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If you’re a Hollywood screenwriter, how do you solve the problem of getting person A to do something against their character? Easy, get person B to say the two immortal words sure to make any plot twist possible; “I bet”.
Tedbets, the UK’s only platform where friends can bet on anything, asked British film fans to name their top movie wagers, with the Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy eighties classic Trading Places coming out as the best celluloid bet, ahead of nineties teen favourites She’s All That, and Cruel Intentions. Classics, My Fair Lady and Cool Hand Luke make up the rest of the top five, whilst sneaking in at number ten is Top Gun’s iconic bar-room bet, which led to the infamous Cruise crooning of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.
The Top Ten Bets In The Movies
1. Trading Places, 1983
The wealthy Duke brothers disagree over the nature vs nurture debate, so place a wager that switches the lives of a successful rich Dan Akroyd and a poor street-hustling Eddie Murphy. The value of the bet? Just one dollar.
2. She’s All That, 1999
Freddie Prinze Jr’s high school jock bets Paul Walker that he can turn any girl into the Prom Queen in just six weeks, choosing dowdy Rachael Leigh Cook as the bespectacled no-hoper. Glasses are removed, and dreams are made.
3. Cruel Intentions, 1999
Sarah Michelle Gellar is the It girl spurned, who bets her step-brother, Ryan Philippe, that he cannot seduce the proud virgin, Annette, played by Reece Witherspoon. If he loses, she gets his 1956 Jaguar, if he wins, “he can put it anywhere”.
4. My Fair Lady, 1964
Rex Harrison is the master linguist Professor Higgins, who bets he can turn Audrey Hepburn’s working class cockney Eliza Doolittle into a high society lady. Amid some of the most memorable Hollywood showtunes of all time, naturally.
5. Cool Hand Luke, 1967
Paul Newman affirmed his ice-cold status playing Lucas Jackson AKA Cool Hand, in the classic prison drama. Harshly detained for a two year stretch, Newman is considered by some inmates an outsider, until he bets he can eat fifty boiled eggs in just an hour. Remarkably, Newman’s charisma and effortless cool maintained even at egg number fifty.
6. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 1988
Steve Martin and Michael Caine go toe-to-toe as the eponymous scheming scoundrels making a living out of swindling the rich on the French Riviera. However, realising the town’s only big enough for one conman, the two bet the right to stay on successfully conning $50,000 from an American heiress.
7. Eighty Days Around The World, 1956
In the late nineteenth century, intrepid Phileas Fogg (David Niven) bets the fellow members of his Reform Club, that he can single-handedly traverse the globe in just eighty days, wagering £20,000, or over £1.5 million in today’s money. Via air, land and sea, Fogg just about wins his bet, whilst at over three hours audiences probably felt they could have made it a fair way themselves in that time.
8. Silver Linings Playbook, 2012
In last year’s rather surprise Oscar-winner, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence play similarly affected mental health patients embarking on a curious love affair, underpinned by Robert De Niro’s bet to save his restaurant dreams. The Philadelphia Eagles must win their big game, and Cooper and Lawrence must also get a score of 5/10 in their dance competition. The problem, Cooper’s never danced in his life.
9. Star Wars: Episode 1, 1999
Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn bets the flying green alien, Watto, that the boy Anakin Skywalker will win the pod-race, In one of the few redeeming scenes of the ill-fated prequels. If Anakin should win the race, he would win his freedom from the slaver. He does, setting in place consequences that lead to two more movies of fan disappointment.
10. Top Gun, 1986
Tom Cruise’s Maverick was never found wanting in the confidence department, and happily took Goose’s $20 bet that he couldn’t seduce Kelly McGillis’s astrophysicist, in the most famous bar scene of the eighties. Whilst Cruise lost that bet, he did succeed in inspiring a generation of badly dressed men to proclaim their 1980’s love via the medium of the Everley Brothers.