Top 22 Most Satisfying Movie Moments of Each Year (2000 - 2021)



Top 22 Most Satisfying Movie Moments of Each Year (2000 - 2021)

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Kim Mabee
These are the most satisfying movie moments of the far. For this list, we'll be looking at the scenes from the last two decades that gave us the most satisfaction by being highly anticipated, a sigh of relief, or just plain awesome. Our countdown includes “Gladiator”, “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”, “Avengers: Endgame”, “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, and more!

Top 22 Satisfying Movie Moments of Each Year 2000-2021

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 22 Satisfying Movie Moments of Each Year from 2000-2021.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the scenes from the last two decades that gave us the most satisfaction by being highly anticipated, a sigh of relief, or just plain awesome.

Because some of these moments happen at pivotal times in these films, a spoiler alert is in effect.

If these movie moments make you as happy as they make us, let us know in the comments.

2000: Maximus Kills Commodus

“Gladiator” (2000)

There’s nothing we enjoy more than watching a victim get revenge on those who have wronged them, and that’s exactly what we get when we see Maximus kill Commodus. Maximus is the rightful emperor of Rome, but Commodus murders his own father to become emperor, and has Maximus’ family killed as well. After Maximus is sold to a Gladiator trainer, he performs flawlessly time and time again, and he finally gets his chance to fight Commodus. Before the battle begins, Commodus stabs Maximus. Not to worry, though, as we couldn’t imagine a better finale to this combat than watching Maximus fulfill his revenge, and we are delighted that that’s exactly what we get to see.

2001: The Heist Ends

“Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)

The “Ocean’s” franchise is known for two things - an all-star cast, and a heist that is not as it appears, and they set the stage right from the very first film. Danny Ocean’s heist is planned out down to every last detail, with everyone having to do their part at exactly the right time. So, when we see what seems to be everything going wrong, we can’t help but panic. That moment of fear is what sets us up for the moment of huge relief when we realize that we, along with Terry Benedict, have been fooled. The heist went off just as they had actually planned, and we adored getting to watch them bask in the glory of their success.

2002: Upside Down Kiss

“Spider-Man” (2002)

Peter Parker is the quintessential nerd, who spends his days taking photos for the school newspaper and admiring Mary Jane, the girl next door. We love seeing this adorkable character transform into a superhero, and his red-headed crush takes notice of him as well. Unaware of his identity, Spider-Man swoops in and saves the day for Mary Jane time after time as her feelings for Spider-Man grow stronger. The best moment between these two happens after Peter saves her from a group of thugs, and in the pouring rain, upside down, they have their coveted kiss, and we can only imagine how much the audience is cheering at their screens.

2003: The Ring is Destroyed

“Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)

The final installment of this beloved series was one of the most anticipated films of all time, and it was filled with some of the most satisfying scenes in the history of cinema. The ending of this trilogy is iconic, as we finally get to see the hobbits being recognized for their efforts by having their king tell them that they bow to no one. However, the scene that left us feeling the most triumphant, was when we got to see the Ring destroyed. As Frodo and Gollum have a final battle on Mount Doom, we couldn’t help but applaud when we got to see Gollum and the Ring both fall into the river of lava.

2004: Okay

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

Joel and Clementine’s love story is not one that we see on the silver screen every day. We see them break up early in the film, and they both make the separate decision to have their memories of one another erased. They meet again, mirroring their first encounter with one another, and discover the memories of their romance. They are hesitant to move forward with a relationship after learning the truth about their previous one, but in the end, they realize that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. This ending leaves us delighted to see that despite everything they’ve been through, it is okay for them to give it another go.

2005: Two Points From The Win

“Coach Carter” (2005)

Based on an inspiring true story, Samuel L. Jackson plays Coach Ken Carter. Carter is an unconventional basketball coach whose techniques involve making sure his players are well-rounded people, instead of focusing solely on athletics and wins. Because of this, he ends up suspending his own team after they fall behind in their schooling. While all of the players are dealing with their own personal struggles, they stay committed to their academic goals, and are eventually able to all play together as they vie for the championship. During the quarter-finals, the team finishes just one basket short of the win, but we are still thrilled to see how far this group has come.

2006: Chris Is Hired

“Pursuit of Happyness” (2006)

There’s nothing we love more than a feel-good story, and Chris Gardner’s is one for the books. “Pursuit of Happyness” tells the true story of Chris and his son as they struggle through homelessness and poverty. Through everything, Chris remains as upbeat and positive as he can for his son, and he tries as hard as he can to build a better life for them. He works as a salesman, while also working as an intern stockbroker with a 1 in 20 shot of getting hired. He does all of this while trying to keep his son healthy, safe, and happy, so it is extremely gratifying and emotional to see him land the job at the end of the film.

2007: Hoist the Colours

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End” (2007)

In the third installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, we get to see this moving scene inspired by the song, “Hoist the Colours.” The song is about raising a pirate’s flag, and it is first heard at the beginning of the film when anyone with any association with piracy is sentenced to be hanged. It is an occasion that unites all of those who are involved in the pirate world, so when we see the new King, Elizabeth Swann yell out this meaningful phrase, joined by all of those around her, we can’t help but smile.

2008: I Am Iron Man

“Iron Man” (2008)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us a plethora of satisfying moments, but one of the best appears in the very first film of the franchise. When we meet Tony Stark, we watch as this genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist becomes Iron Man, adding superhero to his impressive resume. He is introduced as a weapons manufacturer for the war in Afghanistan, but after experiencing firsthand the damage his work is causing, he has a change of heart. In the end, although not part of his original plan during the press conference, he reveals his identity to the world. It’s almost just as iconic when we see him say this phrase again in “Endgame,” but nothing beats the first time.

2009: What Happens at the Cinema

“Inglourious Basterds” (2009)

This Quentin Tarantino film has one of the most enjoyable scenes of the century so far. Tarantino loves to create historical fiction, and in this film, it is gratifying to see the death of Adolf Hitler in spectacular fashion, even if it’s not exactly true to life. During a film screening being attended by Nazi leaders, the movie they’re watching tells them exactly what is about to happen to them, and the theatre erupts in flames and gunfire. Seeing the leader of the Nazis killed by the basterds cemented Tarantino’s ability to twist any famous event into one that leaves us feeling more satisfied than we ever could be with the real story.

2010: I Was Perfect

“Black Swan” (2010)

Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Nina Sayers, a ballerina who slowly loses her mind throughout the production of the ballet “Black Swan,” is chilling. Nina has a tumultuous relationship with fellow ballerina, Lily, after she becomes her understudy and Nina believes that she is being replaced. While the lines of reality and fantasy become blurred throughout the film, Nina ends up stabbing Lily, but it is soon revealed that she actually stabbed herself while in her hallucinatory state. Despite her fatal injury, Nina still manages to dance flawlessly, and it is truly fulfilling for her to have accomplished her dream moments before her death.

2011: Voldemort Is Dead

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” (2011)

At the end of this decade-long film series, we see an epic battle at Hogwarts that brings characters from all previous installments together. Throughout the film, we see beloved characters like Ron’s brother Fred and Professor Lupin die, but everyone is shocked when we see what appears to be a lifeless Harry. Voldemort, on the other hand, is delighted, until Harry reveals that he is still alive, and after a duel between the two of them, Voldemort is finally defeated. This moment was years in the making, and we were thrilled to see Harry, his friends, and everyone at Hogwarts finally win the war against he-who-must-not-be-named.

2012: Django’s Vengeance

“Django Unchained” (2012)

Quentin Tarantino’s got a talent for being able to create some seriously satisfying scenes, and one of his best is in this 2012 film. This movie follows the journey of Django as he works as a freed slave alongside Christoph Waltz’s bounty hunter character, Dr. King Schultz. An unfortunate turn of events ends in Schultz getting killed and Django getting captured, tortured, and returned to slavery. But, he manages to make his way back to the plantation to rescue his wife, Broomhilda. Once there, he shows off his skills with a rifle by killing the new owners of the plantation before blowing up the house and riding off into a life of freedom with his wife.

2013: Ryan Survives

“Gravity” (2013)

We’ve had the pleasure of seeing Sandra Bullock take on a number of amazing roles, but there wasn’t one that left us more on the edge of our seat or with a bigger sigh of relief than this one. Bullock stars as rookie astronaut Ryan, alongside George Clooney as Matt, as they both try to find a way to return safely to Earth after debris wreaks havoc throughout space. We see her overcome obstacle after obstacle after she is left alone to figure out a way back. After plummeting into the water, she struggles to get out but as we see her swim through, reach the beach, and walk to safety, we are finally able to exhale.

2014: Godzilla’s Atomic Kiss of Death

“Godzilla” (2014)

While we might not get to see as much of this movie’s namesake as we’d like, all of his appearances on screen are extremely memorable. We get to see Godzilla in some epic battles throughout the film, as he uses his deathly breath to try and defeat the MUTO’s. But, the one that stood out as his best, and the best of the year, was an extremely satisfying use of his ability to breathe atomic fire - right down his enemy’s throat. Godzilla had us sitting on the edge of our seats with anticipation scene after scene, and this blow of death was definitely worth waiting for.

2015: Ma & Jack Escape

“Room” (2015)

Seeing Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay as a mother-son duo in this film is oftentimes gut-wrenching, but that’s what makes this scene so gratifying. We see the horrific man named “Old Nick” hold Joy and her son, Jack, captive for years while severely mistreating both of them. After spending years in just this one room, Joy decides that it’s time for her and Jack to try and break out. She has the young boy play dead, and when Old Nick takes Jack out of the room he puts him in the back of his truck. After reaching a stop sign, Jack manages to escape and help the authorities free his mom, while also arresting the monstrous “Old Nick.”

2016: Chiron’s Revenge

“Moonlight” (2016)

Chiron’s story is one that is tragic and difficult to watch, as he struggles with a traumatic childhood filled with constant taunting. As he comes to terms with his own sexuality amidst constant turmoil in his home life, a student named Terrel is making his life even more miserable. Chiron won’t fess up about who his attackers are, but he instead decides to take vengeance into his own hands by hitting Terrel over the head with a chair. While the repercussions of his actions aren’t quite as satisfying, we can’t help but cheer when we see Chiron stand up for himself after everything that’s been thrown at him.

2017: Chris Gets Away Safe

“Get Out” (2017)

From the moment that Chris Washington arrives at his girlfriend’s family home, we can tell that something is off. It’s not long until we, and Chris, discover this family’s disturbing secret. Chris was brought there not to meet the family, but to be the next victim in their brain transplant operation. He manages to break free and just as he is about to escape, he encounters and tries to kill his supposed-girlfriend, until a cop car pulls up. Things look bad for Chris, especially considering the original ending had Chris getting arrested, but luckily filmmaker Jordan Peele opted for a happier turn of events. Instead, we see Chris getting rescued by his best friend as Rose is left to die.

2018: The Explosion

“BlacKkKlansman” (2018)

This Spike Lee film follows the true story of Ron Stallworth, a Black police officer who goes undercover in the KKK. After he finds out that his fellow KKK members are planting a bomb on the home of his girlfriend and Black Rights Advocate, Patrice, Ron quickly goes to intercept. When Felix, Walker, and Ivanhoe come by to watch the explosion, they unknowingly park right next to the bomb, leaving Patrice and Ron safe and the KKK members in smithereens. “Blackkklansman” is filled to the brim with intense moments as Stallworth and his colleagues try to safely navigate this situation, but the moment that leaves us both breathless and applauding is this one.

2019: Avengers… Assemble

“Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

In this “Infinity War” sequel, the remaining Avengers are working hard to figure out how to reverse time and Thanos’ snap. All seems lost when Thanos and his army crash in from the past to disintegrate the rest of the world while battling Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. As thrilling as it is to see the original Avengers fight alongside one another, seeing the entire MCU cast of heroes come together and hearing Steve Rogers say this chill-inducing line is truly iconic. In one of the most highly anticipated films of all time, we weren’t surprised to see a scene that fulfilled all of our hopes with all of the MCU characters finally being snapped back and reunited.

2020: Al Is Arrested

“Promising Young Woman” (2020)

Carey Mulligan plays Cassie Thomas, who goes from being a promising young woman to being set on getting revenge for what her college classmates did to her and her friend, Nina. Her ultimate goal throughout the movie is to expose Al, who assaulted her and Nina without any consequences. In the end, on the day of Al’s wedding, he is arrested, revealing to everyone in his life that although he seemed to have it all, he was just masking his terrible actions. Needless to say, seeing this monster finally being brought to justice after everything he put Cassie and Nina through is extremely satisfying.

2021: Three Peter Parkers

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021)

How do you top the Avengers assembling? How about three generations of Spider-Men assembling! Although most fans speculated that Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire would appear in “No Way Home,” they were excluded from the initial ads and cast members shot down rumors. So, there was always the possibility Marvel and Sony wouldn’t deliver. This made it all the more rewarding when Garfield’s Spider-Man emerged from a portal. Shortly after, Maguire entered, resulting in another thunderous applause. Garfield and Maguire aren’t limited to glorified cameos either, as they play pivotal roles in helping Tom Holland’s Peter cope with his grief and find the strength for the final fight. With almost twenty years of build-up, this moment satisfied in ways that somehow surpassed expectations.