Your favorite movie countdowns

Whether it’s a clock ticking, a timer running out, or a verbal “three…two…”, what are your favorite cinematic countdowns? It can be to suspenseful, horrific, or humorous effect.

I’ll just jump in first with Goldfinger.

This isnt really a countdown but I think it kinda fits…Lee marvin from Point Blank…

Lost in Space, Season 3


I must say, I’m always a fan of the scene where someone (good guy or bad - whatever, he’s cool
does this:

Cool Hand: ‘You got 30 seconds to get off my ship (out of my house, give me the money, etc)’

Victim: 'You can’t do that! ‘I have perfectly reasonable explanations for my actions. Violence would not be appropriate! I’ll get the money tomorrow!’. etc

Cool Hand: (pause) ‘20’.

When done well, cracks me up every time.

The first thing I thought of was the bomb countdown in Galaxy Quest.

There was a good one in Goldfinger as well.

Most of them are cheesy as Hell. But so what? What can you expect from a movie made in 1963?

Another topic that you might like to start are those so-called “explanations” the bad guy gives to the hero before killing them and the time it takes to deliver that explanation results in the hero finding a way to escape their fate.

Goldfinger contains another excellent example. I just love that film. It was so well done for a film made in 1963.

“My name is Bond … James Bond.”

“I’d like a vodka martini - shaken - not stirred.”

Damn, I thought I would be first with this one.

The last minute, from UHF

Already mentioned in Post #2.

I didn’t know most movies featuring countdown scenes were made in 1963 - that’s interesting, can you name some more?

HA! OMG that is so true. You should start a thread on it!

Oh man I’d forgotten those lines - awesome!

“The Towering Inferno” Big ticking clock wired up to the charges coupled with John Williams’s score keeping time with the second hand. Super cool!

Missed the edit window. Try this: (And turn it up!)

You could’ve been, if you used the Omega 13.

The nuclear self-destruct sequence in The Andromeda Strain (1971).

“There are five minutes to self destruct…”

And you can get replicas of the Wildfire self-destruct keys at this site.

The Simpsons, when Homer saves the plant from nuclear meltdown.

“Crisis has been averted. Everything is super!”

Related, from the episode The Vast Waistband, a grossly obese Homer (well, more grossly obese than usual) must rush to the plant to prevent a poison gas leak. On first viewing, I didn’t even realize Burns’ “Iroquois twists” were a countdown.

Not sure if it’s true but I’ve read the countdown at NASA was originally a movie device to add drama.

In Lethal Weapon 2, when Murtaugh is sitting on the toilet that has a bomb under it, and Riggs is going to pull him into the bathtub to shield him from the blast. They decide to go on a count of three, but then have a quick discussion about whether it’s 1-2-go, or 1-2-3-go.

No love for High Noon?

But my favourite has got to be the intro to Thunderbirds.