10 Greatest Laser Scenes in Movie History

Illustration for article titled 10 Greatest Laser Scenes in Movie History

Lasers shine a beam of pure inspiration into our dreams. They are the ultimate proof that science is made of win, and the foundation of every great Pink Floyd show. But who used lasers the best? We've painstakingly catalogued the 10 greatest laser moments in movie history. Plus the absolute worst.

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Note: This list doesn't include any phasers, blasters or other sorts of energy beam weapons that aren't strictly speaking lasers.

10) Robot Jox

Not only are there giant mechas battling each other, in order to secure world peace and stuff — but they have laser cannons mounted on them. And in this pivotal fight scene early in the movie, Achilles has a secret "green laser" that the robot unleashes just when you least expect it. Woo.

9. Star Wars

The Death Star apparently is equipped with a superlaser, not some other kind of unspecified energy weapon. And it sure does make a nice light show when it blows up Alderaan.

8. Resident Evil

The Red Queen A.I. goes nuts and tries to kill everybody with blue lasers. And it's a race against time to deactivate the lasers before this poor guy gets sliced and diced. Which... well, they almost make it. Warning: video is kind of gruesome.

7. Get Smart

Agent 99 has to navigate through a room full of lasers, by doing a ton of weirdly sexy dance moves, while Agent 86 just sort of stares.

6. Laserblast

Couldn't leave this out, since it even has "laser" in its title — although so does the movie Laser Mission, which sadly has almost no lasers in it. Basically a kid gets hold of an alien laser cannon and goes around zapping everything in sight with it. Check out him blowing up cars and things in the trailer.

5. Congo

OMG yes. Laser versus gorilla army! Faced with an army of super-gorillas, Laura Linney grabs the communications laser they've been testing on the island, puts a priceless blue diamond into it, and utters the immortal line, "Put 'em on the endangered species list." Awww, Laura.

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Illustration for article titled 10 Greatest Laser Scenes in Movie History

4. American Ninja

Two words: "Ninja laser." A few more words: "a ninja shoots lasers out of his knuckles." This being a superpower that ninjas only have in America, because fuck yeah.

3. Tron

What zaps Jeff Bridges into the computer world, by disassembling his body and digitizing him? That's right. A laser. It's actually something he was developing as part of a teleportation experiment, in between running a video game arcade, and it's used against him. Laser teleportation is actually pretty common in movies — see more examples in the "runners up" section. Above: the laser "light show" that was put on when Tron Legacy came out.

2. Real Genius

Val Kilmer is working on a super-laser, which he finds out is going to be misused by the military. So he turns it against his adviser — who hates popcorn — by using it to pop a ginormous amount of popcorn in the guy's house, turning it into Jerry's House of Popcorn. Awwwwesome.

Illustration for article titled 10 Greatest Laser Scenes in Movie History

1. Goldfinger

Pretty much every James Bond film (and almost every Bond spoof) has some kind of great laser action, including Diamonds are Forever's laser satellite and Goldeneye's laser watch. And Moonraker's space battles. But the prize has to go to Goldfinger's incredibly famous "laser crotch" scene, where James Bond looks genuinely freaked out at the laser beam inching up the table, and Goldfinger delivers the immortal line, "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die." As celebrated by The Selecter.

WORST: A Kid in King Arthur's Court

This 1995 Disney film has the tagline "Joust Do It." Really. And yes, it's about a kid from 1995 who goes back in time to King Arthur's day and gets mixed up with knights and stuff. And in one crucial scene, an evil knight has grabbed the princess and is holding her at knifepoint. Casey, the time-traveling kid, attacks the knight with "the great equalizer" — by which he means his portable CD player. And then he opens the CD player and somehow manages to shine the laser from the Discman into the knight's eyes, so he falls off the balcony tohis death. (As many people have pointed out, you can't actually shine the laser from a CD-player when it's open, nor does it shine out of the center like that.) Skip to about 6:20 in the above video.

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Sources: IMDB, plus this amazing site which includes the biggest mistakes people make in depicting lasers. (Including: They move slower than light, they have recoil, and they are visible.)

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charliejane
Charlie Jane Anders

RUNNERS UP

We couldn't possibly include every great laser moment in a top 10 list, so here are some of the amazing moments we almost included. Please share your own favorites as well!

Mom and Dad Save the World — the villain has a super death ray laser

Richie Rich — The baddie shoots at him with rock blasting laser

Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine — Dr. Goldfoot gives his robots laser lipstick to dispose of their flesh-and-blood rivals

The Last Chase — They use an automated laser cannon against the last private vehicle on Earth.

Defense Play — Tiny helicopters shoot lasers

Leprechaun 4: In Space — the Leprechaun wields a laser gun thingy. In space!

Megaforce — Their awesome buggies have lasers that can destroy a tank with a single blast.

Murdercycle — an evil motorcycle that goes around shooting people with its cartoon rotoscoped laser

The Green Slime — people use laser based weapons to fight off green slime monsters

Battle Beneath the Earth — Chinese people use cartoon lasers to tunnel under the Pacific to attack America with atomic bombs.

Planet of the Dinosaurs — using lasers to fight dinosaurs!

Howard the Duck — Apparently "Eat Beak" means "I'm going to shoot you with my buggy-mounted laser."

Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park — Paul Stanley can shoot lasers from his eye.

The Terror Within - The heroes turn a surgical laser and some radio batteries into a ray gun, which they test by shooting it at a fire extinguisher.

The Core — They use lasers to tunnel beneath the Earth's crust, in a vessel made of Unobanium. The only substance that can withstand lasers!

The Projected Man — a scientist uses lasers to teleport himself, but the process goes awry.

Battle: Los Angeles — they use lasers to let the Air Force know where to bomb the alien base. Worth it for Aaron Eckhart saying "I say again, we will be laseing." (Cut to him and his troops laying around fanning themselves.)

Laser Moon — Traci Lords stars in a movie about a serial killer who kills every full moon. Using a laser!

The Incredibles — the death traps that Mr. Incredible has to cope with include deadly lasers.

Wall-E — Wall-E has a laser cutter, and EVE has a laser gun.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol — Tom Cruise has a window-cutting laser.

The Andromeda Strain — a scientist gets drilled by a laser that was intended to stop escaping lab animals.

Rocky Horror Picture Show — Riff Raff uses an "antimatter laser" at the end.

Honey I Shrunk the Kids — the shrink ray uses as a laser as a focusing device.

Journey to the Center of Time — lasers can see in the past, but if you overload them, you get sent 5000 years into the future, where you have to fight the future Earth's alien overlords... using lasers.

Short Circuit — Johnny 5 has a laser that he can shoot. Plus he calls people "Laser Lips," which makes no sense.

Captain America: The First Avenger — there are motorcycles with laser cannons, powered by the Tesseract.

Logan's Run — laser surgery!

Fantastic Voyage — they travel inside someone's body and deploy surgical lasers.

Fortress — Inmates in the superprison are controlled using lasers.

Spies Like Us — a Strategic Defense Initiative laser fails to shoot down a Russian missile, instead destroying an MTV satellite and blowing up some people's TV sets.

Frankenstein Unbound — in this Roger Corman-directed film, John Hurt uses a laser to travel back in time and meet Mary Shelley, plus the real-life Victor Frankenstein, then uses another laser to travel forward in time to a dystopian future where his laser superweapons have destroyed almost everything — and then John Hurt uses a clapper-activated laser to destroy Frankenstein's monster.

Austin Powers — Dr. Evil wants to equip sharks with fricken lasers. Fricken awesome.