What would our lives be without movies? They give us the stories, moments and characters that we remember and talk about for decades. They also supply us with years of Halloween costume inspiration, relaxing Friday night viewings over pizza and popcorn, and of course, those tag lines or motions that we repeat over and over to friends and recreate in videos and selfies.
Whether it’s a romantic, serious, dramatic or funny flick, sometimes a movie generates those perfect moments that stick in our memories and never seem to grow old. Again and again, they’re repeated in other movies, television shows and even by your best friend.
Although there is (unfortunately) no Oscar for “most iconic moment” or “scene most worthy of imitation (or mockery)”, we can still have fun remembering some Hollywood moments that have been copied a lot over the years. You know, those iconic lines that the world can’t help but repeat ad nauseam, or the actions of memorable characters that have inspired others to mimic them over and over. So let’s take a look at the movie moments that would have garnered an award – if there were such a thing – for being among the most imitated of all time.
15 Shark attack in “Jaws”
This scene is usually imitated thanks to its unforgettable music: a lurid, ominous track accompanies the moments before an imminent attack of a great white shark in this 1975 Steven Spielberg flick. The track is handy for parodies that want to draw attention to an impending attack or confrontation.
14 The “Charlie’s Angels” pose (“Charlie’s Angels”)
The classic television series “Charlie’s Angels” received new life in 2000 when it was made into a movie. The angels, played by Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, posed in the film’s poster and promo photos in a particular way that was copied by many in the early 2000s by celebrities, groups of friends and even brides with their bridesmaids.
The movie’s three female stars were originally photographed grouped together in black heels and sleek clothes with two women on either side pointing guns (often imitated via extended forefingers) and a woman in the center striking a sexy pose.
13 Shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”
In a particularly gruesome scene in the 1960 horror flick “Psycho,” a female character is happily washing up in the show and the next, the viewer sees a shadow behind the curtain and a knife is raised. Screeching music and a few seconds later, her hand is clasped and blood is everywhere.
Despite the gritty original scene, the sequence has been lampooned in many comedies and even in cartoons.
12 “Singin’ in the Rain”
Perhaps one of the most memorable movie scenes of all time, Gene Kelly’s upbeat performance and dance of the song “Singin’ in the Rain” in the 1952 film with the same name was accompanied by the delightfully simple scene of a nighttime city street, trusty umbrella and – you guess it, rain. This innocent scene has been recreated in a variety of contexts since its debut over a half a century ago, including by singers/songwriters and even Sesame Street.
11 Wading in the fountain in “La Dolce Vita”
Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg splashed and waded in Rome’s famous Trevi fountain in a classic and romantic scene in the 1960s Frederico Fellini movie “La Dolce Vita”. Although it has been imitated occasionally in other films and even copied for a scene in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun,” we wonder how many people have tried splashing in city fountains in their own attempt to recreate the act?
10 Training scene in “Rocky”
Accompanied by triumphant and nearly overwrought music, the scene in the 1976 movie “Rocky” where the main character Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, is training has been spoofed in endless places over the years. From movie parodies such as “Wet Hot American Summer” to sitcoms including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to YouTube users, the scene of an individual almost too seriously dedicated to athletic training accompanied by dramatic music shows no signs of growing old and will surely continue to be imitated for decades.
9 “You Talkin’ to Me?”
This famous and often-repeated line is from a scene from 1976’s “Taxi Driver” when character Travis (played by Robert DeNiro) is imagining a confrontation requiring his gun. “You talkin’ to me” has been uttered almost everywhere in any context, by singers, actors, television hosts and probably your neighbor next door.
8 Slow motion fight in “The Matrix”
This is a scene that’s been recreated many times, usually for parody purposes, thanks to its unique and memorable cinematography. During a fight, characters in the 1999 sci fi thriller “The Matrix” starring Keanu Reeves suddenly slow down and one bends backwards in an almost dream-like motion sequence with the camera circling around the action.
7 “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
The classic line uttered by Clark Gable in “Gone With the Wind” is another often-repeated line, which came at the very end of this epic movie. One of classic cinema’s most famous lines has been repeated in many contexts, from cartoons to music to television shows and several other movies.
6 John Travolta dancing in “Saturday Night Fever”
1977’s “Saturday Night Fever” saw John Travolta as king of the disco floor. His trademark white suit and smooth moves on the colorfully-lit dance floor – not to mention the iconic movie poster with one hand pointing in the air - have been recreated by many, particularly in conjunction with the song “Stayin’ alive” booming in the background.
5 Diner scene in “When Harry Met Sally”
In an iconic scene between main characters Harry and Sally in this 1989 film, played by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, Sally demonstrates to Harry how it’s possible that he’s probably been with a woman who has faked an orgasm with him. After her demonstration, an onlooker in the diner utters the line “I’ll have what she’s having,” a quote that has been repeated endless times in many contexts. It’s still fresh today: whenever someone does something a little bit offbeat, it only makes sense to mention that you’d like to consume whatever she’s had.
4 “Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner”
In a pivotal moment in 1987’s “Dirty Dancing,” dance instructor played by Patrick Swayze rescues Frances “Baby” from the confines of a corner with her parents and whisks her onto the dance floor. The scene and its classic line have been repeated in many contexts, including in a song by the band Fall Out Boy.
3 Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway vent
One of Hollywood’s most iconic photos ever was undoubtedly one taken from a scene in the movie “The Seven Year Itch” and used on its movie poster. In the sequence, Marilyn stands over a New York City subway grate with her dress blowing upwards. The costume is the most valuable and recognizable in the world, and sold at auction for 5.6 million dollars in 2011. Needless to say, this famous photograph has been recreated immeasurable times.
2 “I am your father” scene from Star Wars
Although this might also fall into the category of most imitated movie lines, the clenched fist and ominous presence that villain Darth Vader embodies when dramatically uttering this line to main character Luke Skywalker in George Lucas’ 1977 classic is one of cinema’s most well-known lines. The recognizability of this line makes it a very easily imitated movie moment that has been repeated and parodied for decades in television, other movies and songs.
1 "Flying" scene from Titanic
One of the 1997 movie’s many most iconic scenes is when main characters Jack (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (played by Kate Winslet) step up on the bow of the doomed ocean liner, spread their arms and proclaim they are flying.
This moment has been imitated from the beginning, and as testament to just how fresh parodies of the scene still are, Leonardo DiCaprio recently made a cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live so he could act out the scene with his “Wolf of Wall Street” costar Jonah Hill.