Who hasn’t watched a movie and thought “did I just see what I think I saw?” only to pause, rewind, and search for it again? Whether it comes as the result of scenes that were either too good or bizarre not to see twice, hidden messages, or obvious production blunders, Hollywood is full of many pause-worthy moments. Read on to discover some of the most paused scenes in movies that viewers just had to get a second look at.
1. Basic Instinct (1992)
It was Sharon Stone’s portrayal of Catherine Tramell in the erotic 1992 thriller, Basic Instinct that secured her position as a Hollywood sex symbol. In fact, one of her scenes in the film became such a hit among viewers that it is now considered one of the most paused movie moments in history.
The scene in question is when Stone is interrogated by a police officer after becoming a prime suspect in her famous boyfriend’s murder. In an effort to seduce the officer into distraction, Stone crosses her legs, exposing herself in the process. The scene leaves little up to the imagination, and had viewers everywhere grabbing for their remotes to try and sneak a peek.
2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
In the classic 1982 coming-of-age film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Stacy Hamilton, an inexperienced teenager who is ready to dabble her feet in the world of dating. She heeds the advice of her uninhibited BFF Linda Barrett (played by Phoebe Cates) and winds up getting trapped in a love triangle as dramatic as could be.
In what is every teenage guy’s fantasy — and surely one of the most paused moments shared by generations of VHS owners — in a dream sequence, Stacy and Linda go for a dip in the pool together. Linda gets out from the pool wearing only an itty bitty red bikini, which she then begins to take off.
3. Psycho (1960)
In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 psychological thriller Psycho, the audience is shown a harrowing depiction of the true-ish story behind Marion Crane, a woman who disappears after stealing $40,000 from her employer. She finds herself at Bates Motel, and viewers are introduced to its owner and murderer Norman Bates, who brings us one of history’s most paused movie moments — and no, it’s not the shower scene.
In one of the film’s final moments, Hitchcock shows off Norman’s true depravity and evil psyche. The creepy criminal is finally arrested by police, when he turns to the camera, revealing a skull superimposed over his face. Hitchcock knew precisely what he was doing: this image lasts for a split second, so blink and you’ll miss it!
4. Three Men and a Baby (1987)
What’s even weirder than Three Men and a Baby’s storyline, as well as the fact that Leonard Nimoy (aka Star Trek‘s Spock) was its director, has to be the film’s iconic scene that led many people to dive for their remote controls in a bid to hit pause and rewind. Never mind the wacky plot that follows three bachelors who mysteriously find a baby on their doorstep and raise it together.
The strangest part of the film is undoubtedly the scene where Ted Danson and his character’s mother look happily at the baby, while someone looks back at him through a set of window drapes. Many believed it to be a ghost, yet rumor has it that this was instead a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson that someone accidentally left on set.
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
A Quentin Tarantino film obviously had to make it on this list. Famous for his non-linear storylines, it’s no wonder his 1994 crime movie Pulp Fiction is known for its many continuity slip-ups. In arguably one of the most famous scenes of the film, Jules (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (played by John Travolta) successfully dodge bullets that are shot at them from a roommate hiding in the bathroom.
But before applauding the hitmen for narrowly escaping the gunfire, some viewers took a closer look at the wall behind the duo and noticed the bullet holes were in the wall prior to the shootout. It seems word of this got out, and more and more people have been pressing pause on this scene to see if the rumors are true.
NEXT: We forgot about obsessively hitting pause on these movie scenes — until now!
6. Wild Things (1998)
There’s no arguing that the 1998 cult classic Wild Things certainly celebrates the female body, for lack of a better word. With a plot that revolves around a small Florida town sex scandal, it is known for its many backstabbing twists and beautiful women. Oh, and also that one scene that everyone paused.
Of course, we’re talking about the moment when Denise Richards and Neve Campbell are in the pool and exchange some passionate kisses. Let’s face it: Wild Things was destined to be a flop, unless of course it gave audiences something worth remembering. And this scene served as just that fantasy fodder.
7. Titanic (1997)
A tale of epic romance mixed with disaster on the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, Titanic has left moviegoers swooning ever since its release in 1997. The film has evolved from a blockbuster movie to something of a cultural phenomenon, capturing the hearts of many, and with 11 Oscar wins to prove it.
It’s hard not to get swept up in the love story between socialite Rose and poor sketch-artist Jack. As a fan of his work, Rose especially admires his images of naked women in Paris. She asks him to draw her in what is the most paused scene of the film, and then proceeds to sleep with him in the back of a very foggy car. The drawing later plays an important role in the story after it’s uncovered from the ship wreckage years later.
8. Boogie Nights (1997)
Finally a movie that shows female nudity isn’t the only kind that captures viewers’ attention! In the 1997 drama film Boogie Nights, Mark Wahlberg plays Eddie Adams, a teenage busboy who transforms into an adult movie star sensation after getting discovered by a porn director, thanks to some impressive assets.
The film is full of a dozen “Oh my gosh!” moments, but by far the greatest one comes at the very end of the film. Eddie’s on-screen counterpart, Dirk Diggler, reaches into his pants and bares his money-maker for all the filming crew to see. While Wahlberg was wearing a prosthetic in this scene, viewers couldn’t help but pause the moment — and had more than a few questions.
9. Before I Go to Sleep (2014)
In the 2014 psychological thriller Before I Go to Sleep, Nicole Kidman plays Christine Lucas, an amnesiac whose memories fade each time she falls asleep. While the film itself didn’t win over much praise from critics, one scene in particular has surely captured the attention of plenty of viewers.
It seems people are desperate to see one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses appear in her natural state. Why? Well, because it turns out that many of the film’s viewers have pressed pause repeatedly on the scene where Kidman appears to be standing naked looking at a bunch of hanging pictures on the wall.
10. Peter Pan (1953)
There were few things better than watching Disney movies as a child, and boy did all the media giant’s overtly scandalous messages fly right over our innocent little heads at the time. But luckily (or not?) some Disney fanatics have drawn attention to the downright seedy scenes in some of our favorite classics. And now, us moviegoers can’t overlook something of this nature again.
In the 1953 animated adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, we see Peter living in Neverland with his friends the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell, and his trusty shadow. In the scene where he does a little jig to prove that the shadow he sewed to his feet is stuck to him for good, viewers are shown an inappropriate, albeit quick outline of his nether region.
NEXT: Okay, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find out why people paused this moment.
11. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
One of the most talked-about scenes in all of the legendary Star Wars franchise takes place in its very first installment, Episode IV: A New Hope. It happens when young farmboy Luke Skywalker, suave smuggler Han Solo, and the rest of their haphazard crew go to save Princess Leia from imprisonment aboard the Death Star. As they hide, their own ship is boarded and searched by enemy Stormtroopers.
If you watch closely, you can see one of them bang his head on the frame of the door that rises from the ground. This has become such a famous blooper that not only do people continuously pause the scene while watching it, but George Lucas even added a sound effect to the bang during a DVD release to make it even funnier.
12. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
There’s no denying that Jessica Rabbit is one of the raciest and most sexualized animated characters to have ever made it onto the big screen. And part of what has earned her that reputation is the fact that many perhaps over-intrigued fans of Who Framed Roger Rabbit claim she goes commando throughout the entire film.
To prove their point, they look to one of the film’s most paused scenes, where Jessica Rabbit performs a sultry dance to “Why Don’t You Do Right?” The red-headed bombshell shows off her curves by kicking and twirling across the stage while men in the audience try hard to keep their cool.
13. Total Recall (1990)
In the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger-led action thriller Total Recall, construction worker Douglas Quaid tries to understand why he keeps dreaming about Mars. It doesn’t take long before he finds out that people planted a fake memory in his mind, and now want him killed.
The film is full of wacky scenes, but there’s one moment in particular that takes the cake — and it sent viewers pausing and replaying. 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 thought to themselves, “Did I just see what I think I saw?!”
14. Teen Wolf (1985)
Long before Teen Wolf was made into a television show, it was actually a movie that perfectly mixed the elements of a coming-of-age, rom-com, and fantasy film all in one. It hit theaters in 1985 and starred Michael J. Fox as the teenage misfit who learns he is a werewolf.
Strangely enough, the movie’s most paused moment happens minutes before the credits roll. Fox’s character Scott Howard wins the basketball match when the camera pans over to an excited crowd hooting and hollering from the bleachers. Nothing weird about that, except for when a guy appears with his pants and underpants down. Yes, one of the extras really did do that.
15. Spider-Man (2002)
The year 2002 brought us the first Spider-Man movie of many. 18 years and eight Spider-Man films later, people are still calling it the best one. Before Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland attempted to fill Spidey’s shoes, we had Tobey Maguire gazing out into the distance in deep contemplation, swinging through New York City, and of course kissing Mary-Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) while dangling upside down.
It’s not hard to see why this scene was paused so often – their kiss is simply iconic. But not shown here is the frame right before it – in which Dunst’s see-through shirt is a bit generous to the innocent eye, and which viewers couldn’t help but revisit occasionally.
NEXT: If we hadn’t raced to press pause, we would have definitely missed this detail.
16. Aladdin (1992)
Before the days of VHS and home video, Disney animators’ hidden Easter eggs mostly stayed as inside jokes between them. If viewers ever caught wind of the secret jokes, they could mostly only spread news of it through word of mouth. But now thanks to streaming services, the ability to screenshot, and the existence of the entire Internet, animators are force to step up their game in order to keep eggs better hidden.
In the 1992 Aladdin scene where Aladdin asks Genie to turn him into a prince, animators planted a special, although not-so-hidden, Easter egg. Genie takes out a book and while he flips through recipes on how to make a princely persona out of someone, he pulls out a crab — who is none other than Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.
17. The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
When five friends go on a vacation to a remote cabin in the forest, the last thing they expect to have to do is ward off a bunch of backwoods zombies. But after falling victim to a shady organization of scientists that manipulates them from an underground lair, they are left with no other choice.
In one of The Cabin in the Woods‘ most iconic scenes, two scientists are shown plotting what ghoulish scenarios will happen to the friends next. Behind them stands a whiteboard with names of different zombies, clowns, witches, and mutants. It seems to be every fan of horror films’ dream, as plenty of them paused the scene to get a better look.
18. She’s the Man (2006)
Unbeknownst to many, the 2006 comedy She’s the Man actually traces its story’s origins back to William Shakespeare. The film’s plot mirrors the English bard’s Twelfth Night, which centers around two twins, Viola and Sebastian, who get separated after a shipwreck. In a bid to disguise herself as a man and feel safer traveling alone, Viola dresses up as Sebastian.
In She’s the Man, Amanda Bynes’ character Viola does something similar, but this time it’s with hopes of making it onto an all-male soccer team. When things get out of hand at one of the games, Sebastian pulls down his pants in order to prove he’s a dude. Viola then lifts her shirt to prove she’s a woman. Unsurprisingly, many people were scrambling for the pause button thanks to this scene’s bawdy body comedy.
19. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street chronicles the extravagant story of Jordan Belfort, a New York City stock broker who conned his way into making a fortune off of penny stocks in the 1990s. With a plot so outlandish that crashed helicopters, prostitutes, and drugs are but a norm, it’s possible for viewers to think Scorsese must have taken lots of creative liberty in telling the story.
But in actuality, Scorcese’s drama closely follows the memoir Belfort wrote of the same title. Now whether the steamy scene where Margot Robbie seduces Leonardo DiCaprio actually happened, we’re not too sure. But one thing we do know is that viewers love it, for many admit having to pause it in an effort to watch it again and again.
20. American Pie (1999)
In the late 90s and early 2000s, there was a certain brand of high school-based raunchfest comedies that transformed a nation of angsty teens, and American Pie was at the helm of it all. Starring a young Sean William Scott, Tara Reid, Jason Biggs, and Alyson Hannigan, the films were wild, exciting, and free.
One scene in particular was especially memorable to viewers – in which Shannon Elizabeth, playing the role of foreign exchange student Nadia, undresses to a live webcam audience, even though she thinks she’s alone. As creepy as that sounds, it’s a moment which was certainly paused quite a bit.
21. American Beauty (1999)
Another popular film that came out during that year was American Beauty. The scene in question won’t be hard to recall for those who’ve seen this film, for it pulls viewers under a spell quite effortlessly. It starts off with the film’s protagonist, Lester, sitting in a crowded basketball gym, and watching a group of cheerleaders do their dance.
However, he soon becomes infatuated with the lead cheerleader, played by the talented Mena Suvari (who, incidentally, also starred in American Pie). As he becomes ever-fixated on her dancing more and more, her spotlight shines, and all else turns to black. It’s a film-defining moment, and not one we’ll forget any time soon.
22. Cruel Intentions (1999)
Here’s a classic still from yet another 1999 film. Cruel Intentions was like the dark, mysterious cousin of American Pie. The characters are young, vibrant, and experiencing love for the first time. But at the same time, many of them are also incredibly malicious and full of, well, cruel intentions.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, playing the role of the sinister Kathryn, is the head of the snake – but it’s safe to say that she dominated every scene she was in. This one, in particular, didn’t leave fans’ minds for awhile. As Kathryn taught the less-experienced Cecile (Selma Blair) how to kiss, we were treated to one of the most entertaining lessons of all time.
23. Grease (1978)
There are many scenes that make Grease a classic. The relentlessly catchy tunes are endless (“Tell Me More”, “Grease Lightning”), and the high school drama involved is good entertainment for most young viewers. But it’s the moment at the very end that really turns everything upside down.
Throughout the entire film, new girl Sandra Dee (played by Olivia Newton-John) is such a goody-two shoes that the movie even dedicates a whole song to her innocence! But in the final scene, we see her come out with a full-on makeover, complete with the black leather tight pants-and-top combo. It’s a shocking moment, so much so that it wasn’t just Danny Zuko who had chills that were multiplying.
24. Dirty Dancing (1987)
This moment in Dirty Dancing is so iconic that it’s been recreated countless times. It occurs in the film’s climax, when “Time Of My Life” is blasting through the speakers, and Jennifer Grey soars right up into the outstretched arms of Patrick Swayze. It’s the kind of redeeming moment that can truly make a film great, and such was the case here.
In many ways, it’s almost as if the scene was created specifically for people to pause it. Anyone who tried to recreate this pose will have had to tirelessly study Swayze and Grey in this moment, possibly keeping this screenshot open for hours on end till they perfected it!
25. Signs (2002)
M. Night Shyamalan was already a pretty big deal by the time Signs came out in 2002. The world was now a few years removed from the success of his film The Sixth Sense, and now they were waiting to see what else he had up his sleeve. Signs was a pretty compelling movie about aliens coming down from outer space – but there was one scene everyone paused most of all.
It took a long time to actually see any aliens, but the scene where it finally showed up tore the house down. Taken on a camcorder at a birthday party, a newscaster showed the footage of a long, human-like green alien to the world, and in that moment – even though the world was fictional – we felt the fear in the characters’ eyes.
26. Sleeping With Other People (2015)
Anytime you have Alison Brie on screen, there’s a good chance she’ll do something quirky or wild. In Sleeping With Other People, she gave viewers a provocative dance scene which they probably didn’t expect – and certainly didn’t complain about.
In the film, Brie plays the role of Lainey, a woman who reunites with Jake, an old college friend whom she had once been intimate with (played by Jason Sudeikis). The two try to keep things platonic while the sparks continue to fly like it’s the fourth of July – but their eventual coupling is pretty much inevitable. From Jake’s perspective, this dance scene certainly didn’t make things easier for him.
27. The Seven Year Itch (1955)
When you talk about the Hollywood titans, the icons who paved the way for the future of the industry, you have to talk about Marilyn Monroe. She was the symbol of a period where peoples’ attitudes towards sexuality were starting to change rapidly – and one scene in particular, from 1955’s The Seven Year Itch, pretty much sums up the effect she had on the world.
As she walks over a subway grate, a strong gust of air blows her white dress up, while she innocently laughs and covers herself. Monroe manages to balance modesty and exposure, tradition and rebellion, and does it in such an effortless manner that it’s no surprise the image has stood the test of time.
28. The Graduate (1967)
Oscar-winning film The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman in his breakthrough performance, tells the story of Benjamin Braddock, a despondent young man of few interests who moves back in with his parents after college. While he struggles to find direction in his life, he is seduced by a woman twice his age, Mrs. Robinson, played by Academy Award-winner Anne Bancroft. However, their affair proves to be short-lived, because he soon falls for her daughter, Elaine.
The film’s progressive plot may have caused a stir among some of its 1967 viewers, but it also gave us one of the most paused scenes in history: the one in which Mrs. Robinson locks Dustin in a room and strips naked. Viewers are shown only quick glimpses of her body, but the helpless look on Ben’s face is truly priceless — and iconic.
29. Iron Man (2008)
Similar to Disney, Marvel films are known for planting Easter eggs that reward sleuthing fans by referencing other movies. The 2008 sci-fi thriller Iron Man is one great example. In one notable scene, viewers are shown a nod to a movie made three years later — one that captured the attention of audiences around the world, and made Chris Evans a hero.
In the scene where Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark puts on his iconic suit, Captain America’s unfinished shield lies to the left of him. It only took one viewer writing about his observation online before tons of fans turned on the movie and paused it at this very moment to see the nod for themselves.
30. The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
A timeless classic more than eighty years after its release, The Wizard of Oz is loved for its heartwarming message, charmingly memorable characters, imaginative world, and catchy sing-along-songs. It’s also a movie that brings us tons of pause-worthy moments, though one such moment adds a dark twist to an otherwise happy plot.
In the scene where Dorothy and her friends skip cheerfully down the Yellow Brick Road and towards Emerald City, a dark figure is shown dangling from a tree in front of them. Rumors circulated that the figure was a munchkin extra who had hung himself, leaving many fans to conclude a cast member must have committed suicide while on set. In reality, it was just a huge bird.
31. The Lion King (1994)
If you want proof about how rumors spread like wildfire once they hit the Internet, just take The Lion King as an example. In the 1994 animated children’s film classic, many parents were outraged to spot a certain PG-13 word signifying, shall we say, “the birds and the bees,” appear on the screen.
The scene of the famous mishap is when Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon are lying on a rock, gazing up at the stars. Rumors of the possible subliminal message got so out of hand that one of the movie’s animators, Tom Sito, eventually stepped forward to confirm that while the dust did intentionally spell out a word, it wasn’t as dirty as people thought. In reality, the word spells “SFX,” which is a nod to the film’s art and special effects department.
32. Fight Club (1999)
We know what you must be thinking: what could be the most paused scene in Fight Club? It must be one of the plenty that are borderline pornographic — not that there’s a shortage of those. But nope; some of the most paused moments in the movie are actually when Brad Pitt appears on screen before his character, Tyler Durden, is even introduced to the plot.
Look away for a second and it’s gone, but Pitt appears in the film six different times before his character Tyler first meets the narrator on the plane. You can spot him in the scenes where the narrator is making photocopies and leaving the doctor’s office. You can even see him as one of the waiters in the TV commercial early on. Did you catch him?
33. Jurassic World (2015)
When most people think about the Jurassic Park series’ fourth installment Jurassic World, they recall an action-packed sci-fi thriller. Few people think about comedy, and yet one scene in particular had viewers everywhere laughing — so much so that many have found themselves pausing the moment, only to rewind it and laugh again.
In the scene where pterodactyls fly around and create total chaos in the park, we see people screaming and running for their lives. That is, everyone except for one man: Jimmy Buffett. Buffett proves to have more important things on his mind, like salvaging the two margaritas he’s carrying in his hands and finding straws for both.
34. The Matrix (1999)
Throughout the majority of The Matrix, everyone’s waiting to see whether or not Neo is truly “The One”. After Morpheus rescues Neo from the Matrix at the start of the film, he tells Neo that he’s special, and that he possesses capabilities the rest of them don’t. But after a few missteps, and a particular comment from the all-knowing Oracle, we start to doubt Neo’s power.
In the climax of the film, however, those doubts are squashed – for we finally witness Neo doing something extraordinary. When the sinister agents shoot a myriad of bullets his way, Neo calmly holds up his hand and miraculously stops each one of them in mid-air. This was a defining moment in The Matrix franchise, and it certainly etched into our minds forever.
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