Today, most folks watch movies at home via any number of streaming services. Some still go for Blu-Rays and DVDs to enjoy at home and even on the road. So it’s forgotten how VCR was once the only way to watch something at home. Thousands of stores covered the nation with slews of videos on display. From blockbusters to cheapie B-movies and more, they offered a great opportunity to enjoy these movies and examine them closely. It was the VCR age that led to a new rise in taking in details of films that were missed before. Some with major moments, other just tiny tidbits and stuff that was missed the first time around. With so many movies out there, it’s notable to see how some scenes are paused more than others.
A few are major twists and terrific shots that deserve more attention. Other times, it’s because of a background detail that’s become an urban legend among moviegoers and folks want to see if it’s true or not. And a few times, it’s for a very sexy scene involving a beautiful lady that guys want to take in with more detail. While fans love little bits and secrets, some stuff is massive and well known but just want to be enjoyed more. Here are 15 of the most paused moments in major popular movies and how fans love to enjoy them in their homes in any way.
Obviously SPOILER ALERT for some movies.
15. Wild Things: The Pool Scene
Is it cheesecake? Perhaps but it also makes this 1998 film more interesting. It starts off with Matt Dillion as Sam, a quiet teacher, seemingly well respected and on top of things. Then rich girl Kelly (Denise Richards) and tough trailer trash Suzie (Neve Campbell) accuse him of rape and he’s arrested. On trial, Suzie admits Kelly just made up the story to get back at Dillion for a bad grade and he ends up getting a huge settlement from her family. It’s then that the twist comes up: Sam, Kelly and Suzie were in on this whole thing as a massive scam. They’re also lovers who engage in a hot threesome. From there, the movie showcases even more wild twists and turns that leave you guessing who’s really playing whom until the end.
The highlight would have to be when Kelly and Suzie get into an argument when they worry a cop is closing in on them. They’re at Kelly’s mansion pool, snapping at each other then pushing into the pool for a catfight. It has Kelly shoving Suzie into some netting, the two glaring at each other. Then, they’re making out and soon engaging in a very risqué scene. While neither really shows flesh, many loved watching it to see the pure heat that looks ready to make the water boil. If any movie lived up to its title, it was this with a scene truly wild.
14. Fight Club: Tyler’s Flashings
This mind-bending 1999 hit has become something of a classic today. Edward Norton is the unnamed main character, a normal office drone who’s pulled into setting up a massive fight club by Tyler (Brad Pitt). From there, viewers are taken on a head-spinning trip with massive fights, terrorist attacks and more. It builds up to the big reveal that “Tyler” never existed but a personality pushing the narrator to actions including blowing up buildings of tax records. It’s a wild twist in the theaters but as soon as the movie hit video, fans realized it should have been obvious. That’s because, in various scenes, with no warning, Tyler suddenly appears and then vanishes. Sometimes, it’s obvious, other times it can be just a split second. Each time, it’s baffling and on first viewing, folks are confused as to how he is and isn’t there. The revelation that Tyler is just a part of Norton’s mind explains it all. Thus fans, love freezing these moments to take it in and adds another layer of fun to an already great movie.
13. Return Of The Jedi: Vader’s Skeleton
The final film of the original Star Wars trilogy has its detractors. They hate the Ewoks, think Han or Lando should have died and other complaints. But it has major strengths, such as the utterly fantastic space battle sequence. Many love pausing that to see the details and marvel at how it still holds up even in the CGI era. However, the most paused moment and to many the genius one of the movie, comes at the climax. After a brutal duel, Luke has sliced off Vader’s hand and close to killing his father. But, realizing he’s headed for the Dark Side, Luke tosses his lightsaber aside and refuses to do it. This causes the Emperor to attack with a blast of lightning.
Rising up, Vader looks to his son, then the Emperor, then finally makes his choice. With the music swelling, Vader lifts the Emperor up, lighting striking down on him as he staggers to the edge of a reactor pit. He heaves the Emperor down, the man screaming as he plummets to his doom. As Vader stumbles against the railing, the remaining bolts of lightning flow over him and for one brief second, you can see his skeleton illuminated under his armor. It’s a genius addition by someone at Lucasfilm and highlights the agony Vader went through with his choice. No matter its detractors, Star Wars fans cite this as a highlight of the saga and the pause to note the skeleton shows the care that went into it.
12. The Wolf Of Wall Street: Margot’s Entrance
Sometimes, all it takes is one movie to become an instant star. And sometimes, it’s a scene involving showing just about everything. This 2013 Martin Scorsese drama has Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role of Jordan Belfort, a trader who helped push the money mad ‘80s along. He loves the high life and the thrill of it all and how he soon is involved in a wild scheme that leads to one of the biggest insider trading scandals of all time. During all this, Jordan runs into Naomi, played by Margot Robbie, then a little-known actress whose only major credit was the short-lived series Pan Am. They have a good banter as they soon head to her place for some fun.
That leads to Naomi opening up a door to show herself completely naked except for knee-high high-heeled boots. It is an utterly stunning display that had jaws dropping. The love scenes are intense but as soon as the frames of this scene hit, the Internet was burning up. It no doubt helped the movie be a winner with viewings with many pausing just for that entrance. It made Robbie an instant name, leading to success like Suicide Squad and how doffing it all can do wonders for a career.
11. The Lion King: Sex?
Ask anyone at Disney and they will insist that it’s not there. But many still believe it is. When this Disney classic debuted in 1994, it became a monster hit with its story of Simba seeking to regain his throne. The music, the animation, the comedy, it all came together in a near perfect blend cited among Disney’s greatest achievements. Naturally, it was a huge seller when it came out on video and remains a popular purchase today. But when it did hit video, it sparked a massive outcry over one frame. When Simba is mulling over his future, he sits down hard on a cliff side, sending a wave of flowers into the air. Before long, fans insisted that the letters spelled out “SEX” as a deliberate message. Others claim to not see anything and it’s almost like one of those optical puzzles that some get and others don’t.
Every animator on the movie has gone on record denying any intention to put this in and insist that it’s just folks looking for something not there. But it remains a great story and another reason folks love watching the film.
10. Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Jessica’s Performance
Still revered for its nearly seamless blend of live-action and hand-drawn animation, this movie is more impressive when you realize this was long before CGI was commonplace. Bob Hoskins is Eddie Valiant, a rough private eye in a 1947 Hollywood where cartoon characters are living, breathing beings. When star Roger Rabbit is framed for murder, Eddie is talked into helping clear his name. As part of the investigation, Eddie goes to a club to see Roger’s wife, Jessica perform and stunned to see she’s a stacked redhead in a silky dress. Voiced by Kathleen Turner, Jessica steals the show with her curves and outrageous style. Her musical performance is a major moment to sway the audience well.
But when the movie came onto laser disc (the precursor to DVDs), the scene took on a new dimension. That was because it became clear that Jessica is not wearing anything under her dress when the camera looks up it during her performance. Adding to it is that the animators basically admitted they did indeed draw her without panties. Thus, this scene is now iconic to flash on as well as a later scene of Jessica sent flying with legs wide. It shows how even Disney could get a little naughty now and then.
9. Star Wars: The Head Bonk
It’s probably the most famous blooper in the history of this iconic film saga. George Lucas was under the gun with Star Wars, pressured to finish it fast so a few mistakes were made (see Luke yelling out “Carrie!” at Leia in the finale). One moment was ignored in the early releases but when the movie became one of the first “must have” videotapes, it was noticed and soon gained infamy. While the main characters are running around the Death Star, a squad of stormtroopers enter the control room they’d been in earlier. The majority make it through okay but one in the rear bangs his helmet on the semi-lowered door.
It soon became a favorite bit for folks watching, loving the reaction and how it made its way into the final film. When the Special Editions came out, Lucas actually added a “bonk” sound effect to it as he realized how it was a favorite bit. The explanation is that the actor could barely see in the helmet and thus failed to duck properly. A classic bit for a classic movie.
8. Three Men And A Baby: The Ghost
You wouldn’t expect a 1987 comedy to be home to one of the great urban myths of movies but here it is. Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg play the “Men” of the title, three best friends and roommates who are happy with their lives as womanizing bachelors. But then one of Danson’s past conquests leaves his infant daughter on their doorstep, forcing them to change their ways. In one scene, Danson calls his own mom for help but she tells him it’s high time he accept responsibility. As they talk and walk, there’s a brief flash of something in the hallway behind them looking like a human form. For years afterward, the speculation was that this was a ghost of a boy that was haunting the apartment. As soon as the movie hit video, fans would pause the moment to observe it closely.
Of course, the moviemakers and stars quickly made it clear this was never a real apartment, just a soundstage so there goes that theory. Eventually, images were released to reveal that Danson’s rather vain actor character had cutouts of himself to admire and what was captured was just one of those. Yet the “ghost” theory helped push sales of tapes so if nothing else, it was great marketing.
7. The Exorcist: Pazuzu
For over forty years, this horror classic has scared the absolute living hell out of people. The image of Linda Blair puking out pea soup and her head spinning from demonic possession reportedly had people fainting in theaters back in 1973. It became a monster hit but the genius is how William Friedkin decided to not show as much as he could have. While Regan’s possession is the key scene, the movie also showcases how the demon known as Pazuzu has been using his evil influence on others. That’s showcased by an early scene as Father Karras has a dream of jogging and seeing his recently deceased mother. As he races to her, for a brief moment, we see a face. A horrific white face with huge eyes and a blood mouth seeming to scream out. It was just a flash but enough to get theater audiences jumping. Today, it’s the most paused scene of the movie and that we don’t see more makes it even scarier and why this film remains a horror icon.
6. Psycho: The Skull
This may well be Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece. Who else would be so daring as to cast a major star as Janet Leigh, then kill her off a half hour into the movie. That iconic shower scene has become famous even for people who have never seen the film. Anthony Perkins astounds as Norman Bates, the quiet motel owner apparently trying to stop his psychotic mother, who’s on a killing spree. The bodies pile up along with true suspense as only the master could do it. It all climaxes with the discovery that “Mother” has been a skeleton in the basement and it’s Norman dressing up as her committing the crimes.
The final shot is where the true genius comes through as Hitch put in a little bit that went unnoticed for years. As he sits in custody, broken and quiet, Norman seems to almost know the viewer is looking at him. His face pulls into a dark and sinister smile and his eyes gleam with madness. Then, for just a second, his face is suddenly replaced by the image of a skull. It was a brief bit many missed back in 1960 but when the VCR age arrived, it was seen more and showcases why this is one of the greatest horror movies ever.
5. Basic Instinct: Sharon Stone Crossing Legs
Sharon Stone had been in Hollywood for years, in small roles in various movies. Her biggest was the sneaky “wife” in Total Recall. In 1992, she exploded into stardom thanks to this thriller, which rocked moviegoers with its stark take on sexual exploits. When a man is murdered, the investigation centers on his girlfriend, Catherine Trammell (Stone), a known crime novelist. Michael Douglas is the lead detective already taken when, at Catherine’s home, he watches her strip naked matter of factly. She soon shows up for a police interrogation in the now iconic white dress, hair bunned up and coolly smoking a cigarette. Stone is amazing as she taunts the police (“I’d have to be pretty stupid to write about a murder then commit it myself”) and knowing the effect she has on them.
That leads to the shot. As she parts her smooth long legs, Stone is able to show the detectives that she’s not wearing any underwear. It was quick in the theater but as soon as it hit video, fans couldn’t wait to pause it over and over again. It was a shocking moment but made Stone a star at last and still one of the best thrillers of its time.
4. Fast Times At Ridgemont High: Phoebe Cates
Any male teen who owned a VCR in the 1980s had to have this movie. And any one of them knew it was just for one scene. That Phoebe Cates never became a huge star is surprising given the woman was hot, talented and very willing to go far. That was proven by her role in this classic comedy, playing Linda, the hottest girl in school. She’s the object of lust for Brad (Judge Reinhold) who imagines some fun times with her. At a pool party, Brad thinks of Linda rising up from her pool in a stunning red bikini, hair slicked back. As she comes forward, she undoes the top to reveal her perfect chest before kissing him deep. It then cuts to him…involved with himself in the bathroom, this whole thing a fantasy and the real Linda walking in on him. It’s what Cates is most famous for in film, still one of the most iconic nude scenes of all time and a scene that was paused over and over again in the VCR age.
3. Raiders Of The Lost Ark: The Fly
Steven Spielberg is known as a master of film but even he’s not perfect. This was an odd botch but somehow actually was unnoticed for a few years. The classic adventure has Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) chasing the Nazis out for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. The Nazis have Indy’s old rival Belloq (Paul Freeman) who wants the knowledge of the Ark himself. A key moment has Indy confronting them on an island, threatening to blow the Ark up. In a great speech, Belloq gets Indy to surrender, pointing out how the Ark is history and they both want to see what’s in it. But what undermines it a bit is that a fly goes by Belloq’s face then vanishes and fans jumped to the idea that somehow, he’d swallowed the fly up and just kept right on going.
As it turned out, it wasn’t a real eating. In an interview, Freeman was asked about it and laughed that the truth was, the fly just flew about his face. The editors, however, tried to remove it to keep the scene intact and that led to the effect making it look like he’d eaten it. So a fun attempt to correct the problem just led to a famous movie myth.
2. Scanners: The Exploding Head
David Cronenberg’s wild 1981 sci-fi movie was a bit ahead of its time. The title refers to people with psychic powers who a secret government company decides to use for their own means. It’s a fantastic movie, part sci-fi, part action thriller with slews of great scenes. But the standout, and the moment it’s best remembered for, is the opening. ConSec plans to demonstrate the scanners by having one show off his powers at a meeting. He picks a volunteer (Michael Ironside) to read his mind. However, it turns out Ironside is a far more powerful scanner who turns the power right back on the ConSec employee. They battle it out like this for a bit, the ConSec man in clear agony as his head seems to swell up.
Then, in a shocking effect for 1981, the man’s head simply explodes like a pumpkin. It was stunning for the time, a wild blast of blood and gore that took audiences aback. Whatever else about the movie, this is the scene best remembered as fans love to look at it in slow-mo to see the effect and appreciate a stunning turn that’s truly mind-blowing.
1. Total Recall: The Lady
This 1990 sci-fi action flick is well known for its violent content and head-turning twists. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Quaid, a seemingly normal construction worker who wants more out of his life. He goes to a company named Recall which offers virtual memories of great vacations. However, it ends up revealing Quaid is actually a former secret agent who had his mind wiped and is on the run from his former employers. The search for answers leads Quaid to Mars where the evil governor is trying to quash a rebellion against his rule. From there, the plot has slews of twists and an ending that still leaves fans baffled to what’s real or not.
However, the most memorable moment isn’t any of the wild deaths or Arnie’s one-liners. It’s Quaid going into a bar on Mars to talk to people. Up comes a feisty brunette who shows the effect mutations have on Mars by opening her shirt to reveal she has three breasts. It’s a famous moment, perhaps the most from the movie (the 2012 remake even worked it in) and a sexy bit for a wild action yarn.