The 45 Most Beautiful Shots of Cinematic Sunsets

Update The Lists Sunsets

Sunsets have provided a backdrop to some of the most powerful, beautiful, and memorable scenes in movies.

The sun sets every single day, without delays or interruptions. It’s all just part of the universe’s natural cycle that we don’t pay much attention to, and maybe even take for granted sometimes. Still, few things are as naturally beautiful or inherently awe-inspiring as sunsets, either. At face value, they’re just really pleasant to look at, but on a deeper level sunsets contain the power to evoke a range of emotions. And if you’re lucky enough to take a picture of a sunset in all its natural splendor and upload it to Instagram, your social media will be the best around that day.

Naturally, sunsets also lend themselves perfectly to art and visual media. As feasts for our eyes, few images are as striking, which makes them irresistible to some creators looking to grab our attention. However, sunsets can also be interpreted symbolically; perhaps to mark the end of a journey, a passage of time, or an era, for example. In some instances, they also signify danger due to the arrival of imminent darkness and danger. The next time you’re looking at the sun going down and admiring its beauty, please bear in mind that vampires will be waking up and preparing for a night of feasting on your fellow members of humankind. That being said, sunsets are so cool that the risk of being eaten is worth it.

Filmmakers clearly understand the appeal of sunsets, though, hence why they’ve used them time and time again to enhance their works in a variety of ways. And given that images of sunsets have contributed so much to the art of cinema, we decided it was time to honor them. Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive collection of all the incredible sunset shots out there, but we have selected 45 favorites which showcase filmmaking at its most visually spectacular and evocative. Additionally, this is the only list we’ve published where comedies about amateur stuntmen can co-exist alongside gory horror fare, prestige historical dramas, and sci-fi epics without seeming out of place. That unlikely unity alone makes sunsets worth praising.

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Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

DP: Alan Hume ⏐ Director: Richard Marquand

Jedi

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War Horse (2011)

DP: Janusz Kamiński ⏐ Director: Steven Spielberg

Sunset War Horse

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Dersu Uzala (1975)

DP: Asakazu Nakai, Fyodor Dobronravov & Yuriy Gantman ⏐ Director: Akira Kurosawa

Sunset Dersu Uzala

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Hour of the Wolf (1968)

DP: Sven Nykvist ⏐ Director: Ingmar Bergman

Hour

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Flesh and Blood (1985)

DP: Jan de Bont ⏐ Director: Paul Verhoeven

Fleshandblood

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The Monster Squad (1987)

DP: Bradford May ⏐ Director: Fred Dekker

Sunset Monster Squad

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Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)

DP: Toyomichi Kurita ⏐ Director: Takashi Miike

Sunset Sukiyaki Western Django

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King Kong (2005)

DP: Andrew Lesnie ⏐ Director: Peter Jackson

Sunset King Kong

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Harold & Maude (1971)

DP: John A. Alonzo ⏐ Director: Hal Ashby 

Sunset Harold And Maude

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The Zero Theorem (2013)

DP: Nicola Pecorini ⏐ Director: Terry Gilliam

Zero

 

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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

DP: Freddie Young ⏐ Director: David Lean

Sunset Lawrence Of Arabia

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

DP: Dan Mindel ⏐ Director: J.J. Abrams

Sunset The Force Awakens

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Spider-Man 3 (2007)

DP: Bill Pope ⏐ Director: Sam Raimi

Sunset Spider Man

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

DP: Daniel Pearl ⏐ Director: Tobe Hooper

Sunset Tcm

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For a Few Dollars More (1965)

DP: Massimo Dallamano ⏐ Director: Sergio Leone

Sunset For A Few Dollars More

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Tales from Earthsea (2007)

Director: Gorō Miyazaki

Sunset Tales From Earthsea

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Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

DP: Dean Cundey ⏐ Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Sunset Season Of The Witch

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The Rock (1996)

DP: John Schwartzman ⏐ Director: Michael Bay

Sunset The Rock

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

DP: Douglas Slocombe ⏐ Director: Steven Spielberg

Sunset Last Crusade

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The Good Dinosaur (2015)

DP: Sharon Calahan, Mahyar Abousaeedi⏐ Director: Peter Sohne

The Good Dinosaur

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Vampires (1998)

DP: Gary B. Kibbe ⏐ Director: John Carpenter

Vampires

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Days of Heaven (1978)

DP: Néstor Almendros ⏐ Director: Terrence Mallick

Sunset Days Of Heaven

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Domino (2005)

DP: Daniel Mindel Christensen ⏐ Director: Tony Scott

Domino

 

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Hercules (1997)

DP: Rasoul Azadani ⏐ Director: Ron Clements, John Musker

Hercules

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Tombstone (1993)

DP: William A. Fraker ⏐ Director: George P. Cosmatos

Sunset Tombstone

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Before Midnight (2013)

DP: Christos Voudouris ⏐ Director: Richard Linklater

Sunset Before Midnight

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Hot Rod (2007)

DP: Andrew Dunn ⏐ Director: Akiva Schaffer

Hot Rod

 

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Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

DP: Gilbert Taylor ⏐ Director: George Lucas

Sunset A New Hope

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Jurassic Park (1993)

DP: Dean Cundey ⏐ Director: Steven Spielberg 

Sunset Jurassic Park

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Easy Rider (1969)

DP: László Kovács ⏐ Director: Dennis Hopper

Easy Rider Sunset

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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

DP: Guillermo Navarro ⏐ Director: Robert Rodriguez

Screenshot

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Unforgiven (1992)

DP: Jack N. Green ⏐ Director: Clint Eastwood

Sunset Unforgiven

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Sicario (2015)

DP: Roger Deakins ⏐ Director: Denis Villeneuve 

Sunset Sicario

 

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The Green Ray (1986)

DP: Sophie Maintigneux ⏐ Director: Eric Rohmer

Screenshot

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

DP: Douglas Slocombe ⏐ Director: Steven Spielberg

Sunset Raiders Of The Lost Ark

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Walkabout (1971)

DP & Director: Nicolas Roeg

Sunset Walkabout

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Titanic (1997)

DP: Russell Carpenter ⏐ Director: James Cameron

Titanic

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Apocalypse Now (1979)

DP: Vittorio Storaro ⏐ Director: Francis Ford Coppola 

Apocalypse Now

 

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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

DP: Roger Deakins ⏐ Director: Andrew Dominik

Sunset The Assassination

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Armageddon (1998)

DP: John Schwartzman ⏐ Director: Michael Bay

Sunset Armageddon

Gone with the Wind (1939)

DP: Ernest Haller ⏐ Director: Victor Fleming 

Sunset Gone

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Badlands (1973)

DP: Tak Fujimoto, Brian Probyn, Stevan Larner ⏐ Director: Terrence Malick 

Badlands

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Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

DP: Andrew Lesnie ⏐ Director: Peter Jackson

Sunset Return Of The King

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E.T. the Extra-terrestrial (1982)

DP: Allan Daviau ⏐ Director: Steven Spielberg

Sunset Et Bikes

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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

DP: John Seale ⏐ Director: George Miller

Sunset Fury Road

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Articles from the One Perfect Shot archives, written by committee or guests.