When Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs was released in late-1992, it was met with a flood of positive reviews hailing it as an instant classic. Though, at the time, there was one scene in particular that had everyone talking. Namely, when Michael Madsen's character, Mr. Blonde, tortures a cop and cuts off his ear as he dances to Stealers Wheel's Stuck In The Middle With You.
In retrospect, it's difficult to imagine the film without this pivotal moment but Tarantino actually had to fight Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein to keep the scene in, as Weinstein felt it would have a serious negative effect on audiences. Quentin stood his ground and Harvey ultimately relented.
Perhaps Tarantino was aware of the fact that, on occasion, no matter how great a film is, it sometimes needs that one moment that's going to stick in the audience's head for years to come. In a weird way, great scenes are even more indelible than great movies.
This list isn’t necessarily a rundown of films’ most famous scenes. No, these are the sequences that elevate a good film into a great one (or a mediocre film into a less mediocre one). But these flashes of brilliance often come at a cost; so sudden, shocking or spectacular are their arrivals that they can become the only scene you associate with the film.
Needless to say, a spoiler alert is in full effect.