thriller starring Arnold Schwarzenegger but which is most remembered now for this notorious scene. This perplexing effect was achieved with all three being false cosmetic breasts.

7. Scanners (1981) – Head Explosion

David Cronenberg displayed some mind-blowing special effects in ‘Scanners’, particularly in this head explosion scene. This representative gory moment causes the viewer to pause repeatedly to see the grisly yet captivating execution. This effect of the head splattering into juice was achieved by employing everything from corn syrup and wax to leftover burgers.

6. Fight Club (1999) – Abrupt flashes of Tyler Durden

‘Fight Club’ doesn’t need any introductions. Since its release, it has become a pop culture phenomenon and rightly so. The film is abound with articulate mystery and meticulous explanations. However, when seen carefully all over again, we can notice that the massive twist in the film isn’t as abrupt as it seems. There are many instances when Tyler Durden flashes momentarily in the background in scenes that come before his first appearance in the film. These are probably subtle hints at the Narrator developing Tyler’s personality gradually.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) – Margot Robbie’s epic seduction

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is filled with moments of such strong seductive appeal that beg to be paused again and again. The most exemplary one among these is the one where Margot Robbie seduces DiCaprio in complete view of their house’s security team. This one scene has propelled her onto the same pedestal as Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe, the divas of older times.

4. Psycho (1960) – Mother’s skull on Norman Bates’ face

Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ is a movie so jarring and suspenseful, that it grips us in its captivating narrative. The last thing you could think of is to disrupt the film’s masterful suspense by pausing at any time. However, this momentary effect at the end of the movie makes you hit the pause button instinctively. Hitchcock superimposes a skull on Norman Bates’ face for just an instant but the effect it has is highly chilling and establishes the complete seizure of Norman by the Mother’s personality.

3. Iron Man (2008) – Captain America’s shield in Tony Stark’s basement

Back in 2008, when Avengers had not come out and neither had any Captain America movie, this easter egg in Iron Man was a big thing. It had people pausing and their screens in excitement, hoping for it to be a hint to a combined superhero universe. Then the shield appeared again in 2010 in ‘Iron Man 2’ which was as thrilling for fans, now that a Captain America movie was already on the cards.

2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) – Phoebe Cates rips her red bikini

Explaining with words why this iconic scene is one of the most paused of all time would be an insult to the reader’s intelligence. This scene still has the tendency to make the viewers hold their breaths. The angelic Phoebe Cates emerging from the pool in a sultry red bikini, then splitting it open right from the middle is an image no one ever wants to forget.

1. Basic Instinct (1992) – Sharon Stone’s leg-cross

If there is one instance where almost every person watching a film was compelled to pause, it is this one. Sharon Stone raised the heat exponentially not only in the interrogation room, but every other room this film played in. This leg cross of hers, not to mention the absent undies, has reached massive levels of popularity in pop culture. Every time you watch this sensational scene, you cannot help but rewatch it multiple times. Undoubtedly, this scene has been paused more than any other in movie history.

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