Maintaining High Tension in Movies

In my opinion the most common ingredient of all the great movies I have seen over many years have been those movies that maintain a high level of tension throughout the entire movie. In my long history of watching movies I can remember 3 movies that have done that better than any other movie that I can remember.

The first one is the movie “Heat”, which came out in 1995 with Al Pacino and Robert Di Nero. This movie was a home run from the opening scene showing the robbery of an armored car MoviesDa and then the murder of the 3 guards who were driving the car. I remember the sounds of the rifles used to murder them being very loud and very real and the efficiency of the action showing the robbery was very impressive. There is a bank robbery scene towards the end of the movie that was by far the most impressive and brutal modern day gun fight I have ever seen in any movie. It’s hard to believe that this great movie came out 20 years ago.

In my opinion “Aliens”, which came out in 1986 and was the sequel to “Alien” which came out in 1979 was better than the original movie. James Cameron, who both wrote and directed this great movie kept the level of tension at a very high level throughout almost this entire 2 hour movie. The special effects were outstanding and the final fight scene with Ripley fighting the Alien was spectacular.

As with the movie Aliens, I thought that “Die Hard 2”, which came out in 1990 was better than Die hard which came out in 1988. All of the action scenes were outstanding; especially the one with John McClane ejects himself from the exploding airplane. This movie was at a high level of tension practically within every frame of the entire film. This was also true with the first Die Hard, but Die Hard 2 did this just one level better.

There is nothing worse than sitting through a 2 hour movie that is long and very boring where you are losing interest. What is great is when you are finished seeing a great action movie, where the tension is at a very high level; you feel that you have been through a thrill ride. In my opinion, movies that make you feel like this at the end of 2 hours are very few and far between.