The term “movie” is derived from “moving picture.” This medium of visual arts is a series of images in motion set to tell a story. Generally, a movie is designed to be watched in one sitting over two hours.
However, every once in a while, you will see something in a film that demands to be stopped.
Something spotted is so bizarre, interesting, or flat-out hilarious that the pause button comes into play. You feel the need to freeze the screen to take a closer look at or understand what you are seeing.
Throughout the history of Hollywood, there have been many of these pause-worthy moments.
Whether these scenes were accidents, the director’s intentions, or built-in easter eggs, they are something to behold.
Some of these you may have paused yourself many times. Others you might want to go back and take a second look. Keep watching as we examine some of the most paused movie moments ever in classic Hollywood films.
Storm Trooper Bumps Helmet
The following behind Star Wars has led to it being one of the most picked apart films in history. The rich lore of the franchise has given fans endless avenues of speculation, theories, and ideas. Traditionally, the time is spent wondering about the main characters Luke, Han Solo, etc.
But there is one Storm trooper in the massive, white-armored legions who has received as much attention as anyone else. Unfortunately, for this soldier, his infamy doesn’t come anything cool.
Instead, this iconic stormtrooper bumped his head on a door jamb.
The moment happens in Star Wars: A New Hope. A trio of troopers are patrolling the death star. A blast door whooshes open. Two make it through unphased, but the third clips the top of his helmet on the doorway.
Not only does This poor guy gives a bad name to stormtroopers everywhere, but he also headlines one of the most paused movie moments ever.
Before we take a look at the other classic movie moments, let’s take a quick pause of our own. If you are enjoying this video so far, please give us a like. And for similar videos, consider subscribing to the facts verse page.
Norman Bates Superimposed Skull
Alfred Hitchcock, perhaps more than any other director, had a grasp on his films. He was a true auteur and it showed in his deft direction.
Hitchcock’s signature style drips heavy from all his films. None more so than, Psycho. This was possibly Hitchcock’s most famous film as well as the birth of the modern horror genre.
In 1960, Hitchcock went to great lengths to keep the plot of this film under wraps because the movie is full of twists. With these twists come many memorable scenes. The Norman Bates reveal, the shower sequence, and the film’s score all stick in your memory, but a certain scene calls for the pause button.
At the end of the movie, after the police have captured the psychotic Bates, he sits in his cell. While Bates is delivering a chilling inner monologue through the personality of his mother, Hitchcock lays on one final thrill.
Just as Bates says, “She wouldn’t harm a fly”, he turns and looks directly into the camera with a smile. For a split second, we can see the skull of Norman Bates’ mother superimposed on his face.
It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment. Therefore, it has become one of the most paused movie scenes. Hitchcock’s unique touch to this final sequence had audiences leave the theatre with an uneasy feeling.
Indiana Jones Villain Eats a Fly
Speaking of harming flies, one insect’s life has led to a famously paused moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Paul Freeman plays the villainous and Nazi-aligned archaeologist Rene Belloq. In one scene, Belloq is in the desert cursing the antics of his rival Indiana Jones. It’s a rather would-be mundane scene in a movie full of thrills except for one thing.
A close-up of Freeman shows a fly land on his face and crawl around. Instead of swatting it away, Freeman keeps the scene going. As he does so, the fly appears to go into Freeman’s mouth and disappear. Did Freeman eat the fly?
Many have paused this moment trying to discover what happened to the fly.
As the scene gained notoriety, Freeman revealed that many frames of that particular scene were cut from the final version. Instead of seeing the insect fly off, it seems to disappear in his mouth.
It’s nice of Freeman to clarify this, but the sequence still merits a pause now and again.
Lion King Secret Message
This is a scene that has blown up a lot of controversies. If you pause the 1994 Disney classic The Lion King at the right moment, it’s clear the Mouse house was sending a secret message to the audience.
However, was the message simply an easter egg to the production crew or something racier?
At one point in the movie, Simba lies down on a rock and a plume of dust rises. As the wind catches the dust, it appears to spell a word briefly as it whips around.
If you pause at the precise instant, it looks like the word “SEX” appears. This is not the type of message generally pushed in Disney films, so the speculation exploded.
One has to admit it does look like SEX, but there is an innocent explanation. The effects department built in the letters “SFX” as a pat on the back to the Special effects department that worked on the film.
In either case, props to the first keen eye to spot this hidden easter egg.
The Sharon Stone Leg Cross
This one was bound to be on the list of paused movie moments.
Basic Instinct would have been merely an average thriller movie, except for one scene.
The Sharon Stone leg cross has given this film a degree of immortality. If you are one of the few people in the world that aren’t familiar, it happens like this:
Sharon Stone, who has never looked better by the way, is being interrogated by the police, she is wearing a stark white dress that shines blindingly in an otherwise drab police station. The skirt is short, and her legs are long.
Director Paul Verhoeven shoots the scene from waist height. Stone’s body language keeps flirting with the idea of uncrossing her legs until finally she does it. And wouldn’t you know, she is not wearing anything underneath.
The result is one of the most iconic moments in film history. It safe to say this scene has been paused a time or two.
Phoebe Cates by the Pool
If a similar moment was going to give Basic Instinct a run for its money, it has to be the pool scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
The affable Brad Hamilton played by Judge Reinhold comes home to find his sister and her best friend swimming in the pool. The friend Linda is played by the lovely Phoebe Cates the best-looking girl at Ridgemont. What’s more, she is wearing a dynamite red bikini.
However, that’s not the pause-worthy moment just yet. In the ensuing scene, Brad begins daydreaming about Linda.
She dives into the pool, climbs out of the pool in slow-motion, and tells Brad how much she’s always liked him.
Approaching him, Cates takes off her bikini and… pause.
This sequence had audiences swooning in 1982 and it’s still being paused today.
Tron Easter Egg
Tron is a film that has gathered a huge cult following over the decades. Part of what makes this sci-fi film such a gem is the many easter eggs hidden throughout the movie for hawk-eyed science fiction fanatics.
One particularly cool one, that has been paused many times, was the hidden Pac-man game.
If you watch closely when the characters are on the bridge of the battle cruiser, one of the heads-up displays is doubling as an arcade game.
You will likely have to pause the scene to confirm it for yourself but catch it at the right frame and you’ll see Pac-man racing through corridors swallowing up pellets.
This was pretty cool for the 1982 film to tip its cap to the popular arcade game that came out two years before.
These are some of the top classic movie moments that burned out VCR and DVD players over the years with unabated pausing. Yet, it was worth it. Sometimes there is a secret, mistake, or moment so surprising that it requires a stop for closer examination. And to that point, these scenes have since become legendary.
So, what did you think? Which of these scenes were routinely paused on your setup? What are some other classic paused movie moments we missed? Sound off in the comments below.
And remember, if you enjoyed this video, give us a like. Also, for similar pop culture stories, consider subscribing to the Facts Verse page.