5 PHENOMENAL MOVIE GAS STATION SCENES

In the movies gas stations offer much more than just a place to use the bathroom and top your tank. There have been all sorts of cool and funny movie scenes involving gas stations. So this is one of those weird Phenomenal 5 lists that looks at great movie gas station scenes. Now there were several scenes I really love that were left out just for the sake of variety. That being said, I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there’s no denying that these five movie gas station scenes are absolutely phenomenal.

#5 – “IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD”

This wacky 1963 comedy is known for possibly having the biggest ensemble cast of great actors in movie history. It also has one of the greatest gas station scenes you’ll find. In this wild race to get to a load of stolen money first, a furniture mover named Lennie (Jonathan Winters) gets double-crossed by the greedy Otto (Phil Silvers). Lennie finally runs Otto down at gas station and chases him all over the property causing all sorts of damage. Otto escapes and the attendants tie Lennie up while waiting for the men in white coats to come get him. Lennie gets loose and ends up leveling (quite literally) the entire station. It’s a hilarious scene.

#4 – “ROBOCOP”

There’s a great and pivotal gas station scene in the 1987 sci-fi action romp “Robocop”. Emil, a member of the brutal gang that killed Alex Murphy which in turn caused him to become Robocop, stops at an all-night gas station. He robs the place and fills up with gas while terrorizing the attendant. Robocop notices a crime in progress and pulls up. After triggering Robocop’s memory, Emil sprays gas everywhere, throws down his cigarette, and tears off on his motorcycle. The gas station explodes with Robocop walking out of the flames. He thwarts Emil’s getaway but this scene is mostly important for putting Murphy on track to remembering who he was.

#3 – “KALIFORNIA”

There are actually two great gas station scenes in the 1993 gritty thriller “Kalifornia”. Pre-mega star Brad Pitt gives what I believe is his best performance as Early Grayce, a psycho who, along with his wife, hitches a cross-country ride to California with David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes. In the first unnerving scene, they stop for gas and a man with a wad of cash catches Early’s eye. Early follows him into the restroom, stabs him to death, and takes his money. But in an even more frightening scene, later they arrive at a different gas station as a huge electrical storm brews. It’s in this key scene that the rest of the group discovers the brutally unbalanced man that Early really is. Both scenes are intense and disturbing but also incredibly well done.

#2 – “THE BIRDS”

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic killer birds movie has several great moments but few are better than the gas station scene. As an attendant gasses up a customer’s car, two birds attack him knocking him down. As people rush to check on him, no one notices the nozzle continuing to spew gasoline. The flow of gas crosses the street into a parking area where a man steps out of his car and lights a cigar. Before he can be warned the match burns his finger then falls into the gas. BOOM! The man and several cars are gone and the flame blazes up the gas stream and the gas pumps explode. Hitchcock ends the scene with an amazing overhead shot of the horrible event. Classic!

#1 – “NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN”

Hands down my favorite gas station movie scene has to be from Joel and Ethan Coen’s fabulous “No Country for Old Men”. Hired killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) stops by a small isolated gas station to fill his tank and grab a package of peanuts. The elderly attendant makes the mistake of making small talk with Chirgurh which leads to one of most tense yet hilarious conversations I’ve ever scene. It ends with a coin toss with the attendant’s life on the line. I swear, I can watch this scene over and over and never get tired of it.

So there they are. What have we learned from this week’s Phenomenal 5? For one thing, it doesn’t pay to be a gas station attendant in the movies. So many good ones could have been mentioned. So what’s your favorite?

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20 thoughts on “5 PHENOMENAL MOVIE GAS STATION SCENES

  1. Great choices, I saw a documentary recently in which they also talked about The Birds, that shot you use was mostly painted.

    I’m missing the Korean movie “Attack the Gas Station” πŸ˜‰

  2. Great list Keith, i can’t argue with your number 1, it’s an amazing scene! I love the gas station scene from Wayne’s World 2 where they replace an awful actor with Charlton Heston to read the lines. Sounds rubbish when you explain it, but I love it!

    • No not rubbish at all. I know the scene you’re talking about. I had completely forgot about it. Great choice.

      There were several that I wanted to put on this list but I didn’t because it wasn’t crystal clear that it was a gas station. I love the opening sequence in “From Dusk till Dawn”. But that turns out to be a small grocery. There’s also a hilarious scene in “Raising Arizona” with
      a cantankerous old clerk. But I couldn’t verify that it was indeed a gas station.

      • I would consider “From Dusk till Dawn.” You’re right that it mainly takes place inside the mini-mart but it definitely is a gas station. You can see the gas pumps as they are walking out of the store. I see that you were trying to use variety in your selection of five and “No Country for Old Men” also takes place inside the mini-mart of a gas station. “Point Break” would also be a good one πŸ˜‰

      • I really did consider “From Dusk till Dawn. And I did notice that there were gas pops outside, two cool old-fashioned ones. But there is a difference between it and “No Country”. As I recall, Bardem is coming in to pay for his gas and peanuts. The geckos are parked out by the road. I’m assuming for a quick getaway. It doesn’t appear that they use the gas station for gas at all. But that’s really a minor thing. Both could easily be on this list.

  3. Awesome list. I LOVE the hilarity an destruction of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World’s gas station sequence. I laugh my ass off every time. Great Job, Bro!

  4. Ahah, this is a top 5 list I’ve never seen before, interesting picks Keith. I’ve only seen #4 here, I’d also add the scene from Superman The Movie when Lois runs out of gas and there’s a huge earthquake as she flees the gas station. Oh and there’s a memorable one in Super 8 as well.

    • LOL! I admit this was one of those pretty random off-the-wall top 5 lists. Yet sometimes they’re the most fun. I’m surprised you haven’t seen Hitchcock’s The Birds. I think we’ve talked about “No Country” before. “Kalifornia” falls into the same violent category. “Mad, Mad, Mad” isn’t a great film but that is one great scene.

      Wonderful mention of the scene in Superman. That’s a really good one that I completely forgot!

  5. The Jerk has a long gas station sequence, capped off with the assassination of several oil cans as Navin Johnson declares “He hates these cans.” Just the first one I thought of. Also, the pit in the service stall is apparently a good place to hide in a “Twister”. There must be a hundred more, I’ll be thinking of them all day long.

    • Great great choices! Those were two others that I just didn’t think of. When I was making up this list, it really surprised me just how many gas station scenes are in movies. Glad you checked it out!

    • I agree 100%! It’s very much underrated. For me it keeps a tension boiling under the surface all through the film. And as I mentioned, I think Pitt was fantastic. Glad I’m not alone on this one.

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