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Top 10 Movie Mugging Scenes

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake Give us your money, punk! Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Movie Mugging Scenes. For this list, we're taking a look at the most iconic cinematic moments where a character is mugged, whether it's played for laughs or drama. Special thanks to our user Daniel Berger for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Mugging Scenes in Film


Give us your money, punk! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie mugging scenes.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most iconic cinematic moments where a character is mugged, whether it’s played for laughs or drama. Also, a SPOILER ALERT may be in order.

#10: Don’t Worry I’ll Get Him
“Mr. Deeds” (2002)

Sometimes the best mugging scenes are the ones where it’s the mugger who ends up suffering. As part of a ruse to meet Longfellow Deeds, tabloid reporter Babe stages a fake street robbery, with one of her co-workers playing the part of the robber. The small town boy takes the bait and retrieves the purse, but he isn’t about to let the fake mugger get off easy: he gives Marty the most savage beating of his life. A scene like this probably wouldn’t have made it into the Frank Capra classic, but it’s right at home in an Adam Sandler picture.

#9: Subway
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2011)

You don’t mess with Lisbeth Salander. When a mugger snatches her bag on the subway, the girl with the dragon tattoo doesn’t stand around and yell for help; she charges right after the mugger, who calmly rides the escalator as if he’s already gotten away with the crime. Lisbeth takes back what’s hers and gives him a piece of her mind. Loud sounds effectively mute what Lisbeth says, but we imagine that she used many four-letter words. Making a kickass exit, she has just enough time to catch her train.

#8: Sam’s Death
“Ghost” (1990)

Unfortunately, not every person walks away from a mugging victorious and safe. When Sam and Molly find themselves cornered by an armed thug, there’s a struggle and a gun is fired. At first it looks like Sam has gotten through the ordeal unscathed, but he’s quickly faced with a grim reality upon discovering his dead body in Molly’s arms. Seeing as how the movie is called, “Ghost,” we probably should’ve seen this twist coming, yet the weight of the moment allows the tragedy to come as a genuine shock!

#7: More Subway Muggings
“Death Wish” (1974)

There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned subway fight. This scene from “Death Wish” slowly builds tension as a couple of lowlifes plan to mug Charles Bronson’s Paul on a train. Little do they know they’ve messed with the wrong fella, 'cause Paul’s out for vigilante vengeance after his wife and daughter were randomly attacked. We know what’s coming and so does Paul, who has a gun ready to fire hidden right behind his newspaper. Like the subway mugging from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” this scene is only made more thrilling by the absence of dialogue. The music and sounds capture all the intensity of the situation as Paul slips past the authorities.

#6: The Briefcase
“Falling Down” (1993)

After his string of bad luck, we don’t blame Michael Douglas’ William for losing it in “Falling Down.” Trespassing in the wrong place at the wrong time, William is confronted by some gang members who don’t like the look of the nerdy guy in their neighborhood. Tired of being pushed around, he prepares to do something drastic, but gives the hooligans a chance to walk away peacefully. Of course they’d rather take his briefcase at knifepoint. Little do they know that William came armed with a bat and isn’t afraid to swing it. Adding a switchblade to his arsenal, this unraveling madman prepares to go home.

#5: Faster Than a Speeding Bullet
“Superman” (1978)

It’s finally quittin’ time after Clark Kent’s first day at the Daily Planet, and he and Lois Lane are walking the streets of Metropolis when they’re beckoned into an alley by a gun-wielding stranger. Clark, of course, is a god among men and cannot be harmed by guns, but he plays along to keep up the mild-mannered reporter charade by attempting to talk their way outta the mugging. Lois goes a different way. That pisses off the trigger-happy mugger, but luckily Lois’ companion is faster than a speeding bullet. Of course, Lois misses the whole thing, and thinks Clark passed out from fear. But that sly look Clark gives us at the end is just swell.

#4: Max Is Mugged
“Collateral” (2004)

Max simply can’t catch a break in “Collateral.” After being taken hostage by hitman Vincent, the cab driver thinks he’s saved when four guys hear his shouts for help. Max’s saviors turn out to be anything but, however, as they take his wallet and Vincent’s briefcase. Fortunately – for Max, not the muggers – Vincent returns just in time to confront them. Even though it looks like the muggers have the upper hand, Vincent is faster and won’t hesitate to shoot. It’s a terrific spin on the mugging cliché that also injects some dark comedy into the scene.

#3: Ever Dance with the Devil by the Pale Moonlight?
“Batman” (1989)

The death of Bruce Wayne’s parents is one of the most iconic moments in comics and Tim Burton masterfully brought it to life in his interpretation of “Batman.” Hauntingly shot from low angles, the scene builds great suspense and packs a powerful punch as a gunman fires from the shadows. A young Jack Napier caps the mugging off with an immortal question. While Christopher Nolan certainly did the moment justice in “Batman Begins,” Burton arguably did it with more style, tension, and brutal emotion while also adding an inspired twist.

#2: Nice Night for a Walk
“The Terminator” (1984)

If a nude man asked you for your clothing on the streets, chances are you’d probably laugh and tell him to take a hike. If the streaker is as ripped and threatening as Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator,” though, you’re probably better off just stripping down. These three goons learn this lesson the hard way as they pull their scrawny knives on the unstoppable killing machine. Arnie shows the boys what he’s made of and it isn’t long until one of them relinquishes his clothes. A nice night for a walk indeed.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- This Is an Alaïa
“Clueless” (1995)
- Alley Fight
“Watchmen” (2009)
- Blowjob
“EuroTrip” (2004)
- Back Off, Asshole!
“Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993)

#1: That’s a Knife
“‘Crocodile’ Dundee” (1986)

While New York City can be a dangerous place, it’s child’s play in the eyes of somebody who’s spent their life in the Australian outback poaching crocodiles. That’s probably why Crocodile Dundee isn’t at all phased when a mugger pulls a knife on him and his lady friend when they’re out for a nighttime stroll. Using his survival skill, he shows the criminal what a real knife looks like and how a real man uses one. He further immortalizes the mugging scene with a line so quotable and so parodied that it alone practically earned this 1986 comedy a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite movie mugging scene? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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