The Scene: “What did ya say?” rants Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) after Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) has the audacity to suggest he’s a funny guy.
“You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how? I mean, funny like I'm a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny?” Awkwarrrrrd .
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Tommy just won’t let it drop as Henry flounders, mouth sagging. “How the fuck am I funny?!” he demands with a steely glare. He’s joking, of course, but it’s touch and go there for a moment…
The Scene: Queen of torture porn Asami (Eihi Shiina) makes life a living hell for Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi).
Paralysing her prey with a lethal injection that means Aoyama can still feel everything, Asami then begins to torture him with needles while cheerfully explaining her motivation. She’s doing it in the name of love, of course.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Asami goes all out with a wire saw, taking off Aoyama’s left foot…
127 Hours (2010)
The Scene: After days trapped with dwindling supplies, Aron (James Franco) breaks his arm and attempts to cut himself free.
Crazy editing and a tension-ratcheting score make this the queasiest viewing experience TF has had in a while.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: The soundtrack screams – and so do we – as Aron attempts to slice through that final nerve…
The Scene: Mean Girls eat your heart out; if you’re looking for seriously savage teens, the ‘70s is where it’s at.
Timid school girl Carrie (Sissy Spacek) gets taken to the prom, but bitchy Chris and Norma want revenge for being denied access to the party. Cue a bucket of blood and a prom queen voting scandal – plus one achingly creeping slow-mo shot that shows us exactly what poor Carrie’s in for.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: The bucket tips, and Carrie gets soaked. But the fun’s only just getting started…
Back To The Future (1985)
The Scene: Everything looks set to go as Doc Brown prepares to send Marty McFly back to the future by harnessing the power of lightning – which is about to strike the clocktower. Except he gets in a right mess trying to sort out the cables when a tree collapses and threatens to ruin everything.
Robert Zemeckis expertly drags the tension out so that you’re on the edge of the seat no matter how many (hundreds of) times you’ve seen the film. Damn. Damn damn.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Up on the clocktower, Doc finally manages to re-attach the cords, only for the one on the ground to come unstuck. “Aaaggh!” indeed.
The Scene: Ridley Scott pretty much spends the entire final 30 minutes of Alien shoving our nerves into the shredder, what with the Nostromo set to self-destruct and Ripley still nowhere near the escape pod.
But it all reaches a zenith when we’re convinced Ripley’s safe and sound in her escape pod – only to find she has an extendable-jawed hitchhiker in there with her.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Ripley’s got her space suit on, but she can’t see where the alien is until BLAM – he’s right there in her face…
The Godfather (1972)
The Scene: The tension-grinding centrepiece to Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, now infamously known as ‘The Godfather restaurant scene’.
Michael (Al Pacino) volunteers to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey in an Italian restaurant, and has to find a way to retrieve a gun from the restroom in order to carry out his dirty work.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Michael sits and waits for his moment, as we sweat buckets…
United 93 (2006)
The Scene: All the more horrific because it’s based on real events. As the passengers aboard the United 93 get word that the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon have both been hit by planes, they decide to raid their plane’s cockpit and take back control of the flight.
Armed with all manner of makeshift weapons, they take down their captors, but will it be a case of too little too late?
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Through the cockpit window, the ground starts to rush up to meet the plane…
Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The Scene: Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) finds herself in the bowels of Buffalo Bill’s lair, but she has no idea where he is. Then the lights go off.
Staggering around in the dark, we follow Sterling through Bill’s POV as he dons a pair of night vision goggles and stalks his easy prey.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Buffalo Bill reaches out and almost touches Clarice’s face as she stares blindly right at him…
The Untouchables (1987)
The Scene: Director Brian De Palma tips his hat to Battleship Potemkin ’s infamous Odessa Steps sequence as Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and George Stone (Andy Garcia) attempt to save one of Al Capone’s accountants from attack at Union Station.
Adding to the confusion, a woman’s pram (replete with baby) starts rolling down the steps, and Ness must choose between saving the baby or the accountant.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Stone grabs the pram and aims his firearm at a gangster who's using the accountant as a human shield…
The Scene: What’s in the box? David Fincher’s moody crime saga comes to an emotional climax as detectives David Mills (Brad Pitt) and William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) confront serial killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey) in the middle of nowhere.
As Doe taunts them both, Mills demands to know what’s in the box they’ve just discovered – even though he half suspects he already knows the answer. Horrible, but horribly effective.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: We get a glimpse of golden blonde hair inside the box…
The Scene: The hobbling scene is fist-chewingly nasty, but in terms of tension, one of Misery ’s quieter scenes is far more wrenching.
When kidnapped, wheelchair-bound author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) finds himself alone in the house, he manages to unlock his bedroom door with a hairpin and searches for an escape. But he’s got to get back into the bedroom before psycho Annie (Kathy Bates) returns.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Sweating like a pig, Paul attempts to re-lock his bedroom door from the inside…
The Pianist (2002)
The Scene: A Nazi soldier callously lines up his victims in the street, and orders a handful to lie down on the ground.
He then paces along the line and casually shoots them all in the head one by one. Blood curdling stuff.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: The soldier’s gun runs out just as he reaches his last victim. He pauses to reload, eking out the tension…
The Scene: Saw comes to its inevitable conclusion. Lawrence (Cary Elwes) goes mental as the phone rings, fearing for his family’s life. Ripping off his shirt and tying it around his shackled leg, he takes a rusty hacksaw to his ankle.
As blood sprays everywhere, it seems to take an age (luckily we get a Daniel Glover gunfight interrupting the mayhem) before Lawrence is finally free…
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: That first cut, as the red stuff begins to flow…
Ichi The Killer (2001)
The Scene: Sadomasochist Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) makes a boo-boo by torturing Suzuki (Susumu Terajima) to death – skewering him with metal rods and covering him in boiling water.
In order to make amends, he cuts out his own tongue and offers it to Suzuki’s boss. We’ve only watched the scene once, and we won’t be watching it again in a hurry.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: The whole flippin' thing!
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (1966)
The Scene: At the climax of Sergio Leone’s classic Western, Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes meet at Sad Hill Cemetery, all there to dig up the gold that’s buried in one of the graves. Thing is, none of them fancy sharing.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: The three men stand and stare each other down, but who’ll draw first?
The Assassination Of Jesse James (2007)
The Scene: Andrew Dominik’s rich historical epic reaches its apex as the ‘cowardly’ Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) finally does what we’ve been waiting for him to do for the past two hours.
As James (Brad Pitt) casually starts putting up a picture, knowing what’s coming, Ford raises his gun to do what he must…
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: The gun goes off. Jesse’s face hits the wall. Then the collapses on the floor like a doll…
Pans Labyrinth (2006)
The Scene: A poor stuttering man is put in the line of fire when he’s told that he can go free if he can speak without stammering.
He tries. He fails. He’s tortured and killed.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: As the poor chap tries his hardest, you’re on the edge of your seat willing him to succeed…
Dead Mans Shoes (2004)
The Scene: Richard (Paddy Considine) is confronted by drug boss Sonny (Gary Stretch). The latter attempts to intimidate the former, but Rich is having none of it.
“If I were you,” he snarls, “I'd get in that fuckin' car and I'd get out of here, man… ’cause I'm gonna fucking hit you all.”
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: “Get in that car and fuck off,” Richard threatens Sonny, and for a moment we’re not sure where this is going to go…
The Scene: We finally figure out just how creepy dead girl Sadako claims her victims when Ryji (Hiroyuki Sanada) is confronted by the ghost girl.
As he sits watching the cursed video tape, Sadako steps out of a creepy on-screen well and stalks towards us. Except she doesn’t stop when she hits where a camera should be, instead clambering out into the real world and scaring Ryji to death.
Hide Behind The Cushion Moment: Sadako emerges from the TV screen…