- Complete Monster: Charlie Rakes is an utterly corrupt Special Deputy of the commonwealth who demands a cut of the profits of the bootlegger heroes, The Bondurant Brothers Forrest and Jack. Rakes initiates brutal beatings and torture to get his way, and sends two mobsters to cut the eldest brother's throat and rape his girlfriend. After another conflict with the Bondurants, Rakes captures their friend Cricket and snaps his neck, simply because he's angry they called him a "nance."
- Crazy Awesome: Howard howling before treating Rakes' shotgun-wielding goons to a Mook Horror Show and beating them up in melee combat is quite impressive.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: After everything he survived, Forrest eventually dies from getting pneumonia due to drunkenly dancing on thin ice.
- He Really Can Act: Shia Laboeuf does not suck in this movie.
- Memetic Badass: Forrest is one in-universe. Nobody seems particularly surprised when they heard he walked twenty miles to hospital with his throat cut. It turns out that Maggie drove him there, but the fact that he survived long enough for her to do that is still quite impressive, and he certainly lives up to his Made of Iron reputation at the climax.
- Moral Event Horizon: Everyone in town considers Rakes to have crossed this when he murders Cricket, the friendly and harmless crippled boy.
- One-Scene Wonder: Gary Oldman as mobster Floyd Banner. He only appears in a couple of scenes (and only directly interacts with one of the main characters) but damn, is he memorable.
- Tearjerker: Cricket's death.