Action! Ten Movie Scenes That Inspire Us to Seize the Day
by Kathryn Williams
Alfred Hitchcock once said, “The cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake.” These famous movie scenes make us want to dive into that cake with the gusto of a child on her first birthday. For one reason or another, they all inspire us to get up, get out, or get down.
1. Opening credits of Easy Rider. The beginning of the ultimate road trip movie gets our motor runnin’. Peter Fonda’s like, “Time? Who needs time? Pshht. We don’t live by silly things like ‘time’ on the road.” The expansive landscapes, the laid-back bikes, Steppenwolf’s anthem to bad boys … they all make us yearn for the open road.
2. Rocky training montage(s). As if Sylvester Stallone’s run up the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs weren’t enough to get our blood pumping, Rocky IV had an equally inspiring training montage. It’s almost enough to make us try a one-armed push-up. Almost.
3. Flashdance “Maniac” scene. Jennifer Beals dances with such abandonment, she makes sweat look sexy. We weren’t the only ones inspired; Chris Farley did a pretty good reenactment in his comedy Tommy Boy.
4. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off parade scene. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So says Ferris in this ’80s cult classic, the most eloquent cinematic argument for a day off we’ve ever seen. It’s hard to watch the parade scene and not twist and shout in your seat.
5. Dirty Dancing final dance scene. Every time we watch this iconic scene, we swear we’re going to sign up for dance lessons (and pray that our instructor looks as good in tight black pants as Patrick Swayze does). Some ingenious fans even came up with a machine that allows Baby-wannabes to achieve The Lift. Because—wait for it—nobody puts Baby in a corner.
6. Dead Poets Society “O Captain! My Captain!” scene. Cue single tear running down cheek. This is perhaps the best carpe diem scene in the best carpe diem movie of all time. It makes us wonder: when was the last time we stood on a desk in salute to a teacher who changed our lives? It’s been waaaay too long.
7. Rudy final scene. Whether or not you’re a football fan, the final scene of this sports classic will have you chanting, “Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!” It’s a wonderful reminder that every underdog has his day, and that you can do anything you put your mind to. Maybe we can still grow up to be a ballerina/astronaut/president of the United States of America.
8. The Shawshank Redemption escape scene. The message of this scene: you gotta wade through a lot of crap to get to the best of life. When Andy emerges from that sewer pipe and raises his face to the rain, a free man, it’s like a rebirth. Makes us want, in Andy’s words, to “get busy living.”
9. Almost Famous “Tiny Dancer” scene. Dang, we came of age in the wrong decade. We may not be golden gods à la Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup’s character), but this scene makes us all feel like rock stars for a few minutes. Nothing can be wrong with the world when an Elton John song is playing.
10. Slumdog Millionaire “Jai Ho” scene. Not only did the film win an Oscar, but the song in this Bollywood-worthy dance scene did, too. A little added bonus at the end of the film, it makes us want to get up and stomp our feet. Jai Ho!