Top 10 Iconic Movie Scenes of the 2000s

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Top 10 Iconic Movie Scenes of the 2000s

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
This decade was overflowing with iconic movie scenes. For this list, we'll be looking at the most impactful moments in live-action films released between 2000 and 2009. Our countdown includes “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”, “Inglourious Basterds”, “No Country for Old Men”, and more!
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Top 10 Iconic Movie Scenes of the 2000s


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Iconic Movie Scenes of the 2000s

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most impactful moments in live-action films released between 2000 and 2009. We’ll be excluding animated movies, which deserve a list of their very own.

What 2000s movie moment sticks with you the most? Be sure to tell us in the comments!

#10: The Bride vs. The Crazy 88

“Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003)
Who else but Quentin Tarantino could make a scene so graphic and so beautiful at the same time? Near the end of the first half of this revenge saga, Uma Thurman’s Bride, recently awakened from a coma and ready to confront Bill, faces down the Crazy 88, a ferocious fighting squad led by Lucy Liu’s O-Ren. This whole sequence is like a bloody ballet, with every whoosh of a sword and dramatic stunt adding to the atmosphere. With its use of black and white and color and its exciting soundtrack choices, this scene is a constant reminder of how no one makes movies fun quite like Tarantino.

#9: “You Shall Not Pass”

“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)
It’s easy to forget what a risk the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy was. But fears were quickly put to rest after the astounding quality of the first film. While it contains many classic moments, none of them hit our hearts quite like this one. When he and his companions are under attack by a Balrog, wizard Gandalf the Grey stares the monster down with all of his power. Gandalf saves them all but sacrifices himself in the process. Even rewatching now, knowing his role in future installments, it’s a devastating moment.

#8: Car Attack

“Children of Men” (2006)
Alfonso Cuarón has an impressive two Best Director Oscars, but the fact that he wasn’t even nominated for this sci-fi thriller is a travesty. The story of a not-too-distant future in which infertility seems to spell our doom, “Children of Men,” is intense but mesmerizing. In its most famous moment, the characters are headed to Canterbury and enjoying a few laughs when a sudden ambush sends things backward. The unbroken continuity of the shot was accomplished with a novel camera setup, and it puts us right in the car with them. Rarely do Hollywood movies get this immersive.

#7: Dumbledore vs. Voldemort

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)
What is it about seeing bearded wizards face down evil that’s so gripping? Along with the “Lord of the Rings,” the “Harry Potter” movies redefined fantasy filmmaking forever. In this incredible moment from the fifth installment, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore arrives just in time to save the young wizard from "He Who Must Not Be Named.” A battle plays out, and it’s one of the best examples of good facing off against evil in any movie. This was a showdown that all Harry Potter fans were looking forward to seeing play out, and they weren't left disappointed.

#6: The Farmhouse

“Inglourious Basterds” (2009)
Quentin Tarantino writes dialogue the way a five-star chef cooks a meal. Every ingredient is perfectly placed, and he’s constantly surprising you. The opening of this revisionist take on World War II is little more than a conversation between Christoph Waltz’s SS officer, Hans Landa, and a French farmer, sheltering a Jewish family. In true Tarantino fashion, a seemingly friendly chat turns into something deadly, and the tension of the moment persists throughout the entirety of its near-20 minute runtime. Not only is this an incredible scene, it also introduced Christoph Waltz to an international audience, and he won his first Oscar for playing Landa.

#5: Baptism

“There Will Be Blood” (2007)
Traditionally, baptism is thought of as a way to bless a newborn child and to welcome someone into a faith tradition. To director Paul Thomas Anderson, it’s more of a last-ditch effort to save a lost soul. When beyond-greedy oilman Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is forced into public repentance as part of a business arrangement, preacher Eli Sunday, played by Paul Dano, makes him confront his misdeeds, including the abandoning of his son. Day-Lewis brilliantly plays the unquenchable rage Plainview feels towards both the world around him and himself. No matter how much power and money Plainview acquires, this scene shows he’s still only human.

#4: Upside-Down Kiss

“Spider-Man” (2002)
The 2000s proved that superhero movies could be legitimately great, and not just when compared to others like them. The first "Spider-Man" movie raised the bar by giving equal attention to the character development and the special effects. The best moment is one that rivals any traditional romance story. After saving his crush, Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker dashes off before he can be revealed as the famous webslinger. But he quickly comes back and exchanges a kiss that achieves a special kind of intimacy: at night, upside-down, in the rain, with his face only partially exposed. We might not have “Spidey-Sense,” but we can definitely tell when a scene is perfect, like this one is.

#3: The Whisper

“Lost in Translation” (2003)
The most romantic movie moment of the 2000s centers around dialogue you purposefully can’t decipher. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are both incredible in Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-winning film about the bond formed between a depressed actor and a recently married woman in Japan. It was this ending moment that touched us the most. When Bob is about to leave Tokyo, he finds Charlotte in the crowd, embraces her, and whispers something in her ear before giving her a kiss goodbye. What he says has been a matter of intense speculation, but we’d argue that the truth - and beauty - lies in the mystery of never being able to know.

#2: “Why So Serious?”

“The Dark Knight” (2008)
Numerous actors have played The Joker, Batman’s most famous nemesis, but arguably no portrayal can top Heath Ledger’s turn as the criminal clown. The best moment in any comic book movie from the 2000s takes place in a pool room of all places. When The Joker catches mob boss Gambol off-guard, he launches into a monologue about the origin of his scars. Later, he gives a completely different explanation for the scars, adding further uncertainty about this crazed character. Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for this performance, and this work in this scene shows us exactly why.

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

"Why Didn't You Write Me?,” “The Notebook” (2004)
A Moment That Makes Us Believe in Love Again

The Story of the Apartment, “City of God” (2002)
A Brilliant Example of Telling a Story Through Montage

House on the Beach, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)
A Heartbreaking and Surreal Moment

Nick Fury Scene, “Iron Man” (2008)
A Pre-Avengers Teaser

“Jingle Bell Rock,” “Mean Girls” (2004)
A Ho-Ho-Hilarious Scene

#1: Coin Toss

“No Country for Old Men” (2007)
It's a moment that happens countless times every day: somebody buys some gas and a snack from a gas station. But it never plays out quite like this. In this nerve-wracking moment from Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar-winning neo-Western, Javier Bardem's ruthless hitman, Anton Chigurh, traps a small-town gas station proprietor in a game of life and death. To win, he'll have to guess right in a coin toss. The tension is clear before Chigurh presents the coin, and Bardem's brilliant performance makes us fear for our own safety. With every shot, sound, and expression delivered with total precision, this scene never loses its potency. When we think of great movie moments from the 2000s, we instantly think of this one.
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