The b*tch slap is more than just a slap. It's one of the most famous slaps ever, an outright smack across the face - and when it's delivered, you know it's important. These slaps are such a potent display of visceral power that movies have been using them since the beginning of the medium. When used at just the right time - and particularly when delivered unto a worthy recipient - they are some of the most serious wallops around.
Here are the 10 most powerful slaps in movie history.
This slap gets number one on the list purely out of magnitude and social importance. Sidney Poitier plays a detective from the North who has to come down to Mississippi in the 1960s to help out with a serious 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 b*tch slaps the guy right back without a moment of hesitation. What follows is a poignant examination on the aftermath of a b*tch slap, and hesitation over the proper course of action to take upon being slapped with such resolve. The movie came out in 1967, at the height of Martin Luther King Jr.'s preaching of a non-violent approach to combat such bias.
Kurt Russell has cemented his role as one of cinema's great tough guys. Many consider his role as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone to be Russell at his most awesome of all. So when Russell b*tch slaps the hell out of Billy Bob Thornton at 02:07 in this clip, it may ultimately go down as one of Russell's greatest moments of all time.
For 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 this list was to slap Johnny Fontaine in such an extreme 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 slaps the chairman of the board and gets away with it truly puts the "God" in "Godfather."
Slapping a frantic woman to calm her down is a common occurrence seen in many old, comedic movies. The best example of this, however, would have to be this movie's take on the matter when an actual line forms of people hoping to take a crack at the hyperventilating woman embodying this cliché.
The best of all the b*tch slaps in this scene (and there are many) would have to be Leslie Nielsen's second crack at her at 00:17, which is entirely unnecessary and intended to be over-the-top.