The Greatest Scenes From Stephen King Films

Stephen King movies have given birth to some truly iconic moments.
If you include all of his written works, Stephen King has published about 95 books. More than two dozen of his novels or novellas have been turned into movies or TV shows. We’ve grown up reading or watching his stories, having nightmares on account of just how disturbing they can be, and worrying about what lives under our beds as a result. 

Basically, Stephen King has scared and inspired generations. 

Doctor Sleep, the continuation of The Shining, is almost here. And given that the film will return us to a world that has been freaking audiences out for decades now, we thought we’d return, too. We’re going to return to the back catalogue of Stephen King movies to answer a burning question: what are the best scenes from the expansive Stephen King cinematic universe? Which moments from the movies based on King’s terrifying tales still sit with us?

First up, we have something you probably didn’t even realize came from the mind of Stephen King – a little film called Stand By Me.

Stand by Me is based on a Stephen King story called The Body. The scene we’re looking at here isn’t even a horror scene; it shows how the storyteller of the group, Gordie, has a way of capturing an audience. He is regaling his buds with the story of a kid bullied… and a kid determined to get his revenge at a pie-eating contest. Lardass is truly one of cinema’s unsung heroes.

King was often pestered by critics who claimed he could only do horror. An irritating thing to be told, sure, but part of the reason King’s work is so enduring is that it draws from his personal experiences. One of his most memorable works, Misery, deals with problematic and obsessive fans head-on. Well… leg-on.

King started getting some pretty… dedicated fans as his fame grew, and Misery is basically his look at what would happen if a fan truly decided to get involved in the life of the creator they love. Obviously, this never actually happened to King, but it really does capture the obsession that can come from fandom. Never, ever accept an invite to dinner from Kathy Bates.

But what about straight-up horror? It’s all well and good to discuss Stephen King’s dramatic masterpieces. Nothing wrong with vomit and leg-breaking. But if you’re going to spool through his most iconic scenes, you can’t move past The Shining.

The Shining is one of the most iconic horror films of all time, a family discover the dark secrets of an isolated hotel whilst caretaking over the winter. Steeped in mysticism about its production and the grueling hours on set that Stanley Kubrick subjected Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall to. What resulted was a truly bone tingling horror that itches at your mind well after the credits have rolled! 

But if we’re talking iconic, we can’t go past a small boy named Georgie getting chomped by a demonic monster clown hiding in a sewer. That’s right. It’s time for IT.

King wrote IT to scare people, but the moment it exploded onto the world stage was the release of the made for TV movie starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown. In that version, however, Georgie’s demise was vague. In the new film, however, there was zero room for interpretation. Georgie got BIT!

Because we’re not absolute monsters… at least, not Pennywise-level monsters, we should probably steer this ship in the direction of something more hopeful. Honestly, one of the most well-loved adaptations of a King story is The Shawshank Redemption. But to show you the best scene, we’re about to show you the ending of the film, so if you somehow still haven’t seen Shawshank, put a pin in this piece, watch it, then come back. Not knowing how this award-winning prison flick ends is one of the keys to enjoying it to the fullest. Trust us. But it does what all good King does: it shows that people can overcome utterly insane odds if they truly want it bad enough.

But wait there’s more, there’s a Stephen King adaptation that has a scene that hasn’t left us: The Green Mile. A prison warden, played by America’s dad, Tom Hanks, has a problem. He has a prisoner who has magical powers on death row. 

Traditional horror is all jump scares. It relies on gore, on shock, on violence to make you feel something while you watch. The Green Mile is a perfect example of why King’s works are so enduring; they’re loaded to the hilt with character development. Everyone in a Stephen King story is deeply human and watching Paul Edgecombe and John Coffey converse is proof that the supernatural can be smart and compassionate, too.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got to pack to head to the Overlook Hotel. We suspect there’ll be plenty of iconic moments to talk about when Doctor Sleep releases November 7 so keep your eyes peeled!

Must-read articles

IT Chapter Two

IT Chapter Two Easter Eggs

The horror sequel to end all horror sequels is CRAMMED with stuff you might have missed!
Nightmare on Elm Street

The evolution of horror by decade: The 1980s

The decade that spawned Jason, Freddie, Pinhead and “Here’s Johnny”
Still from Clueless (movie)

Best Movies Based on Books

Want to know what the best movies based on books are? We know. We read your mind.

Get the latest movie updates sent directly to your inbox!

Want more from inside of Australia's biggest movie and home entertainment company? Join the crew today for news, exclusive offers and competitions.

Thanks. We'll be in touch soon.