Wedding Crashers Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
A wedding is such a dramatic event in any person’s life that it’s the perfect fodder for the movies. From picture-perfect rituals to those chaos-ridden family affairs, there’s a plethora of unforgettable cinematic couplings.
With Wedding Crashers opening this week, a movie in which Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn crash the sacred affairs to pick up chicks, we’re listing our ten favorite offbeat wedding scenes in film. Read, enjoy, disagree – after all, this is not a standard roster of movie weddings. But sometimes it’s those oddball ceremonies that make up the most memorable matrimonial moments.
10. A Wedding (1978)
Note to self—don’t invite director Robert Altman to any future weddings—at least, Altman with a camera. In the director’s funny, scathing 1978 ensemble piece A Wedding he unveils family secrets, personality problems, hopes, dreams and a confused priest. Classic cluttered Altman—the director was born to un-mask the sometimes chaotic nature of weddings.
9. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Marrying the same guy twice can be romantic, can’t it? Especially when the guy in question happens to be Cary Grant. But all through George Cukor’s masterful comedy, blue blood Katharine Hepburn is set to marry another man, one she’s not in love with. Jimmy Stewart plays the reporter covering the whole affair and you think that he might capture the goddess. But really, can anyone compete with Cary Grant?
8. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
After the lovable SOB Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) finally grants a divorce to his long-suffering wife (Anjelica Huston) and terrific mother to his “family of geniuses” (Margot, Richie and Chas—played by Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson and Ben Stiller), she then marries the humble accountant Henry Sherman (Danny Glover)—well, almost. At the wedding ceremony the hopped-up Tenenbaum friend Eli Cash (played by the once and future Wedding Crasher Owen Wilson) crashes into the house, runs over Chaz’s dog and jumps into a rock garden. This also causes the priest to break his leg! But the wedding does eventually take place, albeit later, in a lovely, smaller ceremony that ties into director Wes Anderson’s poignantly touching ending.
7. The Wedding Singer (1998)
So he never really gets married in the film. He’s stood up at the altar by his first girlfriend. But when Adam Sandler’s wedding singer takes out his personal pain at another couple’s ceremony, his song rant is one of Sandler’s finest moments in film. Pre-Punch Drunk-Love, he’s never been so potently vulnerable and comically angry all at once.
6. Giant (1956)
Young, beautiful Elizabeth Taylor—who wouldn’t have chemistry with her? In George Stevens’ sprawling epic Giant, Rock Hudson certainly does, so much so that the moment you see the future spouses (in the movies, people) actually fall for each other, it gives you goose bumps. And perfectly, their amour is gorgeously conveyed in a scene in which Liz’s sister is walking down the aisle. Serving as Maid of Honor, Liz stands by but when she notices the hunky Rock unexpectedly showing up, they can’t take their eyes off each other. No need for a proposal. The looks say it all.
5. The Princess Bride (1987)
“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethaw today. Mawwiage,
that bwessed awwangement, that dweam wiffin a dweam...” So says the vocally challenged clergyman (Peter Cook) to Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) as she’s about to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck (Christopher Sarandon). She’s unhappy with the dastardly arrangement and in love with her real prince (Cary Elwes) but still, this scene depicts one of the funniest wedding ceremonies in film.
4. Kill Bill (2003-2004)
OK—so Beatrice Kiddo’s (a.k.a. “Black Mamba,” a.k.a. “The Bride,” a.k.a. Uma Thurman) wedding in both Kill Bill, Volumes I and II was actually a wedding rehearsal but we’re not splitting hairs here. The fact that the former DVA (“Deadly Viper Assassination Squad”) killer is shot down by her DVA crew (led by “Bill” of the title and played memorably by David Carradine) and left for dead is enough to make her attempt down the aisle pretty memorable. Swords, knives and a bloody rescue scene later in the film prove that you don’t mess with this woman—especially before she gets married!
3. It Happened One Night (1934)
There was a runaway bride before the, ahem, tabloid fodder of late -- and she was one of cinema’s most beloved movie heroines. In Frank Capra’s screwball classic, Claudette Colbert plays a dizzy spoiled rich girl who flees her first marriage (annulled by her father), catches a night bus and falls big time for working class newspaperman Clark Gable. At the end of the picture, Colbert attempts to go through a marriage to a more “appropriate” suitor but can’t. Running out of the church in her glam wedding gown (a dress that ranks as one of the most beautiful in all of cinema) she heads back to Gable. And who can blame her? Walls of Jericho—down!
2. The Graduate (1967)
“Elaine! Elaine!” Who can forget Dustin Hoffman’s famous plea before he interrupts the nuptials between his love Katherine Ross to the very suitable college boy approved by her father and mother (yes, Mrs. Robinson, splendidly played by the late Anne Bancroft). But it’s what happens next that’s so chilling. After grabbing the bride and fighting off hoards of angry family members, Hoffman flees with Ross from the church and flags down a bus. It’s all groovy and hilarious and romantic to see the young lovers in their momentary bliss but when their faces change, you realize what they’ve done. Now what? It’s a powerfully affecting moment.
1. The Godfather (1972), tied with Goodfellas (1990)
How can you top a mafia wedding? In Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather you’ve got Talia Shire’s enormous ceremony set to both a crooning Frank Sinatra prototype and of course, the family business. And then there’s Martin Scorsese’s take —Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco tying the knot oh-so-romantically (and with that purse passed around filled with money) in their lavish observance in Goodfellas. Both weddings feature the pinnacle of “the good life,” the American dream. Both are swooning. But both set up some pretty unsavory situations to come. Nevertheless, wedding planners take note—the Coppola and Scorsese movies really do know how to throw a wedding.
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