The Color Purple (1985)
The Moment: The dinner scene in which Danny Glover’s monstrous Albert is defied by the various women he has spent a lifetime abusing. The point where Shug calmly announces that she is leaving and taking Celie with her is a particular high point.
Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps. It’s a long hard road that leads up to this point, so when the revolution finally arrives, it’s a moment to savour.
Key Detail: The moment at which Celie toys with slitting Albert’s throat: “You a low down dirty dog, that's what's wrong. Time for me to get away from you, and enter into Creation. And your dead body'd be just the welcome mat I need.”
The Moment: Poor little E.T. lies motionless, having seemingly given up the ghost. Suddenly, the flower that that he’d previously revived springs back to life, proving there’s life in the little chap yet! Elliott is spared his agony, but more importantly, so is the audience.
Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps. The flower’s magic revival is Spielbergian fantasy at its finest.
Key Detail: Spielberg could have just shown E.T. coming back to life and achieved the same effect plot-wise. The flower however, provides a more poetic way of handling things.
The Moment: With Bruce the shark bearing down on him fast, Roy Scheider fires of round after round from his rifle, in a desperate attempt to hit the compressed air tank lodged in its jaws. When he finally hits it, his frenzied celebrations are utterly priceless!
Goosebumps or Grin? You’ll be too busy gasping for breath to notice either. It’s kind of a tense sequence…
Key Detail: Scheider’s growled, “smile, you son of a…” just before he hits the tank. Poor old Bruce. Looks like he’s had it!
The Fighter (2010)
The Moment: You know it’s coming, but there still a huge sense of satisfaction when Mark Wahlberg’s Mickey Ward lands the knockout blow that wins him the welterweight title. It may be a textbook happy ending, but given the amount of strife he’s had to wade through to get their, it’s been well earned!
Goosebumps or Grin? A nice big grin. Wahlberg does such a bang-up job of making Ward a genuinely likeable character that it’s nigh-on impossible not to find yourself rooting for him come the big finale.
Key Detail: The delight on the face of his long-suffering dad. He spends most of the movie getting clobbered by Melissa Leo, so it’s nice to seem smiling for a change!
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The Moment: The final scene in the trilogy, in which Nikki Parsons sits watching a news broadcast, showing Pamela Landy testifying against Blackbriar. The report continues by describing how Jason Bourne’s body has yet to be recovered. Parsons smiles, before the scene changes to an underwater shot of Bourne. His body twitches, before swimming away. He’s alive!
Goosebumps Or Grin? A little of both to be honest! It’s a brilliant way to round off the series!
Key Detail: The fact that Moby’s Extreme Ways kicks in just as the newsreader announces no body has been found. That’s some expert use of the soundtrack right there.
A Time To Kill (1996)
The Moment: After swathes of legal wrangling, the future is looking pretty bleak for Sam Jackson’s defendant. With the death penalty looming, he needs Matthew McConaughey to pull something special out of the bag in his final summation. Fortunately, McConaughey does just that, describing the rape of Jackson’s daughter to the jury in unflinching detail, before dropping his killer blow: “Now imagine she’s white.”
Goosebumps Or Grin? A big fat grin, albeit one that’s stained by the odd tear or two. It’s pretty powerful stuff!
Key Detail: When Jackson’s eyes drop at the grisly details of his daughter’s ordeal. It’s a tiny detail, but really drives home how wounded his character has been by proceedings. Props must go to McConaughey too, who’s never been this good before or after.
The Moment: As the Ghostbusters make their way to the Shandor building for the final showdown with Gozer, Ray Parker Junior’s theme song kicks in for only the second time in the movie. The message is clear: the Ghostbusters have just become full-blown heroes. Yee-ha!
Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps. This is a call to arms, dammit! I ain’t afraid of no ghost!
Key Detail: Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more pumped for the movie’s big finish, Venkman steps out of Ecto-1 and starts high-fiving the gathered crowd. What a showman.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Moment: The final couple of minutes of Christopher Nolan’s epic sequel, provide a spectacular payoff to the mayhem that has gone before. Batman’s speech about how “sometimes the truth isn’t good enough” (as Alfred sets light to Rachel’s letter) and that “sometime people deserve to have their faith rewarded (as Lucius watches the sonar machine self-destruct) is already pretty stirring, but Commissioner Gordon promptly trumps him with the film’s final words.
“Why’s he running?” asks Gordon’s son. “Because we have to chase him,” replies Gordon. “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A dark knight.”
Goosebumps or Grin? Goosebumps all the way. One of the most thrilling climaxes to any film ever. If you’re not punching the air by the end of this, there’s something very wrong.
Key Detail: The twin speeches wouldn’t pack half as much impact without Hans Zimmer’s excellent score gradually swelling in the background. It’s just perfect.
Midnight Run (1988)
The Moment: Having played the tough guy for the whole film, De Niro shows he’s a big softie underneath by turning Charles Grodin loose instead of cashing in his bounty. In exchange, Grodin passes him a belt full of cash. Everyone’s a winner! Meanwhile the bromance levels run off the chart…
Goosebumps or Grin? Grin, broadened further by De Niro’s inability to pay for a cab with a thousand dollar bill. “Looks like I’m walkin’”
Key Detail: De Niro’s reaction to his newfound wealth: “you son of a bitch…you son of a bitch!” Grondin’s snort of laughter only adds to the feelgood factor.
The King's Speech (2010)
The Moment: Have a guess. Yep, got it in one. Despite the fact that we know how it ends, the final speech is still a monumentally tense affair, which makes it all the more joyous when good old Bertie pulls it off without a hitch. Well done old boy! We knew you could do it!
Goosebumps or Grin? The goosebumps were such that we departed the cinema ready to fight a war! Rule Brittania etc. etc.
Key Detail: The pride on Helena Bonham Carter’s face is a nicely human touch amid a sea of patriotic bluster.