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20 Movies With Insane Details You Didn’t Notice

22 May 2013 | Features, Other Lists | by David Zou

insane movie details

Great attention to detail is often an important part of what defines a great movie. It’s also the feature that separates the auteurs from the directors who just turn up on the set to get paid and abuse the catering budget.

In most cases, directors will spend as much time as the production schedule will allow them to imbue their movies with as many fine details as they possibly can. Whereas these directors are merely passionate, there are some directors who are completely insane – so much so, in fact, that they’re just as concerned with an object in the background of the frame that nobody will ever see as they are the opening credits.

They are perfectionists who will not stop shooting until they achieve exactly what they want. That’s why it takes some directors years to make a picture, and that’s why some of the greatest directors only made less than a dozen of films in their career. These directors are to be admired for their devotion.

To celebrate such delirious dedication on account of some of the world’s most beloved filmmakers, here’s 20 movies with insane details that you’ve probably never noticed…


20. The Last Of The Mohicans


The Movie: Michael Mann teams up with Daniel Day-Lewis for this brutal account of the French-Indian war. Day-Lewis might be a renowned method actor, but in working with Mann, he must have felt he’d met his match.

Attention To Detail: Having already spent six months bulking up and learning to use the weapons appropriate to his character, Day-Lewis reported back to Mann, only to be sent out to the nearest wilderness for a fortnight before filming. So keen was Mann to achieve the appropriate sense of realism, that he instructed his star only to eat what he could catch. Whatever you say, boss…


19. The Amazing Spider-Man


The Movie: Marc Webb’s Spidey reboot wasn’t universally loved by the fans, but there was plenty to enjoy, not least the sparky chemistry between leads Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield. And Webb himself had certainly done his homework when it came to the comic-books…

Attention To Detail: Several of the film’s scenes are loving recreations of specific panels from the comics. For example, Peter’s tinkering at his work-bench is lifted directly from the Ultimates book, and the first leap he takes from the bridge to go in pursuit of the Lizard assumes a body pose familiar to many of his on-page outings. Anyone can throw in obscure in-jokes, but getting movement and poses right takes a little more effort.


18. Back To The Future


The Movie: Robert Zemeckis’ time travel caper is a near perfect slice of family entertainment, boasting not one but two of cinema’s best-loved characters in the form of Marty McFly and Doc Brown. Great Scott!

Attention To Detail: The film is absolutely bursting with in-jokes and references. Examples? How about theme song practitioner Huey Lewis turning up on the judging panel of the school talent contest? Or the fact that Marty travels back to 1955, the year of Einstein’s death, after whom Doc’s dog is named? Or the name “Peabody” on the mailbox of the farmer Marty drops in on, who goes on to refer to his son as “Sherman”? The list goes on…


17. X-Men 2


The Movie: Brian Singer builds on his original X-Men movie with real gusto, liberating himself from origin story constraints to conjure up one of the best comic-book movies of recent years. We really wish he’d stuck around to see that Phoenix story arc through, mind…

Attention To Detail: When Mystique hacks into Stryker’s computer database, a whole host of X-Men trivia can be seen listed, including the names of such mutant luminaries as Gambit, Silver Samurai, Deadpool, Omega Red and many more. One for the pause button there…

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  • Manoj Kumar Nanduri

    Regarding the attention to detail in the LOTR trilogy: Peter Jackson missed it in one scene – recall the scene from the last movie where Frodo is recovered and all the main characters come to visit him. Each of the characters is shown to approach the door and smile at Frodo. The door has one circular design. Excluding the dwarf all the other members of the Fellowhip i.e., the elf, Aragorn and the hobbits stand at almost similar heights relative to the design on the door while entering the room. But once the hobbits approach Frodo, their sizes are adjusted.

  • Dane La Born

    The numbers in Scott Pilgrim go way deeper than that. The first ex also has an Alpha symbol on his sleeve, the 2nd drives a car with the number 2 on it, the third has a t-shirt with 3, during the fight with the fourth, scott wears a shirt that says 4 1/2 that is meant to reflect how close he and ramona come to breaking up and his own exile into exhood. for 5 & 6, the first piano keys they hit are the 5th and 6th keys, and the 7th has frequent references to the number 7. also, scott wears the shirt zero several times, reflecting his status as a non-ex.

  • Brainlock

    Avatar – Cameron never designed the Na’vi in his youth, they were ripped off wholesale from a Marvel comic in the 80s.

    GB – ectoplasm is pretty much only regarded as proof of fakery, these days. While Danny’s research of psychic phenomena is legit, the mechanics of the proton packs and traps are still Hollywood propaganda.

  • DrNope

    Wow, thanks for the X2 computer screenshot. Since then we’ve seen several of those characters make it to screen. My fingers are crossed for Omega Red.

    • The Walking Cuban

      Dolph Lundgren

      • DrNope

        Yeah! I would love to see the movie Wolverine and Cyclops square off against him.

        • The Walking Cuban

          That would be awesome. I kept expecting to see him in the wolverine. Oh well

          • DrNope

            Edit: I meant Colossus, but Cyclops works too. I was also expecting to see Scott show up at the end of Wolverine, and now I’m hoping that he’s the big surprise after the credits for DoFP.

          • The Walking Cuban

            Suddenly I remember him and Red introduced in the same ep of the 90′s cartoon. I had an Omega Res toy I accidentally broke in half so I super glued em and he couldn’t turn at the waist but whatever lol. Cyclops’s return would be awesome. SCHISM. UTOPIA!

  • mish

    Also in regard to Inception, Marion Cotillard played Edith Piaf in a biopic about her life, La Vie en Rose in 2007. Thought that was an interesting detail

  • Dan Hartman

    The Iron Man theme song from the 60′s isn’t that obscure to Wu Tang fans. Ghostface Killah (AKA Tony Starks) used it as the introduction to his magnum opus, Supreme Clientele, in 2000.

  • Becca Feiner

    For a fun side task compare the settings throughout Watchmen to the comic – even the posters on the side of the garage are accurate!

  • Iam_Spartacus

    “Pandora itself appears on the screen as a fully formed universe, plucked straight from Cameron’s imagination.”

    WRONG! It was plucked from the imagination of artist Roger Dean who did the album covers for Yes. There’s even an ongoing lawsuit on this, at least that’s what I heard.