Random fact, did you know that the first working escalator was built all the way back in 1896? Indeed, since then the moving staircase can be seen everywhere; from department stores, hotels, shopping malls and everywhere else in-between. Today we are going to be looking at the most memorable movie moments featuring the conveyor transport. From funny moments, to grizzly deaths, this is the ten greatest escalator movie scenes of all time.
10. Cruel Intentions (1998)
Okay, so this first entry is a little bit sappy but so what? Ryan Phillippe plays womanizer Sebastian Valmont who, along with his vindictive step-sister Kathryn (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar), plot to seduce virgin Annette Hargrove (played by Reese Witherspoon). Things go pretty much as you’d expect, he tries and fails a few times before ultimately succeeding. Just as Annette is leaving town she heads up an escalator where Sebastian is waiting at the top for her. He professes his love, they strip nude and have sex. It’s fairly romantic, in a ’90s teen dramedy sort of way.
9. The Hangover (2009)
You know the story, four pals – Phil, Stu, Doug and Alan – get wasted in Las Vegas and one member of the group goes missing the next morning. Under the belief that their pal is being held by for an $80,000 ransom, Alan (played by Zach Galifianakis) uses his knowledge of card counting to win $82,400 playing Blackjack. Doing his best Rain Man impersonation, including smoothly coming down a Vegas escalator, he wins the money in style. To appreciate the scene fully, you indeed need to watch the Barry Levinson classic, Rain Man. Speaking of which.
8. Rain Man (1988)
Tom Cruise plays Charlie Babbitt, a selfish yuppie who meets his severely autistic brother Raymond (played by Dustin Hoffman) for the first time after their father’s death. The most iconic moment of the film comes during their slow descent on a Casino escalator, revealing both characters wearing identical grey suits, ready to beat the house. A truly classic scene.
7. Bad Santa (2004)
In one of the most cynical (yet greatest) Christmas movies of all time, Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie, a drunken thief who plays Santa Claus for the children every year as a front for the opportunity to rob the store blind and then flee on Christmas Eve. During the greatest part of the film we see Willie hit his absolute lowest when he shows up to work wasted off his ass. We see him slowly ascend up the escalator before he pisses his pants and passes out. If this scene doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, nothing will.
6. Crank (2006)
In this (literally) adrenaline filled action flick, Jason Statham plays Chev Chelios, a hit-man who is poisoned and must keep his adrenaline flowing constantly in order to keep himself alive. While doing so, he causes mayhem around the city, especially when he takes the police on a crazy chase through Los Angeles. They end up in a local mall where Chev ultimately drives his car up an escalator in the most over-the-top way possible. He doesn’t even have time to stop by the hot dog stand!
5. Mallrats (1995)
In this underrated Kevin Smith comedy Jason Lee plays Brodie, a guy who spends endless pointless hours at the local shopping mall. He enjoys comic books and hates when little kids sit on the escalator without their parents saying a word. After witnessing this happen several times some little kid indeed learns to fear and respect escalators to the full extent. Wait, hold on a second! That kid IS BACK ON THE ESCALATOR AGAIN!?
4. The Final Destination (2009)
The Final Destination (also known as Final Destination 4), just like its predecessors, had its fair share of inventive kills. Proving once again that nobody can escape death, Lori (played by Shantel VanSanten) and her boyfriend Nick (played by Bobby Campo) are running away from an exploding movie theater. They run down an escalator that collapses, leaving the turning machinery and rollers showing underneath. Lori slowly slides down the escalator and its not long until she gets sucked into the roller and flattened. This scene proves once again, that only YOU can prevent escalator deaths!
3. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
In this classic John Landis horror comedy David Kessler (played by David Naughton) is bitten by a werewolf while on a backpacking trip and thus becomes a werewolf himself. During his first transformation David attacks a man in an underground subway station after the man trips up an escalator. This scene is a great example of why horror movies don’t get it these days. One thing about this scene is the lack of music. No symphonies or excessive sound effects just pure horror effectiveness. Though, to be honest if the guy just got up and ran after he tripped he probably would have gotten away pretty easily.
2. Elf (2003)
One of the greatest Christmas traditions as of late is to watch Will Ferrell as Buddy Hobbs in the modern holiday classic Elf. In the film Buddy is one of Santa’s elves who learns of his true identity as a human and goes to New York City to meet his biological father, dispersing Christmas merriment in a world of cynics as he goes. One of the funniest moments of the film comes when Buddy rides an escalator for the very first time. With the bewilderment of a child, he looks like he’s flying in a plane for the first time. A true holiday classic.
1. Carlito’s Way (1993)
Al Pacino plays Carlito Brigante, an ex-Harlem drug kingpin who just wants to live a normal life upon his release from prison. Though, things don’t really work out that way, between Sean Penn’s coked-out lawyer and John Leguizamo as up-and-coming gangster Benny Blanco, trouble seems to follow Carlito like a dog chasing a laser pointer. The finale of the film finds Carlito at Grand Central Terminal, at odd with the city’s most prominent gangsters. Just when you think Carlito may just get away without any bloodshed he engages in an epic shootout on an escalator leaving almost everybody dead in their tracks. One could even say, dead in their escalator tracks? No? Yeah, sorry.