Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

19 Movie Scenes That Were So Smart, I Can't Believe Someone Thought Of Them

Toy Story waited 15 YEARS to make a single callback reference.

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which movie moment was so clever, they couldn't believe someone actually thought of it. Here are the genius results.

🚨 SPOILERS AHEAD, PEOPLE 🚨

1. In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, when they illustrated Miles' first real flight as Spider-Man by making it look as if he was falling to his death, but then the camera flipped angles and you realized he was actually soaring through the sky.

An upside-down camera angle that makes it look like Spider-Man is flying through the sky
Sony Pictures Releasing

"The 'Leap of Faith' scene when Miles jumps off the building and learns to trust himself is beautiful and breathtaking. It truly inspires me every time I watch it, and it was a brilliant idea to turn the camera upside down so it looks like he's flying."

soleil__

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

2. In Call Me by Your Name, when Elio's gestures kept mirroring the statues that Oliver studied. Oliver looked at them as works of art, so having Elio mimic those images suggested that he was a work of art in Oliver's eyes.

A side-by-side of Elio crying in the car with his hand on his head, compared to a statue from the movie that's making the same gesture
Sony Pictures Classics

"Timothée Chalamet's hand placement in this scene wasn't a coincidence. It was meant to mimic the statue (which purposely looks a lot like him) that he and Oliver unearthed earlier in the movie. Oliver's job was literally to study these statues, so he looked at them as works of art. Having Elio mirror these images suggests that Oliver also saw him as a work of art."

Spencer Althouse

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

3. In Parasite, when water was constantly used as a way to represent class warfare in society, especially between the Kim and Park families.

Yeon-kyo talking about how the rain was a blessing, vs. clips of how the rain destroyed the Kim family's home
CJ Entertainment

"The whole theme with water and hierarchy/height is really powerful. The poor family lives in a subbasement, not fully underground, so they look down on the housekeeper's husband, who lives in a basement. Instead of rallying against the upper class, they fight each other. It shows class warfare in excruciating detail.

"Then we see how the rich are so nonchalant about the rain, but it ends the lives of those below them. The rain is merciless. Despite all of the family’s fantastic and incredible efforts to climb the social ladder, that rain pummels them all the same, and you see the camera travel down, down, down as they go from the rich family’s house to their subbasement, submerged in sewage. It’s a painful reminder of how stacked the deck is against the poor."

Lemonseed

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

4. In The Shawshank Redemption, when the different camera angles signified how Brooks still felt like a prisoner when he was released from jail, but Red was a free man.

Brooks leaving the prison but the camera faces him/the gate, vs. Red leaving prison and the camera faces an open area
Columbia Pictures

"When Brooks was released from prison, the camera was placed on the outside and faced toward the barred gate. This alluded to how Brooks wasn't really a free man (he obviously felt more like a prisoner when he couldn't adjust to the outside world). But for Red, the camera followed him from the prison and through the gate, suggesting that he was stepping into a new life as a now-free man."

Kayla Yandoli

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

5. In La La Land, when they teased a happy ending with that dreamy montage, but then it cut back to reality, and Mia was with a different guy.

Mia sitting with Sebastian before the montage, then Mia sitting with her actual husband when it cuts to reality
Lionsgate

"This twist ending is absolutely brilliant. It tugs at every single one of your emotions. It fully encompasses life, love, loss, and what could have been."

Mariana26

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

6. In Get Out, when Chris saw Georgina fixing her bangs in the reflection of the window, she was actually making sure her lobotomy scar wasn't showing. That's the same reason Walter was never shown without a hat on.

Georgina fixing her hair in the window, and Walter running at Chris with his hat on
Blumhouse Productions

"These are such small and subtle details, but after you see the end of the movie, you're able to piece everything together. The whole movie was riddled with tiny moments like this that prove how clever Jordan Peele is."

Tessa Fahey

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

7. In Saw, when Jigsaw was actually in the room the whole time, and he cleverly revealed himself to be one of the "dead" victims.

Jigsaw waking up and taking off his mask, revealing he's not actually a victim
Lions Gate Films

"The twists and turns in the whole franchise are great, but especially in that first film when the ‘killer’ was in the room with the victims the WHOLE TIME. James Wan is a mastermind of horror and psychological thriller."

savannahg4e56476eb

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

8. In Toy Story 3, when the aliens used "the claw" to save everyone from being incinerated in the fire, which was a genius callback to the first movie.

Side-by-side of the toy aliens using the claw in the first movie vs. in the third movie
Pixar

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

9. In Crazy Rich Asians, when there was sooooo much symbolism throughout that game of mahjong between Rachel and Eleanor, right down to where they sat and which tiles they picked up.

Rachel folding the winning hand against Eleanor in mahjong
Warner Bros. Pictures

"Once you realize the symbolism with the mahjong tiles, this scene gets 100 times better. For starters, Eleanor sat in the dealer's seat, which is also called the East seat (representing Asia), and Rachel sat in the West seat (representing America). As for the game, as I followed Rachel's tiles, I kept wondering why she didn't declare an early win. Then she drove home her point about turning down Nick's proposal, thus LETTING Eleanor win both in the game and in real life. It's such a cool scene with so many layers."

shaunab4b1a86967 and adriennec4aa2fd0bc

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

10. In The Usual Suspects, when Kujan realized that every single word out of Verbal's mouth was a perfectly orchestrated lie, and Verbal was actually Keyser Söze.

Kujan looking for Verbal outside of the police station, but he's disappeared
Gramercy Pictures

"I remember watching this in the theater, and the audience stood up and applauded because of this scene. It's one of the best movies, and this is certainly one of the best scenes ever written."

G3D

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

11. In Forrest Gump, when Jenny was a child and prayed to God that she could become a bird and "fly far, far away" from her father, and at the end of the movie, a bird's feather appeared next to Forrest's shoe as he sent their son off to school.

Forrest and Jenny praying together, then Forrest outside Jenny's grave, then a feather by Forrest's shoe
Paramount Pictures

"It was so sweet. Also, as Forrest left Jenny's grave, a flock of birds flew by in the background."

Amanda DeMarco and Nuffe

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

12. In Parasite, when Da-song's ghost encounter was quickly dismissed as fiction, but then you learn about the man secretly living in the basement, and you realize the "ghost" is real.

Dao-song eating cake next to the fridge and seeing a head pop out next to the staircase
CJ Entertainment

"The 'ghost' was really just Geun-sae, who escaped the basement at night to retrieve food from the fridge."

CharliV

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

13. In The Sixth Sense, when Malcolm (and the viewer) realized that he'd actually been dead the whole time, and everything starts to make sense.

Malcolm seeing his wedding ring on the floor and realizing it's not on his hand anymore, then a flashback to Cole saying that he see's people who don't know they're dead yet
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

"I saw it in theaters and went in without knowing the big twist. Walking out with a group of people who were all equally shocked was such a fun experience! It's hard to replicate a movie and feeling like this now, since things get spoiled much easier, but wow, this twist was absolutely brilliant. No one ever saw it coming."

bfranks87

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

14. In Jojo Rabbit, when Jojo was chasing a butterfly and suddenly discovered that his mother had been hanged in the town square, and he tried to tie her shoe but couldn't.

JoJo noticing his mother's shoes, then her lifeless body, as it hangs in the town square
Fox Searchlight Pictures

"Throughout the movie, Jojo’s mom had to tie his shoes for him because he was still learning, so this scene was a beautifully heartbreaking callback to all of those moments. He couldn't successfully tie her shoe for her, which caused him to break down in tears. It was brilliant but devastating."

jdclem630

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

15. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, Harry, Ron, and Hermione fought the same creatures during the Battle of Hogwarts that they fought throughout the series, in the order that they appeared.

Side-by-sides of Harry, Ron, and Hermione fighting trolls, then spiders
Warner Bros.

"First a giant creature tried to smash them (mirroring the first movie when Harry and Ron rescued Hermione from a troll in the bathroom). Then they ran from Aragog’s spider offspring, just like when Harry and Ron came up against the spiders in the forest in Chamber of Secrets. Following this, Hermione launched a spell at the werewolf, Fenrir Greyback (werewolf Lupin was obviously huge in Prisoner of Azkaban), and they also fought Dementors. Then everyone fought together, mimicking Order of the Phoenix. Then it cut to Snape (Half-Blood Prince). It's all genius."

jame

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

16. In Baby Driver, when the title sequence was perfectly choreographed, and every single movement by the actors matched the song that was playing in the background.

Baby ordering his coffee to the tune of the song
Sony Pictures Releasing

"The lyrics to the music appeared throughout the whole title sequence in graffiti and posters all over the city. There was a rhythm and purpose to everything, and the whole scene was done really well."

neilgallagher86

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

17. In Memento, when Leonard found out the truth about his wife and her killer, and Teddy was just using his bad memory to help find other murderers.

Leonard injecting insulin in his wife's thigh
Newmarket

"You think he's really searching for his wife’s murderer, but it turns out he'd already gotten his wife’s killer a long time ago... Teddy was just using him to help target other murderers. That twist made my jaw drop!"

svsmith

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

18. In Now You See Me 2, when they pulled off the hidden-card trick, and every single movement got more elaborate and visually stunning.

The Four Horsemen successfully hiding the card from the guards
Lionsgate

"It's absolutely mesmerizing to watch, and you can't help but question how they pulled off this whole scene."

tabby18

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

19. And in Midsommar, when Dani's gray outfits throughout the movie slowly started to get more colorful, ending in a full-on rainbow flower costume, which represented how much she'd blossomed and matured.

Dani in all gray-colored clothes throughout the movie, then slowly transitioning into more colorful outfits
A24

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

TV and Movies

Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

Newsletter signup form