This article was originally published on ForwhatItsearth.com and has been republished on Popular Everything with permission.
Maybe it’s a hidden easter egg that you missed the first time or a glaring production fail that you almost didn’t catch. Perhaps it’s a creepy ghost that appears for a fraction of a second or a super risqué segment that you just have to watch again. When these scenes came up, everyone smashed their pause button.
Sometimes seeing an epic movie scene just once is not enough. In fact, sometimes rewinding the film and seeing it an extra time still doesn’t do the trick. You have to hit pause. There are those special occasions where a scene is just so good, shocking, or revealing, that we’re left with no other choice. And it turns out, with these movies, we weren’t the only ones. Here are the most paused movie scenes of all time.
Viola’s Revelation in She’s the Man
This one comes from She’s the Man, a sports comedy film starring Amanda Bynes that came out back in 2006. It’s loosely based on, or at least inspired by Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night. The main shtick here is that there’s a woman who disguises herself as a man and at some point in the film, her true gender is revealed.
The scene from the movie that takes the cake, probably not surprisingly, is when Viola (Bynes) wants to prove that she’s in fact a woman. Equipped with an attitude and a hard “I told you so” look on her face, she lifts up her shirt. Guys around the world just couldn’t get enough. So with wide eyes and shallow breath, they hit pause.
E.T. Aliens in Star Wars
Some people love all Star Wars films, some only like the first ones, or more rare, only like the prequels. Others actually say the most recent ones are the best. However you feel, let’s just agree that the Star Wars franchise is one of the brightest shining lights in the science-fiction adventure genre.
At a senate meeting in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (Episode 1), which came out in 1999, for a second we see a few of the aliens from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. You have to pause the frame to really notice and let it sink in. They fit right in with the rest of the many species of aliens at the council meeting, so their cameo at first went almost unnoticed.
The Ghost from Three Men and a Baby
This creepy one comes from Three Men and a Baby, a comedy film about, well, three men and a baby, starring Ted Danson and Tom Selleck. It follows the trials and tribulations of three bachelors that are trying to navigate and deal with pseudo-fatherhood.
When the film came out in 1987, viewers were quick to hit the pause button during this scene. It appears that lurking in the background behind the curtain, there’s a boy standing there, unbeknownst to the characters. Spooky. Is it a ghost? What’s going on here? In an interview years later, Selleck revealed that it was just a cardboard cutout that Danson’s character (an actor) had hanging around the house. Chance or marketing tactic?
Neo Stopping Bullets in The Matrix
The Matrix hit the cinemas in 1999 and has got down in Hollywood history as one of the best science fiction movies ever made. The premise starts with Neo (Keanu Reeves), a guy who works a seemingly mundane job. He is approached by some mysterious people and asked if he wants to know the truth about the world. He says yes, and things heat up from there.
The special effects in The Matrix were (actually, they still are) revolutionary. At the end, when Neo becomes fully in control of his awesome powers, he’s able to do all sorts of crazy stuff, including flying, and, of course, stopping bullets. When we saw this scene where he puts up a hand and stops a wall of hot lead coming his way, we were blown away. So blown away that we had to pause the movie and just observe how cool this shot was.
MJ’s Book in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man might be the most famous of all the Marvel characters, so it’s no wonder that there is now such a massive franchise with so many movies. In the 2017 film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, the titular character (Tom Holland) teams up with another Marvel superstar, Tony Stark a.k.a. Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.) to fight the Vulture. Michelle Jones (still MJ), played by Zendaya is a notably awesome character in the film.
As soon as the trailer for this iteration of Spider-Man came out, fans’ fingers flocked to the pause buttons on their remote controls during this scene. MJ is sitting on some bleachers at school, totally unfocused on what’s happening around her. It’s because her attention is turned to the book she’s reading: titled Human Bondage. Wow. MJ has some interesting hobbies…
Getting to First Base in Cruel Intentions
Cruel Intentions was the film to seal the teen drama deal happening in the late 90s. But in fact, it’s based on a novel that takes place in 18th-century France. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair, and Reese Witherspoon take us on a saga of betrayal and seduction between young members of New York City’s upper class.
Over the years, millennial reviewers and fans have credited this scene as being one of the steamiest and most pause-worthy scenes out there. Here, Kathryn (Gellar) teaches Cecile (Blair) how to kiss. Fans just couldn’t get enough. Thank god for the pause button.
Creepy Librarian in It
Some people claim that It is Stephen King’s scariest story. Maybe. However you feel about it, it’s certainly worth a few good scares. It’s about a group of friends from a small town called Derry. For centuries (maybe even for millennia or longer) the town has been plagued by an evil force that returns every 27 years to terrorize its residents, including children.
This scene became the most paused still in the whole movie and it has even made its way onto the list for most paused scenes ever. When Ben is at the library we see him going through a book and reviewing the numerous and deadly tragedies that Derry has suffered over the decades. In the background, for a vanishingly short moment, we see a smiling librarian. Creepy. Is it Pennywise the clown? Possibly.
Upside-Down Kiss in Spider-Man
This one’s from the 2002 Spider-Man movie starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, and Willem Dafoe. In this now-classic film, Spider-Man faces off against the Green Goblin. In one scene, after the eponymous character’s love interest, Mary Jane, is assailed by some thugs in a dark alley, Spidey comes to the rescue and kicks the thugs’ butts.
After the butt-kicking is all wrapped up and the thugs are gone, Spider-man, a.k.a. Peter Parker shares an intimate upside-down kiss in the rain with his beloved. We suppose it’s the novelty and the atmosphere that make this shot so pausable. The kiss scene was so good that it actually won an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss in 2003.
Leg Crossing Scene in Basic Instinct
Even though Basic Instinct is over 20 years old, it seems the world still can’t get enough of it. The film tells the tale of a police detective (played by Michael Douglas) investigating the brutal death of a rockstar. It’s noir, it’s chilling and thrilling, it’s tense, and not least, it’s very very risqué.
The most bawdy scene, many point out, in the film is when we see Sharon Stone’s character sitting on a chair, smoking a cigarette and crossing her legs. Apparently, the exposed legs and the alleged lack of underwear just sent people over the top and right to the pause button on their remote. Some critics even say this is the most paused movie scene of all time!
Brad Pitt’s Cameo in Deadpool 2
These days, a large portion of the action genre’s bandwidth is dominated by super hero movies. They’re a lot of fun, action packed, and often suitable for the whole family. Except for Deadpool, which brings a way darker spin to the table. It’s crude, at times gratuitously violent, and a lot of the time far from appropriate for a PG-13 audience.
In Deadpool 2, Ryan Reynolds’s titular character needs to assemble a team (called X-Force) of bad-a** characters. One of the members is called Vanisher. Pretty self-explanatory: Vanisher is always invisible. Except for when he gets electrocuted and in one scene we get to see his face very briefly. Who’s face is it? Brad Pitt’s. Without pausing it’s hard to catch. That’s why this scene has become one of the most paused ever.
Demogorgon in Stranger Things
Since Stranger Things hit Netlfix in 2016 it has had us all enthralled. Government conspiracies, action, suspense, mystery, romance, alternate dimensions, – what more could you ask from a show? Not much. Stranger Things has got it all.
Semi spoiler alert, beware. In the first season we find out that what has been responsible for a great deal of the horror going on is an terrifying monster called the Demogorgon. But it’s not until the later episodes that it comes out of the shadows and affords us a brief but full-on glimpse of what it really looks like. So when Eleven had a showdown against it, fans rushed to smack that pause button before it returned to the shadows.
Nadia in American Pie
American Pie came out in 1999 and we’re still watching it and slapping our knees silly. It’s all about a group of friends who are hell-bent on hooking up with girls and getting experience before they get to college. It’s loaded with dirty jokes and outrageous scenes.
If you’ve seen the movies, then you’re probably well-acquainted with Nadia. Jim (Jason Briggs), the main character (who is pretty insecure) invites Nadia into his house. Miraculously and unexpectedly for him, she seems to be somewhat romantically interested. He lets her change clothes in his room. Creepily, he and his friends have a webcam set up to record her. Like Jim and his buddies, the world got hung up on this frame of her changing.
Sebastien in Alladin
Alladin is a Disney classic. Maybe you or your parents grew up watching it. And if you have kids, they are probably growing up on it too. To this day, Disney’s take on Arabian tales (and its soundtrack) remains one of the staples of cartoon movies. And as Disney loves to prove, it turns out that cameos are not only reserved for real-life human characters.
Cartoon characters make cameos all the time. And Alladin is not without its fair share. In this one, which has for decades prompted millions around the globe to hit pause, we see the Genie (Robin Williams) leafing through a book and flicking away a crab. The crab just happens to be Sebastien from The Little Mermaid.
Headache in Scanners
Scanners takes us back to 1981. The Canadian horror-science fiction film is about people with telekinetic and telepathic powers. A company enlists these people for its own purposes but then one of them goes rogue. The company then sends another agent to hunt down the rogue telepath.
This scene, without a doubt, went down as one of the most paused scenes of all time. The rogue telepath used his power against the agent hunting him down, causing the other guy’s head to graphically explode. To nail down this scene, the production team actually filled a prostestic head with left over hamburger, string, wax, gellatin, and latex scraps. This was a special effects breakthrough and it caused millions to pause and get a closer look.
The Alien on Camcorder in Signs
We still kind of get the creeps when we look at a cornfield at night because of Signs, which came out in 2012 and stars Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. When strange things start happening in a town and the surrounding farms, no one knows what’s going on. The suspense is palpable the whole time.
In their search for answers, Merrill (Phoenix) and Graham Hess (Gibson) come across a camcorder video. They review the footage and for a split second they see an eerie greenish figure lurking in the background. It’s there for such a short time it’s barely noticeable. If you want to get a good look at the creepy mysterious creature, you’ve got to hit pause.
Drawing a Picture of Rose in Titanic
When Titanic came out in 1997 it became an instant epic. And it certainly helped propel a young Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to superstardom. We laughed, we rejoiced, and we cried as we followed Jack (DiCaprio) and Rose (Winslet) as they fell in love right before tragedy struck the famous transatlantic ship they were on.
In one particular scene, Rose asks Jack, an aspiring artist, if he would draw her “like one of his french girls,” in a nude portrait. Naturally, Jack obliges and the result is one of the most memorable scenes in the film. People loved this Kate Winslet scene so much, it caused millions to hit the pause button and it doesn’t take much to understand why.
Last Dance of the Summer in Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing, some say, is literally the best movie of all time. It’s the film that taught us that bad boys can also have a good side. It tells the story of Baby (Jennifer Grey) in a summer camp. There, she meets a dancing instructor named Johnny (Patrick Swayze), and their romance begins. Through dance, they learn that love transcends social boundaries.
At the end of the film, after their romance is discovered by Baby’s father and the whole camp, the two lead characters come together for the last dance of the summer. And they absolutely nail the big ending that they practiced for hours to perfect. When Johnny lifts Baby into the air, viewers just had to pause the scene and linger on the magic for a few moments.
Zipper Problems in There’s Something About Mary
There’s Something About Mary is the film that cemented Cameron Diaz’s status as a superstar, made us fall in love with Ben Stiller and had us laughing hysterically for a couple of hours. It’s about Ted (Stiller) and his pursuit of Mary (Diaz), his on-going lifelong crush. Along the way, there’s no shortage of ludicrous events and gags.
Although there were plenty of pause-worthy ones, one scene, in particular, made everyone reach for their TV remotes. When they’re in high school, Ted goes to pick up Mary, his prom date. He uses the washroom at her house, and then disaster strikes. He gets himself caught in the zipper of his pants. Ouch. The fire department had to come to the rescue and he’s carried out on a stretcher. So much for going to the prom with your crush.
Animal Pun Songs in Zootopia
In 2016, Disney released Zootopia, a really nice 3D action film that takes place in its titular city. But it’s not a city as we know it. It’s populated by human-like animals of all shapes and sizes. They all have human intelligence and they all coexist together. It’s great fun for the family, and if you like animals, we highly recommend you give it a watch.
Disney is kind of an easter egg connoisseur. Meaning they love to put little hidden gems in their movies for the sharp-of-eye viewers to catch. In Zootopia, fans noticed one when we saw a quick glimpse of a character listening to music on an iPod. As we see in the still, the iPod’s tracklist is loaded with animal puns. People had to pause the quick frame to fully go through the list.
Eddie’s Speedo in Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights made some sizable waves in the show biz industry when it came out in 1997. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Julianne Moore, it’s about a young dishwasher who becomes a star in adult films during the industry’s emergent golden age in the 1970s. It was a blockbuster hit – even nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Award at the Oscars.
Of course, when you have a film that focuses on the adult film industry, there are going to be some risqué elements in there. Throughout the whole film, we’re being shown a prosthetically enhanced Wahlberg. But this scene, where Wahlberg comes out in a little speedo is especially revelatory. A few seconds wasn’t enough to fully get our Wahlberg fix, so for decades, the world has been hitting pause right here.
Selvig’s Chalkboard in Thor: The Dark World
This one comes from Thor: The Dark World. The movie is centered on Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), the Marvel character based on the god from Norse mythology. In the film, we follow his action-packed adventures as he kicks butt with his impossible-to-lift hammer and tries to save the world from the dark forces of malevolent deities.
If you want a chance at soaking up any of the incredible details written down on Selvig’s chalkboard, your only option is to press pause. And that’s exactly what everyone did. Upon close inspection, we can see that the chalkboard shows Schrödinger’s equation, the gravitational anomaly, lines about the universe’s dark energy, and much more realistic physics. In the middle, fiction takes over and we see the scheme of the different universes.
Hanging Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz
We all know The Wizard of Oz, wherein Judy Garland plays Dorothy. When a storm hits her house, she and her dog are transported to some alternate dimension of sorts: certainly “not in Kansas anymore.” When they come to, they are met by munchkins who send them on a mission to find and speak with the Wizard of Oz. Along the way, she meets friends, who help her on her adventure and in her trials against the Wicked Witch of the West.
When Dorothy sets off down the Yellow Brick Road to find the Wizard of Oz, there’s a quick scene with a barely perceptible (but possibly very sinister element). When she, the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man reach this part of the trail, at one point it looks like there’s a silhouette of a hanging munchkin in one of the trees. It has been debated whether there’s anything to see. But everyone had to press pause and have a look.
Pool Kiss in Wild Things
Wild Things blew many people away for how much it went against the grain of its time. In 1998, people just weren’t used to seeing such ribald scenes in a mainstream Hollywood production. It’s a thriller that centers on a criminal case and the (often super steamy) relationships between those involves. And it’s not without its fair share of shock moments and twists.
One borderline-erotic scene made the cut for one of the most paused in movie history. When Kelly (Denise Richards) and Suzie (Neve Campbell) get into a heated a violent poolside altercation, we’re sure someone is going to get seriously hurt. But then, fighting turns into kissing as the two women share an intimate moment. Richards says that to this day, she forbids her kids from watching the scene.
The Black Skulls in Mandy
We’re not sure if we should recommend Elijah Wood’s trippy, dark, strange, psychedelic, revenge film to you. We suppose it depends on how bizarre you like your movies. When a quiet, reclusive couple, Red (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) get mixed up with the wrong crowd, things spiral and end in bloodshed.
Some of the main bad guys in the scene are members of a horrific biker gang called the Black Skulls. Their appearances are scary but obscure. Except for this widely paused shot. Here, if you freeze the frame before it’s too late, you get to see a full-on view of one of the Black Skulls. And we have to admit, it’s kind of the stuff of nightmares.
Woman in White in Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams, is an HBO miniseries based on the Gillian Flynn book of the same title. Sharp Objects takes us to Wind Gap, a small town in Missouri. Camille Preaker (Adams) is sent to the town to report on a string of murders. It’s a solid show and it stands a good chance at making you cringe or hang on tight to your seat.
Without spoiling anything, there is one vanishingly brief but abundantly terrifying scene where Camille looks out into the woods and sees a ghostly figure looming between the trees. It’s a very short frame, almost too short for our brains to register. So to really focus on the creepy figure, fans from all over the world had to hit pause. Still, you can’t see much.
Monster Board in The Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin in the Woods is not what you think it is. The movie starts with a group of young friends spending a weekend away in a secluded cabin in the middle of the woods. But after being attacked by zombies, we begin to discover that the creepiness runs deeper than we all thought. It turns out that there is a team in a control room somewhere orchestrating the friends’ terrifying trip.
The friends’ happened to be attacked by zombies, but it could have been any other of the horrifying monsters that are written on this whiteboard. Here we see the director of the monster program standing in front of the complete list of terrors. The black marker indicates the monster and the blue indicates which team members bet on which monster attacking the young friends in the cabin. Viewers just had to press pause to read it all.
Chad’s Big Smile in Burn After Reading
This frequently-paused scene is from the Cohen brothers’ classic Burn After Reading, a dark comedy about the drama that unfolds following some misplaced memoirs. In typical and amazing Cohen brothers style, the film manages to be funny, suspenseful, action-packed, weird, and riveting all at the same time. Highly recommended.
True, here we see Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) smiling away merrily. But – slight spoiler alert – the fleeting smile does not last long at all. In the very next frame, there’s no smile. In fact, there isn’t much of Chad left at all. Before swift disaster befalls Chad here, everyone put the movie on pause to catch him in his smiling final moment.
Awkward Shadow in Peter Pan
We not sure if this one was a fluke (doubtful, actually) or an intentional little joke. Disney is, believe it or not, loaded with all sorts of small cameos, easter eggs, and other interesting and barely noticeable details. Peter Pan, the classic about a fantasy world featuring Peter, the boy that never gets old, is not without its little tricks.
For obvious reasons, viewers of Peter Pan had to pause, rewind, let it play, and then hit pause again so they could get a go look at what the heck is going on here. When Peter Pan’s shadow is projected onto the wall he’s facing, it looks like a part of his clothing gets distorted to look like…well, you know… Well played Disney, well played.
Tombstone in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the first of the last Star Wars movies (if that makes any sense). It’s a space adventure that takes place after the events of the first three Star Wars films. Reviews are mixed, seeing as so many Star Wars fans are eager to bash anything but the original three films. Whether you liked it or not, there is one scene at the end which caught the attention of many viewers.
In case you haven’t yet seen the movie, we won’t go into too many details, but in this much-paused scene, there is a stone sticking out to the character’s left. Everyone hit pause and the internet combusted in speculation. Is it a gravestone? If so, who’s it? Is the character actually standing there mourning? People studied this frame like a Van Gogh painting, but the answers to the questions remain unclear or non-existent.
Recollection Session in Before I Go to Sleep
Nicole Kidman, one of the queens of the thriller genre, impressed us in Before I Go to Sleep, released in 2014. Cool, eerie, and tragic premise: A woman loses her memory every night when she sleeps. A doctor and her husband fill her in on the details everyday anew. But then she remembers fragments here and there, and a dark picture starts bubbling to the surface.
In one of her memory-recollecting sessions, Christine (Kidman) stands unclothed in front of a collage of pictures on the wall. She looks at the photos and tries to piece together her past. It’s a cool scene, no doubt, but what really stole the show for many was Kidman’s physique.
Early iPhone in Bernie
This one comes from Bernie, a 2011 film starring Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey. It’s a dark comedy that focuses on the murder of a millionairess from Texas that happened in 1996. It did well at the box office and generated a good deal of praise for the actors’ performances.
Following Bernie’s release, people took to social media to upload their screenshots of this moment. Bernie (Black) gets a call and the camera turns to his phone. But wait. This is 1996, right? How could there be an iPhone there when the first iPhone only came out in 2007? The production mistake did not go unnoticed, and this shot went down as one of the most-paused.
Sid as a Garbage Man in Toy Story 3
This is a scene from Toy Story 3. Some people say the first Toy Story is the best, but to be fair, they’re all pretty good. For decades now, everyone has loved the story’s super original idea: The toys are alive and they can talk to each other like we do. The plotlines of the movies whisk us away on adventures with the two main toys, Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
It took a sharp eye to notice this much paused moment at first. Here, we see Woody cowering behind the mailbox pole, trying to not be seen and to avoid the garbage. If you take a close look at the garbage man, you’ll notice that it’s Sid, the bad kid from the first movie. He’s a little older now and he’s got a mustache, we can see he’s still got that same skull t-shirt on.
Marilyn’s Dress in Seven Year Itch
Seven Year Itch is classic Marilyn Monroe. It’s even out of this movie that the iconic pose of Monroe standing there with her white dress blowing up her legs was born. This is, in fact, the very epitome of Monroe. The 1995 movie is a romantic comedy that explores the frustration of a monogamous relationship. Interestingly, it’s from the title of this movie that psychologists got their term for describing this kind of personal crisis.
In this famous scene, Monroe and her date step out onto the street and chat as they walk. They arrive at a grate in the sidewalk and Monroe’s character gets excited as she stands over the grate and lets the wind from the passing subways underground blow up her dress. This shot has become the most legendary Monroe pose ever. Seriously, people even have posters and tattoos of it!
Dream Scene in Fast Time at Richmond High
Fast Times at Richmond High is a comedy romance about sophomores in high school. We’re taken on a steamy journey through the lives of young people still struggling with coming into adulthood and all the new experiences it brings. The movie stars Pheobe Cates, Sean Penn, Jennifer Leigh, and Judge Reinhold.
One scene from this movie went down in the Hollywood hall of fame as one of the most paused of all time. When Chad has a dream (Reinhold), he gets some quality time with Linda (Cates), on whom he has a major crush, as she’s wearing a bikini. Then, in the next scene, unfortunately for Brad, his steamy dream gets interrupted.
Skull Face in Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is a cornerstone of the horror genre. It’s about an embezzling woman who’s on the run. She meets the reclusive, shy owner of a secluded motel, and things go awry from there. Ok, true, the movie is from 1960, so to our 21st-century eyes it might not be the most frightening ever, but for its time it was revolutionary.
There are a few epic and legendary scenes in the film, such as the infamous shower scene. But the most paused of them all is this one here. Where we get a shot of Norman Bates, the psycho. As the camera zooms in on him for a sec, if you look very closely, and of course pause the film, you’ll see an ever-so-faint skull starting to become superimposed over his face. Creepy as heck.
Nemo in Monsters, Inc.
Monsters, Inc. is a movie released during the (ongoing) golden era of live-action animation. Starring John Goodman as the lead voice actor, the film takes us on an action-packed adventure with a motley team of good-guy monsters. It was a major box office hit and it’s a great film to watch with the whole fam.
Disney films are packed with creative cameos and easter eggs and this is one of them. And it’s especially interesting because it’s retroactive. Boo tries to give Sulley a toy. What’s the toy? Nemo from Finding Nemo. Monsters, Inc. came out in 2001, and Finding Nemo came out two years later. So this scene had viewers going back to their DVD stash, rewatching, and hitting pause.
Bullets in the Wall in Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction is the chronologically shattered and timeless classic that made us all fall head over heels for Quentin Tarantino. It’s got an all-star cast that brings to life amazing characters, a thrilling storyline, a good dose of dark humor, and all the other ingredients we need in our lives. Shortly put, it’s about crime and revenge. But Tarantino puts his own crazy original spin on it.
In one scene, when Vince (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) come to intimidate some punks that crossed their boss, they almost get shot. Lucky for them, all the bullets miss and hit the wall behind them. But wait! As many pausers have pointed out since the film’s release in 1994, the bullet holes were already in the wall. Tarantino is great, but this was a little lapse in the production’s attention to detail.
Sandy’s New Look in Grease
Grease is the highest-grossing musical film of its time. It was a massive success that propelled John Travolta’s career (along with Saturday Night Fever) to stardom. It also put Olivia Newton-John firmly on the map. The movie is about the relationship between Danny (Travolta), who is a major greaser, and Sandy (Newton-John), a good girl from Australia.
In most of the film, Sandy is not a bad girl. She’s reserved, shy, and pretty square – lightyears away from Danny, the archetypal rambunctious, loud, and very fun greaser. But as the relationship between the two protagonists progresses, Sandy changes. By the end, she’s looking like a complete bad a** female greaser. People just couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw her transformation and they had to smash the pause button.
Entering the Room in The Graduate
The Graduate came out in 1967 and it became an instant classic. Starring a young Dustin Hoffman, it tells the story of a college graduate who is seduced by an older woman but then ends up becoming involved in a romantic relationship with her daughter. Yikes. All in all, it’s certainly worth the watch.
The suggestive imagery and cinematography in The Graduate perfectly complement the film’s racy plot. This scene takes the gold medal for the most frequently paused. This frame is even basically the movie’s cover art. Benjamin (Hoffman) walks in and…Well, you get the point. And the shadow of the candle lamps to Benjamin’s right, some say, is not a coincidence.
Subliminal Tyler in Fight Club
Pretty much everyone who has seen Fight Club (or read the book) knows it’s one heck of an amazing, twisty story. The film that came out in 1999 stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter. It’s about the narrator (played by Norton about whose name we never learn) and his new friend that he meets just when he started to become unbearably miserable.
Before Tyler (Pitt) enters the narrator’s life, we get some subliminal glimpses of him. Little flashes, too short to notice happen a few times. They’re so fast that it’s even hard to catch them by pausing the film. Many have tried, not everyone succeeded. Though fleetingly short, these frequently paused scenes are an important part of the story.
Dreaming of Angela in American Beauty
This extremely pause-worthy scene comes from the 90s classic American Beauty. The drama film starring Kevin Spacey is for sure a “love it or hate it” kind of film. Most people loved it. Though these days Kevin Spacey is disgraced, back then we loved him and we couldn’t help feel for his character, Lester, as he navigated his world in the midst of several simultaneous mid-life crises.
One theme (which is somewhat disturbing) that runs through the movie is the apparent romantic chemistry between Lester and his teenage daughter’s friend Angela (Mena Suvari). She hints and Lester reciprocates. She even makes her way into his fantasies. When Angela appears in a particularly vivid (and lude) dream of Lester’s wearing a cheerleading uniform, many a pause button was worn out.
Coat Over Camera in The Matrix
In general, The Matrix is a very pausable movie because it was so ahead of its time when it came out in 1999. When some sinister-looking agents attack Neo (Keanu Reeves) at his office, he escapes due to a mysterious savior. In the aftermath of the assault, his savior offers to reveal the truth about the world and things escalate exponentially from there.
This special shot got the attention of viewers and went down in Hollywood history as one of the most paused scenes ever. We see Neo (Reeves) and Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) in the reflection of the door. To capture this shot, the cameramen had to put a camera in front of the doorknob. What’s the problem? The camera would also be caught on film. What’s the solution? Easy: throw a coat over the camera to camouflage and obscure it.
Jessica from Who Framed Roger Rabbit
In 1988, the world was seriously wowed by the epic real-life/cartoon crossover work in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. When a cartoon rabbit is accused of murdering a rich businessman, a detective must undertake a riveting investigation in an attempt to prove that the rabbit is innocent.
The fact that you had cartoons interacting with real flesh-and-bone characters was already enough to illicit some pauses from viewers. But what really stole the show was Jessica. Having such a risqué and voluptuous cartoon woman on set sent fans flying off the rails. People couldn’t believe what they were seeing and their fingers gravitated towards the pause button on their remote.
Yucky Restaurant in Anchorman
When Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy came out in 2004 our knees were all bruised because we were slapping them so hard. It has a dream-team comedy cast: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, and more. It’s about news anchors in the 1970s and their rivalries. And it’s an understatement to say that the humor is way over the top.
In one scene, we get a quick glimpse of the sign of a Mexican restaurant where a few of the ladies go to eat. It reads “escupinos en su Alimento” in Spanish. In English, this translates to “we spit in your food.” If you don’t read Spanish, then it’s a very subtle detail. But soon after the film’s release, people caught on and this scene became super frequently paused.
Tanning Session in Swordfish
If you like good white-knuckle thrillers, it’s impossible not to love Swordfish. Halle Berry, John Travolta, and Hugh Jackman are all peak performance and the movie is twisty and fast-paced. It’s about a hacker (Jackman) who is coerced into working for a shady group of characters. He’s tasked with setting up a virus that’s capable of siphoning money from the government. But as his involvement gets deeper, things are not what they seem.
In one scene, we see Stanley (Jackman) come onto the balcony and happen upon Ginger (Berry) reading and tanning. Let’s just say she’s wearing a bikini… minus the bikini. Stanley looks surprised at how casual Ginger is about it. Fans, like Stanley and unlike Ginger, were also not so casual about the scene: intensely jamming their fingers into the pause button and staring at the screen.
Shield in Iron Man
It’s hard to say which Marvel character is our favorite, but Iron Man, a.k.a. Tony Stark (rendered by Robert Downey Jr.) is one of the top candidates. In the very first Iron Man film, released in 2008, we understood that Tony Stark kicks butt, when he built himself a prototype Iron Man suit as he was a hostage at the hands of extremists in the caves of Afghanistan. Since then, he’s been delivering us high-octane, unadulterated superhero action.
After Stark busts out of the cave, he gets back to the States and starts working on his new and improved suit. In this scene, we see his AI putting on all the different components. But something special caught our eye and made us hit pause. In the background, if you look closely, you’ll see the shield of Captain America, another iconic Marvel superhero. Easter egg much?
Lainey’s Dance in Sleeping With Other People
Sleeping With Other People is 2015 comedy that explores romantic tension and friendship. When Lainey (Alison Brie) finds herself in a bad situation, Jake (Jason Sudeikis) offers to help her out. Goodwill and friendship soon spiral into steaminess and romance, while taking us on a laugh-filled ride along the way.
In one scene, the characters of the movie find themselves at an outdoor party for kids. Lainey, full of energy as always, decides to treat the kids to a little dance show. Ok, let’s admit it, it’s a little strange and unsettling that she’s doing all this sensuous, barely-clothed dancing in front of some little kids. But it didn’t stop fans from all over the world rushing to their TV remotes and hitting pause.
Breaking Free in Gerald’s Game
Gerald’s Game, the 2016 psychological thriller based on the Stephen King novella, had us all clenching our seats with our respiratory machinery ceased in our chests. It’s about a woman who goes off on a romantic getaway with her husband. They get physical, and they even decide to use handcuffs. Jessie (Carla Gugino) gets handcuffed to the bed. But then her husband dies. And as it turns out, they were never alone on their getaway.
Jessie finds herself in the horrifying predicament and she tries and tries to escape. Without giving away too much, at some point she gives up on the conventional methods and literally just tries with all her strength to squeeze and pull out of the cuffs. Though everyone who saw the movie was shocked and appalled, they were eager to hit pause. Maybe it was to go get a breath of fresh air or throw up?
Trucker in Bohemian Rhapsody
2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek, is certainly one for books. It tells the tale of Freddie Mercury, the frontman and lead singer of Queen, the legendary British rock band that brought us hits like “We Will Rock You,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and more. The acting was great, the story was fascinating, and the music remains timeless. Definitely a must-see.
It happened quickly and it became a scene that had viewers groping for their pause buttons with furled eyebrows. The band stops at a truck stop during their travels. Mercury (Malek) is on the phone with his wife, and a trucker goes by. Sparks fly, and we know exactly the kind of steamy thoughts that are going through Mercury’s head. Guess who the trucker is. Adam Lambert, the famous singer who got famous from American Idol.
Bar Scene in Passengers
Passengers is a straight-up cool movie. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chriss Pratt, explores the events surrounding two space travels who wake up almost a century too early from induced hibernation on their spaceship. It’s majorly science fiction, but it’s also a very romantic story. For sure worth the watch.
At first glance, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything remarkably pause-worthy here. But if you’re a horror fan, your mind might jump back to The Shining, which came out in 1980. And it turns out the director of Passengers was paying homage. The bar here is almost identical to that in The Shining. The bottles behind the bar, the bartender’s uniform, whiskey on the bar-top. All the details match.
The List in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was an awesome movie. We suit up and follow one of Marvel’s classic characters, Captain America (Chris Evans), as he tries to save the world and find the mysterious Winter Soldier. The whole film is loaded with crazy visuals and expeditious action scenes that keep us on the edge.
This quick frame had fans pausing left, right, and center. In the beginning of the film, we see Captain America holding a little list. Since he’s originally from the 40s, he needs some pointers to help him get familiar with the current times (spoiler: yes, time travel is involved). Interestingly, the film producers took surveys from fans and then tailored the list to featured different items according to which country the film was to be played in.
Stuck Arm in 127 Hours
127 Hours is a harrowing tale of hiking gone wrong. It’s based on the memoir called Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aaron Ralston. James Franco plays the lead. As he’s hiking, he slips and falls and gets his arm caught under a boulder. He tries everything to get free but he fails. Spoiler: There’s only one thing left to do: leave the trapped arm behind.
We guess it’s the horror and the despair that had everyone hitting pause during this scene. First people paused to closely inspect the caught arm. Is it really trapped that badly? Can’t he just wiggle it out? And then, when the answers to these questions were ‘yes’ and ‘no’ respectively, fans paused again, while in utter shock, they watched Ralston (Franco) resort to the only means of survival left.
Erin in Striptease
Striptease, the 1996 black comedy, is a paradoxical film, to say the least. On the one hand, tons of people hated it and it underperformed at the box office. But on the other, it became a classic and it sprouted a huge fan base across the globe. So we don’t know how you feel about this bawdy film that tells the story of an FBI agent turned stripper who tries to uncover the infested world of corrupt politics.
Regardless of how you feel about the film, one thing is for sure: Erin (Demi Moore) has a rockin’ physique. People thought she looked so good, especially in the many many suggestive scenes, that they couldn’t help but freeze the frame. This scene, in particular, where Erin is performing an exotic dance, seems to be eternally stuck on pause.
Creepy Love in The Shining
Since its release in 1980, The Shining has become a foundational pillar of the horror genre. It’s based on a Stephen King novel and the film stars Jack Nicholson. It’s about a family that gets snow-stranded at a creepy (almost empty) hotel in the middle of the winter. As the film progresses, we start to witness the father’s (Nicholson) descent into madness and all its scary consequences.
Viewers had to pause this scene because it made their skin crawl. Once all hell has broken lose and we’re seriously scared for the lives of the family, the wife/mother is walking around the hotel frightened out of her wits. She walks by a room and sees this: two guys, one wearing a bear suit, getting physical. The camera terrifyingly zooms in on the pair as the look at the wife. This is the pause-worthy content of bad dreams.
Intimate Kiss in My Days Mercy
My Days of Mercy is a romantic drama film that came out in 2017. It has two main themes. One is romantic relationships; it centers on the connection between Lucy (Elliot Page) and Mercy (Kate Mara). The other prominent theme is protest of the death penalty. The movie has a solid plot and will for sure pull on your strings so it might be worth the watch for you.
After this movie came out, there was a sudden spike in TV remote repair demand because so many people were smacking their pause buttons. Something about the fiery romance between Mercy and Lucy made fans go bonkers. This scene, where the two lovers share an intimate kiss (one of many) was by far the most paused. In fact, the scene was so special that it became an alternate cover for the film.
Red Apple Cigarettes in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is a 1997 comedy starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow. Michele (Kudrow) and Romy (Sorvino) are approaching their 30s and they’re disappointed with their achievements, or lack thereof. So they invent fake careers to impress their old classmates at their high school reunion.
This scene had viewers pausing because the background caught their eyes. Turns out the advertisement on the wall is for Red Apple cigarettes, a fictional product created for Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. It was sort of an inside joke between people involved in the production. Also, it had the added bonus of saving them some cash on set building.
The Dog House in The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street impressed us all when it came out in 2013. It featured a supernova cast, and tons of fun as we followed the lives of high rollers from the cutthroat world of stock trading in the 1980s. Sure, it’s like three hours long, but if you’re into wild ride, then we bet you loved it.
In this mega pause-worthy scene, we see Naomi (Margot Robbie) sitting in quite a suggestive position. It takes place during a segment where following a fight, Naomi puts her husband, Jordan (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the “dog house.” Yet, she vows to wear minimal clothing around the house from then on.
Alien Chick from Total Recall
This scene, though we’ll leave a portion of it to your imagination, is one of the most paused frames of all time. It’s from Total Recall. The original film (1990) starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and the reboot (2012) starred Colin Farrell. Both iterations are a little different, but they both fit into the science-fiction genre. The original involves travel to Mars, whereas the reboot involves traveling through core of the earth (the Fall).
This woman comes from the reboot but people also pause on her earlier version. We won’t be too explicit, but let’s just say she’s not quite symmetrical. Instead of having two, she has three. Everyone went wild when they first saw the alien chick with the triple chest back in 1990 and they’re still going crazy over her today. We have to admit, it is pretty creative.
Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad
Harley Quinn might take the gold medal for being our favorite female joker-ess. We loved her in Suicide Squad, a superhero movie that centers on a group of dark villains-turned-antiheroes. And we kept on loving her in Birds of Prey, the two gritty films wherein the iconic character is portrayed by the talented Margot Robbie.
In one scene, which went on to become one of the most paused scenes ever, Harley Quinn is brought her clothes and gear and she proceeds to change into them. It happens on a military base, mostly filled with men. As she’s slipping on her shirt, we notice that all movement around her has stopped and all eyes are on her. “What?” she asks. And then the men resume their movement.