Imitation is considered to be a sincere form of flattery. How flattering were these recreations of popular and legendary cinematic scenes?
Sometimes scenes in a movie become so iconic that they outshine and outlive the films themselves. Some particular scenes become so memorable and unique that other TV shows and movies pay tribute to that memorable moment. But to pay homage is not a simplistic task. It requires having a balance between sticking to a format or going off course.
Scene imitation is an overall split concept. It can be perceived as recycling authentic material and lacking creativity, but quite a few see it as a way to remind a new generation of a classic movie moment. Some recreations follow the original’s blueprint, while others have put a new spin on a vintage design.
Psycho Shower Scene
Alfred Hitchcock always went to great measures for the best take. With 78 setups and 52 cuts, the infamous shower murder in Psycho would completely change the cinematic game.
While this groundbreaking horror scene has been spoofed in many productions, there are two instances that stand out within the Hitchcock universe. Gus Van Sant’s 1998 reviled remake of Psycho was filmed in color over black and white, increasing the gore factor. Nearly twenty years later, Bates Motel, a modernized prequel revolving around young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore), would see Marion Crane (played by songbird Rihanna) leave the shower alive.
Flashdance Water Scene
She was just a steel town girl on a Saturday night looking for the fight of her life… or in the case of aspiring dancer Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals), some water. Flashdance is an epic dance film with a strong female lead. And apart from the ending, the most memorable scene is when Alex is doused by a mini waterfall on stage.
Eddie Murphy’s 2007 comedy Norbit, along with beloved children’s franchises Shrek and My Little Pony, parodied the scene. In the advertising world, water was replaced by laundry for a 2021 P&G Gain commercial starring The Office fan favorite Craig Robinson.
Say Anything Boom Box Scene
The classic teen flick Say Anything still holds up today as both a coming-of-age tale and a quintessential love story. Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) set the romantic stage for future generations by holding up a boombox outside Diane Court’s (Ione Skye) window, blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”, the song that defined their relationship.
A Night At The Roxbury’s homage is one of the most memorable, using Haddaway’s “What Is Love?” over Gabriel’s song. Within twenty-first century media, the boombox has now been replaced with modern technology. However, Deadpool 2 would see everybody’s favorite antihero with a boombox phone case, playing the original bop.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge Train Finale
1995’s Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was a turning point in the way of international cinema. 27 years after releasing, it is one of the longest-running films of all time. The evergreen romance is set by its final scene, with Simran (Kajol) following her heart and chasing after Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) as he holds his hand out for her to catch the moving train.
This scene has been redone several times, which includes another Shah Rukh Khan starrer, 2013’s Chennai Express. Danny Boyle’s 2008 Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire would also pay homage in a flashback scene.
Dirty Dancing Lift
Similar to Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dirty Dancing is also defined by its ending. Baby (Jennifer Grey) finally blooms as a dancer alongside Johnny (Patrick Swayze), completing their routine with a majestic lift. The Academy Award-winning song “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes perfectly set the scene.
One of the most beloved recreations would be between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. Recently, Dancing With The Stars pro Derek Hough and Tik Tok star Charli D’Amelio performed the entire routine for Hough’s Step Into… The Movies ABC special.
Duck Soup Mirror Scene
The Marx Brothers were a comedic family ahead of their time. In their creative endeavors, they were not always appreciated for their off-brand humor. Little did they know that the hilarious mirror scene from 1933’s Duck Soup would become a landmark moment in cinematic history.
Having been transported to 1939 Berlin, Stewie Griffin and Adolf Hitler satirized the scene in the season seven Family Guy episode “Road to Germany”. 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted had Kermit the Frog performing the sequence alongside his evil doppelgänger/twin Constantine.
Titanic “I’m Flying” Scene
James Cameron’s epic romance Titanic is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. The film made household names of leads Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, with such success attributed to
their stellar performances and sizzling chemistry. One scene that is a fan favorite is when Jack (DiCaprio) and Rose (Winslet) stand on the ship’s bow at sunset, sharing their first kiss.
Leonardo DiCaprio hilariously mocked the scene with Jonah Hill for the latter’s 2014 Saturday Night Live cold open monologue. Kate Winslet would also be replaced by OwlKitty, a feline content creator, for a series of Titanic parodies.
Pottery Wheel Scene In Ghost
1990’s supernatural romance Ghost would birth a scene that was tastefully erotic for the era. Molly (Demi Moore) and Sam (Patrick Swayze) share an incredibly intimate moment at her pottery wheel, set to The Righteous Brothers’ rendition of “Unchained Melody”. The combination of a shirtless man and wet clay was cinematic dynamite.
Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake parodied the scene for an installment of their Evolution of Dance series “Evolution of End Zone Dancing”. HBOMax’s teen drama Euphoria would also recently recreate the scene for the season two episode “You Who Cannot See, Think Of Those Who Can”.
When Harry Met Sally’s Katz Delicatessen Scene
Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally… defied gender norms and stereotypes. The myth of faking orgasms was confirmed in Meg Ryan’s hilarious Katz Deli scene, which was completed by Estelle Reiner’s line, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Little did anybody know that this would become one of the most quoted lines ever.
2006’s parody movie Date Movie included the line amongst its numerous rom-com references. Drew Barrymore would spoof the scene (in addition to many others) for the 2021 fall premiere of her CBS daytime talk show, Drew.
Risky Business Dance Scene
Tom Cruise cemented his eternal star status when he slid across the screen rocking out to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock n Roll” in 1983’s Risky Business. Joel (Cruise) is left to his own devices upon his parents leaving for a vacation. He takes advantage of the solitude by dancing all over the living room.
Characters such as Niles from The Nanny and Adam Goldberg of The Goldbergs would valiantly emulate Joel’s dance. It was even the focus of a Band Hero campaign starring blink-182’s Travis Barker, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, and pop princess Taylor Swift.