Emmy Reis

Throughout the past century and a half, cinema has given us some indelible images: Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper cruising the open road in Easy Rider; Bogey and Bergman embracing in Casablanca; Cary Grant fleeing a killer crop duster in North By Northwest; Clint Eastwood getting into a bar fight while his best friend, an orangutan named Clyde, chugs a beer and puts a hillbilly in his place.

Okay -- so the latter isn’t quite as celebrated. But if you’re a movie connoisseur and beer lover, the scene is essential viewing. Below, in chronological order, are some similarly iconic beer moments in cinema. A few are obvious; others are a little deeper-cut. And yes, one most definitely involves an orang slamming a tallboy.

1) Quint Crushes a Ganny

Jaws (1975)
Quint (Robert Shaw) is a badass, whether he's spinning fish stories or getting devoured by a great white. (Oops. Spoiler alert!) Don’t doubt his everyman appeal -- just watch him crack a Narragansett, chug it down, and crush the can while staring directly into the camera/your soul.


2) Smokey's Ultimate Beer Run

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Smokey doesn't have a beer scene -- it's an entire movie about taking a ton of beer over state lines. With Burt Freakin' Reynolds. And it’s glorious.


3) Clyde Gets Rowdy

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)
Some point to modernist pieces like Unforgiven and Gran Torino as Clint Eastwood's greatest works. But none of those movies feature a bar-fighting orangutan who also functions as Eastwood's best friend and drinking partner. Which is to say, this is a movie in which Clint Eastwood gets in fights and drinks beer alongside a smart-ass orangutan. It deserves to be in the Library of Congress.


4) "Come out to plaaaaaay!" The Warriors (1979)

Some people use empty beer bottles to do elaborate and twee arts & crafts projects. The baddie from this highly stylized gangland classic uses them, along with an eerily mocking voice, to produce the most shrill and intimidating threat imaginable. Hear it once, and the clanging of beer bottles will forever give you the creeps.


5) Rawhide

The Blues Brothers (1980)
While trying to raise funds on their mission from God, Jake and Elwood Blues (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) stop off in a rowdy roadhouse that doesn't take kindly to their signature brand of soul music. So they think deep and pull out a solid cover of the theme to the movie Rawhide as the elated audience chucks enough half-full glass beer bottles at the chicken wire protecting the band to make a landfill spill over. Not even Patrick Swayze himself would want to stop this.


6) Bob McKenzie Saves the Elsinore Brewery

Strange Brew (1983)
There's no shortage of great beer moments in Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas' classic remake of Hamlet (seriously!). But no moment is more legendary than when Bob (Moranis) manages to consume an entire tank's worth of beer, swells to two stories tall, declares "I've gotta whiz to throw," and then extinguishes a massive fire by relieving himself. It's a shame that Shakespeare cut it from the original.


7) Dennis Hopper Becomes a Hipster Hero

Blue Velvet (1986)
In Dennis Hopper's portrayal of gas-huffing Frank Booth, David Lynch unleashed upon the world one of cinema's slimiest villains. But when Kyle MacLachlan’s milquetoast hero requests a Heineken, Booth proves himself a hero to hipsters everywhere with his brash retort: "Heineken? Fuck that shit. Pabst. Blue. Ribbon." And with that, Portland's official motto was born.


8) Andy Dufresne Invents Beer Diplomacy

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
We all need a beer or six after we do our taxes. But in this classic Stephen King action, nebbish accountant/maybe murderer Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) manages to leverage tax woes twofold: First, he avoids being chucked off the roof by exposing a tax loophole to a sadistic guard with some IRS trouble, and then exchanges his accounting services for beers to share with his fellow inmates. Which begs the question: Does H&R Block accept lager as payment?


9) Frank the Tank

Old School (2003)
We're guessing that, after his beer bong and streaking adventure, trips to Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond weren't as delightful as Frank (Will Ferrell) thought they'd be.


11) Das Boot

Beerfest (2006)
Love it or hate it, Beerfest is an essential movie in the subgenre of beer cinema, and probably managed to make "das boot" a more common phrase than that old German submarine movie ever could. Study the technique, and use it wisely.


12) Drinking At the End of the World

The World's End (2013)
Baby Driver director Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy -- Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End –- has no shortage of great beer moments. But this final installment is basically one epic beer scene, as its aging characters try to down a pint at each bar in their hometown, only to discover that the village is the epicenter of an alien invasion trying to replace humans with well-behaved clones. Epic bar fights and gallons of blue alien blood round out this boozy romp, one of the beeriest of all-time.