Top 10 Greatest Movie Knockouts

June 20, 2011
When it comes to going to the movies, nothing satisfies a dude’s optical taste buds like a much-needed cinematic knockout. From an epic action fight scene to an over-the-top comedic smackdown, there’s something seriously special about using a few fists to solve some problems.

10. Peter, Michael and Samir vs. The Printer - Office Space

Source: 20th Century Fox

When Peter, Michael, and Samir finally destroy the printer that has haunted them for so many years, we as audience members knew we had cult comedy gold in our sights. I gotta say, for a couple of office geeks, these dudes are actually pretty brutal. If you work in an office like many of us do, you were emotionally there every step of the way with Michael Bolton when he had to be physically peeled off of the useless office tool before stomping it into plastic dust.

To me, thanks to the brilliance of Mike Judge, the printer itself is an actual character in the film and when the boys of Initech decided to take it out back and put it down Old Yeller-style, it went down in my book as one of cinema’s most memorable knockouts.

9. Conan vs. Camel - Conan the Barbarian

Source: Universal Pictures

As far as movie punches go, few can rival this classic right cross delivered by the one and only Governator himself in Conan the Barbarian.

As you all should remember, while getting ridiculously hammered after a serious heist with his new best homie Subotai, Conan accidentally bumps into a pissed-off camel and without batting an eye, the greatest Barbarian of them all literally put the beast to rest in one skull-shattering blow. For those of you who cringe at any inkling of animal cruelty, this scene is sure to get you extremely all hot and bothered, but if you’re like me and love true testosterone entertainment, this is on your list as one of the most epic moments in all of action cinema.

8. Jake LaMotta vs. Tony Janiro - Raging Bull

Source: United Artists

Like many films by Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull didn’t get the respect it deserved upon first release. S**t, it lost to Ordinary People for the Best Picture Academy Award. What sacrilege.

The fight scenes that go down between Jake LaMotta and his multiple opponents throughout the film were so far ahead their time it’s scary. The final fight between Jake and Sugar Ray Robinson might be the standout as far as the fights go, but when it comes to a legit knockout, LaMotta’s demonic beatdown on pretty boy Tony Janiro is the obvious winner. The knockout is brutal, bloody, and simply unforgettable. “He ain’t pretty no more.”

7. Lee vs Ohara - Enter the Dragon

Source: Warner Bros.

Up until 1973’s Enter the Dragon, American audiences had never really seen fight scenes quite like the ones put on display in Bruce Lee’s epic martial arts masterwork. We get a taste for what’s in store in the first scene featuring a very young Sammo Hung, but when Bruce finally goes toe to toe against his sister’s killer Oharra, things get truly epic.

First and foremost, besides some Green Hornet episodes and the mild possibility of catching one of his Chinese-language films like Fists of Fury on the big screen, viewers in the states rarely had the opportunity to experience Bruce Lee like they finally did in Enter the Dragon. If you weren’t sold going into the film, this scene with Oharra made you a die-hard fan instantly. Bruce’s speed, power, and intensity looked almost superhuman, but the knockout kick and eventual foot-stomping of a bottle-wielding Oharra literally made movie-goers stand up and go bananas. And for good reason. Bruce's kick broke Bob Wall's (Oharra) sternum in real life as well as the arms of two extras trying to catch him. This wasn’t just a choreographed fight scene, this s**t was real, son. Dude was the first mixed martial artist, y’all.

6. Julius vs. Jason Voorhees - Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

Source: Paramount Pictures

Easily my favorite kill in the entire Friday franchise, the now-famous head-removing punch in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is the epitome of a great movie knockout. Now I know that this is more of a murder than an actual knockout, but it’s quite clear that Julius Gaw openly challenged Jason Voorhees to a boxing bout on a New York rooftop. Needless to say, after Julius gave Crystal Lake’s finest his best shots, Mr. Voorhees delivered his one and only KO blow that literally knocked his challenger’s skull clean off his neck and into a dumpster. Now that’s what I call a true knockout. Another good reason never to ask Jason to take his best shot.

5. Mongo vs. Horse - Blazing Saddles

Source: Warner Bros.

A classic among classics, this entire list would never be complete without Mongo’s horse knockout in Blazing Saddles.

As a kid, I would rewind this epic moment back again and again while me and my young homies would laugh hysterically until we almost pissed ourselves. I also gotta say that the horse that gets whacked unconscious is either the greatest actor of all time or Mongo (Alex Karras) has got the illest right cross around. I like to think that this was literally a one-shot take and Mongo was the one swinging the real-life hammer.

4. Deebo vs. Red - Friday

Source: New Line Cinema

You all know it. You all love it. By far one of the most classic scenes in all of cinema, Deebo’s epic uppercut from 1995’s Friday still satisfies to this very day. Oh, and Chris Tucker delivering the line "You got knocked the f*** out!" didn’t hurt matters either.

Even though I always felt kinda bad for Red and his poor busted up face, it’s near impossible not love everything about this black and white snippet. The punch as well as Red flying through the air cartoon-style directly after impact is obviously way over the top, but it all somehow gels perfectly into a legendary cinematic moment that would be quoted on schoolyards for years to come. That's my bike, punk!

3. Mickey O'Neil vs. Horace "Good Night" Anderson – Snatch

Source: Screen Gems

Man, oh man, is this a great one. With some of the best hand-to-hand fight scenes in quite some time, Guy Ritchie’s testosterone-filled opus Snatch gave us the type of film we had been waiting for a very long time. One of the main elements that brought it all together was a character by the name of Mickey O'Neil.

After taking a serious beating against Horace "Good Night" Anderson in the boxing ring, it seemed like it was lights out for Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt). Not on this night, people. Even though we knew throughout the scene that he’s not supposed to win the battle, something in the back of our heads told us that this guy has something else up his sleeve and there’s seriously no way he was leaving that ring unconscious. After winning with one solid badass blow, it seems like our battered warrior hero and his family are surely dead, but the knockout punch pays off even more when we all finally find out Mickey indeed bet on himself in the bout and got his people the f**k outta dodge before any harm could come there way. So dope.

2. Biff Tannen vs. George McFly - Back to the Future

Source: Universal Pictures

On a personal level, based on the fact that Back to the Future is easily one of my favorite films of all time, it’s really hard not to place this amazing cinematic moment in the top slot. Needless to say, Marty McFly’s long overdue one-punch ass-kicking of Biff Tannen is one of film’s finest knockout moments.

First and foremost, it must be said right of the bat that Biff is one of the greatest villains ever seen in film. Duh. That’s why this climactic moment in Zemeckis’ masterwork instantly pays off in spades the very moment Crispin Glover clinches his fist together and cracks Biff Tannen across the ol’ Jack Johnson. The ridiculous level in which Biff is the king of all a**holes sent audiences worldwide into a frenzy the very second McFly delivered the line “Hey you…get your damn hands off her!” They sure don’t make’em like they use to, guys.

1. Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed - Rocky II

Source: United Artists

For those of you that thought the final fight in the original Rocky could not be topped, Stallone returned (now in the director’s seat) and pulled a real humdinger out of his sleeve. Some people may obviously argue this, but the ending to Rocky II is the best in the series. Most of them are all pretty amazing in their own way, but the drama created at the end of this sequel with Rocky literally winning the title in a last-second KO against Apollo Creed is easily the greatest knockout in the history of cinema. It may come off a little cheesy nowadays, but you damn well know you were on the edge of your seat during your first viewing of this 1979 box office smash. When you think of knockouts in the movies, you instantly think Rocky. Why? Well, because Stallone, in his own, way, is the godfather of this particular type of action-packed high-drama. I dare you to try and watch the last 10 minutes of Rocky II and not get invested instantly. You know a movie battle like this is special when an actor can get inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame without even actually stepping in the ring for a professional bout. Yo, Adrian, I did it!