Is there anything more satisfying than the moment in a movie when some jerk gets punched in the face? You know the moment - like when some smarmy guy who's been mouthing off all movie gets his just desserts in the form of a solid fist right in his perfectly chiseled face.
The best movie punches are those you don't expect - the punches you need to happen, even when you have no idea if anyone is going to get popped. A satisfying face-punch can happen in movies of any genre, but this list mostly focuses on non-action movies (although you'll find those on here, too).
You won't find any Bruce Lee or Keanu Reeves fight scenes on here, just good ol' fashioned face-punches. Now, which one of these punches is the best?
- Photo: Universal Pictures
"Get your damn hands off her." With those six words, the McFly timeline was not just restored - it was improved. No character in Back to the Future is more cringeworthy than George McFly. Even when Marty McFly is getting hot over being called a chicken, and rocking out to "Johnny B. Goode," his father still manages to be a human shame factory.
Throughout the film, we watch as George hides from confrontation, grovels in front of Biff, and lets his son fight his battles for him. It's genuinely hard to watch, especially with the knowledge that if he doesn't impress his future wife Lorraine, the McFly family line will disappear.
George doesn't just impress his future wife - he saves her from a sexual assault at the hands of a thick-headed bully who pushes everyone around to get his way. When George stands up to Biff and saves Lorraine, he does so because he's doing the right thing - even though Biff and his goons could easily pummel him. This punch is such a good moment that everything that follows, no matter how rad, is inconsequential.675Great punch?
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Holly Gennaro McClane has been through a lot by the end of Die Hard. Not only did her estranged husband show up to her work Christmas party, but the Christmas party was taken over by a group of terrorists. It's not a great night. On top of being trapped in Nakatomi Plaza with a bunch of gun-toting baddies, there's a thirsty reporter roaming the scene who gets (and reveals) the scoop that Holly is John McClane's wife.
Through his snooping, he inadvertently puts Holly's life in even more danger than it already was - which is saying something. After John drops his German nemesis off the top of the Nakatomi building, he and Holly walk toward their waiting limo - but not before the reporter gets in their face to ask what their plans are. It turns out Holly's plan is to jack this jerk's jaw. In a movie full of "eff yeah!" moments, this is easily the most satisfying one.574Great punch?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
In the history of cinematic punches, perhaps nothing beats Draco Malfoy getting his gob smashed in by Hermione Granger. The fact that audiences had to wait until the third film to see the bleached-blond wizardling get smacked just makes the punch all the more satisfying. A movie punch, like a good meal, is most satisfying after a long wait.
Prisoner of Azkaban is easily one of the best films in the series. Its gloomy and gothic visuals are counterbalanced by the satisfactory nature in which every moment unfolds. After using Hermione's Time-Turner to revisit the previous evening's events, Harry, Hermione, and Ron pounce on Draco and his crew while they throw rocks at the kids below.
Hermione and Draco exchange a few words before Hermione holds the worst member of the Slytherins in place and then pulls off an all-timer of a punch. She lets Draco go and turns to walk away before turning back around to cold-cock blondie.6211Great punch?
Even though they're the world's greatest heroes, everyone wants to see the Avengers fight. Specifically, audiences want to see the Hulk and Thor fight. One is a gamma ray-flooded green muscle man that can't really be hurt, and the other is a Norse god. There's no downside to this fight.
Audiences got their first taste of Hulk v. Thor when the two fought at the Triskelion, but the real payoff comes after the two heroes work together during the Battle of New York City. After the two work together to take out a bunch of Chitauri creeps, they stand shoulder-to-shoulder for a moment before Hulk punches Thor out of the frame.
It's a silly moment that gives the audience a chance to breathe in the midst of a fairly draining action sequence.457Great punch?