Iconic Images: Jurassic Park

Even without the low rumble of an approaching dinosaur, and the resulting ripple of the water in the cup, this simple image sends shivers through audiences who have witnessed Jurassic Park.

Iconic Images: Jurassic Park

Anyone who has seen Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park will recognise this image of a plastic cup of water…and begin to shiver with fear. Perhaps not as visually exciting as the T-Rex in the “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear” shot, the cup of water is significant because it is quintessential Spielberg. Like the shark in Jaws making its presence known by the der-der…der-der of John Williams’ score, or a fin breaking the surface of the ocean, Spielberg is one of Hollywood’s smartest directors when it comes to revealing the monster without actually revealing the monster. Here the cup of water, still and unmoved one second, rippling with the shudders of approaching dino-feet the next, Spielberg takes something familiar and injects into it his horrific fantasy. It makes for a threat we can feel, hear, touch, and ultimately believe in.

Discover More on Top 10 Films: Top 10 Steven Spielberg Films | Top 10 Steven Spielberg Moments | Top 10 Steven Spielberg Characters | Top 10 Blockbusters of the 1990s | Top 10 Films Produced by Steven Spielberg

More Iconic Images

2001 A Space Odyssey – There are few directors who could make this image so sinister. Top 10 Films presents the computer Hal 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey.


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Trying to escape the authorities, Elliott takes flight thanks to E.T.’s magical powers. With E.T. sat in the bicycle’s front-mounted basket, the pair fly in front of a beautiful blue moon.


Jaws, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Stephens, Top 10 FilmsJaws – Shark expert Matt Hooper gets a big surprise when investigating the wreck of a local fisherman’s small boat. One of Jaws’ most memorable moments.

About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Avatar
    Maurice Mitchell Reply

    That one image had been used in now movies than I can count along with the rear view mirror joke. It’s amazing how much trouble they had making it for the film took.

  2. Avatar
    Pete Turner (@ilovethatfilm) Reply

    Best bit of the film.

  3. Avatar
    Evan Crean Reply

    Any time that I see water rippling I think of this scene. Glad I don’t actually have to worry about being attacked by a T-rex though.

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