Famous Staircases in Cinematic History

Some of the most dramatic scenes in modern cinema have taken place on staircases. It is often not the first thing we think about when wrapped up in a riveting film, but has been carefully and instrumentally designed and placed throughout scenes to add extra dramatic effect. In this article is a list of 3 of the most famous staircases in cinematic history.

Home Alone

Home Alone, a longtime holiday classic, is full of fantastic physical comedy. Some of its greatest moments take place on the staircase in the home, with one iconic scene including Mac sliding down a gorgeous setĀ of timber handrails & straight stairsĀ out into his front yard. Other notable scenes include Marv slipping on an icy exterior stone decline, and Harry and Marv getting a face full of paint cans on their way up the stairs. Combined with a dramatic score and the camera focused in on their staircase ascension, these scenes became memorable for children and adults all across the globe, and truly earned their place as a holiday movie classic.

movies and stairs

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Stairs appear throughout this move in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, styles, and levels of grandeurs. Most notable are the ever-moving staircases that led the Hogwarts students to their dorm rooms. Before that, and before the audience is even introduced to the fantastical and elegant world of Hogwarts, Harry is introduced to us as the boy living in the cupboard under the stairs. Harry’s living conditions at the start of the movie are small, uncomfortable, and rough. It is this setting and this cupboard under those domineering and evil stairs that allow us to identify with Harry and feel for him and his situation from the very start. It is also these stairs that make the supernatural and impossibly grand and beautiful staircases design of Hogwarts ever more decadent. The staircases, along with Harry and his friends, make a simultaneous journey of rising to grandeur throughout the film.

stairs in hollywood movies


The grand staircase on the Titanic ship makes an appearance in almost all of the major events between Jack and Rose which take place in the movie. It is featured as the meeting place of their first dinner date, and it has an extended scene where it is the main focus during the ship’s sinking, successfully dramatizing it by showing the slow but fierce succession of each level of the stairs being swallowed up by the dark waters. It is also the location where Jack and Rose unite in Rose’s dreams when she is older. As she is dreaming of their reunion, the camera climbs the staircase with Rose where Jack is waiting at the top to embrace her. Rose has essentially risen out of her darkness to be with her one true love, their story coming full circle to end where it began, on these colossal and beautifully elegant stairs. The staircase chosen by James Cameron truly has a lasting effect on the movie and Rose’s journey throughout it.

stairs in titanic