The elevator has been part of popular culture for decades. In Lifted: A Cultural History of Elevators, author Andreas Bernard called it a kind of secular confessional, and it’s often used this way in films, TV and other media – two people are stuck in an elevator together and are forced to tell the truth to each other to fill the awkward silence. Of course, that’s not the only way they’re used – as this selection of famous elevator scenes shows.
In Christopher Nolan’s complex and incredible film, elevators are featured prominently in two particular scenes. In one, Ellen Page as Ariadne descends in an elevator to reach the worst memory of her colleague Dom Cobb (Leonardo di Caprio). In the sequence below (edited by a fan to remove interceding sequences) Joseph Gordon Levitt as Arthur uses an elevator to overcome the need to provide the necessary “kick” without gravity.
Captain America: Winter Soldier
What at first seems to be standard elevator awkwardness turns into an epic fight scene in this clip from the second Captain America scene. Watch for the small details that Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) sees as the tension builds.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
This is not just an elevator, it’s a Wonkavator! We don’t quite have any lifts that can go “any other ways you can think of” but, well, we can dream. In the meantime, we assure you that our passenger lifts are in no danger of smashing through the roof, whatever button you press.
One of the most powerful – and alarming – scenes on our list. Ryan Gosling as the unnamed Driver recognises an assassin by his gun and kisses Irene (Carey Mulligan) before killing the assassin. This clip was carefully chosen to end before the rather gruesome violence that ensues.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The second of the Hunger Games films also uses elevator scenes to great effect. The sequence where Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) bids goodbye to stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) before stepping into the elevator that will take her to the arena is particularly heartbreaking. On a lighter note, her expressions in this scene are hilarious – and it takes elevator awkwardness to a new level.
It’s not out in the UK yet, but we already love the elevator scene. What else would the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles do in an elevator for fifty-odd floors?
500 Days of Summer
The moment when Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom meets Zooey Deschanel as Summer in the elevator sets the scene for the rest of this heartwarming, offbeat romantic comedy. We’ve all had those moments, after all, when we realise that we can hear exactly what that person is listening to – and if you’re lucky, it’s a song you love.
Film doesn’t have the monopoly on elevator scenes; TV drama Grey’s Anatomy famously had many iconic scenes set in the elevators of the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. The touching moment, when Derek proposes to Meredith, surely ranks highest on the list!
Video games have their own elevator scenes, too. Fans of the Bioware game Mass Effect have a particular soft spot in their hearts for the conversations your companions have whilst you travel through the elevators of the Citadel. These shed light on the back stories of the characters you fight alongside, and give them and the world a more rounded feeling – something that has helped to make it one of the best stories in gaming history.
These are, of course, just a few – there are so many classic scenes that we found it very hard to choose and who knows, we may just have to revisit the subject in the future to bring you the ones we had to leave out!
You may not be planning to film any classic movie scenes in your elevator, but here at Axess 2 we can provide you with a lift to meet whatever requirements you might have. For more information, contact us on 01200 405 005 today.