According to the American School Bus Council, school buses transport 26 million of the 50 million students who attend school each day. That means that more than half of today’s school children are relying on someone other than their parent or guardian for school transportation. With such high numbers of students riding the bus, it seems evident that parents feel a sense of ease when it comes to school-provided transportation. The question left to ask is; Where is this sense of ease coming from?
Well, this ease certainly isn’t coming from the movies, that’s for sure. Over the years, the world of cinema has presented school buses in many different lights – from a place to meet new friends to your literal worst nightmare. And this is the topic we will be covering today. This is the 10 Best School Bus Movie Scenes.
10. Gangsta’s Don’t Play – Straight Outta Compton (2015)
Following the rise of the iconic rap group N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton also tells the story of gangsta rap’s ascension into the mainstream. But, with that being said, the group’s lead member, Ice Cube, was famously not really bout that life. In fact, as a youth he kept his face mostly in the books – writing poems and such.
In one scene, Ice Cube is writing rhymes on the school bus. Other kids on the bus horse around by flashing gang signs at a car driving next to the bus. The car cuts them off and the guys inside board the bus and pull guns. They tell the kids they better start “gang banging their books” or the Crenshaw Mafia might just get them. Yeah, it’s a little on the nose, but it still works.
9. Burn Baby Burn – Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)
In this ultra-violent exploitation flick, the streets are filled with violence, punks, scumbags, prostitutes, and corrupt cops. The residents, homeless and homeowners alike, live in fear. The local crime boss is Drake, who presents elaborate public executions like a demented game show host. Drake is backed up by his psychopathic sons Ivan and Slick, who speed around in a white Bricklin and wear letterman jackets and sunglasses while emulating Risky Business-era Tom Cruise.
In one of the most insane moments of the movie, Slick and Ivan are let loose and the two joyfully burn a school bus filled with children simply to terrorize people – all while Disco Inferno by The Trammps plays in the background. It’s quite outrageous.
8. The Ride Of Shame – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
High school senior Ferris Beuller decides to skip school and spend the day in downtown Chicago with his best friend and girlfriend. Ferris is smart, charming and incredibly popular. He is the ultimate role model for the other students at his school; effortlessly cool and charismatic.
The principal of Ferris’ high school, Mr. Rooney, sees past all of Ferris’ smooth-talking and sets out to nail him for his truant behavior. Principal Rooney’s quest for academic justice is thwarted at every turn, often with embarrassing results. In the end, Principal Rooney faces one last disgrace as he is picked up wandering a suburban neighborhood by a bus filled with students. Hey, at least he gets offered a “warm and soft” gummy bear. That’s something.
7. Peas And Carrots – Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump starts out on a Savannah, Georgia bench where a feather falls to his feet and he picks it up. Forrest begins to narrate his life story to others while they wait for their buses. He starts off his story with having a pair of “special shoes” which are leg braces to help straighten his back. This sets the tone for the movie because you realize Forrest isn’t a normal kid. He’s a little slow with an IQ of 75 – although his mother refuses to let that stand in his way and gets him into public school.
When the first day of school arrives, Forrest gets on the school bus only for the other children to, more or less, unanimously decide that he’s an outcast and not worthy of sharing a seat with. The only person willing to give up a seat is Jenny, who quickly becomes his best friend and ultimately his sweetheart.
6. The Bus Ride From Hell – A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
In our inaugural Nightmare On Elm Street sequel, dream-stalking Freddy Krueger is back at it, causing teens everywhere to reach for the caffeine pills quick. When the film opens, we find our protagonist Jesse sat awkwardly near the back of the school bus. We know he’s our man – he already looks sleep deprived, greasy and is not dressed in bright colors like everyone else on the bus.
The suspect bus driver has very kindly let all of the local kids off the bus, leaving just Jesse and two girls. He then veers off into nearby desert terrain and night quickly falls. We’re slap bang in the middle of our first nightmare sequence and it’s pretty nightmarish. The bus takes on a nice demonic quality and a wonderful fantasy element takes hold as the ground begins to give way to a mammoth hellish chasm. The school bus is ultimately left balancing precariously on two rocky spikes. Then, Freddy appears, as he advances slowly, slicing through bus seats as he prepares to go in for the kill.
5. Changing Heads – Jeepers Creepers II (2003)
While many fans say they loved the original Jeepers Creepers until the Creeper himself turned out to be a weird, supernatural creature, this sequel took the risk of dropping the slow and intense build up of its predecessor to instead utterly indulge in the zanier parts of that first film.
Isolating a school bus full of students, the Creeper swoops in to pick each one off over the course of a night. One of the zaniest moments of the movie involves the Creeper literally ripping off his own head and replacing it with the head of some kid’s he tore off. You see, it’s the Creeper’s nature: that every 23rd spring, for 23 days, this ancient and seemingly immortal entity emerges from hibernation in order to hunt for victims, from whom it selects specific organs and body parts which it then consumes in order to replace those of its own which have been damaged. It’s nutter butters.
4. School Bus Massacre – Trick ‘R Treat (2007)
In this horror anthology, The School Bus Massacre Revisited follows five kids: Macy, Chip, Sara, Schrader, and Rhonda. On Halloween night the kids head to a local rock quarry where Macy tells them about a local urban legend. According to the legend: back in 1977 a school bus containing eight children, all mentally ill, crashed into the lake at the bottom of the quarry; the bus driver was the only one who survived. Macy reveals that the children’s parents paid the bus driver to kill them to end the humiliation of their “burden.”
The group then plays a prank on Rhonda in which they pretend to be the undead children and chase her until she trips and knocks herself out. Welp, shortly after that, the actual undead children rise from the lake and begin to chase after the pranksters. Meanwhile, Rhonda awakens and manages to lock herself in the elevator leading out of the quarry. Despite the others begging her to open it, she ignores them and hightails it out of there. Kids can be so cruel sometimes.
3. Napoleon Does What He Wants – Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Even for a comedy, Napoleon Dynamite is decidedly low-stakes. Napoleon is a socially awkward high school student who we can all relate to, and that’s about it. Basically, we get a bunch of scenes that could almost stand on their own, removed from the film entirely. Like, do we really need a scene of Napoleon gracelessly performing a choreographed sign-language dance with the Happy Hands Club in front of his whole class? Sure, it’s hilarious, but still.
Our first glimpse of Napoleon comes on a school bus, where he impatiently answers an innocent question about what he’s going to do today with this bit of wisdom: “Whatever I feel like I wanna do, gosh!” – the action figure thrown out of the window is also a nice (and quite random) touch.
2. “No Yelling On The Bus” – Billy Madison (1995)
Adam Sandler is at his simple-minded best playing Billy, an aimless, developmentally stunted 27-year-old rich kid who has to pass elementary, junior high, and high school in order to keep control of his dad’s business from his smarmy nemesis.
The late Chris Farley plays the unnamed bus driver – he’s only on-screen for a few minutes throughout the film, but he makes a huge impression in just that short time. For the most part, his character is crude, nasty, and completely stressed out (although driving around a busload of kids who throw sandwiches at him can’t be easy). He steals lunches from the kids and tries to sneak a look up the teacher’s skirt. But one of his most memorable moments is when he’s behind the wheel, and the kids just push him too far – after threatening to turn the bus around, he starts mumbling, cursing under his breath, and turns bright red with fury. It’s an amazing moment of pure stress.
1. The Joker’s Bank Robbery – The Dark Knight (2008)
In Christopher Nolan’s superpowered magnum opus, The Joker comes onto the screen in blood, bullets and bombs. Here, a number of men in clown masks rob a bank owned by the mob, with a comment made that The Joker himself, despite orchestrating the heist, has decided not to participate himself, which doesn’t sit well with the robbers.
As the robbery begins, the robbers all start killing each other to take a bigger share of the pie. Eventually there are three robbers left: one is hit by the school bus that crashes into the bank to steal the money, and then one clown shoots the other in the face once the cash is loaded up. The scene ends on a riveting note as The Joker (having just revealed himself as one of the robbers) leaves a grenade in the bank manager’s mouth, attached to the back door of the school bus, pulling the pin as he drives away. Of course, it turns out to be a gas grenade, and The Joker’s school bus effortlessly blends into the group of school buses conveniently turning the corner at that exact second.
Yes, it’s ridiculous and a little contrived in all, but damn is it awesome.
Are there other scenes you’d like to include? Let us know in the comments below.