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Top 10 Amazing Small Details in Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nathan Sharp Wow, we never noticed that before! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Amazing Small Details in Movies. For this list, we’re looking at small details in movies that took a lot of effort or thought to conceive, but that probably only true films aficionados actually noticed or enjoyed. To be clear, we’re not looking at bits of trivia or clever references but little details that contribute to the movies themselves. Special thanks to our user jackhammer for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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Top 10 Amazing Small Details in Movies


Wow, we never noticed that before! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Amazing Small Details in Movies.

For this list, we’re looking at small details in movies that took a lot of effort or thought to conceive, but that probably only true films aficionados actually noticed or enjoyed. To be clear, we’re not looking at bits of trivia or clever references but little details that contribute to the movies themselves.

#10: The Bride’s Name Is Revealed
“Kill Bill: Volume 1” (2003)

When Quentin Tarantino released his samurai movie about a vengeful bride, everyone wanted to know what her real name was, as she was only referred to as “The Bride” for the whole of the first movie. It wasn’t until “Vol. II” that we learned that her name is Beatrix Kiddo. However, if you paused the flick and took a good look at her boarding pass for her flight to Tokyo, you’d have discovered that her name was clearly revealed one movie early. Not only that, but Bill constantly referred to her as “Kiddo,” which was seemingly playful nickname - until we learn the truth, that is!

#9: Boromir’s Vambraces
“The Lord of the Rings” franchise (2001-03)

As it truly was a dream project for Peter Jackson, “The Lord of the Rings” film series is filled with small details, and it was quite obvious that he put all of his effort into making the films as detailed as possible. Some of the best smaller details that are seen throughout are Boromir’s vambraces. Once Boromir – SPOILER ALERT – bites the dust, Aragorn takes his vambraces, or wrist armor. He wears them for the remainder of the trilogy without anyone drawing attention to it.

#8: The Defeated Mailman
“The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001)

Sometimes the best details are in the background, and it takes a truly keen eye to notice them. Such is the case in this comedy-drama about a group of child prodigies that return home as adults. When Owen Wilson crashes his car into a mailbox, what happens in the background makes the crash seem even more detailed. We rarely think of the repercussions of destroyed items in the movies, but the mailman who has a job to do humorously reminds us. Clearly defeated and upset, he walks by just out of focus, and those of us who’ve noticed him make a note to treat our mailman just a little bit better.

#7: John Doe’s Diaries
“Se7en” (1995)


Mental note: on the off chance that you ever work in Hollywood, be prepared to work very hard if you’re on the set of a David Fincher movie. He may make you do some truly tedious things for very little reward – at least, depending on how you look at it. That’s what happened on “Seven,” a movie about a serial killer whose murders are based on the seven deadly sins. Meant for the character of John Doe, some production designers wrote and drew pages and pages of insane ramblings and grotesque imagery for weeks in $15,000 worth of old journals - and yet most of it didn’t even end up in the final film, aside from the title sequence!

#6: The Spear Gun
“Aliens” (1986)

This sci-fi action horror about a group of soldiers battling aliens on a desolate planet blew everyone away due to its amazing special effects. That isn’t the only great thing about the “Alien” sequel, though. Its attention to detail is superb, and there’s no better example than the opening scene. While we’re amazed by the door-cutting robot, it’s the fact that the spear gun Ellen Ripley uses against the alien in the first movie is exactly where she left it – stuck in the door – in the second movie that really gets us. It’s a neat little detail, and one that proved James Cameron knew exactly what he was doing.

#5: Clark Kent and Superman’s Hair
“Superman” (1978)

Obviously when you’re a superhero, you’ll want to disguise yourself in order to remain anonymous to the general public. Luckily for Clark Kent, he has just the thing: a pair of glasses! But hold on. As if the glasses didn’t fool enough people, there’s also a small detail regarding his hair that we’re sure few people noticed. When Christopher Reeve is playing Clark Kent, his hair is parted to the right, but when Clark becomes Superman, Reeve’ hair is parted to the left. That’s sure to trick anyone who might recognize Kent without his glasses, right?

#4: Windshield Scraping
“Fargo” (1996)

With a plot that follows a man who hires two criminals to kidnap his wife, this neo-noir black comedy sounds dark enough, but it’s also sprinkled with hilarious little situations. Anyone from cold, snowy climates will be sure to laugh at Jerry’s attempts to scrape the ice off his windshield, only to throw the scraper on the ground in frustration. But it’s the way he returns to the scraper, picks it up, and continues on that gets the biggest laugh, and it’s the fact that the filmmakers didn’t overlook the small details of the climate and how it actually affects people that got it on this list. Most movies would end the scene at the breakdown, but “Fargo” shows the hilarious realism of just what needs to be done in a situation like that.

#3: Lone Pine Mall
“Back to the Future” (1985)

Time travel movies are always tricky, especially regarding changed future timelines and characters. This classic, which follows a teenager who has to ensure that his parents get together after he accidentally messes with their meet-cute, is filled with interesting details, but none trumps Lone Pine Mall. Before Marty travels back in time, he meets Doc in the Twin Pines Mall parking lot. When he’s in the past, he accidentally destroys a pine tree belonging to Old Man Peabody, the owner of the land the mall is situated on. So when he returns, the mall is renamed Lone Pine Mall – all due to his careless blunder.

#2: The 2012 London Olympics
“Children of Men” (2006)

In 2027, women are infertile. Or at least they are in this movie’s world, one where Clive Owen has to transport a miraculously pregnant woman to sanctuary. If you look closely at Owen, you’ll see that he is wearing a London 2012 Olympics t-shirt, which has since become faded. This isn’t amazing considering the movie takes place in 2027, twenty five years after the London Olympics, but what is amazing is that the movie was released in 2006, six years BEFORE London hosted the games. It’s an astonishing piece of costuming that showed both the future and the past all at once.

Before we blow your mind with our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

- Dr. Robert Neville Is an Art Collector
“I Am Legend” (2007)

- The LEGOs Have Thumbprints
“The LEGO Movie” (2014)

- ‘Mallrats’ Takes Place the Day Before ‘Clerks’
“Mallrats” (1995)

- Vincent Vega Is Walking in the Background of the Diner
“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

#1: Twins
“The Matrix” (1999)

As if “The Matrix” didn’t mess with your mind enough, here’s one detail that we’re sure you missed. When Neo goes into what he thinks is the Matrix with Morpheus, the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar teaches the computer programmer a lesson about Agents by distracting him with the woman in the red dress. Like Neo, we can’t help but look at her, but in doing so, we miss the fact that all the citizens on the busy street around them are literal copies of each other, like a large group of twins out for a stroll. It’s a fantastic little detail that shows just how random and artificial the matrix is.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite small detail in a movie? For more detailed top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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