Watch: A Beautiful Montage of Back-to-the-Camera Shots in Movies

April 13, 2013

Sunshine - Back-to-the-Camera

The subtle, simplistic beauty of life, humanity, this universe and everything in it perfectly captured in one shot. That's the feeling some of these "back to the camera" shots evoke. I admittedly have a soft spot for them. I instantly fell in love with that shot from Ang Lee's Life of Pi of Pi underwater watching the ship sink (which is in this video) and many others have taken my breath away. We're not typically fans of "supercut" montages like this, but I couldn't help it. This one took me away. Something about the music and beauty of these shots, cut together perfectly, reminds me why I love movies - for the way they make me feel about life.

A collection of "back to the camera" shots. The character stands center frame (most of the time), looking out at some epic landscape. Thanks to Awards Daily for the tip. The moment in this video, for me, that elevated it was when the music swells at the same moment as that shot from Event Horizon, where the circular door opens in front of him. So many great filmmakers have used this shot in so many unique ways, and I love seeing this collection span so many of the most memorable ones. The music is "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" by Moby. I also love the Inglorious Basterds shot. What are your top moments from this?

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I consider myself an avid movie goer. But I only recognized just over half of these. Making me rethink my life haha.

Jon Odishaw on Apr 13, 2013


Wow! I never really thought about it but there's something remarkable about watching a person watching the world. Like watching a kid run after a butterfly in a garden or a dog running after a tennis ball or any of these scenes. You understand the action and what the person (or animal) is feeling, but the emotion that you feel is much more than just the sum of those two. This instantly became one of my favourite montages for its substance. (This might be a sappy comment but whatever!)

Neuromancer on Apr 13, 2013


nah, not at all sappy! it is an overused directorial approach, but because of the exact reason you state; film makers know that it can amplify the emotion and the viewers' understanding. i thought it was a terrific montage, showing all the best from the approach, even from some less impressive films.

son_et_lumiere on Apr 16, 2013


ooh, i know that one...

truong18 on Apr 13, 2013


gone with the wind

abdallah on Apr 13, 2013


That was beautiful. So many amazing movies in this, but even the shitty ones like 'Knowing' and 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' look great for a second with this music to back them up. I also forgot all about the gorgeous visuals of 'The Cell', I might have to watch that one again, it's been a long time. I think there were only a handful of films I didn't recognize; awesome compilation. Now I have to revisit a whole bunch of movies.

SuicidalOptimist on Apr 13, 2013


certainly was beautiful, and got me thinking and looking up films new to me - the best compilations that do that. also, one that i think is not here is Jim Carrey's back to the camera breakdown leaning against a fake skyline in The Truman Show, which was pretty good, too.

son_et_lumiere on Apr 16, 2013


The Fountain...Aronofsky underrated masterpiece.

Xerxexx on Apr 13, 2013


In my opinion, it's up there as not only a good movie, but among the greatest films ever made. Even the god damn end credits tie into the various symbolisms and motifs of the film. I'm really kind of blown away by the fact that it's considered to be not that great.

Squiggly_P on Apr 13, 2013


It's because it was kind of ahead of it's time you ask me, or in the wrong time completely. People now a days go to movies with the absolute shortest attention spans, and hollywood caters to that, so when you have a movie like the fountain, that requires you to think and isn't just handed to you people hate it because it's not what they're use to and requires them to think. Not saying that some of those hollywood movies aren't great becuase they are, all I am saying is it's hard for movies like the fountain to do well because people just aren't use to that sheer amount of brilliance and work put into a film. At least this is my opinion, and a humble one at that.

Jeremy P. on Apr 14, 2013



ryan on Apr 13, 2013


"What Dreams May Come" "Sunshine" "Enter The Void"

J on Apr 13, 2013


What movie was this scene at 2:45? It looks like War of the Worlds?

JediBilly on Apr 13, 2013


What movie is in the last clip?

TheLaughingMan on Apr 14, 2013


That was nice...

Bl00dwerK on Apr 14, 2013


A collection of "back to the camera" shots. The character stands center frame (most of the time), looking out at some epic landscape. MOVIES: 00:05 - The Aviator 00:10 - The Legend of 1900 00:12 - Synecdoche, NY 00:15 - The Shining 00:17 - Beyond the Black Rainbow 00:19 - Once Upon A Time In Anatolia 00:22 - Baraka 00:24 - Walk The Line 00:25 - The Runaways 00:26 - The Fifth Element 00:28 - Dark City 00:29 - Hamlet 00:30 - Network 00:31 - Black Swan 00:34 - Lenny 00:35 - Dennis Leary: No Cure For Cancer 00:36 - Bronson 00:37 - Fantasia 00:38 - Southland Tales 00:40 - The Iron Lady 00:41 - Hugo 00:43 - The Searchers 00:45 - Prometheus 00:48 - Event Horizon 00:50 - The Fifth Element 00:53 - Doctor Who: S01E02 00:55 - Sunshine 00:57 - Tron Legacy 01:00 - Stargate 01:02 - Starman 01:04 - Kundun 01:07 - Enter The Void 01:09 - Inglorious Basterds 01:11 - Watchmen 01:14 - Sin City 01:16 - Gangster No. 1 01:18 - L.A. Confidential 01:21 - Christine 01:23…

bathtub on Apr 14, 2013


01:23 - Hero 01:26 - House of Flying Daggers 01:28 - Akira Kurosawa's Dreams 01:31 - Predators 01:33 - Alexander 01:35 - Kingdom of Heaven 01:37 - There Will Be Blood 01:40 - The Cell 01:42 - Valhalla Rising 01:45 - Snow White and the Huntsman 01:47 - Alexander 01:49 - Immortals 01:52 - John Carter 01:54 - Troy 01:57 - Thor 01:59 - The Matrix Revolutions 02:04 - The Abyss 02:08 - Event Horizon 02:13 - Watchmen 02:18 - Another Earth 02:23 - Take Shelter 02:27 - Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 02:32 - Constantine 02:37 - War of the Worlds 02:46 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind 02:48 - Knowing 02:51 - Hero 02:53 - 300 02:56 - Take Shelter 03:01 - Beasts of the Southern Wild 03:03 - The Proposition 03:06 - Snow White and the Hunstman 03:08 - Interview with the Vampire 03:10 - Alice in Wonderland 03:13 - Heat 03:15 - Rendezvous with Rama (Vancouver Film School trailer) 03:17 - Star Trek Generations 03:19 - Minority Report 03:22 - Skyline 03:25 - Inception 03:27 - X-Men: First Class 03:30 - Carrie (2002) 03:32 - The Day the Earth Stood Still 03:34 - Hamlet 03:36 - Valhalla Rising 03:39 - Jericho S01E01 03:41 - The Divide 03:44 - Dark City 03:46 - The Day the Earth Stood Still 03:48 - Mission to Mars 03:51 - Life of Pi 03:52 - The Fountain 03:58 - Fight Club 04:03 - Pan's Labyrinth 04:07 - The Empire Strikes Back 04:12 - Gone with the Wind 04:22 - What Dreams May Come

bathtub on Apr 14, 2013


The music if fucking irritating.

Michael P. Shipley on Apr 14, 2013


Very cool

Nick Sears on Apr 15, 2013

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