The 25 Most Shocking Moments in Movie History

We watch movies for plenty of reasons: to laugh, to cry, to learn new things. But often what we want most is a mind-blowing jolt to the system — whether it be a revealing line of dialogue, an horrific act of violence or simply a star playing against type. Click on a title below to find the best shocks cinema has to offer. But before proceeding, please note that there are many spoilers, and of course check with a doctor to make sure your heart can take it.

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4. Psycho

(1960, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
By killing off his star (Janet Leigh) in the first 50 minutes, Hitchcock made it clear he couldn't care less about our expectations. Then he made it even more evident that he wasn't too concerned about our heart rates or mental health, either. While investigating her sister's disappearance, Lila Crane (Vera Miles) stumbles upon an elderly woman in a fruit cellar sitting in a chair, staring at the wall. The chair slowly turns, revealing a corpse more prune than person. As Miles lets out a piercing screech, the iconic Bernard Herrmann score returns and a swinging lightbulb throws jagged shadows on the ghoulish scene.

Credit: Courtesy of Universal
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