Best "nick of time" moments in movies and TV.

That, of course, is from the Firefly episode “Safe,” when the crew of Serenity arrives at a village just in time to rescue Simon and River from being burned at the stake.

What are some of your favorite/most thrilling “nick of time” moments?

Well the first one that came to my mind was from the The Untouchables when they are trying to intercept the Capone’s bookkeeper and the shooting causes a woman to lose her baby carriage as it goes down a long staircase. kevin Costenr is trying to shoot the bad guys and save the baby, which he can’t do, but here comes Andy Garcia sliding across the floor just in the nick of time to save the baby and shoot the bad guy.

I suppose to head off countless repeats of the same scenario, it might be wise to eliminate the dozens to hundreds of replays of:

  1. stopping the bomb timer at the last second (or close by)
  2. picking up the guy/gal/pet off the deck of the ship just before it sinks/blows up
  3. breaking the surface of the pool/lake/pond/ocean/cess pool just as the hero/heroine/pet is about to have to breathe water
  4. getting just out of range of the explosion/fireball as it whooshes by
  5. stopping the car/truck/stagecoach/airliner just before it would plummet off a cliff
  6. getting the Governor’s pardon/stay/apology/dinner invitation just before they pull the switch/drop the pill/fire the volley
  7. answering the last question on the Final Exam/SAT/entrance quiz/personality test just as the bell rings

The T-Rex saving the day in Jurassic Park.

When did that happen?

I don’t think it was in the book version, but in the movie version at the end the velociraptors have surrounded the survivors in the welcome center and one pounces at them and is caught in mid-air by the T-Rex who happened upon them to save the day.

When our intrepid park visitors are cornered in the visitor center by the raptors, and T-Rex smashes through the wall and gobbles up one of them. The other two jump aboard to attack, and the nice cruncy tasty human-folk make their getaway.

And Gangster, that’s the first thing I thought of and the reason I opened the thread. Curses!

ETA: I can’t win for losin’ today. Curses again, Cowboy!

Vladimir Zukofsky arriving just in time to save James Bond from Elektra King in The World is Not Enough.

The incredible multilayered climax of the first Back to the Future movie is what I think of when you say “nick of time”. Not any one particular moment, but the cascade of small cliffhangers in that set of scenes is truly marvelous.

One more for me. The spaceship saving Brian in The Life of Brian (and convenientyl crashing right where he needed to be).

In ‘the Day of the Jackal’, the assassin is perfectly lined up for a headshot on General De Gaulle.
He fires…
…but the General stoops to kiss a veteran on both cheeks - and the chief detective promptly bursts into the room to prevent a second shot!

No heterosexual male should need saving from Sophie Marceau!

The climactic scene in ‘The Bear’, where the mountain lion has the baby bear “treed” and is taking swipes with his paws and starting to damage the bear. Baby bear lets out a growl and the mountain lion starts to retreat a little…

Camera pans around to show background behind the baby bear. Large adult male bear, who has befriended/adopted the baby bear, is standing on his hind legs, growling at the mountain lion - who wisely backs off

The first ‘nick of time’ moment I thought of was the parody of this moment (I think) in the first Shrek movie, when Dragon bursts through the stained glass window to swallow Lord Farquaad whole.

My personal favourite, right now, is Hurley crashing the van into the Others in the Lost season finale, but I know there’s others…

Han Solo, anyone?

[Stanley Spadowski]
Okay, Okay, I know a lot of you people probably like to wait until the last minute.
Well, this is it! This is the last minute!
[/Stanley Spadowski (UHF)]

Actually, the “nick of time” rescue is all too often a cliche, where it’s clear that the reason the rescuers showed up just in the nick of time, and neither a little earlier nor a little too late, was simply because the writers contrived it that way. (This is one of the complaints I have with Buffy the Vampire Slayer: of the Buffys I’ve seen, many of them predictably feature just-in-the-nick-of-time rescues.) That’s why I’m going to nominate a non-contrived moment: Michael Jordan’s last few seconds as a Chicago Bull.

Oh, now here I was going to mention Giles’ nick-of-time appearance to confront Evil Veiny Willow in the Magic Box! We’d all been missing [del]Daddy[/del] his mentoring presence by that point, and his arrival was literally an out-loud cheering moment in my living room.

Well, phooey then! :smiley:

In Galaxy Quest where they turn off the self destruct mechanism with less than a minute to spare, but then it ticks all the way down to one second before turning off.


Hunchback saving Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dam Book and several films. 1923, 1939 and even the Disney one is good.
The escape from the first temple in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Ethan Edwards changing his mind.

Oh and Roy turning just in time to see Devil’s Tower on the news report in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Luke and later Wedge and Lando blowing up the Death Star.

In the fourth season of Babylon 5 Earth President Clark(who has gone insane) has ordered the orbiting defense stations around earth to fire on the planet instead. Before that happens Sheridan and crew manage to take out all but one station. They have no missile weapons left, and no other ship is close enough, so Sheridan orders his own ship to ram the station(which will of course kill all aboard).

But just in the nick of time another ship(an opponent of Sheridan’s) comes out of hyperspace and is able to fire on the station, taking it out. But you can’t tell that at first, until Sheridan’s ship comes clear through the fireball.

I always thought the best bit of acting in that episode was Sheridan’s second in command(the ship’s former captain), who, on hearing the order “Ramming speed!” gave a little gulp, and then got a sad, determined look on his face, straightening his shoulders and looking up at the screen to face his death head on. "Course he didn’t die after all, but he thought he would.