The 10 Hardest To Watch Scenes In Movie History

6 minute read

By Kale Havervold

Normally, going to movies is a pleasant and rewarding experience where you leave happy and entertained from what you have just watched. But once in a while there exists movies and scenes that are extremely tough to watch and can leave deep and lasting impressions.

Whether it is a gruesome injury, horrific conversations or just plain uncomfortable to watch, they are not something we just forget about. This list will go through 10 of the most difficult to watch movie scenes in existence. Be warned, these scenes are extremely graphic and unsettling and should be watched with caution.

10. Full Metal Jacket – Soap Beating

In Full Metal Jacket, a Stanley Kubrick piece on the Vietnam War, a hardened platoon of soldiers is focused on. This platoon, however, has one weak link in Private Pyle. Pyle is an overweight and out of shape soldier who drags the rest of his team down, so it is up to them to help him improve. In what can be seen as an act of hazing, the group ties him to his bunk and one by one whips and beats him with bars of soap wrapped in towels. The cries and shrieks from Pyle are without a doubt what makes this scene so hard to handle.

Source: Screenshot via Warner Bros.

9. Pulp Fiction – Needle to the Heart

At first, the scenes between Mia (played by Uma Thurman) and Vincent (played by John Travolta) are seemingly normal and cool. But things quickly go from 0-100 when Mia finds some drugs in Vincent’s jacket. She believes the drug to be cocaine, and thus she snorts it, not knowing that it was really heroin. As a result, she overdoses and it is up to Vincent to save her. Only way for him to do this is to puncture her heart with a shot of adrenaline. This scene is very hard to watch simply because of the large amount of tension that is slowly built throughout, and the fact that Mia could die at an instant. Plus, who likes to watch someone get stabbed with a needle?

Source: Screenshot via Miramax

8. Bug – Teeth Pulling Scene

Michael Shannon has played a lot of creepy roles throughout his career, but there is no creepier role than his performance in Bug. In the film, which is a psychological thriller, Shannon plays an ex-soldier who is overcome with paranoid thoughts of being followed around and spied on by the government that stems from his time in the military. According to him, experimental bugs are not only following him, but also inside of him. Sensing one is stuck in one of his teeth, he decides to take the logical route and rip the tooth out of his mouth with pliers, which is unbelievably hard to watch.

Source: Screenshot via Lionsgate

7. Deliverance – Squeal Like a Piggy

Deliverance is a film that focuses on four Atlanta businessmen who take a canoe trip up in the Georgian wilderness that goes very different than planned. One of the characters in the film, played by Ned Beatty, finds himself in a rather precarious position when he meets a nasty redneck in the woods. Now, there is no “easy to watch” scenes of rape and sodomy, but this one sticks out as one of the worst due to the nature of the assault and how far the writers and directors decided to go with the scene. Also, the redneck assailant yelling for his victim to “squeal like a piggy” doesn’t help the situation.

Source: Screenshot via Warner Bros.

6. Happiness – Father and Son Scene

The title of this film is Happiness, but that is the last word we would use to describe this dark comedy. The film focuses on the story of Bill Maplewood, who is a father of three and also a pedophile. This horrific scene takes place at the film’s end where Maplewood tells his son Billy that he drugged and raped his 11-year-old friend and then tells Billy about another boy he raped. While the film doesn’t actually show the attacks at all, you hear about it, and the conversation between the father is son is nearly unbearable to watch without leaving the room or turning it off. Source: Wondersinthedark.wordpress.comSource: Screenshot via Good Machine Releasing

5. 127 Hours – Arm Amputation Scene

The tough part about this scene is that you know that it’s coming; the only way for climber Aaron Ralston to escape the rock that has trapped his arm is to cut it off. This means that the tension builds and builds before the eventual climax of the actual arm amputation. Everything that occurs before this scene is just a large prelude leading up to that scene. The scene itself is excruciating as it focuses on a man with no other options or signs of relief. The scene is made worse by the fact that Ralston has to use a dull knife to hack and prod away at his arm before finally cutting it off and pulling free.

Source: Screenshot via Fox Searchlight Pictures

4. Gummo – Spaghetti in the Bath

Now, unlike most scenes on this list, this scene doesn’t contain any gore, blood, assault or anything else that would be commonly thought of as “hard to watch.” Instead, the scene features a strange looking teenage boy in a tub full of filthy bathwater, sloppily eating some spaghetti while slobbering all over the place. To make matters worse, his mother brings in a chocolate bar for him to eat, which he does, after dropping it in the filthy bath water. Then we get a nice close up of the boy stuffing his face with chocolate while pasta sauce and bathwater drip out of his mouth. There is just something extremely dark and unsettling about this scene, which is why it comes in at the number four spot.

Source: Screenshot via Fine Line Features

3. Django Unchained – Mandingo Fight Scene

In a movie that is full of questionable language and hard to watch scenes, there is one that sticks out above the rest. Now, seeing as this is a film with a lot of racist violence in it, you would think the toughest scene to watch would feature a white vs. black altercation, but that isn’t the case. The toughest scene to watch in this film is the “Mandingo Fight” which is a fight between two slaves, to the death. While the visuals of the scene are awful as well, it is without a doubt the sounds that make it worse. From screams, to broken bones, to eyes being gouged out, this scene has some of the worst audio of any on this list.

Source: Screenshot via Columbia Pictures

2. American History X – Curb Stomp Scene

There is really no way that anyone should be able to watch this scene without covering their eyes or leaving the room, it’s that bad. In the film, Edward Norton plays an extremely violent skinhead. In this scene, which was very close to being number one on this list, Norton’s character forces a black man to lay down on his stomach and then bit down on the curb. What follows next is one of the most infamous curb stomps in history. The sound of a human skull cracking is one of the most difficult things to hear on earth, and that is just what you get with this scene.

Source: Screenshot via New Line Cinema

1. Un Chien Andalou – Eye Slicing Scene

While this film is only 16 minutes long, that is more than enough time for Spanish director Luis Bunuel to completely freak audience members out. In this notoriously famous short, the director chooses to go in a very surrealist direction by abandoning story and logic and just bombarding viewers with strange imagery. The opening scene is by far the worst in the entire film, as it features a close up of a man slicing open a woman’s eyeball with a razor, which is a hard enough to watch that it comes in at the number one spot.

Source: Screenshot via Les Grands Films

Kale Havervold


Kale Havervold has been writing about video games, movies, tv and more for Goliath since 2015.