10 of the Most Memorable Torture Scenes in Movies


When it comes to gathering crucial information, torture isn’t the most effective way to go about doing things.  If you waterboard someone long enough, they’re bound to tell you anything you want to hear.  That doesn’t mean that torture scenes in movies aren’t great to watch, though. 

Some torture scenes are enough to make you queasy, and imaging yourself in place of the person being tortured can make you sick if you dwell on it long enough.  It can be glorified, too, as in the case of CTU agent Jack Bauer. 

Whether it’s burning, drowning, tooth-pulling, or the classic smashing-fingers-with-a-hammer, torture has a strong foundation in movies and many torture scenes stay with you for a long time.  After the jump, take a look at 10 of the most memorable torture scenes from movies.  Warning: Many scenes are graphic and NSFW.


This scene is real tough to watch.  There are few things worse than having your teeth ripped out of your mouth.

Reservoir Dogs

Easily the most memorable scene in the movie.  We get to see how sadistic Mr. Blonde really is; it’s not so much the information he wants from the cop, he just really enjoys doing this type of thing.  Fortunately, he’s stopped before he can set the earless cop ablaze.  Sorry about the “alternate” clip, but it was tough to find an embeddable one.  Also, after seeing this movie, there’s no way you can here “Stuck in the Middle with You” and not think of this scene.


This entire movie – as well as its sequel – are about torture.  I figured this clip was about as nasty as any.

Casino Royale


It’s amazing to think that a man like James Bond, who uses his junk so often, would be able to keep quiet during torture like this.  I would have squealed the second the bottom part of the chair was cut away.



This is just disgusting.  Nicky was undoubtedly a real gangster, and his methods of torture prove that.  Karma is a bitch, though, as he and his brother found out at the end of this movie.



This is about as shocking a movie as you’ll ever see. You have to admire how calm and methodical Asami is during her “work.”

The Princess Bride

Finally, a torture scene that’s both memorable and not difficult to watch!  I’m not sure exactly how this giant machine works, but I think it’s pretty clear that it does indeed work.  Poor Wesley.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I thought the remake of this movie stunk, but the above torture scene made it worth watching.



Alright, here’s another “light” torture scene.  Lord Farquaad goes to town on the Gingerbread Man.  It’s tough to watch this scene and not at least chuckle.

Marathon Man

And Dustin Hoffman gets some torture.  The look on his face when he sees Dr. Szell’s tools says it all.

I’m sure there are many torture scenes out there that didn’t make it into this article; these were the 10 that came to mind when I starting thinking of torture in movies.  Let me know your favorites in the comments section!

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  1. @ Dank

    Yes, Braveheart is pretty memorable, but I don’t immediately think of the torture scene when that movie is mentioned.

    @ Korinthian

    That movie was one long snuff film, wasn’t it?

  2. The Saw movies come to mind, even though they aren’t torture in the usual sense.

    Payback has a pretty wicked torture scene that always comes to my mind when I think of that movie. The first Lethal Weapon has a good one, too. Between those two, Braveheart, and the Passion of the Christ, I think Mel Gibson is into torture.

  3. @ MacGyver1128

    I actualyl meant to include the Payback scene where Mel gets his toes smashed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it. Sort of weird how much he’s be tortured in movies.

  4. Once you see “Law Abiding Citizen,” you’ll want to update this list. I saw a test screening and it has by far one of the best torture scenes ever, or at least the most satisfying.

  5. no “braveheart”, the torture scene is the final and most effective scene, and the movie is very popular on 90’s. Maybe the torture scene is not that effective, but the meaning of the movie makes me to think that list should be revised.

  6. I’ve got to say there are some pretty epic torture scenes in the Saw series… For Example, Saw 3: Kerry’s death scene AKA Angel of death trap

    The Neck tie and the Limb ripping in Saw 4 are also pretty gruesome

    There are others just some examples I could think of off the top of my head that I thought were worth mentioning

  7. The Saw movies are all pretty good examples of torture. So is hostel. I think The Devil’s Rejects is suppose to be pretty cool but i’ve never seen it.

  8. Remember “The Serpent and the Rainbow” with Bill Pullman? When the evil voodoo priest has him tied to the chair, sets a railroad spike on his junk, lifts the hammer and says ‘I want to hear you scream”? Not the most graphic, but man that scene stayed with me!

  9. The sickest flick I’ve ever seen is Seven. Each death seems worst than the previous, but the most twisted had to be when they found a drug addict in a room with his body parts preserved in jars. Tongue, ears, lips, etc… Just when U think it could’nt get any worse, they discover he’s ALIVE and has been for months while his parts were removed one by one.

  10. What about Law abiding citizen, in one scene the man whos wife and daughter was killed then raped by robbers, he dresses up as a government agent then he lures one of the men into trying to kill him with his pistol but its rigged with needles when the trigger is pulled, he releases paralyzing neuro toxins into the mans hand, the man is now paralyzed but can still feel pain, after that he takes this man to a warehouse then he straps him to a table and injects him with adrenaline so that he will not pass out during the procedure and to feel more pain, then he adjusts a mirror so that the man has to watch himself being tortured in the mirror, anyway he procedes to show the man the implements he will be using then he cuts away the sking under his arm, after this he pours boiling water onto the area, then he chops off the mans legs and arms with a circular saw, then he chops off the mans head. by far the most disturbed effed up thing i have ever seen in a movie.

  11. “Rendition”, “Unthinkable”, “Serpent and The Rainbow”, “Reservoir Dogs”, “Roots”, and 25+ more… including “Sweeney Todd” (sitting through that was torture in and of itself).

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