Celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Cameron Crowe classic with 5 of its best scenes

By Drew Mackie
Updated September 15, 2015 09:00 PM
Credit: Everett

Given its focus on music and the people who love it, it’s appropriate that Almost Famous is one of those movies that works like an old favorite record. Sure, it stands up well as a whole, but you can also be flipping channels, see that some cable airing is about to hit one of your favorite scenes and then just hang out for a few minutes. It’s like scanning the radio and happening across that one song you really needed to hear. You have the album at home. You could listen to the whole thing anytime you want, but sometimes that one special part of it just hits you perfectly.

Almost Famous first opened in theaters on August 15, 2000 – 15 years ago this week. In honor of its anniversary, we’re listing off a few of the scenes that might trigger that wave of beautiful nostalgia that movies like this one are so good at producing. Maybe your favorite isn’t included below, but hopefully one of these will spark that reaction of “Wow, I really love this movie.”

And we wouldn’t blame you if you rewatched the whole thing, tracked down your copy of the soundtrack and then gave it a spin too.

(Warning: These clips contain NSFW language.)

1. "I am a golden god!"

It’s probably the most iconic scene focusing on Billy Crudup’s character, Russell Hammond, lead singer for the band Stillwater and a stand-in for just any number of real-life rockers from which screenwriter Cameron Crowe drew inspiration. For what it’s worth, Crudup says he will never tire of fans coming up to him and delivering this famous line.

2. The "Tiny Dancer" sing-along

Arguably the film’s standout scene, this is the reason a generation of young movie-goers ended up learning all the lyrics to an Elton John song from 1971.

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3. The big goodbye

There’s no shortage of tender scenes between young journalist William (Patrick Fugit) and supreme Band Aid Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), but this airport scene might come the close to summing up their relationship – a real connection that’s not based on sex or music but just genuine affection between two people who want the best for the other.

4. The strangest coming out scene in a mainstream movie

All the tears shed by Hudson’s character might lead you to forget that Almost Famous is a comedy too. In one of the funniest scenes, it looks like the band’s plane may crash, and confessions come out left and right. Easily the best of them is Stillwater member Ed (John Fedevich) announcing “I’m gay!” Moments later, the turbulence ceases, and every one shambles off the plane, unable to retract the things they said.

5. And introducing Zooey Deschanel!

While Deschanel technically made her film debut in 1999 in Mumford, most movie-goers first met her in Almost Famous, in which she plays a mod stewardess and the older sister to Fugit’s character. Fifteen years later, she’s still the cool girl, and she’s still rocking looks straight out of a mid-’70s period piece – and we wouldn’t want her any other way.

What is your favorite scene from Almost Famous?