Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Iron Giant (1999)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Iron Giant (1999)

In Brad Bird's enchanting animated Cold War parable:

  • the opening sequence set in a forest in 1957 near the small Maine town of Rockwell, when young, isolated, fatherless preteen Hogarth Hughes (voice of Eli Marienthal) discovered a 50-foot alien robot (voice of Vin Diesel) from outer space; the robot had a steam-shovel mouth, rounded head, gyrating eye shutters, and a triangular torso; the "iron giant" was originally created to be an inter-stellar weapon, but whose nature was changed due to crashing into the ocean during a hurricane; it was capable of munching metal as food, flying, and speaking a few English words
  • the scene of Hogarth saving the metal-eating giant's life in the woods from electrocution when it attempted to consume the electrical lines of a power plant sub-station; after saving the giant, Hogarth taught the robot the difference between a rock and a tree, and then became ecstatic about his new pal: "My own giant robot. I am now the luckiest kid in America! This is unbelievable. This is the greatest discovery since, I don't know, television or something. I gotta tell someone. I should call -- No, they'll panic. People always wig out and start shooting when they see something big like you"
Hogarth's Encounters with The Iron Giant
  • the life lessons taught by Hogarth to the Iron Giant after hunters shot a deer with a gun: ("I know you feel bad about the deer, but it's not your fault. Things die. It's part of life. It's bad to kill, but it's not bad to die...You're made of metal, but you have feelings, and you think about things, and that means you have a soul. And souls don't die"); Hogarth's lesson about choice: ("Guns kill. And you don't have to be a gun. You are what you choose to be. You choose. Choose")
  • the educational short film - an animated "Duck and Cover" spoof
  • the sequence of Hogarth attempting to hide the Giant's disembodied or severed hand in his house
  • the frustrations of beatnik Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick, Jr.) that the Giant, situated in his metal junkyard, was eating his art-work rather than the scrap-metal ("There are two kinds of metal in this yard. Scrap and art. If you gotta eat one of 'em, eat the scrap. What you currently have in your mouth is art!!")
Giant Stuffing Mouth with Metal in a Junkyard Owned by Beatnik Dean (Harry Connick Jr.)
  • the character of odious, paranoid and villainous federal government agent Kent Mansley (voice of Christopher McDonald), who was obsessed with efforts to capture and destroy the Giant - at first calling it "Something Big!"; while eating an ice cream soda with Hogarth (who had doctored Kent's glass with Coco-Lax), Kent delivered a delusional rant about destroying the 'foreign threat': ("You know, Hogarth, we live in a strange and wondrous time: the Atomic Age. But there's a dark side to progress, Hogarth. Ever hear of Sputnik?... Foreign satellite, Hogarth, and all that that implies. Even now it orbits overhead. Boop! Boop! Watching us. We can't see it, but it's there. Much like that giant thing in the woods. We don't know what it is or what it can do. I don't feel safe, Hogarth. Do you?... What am I talking about? WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT?! I'm talking about your goldarned security, Hogarth!...All I know is, we didn't build it, and that's reason enough to assume the worst and blow it to kingdom come! Now, you are going to tell me about this thing. You are going to lead me to it. And we are going to destroy it before it destroys us!") - Kent then ran to the restroom
  • the Giant's cannonball dive into a lake - causing a large tidal wave, and later, the crowd-pleasing moment when the Giant flew for the first time (with turbo-engines firing in his feet) while holding Hogarth in his fist: (Hogarth: "You can fly?! YOU CAN FLY!") as they attempted to escape from jet-fighter pilots trying to shoot them down
  • the Giant's climactic, tear-jerking, noble self-sacrifice ("I am not a gun") to save the town of Rockwell from a nuclear missile launch; after bidding farewell to Hogarth ("Hogarth. You stay. I go. No following!" - Hogarth replied: "I love you") - it soared into the air to neutralize the missile by striking it head-on, as it heard the words of Hogarth: "You are who you choose to be." Just before the explosion in outer space, the Giant realized his heroism and identity as "Superman!"
The Iron Giant's Sacrifice and Rebirth
Neutralizing the Missile
Reassembling - Resurrection
  • the Iron Giant was memorialized in a statue in the town of Rockwell, Maine, created by Dean; there, Hogarth was handed a cardboard box mailed from the General, with "the only part recovered" (a bolt) from the Giant's body; that evening the bolt blinked and was energized to leave Hogarth's bedroom (Hogarth called out: "See you later" - the film's last line) - the final shot was of the smiling Giant as his eyes opened - and he began to self-repair on an Icelandic glacier - signaling for all his disassembled parts to regroup, beginning with the bolt

Gov't Agent Kent Mansley: "Something big!"

"Duck and Cover" Spoof

Hogarth's Lesson to Giant: Difference Between Rock and Tree

Hogarth's Attempt to Hide Giant's Severed Hand in His House From His Mother

Soda Fountain Scene: Kent's Rant To Hogarth About Foreign Threats

The Giant's Massive Cannonball

The Iron Giant's First Flight with Hogarth

The Giant Bidding Farewell to Hogarth: "You stay. I go"

The Giant's "Only Part Recovered" - A Metal Bolt


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