Top 10 Movie Quitting Scenes

Script written by Akil Goin. They say winners never quit, but sometimes… quitters win! In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 quitting scenes in movies. Meltdowns, monologues and moments of malice always make for great quitting scenes, but it’s all in the delivery, even if it’s subtle. For this list, we’re counting down the best company exits; when the stresses of the workaday world become too much for a character and they explode in a wellspring of rage, depression or… quiet reservation? Special thanks to our users great7aaron and Kimberly Polson for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Akil Goin.

Top 10 Movie Quitting Scenes


They say winners never quit, but sometimes… quitters win! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 quitting scenes in movies.

Meltdowns, monologues and moments of malice always make for great quitting scenes, but it’s all in the delivery, even if it’s subtle. For this list, we’re counting down the best company exits.

#10: Truman Burbank
“The Truman Show” (1998)

Truman discovers that for his entire life, his friends and family were just actors, manipulating him into participating in his own reality TV show. When he finally nears his escape, he’s confronted by the show-runner – essentially his creator – who attempts to persuade him to stay. After some careful contemplation, with millions of people watching, Truman responds with nothing but his routine morning catchphrase – which couldn’t be more fitting in this new context. Truman literally bows out before he exits; a gesture that’s both classy and sticks it to the man.

#9: James Dalton
“Road House” (1989)

Dalton is a legendary cooler – you know, the kinda guy who can keep order in the toughest of bars and dirtiest of dives. But for now, he’s working a kind of cushy job at a New York club. That is, until small-town bar owner Frank Tilghman walks in and offers Dalton everything he wants to help him make his Missouri joint, the Double Deuce, a more respectable establishment. When Dalton’s is satisfied with the terms, he quickly and quietly tells his current boss the score. Classic Swayze.

#8: Joanna
“Office Space” (1999)

It’s awfully humiliating to be accused of underachieving at a lame waitressing job. And, after presumably more than one incident of being chastised by management for her lack of optional uniform accessories, this finally proves insufferable to Joanna. “Office Space” is the satirical comedy that quickly hit cult favorite status for perfectly representing the mind-numbing plight of the white-collar worker drone. Scenes like this did it with extra flair.

#7: Tom Hansen
“500 Days of Summer” (2009)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a quitter’s monologue that’s list-worthy for multiple reasons. For one, he’s airing out his work grievances, while also raising an interesting point about how greeting cards allow the giver to shirk their responsibility in expressing themselves. Incidentally, his complaints are also an expression of his own heartbreak. With sincerity and honesty, he condemns the lies and heartache he blames on greeting cards and pop culture. And, almost as an afterthought, he decides to leave his job.

#6: Wesley Gibson
“Wanted” (2008)

Since Wesley’s panic attacks are a plot device, an easy way to kick him off his tightrope of stability would be by tormenting him with an annoying boss and a dead-end accounting job. Shortly after he learns that he has superhuman abilities and a series of dangerous experiences put him in the path of a cult of assassins, Wesley allows his anger to finally bubble over. His harsh, unfiltered words to his boss allow us to share in sentiments most people wouldn’t dare express. Talk about a character breakdown.

#5: Joe Banks
“Joe Versus the Volcano” (1990)

Having mere months left to live can really help you give your boss a piece of your mind come quitting time. The dark, cramped, neon-hued set of Joe’s day job at a medical supply firm is depicted as life-sucking – at least, that’s how he describes it when he returns from his three-hour lunch. When confronted about this, Joe doesn’t hold back, and quits by letting out all the regret, misery and drama he’d been holding in for years. Plus, he gets a date outta the deal, so it’s win-win.

#4: Donnie Azoff
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)

Donnie only needs a glimpse of Jordan Belfort’s lifestyle, and a copy of his pay-stub, to decide that that’s the life for him. Seriously, he literally calls up his boss immediately and quits on the spot. And just like that, a very lucrative business partnership is born. For characters like Donnie, this type of spontaneous quit is what happens when opportunity knocks and the day is seized.

#3: Scarface
“Half Baked” (1998)

It’s short, sweet and succinct, but it’s everything a frank quitting announcement needs to be. When the marijuana business venture takes off for Scarface and his friends, he quits his burger-joint gig at His Royal Beefiness the way many minimum wage workers dream of doing: by F-bombing almost everyone in his line of sight. This resignation details the freedom, catharsis and sincerity that come with making a scene, and he makes it a funny one.

#2: Lester Burnham
“American Beauty” (1999)

Everyone has their reasons for quitting, and being a depressed suburban father with a lifestyle that’s ideal but unfulfilling is as good as any other. When asked to write a job description that’s clearly meant to assess which of his company’s employees is expendable, Lester decides to strike first. Before he can get fired for his words, he blackmails his way to a severance with benefits. And that is how a character so miserable can become sympathetic to his audience.

Before we retire with our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Osbourne Cox
“Burn After Reading” (2008)
- Jeff D. Sheldrake
“The Apartment” (1960)
- Marshal Will Kane
“High Noon” (1952)
- Harry Callahan
“The Enforcer” (1976)

#1: The Narrator
“Fight Club” (1999)

Blackmail doesn’t always work verbally, so The Narrator in “Fight Club” needs to get creative. Tired of the white-collar workaday world and after a pretty far fall from grace at work, he decides to fabricate allegations of his boss’ assault. He sheds enough blood and sustains enough bruises to keep security from believing otherwise, so a year’s severance and free office equipment are his spoils. It’s a unique, creative and original way to leave a company. Technically he was fired first, but we won’t beat ourselves up over it.

Do you agree with our list? Which movie quitting scenes did we miss? For more Top 10s every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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