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What are the most iconic images in film history?

What are the most iconic images in film history? (photo)

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What would you say to a blog post about a big honking topic from the world of cinema that’s impossible to wrap your head around in a single blog post? Would that be something you’d be interested in before you head off for the long holiday weekend? Good.

I enjoyed this list from that was linked to by IMDb today. It’s called “10 Most Iconic Images in Film History” and it’s pretty self-explanatory from there. The writer, Stuart Cummins, selected ten shots from ten films he considered to be cinema’s most iconic. Gene Kelly, swinging from that streetlight up there, came in at #8, and in my mind that is a very strong choice. You can find all of Stuart’s picks (and the images themselves) in his article but here’s the raw top 5:

5. Jack Nicholson peering through the broken bathroom door in “The Shining” (1980)
4. Robert De Niro talking to himself in “Taxi Driver” (1976)
3. Marlon Brando as “The Godfather” (1972)
2. Marilyn Monroe’s skirt flies into the air in “The Seven Year Itch” (1955)
1. Janet Leigh in the Bates Motel shower in “Psycho” (1960)

These are all unassailably iconic images. These are the images that come to your mind when you close your eyes and think of movies. No question. And the rest of the top ten is similarly solid.

Can you feel the but coming? It’s a blog post, people, there’s always a but coming.

BUT!!! I’ve got two main gripes with these iconic images. First, with the exception of #9 (Ursula Andress in her bathing suit from “Dr. No”), these are all American films, so they probably should have changed the title to “10 Most Iconic Images in American Film History.” The other problem: the most recent title is “Platoon” from 1986. I know that distance and time are the only things that can make a movie image iconic, but surely there have been memorable visuals in the last 25 years of movies. I think there are.

So here, by way of respectful rebuttal, are five more iconic images. They’re so iconic, in fact, I won’t even tell you what they are. But you’ll know them anyway. That’s what makes them iconic.






What do you think is the most iconic image in film history? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

[Additional images courtesy the Everett Collection]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

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Cancel it!

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Forgotten America

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Wedding Planners

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Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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