Created By: Phediuk on August 8, 2009

Signature Scene

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Do we have this one?

A scene--usually from a movie, but I'm sure there are examples in other media--which is far, far more famous than any other part in it. If the work is referenced in pop culture, it will be a reference to this scene. The DVD cover will often depict this scene. Any parodies will also center on this scene specifically. It's like a Breakout Character, but in scene form.

  • Gene Kelly dancing on a puddly street in Singin' in the Rain.
  • The shower scene from Psycho.
  • "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" from A Few Good Men.
  • Harold Lloyd hanging from the clock in Safety Last.
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice segment from Fantasia.
  • Another Disney example: the two dogs slurping spaghetti and touching their noses together in Lady and the Tramp.
  • The Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes.
  • "I'm Spartacus! No, I'm Spartacus!" from Spartacus.
  • It's easy to forget that there are parts of Home Alone that don't involve Harry and Marv comically injuring themselves on Kevin's traps.
  • D-day from Saving Private Ryan.
Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • August 8, 2009
    Dick Richardson
  • August 9, 2009
    Wouldn't this be a type of All There Is To Know About The Crying Game?
  • August 9, 2009
    Dick Richardson
    That one's about endings, though.
  • August 9, 2009
    And twists. I suspect these include those that aren't twists but still famous and oft-parodied.

    Also, "I see dead people" from The Sixth Sense
  • August 9, 2009
    Usually the scene where the famous quotes come from.

    From 2001: A Space Odyssey:
    Dave: Open the pod bay doors, HAL
    HAL 9000: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

    I can't seem to get the title of the film to link.
  • August 9, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Well, there was that one scene from Home Alone that had Kevin sampling his dad's aftershave, then slapping both hands on his cheeks and going "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
  • August 9, 2009
    The candy room from Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.

    The Escherspace scene in Labyrinth (especially Jareth's pants).

    The dwarves' introductory song in Snow White.

    And I'm tempted to say "My Name Is Inigo Montoya, You Killed My Father, Prepare To Die," but I'm sure The Princess Bride never quite fell to that.
  • August 9, 2009
    The ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast, "I know what you're thinking: Did he fire five bullets, or six?" from Dirty Harry, "That's not a knife-- THIS is a knife!" from Crocodile Dundee, running away from the plane in North By Northwest... oh my God, there are thousands. (Oh my God, it's full of Stars?)

    Many of these become Stock Parodies.
  • August 9, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    • Whenever Godzilla is referenced (or even parodied) in shows, it will more often than not depict the famous scene of him attacking Tokyo in the 1954 film.
    • Go ahead, try to remember any reference to King Kong that didn't involve him climbing up the Empire State Building.
  • August 9, 2009
    ^That joke might have worked before the remake, but now people remember the scenes on the island too.
  • August 9, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    riding the bomb in dr strangelove.
  • August 9, 2009
    This seems like a pretty slam-dunk trope. Seems to be a supertrope of All There Is To Know About The Crying Game. I'll launch it later.

    I agree that Home Alone might not quite count for this.
  • August 9, 2009
    I've seen something very similar elsewhere on YKTTW as The Centerpiece, but that doesn't seem to have generated any discussion. I'll just transplant its examples section here. I think All There Is To Know About The Crying Game is a Sister Trope, but not a subtrope-- it's about a famous piece of information, this is about a famous scene.
  • August 9, 2009
    Here it is, in all its copy-pasted glory. I don't agree with all of these, but you can pick when you launch it..

    Saving Private Ryan has the opening amphibious landing battle. A solid half-hour of relentless combat and it serves as the most major action sequence in the movie until the ending. All of the Indiana Jones movies follow this closely. Raiders of the Lost Ark has the truck chase, and like most of the movie has gone on to be legend. And in a rare instance of a movie having two, the opening sequence with the giant stone ball serves a similar purpose. Temple of Doom has the mine cart sequence. Last Crusade has the fight against, around and on top of the tank. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has the chase in the forest with the car boats. The Dark Knight has the police escort being attacked by the Joker and Batman rushing into the fight. In fact the sequence was so good many people expected it to be the climax. Iron Man has the hero going to the middle east and destroying the Stark weaponry that was being used there. The Unflinching Walk after destroying the tank cements it. The 2008 Incredible Hulk movie has the fight at the college grounds. Star Wars Episode 1- The Pod Race Episode 2- Obi-Wan versus Jango Fett Episode 3- Mace Windu versus Palpatine / Obi-Wan versus General Grievous Episode 4- The entire rescue sequence on the Death Star Episode 5- The asteroid field Episode 6- The speeder bike chase The first Transformers movie had Optimus Prime versus Bonecusher. Revenge of the Fallen has the forest battle with Optimus versus Megatron, Starscream and Grindor.

  • August 9, 2009
    Another one for 2001: A Space Odyssey is the scene with the chimps and the monolith.
  • August 9, 2009
    The trope codifier has got to be Pulp Fiction, with its breakfast scene. English, do you speak it!?

    Search for it on You Tube, and you'll see, 10 out of 11 results will be about this scene.
  • August 9, 2009
    Super Mario Bros. Level 1 from the very first game will be the thing parodied in practically every parody of the series ever.
  • August 9, 2009
    Dr. Manhattan's "birth" sequence in Watchmen. Set to Koyannisquatsi's "Pruit Igoe" score no less.

    The "don't go full retard" speech in Tropic Thunder.

    The "call it" scene in No Country For Old Men.

    The Assassination of Jesse James in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
  • August 9, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Speaking of Harold Lloyd's clock scene in Safety Last, what about another Lloyd's clock scene in Back To The Future?
  • August 9, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    This may sometimes overlap with or result in Memetic Mutation.
  • August 9, 2009
    Neo dodging bullets in The Matrix.
  • August 9, 2009
    Rapid Fire
    Planet of the apes The Ending where the main character finds the statue of liberty in ruins
  • August 9, 2009
  • August 9, 2009
    • Cinderella's dress transformation.
    • Ariel flipping her hair back as she splashes out of the water, or else sitting on the rock with the crashing wave.
    • "Yer a wizard, Harry."
    • Hamlet with the skull.
    • The balcony scene from Romeo And Juliet.
    • The ending of Casablanca.
  • August 9, 2009
    I agree the original post Home Alone reference doesn't work, but the screaming bit does. (Actually, you kind of have to expect the parts that aren't Kevin's traps. What's hard to remember is how freakin' much of the movie isn't Kevin's traps.)

    Would Jurassic Park's lawyer-gets-eaten-on-the-toilet scene count?
  • August 9, 2009
    • Jurassic Park's "Welcome to Jurassic Park" opening moment with the Brachiosaurus. Even the characters react to it as a signature scene.

    • Superman - "You will kneel before me Jor-El!" That whole sequence.

    • The "Starfleet could use you" scene in Star Trek 2009

    • The seance in Drag Me To Hell.

    • The end sequence of Knowing where The world is destroyed.

    • The opening titles of Lord Of War, showing a single shot of a bullet from creation to use.

    • The "shit shot" in Zack And Miri Make A Porno.

    • Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen - Megan Fox running in slow motion with a giant explosion behind her. Michael Bay distilled to his essence.

    From the Die Hard page:

    • Die Hard (1988)- Set in an Office Building
      Hans Gruber: Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?
      John McClane: Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.
    • Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)- Set in an Airport
      John McClane: Another basement, another elevator. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?
    • Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)- Most of New York
      Zeus Carver: Damn McClane, you know I was just starting to like you.
      John McClane: Yeah, well don't, I'm an asshole.
    • Live Free or Die Hard (aka Die Hard 4.0) (2007)- Washington, DC and surrounding areas
      Matt Farrell: You just killed a helicopter with a car!
      John McClane: I was out of bullets.
  • August 10, 2009
    More Disney examples:

    • Mickey Mouse at the captain's wheel, in Steamboat Willie.
    • The scene of Rafiki holding up baby Simba in The Lion King.
    • The magic carpet ride during "A Whole New World" from Aladdin.
  • August 10, 2009
    While pretty much the entirety of Monty Python And The Holy Grail is very, very quotable, the one scene that everybody knows is the Black Knight scene.
  • August 10, 2009
    I think that if there are more than one possible example for a work, it is not an example of this. This should be more like "the only thing most people know about the movie is this scene" rather than "any memorable scene in any movie".
  • August 10, 2009
  • October 26, 2009
    Insanity Prelude
    Somewhat related to It Was His Sled and All There Is To Know About The Crying Game, if not outright mergeable with one of those.
  • October 27, 2009
    • "You talkin' to me?"
    • The sand/surf kissing scene in From Here to Eternity

    And I would have actually said the fish tank scene in Baz Lurhman's Romeo + Juliet, rather than the balcony scene (although I'd say the balcony scene would be the signature scene of the play).
  • October 27, 2009
  • October 28, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    • The "chest-burster" scene from Alien
    • Bohemian Rhapsody in the Mirthmobile from Wayne's World