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To celebrate the release of the Warner Bros. Iconic Moments collection we’re taking a look at each of the films in the set. We’ll we detailing our own personal favourite moments, and adding a bonus piece of trivia, or notable part of their legacy.

Let’s begin…

Empire of The Sun

Empire of the SUnThere are many compelling moments in Steven Spielberg’s moving adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun. A young Christian Bale conveys a perfect blend of alienation and awe, and the film builds beautifully to this scene – which provides the director the chance to propel the catharsis of the event with some trademark Spielberg shots.

The plane, the woman and the washing line is the greatest example, on screen for a moment, but what a moment.

Christian Bale Empire of the SunWhat you may have missed…

Many prominent actors had their screen time cut, and their parts reduced to little more than cameos. If you look closely you’ll see Miranda Richardson, Paul McGann, veteran Robert Stephens and even the author J. G. Ballard, on whose autobiographical novel the film was based.

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2001: A Space Odyssey

The partnership between Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke resulted in one of cinema’s greatest spectacles. Chronicled in compelling detail in Clarke’s The Lost Worlds of 2001 the creative collaboration gave us many great moments, including our favourite – the finest use of a match cut in cinema – taking us from apes to the moon in the blink of an eye.

What you may have missed…

While Clarke was known for predicted a few of the technological luxuries we take for granted today Kubrick’s idea for a ‘Newspad’, as featured below, has been seen as an eerily prescient precursor to the iPad. Most probably he just thought it was a good idea.

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Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal JacketAnother Kubrick classic highlighted in the collection is his nightmare-inducing Full Metal Jacket. It is Lee R. Ermey’s spotlight moment that wins out here. In a film of appalling violence and a compelling conveyance of the waste of war (the mass grave scene is a timeless moment of cinema) it is Gunnery Sergeant Hartman’s dressing down of his new recruits that remains the film’s pivotal moment.

What you may have missed…

It’s a well-known fact that Kubrick wasn’t too keen on flying. In order to bring Vietnam to the screen the director went to the wastelands of the East End of London to recreate the location. What’s less well-known is that Arnold Schwarzenegger was up for the role of Animal Mother, the part which went to Adam Baldwin. Arnie in a Kubrick movie? That would have been something…

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The Matrix

The MatrixThe Wachowskis made quite an impression with Bound, however it was The Matrix which slotted in perfectly as the sci-fi component of 1999’s extraordinary cinematic revolution. A thrilling mystery combined with the mind-bending VFX gave the film a presence which still holds up today.

Many of the film’s standout moments could have fitted here (the jump, the missing mouth, the lobby shootout…) but for our money the ‘I know Kung Fu’ scene is the moment we’d watch over and over.

What you may have missed…

Remember that lobby scene we mentioned earlier? Surprisingly for a film awash in game-changing CG it was all in camera. Watching it again knowing this is quite something.

The Matrix

300

Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s comic book will never age. It has a look and a curiously anachronistic blend of ultramacho camp which allows the extremities of tone and image which render it a bizarre and brilliant vision. Our favourite scene is the beautifully staged fight – in which his trademark slo-mo turns a thrilling action scene into a brutal ballet of death, looking at times like marble statues in motion.

What you may have missed…

The traitorous hunchback Ephialtes is told by King Leonidas, when he has learned of his deceit, that he hopes he ‘lives forever’. Ephialtes is the Greek word for ‘nightmare’, so that pretty cool line has an extra resonance.

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Cool Hand Luke

Cool Hand LukeStuart Rosenberg’s film bagged an Academy Award for George Kennedy and propelled Paul Newman to national treasure status. Donn Pearce’s anti-authoritarian novel gave Rosenberg a powerful foundation to build a classic American film.

One of the most memorable scenes is pictured above, with Luke betting on the fact that a man can eat 50 eggs, and should be enjoyed as part of the film and not in real life. That has not stopped various YouTubers from trying the challenge, with a sweet twist.

What you may have missed…

A neat piece of trivia may be already known to bibliophobes – Luke’s number in the prison (37) is a reference to the Bible – Luke 1:37 which reads ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible.’

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Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max Fury RoadGeorge Miller’s return to the dustopian wastelands of Mad Max bought the franchise kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. With a fine double header of Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy Fury Road won Oscars and the hearts of fans old and new. It’s a great ride, and our favourite moment came when the vehicles left the road and flew headlong into a dust storm. Witness it below.

And here’s a video showcasing some of the great work done by one of the CG teams.

What you may have missed…

Not so much a missed moment, more of a bit of trivia which helps give the film an extra edge. George Miller pulled the money together for the first film (a modest $35,000) when he worked in an emergency room where he saw many of the gruesome injuries which inspired those in the film. Makes sense when you enjoy the visceral action from his latest opus.

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The Goonies

The GooniesWhere would we be without The Goonies? We’d certainly have a different name on the top of the site for one… This 80s classic has a number of essential moments including the Water Slide/One-Eyed Willy’s ship reveal, the skeletal piano, the turning of Sloth and so on. However there is one moment which is an example of why the film has endured. Sean Astin’s Mikey gives an emotional plea to the group not to give up halfway through, stating ‘it’s our time.’ Gives us chills every time…

What you may have missed…

This is something which everyone missed – the long rumoured, then confirmed existence of ‘The Octopus scene’. It ended up on the cutting room floor, although mention of it was left in the movie at the very end, and now you can see it in its full, and very silly, glory.

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Gremlins

GremlinsAnother of our beloved 80s classics makes an appearance in the Iconic Moments Collection. Joe Dante’s Gremlins was a pitch-perfect evocation of the monster movies of the 50s, with some wonderfully knowing humour and a dark side that was genuinely frightening.

The moment we’ve chosen is just after Billy meets Gizmo for the first time, and his father explains the rules for looking after the Mogwai. Rules, inevitably, which are broken leading to some hilarious and brutal cinematic chaos.

What you may have missed…

This is one of those rare moments when Steven Spielberg was wrong about something. Phoebe Cates’ monologue about her father, and Santa Claus, is a wonderful scene, giving the film (as did Mikey’s ‘our time’ speech seen above) an emotional resonance that went beyond the laughs and the scares. Spielberg wanted it cut, Dante fought for it and won. And thank goodness he did.

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The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of OZThis beloved film has enthralled countless millions, and with good reason. It is a timeless fantasy which, despite the cop-out ending, continues to be(wicked)witch to each new generation. Our pick of its many moments of joy comes early on in the film, when Dorothy’s twister-propelled house lands on a Witch, and she opens the door to a colourful new world.

What you may have missed…

It’s hard to pick a missed moment from a film whose place in Hollywood history has endured through countless tales, apocryphal outrages, and hidden meanings. So we won’t try, other than to recommend something you may not have delved into thus far.

Salman Rushdie’s BFI Film Classic book on Victor Fleming’s classic is a must-read for film fans. He talks deeply about its influence on his own life, and wallows happily in the myths which have helped the film thrive since 1939.

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