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Watch: A Video Essay on Setpieces Throughout Film History

Watch: A Video Essay on Setpieces Throughout Film History

Screenwriter John August describes a setpiece as “a scene or sequence
with escalated stakes and production values, as appropriate to the
genre… Done right, set-pieces are moments you remember weeks after
seeing a movie.” Proper setpieces should serve as spikes within the
plotline. In contemporary cinema, a setpiece can range from an edgy gag
in a romantic comedy, to a multi-million dollar CGI-infused battle
scene in an action film. Regardless, a setpiece always seems to be
“that scene” when discussing movies. Here is a look at some of the
biggest, priciest, and most recognizable setpieces in cinema.

List of Films (in order of appearance):

There Will be Blood

The Dark Knight Rises


Die Hard


Django Unchained


Inception


The Matrix


Swordfish


Apocalypse Now


North by Northwest


X-Men: Days of Future Past


Spider-Man 2


Kill Bill Vol. 1


Magnolia


The Dark Knight


The Lone Ranger


Guardians of the Galaxy


Terminator 2: Judgment Day


Titanic


The Wolf of Wall Street


Flight


Children of Men


The Matrix Reloaded


Mission Impossible


Scarface (1983)


E.T.


Jurassic Park


Jaws


King Kong (2005)


Man of Steel


The Avengers


Inglourious Basterds


Gangs of New York


World War Z


True Lies


Batman Begins


Raiders of the Lost Ark


Stand by Me


Super 8


Godzilla (2014)


Star Wars


Twister


The Perfect Storm


Lord of the Rings: Return of the King


300


The Shining


Psycho (1960)


Taxi Driver


The Shawshank Redemption


Gravity

Music: “Mind Heist” by Zack Hemsey

Jacob Swinney is an industrious film editor and filmmaker, as well as a recent graduate of Salisbury University.

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