The 25 Best Movie Scenes of The 21st Century

17. Bathroom – The Piano Teacher (2001)


In all his films, Haneke makes the viewer’s role problematic, even perverse. Haneke’s 2001 film “The Piano Teacher” is no different. The film stars legendary French actress Isabelle Huppert as Erika, a masochistic piano teacher who is pursued by a young student named Walter. Haneke deals with themes of voyeurism and sadomasochism in the film, Erika’s repressed sexuality is a mixture of morbid voyeurism and masochistic self-mutilation.

After Erika secretly injures another piano students’ playing hand, Walter pursues her into a bathroom. Walter passionately kisses Erika, but Erika soon takes control, telling Walter what to do sexually, asserting what will be a short-lived dominance over the couple’s relationship.


16. Hallway Fight – Oldboy (2003)

Oldboy movie

The hallway fight scene in Oldboy may be one of the best fight scenes put to film. Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi) is mysteriously released after 15 years of imprisonment and is out for vengeance for the men who locked him up. With a single hammer in hand he charges through a crowded hallway filled with men trying to kill him.

The scene features a tracking shot from the side of the corridor in one long unbroken take. What seems at first like an insurmountable task at hand becomes more of possibility as Dae-su Oh takes out his opponents one hammer swing at a time.


15. He Looked Just Ordinary – Memories of Murder (2003)

He Looked Just Ordinary - Memories of Murder (2003)

Director Joon Ho Bong’s 2003 film “Memories of Murder” is based on the true story of South Korea’s first serial killer. Two detectives, one from the local province, Park Doo-man (Kang-ho Song), and the other brought in from Seoul, Seo Tae-yoon (Sang-kyung Kim) struggle together to solve the case.

The detectives interrogate several potential witnesses, of which Park believes he can look into a suspect’s eyes and determine if they are the killer. Their efforts prove to be fruitless however, and they are unable to pin the murders on any one suspect. In the film’s final scene, Park Doo-man visits the crime scene of the first murder many years later.

A little girl approaches Park and tells him that another man had recently visited the scene as well, saying that he remembered doing something there a long time ago and wanted to take a look. Park asks the girl what the man looked like and the girls says that he had a plain, ordinary face. Park then stares into the camera with a desperate look in his eyes, an unsettling ending which shows that the trauma is still there, and the killer was just an ordinary person around us.


14. Betty’s Audition – Mulholland Drive (2001)

Audition from Mulholland Drive

David Lynch lowers our expectations of Naomi Watt’s “Betty” character early in the film with her rehearsal with her roommate and overall performance up to the point. When she gets into the audition the viewer is made uncomfortable with the cast of people around her, especially the lead male who will assist in the lines she will read.

The viewer assumes that these Hollywood vultures will exploit the country bumpkin who could barely contain her amusement at the soap opera level dialogue before. However the script is flipped in a moment of intense and erotic emotion as Watts and the actor with whom she reads her lines have a real and intense moment, blowing away not only the Hollywood executives, but the audience watching the film as well..


13. Fatherly Advice – Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Fatherly Advice - Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name” is a sensual tale of first love, starring Timothee Chalamet as Elio, a 17-year-old young man who spends his days in his family’s Italian villa transcribing and playing classical music.

The film received much recognition upon its release in 2017, with one particular scene towards the films end especially garnered praise. As the film nears its end Elio has bid farewell to Oliver (Armie Hammer) and is back in the villa with his father Professor Perlman (played by Michael Stuhlbarg).

Perlman consoles Elio with delicately chosen words, assuring him that he will feel better. “And if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out. Don’t be brutal with it. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything ― what a waste!” Pearlman continues, ““Remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. And before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now, there’s sorrow. Pain. Don’t kill it and with it the joy you’ve felt”. The scene left many audience members in tears, becoming one of the great father son moments in recent film history.


12. Football Game – The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

About halfway through 2010’s Oscar winner The Secret in Their Eyes comes one of the great file sequences of the 21st century. The scene starts with a night-time aerial shot of a Buenos Aires football stadium and swoops down towards the field where the teams are playing. The camera then moves to the bleachers where two detectives are searching the crowd for a killer.

In the foreground appears the man they are hunting, and the detectives make an unsuccessful lunge for him. The suspect makes a run for it thought the stadium, and what was once an aerial shot now becomes a hand-held camera following the detectives as they give chase.

The chase continues through the outskirts of the stadium, eventually leading onto the actual field where the game is occurring. The suspect collides with a player on the field and falls to the ground as the camera closes in on his panic filled face.


11. Next to Last Song – Dancer in the Dark (2000)


Director Lars von Trier’s film “Dancer in the Dark” tells the story of Selma (Bjork), an immigrant working in an assembly line in 1964 Washington who is slowly going blind. Selma is saving money for her son Gene, who also has a degenerative eyesight condition, to have surgery when he turns thirteen. Selma is eventually fired from her job after her blindness is discovered, and robbed of her savings by Bill, a police officer who is in debt.

Ashamed of his actions, Bill asks Selma to mercy kill him and let his secret debt die with him. Selma is arrested, stands trial, and is put to death, using her recovered money to help her son rather than getting a better lawyer. The final scene shows Selma strapped to board in preparation to be hung.

After being told that her son’s eye operation was successful Selma begins to sing “this isn’t the last song, there is no violin, the choir is quiet, and no one takes a spin, this is the next to last song, and that’s all”.


10. Baby, You Are Gonna Miss That Plane – Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset (2004) – A Waltz For A Night

Director Richard Linklater’s 2004 film “Before Sunset” is the sequel to Linklater’s 1995 cult romantic classic, “Before Sunrise”. “Before Sunset” finds its protagonists Jesse and Celine crossing paths in Paris, nine years after spending a passionate day together in Vienna. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is in Europe to promote his new novel and Celine (Julie Delpy) attends a reading at a local bookstore.

The two spend time catching each other up with the past nine years of their lives before Jesse has to catch a flight back to New York. Feelings are soon rekindled as the two walk and talk, with Jesse saying that his book was inspired by his hope of seeing Celine again.

The two end up at Celine’s apartment where the final scene of the film soon plays out. Jesse puts in a Nina Simone cd and the song “Just in Time” plays. Celine describes seeing Simone in concert, begins dancing, and says “Baby, you are gonna miss that plane”. Jesse smiles and responds, “I know”.


9. The Whisper – Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation

Director Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film “Lost in Translation” stars Bill Murray as aging actor Bob Harris, who befriends college graduate Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) in a Tokyo hotel. Both are married but are left to their own devices in the city as Bill arrives in Tokyo to film an advertisement, and Charlotte’s husband is on assignment as a photographer. The two eventually meet and end up spending much of their time together, helping each other deal with the cultural barriers they feel in the city.

By the end of the film a true friendship has developed between the two, although they both know it may just be for this specific place and time. In the last scene of the film Bob is in a taxi heading to the airport to return to the United States. He notices Charlotte in the crowded street and leaves the taxi and walks to her.

Bob then whispers in her ear; however, the audience does not hear what Bob says to her, it is a private moment, and director Sofia Coppola had Murray improvise the ending line. The two share a kiss and say a final touching goodbye.