Most Paused Movie Moments Of All Time

By Juliet S 7 months ago
Film enthusiasts and casual viewers alike can all agree on one universal truth: sometimes, a single frame can change everything. In the ever-evolving landscape of cinema, there are moments so mesmerizing, so scandalous, and so jaw-droppingly unexpected that audiences around the world can't help but hit the pause button. These are the moments that demand a second look, a closer inspection, and perhaps a few raised eyebrows. Welcome to the world of the 'Most Paused Movie Moments of All Time.'

1. Basic Instinct (1992)

This scene must makes it into every list of most paused moments in movie history!  Sharon's character Catherine Tramell uncrossed her legs several times without wearing her undies during a police investigation.  Apparently, Sharon Stone was uneasy about the scene as her lady parts were actually caught on camera before the final cut.Originally sourced from Femanin.
Image source
Sharon Stone has confirmed in interviews that she was unaware of the explicit nature of the shots during filming and that the scene caused some tension between her and the filmmakers. She has also mentioned feeling uncomfortable and surprised when she saw the final cut of the film.

2. Total Recall (1990)

Ok, so it's quite common to expect the unexpected in movies and that can be half the excitement.  However. it doesn't get much weirder than this - a woman with three boobs.  The more you look at it (if you must) the more it looks authentic although, obviously, it's camera trickery  isn't it?
Image source
The use of practical effects and prosthetics was common in films before the widespread use of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Filmmakers would often rely on skilled makeup artists and practical effects to create visually striking and memorable scenes.

3. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

Ok, so own up and tell us how many times you've paused this Ridgemont High scene? The clip is continually ranked as number one for the best bikini movie scene! Actress Linda Barrett who took the part of Phoebe Cates looks very hot by the pool in her classic 80's red bikini.
Image source
Phoebe Cates' emergence from the pool, set to the tune of "Moving in Stereo" by The Cars, has left a lasting impression on audiences and is considered a classic cinematic moment, particularly for its portrayal of youthful allure and the quintessential '80s aesthetic.

4. She's The Man (2006)

To prove she was a girl (there must be more innocent ways!) a young Amanda Bynes, playing Viola Johnson, flashes the whole soccer team during the tournament.  It's no wonder this paused scene is listed as being in the top 5 freeze clips of the noughties.
Image source
As the soccer match reaches a pivotal moment, and skepticism about Viola's true identity grows, she seizes the opportunity during a break in the game. With a mischievous grin, she lifts her soccer jersey, proving her point...people clearly wanted a closer peek!

5. Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Here we see Margot Robbie having a little bit of a 'Sharon Stone' moment of her own.  In 1987, New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who founded brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont while still in his early 20s, develops habits of wretched excess and corruption while the SEC and FBI are closing in.
Image source
It is often considered one of the most paused scenes for a combination of factors. While the film, directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, explores various themes such as excess, corruption, and the consequences of unchecked ambition.

6. Wild Things (1998)

This scene doesn't really need an explanation as to why it's viewed so much.  It follows a high school guidance counsellor who is accused of rape by two female students and a series of subsequent revelations after a police officer begins investigating the alleged crimes.  Here we see Neve Campbell and Denise Richards getting close.
Image source
The storyline involves deceit, manipulation, and unexpected alliances, leading to a memorable and talked-about sequence in the movie. The scene is known for its unexpected twists and turns, and it is often cited in discussions about memorable moments in thriller cinema.

7. Wizard of Oz (1939)

In one famous scene, there is supposedly a munchkin who has hung himself in the background - sorry!  This musical fantasy film received critical acclaim when it was released and now has the honour of being the most seen film in history.  A young Judy Garland was mesmerising.
Image source
The impromptu prank went unnoticed by the filmmakers, and the scene was captured with the puppet hanging in the background. Rumors and whispers quickly spread among the cast and crew, leading to the birth of an enduring urban legend suggesting a Munchkin actor had mysteriously hung himself during the film.

8. Iron Man (2008)

Iron man is the story of Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor.  He is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon.  He actually builds a suit of armour and manages to escape captivity.  If you look closely in this still you can see a prototype of Captain America’s shield in the background!
Image source
Unbeknownst to the audience during the first Iron Man film, this hidden detail becomes a wink and a nod to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. The shield prototype, barely noticeable in the background, sparks speculation and fan theories about the connections between Earth's mightiest heroes.

 9. The Lion King (1994)

You will have to click on the pause button super quick so you an see the abbreviation 'SFX' spelled out in the dust flying through the air.  Look more closely and it appears to be showing a different word, certainly not one suitable for the age group watching the movie.  Does it spell 'sex'?
Image source
The controversy arose because some viewers, upon closer inspection or with a bit of imagination, thought that the arrangement of the dust particles resembled the word "SEX." This interpretation led to debates about whether it was an intentional hidden message or a mere coincidence.

10. Cabin In The Woods (2011)

This scene is paused so often because it lists all the monsters and creatures that they have at their disposal - and that is something! So, when you watch the movie and come across this scene don't forget to pause it to see all the possibilities of terror they can cause!
Image source
Each creature is adorned with a name and a brief description, teasing the potential horrors that could be unleashed upon our unsuspecting characters. The scene invites viewers to revel in the intricate details of the monstrous lineup, encouraging them to speculate.

11. The Exorcist (1973)

One of the scariest movies in history.  This freeze frame has to be one of the most terrifying things in the world. It’s called Pazuzu and it is the main antagonist in The Exorcist. It makes an appearance in single frames scattered throughout the film and you have to be really quick to catch it as it disappears in a split second.
Image source
There have been various urban legends and rumors associated with the film, suggesting that subliminal images of Pazuzu were inserted in single frames to create a subconscious sense of unease. However, these claims have been frequently denied by the filmmakers.

12. Boogie Nights (1997)

Everyone wanted a better look at Mark Wahlberg’s (prosthetic) giant ----!  This comedy drama features a well-endowed young man who finds fame and fortune as a star in the disco-era pornography industry.  It's one of those stupid films that you watch over and over again.
Image source
Dirk Diggler showcases his "talent" in a particularly humorous and explicit way. The film, despite its explicit content, is known for its depth, character development, and exploration of the human condition against the backdrop of the adult film industry.

13. The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Probably one of the most widely known moments of cinematic history is Marilyn Monroe’s dress blowing over the grate in the subway.  This paused still from the movie now adorns posters and paintings all over the world.  Marilyn was and still is the ultimate pin-up girl.
Image source
The image of Marilyn Monroe's white dress billowing around her has become an enduring symbol of Hollywood glamour and sensuality. The shot is not only an iconic moment in film history but also a cultural touchstone that has been referenced and parodied in numerous films.

14. Jurassic World (2015)

Jimmy Buffet saving his two margaritas, probably looking for a shaker of salt!  Jurassic World, a fully functional dinosaur park that sees 20,000 visitors a day, is the realisation of owner John Hammond's dreams. The scientists may have gone just a tad too far in creating a hybrid dinosaur which manages to escape to escape and terrorises the park.
Image source Pinterest
In the film, during the pterosaur attack on the park, there is a brief shot where Jimmy Buffett is seen running away with two margaritas in hand. This amusing moment showcases the light-hearted tone that the filmmakers injected into the film, even in the midst of the dinosaur chaos.

15. The Little Mermaid (1989)

When Ariel is getting married, the priest appears to be a little over-excited in the trouser department!  It makes us look at the movie in a different light from the fun-loving mermaid, with her best friend, an adorable flounder and a reggae-singing Caribbean crab, saving her father's kingdom from a sneaky sea witch.
Image source
In this  scene, the officiating priest has an animated personality that goes beyond the typical solemnity of a wedding ceremony. As the camera pans, it appears that the priest, played by a quirky and comedic character, can't contain his excitement for the union of the mermaid princess and the human prince.

16. Man of Steel (2013)

A Batman and Superman mash-up was clearly in the cards, when Superman is seen grabbing a satellite made by 'Wayne Enterprises.'  Though struggling with the ramifications of his extraordinary origin and abilities, a young Clark Kent must become a hero and save those he loves from a dire threat.
Image source
Fans of both Superman and Batman franchises often appreciate subtle nods and connections between the characters' universes. If the Wayne Enterprises logo is visible on the satellite, it could serve as a clever Easter egg, hinting at a potential collaboration or conflict between the two superheroes.

17. Scanners (1981)

When Michael Ironside’s character makes a man’s head explode, it looked too real for comfort.  This was such a scary movie where a lethal conflict arises between two groups and their extraordinary powers include the ability to kill someone by telepathy.
Image source Daily Mail
In this shocking sequence, Revok demonstrates the dark side of his telepathic abilities by causing the head of another character to explode. The visceral and realistic special effects, particularly for the time, contributed to the scene's impact and its lasting reputation in the horror genre.

18. Psycho (1960)

When Bates (Anthony Perkins) is arrested, he stares into the camera and a skull appears to be superimposed over his face, even if very briefly.  This iconic thriller is probably one of Hitchcock's best.  A thieving woman who is on the run, stops at a small cabin motel run by a crazy Norman Bates.
Image source
In "Psycho," the story follows Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, who steals money and ends up at the Bates Motel, run by the mysterious Norman Bates, portrayed by Anthony Perkins. The film is renowned for Hitchcock's innovative filmmaking techniques.

19. Signs (2002)

When you finally see that bi-pedal alien walk by, I bet you paused the screen, too. A former preacher's discovery of mysterious crop circles on his farmland sets in motion a sequence of the strangest happenings that sees Earth threatened by extra-terrestrials.  Not for the faint-hearted.
Image source
The atmospheric tension and the slow reveal of the aliens contribute to the film's overall sense of unease and suspense. Viewers paused the screen during the iconic appearance of the bipedal alien in the movie, to scrutinize the creature and see how terrifying it was.

20. Teen Wolf (1985)

In one scene there is a shot of a celebration in the stands and one fan has forgotten to zip up his trousers.  Michael J. Fox as Scott Howard is amazing in this movie.  A high-school student's popularity soars when it is discovered that he is cursed with the mark of the werewolf.
Image source
So, whether it's the quirky scenes in the stands or Michael J. Fox rocking the werewolf look, "Teen Wolf" remains a classic that's howlingly entertaining. It's the kind of movie that stays with you, reminding you that sometimes, being a teenager is a howling good time.

21. The Rescuers (1977)

Not sure if Disney wanted to shock by showing images of naked women standing in the window.  Loved the two mice, jittery janitor Bernard (Bob Newhart) and his co-agent, the ever so elegant Miss Bianco (Eva Gabor).   Excellent animation (apart from the saucy females in the background).
Image source
There is a notable controversy associated with the film. In the original release, there was an image of a topless woman in the background of two frames in one of the scenes. This was an oversight, and Disney recalled the film to remove the controversial frames in subsequent releases.

22. Tron (1982)

This movie is full of nostalgic Easter eggs, the most popular being a scene where Pac-Man is visible!  I'm sure it was enjoyed by as many adults as it was by kids.  A computer hacker is abducted into the digital world and forced to participate in games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security programme.
Image source Daily Mail
The reference to Pac-Man and other nostalgic Easter eggs in "Tron" highlights the film's celebration of early video game culture. The movie was ahead of its time in exploring the potential of computers and digital environments, and its visual effects were groundbreaking in the early 1980s.

23. Fight Club (1999)

What a great movie!  Brad Pitt would make split second appearances in the vicinity of Edward Norton.  Every one of you who have seen the film will understand why it is so cool.  All the scenes where Brad Pitt’s character shows up in the background before he’s actually introduced are frightening!
Image source
Edward Norton's character, known simply as the Narrator, forms an unusual and complex relationship with Brad Pitt's character, Tyler Durden. The narrative takes unexpected turns, and one of the intriguing elements is the way Tyler Durden is introduced in the story.

24. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

You can see E.T. and his family in the bottom left  George Lucas decided to add this in because of the Yoda Easter egg in the movie E.T.  It's such a great scene so no wonder it's paused so much.  That movie takes so many of us back to our childhood and we thought it was the best film we had ever seen.
Image source Pinterest
This playful nod to Yoda in "E.T." was Spielberg's way of acknowledging the friendship between him and George Lucas. In return, George Lucas included characters from E.T.'s species in the Galactic Senate scene of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999).

25. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

One of the most hilarious moments in the Star Wars film franchise that people can't help rewinding is the scene where a group of stormtroopers can be seen walking through the door.  One of them accidentally hits his head on the top of the door and it actually made it into the final cut.
Image source Pinterest
This incident has become a beloved and iconic moment in Star Wars history. Fans and filmmakers alike have embraced it as a charming quirk, and it's often cited as an example of the unexpected and human aspects that can make their way into even the most meticulously crafted films.

26. Finding Dory (2016)

What many fans were surprised to see was that one of the main villains from the original instalment would end up making a surprise cameo, even though it was a quick background shot.  The niece of the scientist, Darla, can be seen in a photograph on the wall during the scene where Dory is quarantined.
Image source Pinterest
Darla was the main antagonist in "Finding Nemo" and was known for her energetic and somewhat chaotic behavior. Her unexpected appearance in a photograph is a clever nod to the original film and serves as an Easter egg for keen-eyed fans of the original movie.

27. Pulp Fiction (1994)

The most intriguing chapter of the story happens in the middle when Bruce Willis’s character Butch is on the run from Marcellus Wallace.  Although this shower scene is a trivial moment in the movie, many viewers paused and rewound because they were sure they saw Willis in all his glory as he stepped out of the shower.
Image source Insider
We can confirm that what they saw was actually true! Fans around the world, upon discovering this unexpected shower scene, pause and rewind in disbelief, confirming that, yes, they definitely did see Bruce Willis in a playful and (very) unguarded moment.

28. Toy Story 3 (2010)

In the first Toy Story (1995), Buzz and Woody end up on an adventure together that sees them locked up by Sid, the evil kid who dismembers toys.  Die hard fans of the movie series must have done a double-take when Sid showed up in Toy Story 3 working as a garbage man.  Talk about recycling.
Image source Pinterest
The decision to make him a garbage man is a clever nod to the idea of recycling and repurposing, fitting seamlessly into the themes of Toy Story. Die-hard fans likely did a double-take, marveling at the attention to detail and the continuity that Pixar maintained across the trilogy.

29. The Matrix (1999)

This shot is more of a trick of the trade than anything else but has caused many of you to pause and rewind.  Morpheus says. 'I can only show you to the door,' and Neo reaches for the doorknob to open it.   What a brilliant action movie with Keanu Reeves.
Image source Pinterest
"The Matrix" (1999), directed by the Wachowskis and starring Keanu Reeves as Neo and Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus. "The Matrix" is indeed celebrated for its groundbreaking visual effects, innovative storytelling, and iconic scenes. This scene is a powerful moment in the film.

30. Deadpool 2 (2018)

Our favourite outspoken anti-hero hires a misfit team of superhumans called the ‘X Force’ to help him on his adventures. One of the most skilled members is the Vanisher, an invisible man.  In a dramatic but funny scene, the Vanisher and the others jump off an airplane with parachutes but most of them die before reaching the surface.
Image source Pinterest
For a split second, Vanisher’s actual form is revealed as none other than heartthrob Brad Pitt! One of the members of the X-Force is the Vanisher, portrayed by Brad Pitt in a humorous cameo. The Vanisher is an invisible mutant, and his invisible nature becomes a running gag in the film.

31. Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters is one of the most well loved films of all times -adults and children alike. And, there is one scene in particular which people just needed a second look at. When the Marshamallo man tears up NYC a crowd gather around. But the person in the crowd fans spotted was Ron Jeremy appearing in a cameo.Image Source/ Reddit
Ron Jeremy, known for his adult film career, seamlessly blends into the crowd, subtly acknowledging the pandemonium caused by the giant marshmallow creature. The quick cameo becomes a playful nod for eagle-eyed viewers who appreciate unexpected surprises in their favorite films.

32. Fatal Attraction

I think we all know the moment in Fatal Attraction which caused viewers to pause the TV. The awful moment when Alex meets her end in the tub of water - as she drowns by the hands of Anne Archer. But then the next scene made everyone jump so much and also made everyone pause the TV.Image Source/ DGA
What makes this scene particularly memorable and likely to be paused is the unexpected and jump-inducing moment that follows. Without giving away too many details for those who haven't seen the film, the next scene takes a surprising turn that catches the audience off guard.

33. Speed

The movie Speed had everybody gripped to the TV in fascination. And, everybody panicked when people jumped to the remote to pause the moment of the fatal scene to make sure that it was in fact a dummy, and not the famous Dennis Hopper himself, was beheaded.Image Source/ TumblrUpon closer inspection, viewers who paused the scene were relieved to discover that it was, in fact, a well-crafted dummy and not Dennis Hopper himself. The use of practical effects and the integration of the dummy into the scene contributed to the realism that left audiences stunned.

34. Men In Black

Men In Black...suprisingly it wasn't the aliens making everybody pause there screens it was something a little more obscure. It was in fact the list and map of known alien species that has everyone pausing the film for a closer look. Perhaps there were some alien hunters out there.Image Source/ YouTube
For some, pausing the film at this moment might have been an attempt to catch glimpses of familiar sci-fi tropes or Easter eggs referencing other works of fiction. Others may have been drawn to the prospect of uncovering hidden details about the film's universe.

35. There's Something About Mary

Image Source/ Rebel VoiceThere's Something About Mary was an R rated film,. And, the filmmakers did not hold back they showed the whole ordeal in minute detail. People thought their secret was safe but now it has been revealed that the most paused moment was checking how the man stored away his private parts safely.

36. The Ring

The Ring...a truly horrfiying film which left many with sleepless nights. And when it was on TV it looked as though Samara was coming right through the screen into your living room infront of you. People wanted to relive this moment as they paused and rewinded the effect.Image Source/ Film Fanpage
The scene you're describing, where it looks as though Samara is coming through the screen, is a testament to the film's effective use of suspense and horror elements. The visual effect in that moment creates a sense of dread and a haunting presence that lingers long after the film is over.

37. Anchorman

In the Anchorman there was a clever little funny parts which you would only know if a.) you were Spanish or b.) you had been told and translated it yourself. The restaurant Escupimos en su Alimento in the film translated to - we spit in your food. Another funny little detail not to miss.Image Source/ What
The brilliance of this detail lies in its subtlety and the surprise it brings to those who catch the translation. It adds a layer of wit and cultural humor to the scene, showcasing the film's ability to incorporate clever details that may go unnoticed by some but bring extra amusement to those in the know

38. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

In Who Framed Roger Rabbit the scene that stole the show when it came to the most paused was when she is thrown from the vehicle during the car crash and her animated private parts are on show. Lots of people think they have seen something although other's think differently...Image Source/ What Culture
The controversy surrounding this scene is rooted in the fact that Jessica Rabbit is a highly stylized animated character, and the animators have denied any intention to include explicit content. The speculation about what might be visible during this brief moment has led to debates among viewers.

39. Jaws has to be one of the most atmospheric films of all time. And this scene in particular. The hunt. The music. The terror. Yelling at the screen and the person swimming had no idea at all that the shark was coming right for her. Of course this scene had to be paused over and over again.Image Source/ SyFy
As the unsuspecting beachgoers enjoy a sunny day at Amity Island, the ominous shark theme composed by John Williams builds in the background, signaling the impending danger. The suspense is heightened as viewers witness the chaos and panic on the beach.

41. The Crying Game

The Crying Game is iconic, and the reveal is that Dil shows she is transgender. Everybody paused their screens just to double check what they were seeing as they gasped with shock at the screen. This is a film which will continue to go down in history.Image Source/ Pinterest
The decision of viewers to pause their screens and double-check what they were seeing speaks to the impact of the film and the desire to fully comprehend the nuances of the twist. "The Crying Game" is often celebrated for its thought-provoking themes.

42. Beauty And The Beast

Beauty And The Beast is of course one of Dinsey's all time favourite movies. And, we all rmemeer the moment as Gaston tumbles to his death. Did you notice the skulls in his eyes? Eagle eyed people spotted it and double checked, others have been told and wanted to check it out for themselves.Image Source/ WhatCulture.comAnimators often add hidden  and subtle elements for attentive viewers to discover. Whether intentional or not, the presence of what appears to be skulls in Gaston's eyes during this crucial scene adds an eerie and symbolic touch to his villainous demise.

43. Guardians Of The Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy. This was one of the most paused movies of all time. And, there are multiple scenes which peaked people's fascination. For example; Cue up Howard the Duck, the infinity stones, Cosmo the Spacedog, the Sovereign cocoon, a Chitaruri alien, a dark elf...Image Source/ World Class Villains
For example, Howard the Duck makes a cameo appearance in the post-credits scene, and his unexpected presence delighted fans. Howard is a cult-favorite character from Marvel Comics, and his appearance teased the potential for his return to the big screen.

44. The Godfather

The Godfather is a film hat has been around way before pausing was even a thing. But, it's still well loved today and considered a great classic. We all know the scene. Everybody wants to pause and have a look at the horses head lying in the bed.Image Source/ RedditFor viewers, the desire to pause and closely examine the scene may stem from a combination of factors. First, there's the visceral impact of the image itself—the stark contrast between the peaceful appearance of the bed and the gruesome reality of the horse head.

45. Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World is amongst one of the many Marvel films to be included as one of the most paused movies of all time. Afterall there are millions of Marvel lovers out there. And in this movie, it is the chalkboard scene which has everybody stopping for a double glance.Image Source/ RedditOn the chalkboard, Selvig has filled it with various scientific and cosmic scribblings, including references to realms, the Convergence, and a drawing of the infamous cosmic cube, the Tesseract. The scene is not only a humorous nod to Selvig's character but also serves as a teaser.

46. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - the final piece to end the series. And, the most dramatic of them all. The moment that Harry jumps out of Hagrid's arms is amongst one of the most paused and rewatched scenes...understandably.Image Source/ RedditFans love to pause and scrutinize scenes like this because they often contain Easter eggs, references, or hints about the larger Marvel universe. The chalkboard in "Thor: The Dark World" became a focal point for speculation and discussion among fans.

47. Boogie Nights

There is a recurring theme here of the things people like to get a closer look at. You know which scene we mean. When at the end of the movie Wahlberg stands and reached down inside his pants infront of the mirror. It was a prosthetic but people seem to want a closer look all the same.Image Source/ DailyMotion
The use of a prosthetic adds an element of curiosity. Viewers may pause to examine the details of the practical effects, acknowledging the craftsmanship involved in creating a realistic-looking prop. The scene is designed to be bold and somewhat shocking, challenging societal norms.

48. The Graduate

The Graduate features Dustin Hoffman playing Benjamin Braddock who seduced by a woman twice his age, Mrs. Robinson who is played by Anne Bancroft. One of the most-paused scenes movie history is when Mrs. Robinson locks Ben in a room and then strips naked even though we only see her for a brief second. Image Source/ Loud and clear reviews
The iconic film explores taboo themes of adultery and seduction, particularly with the significant age difference between the characters. The scene in question pushes the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in mainstream cinema during that era.

49. Three Men And A Baby

Remember the ghost in Three Men And A Baby. Of course, who doesn't? For a very long time, fans have speculated that the ghost scene features a little ghost boy who committed suicide in the house where the film was shot. In reality, the shot was set on a stage and the “ghost” is a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson that someone accidentally left on set.Image Source/ Metro
The misconception likely arose from the fact that viewers were not expecting such an anomaly in a lighthearted comedy film, and the rumor gained traction before the widespread availability of information on the internet. It's a classic example of how movie myths and urban legends can develop.