When you go to the theater to see a prestige film the last thing you’re expecting to see is someone get their head smashed in, but time and time again there’ve been super gross movie scenes in Academy Award winning films. Of course, a movie doesn't have to be a distinguished picture to surprise you with disturbing scenes.
Viewers have been conditioned to expect gruesome scenes from horror movies. That genre thrives on blood and guts, but that doesn't mean that movies with gory scenes have to have ghosts and goblins. In fact, many bloody scenes from non-horror movies are actually much more affecting than their scary movie counterparts.
When a brutal scene comes of out nowhere it can be much more affecting than a torture scene in the fifth Saw movie. In fact, some of the scenes on this list are considered to be impossible to watch all the way through without pausing the movie to give your brain a break.
It's hard to pick a particular moment in Oldboy that's the "goriest." This Korean neo-noir film follows a man named Dae-su who's kidnapped and kept in an apartment for 15 years before being released seemingly at random. As Dae-su tries to figure out who captured him and why, he gets his revenge on everyone who's tangentially connected to his mysterious captor.
Gangsters have their teeth pulled out, a guy gets his hand cut off, and there's a wicked one take hallway fight, but none of those things compare to the film's painful climax. When Dae-su discovers why his captor kept him locked away for 15 years he cuts out his own tongue and pretends to be a dog.
Martin Scorsese is a master of mixing humor and violence in ways that continue to surprise his audience. After the FBI swoops in and arrests all of the mob bosses in Las Vegas, Nicky (played by Joe Pesci) and his brother Dominick (Philip Suriano) are taken to a field to be eliminated so they can't testify against anyone in a court case. However, Nicky doesn't know this and only finds out mid-narration. It's an incredibly funny moment that belies the violence that follows.
First, Nicky is held down and forced to watch as his brother is beaten to death by a bunch of goons, and then he's beaten almost to death before being buried while he's still breathing.
Spielberg's second take on World War II takes place during the Invasion of Normandy, one of the most brutal battles in a war that was full of horrific assaults. The film follows Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) as he and his team search Normandy for Private James Ryan, the only surviving member of the Ryan family.
The opening scene is set during D-Day and it's a 20-minute firefight that exposes audiences to the real-life horror inherent in war. Watching medics try to stitch up bleeding soldiers under a hail of bullets is affecting in a way in which even many horror films can't match.
Fargo has some of the most out-of-nowhere gore that's ever been featured in a prestige film. At one point, Steve Buscemi's character gets shot in the face and his jaw is completely wrecked, but that's not the worst thing that happens to him. After he and his partner get into an argument about their failed plan, he's killed with an axe and the last time the audience sees him he's nothing but a leg being shoved in a wood chipper.