ByDaniel Portolan, writer at
Daniel Portolan

Cinefix has compiled what they think the best slow-mo moments of all time are. Regardless of whether or not you agree with all their choices, they certainly do their homework to come up with a variety of films that span both eras and genres. There is definitely the obvious entries (the game changing "Matrix" and almost anything from Zac Snyder), but there are also the intriguing choices of including Stanley Kubrick's elevator scene from "The Shining," and the diving scene from Leni Riefenstahl's "Olympia."

The Matrix (1999)

Directors: Wachowski Siblings

Bullet Time is pretty much the granddaddy of all slow-mo effects. We probably wouldn’t be doing a list like this if it weren’t for the artistry-meets-inventiveness of the Wachowski’s seminal film.

Dredd (2012)

Director: Pete Travis

Slow-Mo and drug trips go hand-in-hand in film. So, fittingly enough, the drug called SLO-MO in Dredd gave us one of the greatest Slow-Mo sequences ever.

Watchmen (2009)

Director: Zack Snyder

Snyder slow-mo-ed his way into prominence with his slow-to-fast speed ramps in 300, but it was the opening title sequence of Watchmen that really sold us on the whole world of the film.

Zombieland (2009)

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Speaking of opening sequences, Zombieland uses slow-mo destruction to immense effect to take over-the-top… well, over-the-top.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Okay, everyone loves a good slow-mo “Character(s) walk toward the camera” shot. Half speed makes even walking look pretty darned epic. But it’s the down-and-dirty workarounds Tarantino employed in one of his earliest works that makes this sequence one to remember.

Hard-Boiled (1992)

Director: John Woo

Hong Kong Action Film master John Woo invented what came to be known as “Gun-Fu” a “martial arts” style that wouldn’t be the same without the judicious use of slow-mo… and a few well-timed doves.

The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

The slow-motion blood gushing from the hotel elevator may be subject for debate as to what it means. But what’s not up for debate is how memorable and impressive the sequence is.

Olympia (1938)

Director: Leni Riefenstahl

Riefenstahl’s films of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin was the origin of a lot of the techniques we discussed in this list. It’s one of the first and greatest sports films, though it was as much a work of Nazi Propaganda as cinematic art.

Drive (2011)

Director: Nicholas Winding Refn

Violence is a popular subject for slow-motion cinematography. In Drive, slow motion serves not to glorify or beautify violence, but to highlight its terrible effects.

Hurt Locker (2008)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Where in other movies, slow-mo is used to draw out the majesty of an explosion, in this movie about munitions disposal technicians brutally highlights the raw, terrifying effects of a bomb going off.


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