If it wasn’t for Alexander Bell our way of communicating could still be through pigeon post. Now, although that would be quite cool, sometimes we take the simple act of picking up a phone and being able to speak to someone in a matter of seconds for granted, plus this way we don’t get pooped on. So let us not forget some of the most memorable phone calls in the history of film – there’s been quite a few, but here’s HTF’s best ones.
10: Dr. Strangelove (1964)
So let’s start with one of those awkward phone calls we’ve all had to make one time or another. Peter Sellers, who plays the US president in Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy, has to make a call to U.S.S.R. President Dimitri Kissoff to explain one of his generals went “a little funny in the head… You know, just a little…funny” who then ordered the first nuclear strike on his country – yeah, yikes. The tense scene reminds you although the fate of the world may be hanging on a phone call, we still persist with pointless niceties before trying to skirt around the actual point, all while trying not to upset the person on the other end of the line. Ergh!
9: Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
Back to the 21st century now and how mobile phones are used by people trying to be exactly what they’re not. However irritating and obvious it is when you can see someone speaking on the phone too loudly, to catch anyone’s attention, about their new job, car, boyfriend/girlfriend or whatever, Tom Green’s example is hilarious, which is why it made the countdown. “40 million fucking Deutschmark Bob!”
8: Meal Girls (2004)
Bitchiness at it’s finest – a four-way conversation between Lindsay Lohan (before she discovered alcohol) and newly made friends ‘the plastics’. We can all relate to putting on an act to someone we don’t like on the phone… No? Oh, something perhaps only girls can relate to…
7: When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Maybe hard to believe but this film has been out 24 years and people are still talking about it. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan make many phone calls to each other throughout the movie, including a comical cover when Harry sings ‘Call Me’ down the phone in cheesy karaoke style, but this scene above is pure editing genius. Even if you don’t like romcoms.
6: Pulp Fiction (1994)
Some might forget this classic phone call scene because of the chaos which occurs shortly after it (when Mia, Uma Thurman, eventually reaches the house, need I say more?) The complete and utter desperation in John Travolta’s voice when trying to get through to Lance is exceptional. But even with this phone call warning it doesn’t prepare the household for what is about to happen.
5: Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Wes Craven’s nightmare masterpiece didn’t leave out the possibility of what horror a phone could bring poor Nancy (Heather Langencamp) in the very first Elm Street flick. As if Freddy Krueger wasn’t petrifying enough, when the phone rings after being taken out of it’s socket and it’s Freddy’s long, sickening tongue comes out at the end when you answer; I know I’d want to forcibly puke 7 times or more and wash my mouth out for all eternity if that happened to me. Yuck.
4: Lost Highway (1997)
Surrealist film maker David Lynch is known for his gripping films which takes us to the dark corners of our imagination. There’s no change here then when Bill Pullman’s character Fred meets a ‘Mystery Man’ at a party who has the same face as he saw on his partner’s Renée face a few nights ago. As if that’s not creepy enough, the man then tells him he is at his house right now, despite standing right in front of him. Fred calls his house to find the voice of the mystery man answering. Two words. Absolutely terryfying.
3: The Ring (2002)
It brought Japanese horror into the mainstream and used two technologies to scare the living wits out of us – video tapes and telephones. Who would have thought? Anyway, the story goes if you watch a certain video tape you will then receive a call with a creepy little girl’s voice on the other end telling you you have ‘7 days’ – before you die. Sounds a bit rubbish when you put it like that, but on first viewing when the ring of the phone thundered through the cinema it made everyone jump. Fact.
2: Phone Booth (2002)
An entire movie about one phone call! Colin Farrell is a New Yorker who picks up a ringing payphone and if he hangs up, he’ll be killed. The idea of one man on the phone for over an hour may be laughed at by some, but it really was impressive, filmmaker Joel Schumacher gives Alfred’s Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’ a run for it’s money (a film shot also in real time, all in one room.) The film’s plot thickens when sniper Kiefer Sutherland forces Farrell’s character to chose between his wife and mistress. That’s a tough call.
1: Scream (1996)
Yup, another Wes Craven classic is what tops our countdown and it just had to be Scream! Who can forget Drew Barrymore’s opening to the first movie, when a playful anonymous caller turns nasty with lines like “I’ll gut you like a fish” and “[I] want to see your insides”, which sound hilarious now, but back in the nineties not so much, when Scream ruled supreme in the horror genre – you’ll never answer the phone whilst you’re at home alone, again.
So there you have it! Phone calls can be boring and mundane but have come alive in cinema.
Leave us your feedback and let us know any phone calls you think should have made the chart.