Nerdist’s Best TV and Movie Moments of 2023

Whether we were seated in an IMAX theater or squinting at the tiny screen on our phones, this year’s crop of movies and TV series had us at the edge of our seats more often than not. And though one memorable moment does not a film or show make, we at Nerdist want to celebrate our very favorite on-screen memories from 2023. Some of these scenes made us laugh, while others filled us with joy, still, some were so horrible they just had to be included. Ultimately, as we look back at the year, these are the sequences that have stayed in our minds. Here is Nerdist‘s list of the best 2023 TV and movie moments.

John Wick: Chapter 4—Baba Yaga Falls Down All the Stairs

John Wick wearing a dark suit in agony on the ground near stairs in John Wick: Chapter 4, one of the best TV and movie moments of 2023 according to Nerdist

Selected by Mikey Walsh

There’s no wrong answer when it comes to naming John Wick: Chapter 4‘s best scene.  It’s an all-time action movie masterpiece with some of the best fight sequences ever filmed. But we’re giving this award to a moment of falling action. Literally. After Baba Yaga fights his way up a long Paris staircase against a seemingly never-ending supply of goons, he’s pushed back down the stairs. All of them. Every time you think he can’t fall anymore, there’s another section to go. Then another. Then another.

It’s an unbelievable moment you can’t believe is happening as you watch it because few movies would ever attempt something like this. Since John will have to go back up for another long trip, there’s a high risk of the second attempt feeling tedious. Only, that’s exactly why this moment exemplifies the greatness of Chapter 4. The second journey up is even better than the first, as his friend-turned-opponent Caine helps John Wick make their duel on time. It’s meaningful, fun, and shocking, in a film that is the franchise’s best.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds—“Subspace Rhapsody,” the Musical Episode

Captain Pike leads the crew of the Enterprise in an ensemble dance for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds musical episode, one of the best TV and movie moments of 2023 according to Nerdist

Selected by Amy Ratcliffe

Nothing about the words Star Trek and musical episode seem to go together. And yet, in 2023, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds gifted us with “Subspace Rhapsody.” The episode wound together an alien presence with powerful solos, ensemble numbers, and a lot of dancing. While not every song was a winner, the Enterprise crew shared their feelings through music. I didn’t know how much I needed to hear Spock sing about being an ex, but it was a thing of beauty.

Tom Polce and Kay Hanley wrote the songs that tracked the journey of the crew dealing with their own issues but, by the end, coming together in harmony. They had to sing together in order to stop the alien phenomenon causing them to emote through music. A Klingon bridge crew performing in the style of a ’90s boy band was the cherry on the cake—both for preventing galactic disaster and for pushing the episode into one of the best TV moments of 2023.

The Fall of the House of Usher—Prospero’s Party Descends Into Acid

The red death in the fall of the house of usher representing color theory, one of the best TV and movie moments of 2023 according to Nerdist

Selected by Rotem Rusak

Whether he deserved such a horrific death or not, Prospero Usher’s name was first up on Verna’s hit list in The Fall of the House of Usher, and so his final moments had to make a splash. And splash they did, if you count the sound of squelching skin flying everywhere.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I held my breath for the last ten minutes of “The Masque of the Red Death.” Just before the end, we see Verna urging Prospero to seek a quieter fate in an oh-so-soft and seductive conversation, but already we know in our hearts he absolutely will not. As soon as Prospero leaves the room, mask firmly on his face once more, the music trills, and events are in motion that cannot be stopped. As Verna warns the staff and Morrie Usher to flee, we know something is building. Then it’s time, the water falls, the acid hits, and there are only screams, both the party-goers’ and our own.

And, of course, we get one final genius stroke. Verna emerges to place the masque of death on Prospero’s disintegrated form in a stunningly composed shot. We stay in that moment for a breath, and then the iconic slam of the credits hits us in the face. Phew! Although many grotesque ends followed, given that viewers were only starting their The Fall of the House of Usher adventure, Prospero’s death hits that much harder than the ones that come after it. We all knew death was imminent, but just how breathtakingly intense it would be wasn’t yet clear. I’m willing to bet, though, that for most viewers, there were no more questions, only silence, when episode two crashed to a close. And that’s why it qualifies as one of 2023’s best moments across movies and TV shows.

Gen V—Marie Moreau’s Blood Daggers Save the Day

Warning: This video contains violence and NSFW language.

Selected by Tai Gooden

Throughout Gen V’s first season, Marie Moreau went through quite the journey with her blood manipulation powers. They came to life when she was just a preteen, activating the day she began her menstrual cycle. From that point forward, she was saddled with various forms of shame over her “unsanitary” powers and the accident that tore her family apart. Marie had nearly convinced herself that she wasn’t a good person because of what happened to her.

Her conflicting emotions and fears stunted her ability to lean into her complete capabilities initially; however, Marie shed everything that was holding her back in the finale. As she stood in the midst of chaos on God U’s campus, Marie quieted her mind and focused her energy. She caused streams of blood from dead bodies littered around her to elevate and form daggers. With the ease of a seasoned supe, Marie sent them flying towards a threatening presence, quickly eliminating danger. Did some of the people she saved deserve to be saved? Absolutely not. But that’s a part of a true hero’s job. Marie’s self-training and tears flash across the screen as she gives birth to a new version of herself. It’s a moving moment that sets her on an exciting new path.

Oppenheimer—The Trinity Test

Oppenheimer The Trinity Test, one of Nerdist's best TV and movie moments of 2023
Universal Pictures

Selected by Kyle Anderson

The entirety of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, with its overlapping timeframes and deliberate pacing, positioned the moment of the Trinity Test, the dropping of the atomic bomb in the Los Alamos desert, as the high point of the drama. All of the characters’ lives have revolved around making this test a success, and the scene leading up to it is as tense and fraught with differing emotions as you can get. When the countdown reaches zero and the bomb falls, the sound cuts out entirely. Where we expect an incredibly loud explosion, we instead hear only the soft words of J. Robert Oppenheimer quoting the Hindu text, proclaiming himself death, destroyer of worlds. It’s both a triumph and a horrible omen for the future. Brilliant filmmaking moment.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—The Final Scene

Selected by Eric Diaz

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel Finale
Prime Video

For five seasons, we’d been waiting for Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a struggling comedian in the sexist world of early ‘60s America, to get her big break in comedy. She’d continually almost make it. Yet the rug would get constantly pulled out from under her. But in the final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, we finally see that big break happen before our eyes. Midge breaks all the rules and does an unauthorized stand-up set on an ultra-popular late-night talk show, and we witness her moment arrive. The final season was filled with flash-forwards showing Midge did become a star, but the closing moments of the series showed exactly how that happened, and it was oh-so satisfying. It is definitely one of 2023’s best TV moments.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One—”Grace” Meets With Kittridge

Vanessa Kirby with blonde hair as Grace pretending to be The White Widow on the train in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Paramount Pictures

Selected by Mikey Walsh

I love Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and (correctly!) believe every scene from the movie deserves a spot on this list. I can only choose one and my pick might surprise you. It’s not a big set piece, nor does it involve the film’s biggest star. Instead, it’s a more personal, intimate sequence that best captures the emotional heart of the film. It’s when Vanessa Kirby—giving an acting masterclass by playing Hayley Atwell’s Grace in disguise as Kirby’s Alanna Mitsopolis—meets with the legendary Henry Czerny’s Kittridge on the train. This is Grace’s chance to not only get out of her current troubles, but to set herself up financially for life. But this money exchange is really a deal for Grace’s soul. It’s a deal she ultimately refuses to make because, at the last second, she makes a choice.

This selfish loner, who has only ever thought about herself, chooses to care about everyone else instead. It’s the same choice the IMF’s most noble members, the ones who have saved the world countless times, once made. It’s also the most human moment in a movie where a powerful AI threatens all of humanity, and that’s why it’s among 2023’s best.

Loki Season TwoLoki’s Glorious Purpose

King Loki sits with the green strands of timelines, one of the best TV and movie moments of 2023 according to Nerdist
Marvel Studios

Selected by Amy Ratcliffe

The end of Loki‘s second season  brought the Asgardian prince’s story to a close—as much as anything in the MCU can come to a close. Loki wanted to claim something, anything, as his own. In the years since we’ve met him, he’s pursued the throne of Asgard and dominion over Earth. He’s searched for a purpose. Loki sought that purpose from a selfish perspective, so he never found it. But when he destroyed the TVA’s Temporal Loom and stepped in to pull together the branches of the universe, it was an act of selflessness. He found his place, tragic and alone at the end of time.

This moving, bittersweet transformation completed Loki’s arc. In realizing his power and his ability to save others, he discovered his place. Everything about this moment, from Tom Hiddleston’s beautiful performance to the VFX showing swirls of green branches stretching from Loki’s cape and forming Yggdrasil, moved me to my core.

One Piece—The Straw Hat Pirates Come Together

One of Nerdist's best TV and movie moments of 2023: One Piece Straw Hat Crew sharing their dreams in the finale,

Selected by Rotem Rusak

Netflix’s live-action One Piece is truly a series that is greater than the sum of its parts. Not only is every episode an enjoyable watch, but the show’s heartwarming earnestness and inspiring, but realistic, message about the importance of dreaming linger with the viewer long after the credits have rolled. No singular moment better exemplifies these strengths than the last one of the series. The Straw Hat Pirates have all finally assembled; they have their ship, they have their heading, they have their dreams. And most importantly, they have one another. While other scenes may be more plotty or action-filled, this one moment rings purely with everything good about One Piece, making it one of 2023’s best. In less deft hands, it could read a little corny, but instead, it just overwhelms the heart with warmth. I dare you to watch it and not feel like it’s time to go on an epic adventure yourself.

TL;DR: I’m a sucker for a found family finally realizing that they belong to one another.

Top Stories
More by Rotem Rusak
Trending Topics