Top 20 Most Satisfying Moments In Movies Ever

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Top 20 Most Satisfying Moments In Movies Ever

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Satisfaction guaranteed! For this list, we'll be going over the moments from film that brought everything full circle, resolved everything perfectly, or those that just feel the best to watch in the moment. Our countdown includes “Avengers…Assemble”, The Ring is Destroyed, Maximus Kills Commodus, Truman Escapes, Arthur Fleck Becomes the Joker, and more! Did YOUR favorite movie moment make the list? Let us know in the comments!
Transcript

Top 20 Most Satisfying Movie Moments


Satisfaction guaranteed! Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 20 most satisfying movie moments.

For this list, we’ll be going over the moments from film that brought everything full circle, resolved everything perfectly, or those that just feel the best to watch in the moment. Naturally, because we’ll be dealing with plot important events, spoilers will appear throughout.

#20: Godzilla’s Atomic Kiss of Death

“Godzilla” (2014)
Although some complained about the sparsity of Godzilla moments in this 2014 reboot, less is more in this case. The gradual buildup to the reveal of the king of the monsters makes his time on screen that much sweeter. Similarly, it makes his biggest standout moments all the more satisfying. When battling the MUTOs in San Francisco, Godzilla unleashes his atomic breath only a few times, the first with a fantastic buildup to it. However, the moment that makes our list occurs when the gigantic reptile at last destroys one of the opposing monsters by forcing open its mouth and breathing white hot death down its throat! Amazing!

#19: Maximus Kills Commodus

“Gladiator” (2000)
Maximus Decimus Meridius (yes we have to say the whole thing!) is a Roman general betrayed by Commodus, the despicable son of the emperor, who has Maximus’ whole family killed. Forced into slavery as a gladiator, Maximus works his way up to confronting Commodus and eventually goes into battle in the arena with his foe. However, despite stabbing Maximus beforehand, Maximus still manages to win. This victory is so satisfying not only because the former general finally achieves his revenge, but also because Commodus is just so dang hateable! And seeing Maximus reunite with his wife and son in the afterlife gets us choked up every time!

#18: Woody Gets Fixed Up

“Toy Story 2” (1999)
After Woody is stolen by a greedy collector named Al, the toy cowboy is brought to Al’s apartment, where he encounters other toys from the property he’s based on. Al also accidentally tears Woody’s arm, which was fraying; necessitating a repair. Al calls in an elderly specialist in toy repair, who proceeds to fix Woody and make him as good as new. The repairman’s intricate case and his deft movements in fixing Woody up are strangely enjoyable and seeing the battered toy looking renewed brings some color to our cheeks too.

#17: The Heist Ends

“Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)
There are a lot of heist movies out there, but “Ocean’s Eleven” is something special. The planning and execution of the heist is incredibly slick and funny. Yet when everything appears to go wrong, it hits that much harder. Naturally, in turn, when it’s revealed that they’ve pulled it off after all, duping the villain and making off with his money under the guise of being a SWAT response, it had us giddy that they got away with it. Seeing them all go their separate ways at the fountain gives us and Ocean’s 11 pride in a job well done.

#16: Truman Escapes

“The Truman Show” (1998)
Truman Burbank has lived his entire life inside a “reality” TV show based around him. His gradual realization of this truth leads him to face his fear of water and attempt to sail away. However, he reaches a wall with a door in it. It’s here that the show’s creator speaks to him like the voice of God, trying to convince him to stay. However, Truman replies with his catchphrase, gives a bow, and departs for freedom. The audience watching him cheers him on, and we do too. Just watching Truman leave his existential prison after a few hours is satisfying, so we can only imagine what it’d be like after watching him for years would be like.

#15: Chiron’s Revenge

“Moonlight” (2016)
Chiron is a young man who has a rough upbringing, to put it mildly. Not only does he have to contend with his drug addicted mother pushing him around, but he also faces bullying at school because of his homosexuality. After his best friend is pressured into participating in bullying him, Chiron later goes to school and takes a chair to the bully responsible. Although this is the beginning of a darker path for Chiron, seeing him stand up for himself at last after taking so much abuse for just being who he is is still gratifying.

#14: Rudy Gets to Play

“Rudy” (1993)
This film follows the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a young man whose lifelong dream was to play football for the University of Notre Dame. However, Rudy faces an uphill battle, from his lack of money, to his small physique. And despite making the team, he still doesn’t get a chance to play during an actual game. Eventually, in the season’s final game, the team is up enough and the crowd is so vocally supportive that Rudy gets his chance to play, managing to make a tackle and being carried off the field in triumph! If you aren’t cheering “Ru-dy!” “Ru-dy!” “Ru-dy!” by the movie’s end, you should probably check your pulse, because you might be a robot.

#13: Chris is Hired

“The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006)
Chris Gardner is a struggling salesman and a single father. An internship at a brokerage firm has the potential to turn his life around, but troubles with the IRS lead to his being evicted and without funds; leaving him and his son homeless. However, Chris still maintains his dogged pursuit of his internship in spite of these hardships, using creative approaches to achieve success. In one of the final scenes, he’s called into what he thinks is his final interview, and is told that he’s been hired on full time; at last providing security for the two Gardners. We’re not crying, we swear!

#12: “…But They’ll Never Take Our Freedom!”

“Braveheart” (1995)
When the Scottish army that has gathered at Stirling find themselves outnumbered nearly 3 to 1, the nobility is ready to negotiate and the soldiers are ready to go home. But the arrival of rebel William Wallace changes all that. Already a legend in the eyes of many, he rallies the men with an inspiring speech, asking whether they’ll regret not fighting that day in many years time under the yolk of the English. He concludes with the immortal line that even if they take the Scots’ lives, the English will never take their freedom; and proceeds to lead them on to victory. There are many stirring battle speeches, and this one speaks to our souls the most.

#11: Arthur Fleck Becomes the Joker

“Joker” (2019)
Throughout this comic book origin story, Arthur Fleck has a rough go of it. He loses his job, gets beaten up multiple times, and gets several heartbreaking revelations about his origins. And through it all, he can’t help but laugh, even when he wants to cry. But once he embraces the madness that his life has become, it’s strangely satisfying, for him and the audience. The skies clear and everything seems to be going his way. Sure, his actions lead to a citywide riot, but as he stands atop a police car painting a bloody smile on his face, we kind of want to smile with him.

#10: Prepare to Die

“The Princess Bride” (1987)
Inigo Montoya is a master swordsman, whose father made a sword for a six fingered man. When the extra-digited client attempted to short his father on the price, Inigo’s dad refused to hand it over; leading to his murder. Inigo has trained for decades to become skilled enough with a blade to defeat his hated rival, all while planning exactly what he would say to the man who killed his father. He gets his chance at last when he meets Count Rugen, the man with six fingers, again. What follows is an epic duel, in which Inigo repeats his mantra of revenge, and when he has Rugen at his mercy, begging for his life, Inigo tells him he wants his father back before exacting his vengeance! We were not prepared for how awesome this moment is.

#9: What Happens at the Cinema

“Inglourious Basterds” (2009)
As perversely satisfying as the alternate history fight at the end of director Quentin Tarantino’s other film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is, or the eventual comeuppance of Nazi “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa in this movie is, there’s just no beating the death of one of the most hated men in history. “Inglourious Basterds” follows two separate plots to kill the Nazi leadership at a film premiere. Our expectation is that they’ll both fail, given that history played out differently. However, the surprise of seeing the Basterds burst in on Adolf Hitler’s balcony during a fire and gun him down until there’s almost nothing left of the mass murderer is matched only by how enjoyable it is to see it happen.

#8: George Punches Biff

“Back to the Future” (1985)
George McFly is a weak-willed pushover of a man when we first meet him. Both in 1985 and in 1955, George is walked all over by Biff Tannen, whose bullying may not be the most creative, but it still keeps George under heel and leads his son Marty not to respect him. However, Marty’s trip to the past gives George a friend, and also inspires him to stand up to his bully when Biff attempts to assault George’s his future wife. Watching George knock Biff out is one of the best and most fist-pumping scenes where a bully gets what’s coming to them. Take that butthead!

#7: The Verbal Twist

“The Usual Suspects” (1995)
This crime movie is largely told by a physically disabled con artist Verbal Kint, who recounts the events that led he and his compatriots to a drug deal gone wrong, of which only Verbal and a badly burned man are the only survivors. Verbal’s story involves him and his gang being hired by the mysterious Keyser Soze, a legendary criminal. Although the police conclude that Soze was the gang’s leader, the detective Dave Kujan, notices certain details of Verbal’s story in words scattered around his own office; revealing Verbal was lying. The survivor’s description also reveals that Verbal is Keyser Soze. Like any good puzzle, once you realize how everything fits together, the experience is a rush and this is one of the greatest.

#6: Smile

“Jaws” (1975)
When a seaside community’s swimmers are menaced by a huge great white shark, three men set out to hunt down the fish. The trio encounters plenty of difficulty in killing the beast, not the least of which is the fact that one of them ends up being eaten by it. But with their boat sinking, the last man standing, Brody, armed with a spear and a gun, faces the shark alone. After jamming a scuba tank in its mouth and stabbing it, Brody manages to fire at the tank; blowing it and the shark into pieces, and causing him to burst into ecstatic laughter at his foe being vanquished. It’s a thrilling sequence, and the crescendo of the whole film.

#5: Off Into the Sunset

“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989)
Although there are plenty of gratifying moments in this adventure franchise, such as Indy cutting the rope bridge in “Temple of Doom,” there’s just something extra rewarding about a good ending. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” sees Indy and his father battle Nazis in a race to find the Holy Grail. After nearly dying in the pursuit of the Grail, Indy and his father, as well as their friends make it out of Grail’s resting place alive and a little wiser. After some hilarious revelations about Indiana’s name, the quartet rides off into the sunset towards further adventure, as that iconic theme plays. With an ending as perfect as this, is it any wonder people were upset when they made more movies?

#4: The Ring is Destroyed

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)
Frodo and Sam have reached Mount Doom, and, rather than destroy it as intended, Frodo gives in to temptation and puts the Ring on, even as the last of the heroes mount an attack to give him the chance to drop it into the fires. Strangely, the world is saved when the sneaky and pathetic Gollum bites off Frodo’s finger and falls to his death with the Ring; destroying Sauron once and for all, and bringing his forces to their knees. These epic fantasy films are truly massive, so there are plenty of great moments throughout, but the 9 or so hours they comprise all led up to this moment, which helps make it one of the most cathartic ever.

#3: “Avengers…Assemble”

“Avengers: Endgame” (2019)
While it was tempting to discuss Iron Man’s snap heard around the world from the same film, this moment a little earlier in the movie was much more satisfying. After Thanos has come to the future and beaten several of the remaining Avengers in battle, only Captain America is left standing against him and his armies. However, a call from Cap’s friend Sam heralds not only his return, but also many of the other characters killed by Thanos with his Snap years earlier. Seeing all of the MCU’s heroes in one place is fantastic, and the cherry on top is Cap finally saying that iconic line: “Avengers…assemble!” No matter how many times we see it, we still get chills!

#2: The Death Star Blows Up

“Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977)
It may have been the movie that started the whole “Star Wars” franchise, but this film also contains one of the sci-fantasy franchise’s most enjoyable moments. Sure, there are plenty of others (Vader tearing through a hallway of rebel soldiers for one), but this one set the bar. The final battle at the Death Star sees a ragtag fleet of pilots making a trench run in an attempt to blow up the huge superweapon. The tension builds masterfully, and Luke lets himself go to the Force, until he makes that fateful shot that destroys the massive battle station. Basically, this is a great movie moment – one in a million.

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

A New Day
“Groundhog Day” (1993)

Jesse’s New Life
“El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (2019)

Hoist the Colors!
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007)

Vidal’s Demise
“Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)

Neo is the One
“The Matrix” (1999)

#1: Andy Escapes

“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

Andy Dufresne is a possibly innocent man imprisoned for killing his wife and her lover. Over 20 years, Andy suffers many trials in prison, from assaults by fellow inmates to being used to launder money for the warden. He maintains hope through things like his friendship with fellow inmate Red, his passion for rocks, and pinup girl posters. However, near the conclusion, Andy is discovered missing from his cell. It’s soon revealed that Andy used a small rock hammer to tunnel out of his cell, which he hid with a poster, and crawled through the sewage pipe to freedom during a storm. This scene is like a heist reveal, redemption story, and the sweet release of freedom all rolled into one. It’s the ultimate catharsis!
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