Five on Friday: Five Great Movie Beatdowns

Five on Friday is a fun bi-weekly look at random but specific topics that ignore the obvious. For example if it was a list of five great mob movies you wouldn’t see any Godfather or Scorsese movies. The list should provoke discussion, scratch below the surface and be a fun way to spend a Friday.

Future installments planned include five great serial killer novels and five great dark movie endings.

Today’s Five on Friday is:

Five Great Movie Beatdowns

What is a beatdown?

A beat down isn’t a fight it’s someone getting stomped badly. It’s not elegant and it’s not fair. It’s one-sided. It’s savage and it’s brutal. The beatdowns often come about as a result of teaching a lesson.

What you won’t see: Sonny’s beat down of Carlo from The Godfather. It’s probably one of the most famous movie beatdowns and while it is iconic and justly famous it won’t be here today. But the hallmarks are all there. It’s a straight ass whooping, Carlo never even tries. There’s a lesson – “Don’t beat on a man’s sister, especially if that man is the head of the family.” But to be fair, it’s tame by modern standards. Some of the punches clearly miss and it really is more of a street fight then a beatdown. I still wouldn’t want to take Sonny in a fight but still, I’m not too sure he’d make it against some of these other guys.

What else you won’t see: Martin Scorsese beatdowns. Scorsese is arguably the king of movie beatdowns and you could do a list made up of only his movies and it would be a formidable one: Henry’s pistol whipping the guy across the street; the Billy Batts beatdown; and who could forget Nicky’s death in the middle of nowhere.

So without further ado, here are Five Great Movie Beatdowns.

Bad Boys – When a young Sean Penn is in some juvie prison getting eye fucked by the two hulks who run the joint what does he do? He buys some soda. If you are ever in prison you’ll remember the answer.

Embedding has been disabled for this video but you can watch it here.

Full Metal Jacket – This is probably the most famous beatdown on the list. America had never heard of a blanket party until Full Metal Jacket and it would prove to be the pivotal moment in Private Gomer Pyle’s time at basic.

Malcolm X – Its pretty simple really, if you assassinate a popular figure in front of his own people they will run you down and beat you. And yes, that’s Bunk in the audience. I always thought that Giancarlo Espisito’s look of pure fear came across as so real.

Layer Cake – This would have been a great beatdown anyway because of all the subtext and all that led up to it but what marks it as a classic is that much of it is from the point of view of the dude getting beat.

Once Were Warriors – This is a powerful drama that most haven’t seen from the 90’s. While the movie itself is filled with violence and the audience has come to see Jake as the asshole he is for this one moment all of his qualities that we hate we now love. His violence is justified in our eyes. What that says about us is open for debate but there it is.

What beatdowns did I miss?

Do you have a Five on Friday list you’d like to see done or pull together yourself? Let me know.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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About Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

One Reply to “Five on Friday: Five Great Movie Beatdowns”

  1. I like the beat down(s) Paul Newman takes in Cool Hand Luke. Also the beating Matt Damon & Ed Norton get in Rounders. Oh, you can’t forget the washroom beating in Shawshank.