100 Greatest Scenes Number 9: “You do not talk about Fight Club!”

Views from the Sofa’s 100 Greatest Scenes is a list of the 100 greatest moments in the movies. This could be long introductions, moments of action or great dialogue between characters. The scenes are in no particular order and come from many different types of movies.

There are about ten more scenes I could have chosen from Fight Club and many that stick with people more than this one but none have quite entered the cultural zeitgeist like “The Rules.” The first two rules are so well-known that, like the second verse of English National Anthem, nobody really remembers what comes next. The rest are just important though and it isn’t necessarily what is being said that makes this scene so great, but also what is going on as the words are spoken.

Greatest Scene Number 9: Fight Club – “You do not talk about Fight Club!”

The scenes starts in-line with the rest of the movie. Edward Norton’s Narrator speaks for him and Tyler Durden once more and then Brad Pitt begins the iconic speech. The first rule is simple but it is when he repeats it for the second time, emphasising each word, that you get the real magic of the scene. It is a stunned silence from the listening crowd and the audience realise that what the have witnessed created in a car park of a bar has become a cool underground movement.

The rest of the rules are really simple, with Brad Pitt oozing the confidence and swagger that has made Tyler Durden such the memorable character he is today. The small laughs that accompany some of the others rules, like “one fight at a time fellas,” and the way the camera loses Pitt in amongst the stirring crowd, angry for a fight. The scene even ends with Pitt pausing over the final line, his final rule merging into a fight itself.

Pitt delivers the line with a cocky ease

It is the actions of the crowd that people forget. This scene isn’t purely Pitt giving the rules, like many people may remember. What we see as the rules are given is the “members” shedding their everyday lives to become attendees. People remove their polished shoes, take off their belts and tuck wedding ring into jacket pockets. These people become fighters, or like Norton puts it in his narration that follows the scene, Gods.

Overall, the rules start with one of the most iconic lines in movie history but also frames and introduces the allure of a Fight Club perfectly. With each new rule, every one fair and necessary, and delivered with perfect ease by Pitt, the anxious crowd get ready to battle, shedding their everyday life and becoming something much grimier and raw.  

The listening crowd make the scene effective too
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