Movie directors and their cinematographers can be brilliant artists sometimes. Some of them might phone it in and just do the bare minimum and get the movie done and cash the paycheck. This is often what happens with the formulaic Hollywood romantic comedies and the corny action movies that are manufactured by the studios to play it safe. But then, every now and then, you get a No Country for Old Men or a Taxi Driver, where certain shots from the movie are able to stand on their own as a work of art. Take that shot from the original Star Wars where Luke is standing in the desert on Tatooine, watching the two suns setting off in the distance. That’s a striking image, and if it were to exist merely on its own as a photograph or a painting, you’d be happy to accept that as a terrific and gorgeous work of art. The same goes for a lot of shots in some of our favorite movies. Seriously, some of these directors and cinematographers are artistic geniuses! So, here are 50 beautiful screenshots from some of the greatest movies ever made. Let’s see if you can name all of them!
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1What science fiction adventure is this screenshot from?
This movie was, for a short time before its director Steven Spielberg broke it with another one of his own movies, the highest grossing movie of all time. It is the uplifting story of a boy and the alien he meets. This is a nice alien, unlike the world dominators or people killers that aliens in movies had generally been before. It's a beautiful film, a feeling that is encapsulated perfectly in this gorgeous shot. This shot is so beautiful and iconic that it would later go on to become the logo of Spielberg's company, Amblin Entertainment. What movie is it?
2What historical romantic drama is this taken from?
When James Cameron believes in a movie, he will make it the highest grossing movie of all time. He’s done it a couple of times now. The first time was with this hugely successful romantic drama movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, which was rooted in history with its basis in one of the worst tragedies ever. That tragedy was the sinking of a humungous ship that had a bunch of people on. What historical romantic drama is this beautiful screenshot taken from?
3What sci-fi epic is this from?
This Christopher Nolan movie was everyone’s favorite movie for the whole summer of 2010, because when people don’t understand complex science fiction that everyone else loves, they just pretend they love it, too. It’s one of the most incredible movies ever made. This shot sums up just how amazing it is. Did the spinning top topple over? Is Cobb really in a dream or is he in real life? Does it matter? So many questions. What sci-fi epic is this screenshot taken from?
4Which Western is this image from?
This movie drew a lot of praise when it was released back in 2012, but it also drew a lot of criticism and controversy, particularly from Spike Lee. You can't blame them for taking offense, since this is a darkly comic movie in the genre of spaghetti western but based during the period in American history where black people had been stolen from Africa and enslaved by the white man. Still, it is a great movie and it won two Oscars. It may just be the finest work of its director Quentin Tarantino, who has always been controversial for his depiction of violence on film. What movie is this?
5Which Batman movie is this screenshot taken from?
Whoever said that superhero movies or comic book movies could not be genuinely fantastic films that won over the critics and received major award nominations was quickly silenced by Christopher Nolan, who swooped in with an awesome, action-packed superhero extravaganza that was also a study of the American city and a critique of political corruption and contained a stellar performance by Heath Ledger as the lead villain, the Joker, now an icon. Which amazing Batman movie is this screenshot taken from?
6What crime masterpiece is this screenshot taken from?
This gangster movie is not only ranked among the greatest gangster movies that have ever been made. It is consistently named as one of the best movies of all time, period. It also became the highest grossing movie ever when it was first released. That record has since been broken many times, but still, for the time, pretty impressive. It's a long movie, but it's worth it if you can bring yourself to sit through it. It was followed by a great sequel and a lackluster threequel. What crime masterpiece is this screenshot taken from?
7What fantasy epic is this from?
JRR Tolkien is one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time. His writings and works have influenced just about anybody who has ever tried to create anything in the fantasy genre – books, TV shows, movies etc. His most iconic work was adapted for the big screen by Peter Jackson and it was really quite incredible. The third chapter of the trilogy won more Oscars than any other movie ever in history. What fantasy epic is this screenshot taken from?
8What sci-fi epic is this taken from?
This movie is the highest grossing movie of all time by far. It grossed almost $3 billion at the worldwide box office. Not even Star Wars: The Force Awakens could break that! This success was mainly due to the fact that the movie’s writer and director James Cameron was introducing some revolutionary new filming technologies to make the best computer generated effects and best 3D imagery of any movie ever before it. It’s awesome and stunning. What movie is it?
9Which WWII extravaganza is this screenshot taken from?
There are a ton of movies out there about World War II, and there’s no shortage of great ones in all kinds of different styles. When Quentin Tarantino set out to make his own World War II movie, you just knew it was going to be something special. It was essentially like a Pulp Fiction story structure and sense of humor, but set during World War II. It was great. Which darkly comic WWII extravaganza is this screenshot taken from?
10What intense dystopian action thriller is this from?
This movie was released in the summer of 2015. It was a long awaited reboot of an earlier franchise from the 1970s and 1980s that was set after the apocalypse has decimated most of the world and everyone is just driving around the desert and trying to survive. This installment was critically acclaimed and instantly regarded as one of the greatest action movies ever made, with great practical effects and stunts. What intense dystopian action thriller is this screenshot taken from?
11Which Stephen King horror adaptation is this from?
This movie was featured heavily in the brilliant new Steven Spielberg movie Ready Player One. Part of the riddle that led them there was that the creator of the movie hated it. That’s not entirely accurate. The director of the movie, Stanley Kubrick, was very proud of his movie. It was Stephen King, the author of the book that the movie’s based on, who hated it. But it’s great! Which iconic Stephen King horror adaptation is this screenshot taken from?
12What beautiful animated movie is this screenshot taken from?
The Disney people have adapted a lot of great stories. They’ve adapted classic fairy tales and Rudyard Kipling books – and they’ve also adapted the William Shakespeare play Hamlet. But they didn’t do it in the way that Shakespeare did it. They did it with a bunch of talking animals. It’s about a pride of lions who are taken over by an evil lion who kills his brother to become the leader. What beautiful animated movie is this screenshot taken from?
13What Christmas classic is this from?
The critics were initially not too kind to this wonderful Christmas comedy, about a kid who is left behind by accident when his entire family goes on vacation for the holidays. He learns what’s truly important and that he really loves the family that he treated like garbage before they left. Oh, and he also has to fight off a pair of burglars with very graphic, very violent, and albeit very cartoonish booby traps. What Christmas classic is this from?
14What neo western thriller is this from?
It’s hard to do a western movie today. The whole western movie genre basically went out the window about fifty years ago, when the ones starring the likes of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood stopped being mega hits and movies made during the Vietnam War reflected the hippie attitude that had begun to question the idea of American nationalism that made westerns what they are. But that doesn’t mean they can’t make hit neo westerns. What neo western thriller is this from?
15What CGI-heavy drama is this?
The ending of this movie is truly beautiful, as the older version of the lead character comes to terms with the story while recounting it to another guy. He reveals that all the animals were actually other people – maybe. Ang Lee directed the movie, and he used the opportunity to bring actual artistic merit and beauty to a movie that’s full of CGI and computerized visual effects. What CGI-heavy drama is this vibrant and colorful and striking screenshot taken from?
16What classic adventure movie is this screenshot from?
This movie introduced the world to the iconic Harrison Ford character Indiana Jones. He was originally called Indiana Smith when he was created by George Lucas, but when he pitched it to director Steven Spielberg, the latter suggested changing the name to Jones, because he didn’t like the name Smith for the character. After this one was a hit, they ended up making three sequels – and there’s another one on the way! What classic adventure movie is this screenshot from?
17What epic drama is this?
This movie won Tom Hanks his second consecutive Academy Award for Best Actor. It was released just one year after his drama movie Philadelphia tackled the AIDS crisis right at the height of its relevance. This one was much more epic, as it spanned the whole of the American history of the 20th century, all through the eyes of just one guy. He went to ‘Nam, he exposed Watergate, and he invested in Apple because he thought it was a fruit company. What movie is it?
18What revisionist western is this from?
This movie is a really tough watch. For starters, it’s like a million hours long. Okay, it’s two and a half hours long. But still, that’s a heck of a lot of time. And the content of those two and a half hours is brutal. There’s a bear attack and a ton of really intense shootouts, and a scene where Leo cuts open a horse and then slips inside it to stay warm for a night. What revisionist western movie is this cold screenshot taken from?
19What time travel comedy is this screenshot from?
In 1985, Robert Zemeckis and his producer Steven Spielberg took moviegoers back to the 1950s to see what it would be like if a modern teenagers met his parents when they were teenagers. Time travel stories are not easy to do. They’re very complex and complicated. This is a prime example of that, since even for a limited cast of characters and just a thirty year gap, things screw up majorly. What time travel comedy is this screenshot taken from?
20What action movie classic is this?
This movie stars Bruce Willis as a cop from New York whose relationship with his wife has been on the rocks ever since she moved to LA with the kids and he didn’t want to leave the home city that he loves so much. In the movie, he comes over to LA for the office Christmas party and it gets taken over by terrorists. It is often cited as the greatest action movie ever made. What action movie is this?
21What is this highest grossing horror movie of all time?
The highest grossing horror movie of all time was released just a few months ago. It was based upon one of the best selling novels by the literary master of horror, Mr. Stephen King. This movie is truly terrifying and it’s almost impossible to watch without at some point looking away or contemplating walking out on it. But that’s exactly what makes it such a terrific horror movie, and why it was so successful. What Stephen King movie adaptation is it?
22Which Quentin Tarantino classic is this screenshot from?
This movie was only Quentin Tarantino’s second movie and he was already shaking up the way that movies were made. This one, with its nonlinear storyline and dark humor and unconventional narrative and characters, was a serious reality check for Hollywood. Every writer in America was throwing out their screenplays and starting over with a rip-off of the unique Tarantino style. But there’s only one Tarantino and he's still going to this day. Which Quentin Tarantino classic is this screenshot from?
23What Martin Scorsese black comedy is this screenshot taken from?
Martin Scorsese is lauded as the greatest film director of all time or at least one of them. His movies are always acclaimed by critics and showered with awards. This one was particularly controversial, as it was perceived as glamorizing the criminal lifestyle, but the lead character is brought down in the end, and the way he is depicted to have lived is how he actually lived and wrote about in his memoir on which the film is based. Scorsese doesn't usually do overtly comedic films, but when he has – After Hours, The King of Comedy, and this one – it's always been a huge success. What movie is this?
24What historical action movie is this taken from?
Zack Snyder is known to many moviegoers now as the godfather of the failing DC Extended Universe, but he did a bunch of other movies before that, all with his signature style of highly color graded shots and extended sequences of fast motion then slow motion then fast motion then slow motion. One of them was an awesome action movie that depicted the Battle of Thermopylae where the Spartans battled the Persians. What historical action movie is this taken from?
25What superhero epic is this from?
This epic superhero movie is a long watch, because a lot of plot has no relevance to the actual movie itself. It was criticized by both fans and critics as acting more as a bridge between the various movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than being able to stand on its own as a single film. If you rewatch it, it’s not half bad. Plus, it does have this beautiful shot that looks like it came out of a comic book. What superhero epic is this from?
26What zombie comedy is this screenshot taken from?
Since this awesome British movie is a zombie movie that also doubles as a romantic comedy, it was marketed as a “zom rom com” when it was first released back in 2004. It has since inspired a whole ton of zombie comedy movies, but none of them have managed to top this one, which was directed by Edgar Wright and starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Pegg and Wright wrote the script. What zombie comedy is this screenshot taken from?
27What dark cyberpunk thriller is this screenshot from?
The Wachowski siblings really know how to put together a movie. This one is one of the most utterly original science fiction movies ever made. By combining allusions to Alice in Wonderland and the cyberpunk work of William Gibson and Japanese kung fu cinema, the siblings created one of the most mind-bending and interesting and action-packed and philosophical and exciting movies of all time. It then went on to have two sequels. What dark cyberpunk thriller is this screenshot from?
28What Vietnam War classic is this from?
Francis Ford Coppola demands perfection in his movies and it often drives his crew members insane. When he was making this classic Vietnam War movie starring Martin Sheen and Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando, he sent one crew member all the way to Italy to get a very specific type of pasta that he wanted, and by the time the guy returned with this pasta, the scene had been cut. But hey, there’s method to his madness, because his movies are great. Which one is this?
29What noir homage is this taken from?
This movie is based on a comic book by the fantastic Frank Miller. The guy is a genius when it comes to dark comic books with dark themes and dark characters and dark, gloomy imagery. This movie is a throwback to the old film noir genre and it’s even shot in black and white to reflect that. But make no mistake – through and through, this is a comic book movie. And it’s a great one at that with some beautiful shots in it. What noir homage is this taken from?
30Which Star Wars movie is this from?
Everybody loves the Star Wars movies, to the point where to be a Star Wars fan doesn’t necessarily make you a nerd anymore. People come out in droves to see these movies, because they’re just pure escapist entertainment. The movies take us across the galaxy to all kinds of different planets. Thankfully, Disney have taken the torch from George Lucas and they’ve kept them going for years to come. Which Star Wars movie is this visually striking screenshot taken from?
31What fantasy classic is this from?
This movie was revolutionary in its time, as it was one of the first movies to have any color imagery at all, and definitely one of the first to combine color with black and white in its design. It’s about a girl named Dorothy from Kansas who is transported to a magical world by a tornado where she meets a ragtag group and they follow a road made of yellow bricks. What fantasy classic is this iconic screenshot taken from?
32What dark comedy is this taken from?
The Coen brothers have made quite a name for themselves and this movie is definitely a huge part of that success. It follows a pregnant cop as she investigates a long, drawn out, interwoven crime kicked off by the discovery of a body. If you can say the title without slipping into a Minnesotan accent, then power to you because most people can help it whenever this movie comes up. Do you remember which Coen brothers movie involved a wood chipper and a very nervous car salesman?
33What teen comedy classic is this from?
John Hughes was the master of the teen comedy movie back in the day. He practically invented the modern high school movie as we know it. Possibly his greatest work is this one, about a cool and rebellious kid who decides to take a day off school to re-evaluate what’s important in life – and rely those life lessons onto us as an audience by breaking the fourth wall constantly. What classic ‘80s high school comedy is this screenshot taken from?
34What vigilante thriller is this screenshot taken from?
Martin Scorsese never directed a Vietnam War movie, even when all of his peers – from Oliver Stone to Francis Ford Coppola to Stanley Kubrick – were treating the world to their own take on the topical issue in the ‘70s and ‘80s. But he did direct a movie that showcased the traumatic effects that the war had on veterans by making a movie about a Vietnam vet who becomes a vigilante. What classic 1976 vigilante thriller is this screenshot taken from?
35What WWII epic is this?
Some critics have suggested that this is the greatest movie to be directed by the brilliant Christopher Nolan. It was his first war movie and some are saying it’s already good enough to be ranked among the greatest World War II movies ever made. Sure, it has Harry Styles in it, but he’s not all that bad of an actor and you hardly notice he’s in it, because the focus here is on the action and the sense of impending doom. What movie is it?
36What is this psychological thriller about ballet?
Darren Aronofsky made this movie about ballet after making The Wrestler, which obviously was about wrestling. He chose this as his next project as he saw ballet as the highest form of art, as opposed to wrestling, which he sees as the lowest form. The movie’s plot was also inspired by The Double and the idea of doppelgangers. The movie was highly acclaimed by critics and grossed a ton of money at the box office. What is this psychological thriller about ballet?
37What woke horror movie is this screenshot taken from?
As the world is becoming more woke, so are the movies. Some great movie producer somewhere had the good sense to give comic legend Jordan Peele the chance to make his stamp on the movie world with an uncharacteristically serious piece – a horror movie that doubles up as a study of racism in modern America. He ended up winning an Oscar for his work, which no one expected before the movie came out. What woke horror movie is this screenshot taken from?
38What animated adventure is this taken from?
When director Andrew Stanton – who also directed WALL-E and John Carter and a few episodes of the second season of the Netflix science fiction series Stranger Things – visited an aquarium with his son and saw how beautiful the fish and the underwater world looked, he immediately decided that it would be the perfect setting for an animated movie. And so, he gave us what is arguably Pixar’s finest film. What amazing underwater animated adventure movie is this screenshot taken from?
39What coming of age classic is this from?
This movie was based on the Stephen King short story The Body, but since the studio executives thought that the title The Body was for an erotic movie, they decided to change it to the title of a beloved Ben E. King song. The title was one of a lot that were suggested during the development stages of the movie, and the song ended up being used in the film itself. What coming of age classic movie is this from?
40What unusual Oscar-winning comedy is this from?
It's not often that an overtly comedic movie will win an Oscar, especially the top dog one for Best Picture, but in the case of a movie that's as beautifully shot and touching and powerful and inventive and peculiar as this one, the Academy is willing to make an exception. This movie was a comeback and a half for Michael Keaton, who has experienced various different stages in his career and finally got to the serious dramatic Oscar stuff with this movie. It displays his comic talents, but it also shows us a whole tragic and bitter side of Keaton that we had never seen before. Great movie. Which one is it?
41What boxing movie is this?
Now that Sylvester Stallone is the muscle bound Hollywood action movie star known for films like the Rambo franchise and Tango and Cash and The Expendables franchise and Cobra, it might be confusing to discover that his first leading role in a movie was nominated for a boatload of awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture. It is named after its iconic and beloved leading character. What is the name of this classic boxing movie about an underdog who succeeds?
42What Best Picture-winning war movie is this?
Most of the war movies that get made are about World War II or historical battles. It can be controversial to tackle a more current war in a movie. They did a ton of Vietnam movies in the 1970s during the counterculture movement and there are still some movies made about the current conflict in the Middle East. This one won the Oscar for Best Picture and it’s about the bomb disposal guys out there. It’s an intense watch. What movie is it?
43What psychological black comedy is this closing shot from?
Everyone loves this movie. It’s dark and unsettling and spooky and thrilling and sometimes shocking, but it’s also very deep and interesting and entertaining. The movie has a great sense of humor, but it’s really a drama about a man with mental health problems who finally reckons with them as they come to the surface and take over his life. It also has one of the greatest plot twists of any movie ever. What psychological black comedy movie is this iconic closing shot taken from?
44What Star Wars movie is this shot from?
Due to the visually stunning vistas from other planets and from outer space, there are literally thousands of beautiful and iconic shots to choose from in the Star Wars saga. This chapter of the saga was released the most recently and there’s a lot about it that you can love and a lot about it that you can hate, so many fans were disappointed and others called it the best Star Wars movie to date. It was very polarizing. Which one is it?
45What horror classic is this from?
Before Alfred Hitchcock made this iconic black and white horror movie in 1960, the Hollywood studio executives did not believe that a horror movie could be a really successful box office smash. They also did not believe that a horror movie could double up as a genuinely good film, but boy, were they wrong. This one is now regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time. It is also considered to be the first slasher movie ever made. What is it?
46What police thriller is this screenshot taken from?
In the early 2000s, Denzel Washington became the second ever African American winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor for his menacing turn as the corrupt cop in this movie. Whenever people look back on the greatest cop movies ever made and the grittiest thrillers of all time, this movie definitely comes up in every discussion. It is a brilliant movie. Washington stars alongside Ethan Hawke, who plays a rookie cop. What police thriller is this screenshot taken from?
47What “major emotion picture” is this?
The story team at Pixar have spent more than twenty years now tugging on the heartstrings of their audience and toying with their emotions, so it was only natural that they would eventually make a movie that is literally about your feelings. The cast of Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, and Richard Kind helps to make this movie one of Pixar’s all time best. What “major emotion picture” (that’s how it was marketed) is this taken from?
48What gangster opus is this screenshot taken from?
This movie might just be director Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. His use of voiceover narration and all the fast cuts and the energy and his ability to tell such a huge, sweeping, epic story in such a way that it is consistently entertaining for more than two hours. Crime movies since this one was released have been desperately trying to emulate its unique style, but nothing could top this excellent film. What beautifully shot gangster opus is this screenshot taken from?
49What true life thriller is this taken from?
This movie came as kind of a surprise when it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was directed by Ben Affleck. He also starred in the movie. Until then, he had not been typically known as a great talent. But he sure proved those naysayers wrong. Plus, he had a great story to work from – the true life tale of some hostages who are saved from Iran by a guy posed as a Hollywood location scout. What movie is it?
50What is this iconic crime thriller?
You know that look that gangsters have in American crime movies, where they wear black suits and ties? Well, Quentin Tarantino sort of introduced that with this slick crime thriller, his feature length movie debut. Well, actually, some people say that Tarantino ripped a lot of his first ever movie off of a foreign thriller movie called City on Fire. But in terms of American audiences, he introduced that with this seminal and iconic indie movie. What movie is it exactly?