(opens in new tab)

6 of the most iconic scenes in Resident Evil history

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

2022 marks 20 years since Resident Evil made its way to the big screen. The hit horror franchise may have started life a few years earlier with the PlayStation launch in 1996, but Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich's movie adaptation first hit cinemas in July 2002. To get the 20th birthday celebrations started early, Sony Pictures has released the latest film in the franchise - Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City - to rent and buy on digital platforms, 4K Ultra HD, DVD, and Blu-Ray now. And to help keep the party going, we're running down some of the most iconic moments from the history of Resident Evil across both films and games. It's about to get spooky.

The first zombie - Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Resident Evil

(Image credit: Screen Gems)

Where better to start than where it all began? Feasting on the now-decapitated corpse of your freshly-deceased colleague, the first zombie we ever encountered in the Resident Evil series set the tone for the next two decades of zombie action. The visceral dissection of its unfortunate victim and the pure menace of its slow turn towards you proved so iconic that it resurfaced in not only the 2002 Gamecube remake of the game, but also in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, some 25 years later. 

Dog through the window - Resident Evil 

Resident Evil

(Image credit: Paramount)

As if undead people weren't bad enough, Resident Evil's undead dogs are even more terrifying. The four-legged foes get their fair share of the spotlight throughout the movie series - including that infamous roundhouse kick - but their greatest performance stems from the very first game in the series. Having let you deal with little more than a handful of shambling, slow-moving zombies up until now, Resident Evil delivers a jumpscare masterclass, sending two dogs crashing through the windows of an otherwise unremarkable corridor. The chaotic interlude, matched by a jarring, discordant score, is enough to send panic through the heart of even the most seasoned horror veteran. 

Resident Evil

(Image credit: Constantin Film)

Mr X - Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 2 Remake 

Although maybe not the most deadly of the Tyrant-style enemies that hunt players throughout the Resident Evil games, Mr X might be the most imposing. He stalks through Resident Evil 2 and its 2019 remake, his extreme size and strength meaning that you'll only ever slow him down, especially in the earlier stages of the game. His sheer destructive power and his never-ending pursuit of the player made him a breakout star when the remake came around - and made his eventual death at the hands of Leon Kennedy or William Birkin all the more satisfying. 

Laser Room - Resident Evil, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil

(Image credit: Constantin Film)

One of the first Resident Evil movie's most iconic scenes doesn't contain - or even reference - a single zombie. As Alice and co attempt to shut down The Red Queen - the artificial intelligence tasked with keeping The Hive secure - the system turns on them, sealing the commandos accompanying the group in a narrow corridor before turning on the light show. High powered lasers chop, slice, and dice Shade and his soldiers in a scene as gruesome as it is clinical. The moment would eventually be revisited multiple times throughout the series - Alice is forced to outrun a laser grid in Resident Evil: Afterlife, while Resident Evil: The Final Chapter offers a direct callback as she returns to the Hive to finish what was started all those years ago. 

Rooftop explosion - Resident Evil: Afterlife 

Resident Evil

(Image credit: Paramount)

Milla Jovovich's Resident Evil movies thrived on explosive action scenes and some seriously impressive acrobatics, but perhaps no scene captured the combination of those ideas more impressively than the daring rooftop escape in Resident Evil: Afterlife. Trapped on a rooftop and realising her friends are about to be overrun despite their impressive shooting, Alice blows up a lift mechanism to drop her friends to safety, before drawing the incoming horde away from them. Leaping from the top of the building secured by a single cable, she drags dozens of zombies to their doom before blowing up the rest with another charge. Finally, she sticks the landing with a graceful tuck-and-roll, sending a few more zombies to kingdom come as she gets up, and gets moving.

Nemesis - Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil: Apocalypse 

Resident Evil's bosses have been a thorn in players' sides for more than 25 years, but not many of them made their way to the big screen, too. One notable exception was Nemesis. As well as pursuing fans through the chaos of Resident Evil 3 (and its subsequent remake) in terrifying fashion, Nemesis took to the film series with Terminator-style efficiency. His former identity - as the unfortunate Matt from the first movie - long behind him, his introduction sees him lay waste to more than a dozen special forces soldiers. Mowing the S.T.A.R.S. down with a barrage of rocket launcher and minigun fire, his precision approach made sure that one very lucky civilian got away with his life. 

Between the hit video game series, the movie adaptations that became some of the most successful video game film franchises of all time, and a new generation of Resident Evil films with Welcome to Raccoon City, Resident Evil has kept fans entertained for more than 20 years. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is available to Download & Keep, to rent on digital (opens in new tab), and to buy on 4K Ultra HD (opens in new tab)Blu-Ray (opens in new tab), and DVD (opens in new tab) now. And if you're looking to catch up, all six classic Resident Evil films are available on 4K Ultra HD (opens in new tab).

GamesRadar+ was first founded in 1999, and since then has been dedicated to delivering video game-related news, reviews, previews, features, and more. Since late 2014, the website has been the online home of Total Film, SFX, Edge, and PLAY magazines, with comics site Newsarama joining the fold in 2020. Our aim as the global GamesRadar Staff team is to take you closer to the games, movies, TV shows, and comics that you love. We want to upgrade your downtime, and help you make the most of your time, money, and skills. We always aim to entertain, inform, and inspire through our mix of content - which includes news, reviews, features, tips, buying guides, and videos.