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Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene

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"And if you think that last explosion was something, just wait until the next one."

"It makes the big things look bigger when you've just had a quiet moment. If everything is whizz-bang constantly throughout the whole movie it just becomes nothing. So you have to carefully go to quiet and restrain things so that the other things hit you hard."

What can make a great action film truly great? You might remember some exciting fight, spectacular pyrotechnics, or awesome special effects, but they are not enough. Ironically, what really makes the difference is how good the film is at its quietest drama.

In this kind of scene, there are no expensive visuals or frenetic action, just usually two characters talking about what they believe in, what they care about, their deepest pains, or anything that relates to the stakes of the situation. In these scenes, the film artists are on their own to make them work without the technicians' help and that's where the talent must show through. This is not the same as the purely exposition scene in that there is something deeper displayed here.

In those scenes, you can understand the plot, grasp its theme, or develop a rapport with the characters to make the big scenes matter to you. If the crew can pull off such a scene well to complement the visuals, then it confirms the greatness of the film while the visuals become a nice bonus.

When it really works, it can make the action sequences all the more compelling, because the quiet scenes have allowed you to emotionally invest in the characters and care about their fate.

When that happens, it beats big-budget visuals any day.

When it doesn't work, Narm tends to follow. It also can result in a jarring case of Mood Whiplash.

Often goes hand-in-hand with No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine. See also Just Here for Godzilla, where the audience still just wants the action scenes no matter how well done the drama is. See Heroes Gone Fishing if the scene occurs while the characters have taken a break from the action to eat a meal, watch a movie, or simply do something to relax. The Bottle Episode is a similar concept; without any big-budget special effects or set design, it's up to the actors to give a compelling performance.

Super-Trope of After-Action Patch-Up, Calm Before the Storm, Non Violent Initial Confrontation, and Pre-Battle Banter.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • For all the crap Gundam SEED Destiny has leveled at it, there's a rather effective scene of this sort during episode 17 where Athrun Zala talks with Shinn about how those with power need to know how to use it properly, otherwise they'll just be causing more of the grief that they themselves have suffered already.
  • In Volume 3 of Hellsing there is a simple scene where Walter and Alucard are watching Seras train the new recruits and they discuss (among other things) their previous battles against the Nazis, why Alucard made Seras a vampire, and how Walter is getting on in years. That scene highlights some of the story's themes (such as monsters controlled by humans and natural age versus immortality) as well as showing us Alucard's high regard for Seras; we also get to see the friendship between Walter and Alucard.
  • Cowboy Bebop
    • The series finale has one scene when Spike shares one last meal with Jet and has a conversation with Faye about how people ultimately can't run away from their past forever. This scene shows, despite all of their differences in the past, they are a Band of Brothers — but Spike can't stay with them anymore.
    • Two scenes intercut with one another in Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door stand out: where main baddie Vincent reveals his tragic backstory to Faye (accompanied by his lovely little leitmotif "Is it Real?"), and when Spike explains to Electra why he's chasing after Vincent: he feels that they share the same soul.
  • The anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man adds a quiet, low-key scene (not present in the manga) of Aki Hayakawa waking up in the morning, brewing himself a mug of coffee and reading the newspaper, cleaning the apartment, and cooking breakfast for himself and Denji. It's rather peaceful and soothing, especially after an intense fight scene earlier in the episode, and makes Power barging into the boys' apartment and immediately starting to wreck the place even funnier as a result.
  • Although Chrono Crusade is presented as a supernatural shounen manga, many of its themes are centered on relationships between the characters, so these types of scenes happen frequently. One that stands out is Chrono and Rosette having a conversation during a carnival—it begins as a conversation of how beautiful the lights of the city are, but quickly becomes one where Chrono reveals just how attached he is to Rosette and how much she means to him.
  • The Castle of Cagliostro has a number of quiet scenes. It comes from Hayao Miyazaki's desire for "breathing" in a film. They are present to contrast against the tense action scenes and allow the audience to relax, or fall in love. One special scene in this film is Lupin wandering around a burnt-out castle in a contemplative mood (because Lupin is remembering his past) with Jigen wondering what is preoccupying him before demanding an explanation. Another special scene is when Lupin has broken into Clarisse's room and is trying to give her hope that he can help her escape (giving her hope and letting the audience fall in love with her innocence).
  • Ninja Slayer: The second half of Episode 7 falls into this, where Ninja Slayer talks with an old man.
  • Although Puella Magi Madoka Magica is most famous for Mami and Homura's insanely overpowered attacks and the various shocking twists, almost all of the character development happens in the numerous combat-free personal and philosophical conversations. Several scenes are devoted to Madoka talking to her mom or dad about life and growing up. Most of the quiet scenes foreshadow upcoming action-packed events and are essential to making the characters relatable.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion plays up the action elements to their greatest strengths as a film, but there are still quiet, poignant moments. "You Can (Not) Advance" has one excellent example: the night after the pilots defeat Sahaquiel, Asuka enters Shinji's room — without knocking — and enters his bed while he's still in it — without greeting him —, deliberately facing away from him. The ensuing dialogue is personal, intimate (by Asuka's standards), sentimental, and quiet. Compared to the rest of this film, possibly the most action-packed, adrenaline-pumped of any of the Rebuild movies, this scene is powerfully soft.
  • The films of Mamoru Oshii, almost as a trademark, tend to trade off between flashy and bombastic action sequences and long, quiet stretches containing some combination of dialogue (usually of a heavily philosophical bent), striking imagery, and beautiful, ambient Kenji Kawai music. In fact, even though most of his films could be classified as "action films", the drama scenes often outnumber the action scenes, making them a controversial prospect for viewers who are more interested in action. A particularly notable example of this is the scene between Batou and his dog in Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, which is set to melancholy smooth jazz with no dialogue and massive amounts of emotion, right in the middle of an otherwise dark, cold and violent film.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: The scene at the end of the "God of War Legend" story arc where Careful S. visits Kalo's grave and is told by Arcas that heroes turn into stars in the sky almost certainly counts, being that Happy Heroes is an action series and most of the final episode of the arc is pure, unadulterated action.

    Comic Books 
  • Supergirl:
    • The beginning of story arc Bizarrogirl alternates drama and action scenes. After the destruction of New Krypton, Kara tells her "aunt" Lana Lang about her desire to move on and forget the past. Later both women find themselves in a cafe, talking about Linda's future plans right before a car crashes into the place.
    • Red Daughter of Krypton has a good number of quieter scenes and introspective conversations between action sequences in order to highlight the main character is more complex than "angry, angsty teenager".
    • Supergirl Special starts with a battle scene, continues with Kara talking to her family and feeling introspective, introduces another scene where the Super Family has to rescue people from a burning building, and ends up with Kara having heart-to-heart talks with Lois and Power Girl.
    • Supergirl Adventures Girl Of Steel: One issue starts with Clark talking to Kara after she has had an argument with his parents, continues with a space battle and ends with Kara flying back to the Kent Farm to apologize.
  • A good deal of Watchmen is made up of low-key conversation between the heroes, or Rorschach and his state-appointed psychiatrist, or a news vendor and a neighborhood kid. The scene where the heroes learn that Ozymandias has already destroyed New York is played as an anticlimax.
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF: This furry comic distinguished itself as a real groundbreaker as a Mature Animal Story with its habit of following up action sequences with the characters having serious discussions about the sociopolitical ramifications of them. In fact, it got to the point that "sociopolitical ramifications" became a catchphrase in 1980s and '90s Furry Fandom.

    Fan Works 
  • Bird: Part of the narrative strength of the asylum arcs is the contrast between the quiet, emotional slice-of-life segments, the eerie, psychological horror segments, and the intense action segments. This is taken to a further extreme in the fight against Hatchetface, which rapidly cycles between all three.
  • Tiberium Wars has several of these scenes scattered throughout it, with one of the most poignant scenes being a discussion between GDI Commander Karrde and retired Colonel Parker, where they talk about the facelessness of mechanized and network-centric warfare. A similar scene happens between Nod Commander Rawne and his friend Captain Alvarez of the Black Hand, where the latter is dealing with the guilt of having to execute his own wounded to allow the rest of his troops to escape.
  • The Dragon and the Butterfly: After the fight between the Madrigals and the Vikings (aka, the best custody battle of all time), Hiccup is invited to spend the night at Casita, since the Madrigals don't know if the Vikings will try to come for him in the night. While helping him get set up for the night, Mirabel has a discussion with Hiccup about how he feels about seeing his (disowned) father again.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, battle scenes alternate with quiet moments where different characters have light-hearted or serious conversations and bond with or open up to each other a bit.
  • Mass Effect: Human Revolution, as a crossover between two RPGs, does this a lot and well.
  • The Pony POV Series does this during both the Dark World Series and the Wedding Arc, using plenty of Breather Episodes in between all the fighting.
  • Zootopia 2 The Movie has one, following their escape from an evil villain's lair.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 fanfiction Secret War this happens a lot. The main character Attelus Kaltos goes from running through a daemon infested city, then sending them back into the warp then the next chapter he's confiding with his friends about his deeply Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines is known for its exciting and creative Pokémon battles, among other action bits, but its more subdued moments also shine. One standout example is the conversation between Ash and Belladonna in the Gringy City power plant during Chapter 23.
  • Foxfire: the suspense-filled Woman In White Arc where Li confronts the Gaang, nearly gets taken by a murderous ghost and escapes the Dai Li has a quiet train ride scene that has Li reveal his chest scar to Jet, Jin, and Shanyuan.
  • Several pop up over the course of Young Justice: Darkness Falls. The most noticeable though is probably a Quiet EPISODE right before the finale. There's no supervillain fights whatsoever in the episode, and most of the time is taken up with team members making their peace with others, dealing with some personal demons or other things that will give the final battle far more importance.
  • Kara of Rokyn: Quiet, slice-of-life scenes where the main character is talking to her parents, grooming her pet cat... are intermingled with life-changing battles where Kara fights all kind of foes and triumphs against overwhelming odds.
  • In A Prize for Three Empires, scenes where Carol Danvers is having a heart-to-heart talk with her mother or one friend may be and often is followed with Carol fighting off alien soldiers.
  • Ancienverse: Tribulations is heavily driven by action, except for the major scenes where Serena speaks with Reeree. Expect this a lot in the series in general.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, tender scenes where Kara and her boyfriend talk about what their respective lives were like and their goals for the future, or simply try to have a good time without anybody interfering, alternate with cosmic-level battles for the fate of the universe.
  • A Knight's Watch: Despite the added emphasis on action, as noted above, there are numerous moments of quiet and character building for the protagonists, most involving Jon.
  • In Batman fanfic Dance with the Demons, action-packed martial arts fights are interspersed with quiet talks between, for example, Bruce and Selina, or Selina and her alternate reality daughter Helena.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ice Age has a very quiet and moving scene when the party travels through the caves, and we learn Manny's backstory, told entirely through moving cave paintings without dialogue.
  • Kung Fu Panda, being a series of kung-fu films, has several instances:
    • Kung Fu Panda has the nighttime stairs argument between Po and Shifu, in which we learn that whatever disdain his heroes have for Po, it is positively kind compared to how much the panda feels he is a fat failure. Thus, Shifu realizes that he must somehow have his new student not only learn martial arts but also gain some self-esteem.
    • Kung Fu Panda 2 has three major scenes: the nighttime boat scene that shows how close as friends Po and Tigress have become, their later confrontation in the prison, and Po and the Soothsayer in Po's home village, where he remembers his horrific past and comes to terms with it.
  • The Incredibles. Nearly every moment where something isn't blowing up is an example. In particular, the confession right before the final fight - where Mr. Incredible admits to his wife that he's not strong enough to bear the pain of losing them again - is very powerful.
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010) had a few very quiet, very touching scenes, notably during Hiccup and Toothless' forbidden friendship scene, and Astrid's pep talk to Hiccup during the climax of the movie.
  • The LEGO Movie surprisingly had this trope from time to time. For every funny moment or LEGO joke there's a quieter scene about someone's worth or sacrificing themselves to save everyone from execution, and it plays very well.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Several, but one that takes the cake is Sally picking the flower which transforms into a tiny Christmas tree, and then tragically bursts into flames right before her eyes.
  • Patlabor: The Movie is a Real Robot film about construction mecha randomly going on rampages. It has several quiet sequences of Detective Matsui tracing Big Bad Eiichi Hoba's movements across Tokyo through old flophouses that are being demolished to make way for new construction.
  • Tarzan has the scene where Kala takes Tarzan to the abandoned treehouse where she found him as a baby.
  • In Zootopia, we have the scene where Judy is apologizing to Nick for her ignorant and small-minded comments about predators at the press conference. No background music, just dialogue and Judy breaking down crying halfway through until Nick decides to forgive her.
  • According to the creators of the first three BIONICLE films, LEGO's original proposal was two hours of non-stop action. They had to educate the toy company about storytelling, cut the movies down to about an hour, and added more character moments. Tahu and Gali mending their fellowship, Takua watching Jaller (temporarily) die and accepting his own fate in the first movie, Vakama struggling with insecurities and watching Lhikan die in the second, and numerous more moments about Vakama's self doubt in the third. The third movie had more such scenes planned (they're in the short novel adaptation), but the final film replaced them with action instead just to give the side characters more things to do.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Carry On Behind: Unusually for the Carry On films, there is a long and touchingly emotive scene when Linda Upmore's mother, Daphne Barnes, reunites with her estranged husband, Henry, during a game of cards.
  • Daylight's End: Multiplayers times.
    • The night after Rourke first arrives at the police station, there is a long scene showing several leaders and fighters of the group having nightmares, looking concernedly at their sleeping loved ones, or praying.
    • Before Ethan joins Rourke in the raid on the nest, he has a conversation with his father about a The American Civil War story that Frank told him years ago that he relates to their present situation.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) has the whole subplot on the farm as one big quiet drama scene in an action film.
  • Inception features one of these as the climax of the entire film, where we finally see whether or not Fischer reconciles with the memory of his father.
  • Iron Eagle, While Doug and Chappy are flying towards their target, they talk about being alone in the sky. Doug remarks how he regrets not appreciating his father's advice. Chappy tells him not to worry, that his father understood, and to just focus on the mission.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The scenes of the Shire at peace in The Fellowship of the Ring (especially in the Directors Cut), filled with laughter, friendship and happy children (what a warrior lays down his life to protect) is what makes us actually care whether or not Frodo and the Fellowship defeat Sauron or not.
    • The scene between Aragorn and Arwen on the bridge in The Fellowship of the Ring, It introduces depth to Aragorn's character and reveals his backstory.
    • There are a lot of these scenes in the films - Gimli and Legolas discussing Galadriel, Sam's speech about good at the end of The Two Towers, and Pippin and Faramir talking about strength are good examples - but the iconic moment representing this trope comes in the middle of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King. Pippin and Gandalf are waiting for the enemy to break down a door, and proceed to discuss life after death. Then the door breaks and they go right back to fighting.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Wolverine talks to Rogue on the train to convince her that she can find a place at Xavier's school.
    • X2: X-Men United: Bobby Drake's strained relationship with his family after he reveals to them that he's a mutant provides some dramatic heft to the story.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: There's a scene where Logan catches Rogue leaving to get the cure, and he asks her if she's sure that's what she truly wants, and if she's doing it for the right reasons.
    • X-Men: First Class: The many quiet talks between Charles and Erik about the latter's past and potentials as well as their differing views on human-mutant relations clinch how tragic their fall-out and eventual parting is.
    • The Wolverine: Logan develops a romance with Mariko.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: There are plenty of emotional, character-driven moments (especially with the younger Xavier) in between the spectacular action sequences.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: There are scenes dedicated to familial connections and friendships, such as Erik and Nina, Charles and Jean, Jean and Scott, etc.
    • Logan has a boatload of these thanks to its more grounded nature. Basically every scene where Logan and X-23 aren't ripping somebody to shreds is a downplayed, low-key conversation between the characters.
  • The conversation scenes in the classic film, The Seven Samurai such as when the Seven realize that the villagers are eating only scraps because of them and they decide to share their food with them.
  • Peter and Mary Jane talking at the hospital in Spider-Man.
  • Oskari and Moore bonding over a campfire in Big Game, inserted between frantic search for the latter by the bad guys and the refrigator sequence.
  • Star Wars has many.
    • A New Hope: After the heroes escape from the Death Star and the TIE fighter attack, there's a scene where Luke mourns Obi-Wan's death and Leia tries to comfort him.
    • The Empire Strikes Back: One of the most famous scenes of the entire series is when Luke tries and fails to lift his X-wing out of the swamp using the Force, and sits there dejected. Then Yoda lifts it out effortlessly to show him that anything is possible with the Force, if he tries hard enough.
    • Return of the Jedi: Vader and Luke's verbal duel on Endor. In that scene, Luke shows just how much he has matured in that he can now fight with logic and rhetoric against his father with as much skill as well with his lightsaber—the opposite of Vader taunting him to break his spirit in their last battle. Later there is the scene where Vader asks Luke to remove his mask before he dies, and Luke gives him a Jedi's funeral on Endor.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Anakin and Padme confess their love to each other and kiss for the first time before being led to their execution by the Geonosians ... which doesn't exactly go as planned.
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin and Palpatine discussing the nature of the Dark Side while at the opera. Also, Anakin and Obi-Wan's emotional argument before they duel on Mustafar, and Obi-Wan's breakdown after he defeats Anakin and leaves him to die there. There are also several drama scenes with Anakin and Padme, one of which has no dialogue at all; Windu has just gone to confront Sidious, telling Anakin to wait at the temple where he sits in the council chamber staring out at the apartment he shares with Padme, where she is also sitting and staring back at the temple, unknowingly returning each other's gazes until he finally leaves to head off Windu.
    • The Force Awakens: Han and Leia's reunion after the battle on Takodana, and their emotional goodbye when he leaves to destroy Starkiller Base. His confrontation with Kylo Ren is an especially good example.
    • Rogue One:
      • Jyn's angry confrontation with Saw Gerrera, followed shortly thereafter by her emotional breakdown while viewing her father's last message.
      • After Galen's death on Eadu, Jyn gets into an emotionally charged argument with Cassian about his role in it, where we learn a little about Cassian, namely the fact that he's been serving in the rebellion since he was six.
    • In The Last Jedi, Luke returns to the Millennium Falcon for the first time in decades, and has a nostalgia-charged conversation with R2-D2. Then there's the final reunion of the Skywalker twins on Crait, especially poignant because it's the last time Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will ever be onscreen together. There's also Luke Skywalker's conversation with Master Yoda on Ach-To, where Master Yoda tells his former pupil to let go of his self-loathing, and they share a moving conversation about the necessity of failure and moving on.
    • In Solo, Beckett and his crew talk about their personal motivations the night before the Train Job.
  • Gladiator has many, especially scenes between Marcus Aurelius and Maximus, Proximo and Maximus, Lucilla and Maximus, and Juba and Maximus.
  • James Bond:
    • In Goldfinger we have Auric Goldfinger's discussion to about his Evil Plan to contaminate Fort Knox. It turns the ploy of robbing the fort from a ridiculous cliche into a truly ingenious scheme by a master Big Bad.
    • In Casino Royale (2006), several of Bond's interactions alone with Vesper, especially their first, all wonderfully play into the audience feeling just as bad as Bond about her betrayal.
    • Lots of it in Quantum of Solace. James Bond and Mathis, the two at the bar, Camille talking about her past, and Bond getting his eponymous quantum of solace at the end of the movie are all arguably more significant than the action that goes in between them.
    • Skyfall has quite a few of these. One of these was the scene where Bond meets the new Q, exchange some witty banter with each other before shaking hands and parting in mutual respect. Another is Bond and M on the run and waiting for Silva to arrive at Skyfall.
  • Jaws: the family dinner scene and the sequence that includes Quint's Indianapolis speech. Though the latter is scary.
  • The scene in Jurassic Park (1993) in which Dr. Sattler and Hammond eat melting ice cream and discuss the flea circus provides a counterpoint (missing in the novel) of sympathy for Hammond and what he'd hoped to achieve, in contrast to the Science Is Bad message.
    • The book had something similar, but Hammond was being a jerkass and bragging about his flea circus to his surviving doctor, Wu.
    • Another was Grant and the kids bedding down in a tree, with Grant promising to stay awake and watch for dinosaurs.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • The Dark Knight has the Joker's interrogation scene in before Batman takes over, the Joker again turning Harvey Dent into Two-Face in the hospital, and Alfred telling about his military past in Burma.
    • The Dark Knight Rises has Blake talking with Bruce at Wayne Manor about being a Stepford Smiler, the scene between Bruce and Bane in the Pit, Bruce Wayne goes dancing with Selina Kyle, Bruce turning to Selina for help, and all of the scenes that Alfred appears in.
  • In ¡Three Amigos! there's The Pre-Fight Speech at the village trying to get the villagers to rally together to defeat the bad guy.
  • Kingdom of Heaven, especially the director's cut, has many, especially one-on-one scenes between Balian and, variously, Godfrey, the Hospitaller, King Baldwin, Sybilla, and Imad.
  • One of the main reasons Speed Racer avoided the acting problems of other films with chroma-keyed backgrounds is that there are a great deal of scenes where the actors are just talking to each other.
  • In Bruges was mostly made of these, made all the more effective by a combination of Brendan Gleeson's mad acting skills and Colin Farrell's eyebrows. There was only one scene that could genuinely be called an "action scene."
  • Every Star Trek movie has one of these — usually some pondering on the nature of humanity.
    • One example is the conversation between Picard and Shinzon in Nemesis before he shows his true colors as an Evil Counterpart — but which also shows Shinzon's yearning for a different life, represented by the man he was cloned from.
    • In the 2009 film, most of Spock's childhood (besides the schoolyard scuffle) is an extended quiet drama scene. So too Spock and Uhura's meeting in the elevator after Vulcan is destroyed, and Spock and Sarek's scenes together. Also, "James T. Kirk...I have been and always shall be, your friend."note 
    • Kirk and Pike's conversation at the bar in Star Trek Into Darkness.
    • Several in Star Trek Beyond, including the scene where Spock learns about the death of his future self, and his later conversation with Bones McCoy about the same thing, including a line that's especially poignant considering The Character Died with Him:
      Spock: When you have lived as many lives as he, fear of death is illogical.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:
    • Allan Quatermain and Tom Sawyer attempt to have one of these on the deck of the ship, where Quatermain tells Sawyer about his son's death.
    • There's one in a deleted scene, where Dr. Jekyll tells Captain Nemo about the horrible things that Mr. Hyde has done, and how he is cursed to remember all of it. Captain Nemo replies that his curse is that he must remember all of the terrible things he has done himself.
  • Right before the swordfight scene in The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya has this sort of moment with the Man in Black, talking about his father's murder. The result is that both characters are shown to be merely surface villains and are actually quite likable fellows; in fact, neither of them is a villain at all. It helps the dramatic impact of their talk that it's followed by one of the best cinematic swordfights ever, during which they maintain the chatty, lighthearted tone they had been using before the big dramatic moment - compare their conversation before "I swear on the soul of my father... you will reach the top alive", and during the first few moments of the duel, and the tone is exactly the same.
  • Blade Runner and its sequel invert this trope, both of them are moody, philosophical thought-pieces with occasional bursts of sudden, violent action. 2049 in particular has loads of these, including several conversations between K and his holographic "girlfriend" Joi about the nature of life and sentience. There's also Deckard and K's conversation in the bar, the proper meeting of Blade Runners from two separate eras with too many secrets for each other.
  • The Hunt for Red October has quite a few of these. While it's tense summer action thriller, it has countless scenes of characters just talking, and much of the tension and the drama comes from these conversations.
  • The Terminator series:
    • The first film The Terminator has Sarah and Kyle Reese making love to a piano version of the theme.
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day has several, notably the brief layover at the Mexican farm where Sarah ponders the nature of The Terminator, and how much of a father figure he has become to John. Also the "why do you cry?" scene happens here. The Director's Cut adds a few more to the movie, including Sarah's dream about Kyle, John and Sarah removing the "read-only" block from the Terminator, and John trying to teach the Terminator how to smile during a meal stop. They add several layers of depth to the movie and its themes.
    • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines deliberately tries to invoke this trope (as stated by Director Johnathan Mostow in the DVD commentary) during the reminiscing scene between John Connor and Kate Brewster in the back of the vet truck.
    • Terminator Salvation has Marcus and Blair by the fire. The scene where Blair washes herself topless as Marcus looks on was cut from the theatrical release, but reinstated into the special edition Blu Ray disc.
  • Die Hard
    • The first movie has Powell's "I shot a kid" speech from the first, and McClane's "if I don't make it out alive" speech whilst he's picking glass out of his feet.
    • John McClane's "That Guy" speech in Live Free or Die Hard
  • Battle Royale: Amid the scenes of carnage and middle school kids gunning or hacking each other down, there are plentiful flashbacks (in all three adaptations) to their childhood and school life; in Shuya, Noriko, Shinji, Sugimura, and Kawada's cases, these tend to be moments of quiet introspection and surprisingly deep development. Then The Movie provides scenes such as the heart-to-heart at the clinic, with wonderful performances from the real school-age actors.
  • In Deep Impact, aging pilot "Fish" Tanner consoles the recently-blinded Oren after their mission's failure, and then reads Moby-Dick to him.
  • Robert De Niro's bank robber and Al Pacino's cop meet over coffee in Heat.
  • Through The Bourne Series Bourne has several of these, with Marie, Irena Neski and Nicky Parsons respectively. Also, the scene with Professor in the field.
  • There are two highlights in Independence Day: One, Monumental Damage; Two, Will Smith cursing an unconscious alien as he drags it across the desert. A review said that the second would remain enjoyable even after the explosive effects were old hat.
  • The Hurt Locker:
    • Subverted where one of these scenes is a gunfight. The "quiet" and "drama" parts happen because it's a Sniper Duel played with more realism than is usually done.
    • There's also the scene of the company getting drunk and messing around in their quarters that lightens the mood a little, and the scene at the end where Jeremy Renner's character goes home on leave and is grocery shopping with his wife.
  • Zero Dark Thirty is something of an inversion in that it is mostly a tense political thriller with moments of intense abrupt action.
  • Exaggerated to the point of inversion with the entire film Inglourious Basterds. Although it was made it out to be a live-action Wolfenstein by the trailers, it's actually a heavily dialogue driven suspense-drama with violence being delivered in small, infrequent doses modified spiked with concentrated Squick and theatrics.
  • Alien:
    • Ripley putting Newt to bed in Aliens.
    • This quite effective exchange in AVP: Alien vs. Predator, easily one of the better moments in the film:
      Alexa Woods: There's no room for sick men on this expedition.
      Charles Bishop Weyland: My doctors tell me the worst is behind me.
      Lex: You're not a very good liar, Mr. Weyland. Stay on the ship. We'll update you at the top of every hour.
      Weyland: You know, when you get sick, you think about your life and how you're going to be remembered. You know what I realized would happen when I go? A ten percent fall in share prices. Maybe twelve. And that's it.
      Lex: I've heard this speech before. My dad broke his leg seven hundred feet from the summit of Mount Ranier. He was like you. He wouldn't go back or let us stop. We reached the top and he opened a bottle of champagne. I had my first drink with my dad at 14,400 feet. On the way down, he developed a blood clot in his leg that traveled to his lung. He suffered for four hours before dying twenty minutes from the base.
      Weyland: You think that's the last thing your dad remembers? The pain? Or drinking champagne with his daughter fourteen thousand feet in the air? I need this.
  • Gangs of New York has a scene featuring Bill the Butcher sitting in a rocking chair and... talking about his life, his background and his history with Priest Vallon. It's several minutes worth of screen time with camera focusing exclusively on Daniel Day-Lewis. And it's awesome.
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales has several, most notably Josey's final confrontation with his nemesis. A runner up would be Chief Dan George's "hard candy" speech.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In particular for our two glorious rascals, Tuco's discussion with his brother who is a monk, which escalates into a brief fight, and Blondie's comforting of a dying soldier, which gives them necessary depth to their characters.
  • The Expendables:
  • RoboCop (1987):
    • After Robo's fight with ED-209 and the Detroit police, Lewis takes him to the abandoned steel mill where he was murdered to hide. Robo takes off his helmet to see his human face again, and Lewis tells him what happened to his wife and son after he died.
    • Earlier in the film there is a scene where, after finding out his name in his former life (before he was rebuilt as RoboCop) was Alex Murphy, he goes to his old house and finds that his wife and son have moved away and the house is for sale. He wanders around the rooms for a while as memories of them come back to him.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982):
    • A few scenes in the movie count for this - see any time Conan and Subotai have a discussion. In fact, John Milius is so fond of monologues, any scene that isn't action will be a Quiet Drama Scene.
    • The scene between Conan and Valeria in bed, trying to talk him out of his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, veers close to Narm, but still manages to be a very sad exchange.
    • In the director's cut, there is a scene set before the final battle where the heroes know that their odds of surviving aren't good. Conan offers Subotai the chance to leave, and Subotai decides to stand by his friend.
  • The end of First Blood where Rambo breaks down at the end and remembers his friends in Vietnam who are now all gone. In Rambo: First Blood Part II, the scene with Rambo and Co on the boat where he tells her he's "expendable". There are several in Rambo IV between Rambo and Sarah, most notably her pointing out "Maybe you're right, maybe we won't change anything. But trying to save a life isn't wasting your life."
  • Battle: Los Angeles has several scenes, such as the scene in the police station after the alien air support shoots down the casevac chopper and Nantz's speech while the Marines are at the FOB where he lays out how he feels about the deaths of his men on his last deployment. Many consider these to be Narm.
  • The Matrix has several of these; Cypher revealing his betrayal - no action, no special effects beyond Apoc and Switch falling over, just the actors talking over the phone. Morpheus's first in-person meeting with Neo is the same way, as are many of the scenes on their craft.
  • The Way of the Gun is about 60% - 80% this. Pretty much any time no one's shooting at someone else, expect tons of exposition and backstory to be dropped, especially in the film's second act.
  • Babylon A.D.. When the protagonists make camp after crossing the Bering Strait, Toorop has a heart-to-heart talk with Aurora about how tired he is of the wars he's seen and wants to return to the United States to live a quiet life.
  • Proving once again that these scenes can be great even in otherwise mediocre movies, there's a great scene in RoboCop (2014) where Alex Murphy nearly suffers a mental breakdown when Dr. Norton shows Murphy how little is left of his body, which is all the more effective for how quiet it is. It's widely considered the best scene in the whole movie.
  • Every film in The Fast and the Furious series has at least one:
    • The Fast and the Furious (2001) has Dom explaining the significance of his car, and what happened to his father.
    • 2 Fast 2 Furious has Roman admitting that going to prison was never Brian's fault, and that he needs to take responsibility for his own actions.
    • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift has two:
      • Han explains in the first such scene that money isn't really important to him.
      Han: One car for knowing what a man is made of? That's a price I can live with.
      • Another scene later on has Sean riding shotgun as Neela drifts up a mountain road, and their ensuing conversation about being an outsider.
    • Fast & Furious has Brian explaining himself after it emerges that Letty was his informant.
    • Brian and Dom after the team learns that Mia is pregnant in Fast Five. Brian asks about Dom's father, being scared about the notion due to his own's absence for most of his life.
    • Fast & Furious 6:
      • It's a short one, but Brian accepts responsibility for Letty's death before departing for Los Angeles.
      • After their race in London, Dom and the amnesiac Letty have a conversation about their past lives.
    • Furious 7 has several of them. The first is a conversation near the beginning of the film between Dom and Letty at a graveyard, where she looks at her tombstone and decides to part ways with Dom (which doesn't last long). The second is on the plane to Abu Dhabi, where Dom gives Brian some advice and encouragement for Brian to leave the old life behind and raise a family with Mia. The third is just before the climax, where Brian calls Mia to tell her that he loves her and Mia pleads with him to survive and come back home safety. After Letty tells Dom she got all her memories back, she asks him why he didn't tell her they were married. He replies, "You can't tell someone they love you." The final scene of the movie has Dom drive away from the beach, leaving Brian and Mia to raise their family. Brian catches up with him, and the two share a normal drive side by side before they part ways down two separate roads.
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah has the scenes between Emiko, Yukari and Kenichi about the dangers of the Oxygen Destroyer and Emiko's reminiscences of her and Dr. Serizawa's roles in the first film. There is also the scene between Miki Saegusa and Meru Ozawa where they discuss what they will do once their psychic powers fade away.
    • Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla has the scenes between Akane, Dr. Yuhara and Sara where they discuss the extent to which Kiryu has feelings of its own.
    • Godzilla (2014) has many of these, with the main focus being the relationship between Lieutenant Ford and his father Joe Brody. Director Gareth Edwards has stated that it was very vital for such scenes to be present and well-done, as the intimate moments between the human characters serve to contrast with and emphasize the enormity of Godzilla himself and the other kaiju he battles.
    Gareth Edwards: "It makes the big things look bigger when you've just had a quiet moment. If everything is whizz-bang constantly throughout the whole movie it just becomes nothing. So you have to carefully go to quiet and restrain things so that the other things hit you hard."
  • Looper has Old!Joe and Young!Joe talking at the diner after Young!Joe's apartment was raided and before the Gat Man arrive.
  • Run Lola Run is almost always firing on all cylinders, but at two points, someone flashes back to a very relaxed moment in the recent past.
  • The Hunger Games:
  • The Warriors pulls this off without dialogue, at least on the part of the protagonists. Toward the end of their long journey home, the Warriors are joined in their subway car by two prom couples, the same age as our heroes. The couples are dressed to the nines and bubbling over with excitement. Swan and Mercy are exhausted, dirty, bruised and bedraggled. An uneasy silence settles over the prom-goers as Mercy and Swan stare back at them, each seeing in the other a reflection of what might have been. Finally Mercy moves self-consciously to straighten her hair; Swan stops her and gently pulls her hand down. The prom-goers get off at the next stop, leaving the gang members still silent.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Iron Man film franchise has several of these, mostly with Tony and Pepper. One strong example is after she helps him replace his chest piece, nearly killing him in the process:
      Pepper: Don't you...ever...ask me to do something like that, ever again.
      Tony: I don't have anyone but you.
    • The Avengers has a few of these:
      • Nick Fury talking to the team in the Helicarrier, using Coulson's death to give them a "push" and make them pull together.
      • Immediately afterward, the very quiet, dark, lingering scene of Natasha and Clint touching on a good range of topics including guilt, motivation, violation, and redemption while the latter is recuperating from being de-brainwashed.
      • Steve tracking down Tony, who is grieving at the site of the kill, where they reflect on the unraveling chain of events and discuss the nature of soldiers and heroes.
      • A bit later, Tony goes and has a faux-casual conversation with Loki about where each side stands and why the eponymous team is fighting. It quickly erupts into violence but it was quiet for at least a few seconds...
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron has a bunch.
      • After the opening battle, all the Avengers, plus a few of their friends like Sam Wilson, James Rhodes, and Maria Hill, return to Avengers tower and host a celebratory party. It's a rare and very welcome moment that we don't get much of in superhero movies, of what the heroes do when they're not saving the world: goofing off, swapping stories, having a great time, and generally showing what good friends they've become.
      • The scenes at the farmhouse. In their own way, each character has to consider whether they deserve to be an Avenger.
      • Right in the middle of the epic climactic battle, there's a surprisingly moving scene between, of all people, Hawkeye and Wanda Maximoff, when he drags her into a wrecked building to escape from an explosion and gives her a awesome pep talk when he sees how terrified she is. It's a great reminder that, for all her frightening powers, Wanda isn't a supervillain, but a scared young woman with little experience in the field and no one else to turn to in the world but her brother, and Hawkeye isn't just a good soldier, but a good man.
    • Captain America: Civil War manages to intertwine the two: while Steve and Tony are beating the stuffing out of each other, T'Challa non-violently confronts Zemo after discovering he was responsible for killing T'Challa's father while bombing the UN conference in Vienna.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a very wacky movie full of colorful action and goofy comedy, but that upbeat tone is brushed aside for a few key moments of emotion:
      • Drax talks with Mantis on the steps of Ego's palace about their own histories. Because the audience already knows about the death of Drax's family, when Mantis uses her empathic abilities to ease Drax's pain, all we see is Mantis collapsing into tears while Drax stares beatifically into the sunset.
      • Nebula and Gamora have a very raw and emotional argument following their violent fight, where Nebula explains in crushing detail why she hates her own sister so strongly.
      • After the two of them escape the traitorous Ravagers, Yondu Udonta expertly deconstructs the facade Rocket has built up around himself and points out how much the two of them have in common.
    • For all the superheroic action and acrobatic stunts that the character is known for, the absolute undisputed highlight of Spiderman Homecoming is a very quiet conversation in a car between the title character and the Vulture/Adrian Toomes at the homecoming dance Peter is taking Toomes' daughter to.
    • Avengers: Infinity War slams the brakes on the universe-ending apocalyptic madness for a surprisingly gentle and earnest conversation between, of all characters, Thor and Rocket Raccoon onboard the Guardians' ship. One of the most powerful moments in a titanic-sized blockbuster extravaganza comes from watching Thor visibly struggling to maintain his boisterous, Stepford Snarker personality in the wake of Loki's death, and Rocket consoling him in uncharacteristically gentle fashion.
      Thor: You know, I'm 1500 years old. I've killed twice as many enemies as that. And every one of them would have rather killed me than not succeeded. I'm only alive because fate wants me alive. Thanos is just the latest of a long line of bastards, and he'll be the latest to feel my vengeance — fate wills it so.
      Rocket: [quietly] And what if you’re wrong?
      Thor: If I’m wrong, then...[pained smile]...what more could I lose?
    • Thanos and Doctor Strange's conversation on Titan, shortly before their big battle, where the two of them discuss Thanos' past and motivations in an almost respectful manner. It adds a lot of depth to the resulting fight, because we get to see both how strongly Thanos believes that he's doing the right thing and how Doctor Strange, perhaps alone among all the Avengers, isn't even the slightest bit intimidated by the Mad Titan.
    • Actually inverted in Avengers: Endgame, where there's only really one thing that could be plausibly described as an "action scene" in the first hour-and-a-half of the movie. The entire first half of the three-hour-long superhero epic is almost entirely devoted to solemn discussions and small moments of interaction between the surviving characters as they try to move on and put their lives back together in the aftermath of the Snapture from the previous film. It doesn't really become an epic superhero action flick until almost exactly the halfway point.
  • An enormously powerful example in Saving Private Ryan: Mrs. Ryan sees the Army car pull up to her house, knowing full well what it means (one — or more — of her sons has been killed in action). As the army chaplain gets out, she crumples to her knees on her porch. Probably the most memorable scene in one of the most eye-popping action movies ever made — and not a word is spoken.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has several scenes where no one speaks and the actors convey not only emotion but a sense of their unspoken histories. The most famous is when Bruce Wayne stares at his Batsuit and it actually appears to stare back at him, highlighting what a struggle it is for him to not wear it. In the same scene, he stares at the Robin suit in the case, which lets the audience know a big piece of this Batman's past (i.e., the Joker killed Robin) and even hints that this may contribute to his decision to abandon his principles.
      • The Ultimate Edition shows that, after Lex Luthor blows up the Senate, Superman was helping care for the victims. He looks around at all the bodies and even exchanges a despairing look with Lois before wordlessly flying away.
    • Wonder Woman'' has lots of examples, and unusually for an action movie, they not only establish the characters but are the most important parts of Diana's Coming of Age Story.
      • Hippolyta telling Diana the origin of the Amazons as a goodnight story
      • Diana and Steve talking about sleep customs and sex
      • The chat by the fire after they meet Chief
      • Diana asking Sameer about Charlie in the village square
      • Steve and Isabel in the formal ball
      • The conversation between Diana and Sir Patrick right before the end
      • Steve saying goodbye to Diana
    • Justice League has several, mostly involving Bruce. Firstly, the conversation between Bruce and Alfred about how the world has changed from the old days when they were just protecting Gotham from madmen with exploding penguins. Then there's the scene where Bruce explains to Alfred exactly why they need to bring Superman Back from the Dead, not just his power, but because he's more human than Batman will ever be. Then there's the scene where Bruce and Diana have a heart to heart while Diana patches him up after they resurrect Superman, the scene where Barry and Victor find common ground in the fact that they're the "accidents" of the team, and the scene where Arthur gives a heartfelt speech about not wanting to die because he's accidentally sat on the Lasso Of Truth.
    • Aquaman has a small but quite touching one early on, when Arthur and Thomas Curry have a beer and a heart-to-heart about their love for Atlanna.
    • Zack Snyder's Justice League has even more of them than the 2017 theatrical version over its colossal runtime.
      • The plane conversation between Bruce and Alfred is changed to how the former made a promise to Superman on his grave to gather the metahumans together, as atonement for his actions that resulted in Clark's death.
      • The Lois and Martha scene at the Daily Planet is now at the former 's apartment, discussing how the latter is So
  • The fist half of the Metal Gear fan film Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy includes three of these quiet scenes; the first is when Elizabeth Laeken is introduced. The second is the campfire scene where Vitalij tells Snake about the Fiend of Kalcabar, among other things. The third is right before everything hits the fan, where Snake and Pierre LeClerc stare out a window at the battlefield and contemplate war.
  • Final Destination 4: A deleted scene occasionally included in TV airings takes place after Janet's near-death experience and shows her walking across a street with her eyes closed, testing to see if Death is still after her, and wanting to get it over with quickly if he is. This is followed by a touching moment of relief after she makes it across the road.
  • The A Nightmare on Elm Street films occasionally have examples between the set-up for gory kills and the kills themselves.
  • Midnight Run: During his Race Against the Clock while trying to keep his prisoner out of the hands of multiple pursuers, bounty hunter Jack Walsh is forced to stop at the home of his ex-wife to borrow her car. Their argument about how she divorced Jack for a Dirty Cop, and Jack's brief but emotional reunion with his daughter (whom he hasn't seen in almost a decade) make for one of the film's most celebrated scenes.
  • The last lines in Mystery Road are Jay making the phone call to Johnno. The drop, the shootout and his reunion with his family in its aftermath have no audible dialogue.
  • Windtalkers: Between battles, there's one scene where Charlie and his bodyguard Ox (who has secretly been ordered to kill him if he's at risk of being captured) bond while playing a musical duet with Ox's harmonica and Charlie's flute.
  • In the midst of Shredder Orpheus's skateboarding action, underworld journeys, and punk-rock concerts, there are several quieter, emotional scenes like Orpheus and Eurydice deciding to marry, Orpheus's dream after losing Eurydice, and Linus confronting Orpheus about his depression, with the latter having no music at all.
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once: It's taken to extremes in a film filled with wuxia action scenes and absurdist comedy scenes when Evelyn and Jobu jump into a universe where life never evolved on Earth, and they both take the form of rocks. The scene is dead silent, with the dialogue taking the form of written text on screen.
  • Top Gun: Maverick has several quieter moments between characters which contrast with the heart-pounding action sequences. The most notable include:
    • When Maverick comes to visit Iceman to discuss what to do with Rooster. Maverick confides his worries to his longtime friend as they meet for what they both know will be the last time.
    • The night before departing for the final mission, Maverick comes to find Penny at The Hard Deck. She takes one look at him in his dress uniform and instantly knows something serious is happening, and after he tells her, the two share a poignant and wordless goodbye on the beach.
  • Doctor at Sea: Harry's operation is all played dead seriously for such a normally carefree and frothy comedy.

  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, a bunch of people sitting around a table talking both reveals the players and sets the stakes for the series' action.
  • In Space Marine Battles, some of the best scenes are not the eponymous battles, but quiet scenes of tactical planning, Exposition and Character Development that take place in-between.
  • In The Machineries of Empire, the story often takes a break from grand space battles to show Cheris' intellectual tug-of-war with Jedao and how War Is Hell affects her.
  • In The Maltese Falcon there is a scene that wasn't translated to the Film of the Book. Just before Cairo and Gutman arrive with the bird, Sam talks to Brigid O'Shaughnessy about a man he investigated once. He was a normal man who once disappeared, only to resurface in another city with another name and a new family. His old wife hired Sam to find out what happened to him and to avoid a scandal. Spade narrates how the man once had a nearly fatal accident, and then he realized We Are as Mayflies and he had to become his own opposite to live his new life. What that man never realized, and Spade immediately noticed, is that he never did that. He simply moved to a city very similar to his old city, got a new job doing exactly the same thing, and got a new family very much like his old, and he sincerely never realized he was living an Ignored Epiphany. This seemingly pointless tale could be interpreted at Sam attempting to convince O'Shaughnessy of the pointlessness of her own task: once the four crooks get the bird, the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder O'Shaughnessy has would mean she will betray everyone to get the bird to herself.
  • Tales of the Bounty Hunters: While "The Last One Standing" isn't too action-packed, there is a kind of poignant moment where Boba Fett is listening to some music (suppressed by the Empire) that he took from Kardue'sai'Malloc which has a kind of nice, peaceful vibe to the scene.
    He sat in the cool cabin, on his way to Jubilar to kill Han Solo, listening in the darkness to the only copy, anywhere in the galaxy, of the legendary Brullian Dyll's last concert.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Season 6 of 24 ended with a very effective ten minute scene between Jack Bauer and James Heller
    James Heller: Are you going to kill me?
    Jack Bauer: I haven't decided yet.
    • 24 also had a notable scene between Nina and Jack on the plane during the Season 2, where Jack quietly describes a day with his wife in the days before Nina killed her. This scene comes right between two very dramatic moments.
  • The 100 episode "Blood Must Have Blood, Part 1" is concerned almost exclusively with the assault on Mount Weather, but it still finds a couple moments for Raven & Wick to talk about their post-hookup awkwardness, and Clarke and Lexa to discuss what Clarke plans to do with her life once this war is over.
  • Band of Brothers is about US paratroopers fighting their way across Western Europe in World War II, but has entire episodes with no significant combat:
    • Episode One — training in the US and England, and the conflict with Captain Sobel.
    • Episode Nine — Germany is close to final surrender, and the unit seems to mostly be behind the front line, where they find a concentration camp.
    • Episode Ten — Set in Austria after VE Day, and everyone is wondering if they will have to go and fight against Japan. There is an Action Scene, involving what their CO calls "men with firearms, alcohol, and too much time on their hands."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Several moments, especially those directed personally by Joss Whedon himself. At the end of the episode "Hush", Buffy and Riley tell each other "We have to talk.", and it is immediately followed by a long uncomfortable silence. When you remember that earlier in the same episode, the two of them had no problems in expressing their feelings to each other or fighting side by side, both with their voices muted by magic, the final scene packs quite a punch since they've gotten their voices back, but neither of them can think of anything to say.
    • "The Body" is all quiet drama scene. Whedon admits that the action scene in "The Body" was out of place, but he wanted to provide the audience with some action because he knew that particular arc of stories would be fairly lacking in that department.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has a short but thoughtful scene in the tenth episode where the Skeksis Emperor admits to the General that his exposure to the darkening has been giving him nightmares and they discuss their mutual fear of death. The scene could have been cut from the episode and it would have still been entirely comprehensible, but getting to see the show's two biggest villains in a rare moment of quiet vulnerability and respect with one another goes along way towards humanizing the occasionally Obviously Evil Skeksis and making their motivations, if not sympathetic, then definitely understandable.
  • Deadwood. Granted, it was a western drama series and not an action show, but still. It was the quiet scenes that were the best in the series' run. Examples include the last scene of the season 1 finale, which ends with Doc dancing with Jewel; Alma's walk to the bank after getting shot at definitely counts as this, and there were several episodes that started off with extremely quiet but memorable scenes, the best of which was arguably in the penultimate episode of season 3, "The Catbird Seat", in which there is a 10-minute-long, almost completely quiet sequence that takes place in the dark hours of morning, which captures the eerie silence of that hour with remarkable precision.
  • Battlestar Galactica. Helo and Starbuck in her apartment on Caprica as her father's music plays, in the otherwise action-packed episode "Valley of Darkness". Also Starbuck and Apollo talking on the flight deck before Starbuck is killed in "Maelstrom".
  • Doctor Who had quite a few of these back in the day.
  • Firefly, being the character-driven show that it is, has quite a few, usually involving River and Simon. A good, unexpected one was in Jaynestown. The episode itself was mostly comedic/actiony, but it ended with the normally comedic character Jayne trying to process the fanboy that sacrificed himself for Jayne.
  • Game of Thrones: While the show is widely known for its Fanservice and Shocking Moments, some of its best-received scenes are quiet, one-on-one dialogues between characters.
    • The battle episodes "Blackwater" and "The Watchers on the Wall" are both marked by their interplay of awesome action and quiet drama to underline the high stakes and immense cost of such carnage.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Of course that at the heart of every heartwarming and peaceful moment are the hobbits. Their scenes, filled with joy and laughter, are intertwined with the other darker and more dramatic plotlines.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In The Best of Both Worlds part 1, after having fled from the Borg and while hiding in a nebula, Picard starts touring the Enterprise, eventually winding up in Ten-Forward, where he and Guinan have a little chat about history, the end of civilisation and hope.
    Picard: I wonder if the Emperor Honorius, watching the visigoths stream over the seven hills truly realized the Roman Empire was about to fall... this is just another chapter in history. "Turn the page."
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine excelled at these to the point of having one almost every episode, even when it moved to more violent and intense war story plots later in its run. One of the most famous scenes in the whole show was a quiet moment where Quark served Garak root beer in his bar. An entire episode is devoted to this during the Dominion War, where the crew air out their personal problems while talking to a woman marooned on a deserted planet. This takes place directly before the extremely dark and disturbing Season 6 finale.
  • Z Nation: The first part of "Welcome to the Fu-Bar" definitely counts, as the crew (and Citizen Z) are still reeling from Garnett's death. The entire episode is considerably Darker and Edgier than the episodes preceding. Well, other than the zombie gun show.
  • Miami Vice has a pretty effective one in its first episode. As Tubbs and Crockett are heading to toward a big showdown with a drug dealer. They stop at a payphone where Crockett calls his ex-wife, wanting to make peace between them.

  • The Shadow Play scene in Cirque du Soleil's , in which the Court Jester comforts the Twin Brother by teaching him shadow puppetry — which, due to how the scene is lit, can be seen by the whole audience. Read a rave review of this Scenery Porn-heavy, intelligible-dialogue-free show, and it's likely the critic will mention this scene as a standout.

    Video Games 
  • The Metal Gear series is full of these, often between Snake and the member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad he just beat. He also has them with Otacon and Meryl at various points in the series.
    • In Snake Eater, Big Boss and EVA behind the waterfall, "It's alright Snake. From now on, I'll be your eyes." Not to mention every conversation involving The Boss or about Snake's relationship with her, which only adds to the tragedy of the ending.
  • A staple of RPGs that don't have Heroic Mime characters and are therefore more expressive. Inevitably, there will be a scene that solidifies heroic resolve and conveys to the player the sense that things must be seen through to the end.
    • For example, Final Fantasy X has at least three: when Tidus finds out Sin is Jecht, when Tidus finds out that Yuna will die during the Final Summoning (at Home), and finally when the party finds out the Final Summoning is a lie and something else must be done.
      • The scene between Tidus and Yuna in the Macalania Spring (leading up to The Big Damn Kiss) stands out too.
    • At least twice in Final Fantasy XII: first, in Jahara, the Garif settlement, where the Chieftain explains to Ashe the exact nature of Nethicite and the power it wields, prompting her to rethink her entire motivation. Later, in the endgame, the party has successfully infiltrated Sky Fortress Bahamut and takes a minute to reflect upon the journey they've all taken together, and what they hope will result from the Final Battle that is about to ensue.
    • Happens a few times during Final Fantasy XIII. Mainly between Lightning/Hope and Sazh/Vanille. Biggest examples are when Hope tells Lightning why he hates Snow so much, Sazh confronting Vanille before his Eidolon Fight, and when Fang reveals the truth about her and Vanille to Lightning.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2: The cutscene just before the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, where Lightning and Serah are very briefly reunited, and Light reassures her sister that they'll see each other again.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has several of them, but the Shadowbringers expansion has an entire area devoted to it: the last area you visit before the Final Boss is a recreated Ascian city filled with friendly shades from the past, with almost no monsters in sight. Every quest involves a lot of dialogue, teaching you a bit more about their history and why the modern Ascians are willing to commit mass genocide to revive it.
  • God of War (PS4) has action for days, but many of its most emotionally impactful scenes have no threats and little to say, but seeing Kratos of all people get shaky hands when uncovering the Blades of Chaos and having to psyche himself into using the symbols of his past failures in order to save his son's life leaves an impact. There's also the scene where he tells Atreus that he, and consequently Atreus himself, are gods, a conversation he'd been putting off for years because of how painful the topic was for him.
  • Mass Effect 2 has a big one during the personal mission for Mordin Solus - he's a brilliant scientist who did something of debatable necessity and more debatable morality, and his personal mission revisits the ghosts of his work. In particular, finding a dead woman who volunteered to be experimented on in hopes of reversing what Mordin did triggers a very quiet, very powerful scene as Mordin grapples with the consequences of what he did versus how necessary (or, more importantly, perhaps unnecessary) it was. However, if Shepard is Renegade, you can simply agree with Mordin as he makes his initial statement about the situation and then the game moves on. Only Paragon Shepard gets the cool scene.
    • The loyalty missions cover the gamut from Mordin's guilt to Miranda's love for her sister, Jacob's fury at discovering what his father did, Jack's realization of what really happened to her when she escaped, Tali standing over her father (and depending on how the player does it, the moral outrage he/she lets loose on the Quarian leaders while defending Tali), Kasumi's personal loss, Thane's attempt to reach out to his estranged son...really, Mass Effect 2 is full of these, all done very well.
    • The original Mass Effect had a few, usually post-operation meetings with your crew and the Council. The most memorable Quiet Drama Scene, though, has to be Vigil's - it's sandwiched between the Ilos surface fight and The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, and is (baring an optional chat with the Citadel VI) the last dialogue before fighting Saren, as well as finally explaining the whole truth of the backstory. Plus it has quiet but undeniably epic music throughout the whole scene.
    • At the end of Mass Effect 3, after confronting the Illusive Man on the Citadel, Shepard, and Anderson sit and watch the battle in orbit over Earth, exhausted and wounded, and, in Anderson's case, dying. Anderson has enough time to tell Shepard he's proud of him/her, just before he dies. Shepard, however soon after gets a call from Hackett, which leads him/her to the final choice.
    • Many of the incidental conversations you overhear on the Citadel in Mass Effect 3 become this when you hear the entire thing: the young teenager anxiously awaiting the arrival of her parents talking to the man who knows they're probably dead and doesn't have the heart to tell her, the batarian and human bonding over their personal losses, the salarian realizing his human friend sold her car to secretly buy him the armour that saved his life, Liara talking to her father, the asari commando forced to kill a wounded human girl who turns out to have probably been Joker's sister while being pursued by husks, and many more.
    • In fact, most of the conversations Shepard has during the third game are very quiet, dramatic, and emotional scenes, including Thane's death scene.
  • Modern Warfare:
    • When the city the main character is in gets destroyed by a nuclear bomb. It's almost silent, there's no shooting, he can barely even move, you crawl out of a chopper, limp 5 feet ...then he dies.
    • Modern Warfare 2 has the cutscene between "Enemy of My Enemy" and "Just Like Old Times", where Captain Price goes into a quiet, dark, and very personal "No More Holding Back" Speech about hopelessness, madness, and the singularity of purpose of the upcoming mission to kill General Shepherd.
    • Modern Warfare 3 has the final cutscene right before "Dust To Dust" where Price and Makarov have their final conversation before the shooting begins.
  • Every time your party rests at camp in Dragon Age: Origins. Some of the more personal and character developing conversations with your party members only occur in camp, and resting in camp is a nice break from the struggles of your quest. Making it all the more shocking when the Archdemon sends a band of Shrieks to ambush your party while you are in camp.
    • Also, the scene in Flemeth's hut when you awake after the battle of Ostagar, where you got almost and the king and the mentor got totally killed. After about an hour of shouting, epic battle music, killing legions of Darkspawn, (including your first Mini-Boss), and the complete defeat of an entire army, the conersation between you and Morrigan plays out absolutely quiet, without music, and only a few rustling and creaking sound effects.
    • Also, both Origins and Dragon Age II give you a long, quiet break just before the final battle to talk with your Companions and give them the last chance to say what they always wanted to say.
  • Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria has plenty as well. About half-way through most of the storyline-centric dungeons, and occasionally on leaving a town, you'll get a scene of the party stopping to rest and talk, which highlights their Character Development.
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has an optional quiet scene (likewise optionally interrupted by a True Final Boss) in the final mission. If you defeat the Final Boss squadron before the timer runs out, you will be treated to a brief, almost poetic dialogue between your three wingmen, then to their respective thoughts at that moment (in order: idealistic Ensign Newbie Grimm looks forward to going home with his brother after the war, cynical Old Soldier Snow thanks Blaze for letting him fly as a wingman once more, and Blaze's Violently Protective Girlfriend Nagase repeats her vow to never let him down). Then the real final battle begins. And so does the fittingly awesome music.
  • Tales of Symphonia makes use of this before any of the major boss battles, giving you a bit of free roam to talk to each character in your party to get a few words of their feelings, their resolve, and exchange pep talks, all of which gets you very emotionally tied with the characters. A notable one is right before the almost-final dungeon Lloyd and co. stops at an inn to rest up before the big battle. At this time whichever character you had the best relationship with knocks on your door, and you can have a scene with them that gets pretty heart-felt.
    • Tales of the Abyss does this at least twice. Right before the fight with the Big Bad in the planet's core, you spend the night resting in a snow-covered town, with your party members scattered in different areas through it, and going to talk to each of them produces a scene where the main character Luke has a heartfelt discussion about them, any reservations they may still have, their relationship to one another and/or the Big Bad. More poignant, though, is the second time it happens, right before Luke goes to sacrifice himself at the Tower of Rem. That time, your party is scattered across the rooms of a massive cathedral, and each one of them in their own way tries to talk Luke out of dying and communicates to Luke how much he means to them all.
  • There's a rather beautiful drama scene right before the climax of The Last of Us with the protagonists Joel and Ellie. They're in Salt Lake City headed towards the hospital where Ellie will have surgery to get the zombie virus out of her brain to make a cure. While climbing through the remains of the city, they come across a herd of giraffes to which Ellie responds with childlike wonder. They both sit back for a minute and just enjoy the peace and quiet.
  • Uncharted series
    • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has a level that's just walking around a small Tibetan village in the mountains. There's no baddies, and Nate can't do anything but walk slowly and interact with villagers: you can pet a yak, play with some kids, and admire the view. When you return to the village a few levels later and discover the Big Bad slaughtering the villagers wholesale, both Nate and the player are genuinely horrified and all the more determined to punch the baddie's face in and save the day.
    • There's a lot of these cutscenes in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Sully and Elena try to convince Nate that his hunt for Iram of the Pillars isn't worth the effort, he has a conversation with the villain who knows more about Nate's backstory than anyone else, and there's a gorgeous, mostly wordless scene with Nate and Elena after he returns from his cruise ship escapades. They all serve to reveal and illuminate, in different ways, why this quest is so personal for Nate: he's based his entire identity on the lie that he's Sir Francis Drake's heir, and wants to prove he's worthy of that claim. His arc over the game is about deciding what's more important, the identity he built around this lie or the life he's built with Sully and Elena.
  • There's plenty of these in Asura's Wrath many of these include flashbacks to the time when Asura's family was still whole and his wife durga was alive. There are several other instances, too.
  • The Darkness has Jackie, who's just turned 21, visiting Jenny at her new apartment. It's quite a nice scene.
  • Halo:
    • Done repeatedly in Halo 4 in the scenes between Chief and Cortana dealing with the latter's mortality.
    • The Breather Levels in Halo 5: Guardians have their share of this whenever the members of Fireteam Osiris are talking with each other.
    • Halo Infinite is filled with scenes like this, as part of a deliberate effort to explore Chief's humanity (and emotional vulnerability) in ways that previous games never did. One of the most moving is the scene where trusty Pelican pilot Echo-216 breaks down in tears from his Survivor's Guilt over the destruction of the UNSC Infinity.
    Echo-216: I'm not a pilot. I'm not even a soldier, a marine! I'm a fraud! I stole that pelican! I stole it! Do you know why? Of course you don't. Have you ever been scared? So scared that you... (trails off) I'm worthless. You should leave me here with the rest of the garbage.
    Echo-216: I'm sorry Chief, but how have you ever failed?
  • Chrono Trigger: If you do the forest side-quest, you're treated to a campfire scene, where the whole gang sit around and discuss life, death and memories, in the process hinting that Lavos isn't the one creating the gates.
    • Shortly after this, whether or not Lucca succeeded in saving her mother, there is a more touching one between Lucca and Robo, while the others are still asleep.
    • The scene where Crono is brought back to life also counts, especially if Marle or Lucca (or both) are in the party.
  • inFAMOUS 2 has a rather iconic one, wherein Cole, the main character, sits down with his friend and Plucky Comic Relief Zeke to have some beers and watch a movie, right after obtaining one of the objects necessary to power him up (normally, this scene would advance the plot in some way or be dedicated to Exposition). What makes it better is how both their cellphones start ringing and they both look at each other as they put the calls on hold, and how at the end, Cole uses the object in question, triggering a rather flashy and loud sequence that takes place in the background, while the camera remains on Zeke half-asleep in the couch.
  • In between getting attacked and fighting for their lives, the heroes of Jurassic Park: The Game often get to enjoy more sedate moments. Good examples include the Triceratops scene in the first episode and the Parasaurolophus scene in the second. There is also the dialogue between Gerry and Nima in which she reveals her backstory by the lookout point in episode four, right before the events in the Marine Facility. This is both the longest and the last real "quiet drama scene" in the game, being very tranquil.
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is full of violence and explosions, but there's a scene in level four where Cliffjumper finds an ancient holographic star map. It immediately zooms in on our solar system, and he and Jazz speculate briefly on why. (Neither of them has any idea what Earth is at this point, so they don't get very far.)
  • In Persona 5, one of the more standout scenes comes right off the heels of some of the most action-packed sequences in the story: a quiet animated cutscene that runs for much longer than most of the cutscenes in the series, that shows the party going about their day-to-day lives and reacting to news reports that the player character has been arrested and later committed suicide.
  • In House of Ashes, characters Jason and Salim encounter a large alien ship full of creatures. Salim believes they are being judged by God for their crimes, and confesses that he believes himself a failure as a father, as his son is throwing away his scholarship to be a petty thief. Jason, optionally, can reflect that he gave an order to a woman traveling through a checkpoint to stop and be searched, then opened fire when she refused, believing her to be a suicide bomber. As it turns out, the woman was listening to music on headphones and just didn't hear him.
  • In The Quarry, Emma has just had a fight with Jacob and gotten separated while they were swimming and now is on the island by herself. In addition, Jacob can optionally find a corpse that was hidden in the lake. Emma monologues to her viewers and reflects on her relationship with Jacob. She reflects that some relationships are just bound to end. And maybe, one day, she and Jacob will meet again and remember that fantastic summer they worked as counselors. The scene ends with her getting chased and possibly infected or killed by a werewolf.
    Emma: It's only a matter of time. Ah, and time, as they say, makes fools of us all.
  • Trevor Hills spends most of American Arcadia on the run from all sorts of pursuers who want to kill him, rarely ever getting a moment to catch his breath. He's dirtied, exhausted, wrecked in a car crash, caught and interrogated before he eventually makes his way to Old Arcadia, an abandoned prototype town where he can finally sit and qiuetly think with the help of Angela, a Walton Media employee working to set him free. Since his entire escape is being broadcasted to viewers of the show in-universe, it serves as a quiet scene for them as well.


    Web Video 
  • Done in Dragon Ball Z Abridged of all things. The scene of Trunks finding Gohan's corpse and his resulting Traumatic Superpower Awakening in "History of Trunks" is noticeably quiet (very little is heard apart from the rain and the background music) and it's completely devoid of humor.
  • Decker: In season 2, Decker takes Kington to the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center to give him an understanding of why they are fighting terrorists. Decker later dives in the ocean to retrieve his grandfather's dog tags who had, appropriately enough, died during the Pearl Harbor attack.

    Western Animation 
  • Justice League Unlimited has the most potent distillation of this trope you'll ever see. In the middle of fighting Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl nearly hits a prone Vixen with her mace; there's a complete stop in the music and fighting while the two just look at each other. Aside from that instance, the series has many good scenes along those lines; "Epilogue" is practically nothing but.
    • What Wonder Woman was going to do to Toyman after he killed Superman, and how Flash calmed her down.
    • Hawkgirl gets another when she walks in on Batman, who she knows had earlier been on a time-travel trip to the future, and asks him to tell her about her (as yet not even close to being conceived) son. The episode ends at that point but the question is asked with such heartfelt pleading that you know he couldn't refuse her request.
  • Johnny Test lampshades this tropes in one episode when he and Dukey enter an action movie and Johnny wonders what going on when the film jumps from a chase scene to a motel room.
  • Takanuva has one in BIONICLE: The Mask of Light as he comes to terms with Jaller's death before going on to face Makuta.
  • The treehouse scene in Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama.
  • Quite a few moments in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The show's action sequences are stunningly fantastic, but it's the quiet, emotional scenes (usually before said fantastic action scenes) that really make the show great. One notable example is the scene between Iroh and Zuko in "The Siege of the North," where Iroh gives Zuko some last-minute advice and tells him that he thinks of him as his own son, right before Zuko ninjas into the Northern Water Tribe to capture Aang.
    • Zuko has quite a penchant for this, as almost all of his important character moments happen in the middle of huge action scenes. While everyone else was invading the Fire Nation in the middle of the third season, he was giving a "No More Holding Back" Speech and preparing to join the Avatar. Even his duel with Azula in the Grand Finale comes off this way, as it's not written as an action scene, but as a tragic one.
    • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra has a good number as well, most notably when Korra and Zaheer sit and discuss the merits of their respective philosophies, and when Korra talks down Kuvira in the finale.
  • Samurai Jack is built on the idea that these scenes will make the action more thrilling.
  • Motorcity often plays out like this. There's plenty of action, but most of these quiet drama scenes are often between Mike and Julie. Particularly in the finale when she's trying to break him out of Kane's cell. Or in Vendetta when Mike tells Texas about the day he left KaneCo.
  • A lot of Sym-Bionic Titan plays out like this, especially the episode "A Family Crisis." The ending being the most notable action scenes, the drama scenes being the flashbacks and when Lance and Ilana talk about how if Octus keeps using his power, he might not make it out alive.
  • Young Justice (2010): The closing credits is always gentle music playing over a shot of one of the heroes' homes, vehicles, or pets eating or sleeping.


Face to Face

Detective Vincent Hanna and Master Criminal Neil McCauley sit down and discuss their situation.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ActionFilmQuietDramaScene

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