Signature Scene

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The most famous scene from the most disastrous teen romance you're likely to find.

"THAT scene in American Pie."

That one scene that everyone remembers from a movie or other media. When people think of the work, this is the one scene that they immediately think of, and may be the only reason to remember it at all. If the work is referenced in popular culture, it will reference this scene. Cover illustrations will often depict this scene. Any parodies will also center on this scene specifically.

There are many reasons that the scene may stand out. It may be...
  • The centerpiece of the trailer, causing it to enter the minds of people before they see the movie, or be all they know about it if they never see the movie.
  • A piece of exceptional writing or visual beauty.
  • A scene that is uncharacteristic and has nothing to do with the rest of the work.
  • A scene that is so unintentionally laughable it overshadows the rest of the work.note 
  • A scene that went viral.
  • A scene that evoked major controversy.
  • A scene that became a part of popular culture and/or is easily recognized by most viewer.
  • The major twist in the work.
  • A scene that was just so shocking it became firmly lodged in the viewer's memory.

No matter the reason, the Signature Scene is cemented in the minds of the general public. If you have actually seen the work yourself, there may be more scenes that you enjoy, or possibly stick out more in your mind than what people believe to be the Signature Scene.

Scenes which are little more than famous quotes should probably not be listed here. Those are examples of Signature Lines. Quotes do help keep a Signature Scene memorable, though.

Compare All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game", Best Known for the Fanservice, Watch It for the Meme, Money-Making Shot, and Everybody Knows That.

Examples

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    Comics 
  • Quite a few scenes from Batman comics:
    Batman: What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the Goddamn Batman.
  • Dr. Light raping Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis.
  • Superboy-Prime retconning reality with his punches in Infinite Crisis.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths
    • The death of Barry Allen.
    • Also, the death of Supergirl, especially that cover.
  • X-Men
    • Colossus throwing Wolverine in a Fastball Special.
    • Phoenix killing herself in front of Cyclops in X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Story.
    • The Hellfire Club and a brainwashed Phoenix defeating the entire team and taking them prisoner, all except for Wolverine, who's been left for dead... only for him to burst out of a pile of sewage, ready to kick ass while declaring, "Okay, suckers — You've taken yer best shot! Now it's my turn!"
    • The future X-Men getting massacred by the Sentinels in "Days of Future Past."
    • Magneto ripping the adamantium out of Wolverine's skeleton.
  • Rick Jones creating the Invaders to fight the Skrulls in Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War.
  • Judge Dredd punching through the Judge Fear's head while shouting "Gaze into the fist of Dredd!"
  • Superman
    • Superman lifting a green car over his head while three criminals run away.
    • Superman being weakened by a chunk of kryptonite.
    • In The Death of Superman, the full-page spread of Lois cradling the dead body of Superman.
    • Krypton exploding.
    • Ma and Pa Kent finding baby Kal El in a field.
    • Clark Kent putting his costume on in a phone booth.
    • Superman comforting/saving a suicidal teenager in All-Star Superman. Not just for that one comic, but considered by many to be a perfect encapsulation of everything that makes Superman awesome.
  • Captain America
    • Captain America's apparent death, with his bloodied body on the courthouse steps.
    • On a more triumphant note, the now-legendary image of Cap punching Adolf Hitler in the face.
    • Bucky sacrificing himself to save Cap, and Cap falling into the ocean.
  • The Avengers: ULTRON. We would have words with thee.
    • The Avengers finding Captain America frozen in a block of ice.
    • Ultron taking control of all of Iron Man's armors and setting them on the Avengers, repeated in Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Age of Ultron.
  • Spider-Man
    • Spider-Man carrying a man while swinging across New York.
    • Peter Parker being dragged by his aunt to a blind date with her best friend's niece at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #42, expecting to have to go through an "ordeal" with most likely an ugly girl. He spends some time waiting, reflecting on how he's become attracted to that nice Gwen Stacy. Then the doorbell rings, and Anna Watson lets her in:
    Anna: Peter Parker, I'd like you to meet my niece...
    Peter (bowled over by the lady's looks): You mean — that's Mary Jane..?!!
    Mary Jane: Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!
    • On a sadder note: The death of Gwen Stacy in ASM #121, notable for the much debated SNAP! sound effect and the final panels with Spider-Man holding Gwen's body.
    • Spider-Man confronting Uncle Ben's killer and realizing it was the crook he let get away earlier.
    • Spider-Man lifting a ton of debris off of himself in order to get to the serum needed to save Aunt May's life in ASM #33.
    • The shot of Peter walking away from his costume in a trash bin, remarking "I am Spider-Man no more" is also very well remembered and often referenced.
  • The pivotal moment in an Origin Story when a superhero gains and discovers his/her powers is usually this.
  • Popeye
    • Popeye beating up his opponents (in the original comics he did this without the aid of spinach. After the cartoon became a hit this element was added)
    • Wimpy eating hamburgers.
    • Eugene the jeep seeing "jeep".
  • Krazy Kat: Ignatz zapping Krazy Kat with a brick.
  • Little Nemo: Little Nemo flying on his bed through the night, then awaking because it was All a Dream and having fallen out of his bed.
  • Lucky Luke: Lucky Luke driving off into the sunset while singing "I'm a poor lonesome cowboy".
  • Astérix:
    • The banquet with wild boars, while Cacofonix is bound, gagged and tied to a tree.
    • Obelix claiming he's not fat.
    • The villagers fighting over the rotten fish of the local fishmonger.
    • Obelix beating up Roman legions.
  • Nero: The waffle feast that concludes every story.
  • Suske en Wiske: Wiske's wink to the audience at the end of each story.
    • The main cast being sent back in time with the Time Machine.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In Carl Barks ' stories Uncle Scrooge will be seen diving into his fortune at least once an episode.
  • Gaston Lagaffe: Gaston accidentally preventing Mr. Demesmaeker from signing the contracts time and time again.
  • Tom Poes: Bommel talks about "being a gentleman, if you understand what I mean" and tells Tom Poes to "think of a plan" when in an urgent situation. Bulle Bas tries to arrest Bommel for a crime he didn't commit. Marquis de Canteclaer looks down upon Bommel while holding his lorgnette.
  • Agent327: Agent 327 arriving at his office in a disguise and then sighing: "Heaven's sake, what a secret agent has to do nowadays to arrive at his work unnoticed!"
  • Tintin:
    • People accidentally dialing the number of Cutts the butcher, or accidentally dialing Marlinspike Hall while trying to call Cutts.
    • The most iconic scene in the entire series is Tintin jumping from a disconnected train wagon in Prisoners Of The Sun.
    • The red and white moon rocket from Explorers On the Moon
  • Moon Knight has the iconic fifth issue of Warren Ellis's run on the book, which features a spectacular twenty page fight sequence, with Moon Knight slowly fighting through an army of mooks in order to save a kidnapped little girl.
  • Fritz the Cat: Fritz takes drugs or has sex with some girl.
  • Blake and Mortimer: Blake and Mortimer on the cover of The Yellow "M" has become so iconic that it inspired many parodies and homages.
  • Green Arrow:
    • Oliver learning that his Sidekick Roy Harper is a drug addict.
    • The Green Arrow and Black Canary wedding.
    • Mia Dearden revealing that she has HIV.
    • Connor Hawke taking over for his father.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Carl killing Shane.
    • Michonne rescuing Otis.
    • Thomas Richards killing the Greene twins.
    • The Governor chopping-off Rick's right hand.
    • The Governor raping Michonne.
    • Michonne's Cold-Blooded Torture of The Governor.
    • The Governor decapitating Tyreese.
    • Lily Caul fatally gunning Lori and Judith with a shotgun.
    • Rick having a Dead Person Conversation with deceased members in a phone.
    • Carl executing Ben.
    • The Hunters eating Dale's leg.
    • Rick and company butchering The Hunters.
    • Rick leaving Jessie and Ron to be devoured by Walkers.
    • Carl's Eye Scream.
    • Negan repeatedly whacking Glenn's head with a barbed wire-infused baseball bat.
  • Aquaman losing his hand replacing it with a harpoon.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • AKIRA:
    • The motorcycle fight through Neo-Tokyo.
    • Kaneda's motorcycle slide.
    • Tetsuo's mutation.
  • Aladdin:
    • The first appearance of the Genie.
    • "A Whole New World".
  • Arashi No Yoru Ni:
    • Gabu and Mei meeting face to face for the first time.
    • Gabu staring at Mei's butt.
    • Gabu and Mei jumping into a river together
  • Bambi:
    • Bambi encountering a butterfly on his tail and the skunk Flower.
    • The death scene of Bambi's mother.
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • Belle and Beast's ballroom dance.
    • Also; Belle, on the hill, during "Belle (reprise)" is pretty iconic.
    • The "Be My Guest" extravaganza musical number.
  • Big Hero 6:
    • The "Immortals" training montage.
    • Tadashi's death.
    • Hiro ordering Baymax to kill Callaghan after basically telling him that Tadashi was expendable for his revenge.
  • Brave:
    • The Touch the Sky scene (particularly the slo-mo of Merida shooting an arrow)
    • The scene where Merida leaps towards bear Elinor.
  • The Castle of Cagliostro: The initial car chase to rescue Clarisse and the climatic bell tower fight
  • Cinderella:
    • Cinderella's mouse friends fixing up the dress.
    • The Fairy Godmother transforming Cinderella's torn dress into a shimmering ballgown.
    • The "So This is Love" song sequence.
    • The glass slipper being fitted onto Cinderella, and the wedding that follows.
  • Cinderella III: A Twist in Time: The entire portion of Cinderella crashing her own wedding.
  • Dumbo:
    • The "Baby Be Mine" scene, which is one of the most infamous tearjerkers in the Disney canon.
    • Followed immediately by "Pink Elephants On Parade", which is one of the most infamous Mushroom Samba sequences in Deranged Animation history.
    • Next is the dancing crows with "When I See An Elephant Fly" and Dumbo flying in the air.
  • Fantasia
    • The "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment and the scene afterwards where Mickey shakes hands with Leopold Stokowski.
    • The T-Rex vs. Stegosaurus scene from "Rite of Spring"
    • The dancing hippo's in the Dance Of The Hours segment.
    • Chernabog during "Night on Bald Mountain".
  • The animated film Felidae is largely known only for the very explicit, shocking, and disgusting sex scene between two minimally anthropomorphic cartoon cats. To a lesser extent, it's known for it's most gory scenes, such as the one with the disemboweled pregnant cat or the dismembered head of another cat.
  • Frozen:
    • Elsa's "Let it Go" sequence.
    • Anna and Elsa playing as children at the start
    • The "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" sequence, especially the first portion
    • Hans almost kissing Anna then refusing and revealing he is the Big Bad. Also counts as It Was His Sled considering it's a huge spoiler, which everyone knew within months of the movie releasing.
  • The Great Mouse Detective:
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup first flying with Toothless is a breathtaking scene, especially helped by the Fanfare playing.
    • Hiccup touching Toothless' head with his hand.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The "Hellfire" sequence
  • The Incredibles
    • The family brawl at the dinner table.
    • Edna Mode's "no capes" montage.
    • The family fighting the Omnidroid together.
  • Inside Out:
    • Bing Bong's death.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • "I LOVE KUNG FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!"
    • The rope bridge fight between the Furious Five and Tai Lung.
    • Tai Lung's prison escape.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2:
    • Tigress hugging Po
    • Po discovering his origins
    • Po using tai chi to redirect cannonfire.
  • Lady and the Tramp: The Spaghetti Kiss.
  • Leafie, a Hen into the Wild:
    • Leafie meeting Greenie after he hatches
    • Leafie's death
  • The Lion King:
    • Rafiki holding up baby Simba in the air.
    • The opening sunrise. NAAAAAAAAANTS INGONYAAAAAAAAAAAMA BAGITHI BABA...
    • Mufasa's death.
    • Mufasa's ghost giving words of wisdom to Simba.
    • The "Hakuna Matata" song-and-dance number.
    • Simba roaring on top of Pride Rock as rain beats down on the ravaged land.
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride:
    • The "We Are One" sequence
    • The "My Lullaby" sequence, especially Zira at the end looking up to the sky
    • The "(Not) One Of Us" sequence
  • The Little Mermaid
    • Ariel flipping her hair back as she splashes out of the water, or else sitting on the rock with the crashing wave.
    • The song "Under the Sea"
    • The "Kiss The Girl" sequence
  • Madagascar: "I like to move it, it!"
  • Monsters, Inc.:
    • Boo scaring the monsters at the restaurant.
    • The other monsters overhearing Mike tell Sulley "Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me...!"
    • The door vault sequence, as Randall pursues Sulley, Mike and Boo through doors all over the world.
  • Mulan;
    • Mulan singing "Reflection".
    • The "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" training montage song.
    • The end where everyone bows to Mulan.
  • My Neighbor Totoro: Totoro and Satsuki waiting in the rain at the bus stop with their umbrellas.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: Nausicaä taking off her gas mask while flying through a toxic atmosphere on her glider, then flashing a smile and thumbs up to the accompanying plane.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: We have Jack during "Jack's Lament," singing atop the curled hill in the graveyard during a full moon. Until recently, its been the image most often used for the cover of any home-release edition.
  • Peter Pan:
    • The "You Can Fly" sequence where Peter and the Darling children fly over London to Neverland.
    • Captain Hook and Peter Pan fighting in the cave, where Hook is attacked by the crocodile.
  • Pinocchio:
    • Gepetto wishing on a star and the Blue Fairy bringing Pinocchio to life with her wand.
    • Lampwick turning into a donkey.
    • The climax where Pinocchio and Gepetto try to escape Monstro the whale.
  • Pocahontas: "Colors of the Wind".
  • The Plague Dogs: The scene where the man accidentally gets shot in the face.
  • The Prince of Egypt: "The Plagues" sequence
  • Shrek:
    • The opening sequence to the tune of Smash Mouth's "All Star".
    • Donkey promising he'll make "waffles" in the morning.
    • From the sequel, the part where Puss in Boots flashes his Puppy-Dog Eyes.
  • Sleeping Beauty:
    • Maleficent "unleashes the powers of hell" and transforms into a dragon.
    • "Once Upon a Dream"
    • Aurora and Philip dancing at the end while Flora and Merryweather resume arguing over whether Aurora's dress should be pink or blue.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    • The dwarfs crossing the log bridge during the "Heigh-Ho" number.
    • The scene of the dwarfs mourning the apparent death of Snow White, notable for being Disney's first real Tear Jerker.
    • The Prince waking Snow White from her sleep and carrying her off to his castle to live happily ever after.
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: The "Uncle Fucker" sequence.
  • Spirited Away has the scene where Chihiro remembers Haku's name while riding through the air on his back.
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron: The Colonel trying to break in Spirit
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water: The CGI superhero climax.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: The "Goofy Goober Rock" scene
  • The Sword in the Stone:
    • The Wizard Duel
    • Arthur/Wart pulling out the Sword.
    • Arthur/Wart being turned into a squirrel, meeting a female squirrel, and breaking her heart when she discovers hes really a human.
  • Tangled:
    • The horse angrily touching Flynn Ryder's wanted poster.
    • The "Mother Knows Best" sequence
    • The lantern sequence/"I See The Light".
  • Titanic: The Legend Goes On has the "Party Time" song sequence.
  • Toy Story:
    • Being introduced to Andy and Woody as the title screen comes up set to "You've Got a Friend in Me".
    • "Buzz, You're flying!" "This isn't flying, this is falling with style!"
    • "YOU ARE A TOY!!!!"
    • The sequel probably has Jessie's "When She Loved Me" montage. There's also the scene where Geri refurbishes Woody.
    • Lots of potential in the third, but Lotso leaving Woody and the others to burn to death jumps to mind.
  • Transformers: The Movie has a few:
    • The big two that most remember though are the battle between Optimus and Megatron (set to The Touch, natch) and the death scene with Optimus where he unveils the Matrix. Some also consider Hot Rod's transformation (no pun intended) into Rodimus to be one, along with his first change into his upgraded alt-mode and his speech at the end of the film. There are even some who believe the closing shot of Unicron's head orbiting Cybertron counts.
    • Arguably as well-remembered as any of those are the two Obligatory Swearing moments- "Aw SHIT what are we gonna do now?" from Spike and "Open, DAMN IT, open!" from Ultra Magnus, due to how hilariously out of place they are in what's otherwise a movie for very young children.
    • The Decepticons slaughtering the team of Autobots aboard their ship within the first ten minutes, all set to N.R.G.'s "Instruments of Destruction."
  • Up
    • The entire "Married Life" segment.
    • Carl floating the house away with all the balloons, while mocking the Shady Oaks people.
  • WALL•E has the title robot flying through space using a fire extinguisher to follow EVE.
  • Watership Down:
    • Bigwig and Woundwort fighting
    • The rabbits being gassed
  • When Marnie Was There:
    • Marnie and Anna dancing
    • The scene where Marnie and Anna go boat-rowing.
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • Ralph attending a support group for video game villains.
    • Sugar Rush.
  • Yellow Submarine: The "Nowhere Man" and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" sequence are among the most iconic and celebrated moments in the film.

    Literature 
  • Nineteen Eighty Four: The torture scenes accompanied by O'Brien's monologues.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
  • A Tale of Two Cities: Sydney's execution.
  • The Adventures Of Baron Munchhausen: The baron sitting on a cannonball and flying through the air.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Huckleberry Finn (and Jim) travelling down the Mississippi on a raft.
  • The Adventures of Pinocchio: Pinocchio's nose growing because he tells a lie.
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Tom and Huckleberry Finn painting a fence white and fooling other children to do it for them.
  • Aesop's Fables:
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:
    • Alice following the White Rabbit. The scene where she meets the Cheshire Cat for the first time. Later meeting the Mad Hatter and March Hare at their Tea Party. The Red Queen ordering people to be beheaded. The hookah smoking caterpillar is also a famous scene.
    • Through the Looking-Glass: Alice meeting Humpty Dumpty, the story of Jabberwocky, Alice meeting Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
  • Arabian Nights
  • The Bible
    • "In the beginning..."
    • The Crucifixion.
    • There are many more, for instance from the Old Testament: Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit, the story of Noah's Ark, Abraham almost sacrificing his son Isaac, the parting of the Red Sea, Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, Samson bringing down the temple in Gaza, the fight of David against Goliath. From the New Testament: the Annunciation, the birth of Christ, the Last Supper...
  • A Christmas Carol:
    • Scrooge saying: "Bah, humbug!"
    • Scrooge being visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley.
    • Scrooge being brought to the church yard by the Ghost of the Future and seeing his own name on the grave.
  • The Divine Comedy: Virgil guiding Dante through Hell.
  • A Dog of Flanders: Nello and Patrache entering the Antwerp Cathedral, seeing the painting by Rubens which they wanted to see all their lives, then dying that same night from the cold.
  • Don Quixote charging against windmills.
  • Dracula: Dracula first meeting Jonathan Harker and, when hearing the wolves howl outside his castle, say: "Listen to them, the children of the night what music they make."
  • The Dresden Files: Harry riding Zombie Sue through Chicago.
  • Fairy tales, later collected by either Charles Perrault and/or The Brothers Grimm:
    • Bluebeard: The woman going into Bluebeard's chamber and discovering he is a serial killer. The final scene where she asks "Sister Anna, sister Anna, do you see anything yet", while she waits for her brothers to come in and rescue her.
    • The Bremen Town Musicians: The rooster standing on the back of the cat, the cat on the dog's back, the dog on the donkey's back. In the context of the tale they do this to scare off the robbers inside their own home.
    • Cinderella: Cinderella losing her slipper on the stairs.
    • East of the Sun and West of the Moon: The young bride riding her bear-husband through the woods. It's iconic of the story and frequently the illustration used on book covers.
    • The Frog Prince: The princess sitting on the edge of the well with the frog, who has just retrieved her golden ball. Also a scene that actually does not happen in-story: The princess kissing the frog.
    • Hansel and Gretel: Hansel dropping the bread crumbs in the forest, Hansel and Gretel eating from the Gingerbread House, Gretel pushing the witch inside the oven.
    • Hop-o'-My-Thumb: Hop O' My Thumb leaving the trail of bread crumbs behind in the forest note . The giant slaying his daughters' throats under confusion that these are Hop O' My Thumb and his brothers. Hop O' My Thumb trying on the giant's boots.
    • Little Red Riding Hood: Little Red asking the wolf: "Why grandmother, what big ears/eyes/teeth you have?"
    • Puss in Boots: The cat trying on the boots. The moment where he tells everybody the "Marquis of Carabas is drowning".
    • Rapunzel: The prince climbing up the tower hanging on to Rapunzel's long hair.
    • Rumpelstiltskin: Rumpelstiltskin weaving straw into gold. The scene where he dances outside and sings his name, while the servant overhears this.
    • The Six Servants: The servant with the long neck is the most famous character in the Netherlands, due to him being the mascotte of the fairy tale attraction park De Efteling.
    • Sleeping Beauty: Sleeping Beauty pricking herself on the spinning wheel, then sleeping for a hundred years note 
    • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The queen standing in front of the mirror and saying: "Mirror, mirror, on the wall: who's the fairest one of all?" Snowhite biting the poisoned apple.
    • The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids: The wolf putting his whitened paw in front of the window pane and not being recognized by anyone.
  • The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen:
    • The Emperor's New Clothes: The emperor walking through the streets in the nude, until one little child finally notices the emperor is naked, which then spreads to the rest of the spectators.
    • The Little Match Girl: The girl striking her final match, then dying from the cold.
    • The Little Mermaid: The mermaid sitting on a rock. The original tale differs a lot from the Disney feature, especially the ending.
    • The Princess and the Pea: The princess lying on all those mattresses, then complaining she had a bad night because one of the servants had put a pea underneath one of the mattresses, thus proving she is a princess after all.
    • The Ugly Duckling: The duckling finally realizing he wasn't ugly, he was just another bird species, namely a swan.
  • The fairy tales of Joseph Jacobs
    • Goldilocks: The little bear claiming his porridge is too hot. The bears later discovering Goldilocks inside their bed.
    • Jack And The Bean Stalk: Jack climbing the bean stalk. The giant saying: "Fee Fei Fo Fum: I smell the blood of an Englishman."
    • The Three Little Pigs: The wolf blowing down the first two houses.
  • Frankenstein:
    • Frankenstein's monster being brought to life at night in the castle.
  • Gulliver's Travels: Gulliver being bound to the ground by the people of Lilliput. The scene where he defeats the enemies' battle ships by standing in the sea is also famous.
  • Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates: Hans preventing a flood by sticking his finger into the dyke. Also note, that this is actually a story-within-the-story.
  • The Iliad: Priamus on his knees before Achilles begging him for the body of his son Hector.
  • The Odyssey
    • Penelope weaving the funeral cloth for Laertes at day and then unraveling it at nights.
    • Odysseus outwitting Polyphemus and then making the mistake of revealing his real name.
    • Odysseus in the Underworld, especially meeting with the shades of his mother and of Achilles.
    • Odysseus bound to the mast as his ship sails past the Sirens' rock.
    • Odysseus returning to his home disguised as a beggar. The dog! The dog!
    • Odysseus shooting the arrow through the twelve axes and then slaughtering the suitors.
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: The Headless Horseman riding his horse in the dead of night.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf facing the Balrog. "You cannot pass."
    • Frodo standing on a ledge, preparing to throw the ring into the fires of Mount Doom.
  • Bilbo's riddle-duel with Gollum in The Hobbit. "What has it got in its pocketses?"
    • Also his confrontation with Smaug.
  • Max Havelaar: The opening scene, where Havelaar states: "I'm a merchant in coffee".
  • The pursuit through the sewers of Paris in Les Misérables.
    • The child Cosette sweeping the Thenardier's inn.
    • The deaths of Fantine, Gavroche and Javert.
  • In the Nibelungenlied there's Siegfried's murder, Hagen sinking the treasure in the Rhine, and the Burgundians' final stand in Etzel's burning castle.
  • Oliver Twist:
    • Oliver asking: "Please sir, I want some more" while being in the orphanage and getting sold off as a result.
    • Oliver joining the gang of Fagin.
  • Parzival: In both Chrétien de Troyes' and Wolfgang von Eschenbach's version of the story the scene in which Percivale is thrown into a mazement looking at three drops of blood in the snow. Wolfram, who unlike Chrétien got to finish his epic poem, also has the scene at the end where Percivale finally asks Amfortas: "What ails you, uncle?"
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin: The Pied Piper leading the rats and later the children away by playing the flute.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Lizzie telling Darcy he is not the kind of man she will ever marry.
  • The Raven: The raven sitting on the bust of Pallas, saying "Nevermore".
  • Reynard the Fox: The animals arriving in court to complain about Reynard.
  • Robinson Crusoe discovering the footprints of another man on his island.
  • Sherlock Holmes' death which didn't last long because of his popularity. It's become an inside joke of the franchise ever since.
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther: Werther first meeting Lotte as she cuts bread and butter for her eight younger siblings. Werther on his knees before Lotte. Lotte before Werther's grave.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Jekyll transforming into Hyde.
  • Struwwelpeter: Struwwelpeter's hair and nails growing and having him change into a tree, because he didn't wash himself. The thumbsucker child having his thumbs cut off by a man with a large scissor.
  • The Tell Tale Heart: The murderer being tormented by the knowledge that the body is buried underneath the floor.
  • The Three Musketeers, D' Artagnan's triple duel, which turns into a fight of all four of them against the Cardinal's guards.
  • Till Eulenspiegel: Till walking the tightrope with the shoes of all the spectators.
  • Tom Robinson's trial from To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: The giant squid attacking the submarine.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Firestar's Awesome Moment of Crowning
    • Scourge one-shoting Tigerstar in a very Cruel and Unusual Death.
    • Brambeclaw killing his half-brother via ramming a stick through his throat.
    • Ashfur trying to burn Squirrelflight and her kits alive, both for the scene itself and for the Wham Line that single-handedly shaped the next seven books in the series.
    • The climactic battle between Firestar and Tigerstar at the end of the Omen of the Stars arc.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh: Winnie eating honey with his head stuck entirely into the pot.

    Music 
  • Abba: The band how they appeared during their winning performance in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1974.
    • The very first performance of "Dancing Queen" at the king of Sweden's wedding.
  • Louis Armstrong: Laughing and hamming it up with a big grin, holding a white handkerchief too.
  • Josephine Baker: Dancing around in her banana skirt.
  • The Beatles:
  • David Bowie: His Ziggy Stardust image.
  • James Brown: Faking that he is too tired to go on anymore and seemingly walking off stage, while a band member puts a cloak over his back, only to suddenly leap back and grab the mike again.
  • Cab Calloway: Calloway dancing around in his hepcat white suit and fedora hat.
  • Bob Dylan holding lyric cards while his song is playing in the most famous scene of Don't Look Back.
  • Dizzy Gillespie playing the trumpet, with bulbous cheeks.
  • Michael Jackson
    • The preteen Jackson dancing and singing alongside The Jackson Five.
    • The Moon Walk Dance, complete with one glove on his hand.
    • Jackson dancing on the illuminating tiles in the music video of "Billie Jean".
    • Jackson and the rivaling gang members dancing together near the end of the music video of "Beat It".
    • Jackson transforming into a werecat and later a zombie in the music video of Thriller, which leads to the thriller dance that has often been parodied. Also the final shot where he is revealed to have scary cat eyes.
    • The scenes where he dances in a leather jacket along with fellow gang members in the music video of Bad.
    • The gravity lean scene in the music video of "Smooth Criminal".
    • The racial face morphing scene in the music video of "Black Or White" and the (often ommitted) scenes afterwards where he dances in a back alley, hits a car with a crowbar and changes into a panther.
  • Madonna: Appearing on stage in her white Gaultier bra.
  • Freddie Mercury: The mustached front man parading around on stage with his microphone stand.
  • Queen: The opening shot of the music video for "Bohemian Rhapsody", where the band members are seen as four heads together. This has become so iconic that is has been imitated and parodied often.
  • Elvis Presley
    • Elvis shaking his hips on the Ed Sullivan Show.
    • Elvis dancing with prisoners in Jailhouse Rock.
    • Elvis in his white glitter suit during his Las Vegas period. Obligatory to that image are the phrases: "Thank you, thank you very much" and the phrase: "Elvis has left the building".
  • Frank Sinatra: The young singer in his Cool Hat and suit, with the often imitated Coat Over the Shoulder pose.
  • PSY: The Gangnam Style music video's elevator scene.

    Music Videos 
  • Michael Jackson:
    • "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough": Michael dancing with three clones of himself.
    • "Billie Jean": Michael dancing on the illuminating tiles.
    • "Beat It": The final scene where he and other dancers do a synchronized line dance.
    • Jackson transforming into a werecat and later a zombie in the music video of "Thriller", which leads to the thriller dance that has often been parodied. Also the final shot where he is revealed to have scary cat eyes.
    • The scenes where he dances in a leather jacket along with fellow gang members in the music video of "Bad".
    • The gravity lean scene in the music video of "Smooth Criminal".
    • The racial face morphing scene in the music video of "Black Or White" and the (often ommitted) scenes afterwards where he dances in a back alley, hits a car with a crowbar and changes into a panther.
  • Madonna:
    • "Like A Virgin": Dancing on a gondola.
    • "Like a Prayer": The controversial scene where a black Jesus Christ statue is brought to live, upon which they embrace and she turns out to have stigmata afterwards.
    • "Justify My Love": Madonna meeting many people of Ambiguous Gender in semi-pornographic poses.
    • "Vogue": Madonna striking a pose by holding her hands in front of her forehead and chin.
    • "Music": The strip club.
    • "Frozen": The morphing sequence.
    • "Ray of Light": Dancing to a time lapse video.
  • MC Hammer: The scene in "Can't Touch This" where he dances around in baggy pants, while four young women are behind him in the background.
  • Britney Spears: Dancing in a young schoolgirl outfit in the hallway of the school in "Baby One More Time".
  • Eminem falling off a building in "The Way I Am".
  • Alanis Morisette singing "Ironic" in her car - as the driver and three passengers.
  • Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" has two, Slash soloing outside a church and a sad Axl lying on a casket in the rain.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Hulk Hogan bodyslamming André the Giant at WrestleMania III, not to mention the pre-match staredown.
    • Or his Face–Heel Turn in WCW, which was big enough to be reported in the news.
    • The Finger Poke of Doom.
  • Shawn Michaels flying down to the ring on a zip line is this for WrestleMania XII.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
    • "Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!"
    • His submission match with Bret Hart in WrestleMania 13.
    • Him stunning Vince McMahon.
    • Him shoving Mike Tyson.
    • His WrestleMania matches with The Rock.
    • Owen Hart's botched piledriver that almost paralysed Austin and shortened his career by decades.
  • The Undertaker shoving Mick Foley off a sixteen foot cell.
  • A negative example for WCW, when they spoilt Foley winning the WWF Championship and then insulted him. The other events that night may have been excused but many fans and experts point to this one scene that killed WCW.
  • The death of Owen Hart.
  • IT'S ME, AUSTIN!! IT WAS ME ALL ALONG!!!
  • The Montreal Screwjob.
  • Shane McMahon buying WCW.
  • Brock Lesnar
    • His botched shooting-star press at WrestleMania XIX.
    • Him superplexing The Big Show and destroying the ring in a 2003 edition of Smackdown!
    • Ending The Undertaker's two-decade long Wrestlemania winning streak at WrestleMania XXX.
    • His lopsided match with John Cena at Summerslam.
  • Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero celebrating in the middle of the ring as world champions at the end of WrestleMania XX.
    • The Triple Threat World Heavyweight Championship Match which WWE has been trying to replicate ever since.
  • The debut of The Nexus and their trashing of the WWE RAW set.
  • CM Punk's promo on the 6/27/11 Raw and him leaving with the WWE Title at Money In The Bank.
  • Shane Douglas dropping the NWA Championship belt and saying it "can kiss my ass!"
  • Edge spearing Jeff Hardy from the top of a ladder at Wrestlemania X-7.
  • Elix Skipper doing a tightrope walk across the steel cage and delivering a hurricarana to Chris Harris at TNA Turning Point 2004.
  • The Chris Benoit murder-suicide.
  • Triple H's squash match with Ultimate Warrior which he considers one of the low points of his career. He and Shawn Michaels poked fun at this in their European Championship match.
  • Seth Rollins turning on The Shield.
  • Ultimate Warrior winning the WWF Championship while still being the Intercontinental Champion.
  • Kane Tombstone piledriving Pete Rose.
  • Sid Justice dislocating his leg on national TV.
  • The debut of AJ Styles at the 2016 Royal Rumble.
  • Actor David Arquette winning the WCW Championship, which is considered the company's Jump the Shark moment.

    Sports 
  • Ask people in Chicago, and they'll tell you that the Cubs lost the 2003 NLCS because of Steve Bartman. Forget the fact that they couldn't get an out the rest of the inning, and then lost the next game. No, it all comes down to that one play.
    • It might make Cubs fans feel better to realize that their Arch-Nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals, had essentially the same thing happen in the 1985 World Series, when the Denkinger Call, a blown umpiring call, entered Cardinals infamy, with the point that they couldn't get out of the inning either, and then also lost the next game. However, it probably doesn't.
  • Similar with Buckner in the 1986 World Series. The Red Sox had already blown a two run lead with two outs in the 10th inning. Buckner's error allowed the third (albeit winning) run to score. The Red Sox also blew a three run lead the next game to lose the Series. Ask most people why the Red Sox lost that series though, and they'll tell you about the Buckner play.
  • Michael Jordan hitting "The Shot" over Craig Ehlo to eliminate the Cavs in Game 5.
  • Carlton Fisk waving a home run ball fair in the 1975 World Series. Of course, Boston lost the series to the Big Red Machine, one of the greater teams in history, but the Fisk home run is what people most focus on.
  • 2013 ALCS. The Red Sox down by four, bottom of the eighth inning in game 2, David Ortiz hits a grand slam, culminating into a walk-off run in the ninth. The image in every New England newspaper the next day was of a BPD officer in the bullpen with his arms raised in excitement as Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter went tumbling into the bullpen trying to catch the ball (though his excitement was more over the home run than Hunter doing a flip over the wall).
  • 1980 Miracle on Ice "Do you believe in miracles?! YES!" Also, the team celebrating after Eruzione's goal to take the lead.
  • The FIFA World Cup has a few.
    • Pelé's goal in the 1958 final, and Maradona's goal versus England in 1986 (no, not the one he punched the ball!).
    • The 1954 final: Helmut Rahn's winning goal against Hungary ("Aus dem Hintergrund müsste Rahn kommen...") and the West German team lifting coach Sepp Herberger and captain Fritz Walther on their shoulders in the rain after the handing-over of the Jules Rimet Cup. Doubles as a signature scene for the German national team.
    • The extra time of the "Game of the Century", Italy vs. West Germany 4-3, in Mexico 1970. Fans remember how quickly and often the score changed that they tend to forget how boring the regular 90 minutes were in comparison. (Italy took an early 1-0 lead and then defended it by hook and by crook until Karl-Heinz Schnellinger equalized in the 90th minute).
    • The 2006 final: French football icon Zinedine Zidane headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi and getting a red card on his last international game.
  • 2004 ALCS Dave Roberts stealing second base.
  • Super Bowl:
    • Super Bowl III: Joe Namath raising his finger in victory while walking back to the locker room, after his Jets upset the Colts.
    • Super Bowl X: Lynn Swann's "Swann Dive".
    • Super Bowl XXV: Scott Norwood's 47-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide right, resulting in the Bills losing 20-19 to the Giants.
    • Super Bowl XXXII: John Elway being hit by tackles from both sides, spinning in midair and slamming into the ground, on his way to leading the Denver Broncos to winning their first Super Bowl.
    • Super Bowl XXXIV: Titans receiver Kevin Dyson's touchdown attempt ending one yard short of the goal line, at the end of the game.
    • Janet Jackson's halftime show "wardrobe malfunction" at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
    • Super Bowl XLII: Quarterback Eli Manning throwing a pass after escaping a sack that was caught by third string wide receiver David Tyree against his helmet while being pulled to the ground.
    • Super Bowl XLIII: The Steelers' Santonio Holmes catching the game-winning touchdown pass, while keeping both of his feet in bounds.
    • Super Bowl XLIV: Tracy Porter intercepting Peyton Manning's pass and returning it for a touchdown, which sealed the game for the Saints.
    • Super Bowl XLVII: The power outage a few minutes into the second half of the game.
    • Super Bowl XLVIII: At the start of the game, Broncos center Manny Ramirez botched a snap to Peyton Manning, resulting in a safety for the Seahawks. This incident lead to the Broncos getting blown out 43-8.
    • Super Bowl XLIX: Combined with Down to the Last Play; it seemed that the image of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse making his juggling catch was going to be the game's biggest moment. Two plays later, New England Patriots rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler (who played a role in said catch) one-upped that by intercepting a Russell Wilson pass intended for Ricardo Lockette at the goal line, saving the Patriots' victory and humiliating the Seahawks for making an awful play call.
  • For NASCAR: the fatal crash of Dale Earnhardt at the 2001 Daytona 500.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates Hall-of-Famer Bill Mazeroski was regarded as a superb second baseman; his batting was so unremarkable that it nearly cost him his chance to be in the Hall. What is he remembered for? In the Game Seven of the 1960 World Series, he cracked a walk-off home run that won his team the Series.
  • The Green Bay Packers:
    • The Packers carrying Vince Lombardi off the field after winning Super Bowl II, his final game as the team's head coach.
    • Another Packers example is Brett Favre ripping off his helmet and running off the field after throwing a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXI on Green Bay's second play from scrimmage.
  • "The Catch", in which Dwight Clark caught a pass from Joe Montana to win the 1982 NFC Championship.
    • This was followed up years later by "The Catch II" (Steve Young to Terrell Owens) during the 1998 NFC Wild Card, and "The Catch III" (Alex Smith to Vernon Davis) during the 2011 NFC Divsional. All three Catches took place on 3rd and 3.
  • The Oakland Raiders were on the receiving end of two of the most controversial plays in NFL history: The Immaculate Reception (vs. the Steelers in the 1972 AFC Divisional) and The Tuck Rule Game (vs. the Patriots in the 2001 AFC Divisional).
  • "The Play". Lateral after lateral allowed Cal to win the 1982 Big Game with no time left on the clock, with the final receiver even having to run through the Stanford marching band to reach the end zone.
  • Jim Marshall will forever live in American football infamy for running the football the wrong way in a 1964 game against the 49ers.
    • At least the Vikings won that game. Roy Riegels of the California Golden Bears ran the wrong way in the 1929 Rose Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, only being stopped a couple yards from his own end zone by his own teammate before getting dogpiled. The next play was a blocked punt which yield two points to Georgia Tech, the ultimate difference in an 8-7 loss.
  • A weird, but awesome, aversion from the sport of mountaineering: "The Belay", in which climber Pete Schoening saved almost his whole climbing team on K2 from a fatal fall, maybe the most remembered moment in the entire sport — yet absolutely nobody saw it but Schoening, including, in all likelihood, the men whose lives he saved.

    Theatre 

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Iconic Scene

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SignatureScene