In today’s day and age, watching movies at home is easier and often a more attractive option. But convenient as it is, nothing could ever replicate the feeling you get in a movie theater. And when it’s a spectacular film with an energetic audience, the air feels electric. On a movie forum, fans discuss those thrilling moments when watching a movie became an unforgettable experience.
1- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Avengers: Endgame may seem an obvious choice, but it’s for a reason. The film culminated 11 years and 21 films, and the audience’s reactions were beyond enthusiastic. There were so many instances that resulted in thunderous cheers. But the most frequent response is Captain America’s triumphant moment with Mjolnir.
One fan recalls, “I knew what was about to happen, and it is the only time I have ever screamed and grabbed the person next to me while watching a movie.” My experience watching this film with a sold-out crowd was like so many others. I still get chills imagining the three words “On your left.”
2- Titanic (1997)
In December 1997, Titanic was the movie to see. Those who saw it in theaters remember how remarkable a time it was to see the epic romance and heartbreaking tragedy on screen. One individual raves, “[It was] a transformative experience- the kind of thing that you walk out of and feel you were changed as a person.”
Titanic lived up to its name. Seeing it on the big screen was more than a movie. It was an event.
3- Star Wars Episodes V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The truth about Luke Skywalker’s parentage is such common knowledge now we take for granted what it must have been like learning it in 1980. Hearing the words, “No! I am your Father,” shook fans to their cores. Shock, awe, and disbelief ran through their minds with this monumental moment.
As one fan claims, “It seems cliché now and even unappreciated, but it was a big deal.” And audiences had to wait three years to see what happened next!
4- Jurassic Park (1993)
I remember the thrill of seeing Jurassic Park on the big screen like it was yesterday. It was an experience unlike any that came before. Spielberg is a director that knows how to impress an audience, and seeing dinosaurs appear so lifelike in a thrill-a-minute story was awe-inspiring.
I’m not alone in my memories. One respondent recalls that amazing moment of seeing a T-Rex for the first time. Another vividly remembers “the ripples in the cup of water in the car as the T-Rex approaches.” A cup of water has never been so chilling.
5- Independence Day (1996)
A movie about an alien invasion was never more fun than in Independence Day. But it also has its fair share of frights. I still vividly remember a jump scare that made my cousin, and I grab hands before she and I both laughed.
Independence Day is also a rousing, energetic crowd-pleaser. So it’s no wonder many still remember those scenes where everyone truly got into the film. Indeed, movies that inspire our sense of courage and humanity naturally result in such reactions. Someone mentions, “[After] the president’s speech, the crowd clapped and cheered.” This kind of reaction is unique and undeniably memorable.
6- Home Alone (1990)
Home Alone is a movie so many remember as one of their favorite times at the movies. It’s unsurprising given how hilarious the story of the precocious 8-year-old Kevin McCallister is. A crowded theatre that erupts in laughter is a one-of-a-kind experience. The only question is: what moment had the audience laughing the most?
For my money, it was either Harry and Marv’s array of accidents or a particular film within a film called “Angels With Filthy Souls.”
7- The Lion King (1994)
Animated movies are a beautiful art form. And the 1990s was a time of sheer brilliance for Disney animated films. They reach their zenith with The Lion Ling, a film multiple moviegoers look back on with unforgettable memories. In particular, the opening “Circle of Life” sequence and intense stampede were impressive highlights. It gave us all goosebumps.
8- Lord of The Ring: The Return of The King (2003)
The Lord of the Rings films are cinema at its grandest. Every film has moments people will never forget. But The Return of the King was a remarkable moment in time. Several viewers reminisce about the countless thrilling or tearful moments. One watcher felt the power of The Charge of the Rohirrim and asserts, “Nothing has been as epic since.”
The most memorable and profound moment for others is Aragorn’s line, “For Frodo,” where he, Merry, and Pippin lead a charge into battle. One filmgoer relates, “The entire audience roared with the hobbits charging. So many people stood up and cheered. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
9- Air Force One (1997)
Unsurprisingly, action films inspire energetic crowds. Air Force One is a compelling movie from start to finish. But there’s one moment that still lives in our heads rent-free. One film buff acknowledges how thrilling one now iconic quote can be: “Harrison Ford yelling ‘Get off my plane!’ in a packed theater was awesome for ten-year-old me.”
10- Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
The Harry Potter franchise had no shortage of unforgettable moments that its biggest fans look back on fondly. What’s fantastic about the series is that it features a stacked cast of characters. They’re all so incredible that one of the most iconic moments comes from supporting character Molly Weasley.
A Potter enthusiast recounts, “When Mrs. Weasley takes over Ginny’s fight versus Bellatrix and says ‘not my daughter,’ the audience lost their collective minds.”
11- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Marvel films are known for their overly enthusiastic crowds. If the reactions to Avengers: Endgame were from a culmination of one long epic story, Spider-Man: No Way Home’s cheers are a result of all the Peter Parker stories that came before.
Fan service is a tricky thing to get right. But seeing three different Spider-Men together gave audiences the best kinds of chills. One user describes, “People gasped when Garfield showed up and cheered loudly when Maguire appeared.” No one could forget moments like these.
12- The Sixth Sense (1999)
Movies with unexpected twists are one of cinema’s greatest inventions. When someone can see a film unspoiled, it is all the better for the viewer. Numerous cinephiles remember the audible gasps in their theaters during the Bruce Willis chiller The Sixth Sense.
One individual notes, “That twist came in like a silent wrecking ball, and there was a collective gasp, shock, and awe from the audience.” Movies are so fun when you experience that shared sense of awe.
13- Gladiator (2000)
Posing the question of your most thrilling theater experience will elicit various responses. Each person has different criteria. But one particular viewer brought up how an audience’s reaction can enhance a film. Viewing a movie alone is nice. But watching a movie with a group of strangers who, for two hours, are on the same ride is a special kind of magic.
Gladiator is the kind of movie that rouses emotions and enthusiasm. One user answers, “For the crowd making it great, [it was the] premiere of Gladiator. Everybody was so into it at the end; it made me think this is what my parents felt with Rocky.”
14- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
The iconic “I am your father” moment from The Empire Strikes Back was an unexpected moment that shocked audiences. What’s incredible about the end of Rogue One is that its finest moment didn’t come as a surprise. What was surprising was how powerful that moment and the reactions from the crowds were.
One aficionado sums up this scene brilliantly, “From the awed shock at Vader’s visceral rage to the dawning realization that we were watching the lead into A New Hope, it was all so electrifying.” We knew it was coming but never could have anticipated the resulting adrenaline rush.
15- Apollo 13 (1995)
Like Titanic, audiences cannot predict the impact a film will have when they already know the outcome. While many watched Apollo 13 without prior knowledge, I and countless others knew the fate of the ill-fated NASA mission.
And yet, the movie produced countless white-knuckle moments from crowds. I could feel the tension in the audience during the “Houston, we have a problem” sequence. Another fan recounts the inspiring scenes that left an indelible impression: “I love when Ed Harris says, “I think this will be our finest hour.” A theater can feel alive with the right movie, and nothing can ever replace that.
Marianne Paluso is a freelance writer and artist and holds a Masters Degree in English and Children’s Literature from San Diego State University. Inspired by her favorite films, television, theme parks and all things pop culture and geek related, she especially loves Disney, classic films, fairy tales, period dramas, musicals, adventures, mysteries, and a good rom-com. She joined Wealth of Geeks in 2021, and has also contributed to The Nerd Machine, Catholic News Agency, Christianity Today, and The La Jolla Light. She writes on her own website TheGirlyNerd.com, creates art that is sold on Redbubble and Etsy, and also partakes in the occasional Disneybound, cosplay, and YouTube video. She resides in San Diego, California.