3x3: favorite overhead shots

We discuss our favorite overhead shots in movies at the 1:38 mark of the Qt3 Movie Podcast of Logan.

Kelly Wand
3. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
2. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

  1. The Shining

3. Jurassic Park
2. 28 Days Later

  1. The Untouchables

Tom Chick
3. The Fountain
2. Jaws

  1. La La Land

We’re talking about overhead shots, and we even make math a part of the discussion when we talk about the shot pointing down at ninety degrees. What are your favorites?

Listen to the show to hear us go on about our picks and to hear Tom read some cool listener picks. Also to hear Kellywand talk about the 2017 Make Us Watch Whatever You Want Fundraiser.

Send in your ideas for the next hard topic to [email protected].

3.“Hold onto your butts.”

2.“Get out of it!”

1.“Like a lot of things in life, we laugh because it’s funny and we laugh because it’s true.”

Finally, interesting use of your hands, Bob.


This is the one I initially though of from Jaws, but it’s not top-down enough:

So let’s just go with this more scary one:

My picks of the two upside-down-to-rightside-up shots from The Fountain don’t read well as screen grabs, so here are some of the several other top down shots, often positioning characters on some kind of mandala-like pattern on the floor:

And here’s my favorite from La La Land for how Damien Chazelle doesn’t cut away to get there:


These are well done collections of them

The Graduate:


Gone With the Wind:

And for a vertical shot, Vertigo:

What a fantastic pick!

I’m a sucker for the illustrated backdrops in Blade Runner but always loved this shot.

Saw Skeleton Twins recently and this early shot really stuck out. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know why.

Spoilery, maybe

This one came to mind too from No Country For Old Men. God, what a powerful frame.

As many Scorsese films do, Kundun has some great overheads. Most strikingly, the aftermath of the massacre at the temple, but also the mandala in the credit sequence.


It occurred to me that when it comes to overhead shots, Hitchcock is hardly limited to Vertigo. In fact it’s really a thing with him:

North by Northwest:


The 39 Steps:

Rear Window:


And what about the reverse – bottom-up shots?

Sunset Boulevard:




Christien beat me to the great Untouchables opening shot.

I’ll thrown in this one from Goodfellas. “And that’s that.”

The Master

I’m watching Amelie for…reasons. A number of lovely overhead shots I had not even considered.

Skipping stones at St. Martin’s Canal:

After the release of Blubber:

Hmm. What’s this?

Dang I love this movie so much.



Must have missed this the first time around.


If you know your 2001, you know why this scene is so damn impressive.

I’m watching 30 Days of Night, and there was an overhead shot that impressed me. It’s when the vampires first go overt and start rampaging through the town. In the beginning, it’s just chaos, shot after shot of carnage. But then someone blasts one of them with a shotgun. We switch to an overhead tracking shot down the main drag of the town, watching this brace of vampires tear through the residents, while some few survivors fight their way to the Diner. The periodic shotgun blasts keep being surprises, because we never see it from the shooter’s perspective.

This movie features Ben Foster. He came onscreen and as soon as he started talking, I was like “Who the hell is this guy?” I looked him up and lo and behold, it’s that guy who kept dropping by @Kelly_Wand’s place in Germany. How cool is that?

This movie still resonates as one of the movies which could have been so much more. Absolutely amazing concept wasted on a pedestrian movie.

Hmm, guess I missed this thread.

That was the first one that popped into my head.


Shawshank Redemption
Goodfellas (after Tommy’s big moment)

I’m blanking on others but I do think the overhead shot after the death of a character has become something of a cinematic cliche. Sometimes I wince when I see it trotted out. (In Scorsese’s case I’ll make an exception!)

No you didn’t, weirdo. Scroll up.


“I’m gonna go get the papers. Get the papers.”