Ever since Miramax broke out in the late 80s, the world of independent cinema has never been the same again. The Weinstein knack of knowing what smaller horses were the right ones to back has meant a steady output of iconic, game-changing films, such as Pulp Fiction, Scream, Trainspotting and Good Will Hunting.
To celebrate Miramax reaching a massive 50 million fans on Facebook, we've assembled a list of their 50 best moments, from Cinema Paradiso all the way through to Adventureland.
Which one is your favourite?
Click on an item to watch the moment
(Images: Rex Features, All Star)
Moment: The kisses
A good way to tell if you’re a pod person, this one. A young boy makes friends with the local cinema projectionist, grows up to become a movie director himself and then, upon learning that his old pal has died, discovers a reel left for him. On the reel? All the passionate movie embraces that the village priest ordered cut from the films, for fear of corrupting the audience. If you cry, you’re human. If not, sorry, you’re a soulless alien host.
My Left Foot
Moment: Christy writes
The most affecting moment of the film that won Daniel Day-Lewis the first of his three Best Actor Oscars doesn’t actually include Day-Lewis. Hugh O’Connor wobbles the audience’s collective chin as Christy, a young boy with cerebral palsy growing up in a poor Irish household. Fed up with being part of the background, he grabs a piece of chalk and determinedly writes the word ‘mother’, with his left foot. His dad bursts with pride, his mum’s heart breaks and the audience begins sobbing and continues for a couple of hours.
Sex, Lies And Videotape
Moment: The truth
When you look back on Steven Soderbergh’s debut now it doesn’t look so unusual, but that’s because countless indie dramas since have copied its no frills, no budget, ruthlessly realistic style. This is never put to better use than in a scene that is just two people sitting and talking. Graham (James Spader) confesses his sexual and emotional problems to Ann (Andie MacDowell) in a way that is no-frills and true. And then everyone imitated it.
Moment: One bad mother
Everyone in this con-artist drama has a heart as black as night, but none more so than Lily (Anjelica Huston), a swindler who’ll let nothing stand in her way, not even her own son (John Cusack). When he comes between her and freedom, she tries to steal his money, then tries to convince him they’re not related, then tries to seduce him, and eventually accidentally smashes a glass into his neck. She’s about nine greek tragedies in one peroxide wig.
The Crying Game
Moment: The reveal
It's been lauded as one of the biggest shock moments in cinema and while we might all know the twist now, at the time it was a genuine surprise. After flirtation turns into something more for IRA foot soldier Fergus and nightclub singer Dil, a move into the bedroom brings up quite the twist. Dil is in fact a pre-op transsexual.
Moment: Opening credits
Surely the most iconic opening credits in movie history? There isn’t a group of friends under the age of 40 who haven’t tried to mimic this moment. And there isn’t a group of friends under 40 who haven’t looked like idiots trying. Stupendously cool, even Chris Penn tripping on a chair in the opening seconds of this clip is somehow done with style. The only slight flaw is Tarantino’s questionable soul patch.
Moment: Off with her finger
Illicit love affairs in movies are doomed. And so it goes in Jane Campion’s steamy bit of literary erotica, in which a mute woman (Holly Hunter) begins an affair with a strange brute (Harvey Keitel), initially to gain back the piano that serves as her ‘voice’ but then because she rather likes it, actually. Someone who does not like it is her husband (Sam Neill), who on receiving proof of her infidelity commits the worst act imaginable: He chops of her finger and robs her of her voice.
Moment: Randal Puts in His Order
An innocent woman and her innocent little child; all they want is to buy "Happy Scrappy Hero Pup" from the local video store. Buy some sweets, maybe some popcorn, enjoy some dog-based cartoon fun. And instead they are treated to a quite spectacular, X-rated order list from the store worker. To be fair, he does remember to ask for Happy Scrappy...eventually.
Moment: The shootout
It’s the Citizen Kane of goth action movies, made even more macabre by the on-set death of star Brandon Lee. In one of the darkest, but perversely most spectacular, scenes, Eric Draven (Lee), an undead rock musician with a grudge, comes in search of one of the men who killed his girlfriend – and, technically, him too – leading to a shoot-out that couldn’t be much more gloriously 90s if Michael Bay ran in pursued by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Moment: A walk with mother
Throughout the majority of Peter Jackson's breakout hit Heavenly Creatures, we witnessed a friendship between two young girls turn into something far more sinister but it wasn't until this still shocking scene that we truly knew how dangerous their relationship was. On a walk with the mother of Pauline, chillingly played by Melanie Lynskey, we see the pair strike. Horribly effective.
In the mid-20th century, the poet Pablo Neruda is exiled to a small Italian island, where he slowly becomes friends with a guileless local postman. The friendship is a very simple master-pupil scenario, with Neruda gradually teaching the postman how to embrace language, which he then puts to good use to seduce the woman he loves. Neruda starts simply, explaining the root of most poetry: the metaphor.
Moment: Jules reads Ezekiel 25:17
You could pick any number of incredible moments from Tarantino's masterpiece, but this one edges it for us; a slow and agonising scene where Jules and Vincent toy with their prey culminates in a most unlikely recital of an obscure Bible passage. At least you could argue the poor victims had a last rites of sorts.
Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood
Moment: How to get a girl’s number
The Wayans brothers have received a fair bit of flack for their later outings, but a much earlier spoof showed than do have the talent to make fun of things hilariously. A parody of the ‘life in the hood’ films, it’s full of very, very silly moments involving guns, odd hair and trousers worn too low, but we’re going with this rather inappropriate pick-up technique.
The English Patient
Moment: “I’ve always loved you”
They call Michael Ondaatje’s novel unfilmable, telling the story of a horribly burned English soldier being treated and his gradual revealing of the great romance of his life. Anthony Minghella stuck two fingers up at that and blew a big raspberry, and then won an Oscar. The defining moment is that between Laszlo, a cartographer, and Katharine, a married woman with whom he has an affair. After their affair has faded, they’re reunited by a spectacular plane crash, confess they’re undying love, and then she dies. Cue women swooning and everybody crying.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Moment: Santánico Pandemónium and the snake
It was the most memorable entrance since Cameron Diaz and her red dress paraded into Jim Carrey's bank in The Mask. After we enter the Titty Twister, we're introduced to the star performer Santánico Pandemónium, played by Salma Hayek. We're understandably transfixed and that's before the snake is brought onto the stage. It's also the last ray of sunshine before everything gets nasty.
Moment: The call
The horror genre was a limp, dying freak by the time Scream came out. It was a punchline to a joke that was supposed to be scary. But in the opening of Wes Craven's game-changing masterpiece, something special happened. Managing to combine a sense of humour with genuine terror, the fiendishly well-executed sequence also did something we hadn't seen since Psycho: it killed off the main star first.
Moment: “I call it a kaiser blade…”
For his Oscar-winning breakout, Billy Bob Thornton directs himself as Karl, a mentally disabled man who is released into society and becomes a friend of sorts to an unhappy boy. As the story progresses you come to warm to Karl, but always in the back of the mind there’s this moment of cool explanation, in which Karl calmly tells how he wound up in an asylum, for slaughtering his mother’s lover and then his own mother when he was just a boy, using the titular weapon. Sleep well.
Moment: Big Bear
Everyone needs a pep talk from their bros, especially when self-esteem is low and you're out of practice on the dating scene. And what better way of doing that than being constantly reassured that "you're a big bear with claws". Not to mention the fact that "you're so money and you don't even know it". Women love rich bears who pay attention to nailcare, everyone knows that. Go get 'em tiger. Sorry, bear.
Moment: A Lust For Life
Or, more specifically, the very second that those drums kick in and the movie is off and, quite literally, running. Your attention suitably grabbed, it's then followed by Renton's 'Choose Life' monologue (which was to decorate the bedrooms of students for many years to come) and the scene is set for one of the greatest British films of all time.
Moment: Silent Bob speaks
As you would imagine, when in character as Silent Bob, director Kevin Smith tends to keep schtum. But in each of his films he will generally allow himself a couple of lines. In Chasing Amy, the story of Holden, (Ben Affleck) a man trying to seduce a lesbian (Joey Lauren Adams), he gives himself the best speech in any of his movies. Done listening to his friend moan about his love life, Bob tells Holden about the dangers of letting fear prevent you going after what you want. And Holden goes off to get the girl. And Bob shuts up again.
Moment: Don't Shut Me Out
There’s very little in the movie world better than an angry Ray Liotta. Here he blows a gasket at one of his fellow bent cops, with the ever awesome Harvey Keitel, chief in charge of bent cops, stepping in to calm the situation. It doesn’t work. Years of pent up anger is vented by Liotta’s character Figgsy in the direction of Keitel’s Ray Donlan. But perhaps the real telling point of this scene is how much you can read into Keitel, who says very, very little. Just continues eating nuts and supping beer. Always in control.
Good Will Hunting
Picking just one scene from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning breakout is tough. But we plumped for this one, purely as it's the most satisfying moment in the film. After a snobbish student condescends Ben Affleck's character, good old Will Hunting dresses him down in a rather spectacular fashion. Hugely embarrassing for him but massively pleasing to watch.
Moment: Ordell kills Louis
Friends and ex-cell mates, Louis and Ordell enjoy a strange relationship, climaxing, of course, in this moment. A mixture of comedy, anger and - as Ordell pulls the trigger on a thoroughly surprised Louis - sadness, as he delivers the (literally) killer lines: "what the f**k happened to you man? Your ass used to be beautiful", lamenting what he feels he has just been forced to do.
Moment: The show
Throughout this Oscar-nominated comedy drama, we see LV (Little Voice) suffer under the tyrannical rule of her dreadful mother, played excellently by Brenda Blethyn. But in this scene, we finally see the meek attic-dwelling singer take centre stage with this show-stopping performance of the Shirley Bassey classic. Let's just all agree to temporarily forget the less happy moments that take place after.
Moment: Judges’ Game
Despite the superb performances from John Turturro and John Malkovich our pick of the Rounders moments comes when Matt Damon’s character Mike find himself observing the Judges Game. Joining the hand with it already half way played Mike forecasts what every single player is holding, before leaving saying he “doesn’t play cards”. It’s Damon in full Good Will Hunting mode. The scary thing is that people can actually do that.
Run Lola Run
Moment: The second run
Run Lola Run is like playing a computer game, but replace lots of pixels and you mashing the X button with Franka Potente sporting flaming red hair and Tom Tykwer pushing the audience’s buttons. Following a terrifying call from her criminal boyfriend who has lost the money he owes his boss, Lola has 20 minutes to find 100,000 marks and save his life. She reaches the end of those 20 minutes…then it resets and we get another version. It’s gobsmacking, like a Choose Your Own Adventure but better.
Shakespeare In Love
Moment: A woman in a man’s profession
It’s not the size of it; it’s how you use it. Film parts we’re talking about, of course. Judi Dench occupies the screen for fewer than 20 minutes in this imagined story of William Shakespeare’s life, but she stamps her authority all over every one as the imperious Elizabeth I. As Viola’s (Gwyneth Paltrow) illegal inclusion in a theatre production, a no-go area for women, is on the brink of exposure, the queen delivers a speech on being a woman in a man’s world and leaves no doubt about who’s in charge.
Moment: Look at your eyes
Jip and Koop are splitting two lines of cocaine on a reflective surface while talking about the loss of sanity of Koop’s dad, before spotting how dilated their pupils are. The scene perfectly acknowledges the level of humour and comedy that two friends can only share when they go way, way back. We’re eavesdropping on jokes that we don’t really get, and that’s what makes it funny. And sure it’s a comical scene, but it also gestures towards the day-to-day struggles of youngsters and has the constant unnerving and unpleasant franticness that cocaine brings to a user.
The Talented Mr Ripley
Moment: Boat trip
What could be more romantic than a trip in a fishing boat off the coast of San Remo? As it turns out, pretty much anything, as Tom Ripley loses his temper and kills Dickie in a fit of rage using an oar as a particularly effective weapon. How could anyone smash Jude Law's beautiful face in? That's the big question.
Moment: Die Cheerleader Die
In the earlier stages of the Scary Movie franchise, the jokes were often centred around mimicking the formula set out by the rash of late 90s slasher flicks. In this particular highlight from the first film, we saw Shannon Elizabeth's character up against Ghostface and, like Rose McGowan in Scream, she uses it as a chance to show how self-referential the situation can be, even when she's bleeding profusely.
Moment: The Gnome
Though an eccentric delight on the surface, there’s always a trickle of darkness beneath the story of Amelie. Her little projects to help others usually involve confusion or unhappiness for another, like trying to help the grocer’s assistant by convincing his boss that he’s completely lost his marbles. But her most spectacular trick involves her own dad, who is the subject of a highly committed con involving a garden gnome sending postcards from around the world, thanks to a cabal of obliging air hostesses. In the wrong hands, terrifying and psychotic. In the hands of Jean Pierre Jeunet, charming and whimsical…eventually.
Moment:"I am your daughter"
This chilly ghost story was a film full of spine-tingling scenes but this was easily the creepiest. Nicole Kidman's strict household is thrown into chaos when she becomes convinced that a supernatural force is affecting her children. When she checks up on her daughter, she's horrified to see that an old woman is apparently pretending to be her.
City Of God
Moment: The Chicken Chase
Just about every character in City of God is imperiled at one time or another, but none more entertainingly so than the subject of the film’s opening sequence: a chicken less than keen to be dinner. As a gun-toting gang chases the reluctant nugget through the streets, Fernando Mereilles establishes the sense of joy and threat that will run all through his BAFTA-winner. A delight for audiences, if not for chickens.
Gangs Of New York
Moment: I’ll festoon my bed chamber with his guts
It’s easy to pick the best character in Gangs, but picking his finest moment is a conundrum. Daniel Day Lewis’s Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting steals every scene he appears in but, for us, it’s one of the movie’s more low key moments that wins out. Having killed Walter McGinn with his own club Bill summons Boss Tweed to his kitchen for a chinwag. Tweed leaves with no doubt in his mind who’s <really> boss. Oh and check out how Bill eats this steak at the end. We’ve been trying to mimic that in meat joints ever since.
Moment: Wong takes a dive
You can argue all you want about which is the superior movie out of Infernal Affairs and its American remake, The Departed. Both are classics, about a cop infiltrating a violent gang and another cop spying for that same gang. It’s a ridiculously tense and twisting tale about loyalties, secrets and the bad things men do. In this moment, undercover cop Chan (Tony Leung) discovers that terrible things happen to good people when his boss tries to protect him.
Paid In Full
Moment: “I love to hustle”
Drug dealing isn’t an aspirational career – or it certainly shouldn’t be – but that doesn’t make this speech less stirring. In a film about the rise and fall of a Harlem coke dealer, Mekhi Phifer plays a mentor figure of sorts, explaining to his young friend (Wood Harris) his love for “the hustle”. Please do not try to repeat this speech as the likelihood of most of us pulling it off without embarrassment is very low.
Moment: Santa arrives
This gloriously offensive Christmas film works best when we see Billy Bob Thornton's hard-drinking, foul-mouthed persona conflict with his job as a mall Santa. It comes together perfectly in this clip where we see him exploding spectacularly in front of a group of expectant kids. We're hoping for more/worse in the sequel.
Master & Commander
Moment: “For England”
It’s not easy doing war films at sea. There’s all that bloody water for a start. Makes everything a bit slow going. Can’t have people charging at each other over great expanses of wetness. Peter Weir’s historical ocean epic has its slower moments in telling the story of Captain Jack Aubrey, but in its final act it explodes into one of the biggest ocean battles in cinema history. Eat that, Pirates of the Caribbean.
Moment: Ruby shakes the mountain
There are many beautiful things about Anthony Minghella’s epic. There’s Nicole Kidman, as a yearning woman desperate for the return of her love, who’s lost in the civil war. There’s all the sprawling country scenery. Even the battle scenes have a morbid beauty. But slashing through them is Ruby, a great foghorn whose arrival gives the film some guts, earthiness and a big slug of humour. From the moment she swaggers on screen, Renee Zellweger grabs the film, earning herself an Oscar for her troubles.
Kill Bill: Vol 1
Moment: The Bride makes an entrance
After making her way to Tokyo, The Bride makes herself known to O-Ren Ishii in a fairly spectacular fashion in this scene. She slices off her assistant Sofie Fatale's arm and we get to see a dramatic spray of blood that we'll soon become rather familiar with in the ensuing carnage. It's an iconic scene and kicks off some awe-inspiring choreography.
Moment: Fine pair of misfits
Martin Scorsese's biopic of Howard Hughes was notable for a number of things. Firstly, it gave DiCaprio another chance to showcase his maturity as an actor. Secondly, we got to see Scorsese let loose on the golden era of Hollywood. And thirdly, as showcased in this moment, Cate Blanchett delivered an Oscar-winning performance as Katherine Hepburn. It's the moment where we see Hughes and Hepburn bond over golf as she delivers her ethos.
Moment: Seeing Neverland
Warning: major amounts of dust are about to enter your eyes. In this tear-jerking scene, we see Johnny Depp's JM Barrie give a dying mother, played by Kate Winslet, a chance to see Neverland. It's a real example of beautiful visuals perfectly combined with genuine emotion. It was enough to make us embarrass ourselves in the cinema anyway...
Moment: Kenny The Cop
Okay, okay so the Infinite Abyss is a great scene, but how awkward for Peter Sarsgaard? No, for our money highlight of the movie comes when Largeman is pulled over by an old acquaintance, who’s now a cop. At no other time in movie history has a character gone from being such a d***, to so daft, in such a short period of time.
Kill Bill: Vol 2
Moment: Black Mamba
There you are, happily counting your stash of money, checking that everything's nicely in order. You just don't expect a deadly African snake to be under a wad of notes. It's just not what normally happens. And if that weren't enough, you're then forced to listen, paralysed, as Elle casually reads out a copius list of notes, detailing the full extent of the lethality of the snake's poison, and the expected time that it will take for you to die that, naturally, she Googled. The Internet is so useful sometimes isn't it?
Moment: Meet Nancy
Another unforgettable bar-based introduction here, courtesy of the very lovely Jessica Alba. In the noirish graphic novel adaptation, her presence was a welcome distraction from all of the gruesome violence on display. We're also massively relieved to hear that she will be returning for the sequel, out later this year.
Moment: The tide turns
The life of a powerless figurehead is a strange one. Without any real influence on the running of her country, Queen Elizabeth II is still expected to act as its hand-shaking, hat-wearing, stoically waving mascot. And in this role she never falters, that is until the death of Princess Diana. It’s the moment that a woman who’s lived through war and numerous Prime Minister’s discovers that her country has changed beyond her understanding, and Helen Mirren plays it to perfection.
Gone Baby Gone
Moment: Revisiting Amanda
Ben Affleck's powerful directorial debut hinges on a devastating dilemma that faces Casey Affleck's character near the end of the film. Do you leave a child with her incompetent, uncaring mother or with someone who illegally took her but could offer a much better life? He opts for the first and its in the final wrenching scene where he comes to terms with his decision.
No Country For Old Men
Moment: Chigurh Checks His Soles
The tension in this scene, when hitman Chigurh casually offers Carla Jean a coin toss to save her life, is palpable. For him, he is showing generousity witin his clear-cut worldview, yet Carla Jean cannot bear to choose. The moment it cuts to a beautifully-framed shot of the outside of the house, and we witness a distant figure emerge, lifting his feet slowly and deliberately, we know the outcome.
There Will Be Blood
Moment: I Drink Your Milkshake
Parodied and oft-repeated, it's easy to forget what an amazing line this was, fantastically delivered by Day-Lewis' Plainview to the hapless Eli Sunday. Even better, the line was paraphrased from a real life quote from a US Senator in the 20s trying to explain the process of oil extraction; Director Paul Thomas Anderson was so enamored of it that he included it in this final dramatic scene.
Moment: Meeting Lisa P
For anyone who's been stuck in a summer job in their incredibly dull home town, Adventureland struck a chord. Jesse Eisenberg's disillusioned college graduate seems to be in his own version of hell when he's forced to get a job at a local theme park. But then things improve when Lisa P arrives. Perfectly capturing how one attractive girl can lift the spirits of a group of bored teenage boys, this clip is a standout moment in an underrated coming of age comedy.