"CRITERIA FOR THIS LIST:
This is not a list of 'iconic' SFX shots, such as the opening shot in Star Wars or the final shot in Back To The Future, etc. There are many fantastic SFX shots in cinema history that are artistically 'awesome' without qualifying here. For the purposes of this list, a shot has to be either a) exceptionally convincing, b) ground-breaking or c) an exemplary execution of an oft-used technique. Only one shot is allowed per film."
No. 1 is a scene from Jurassic Park:
One of the oldest clips from the world of bitmap-textured CGI animation, and - to my mind - simply the most convincing 'impossible thing' ever committed to celluloid by Hollywood. The segue between the withdrawing of Stan Winston's animatronic head and the appearance of the CGI version is effective and seamless, playing both technologies to their strengths. The movement of the musculature in the T-Rex combines with the very prosaic illumination of the car headlights to sell the Rex, and the camera judder combines perfectly with the footfalls of the massive beast. Rain and darkness have sold many a special effect before, and they certainly do no harm here, but the result is pure movie history.