Top 30 Most Popular Paused Moments In Film History

Published on 06/02/2020
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Most of the jaw-dropping moments in movies can happen so quickly that your first reaction is, “what did I just see?” Most people would simply pause and rewatch the scene to understand exactly what was going on. Whether its something with a hidden message or just unstable that flashed before your eyes. No matter the details Hollywood is filled with many pause-worthy moments. Luckily our TV remote is such a useful tool…keep reading to see the top paused moments in movie history. You may want to get some popcorn too. 

Top 30 Most Popular Paused Moments In Film History

Basic Instinct (1992)

In the passionate thriller Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone’s portrayal of Catherine Tramell secured her a spot as Hollywood’s sex icon. One of her film scenes has been such a favorite among fans that it is now believed to be one of the most paused movies moments in history. Want to know which scene it is? Its the one where Sharon was being questioned by the police after she was believed to be a prime suspect in her well-known boyfriend’s murder case. To entice the officer, to distract him,  she merely crosses her legs, exposing herself in the process. Viewers everywhere were in awe that they grabbed their remote controls to rewind and get a glimpse at what they had missed. 

Basic Instinct (1992)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

In the classic 1982 coming-of-age film, Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Stacy Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The film tells the story of an inexperienced teenager who is very ready to take on the world of dating. She turns to her best friend Linda Barret who was played by Phoebe Cates for all the advice she can get. But all that happens is that she ends up getting wound up in a love triangle.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Psycho (1960)

In the psychological thriller film, Psycho is produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. During the movie, the audience was presented exposed to the agonizing portrayal of the somewhat true story about Marion Crane. A woman vanished after stealing $40K from the company she was working for. After landing herself at Bates Motel, the viewers discover that the owner of the hotel is also the murderer, Norman Bates. Possibly one of history’s most paused movies, but if its the shower scene you have in mind… it’s not that one. Hitchcock showed off Norman’s real sinfulness and evil psyche in one of the film’s final moments. When the appalling criminal was finally caught by the police and then turned to the camera, a skull layered over his face was revealed. At that point, Hitchcock knew what he was doing. The image was only shown for a split second, so if you blinked you missed it!

Psycho (1960)

Three Men and a Baby (1987)

So the storyline of Three Men and Baby’s is not the most bizarre thing about the film but maybe the fact that Leonard Nimoy (aka Star Trek‘s Spock) was its director…go figure! So which iconic scene led people to grab for their remote controls to hit pause and rewind? Let alone the weird plot that follows three bachelors who strangely discover a baby on their doorstep and then raise it together. But wait, the oddest part of the film is definitely the scene where Ted Danson and his character’s mother look happily at the baby, as someone stared back at him through a set of window drapes. So many thought it was a ghost, however, it was actually said that it was a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson that was mistakenly left on set.

Three Men and a Baby (1987)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

No list is complete without a Quentin Tarantino film. Being notorious for his irregular storylines, it came as no surprise that his 1994 crime movie Pulp Fiction was famous for having a lot of repetitious slip-ups. During one of the most celebrated scenes of the film, Jules (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (played by John Travolta) successfully avoid flying bullets being shot at them by a roommate hiding in their bathroom. But before praising the hitmen for efficiently dodging the gunfire, some people looked closely and saw the wall behind the pair and noticed that the bullet holes were already in the wall even before the shootout. Once rumors about the scene got out and spread like wildfire, many viewers have been hitting pause to affirm the rumors. 

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Wild Things (1998)

Naturally, we’ll be talking about the moment when Denise Richards and Neve Campbell are in the pool and exchanging a very passionate kiss. Let’s face it: Wild Things was bound to fail unless of course, it gave viewers something worth remembering. And this sensual scene did exactly that!   

Wild Things (1998)

Titanic (1997)

Titanic has left its audiences in a state of hysteria ever since it was released in 1997. The film includes both a mighty romance and disaster all in the middle of the North Atlantic water.  The movie has developed from a blockbuster phenomenon to something more like a cultural wonder that has won the hearts of countless people. Not to brag but this film won 11 Oscar awards which truly shows its excellence. How can you not get carried away by the love story between socialite Rose and poor sketch-artist Jack? As a fan of his artwork, Rose adores his images of naked women in Paris. so she asks him to draw her in what leads to the most paused scene of the film. But what follows is that she then sleeps with him in the back of a very foggy car. Later on in the film, the drawing plays an essential part in the story once it’s discovered from the ship wreckage many years later.

Titanic (1997)

Boogie Nights (1997)

At long last, we finally have a film that confirms when nudity is shown in films, it’s actually not the only thing that grabs the attention of the audience. In the drama movie Boogie Nights, Mark Wahlberg plays Eddie Addams as a teenage boy who becomes an adult movie star legend after being recognized by a porn director. It was all because of his good looks, but the movie featured many “OMG” moments and the best part was the scene towards the end of the film. Dirk Diggler, Eddie’s on-screen counterpart, reached into his pants and fully displayed his manhood for all the camera crew to see. Although Wahlberg was wearing a prosthetic in this scene, the viewers couldn’t help themselves but pause to relish the moment…and many questions were left unanswered. 

Boogie Nights (1997)

Before I Go to Sleep (2014)

The psychological thriller movie, Before I Go to Sleep, starred Nicole Kidman and played the role of Christine Lucas. Her character was an amnesiac and loses her memory every time she goes to sleep. Although the actual movie didn’t receive much positive feedback from critics, one scene definitely grabbed many people’s attention. It was unquestionable that people were so keen to see one of Hollywood’s most loved actresses emerge in her most natural state. It has appeared that most people have watched the film continuously pause at the part where Nicole Kidman is standing naked as she looks at the wall full of photos.

Before I Go to Sleep (2014)

Peter Pan (1953)

As a child, we all watched countlessly and innocently overlooked all the massive inappropriate scenes or hidden messages. However, we’re here to remind you about all these scandalous and downright shady scenes that may or may not have captured your attention. In the 1953 animated Peter Pan adaptation of J.M. Barrie, Peter was living in Neverland together with his friends The Lost Boys, his trusty shadow, and of course Tinker Bell. During the scene where Peter does a little dance to show that the shoe he sewed to his feet is now stuck to for all eternity. But at the same time, the audience gets a quick glimpse of an inappropriate outline of his nether region.

Peter Pan (1953)

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Out of all the iconic Star Wars films, one of the most renowned scenes took place in its very first installment, which is Episode IV: A New Hope. It all talked place when Luke Skywalker saved Han Solo while the remaining team went on to save Princess Leia from being imprisoned on the Death Star. During the time they were hiding, their ship was boarded and searched by Stormtroopers. If you watch carefully, you will see one of them knocking his head on the door frame that comes up from the ground. This scene has become a popular blooper that not only makes people pause the scene repeatedly, but George Lucas even added a sound effect to the bang during the release of the DVD to make it even more enjoyable.

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Jessica Rabbit is probably seen as one of the most discriminating and sexualized animated characters that ever made it to the big screen. But what exactly made her gain the reputation she has? Well, it intrigued many fans of Who Framed Roger Rabbit that she goes commando during the whole movie. The film’s most paused scenes are when Jessica Rabbit performs a sultry dance to “Why Don’t You Do Right?” The red-headed maven shows off her curves by kicking and twirling on the stage while men were watching and trying to calm themselves.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Total Recall (1990)

Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in the 1990 action/ thriller Total Recall. It tells a story of a construction worker, Douglas Quaid, and him contemplating why Mars kept appearing in his dream. Not much time passed before he realized that people implanted a fake memory in his mind and also wanted to kill him. The film is full of crazy scenes, but there’s one individual moment that takes the cake  which forces viewers to pause and replay. In the movie’s most paused moment, a woman with three breasts is shown on the screen. We can’t say we blame the viewers who hit pause on this frame and think to themselves, “Did I just see what I think I saw?!” 

Total Recall (1990)

Teen Wolf (1985)

Way before Teen Wolf was turned into a television show, it was a movie that included perfectly mixed the elements of a coming-of-age, rom-com, and fantasy film all in one. It hit theatres in 1985 and starred Michael J. Fox as the teenage outcast who learns he is a werewolf. Weird as it may seem, the movie’s most paused scene happens just minutes before the credits roll. Scott Howard, Fox’s character won the basketball match when the camera swung over to an excited crowd cheering from the bleachers. There is nothing bizarre about that except for a guy that appeared with his pants and underpants down. Yes, one of the extras made and was responsible for that.

Teen Wolf (1985)

Spider-Man (2002)

The original Spider-Man movie came to movie theaters in 2002. 18 years later, people still believed that it was the best one. Before Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland played for the role, we had Toby Maguire looking at the horizon in thought, swinging around New York City, and of course, how can we forget the famous Mary-Jane Watson kiss while Spidey was swinging upside down. It’s easy to see why this scene has been paused so many times, as their passionate kiss is for sure legendary. Maybe not everyone sees it right away but Dunst’s shirt is very much see-through, which makes the audience stop and replay, over and over again! 

Spider-Man (2002)

Aladdin (1992)

We’ve already established that many Disney animated films mostly remained as inside jokes, especially because many younger viewers didn’t exactly catch on.  The only way of spreading the news is when viewers learn exactly what the hidden messages meant. Thanks to streaming services that are available today, animators are forced to step their game up for them to hide their cryptic clues in a better way. In one of the scenes in the 1992 Aladdin film, Aladdin asks Genie to turn him into a prince and this is where the animators sneak in an obvious message. While flipping through the book of recipes to formulate a princely persona, he pulls out a crab, who is none other than Sebastian from the movie The Little Mermaid.  

Aladdin (1992)

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

When a group of five friends goes on a vacation to a cabin in the forest, surely the last thing they would expect to discover is a gang of backwoods zombies. They are left with no other choice when a dodgy organization of scientists leads them to an underground burrow. One scene made almost every fan of horror films’  pause the scene to get a better look at it. When two scientists are shown coming up with a plan as to what will happen to the group of friends, yet behind the pair is a whiteboard with names of different clowns, zombies, witches, and mutants. 

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

She’s The Man (2006)

This may be something new for many, but the 2006 comedy, She’s The Man stems from one of William Shakespeare’s plays. The film’s plot is very similar to Twelfth Night, which focuses on twins, Viola and Sebastian, who are separated from one another after a shipwreck. Viola then dresses up as Sebastian to be safer when traveling alone. In She’s the Man, Amanda Bynes’ character Viola does something similar, but this time for different reasons. She did this intending to get into the male soccer team. When things eventually spiral out of control, Sebastian was forced to pull his pants down to prove that he’s really a guy. Viola then lifts her shirt to prove that she is a woman. Many people rushed to hit the pause button in the hope they would see something they would enjoy.  

She’s the Man (2006)

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street was created around the story of a New York City stockbroker, Jordan Belfort. He cheated his way into making a huge amount of money during the 1990s. The movie involves crashed helicopters, prostitutes, and drugs, which makes viewers think that Martin Scorsese must have taken lots of creative liberty in describing the story. Scorcese’s film follows the autobiography Belfort wrote on the same title. Whether the hot scenes of Margot Robbie seducing Leonardo DiCaprio actually happened, we can’t exactly answer that for you. But one thing is definite, we know that viewers loved it and many confess to replaying the scenes many times over. 

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

American Pie (1999)

During the late 90s and early 2000s, there was a certain them of high-school comedies that were excessively released.  American Pie is a great example, the film is, to say the least, wild, free, and exciting! It included the cast of Sean William Scott, Tara Reid, Jason Biggs, and Alyson Hannigan. One of the scenes very much stood out for many viewers, a foreign student, Nadia, undresses to a live webcam audience, even though she thinks she is alone. It is certainly a moment which was certainly paused and replayed a lot.  

American Pie (1999)

American Beauty (1999)

American Beauty was another popular film that was released during the late ’90s. The scene in question is probably very easy to remember for all those who have already seen the film. It begins with the movie’s It starts with the film’s champion, Lester, who is sitting in a crowded basketball gym, and watching a group of cheerleaders do their dance routine. Not long into the dance, he becomes infatuated with the lead cheerleader played by Mena Suvari, someone who also starred in American Pie. As he becomes more focused on her dancing the spotlight is only focused on her and all else goes dark. There’s no doubt, the scene will never be forgotten any time soon.  

American Beauty (1999)

Cruel Intentions (1999)

This movie is considered to be a dark and perplexing cousin of American Pie. It also stars young, lively, and attractive stars. But the disadvantage is that many of them are also incredibly cruel and full of evil intentions. Sarah Michelle Gellar, playing the role of the sinister Kathryn, is the main culprit – but it’s safe to say that she mastered every scene she was in. The scene that left the biggest impression with most viewers was when she taught the less experienced Cecile how to kiss. We were all treated with one of the most entertaining life lessons. 

Cruel Intentions (1999)

Grease (1978)

We have to agree that basically the entire film of Grease is a classic. The high school drama embraces a huge amount of entertainment for young viewers and the tunes are incredibly catchy. The scene at the very end is what mixes things up. During the film, the new girl Sandra Dee is portrayed as the “teacher’s pet” and the movie even dedicates a whole song just to show her innocence! But in the final scene, she appears with a complete makeover, wearing black leather tight pants and revealing top. It was defiantly astonishing for many viewers.  

Grease (1978)

Dirty Dancing (1987)

We all love and know Dirty Dancing. But one scene in the film is possibly the most famous and has been recreated numerous times. It happened during the peak of the film, when “Time of my life” is going its way through the speakers, and Jennifer Grey goes right up in the outstretched arms of Patrick Swayze. This may be considered to be the ultimate part of the film and in a lot of ways pushes the audience to pause this scene and recreate it themselves.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Signs (2002)

M. Night Shyamalan was already kind of a big shot by the time Signs was released in 2002. But viewers all around the world had been waiting a while to see what the moviemaker had up his sleeve. Signs were quite a powerful movie about aliens coming down from outer space. One specific scene stood out for everyone which made them hit pause. It took a while for the aliens in the movie to actually appear, but when they did, they ripped the house down. An anchorman showed footage of a long, human-like green alien to the world taken on a camcorder at a birthday party. Even though the world was imaginary, viewers still felt the terror in the character’s eyes. 

Signs (2002)

Sleeping With Other People (2015)

There is a high probability that you’ll see something wild when you see Alison Brie on-screen in Sleeping With Other People. She gives the viewers a seductive dance which they probably didn’t expect. But we’re almost certain no one actually complained about it. Brie plays the role of a girl in the film who reconciles with Jake, an old college friend who she had once been intimate with. The two were destined to get together, and the dance scene certainly didn’t make things simple for Jake. 

Sleeping With Other People (2015)

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

When it comes to Hollywood icons, we cannot leave Marilyn Monroe out of the conversation. She laid the foundation for the future of the industry. She was a symbol back when sexuality was beginning to rapidly shift. There’s one specific scene that summarizes the influence she had on the world. A huge gust of wind blows up her white dress up as she walks over a subway trellis, she innocently laughs it off while trying to cover herself up. Marilyn tries to balance modesty and exposure and she does so in a very lady-like manner. Its no wonder this image is still famous today!

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The Graduate (1967)

A young man by the name of Benjamin Braddock is intrigued by the idea to move back home with his parents once college is finished. The Graduate is an Oscar-winning film, that tells the story of a young man struggling to find direction in his life. During the film, he is enticed by a woman twice his age! Their affair did not last that long, because he soon falls for her daughter, Elaine. The film’s gradual plot may have caused a sensation among some of its 1967 viewers, but it created one of the most paused scenes in film history. So which is the scene? Its the one where Mrs. Robinson locks Benjamin in a room and strips naked. The prompt glimpse of her body and the helpless look on Ben’s face made the scene priceless and legendary.   

The Graduate (1967)

Iron Man (2008)

Marvel movies are quite similar to Disney as they are both known for their hidden, secret messages. Iron Man is an excellent example, during one of the more famous scenes, viewers are shown a sneak peek of a movie made three years later. This automatically caught the attention of Captain America comic fans and it made Chris Evans a hero. In the scene where Tony Stark puts on his iconic suit, and Captain America’s guards lie to the left of him. It simply took one viewer to realize it and after that, loads of fans turned to the movie to see the talked about the nod. 

Iron Man (2008)

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

Here’s another timeless classic, The Wizard of Oz is without a question loved by all for many reasons. One of those reasons is its heartwarming message, memorable characters, adorable creative world and how can we forget its catchy sing-along songs. Regardless of all the pause-worthy moments that are featured in the film, there is one particular one that stands out the most. It is the scene where Dorothy and her friends are happily skipping on the Yellow Brick Road. A dark figure is shown hanging from a tree in front of them. Rumors circulated that it was a cast member that must have committed suicide. But actually, it was just a huge bird. 

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King is a great example of how movie rumors spread fast on the internet. In the animated classic, parents were furious to spot a PG-13 word. The scene where Simba, Pumba, and Timon are lying on a rock, gazing up the stars but rumors got out of control that even one of the movie’s animators had to step forward to clarify the scene. In actual fact, it wasn’t as dirty as people thought because the word spells “SFX” which was courtesy of the film’s art and special effects department. 

The Lion King (1994)

Fight Club (1999)

Perhaps you are wondering what could be the most paused moment in Fight Club. But don’t let your mind wander too far, its not one of those borderline pornographic scenes. In actual fact, its when Brad Pitt appears on the screen before his character is even introduced in the plot. It’s definitely not that difficult to miss these moments because it is really quick, and if you blink for a second it’ll be gone. And if you didn’t know, Pitt actually features in the film six different times before his character Tyler first meets the narrator on the plane. Here’s a possible spoiler- you can see him as one of the waiters in the TV commercial early on, and you can catch him in the scene where the narrator is making photocopies and leaving the doctor’s office.  

Fight Club (1999)

Jurassic World (2015)

Most people consider Jurassic World to be an action-packed sci-fi thriller. But few people think about the comedy element within the movie. However, there is indeed one specific scene where the viewers were hysterically laughing. It is in the scene where the dinosaurs fly around and make complete chaos in the park, we see people screaming and running for their lives. That is for everyone, except the man rescuing the two margaritas he is carrying while also searching straws for both. 

Jurassic World (2015)

The Matrix (1999)

Through most parts of the movie, viewers anxiously waited to see whether Neo is true “The One”. After Morpheus saves Neo, he tells him that he is special. However,  after a specific comment from the all-knowing Oracle, we began to doubt Neo’s power. It is during the peek of the movie where those doubts are crushed. We were able to see something incredible. Neo holds up his hand and marvelously stops the bullets his way. This was a defining moment in The Matrix franchise, and it definitely engraved into our minds forever. 

The Matrix (1999)

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