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Top 10 Kidnapping Scenes

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Elliot Baker You have twenty four hours to watch this video before… something bad happens. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top ten kidnapping scenes in movies. Children, wives, senators: it doesn’t matter as long as the scenes revolve around someone getting stolen away from their home, families and friends. For this list, we're looking at a variety of big screen scenes that showcase this narrative trope in the most unique, cool and/or memorable ways. Special thanks to our users ac121mr0, MikeMJPMUNCH, derekauthor and Npngreen for submitting this idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Kidnapping Scenes


You have twenty four hours to watch this video before… something bad happens. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten kidnapping scenes in movies.

For this list, we’re looking at a variety of big screen scenes that showcase this narrative trope in the most unique, cool and/or memorable ways. Children, wives, senators; it doesn’t matter as long as the scenes revolve around someone getting stolen away from their home, families and friends.

#10: I’m a Federal Marshal and You’re Under Arrest
“Out of Sight” (1998) )

You’d think it would be every woman’s dream to be kidnapped by good ol’ George Clooney, right? Adorned in a prison guard’s uniform, Jack Foley runs into a slight bit of resistance during his mass prison escape, namely a big shotgun and a cold stare from Jennifer Lopez. In black comedy style, Clooney takes J-Lo hostage in her own car before finishing up his jailbreak. Now you’d never see Tim Robbins do anything like that.

#9: Pita’s Post-Piano Lesson Abduction
“Man on Fire” (2004)
The CIA operative-turned-bodyguard is always a special trope to see in movies, but it’s even better when they involve kidnapping little girls. Sworn to protect teeny tiny Dakota Fanning, Denzel Washington fails almost immediately despite his vengeful tirade that kills four of the kidnappers. The chemistry between Washington and Fanning is so strong that the author of the novel that the thriller’s based on – A.J Quinnell – praised the film for capturing the essence of his book. Isn’t that a lovely thing?

#8: Kidnapping Judith
"Saving Silverman" (2001) )

Not just limited to serious thrillers, kidnappings can even occur in light-hearted comedy movies. Darren Silverman’s friends attempt to save him by kidnapping his flame - an emotionally abusive psychologist - so that he may reunite with his old girlfriend. What follows is a bumbling mess that leaves Jack Black drowning in a toilet with only luck to actually save him. Less of a planned kidnapping and more of an accidental victory, we’re not going to trust these guys to look after our children or anything else any time soon.

#7: Whoever Said I Wanted You?
“X-Men” (2000) )

The nefarious Magneto strikes hard with his masterplan that hinges on the abduction of a specific mutant, and after Rogue runs away from Xavier’s school, she leaves herself completely vulnerable to his grasp! With his adamantium skeleton, Wolverine turns out to be the most ill-equipped person to protect her from Magneto thanks to his powers over metal. This leads to Rogue’s swift capture, Magneto making his getaway by using the police’s weaponry against them and his taunting of Professor X.

#6: The Pledge Kidnappings
“Old School” (2003) )

It’s not often you see pre-mid-life crisis and kidnappings go hand in hand, but the trio here wants a taste of their former glory days. Having restarted a college fraternity in their 30s, Will Ferrell and his friends go out in search of their newest pledges. What happens is the most forcibly polite set of kidnappings we’ve ever seen set to the tune of “Master of Puppets” by Metallica. Keeping in line with the film’s title, the boys go old school by even wearing ladies’ panty hose as they yell out to their hostages.

#5: Flying Monkeys Attack in the Haunted Forest
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939) )

She promised to get her and her little dog too. After seeing how close Dorothy and friends are to her castle, the Wicked Witch of the West sends her cavalry of flying monkeys to capture the bold heroine once and for all. Battling within the Haunted Forest, Judy Garland is swept off her slippers into the clutches of the green-skinned witch. While this scene is memorable and entertaining, it’s wasn’t all fun and games at the time, as some of the actors playing the flying monkeys were injured during filming when the strings holding them up snapped and caused them to fall. Man, that must’ve hurt!

#4: We Are Gonna Find You
“The Call” (2013) )

A veteran 911 operator is put to the absolute test in this Brad Anderson crime thriller. Tension is the name of the game as the victim, Casey, manages to make a call to operator Halle Berry from the trunk of a car without any means of knowing where she is. Berry’s determined yet anxious nature really makes the scene feel as claustrophobic as our helpless hostage. The sweeping camera angles combined with tightly edged shots also give a great insight to the characters’ feelings, and make this scene stand out amongst the rest.

#3: They’re Going to Take You
“Taken” (2008) )

If Liam Neeson wasn’t on this list, he would probably use a certain set of skills to hunt us down. An internet breaking scene if there ever was one, in this action thriller, Neeson gets a call confirming that his precious daughter has been kidnapped, and we all know what happens from there. Ironically, Neeson expected this cult hit to completely bomb. Thanks to this phone call, though, and the rest of the film, he’s now recognised as one of the modern action heroes.

#2: Hockey and Concrete
“Mystic River” (2003) )

This Clint Eastwood adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel certainly starts off on a very dark step. Playing hockey and drawing your name in concrete might be fun in 1975, just as long as a staunch old man doesn’t come around claiming to be a police officer. Scolding the boys for their actions, he demands Dave to take a seat in his car and it all goes downhill from there. Captured and abused for four days, Dave escapes the holds of his captors but bears the emotional scars as he grows up to be a haunted Tim Robbins.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

The Fullers
“From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)

Agreement Not Necessary
“Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (2006)


Safe House
“Cellular” (2004)


I’m Not Gonna Hurt You, Susie
“The Lovely Bones” (2009)

Ruth Buggs
“Paul” (2011)

#1: Jean Lundegaard is Kidnapped
“Fargo” (1996)

You can always leave it to the Coen Brothers to add a comedic edge to a usually terrifying event. Jerry Lundegaard is a struggling salesman who hatches a plot to have Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare kidnap his wife to claim a ransom from his rich father-in-law. However, what he doesn’t take into account is the foolish impractical methods the stooges would go about it. Jean essentially delivers herself to the kidnappers in her panicked state, leading to her near fatal fall down a flight of stairs. Famous for perfectly walking the line of black comedy with a dark thriller tension, “Fargo” is not only one of the best kidnapping movies, but holds one of the best scenes about it also.

Do you agree with our list? Which kidnapping movies have we failed to capture? For more grasping top 10’s published every day be sure to go to Watchmojo.com and don’t forget to subscribe.
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