Top 10 Elevator Scenes in Movies

Script written by Sean Harris. Life has its ups and downs, and these are some of the best ever captured on film! In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 elevator scenes in movies. For this list, we’re looking at memorable scenes that have taken place in or on an elevator. We’re not looking for laughter, though, so no comedy! And, we should mention, there are a few spoilers ahead so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users Camden Coblentz, matthewb627, 94ejack and Tools Gav for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Sean Harris.

Top 10 Elevator Scenes in Movies


Life has its ups and downs, and these are some of the best ever captured on film! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 elevator scenes in movies.

For this list, we’re looking at memorable scenes that have taken place in or on an elevator. We’re not looking for laughter, though, so no comedy! And, we should mention, there are a few spoilers ahead so spoiler alert.

#10: The Tower of Terror
“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)

This elevator is going down and it’s not stopping ‘til it hits the underworld! Dana and Marty are the only ones left – their friends are dead, and they’ve nowhere else to go. As they silently peer out from their Plexiglas box, we peer out from our hiding place behind the sofa. First a werewolf, then a ghost... then a demon-child... and a man with circular-saws through his skull. It’s a tower of terror – and there’s no better way to start our ascent to number 1.

#9: Glass Case of Emotion
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013)

Katniss just can’t catch a break in an elevator. Cinna’s sure got style, but that can’t help him here. When he said goodbye to his favorite muse, he probably didn’t think that she’d possibly be the one outliving him. Katniss Everdeen is focused, but she’s frightened – seeing the men in white suits pulverize her friend does little to calm her pre-game nerves. Trapped in the elevator, she’s a wounded animal. She’s going up, she’s feeling down – she WILL avenge Lenny Kravitz!

#8: Rising Suspicions
“Die Hard with a Vengeance” (1995)

The “Die Hard” movies, in general, are elevator gold. When John McClane isn’t writing notes onto the terrorists he’s recently disposed of to spread some seasonal cheer, he’s fighting his way out of these impossibly small spaces. In “Die Hard 3,” he takes a particularly eventful trip, putting two and two together when he realizes that one of the supposed cops along for the ride is sporting his colleague’s badge. After taking the entire crew down, he’s lucky to emerge alive from this close quarters bloodbath in a box.

#7: A Spike in Tension
“Mission: Impossible” (1996)

Think that whizz-kid hacker riding around unseen on an elevator during an undercover CIA mission in Prague is safe? Guess again! Things go bad fast, as the entire team gets offed one by one. While you would expect Emilio to be the victim of a conventional elevator death, if there is such a thing, we get something entirely unexpected: instead of plummeting downwards, he goes up into a reverse Mortal Kombat spike fatality! Gruesome! We’re so glad they cut away at the last second!

#6: A World of Pure Imagination
“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971)

It’s great, it’s glass, it’s classic Willy Wonka! He’s taken a usual contraption and he’s turned it into something strange. This glass machine will go up-ways, down-ways, round-and-round in circles-ways! Gene Wilder as Wonka is one part magic, two parts madness as he races toward the roof – but when they break through, his genius is confirmed. ‘In this world of pure imagination,’ it’s the only way to travel.

#5: Blood in an Elevator
“The Shining” (1980)

It’s the last thing you would need while Jack Nicholson goes nuts and begins to hunt you down! Wendy Torrance has already survived the infamous ‘axe to the bathroom door’ scene, and now she’s met with a torrent of blood from the elevator shaft. The haunted hotel turns hallucinatory as Stanley Kubrick transforms the ordinary into the illogical, leaving us all as wide-eyed as Shelley Duvall. It’s a point-of-view shot that has you running for the stairs!

#4: Shoulda Taken the Stairs
“The Departed” (2006)

If you’re coming from the roof of a Boston high-rise, it’s best to save your legs and take the elevator – particularly if you’ve got a gun to someone’s head. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Billy Costigan didn’t realize, however, that as he counted down the floors, he was counting down the last seconds of his life. Matt Damon’s Colin Sullivan has already hit rock bottom… but when the doors open and Leo’s blood splatters, well... it’s a big ‘lift.’

#3: Explosive Adrenaline
“Speed” (1994)

An elevator shaft rigged with explosives… Hostages trapped in an LA skyscraper… a terrorist demanding an outrageous ransom... All of this, and the movie has barely even begun! “Speed” is all-out adrenaline, and this scene really sets the tone. The elevator’s going down, but not quite in the way it was designed to, with its emergency breaks threatening to be blown up as well. Who can forget the terror of the victims rushing to squeeze out before being forced straight downwards?

#2: He’s Going Down
“Drive” (2011)

Ryan Gosling gets down before he beats up in this ultra-stylish scene. A climactic point in a high-tension movie, ‘The Driver’ gets the girl as they ride the elevator with their hitman. Seconds later, there’s a dead body on the floor and Irene’s cowering in the corner, questioning her taste in men. The shots that follow, between the elevator and the outside parking-lot, are just complete, raw emotion.

Before we open the doors on our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Hooked on a Feeling “Final Destination 2” (2003)
- Monster on the Fifth Floor “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
- Take a Bite Outta Crime “Get Carter” (2000)
- Peril in the Elevators “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005)
- Cat Fight “Single White Female” (1992)
- Aim High “In the Line of Fire” (1993)

#1: One Killer Ride
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

You can close the door on a murderous android, but you can’t keep it out. Hospital corridors have never looked so scary, and an elevator ride’s never been so life-threatening. Robert Patrick, as T-1000, has blades for arms and he can smell blood. The kill-crazed robot pierces the roofing like he’s preparing food for the microwave – while Arnie and his human objectives scurry underneath. It’s claustrophobic, apocalyptic, and unforgettable.

Do you agree with our list? Which elevator scene did we skip? For more free-falling Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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