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- 1This slap gets number one on the list purely out of balls and social importance. Sidney Poitier plays a detective from the North who has to come down to racist Mississippi in the 1960s to help out with a murder investigation. Racial tensions are stirred, and when one rich white guy doesn't feel like being questioned by a black man at 00:53 of this clip, he slaps Poitier. What does Poitier do? He bitch slaps the guy right back without a moment of hesitation. What follows is a poignant examination on the aftermath of a bitch slap, and hesitation over the proper course of action to take upon being slapped like... well, like a total bitch.
The movie came out in 1967, at the height of Martin Luther King Jr.'s preaching of a non-violent approach to combat racism. Now, we're not exactly sure if he ever saw this scene but we feel pretty confident that, if he did, he would have pumped his fist in a celebratory motion just like the rest of us did.
This isn't just a bitch slap, it's a bitch slap that everyone in America can be proud of.
- 2Kurt Russell has cemented his role as one of cinema's great badasses. Many consider his role as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone to be Russell at his most badass of all. So when Russell lives out every red-blooded heterosexual male's fantasy by bitch slapping the hell out of Billy Bob Thornton at 02:07 in this clip ("And THAT'S for cheating on Angelina Jolie!"), it may ultimately go down as Russell's baddest of ass moments of all time.
Did we mention that Kurt Russell is something of a badass? That's really the main bullet point of our thesis. If you're still confused, we have a pie chart around here somewhere...
- 3For every other person to get on this list, they had to either deliver or receive a real, solid smack across the face. But not Don Corleone. All he had to do to get on the bitch slap list was to slap Johnny Fontaine in a bitchlike fashion at 00:15 in this clip, telling him to act like a man. The smack isn't hard, but it carries more weight than any other slap on the list, and do you know why? Because the Johnny Fontaine character is just a stand-in for Frank Sinatra, and anyone who bitch slaps the chairman of the board and gets away with it truly puts the "God" in "Godfather."
(Fun Fact: Did you know that any slap issued by the Godfather automatically qualifies as a bitch slap? It's true! The matter was decided in a committee led by John Cassavetes in 1982.)
- 4Slapping a hysterical woman to calm her down is a common occurrence seen in many movies, and is often perceived as the only "socially acceptable" bitch slap we have. (Actually their are 37 sub-genres of bitch slaps, but that's another list altogether.) The best example of this, however, would have to be Airplane's take on the matter when an actual line forms of people hoping to take a crack at the hyperventilating woman embodying this cliche.
The best of all the bitch slaps in this scene however (and there are many) would have to be Leslie Nielsen's second crack at her at 00:17, which is entirely unnecessary and therefore absolutely hilarious.
Incidentally, women don't actually appreciate this kind of bitch slap as much as you might think. Actually, women generally don't appreciate ANY kind of bitch slap, so even if you're just trying to calm someone down we recommend wearing a protective cup just to be on the safe side.
- 5Daniel Plainview is a hard man, a disciplined man, a calculating man, a man who takes every advantage he can and is never taken advantage of... until now. In order to make his millions - well, "more" of his millions - he finds himself manipulated into being baptized by the town's young religious leader, and for all intents and purposes his own mortal enemy, Eli Sunday.
Eli takes advantage by slapping the hell out of Plainview, a man who should probably never be slapped, much in the same way that you should probably never shoot a spitball at a Terminator. But damn it, Plainview needs that oil, and if he needs to be publicly humiliated to get it then by God he's going to make a bigger spectacle than anyone has ever seen, asserting his dominance even in defeat.
Best. Baptism. Ever.
- 6Not all bitch slaps have to be issued by men. In fact, Cher strikes a great blow, and an even greater bitch slap for womankind as she slaps the holy hell out of Nicolas Cage in this clip from Moonstruck. Better yet, it was in response to a declaration of love from the star of Bangkok Dangerous. (We're pretty sure she got the Academy Award on sheer principle.)
What follows is the famous "Snap out of it" line, one of the most memorable romantic comedy quotes from the 1980's, right behind "I'll have what she's having" from When Harry Met Sally, a scene that, come to think of it, could also have been approved by a good bitch slap. "Damn it, Meg! We're trying to eat over here! Shut the hell up!"
- 7By the time we get to this point in Chinatown, Jack Nicholson has had to endure a lot of s**t, not the least of which in getting his nose damn near cut off by the director himself (on-screen, no less). So by the time Faye Dunaway starts lying to him yet again at 02:35 it's pretty understandable that he's run out of patience. And so the bitch slapping begins, one after another, in a ping pong game of twist revelations that are as dramatically potent today as they were when the film was released. Oh yeah... SPOILER WARNING, incidentally. Sure, a bitch slap might be against the man laws , but if it's done by Jack Nicholson, I'm sure it is acceptable.
It's generally considered poor form to bitch slap anyone, particularly a woman, but if you absolutely must raise your bitch slapping hand in anger make sure that the information you get out of her is as mind-blowing as this.
The AbyssWhen all else fails to revive Virgil's wife from certain death, he resorts to what any desperate man in his position would do... slapping the everloving s**t out of her. And you know what... it works, although that probably has a lot to do with that fact that this is a James Cameron film; a director whose works tend to be as subtle as a slap across the face anyway.
It's also funny that a director who prides himself on technical realism (or at least plausibility) showed a character being defibrillated in a pool of water yet none of the half dozen people leaning over her gets a violent electrical shock. Hey James, you know when they say "Clear!" that it's not just an expression, right?
This whole scene is memorable but if you want to get right to the smacking ("God damn it, bitch, you've never backed away from anything in your life!") go to 02:55.