We polled the CNET staff and came up with this list of movie scenes that give us the chills. Watch this short video of some of the best, then flip through the gallery to see which scenes still grab our attention.
The Dunkirk scene from "Atonement" (Focus Features/Universal Pictures) is a hauntingly powerful scene with gorgeous music by Dario Marianell. The chaotic action tells you immediately that the evacuation of Dunkirk was a painful, but heroic day in Britain's military history early in WWII when it stood alone against Nazi Germany. And it's amazing that the entire thing was captured by a single five minute-long tracking shot. On a beach! Watch it!
In "Network" (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists), Howard Beale's "I'm mad as hell!" rant has been venerated and parodied for decades, but the corporatist sermon delivered by his boss, played by Ned Beatty, is the chilling bedrock of the film. By the time Beale meekly says that he's now seen the face of God, you'll be left with a shiver far more enduring than any jump scare or creepy sequence. Watch it!
Although I've seen "Serenity" (Universal Pictures) multiple times, I'll still jump in fright when Wash successfully pilots the ship down to the planet at the end ("I am a leaf on the wind"), only to get stabbed through the chest by a giant Reaver harpoon. That scene is inevitably followed by sobbing, and a complete breakdown when Mal asks Zoe about the ship, ostensibly, and she replies "She's torn up plenty, but she'll fly true." Watch it!
I've always liked "Starship Troopers" (Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group). The most jaw dropping scene for me was when Dizzy, the main character's love interest, dramatically defeats an enormous creature and is walking away smiling, triumphant. A few seconds later a different creature surprises her and violently kills her. The rapid transition from success to disaster is brilliantly heartbreaking. Watch it! (Warning: Gore)
Doug Vargas, Production Manager
Published:Caption:Jason ParkerPhoto:Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group
I like one scene in the original "Halloween" (Compass International). After the chase scene, where Jamie Lee Curtis discovers her friends gruesomely murdered, she flees to another house where she seemingly kills Michael Myers with a knitting needle to the neck. While she tries to comfort the kids she is babysitting, the camera closes in on her face, and over her left shoulder Michael Myers face appears. I first saw it when I was 5 or 6 years old (thanks older brothers), and I still almost soil myself every time I see it. Watch it!
I have to go with the final fight scene at the end of Kill Bill Vol. 1 (Miramax Films) between Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) and O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu). It's like a work of art! The way the two assassins circle each other while clashing swords is almost like an intricate dance, as Spanish guitar music compliments every move. I don't want to spoil anything, but when it ends with a gruesome and bloody swipe, the stillness that follows will always give me chills. But if I'm being honest, every scene in both Kill Bill volumes is epic to me! Watch it!
In "Shawshank Redemption" (Columbia Pictures), there is a short segment that highlights Brooks' journey, post-release, after being "institutionalized" in prison. The combination of Thomas Newman's beautiful score and the difficult time Brooks is having adapting to life on the outside is dramatized beautifully by director, Frank Darabont. The final image of Brooks in his apartment, carving something into the wall ... cut to see Brooks hanging by a rope and a slow-pan to reveal he carved out the words, "Brooks was here" is chill-inducing. Watch it!
"Interstellar" (Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures) has one of my favorite scenes, when Matt Damon's character accidentally blows up the ship and it's spinning out of control. They have to try and manually dock, and one of the crew passes out from the force of the spin. "It's not possible!" "No. It's necessary." The whole scene is amazing, but the incredible music really makes it chill-inducing. Watch it!
For me it's when the Jeep pulls up with the three skeptical scientists in "Jurassic Park" (Universal Pictures) to see the dinosaurs for the first time. Music starts to swell as one of the scientists looks to his left and sees something so incredible that it causes him to stand and awkwardly remove his hat and sunglasses. He physically turns the head of his female companion who also stands with her mouth agape. Cut to a Brontosaurus casually lumbering, making a small roar and eventually eating a leaf from a tree. It's really hard to quantify how epic this scene was because the use of Computer Generated images hadn't really peeked at the time and the dinosaurs looked so real. It still gives me chills to this day. Watch it!
After Rocky finally lands a good punch on Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV" (MGM/UA Entertainment Company), in between rounds, Rocky's trainer Duke screams at him "You see Rocky, he's not a machine!! He's a man!" My heart still races every time I watch it. Watch it!
Andy Altman, Associate Editor
Published:Caption:Jason ParkerPhoto:MGM/UA Entertainment Company
"Terminator 2: Judgment Day"
I'm going with "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (Sony Pictures) -- the liquid nitrogen truck explosion scene. Seeing the T-1000 melting back to life after being shattered into a million pieces still gives me chills. Watch it!
You didn't say it had to be a good movie! So, for me, it's "The Room" (Chloe Productions/TPW Films), which sits in a lofty position in the pantheon of "Worst Movies Ever Made." Arguably the defining moment of the movie is the scene where Lisa is tearing Johnny apart, and Johnny exclaims "You're tearing me apart, Lisa!" Gets me every time. Watch it!
Ryan Derry, Manager, Systems Operations
Published:Caption:Jason ParkerPhoto:Chloe Productions/TPW Films
On of my favorite scenes of all time is from "The Godfather" (Paramount Pictures), when Michael, McCluskey, and Sollozzo go out for dinner and Michael is actually there to kill them. For the one person who hasn't yet seen the movie, no spoilers, but from the moment they arrive through the scene's climax, I'm still sitting on the edge of my couch. Everything about it is perfectly done, pacing, cinematography, etc. So good! Watch it!
A scene towards the end of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (New Line Cinema) that gives me chills even after watching it hundreds of times is when Aragorn tells Frodo to run after he notices Sting's blue glow. From the moment Aragorn steps out onto a field crawling with Uruk-hai and goblins to the bravery of Boromir's redeeming death, that whole sequence sends my heart into a racing roller coaster ride that I absolutely love. It's fast paced, emotionally charged, action packed and it's all accompanied by beautiful cinematography, music and the perfect amount of gore. Watch it!
The seen that takes my breath away every time is Quint's speech in the movie "Jaws" (Zanuck/Brown Productions). Far out at sea and in the dead of night, in the crowded confines below deck, Quint (Robert Shaw), Brody (Roy Scheider) and Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) share their experiences at sea. But when Quint recounts his time on the U.S.S. Indianapolis, he simply nails it. Shaw's performance sucks all the air out of the room. Don't believe me? Watch it!