- This exchange:
Patricia: Is Mommy sleeping now ?Whitmore: Yeah. Mommy's sleeping.
- The fact that she immediately crawls into his arms and hugs him tells you that even at all of six years old, she knows exactly what he really means.
- The look on Hiller's face when he finds out that the air base where his fiancee and stepson were headed has been destroyed. They're alive, but he doesn't know that, and they have a similar reaction when they think he's been killed.
- The scene where Russell's teenage son overhears his dad's last message... and not being able to say goodbye after all those times of thinking his dad was nothing but a loser.
- While Russell's kamikaze piloting is a truly awesome moment, the scene when he makes the decision to pilot his plane directly into the alien's energy weapon is still heartbreaking:
Russell: Do me a favor. Tell my children...I love them very much...
- What makes it worse is that Russell says this after looking at a picture of his children that he's taped to the inside of his plane.
- A meta example - this film was the swan song for an era. It was pretty much the last big-budget special-effects movie to rely almost entirely on practical effects and models, rather than CGI.