14. Alderaan Gets Blown Up
Film: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
The Moment: As a way of demonstrating the awesome power of the Death Star, Grand Moff Tarkin orders that Princess Leia tell him where the rebels are hiding out so he can blow that planet up. He threatens to blow up Leia’s home planet of Alderaan unless she tell him. She lies and Tarkin they’re on Dantooine, which Tarkin mildly buys but still doesn’t set a course to. Instead, he fires the lasers at Alderaan, which explodes right before Leia’s eyes.
Why It’s Memorable: This is the first time that we see just exactly what the Death Star is capable of — and it’s terrifying. It’s also another moment where Lucas didn’t hold back with the gut punches as he went from killing Luke’s aunt and uncle in brutal fashion to wiping out an entire planet in the blink of an eye.
Let’s also pause to recognize the special effects here, as this was pretty stunning back in 1977 and it’s still stunning today. In the world of CGI we live in, this was a moment that wasn’t just emotional back breaking for us but it was a technical feat at the same time.
Next: 13. Anakin Kills Mace Windu