Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



C (continued)

Casablanca (1942)

In Michael Curtiz' definitive and popular Best Picture-winning classic with many memorable sequences:

  • the first view of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in his Cafe Americain nightclub playing chess by himself
  • the unexpected entrance of former love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) with her vulnerable beauty and her request of piano player Sam (Dooley Wilson) to once again play "As Time Goes By"
  • Sam's rendition of the song and Rick's strident interruption and first glance at Ilsa
  • the images of Rick's masculine mannerisms and the self-pitying scene later that evening of Rick alone with a cigarette and a bottle asking Sam to play "As Time Goes By" again
  • the flashback to bittersweet memories of Paris
  • the ink of Ilsa's goodbye note being washed away in the rain - and then Ilsa's unexpected appearance in the doorway in a shaft of light
  • Rick's nodding to the band leader to permit the playing of "The Marseillaise" - the French national anthem - and the memorable duel of national anthems with the crowd joining in to sing and drown out the Germans' anthem "Wacht am Rhein" - and Yvonne's proud reaction with tears in her eyes
  • the scene in which Ilsa realizes she cannot shoot Rick and then when he moves toward her and embraces her and gives an explication of what really happened in Paris
  • Capt. Louis Renault's (Claude Rains) acceptance of his gambling winnings AFTER closing down the cafe
  • the final farewell scene between trench-coated Rick and Ilsa on the rainy, foggy airstrip with "Here's lookin' at you, kid" and Rick's noble sacrifice to let Ilsa leave with her husband
  • Renault's tense pause before ordering: "Round up the usual suspects"
  • t the closing line: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" as Renault and Rick walk off the tarmac to an uncertain future

Casino (1995)

In Martin Scorsese's mob film based on Nicholas Pileggi's non-fiction novel:

  • the opening pre-Saul Bass' credits sequence (his last work before he passed away) in which Jewish gambler Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (Robert De Niro) walks out of a casino and enters his parked car - and the slow-motion car explosion to Johann Sebastian Bach's Passion According to St. Matthew
  • the smooth sequence showing how everyone is watching everyone else ("In Vegas, everybody's got to watch everybody else") in the casino from the players to the dealers, to the boxmen, to the floormen, to the pit bosses, to the shift bosses, to the casino manager, to the security camera ("the eye in the sky")
  • the introduction of sexy prostitute/hustler Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone) at a roulette table and Ace's first look at her by spying through the security camera
  • the quiet, faithful hang-dog character of Ace's right-hand man Billy Sherbert (Don Rickles in a serious role)
  • the disintegrating relationship between Ace and violent mob hit-man/enforcer "Nicky" Santoro (Joe Pesci) including their tense desert scene ("Normally, my prospects of comin' back alive from a meeting with Nicky were ninety-nine out of a hundred. But this time, when I heard him say, 'A couple a hundred yards down the road', I gave myself fifty-fifty")
  • the film's four very memorable violent sequences:
    - the scene in which a scam artist running a blackjack racket is tortured
    - the eye-popping scene in which a rival mob tough's head is crushed in a vise during torture
    - the scene of Nicky and his brother Dominick (Philip Suriano) beaten up with metal baseball bats and then buried alive by Frank Marino (Frank Vincent)
    - and the rub-outs to silence potential witnesses (when the mob leaders are arraigned) including the loyal Andy Stone (Alan King, also in a serious role)
  • also, Ace and Ginger's disintegrating marriage, especially when a jealous Ace has her pimp ex-boyfriend Lester Diamond (James Woods) beaten up
  • Ace's final eulogy for Las Vegas casino life ("The town will never be the same...Today, it looks like Disneyland")

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958)

In Richard Brooks' powerful drama adapted from Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play:

  • the image of a sexually-frustrated Maggie "the Cat" (Elizabeth Taylor) usually in a slinky slip or white dress - fighting with presumed homosexual husband Brick (Paul Newman)
  • the scene in the cellar between Brick and Big Daddy (Burl Ives)

Cat People (1942)

In Jacques Tourneur's low-budget supernatural thriller:

  • the kitten-faced young bride and Balkan artist Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) who is haunted by her inner demons
  • in one scene, she claws the sofa with her nails
  • the two frightening, jealousy-caused, feline stalkings of rival female Alice Moore (Jane Randolph) for her architect husband's (Kent Smith) attention:
    - on a Central Park path at night (accentuated by the hissing, squealing air-brakes as a bus pulls abruptly into the screen)
    - a second similar scene in a YWCA indoor swimming pool when she terrorizes Moore - accompanied by growls and shadows of a black panther
  • the film's aftermath including the fate of psychiatrist Dr. Louis Judd's (Tom Conway) after kissing Irena

Catch-22 (1970)

In Mike Nichols' war comedy - a screen adaptation of Joseph Heller's 1961 first novel about the absurdity of war:

  • the milestone scene - the first US film to depict an individual (Martin Balsam as blustering Col. Cathcart at a United States Air Force base on the Mediterranean island of Pianosa) defecating on a toilet seat, and then unwinding a long piece of toilet tissue while nonchalantly talking to earnest Chaplain Tappman (Anthony Perkins) - reminiscent of President LBJ during the Vietnam War

The Champ (1931)

In King Vidor's emotional father-son tearjerker:

  • the two major tear-inducing scenes:
    - the jail scene in which drunken and incarcerated Andy 'Champ' Purcell (Oscar-winning Wallace Berry) reluctantly disowns his young, adoring and devoted son Dink (Jackie Cooper) to send him away to live with his mother ("I'm tired of feeding you, let her feed you for awhile. I don't like ya anymore, you're hanging around to every place that I go, and I don't like it, that's all") as the bawling boy begs: "I wanna stay with you"
    - the climactic scene after a boxing bout in which the down-and-out ex-heavyweight boxing 'Champ' wins the match, but dies with Dink by his side in the locker room as he implores: "Keep your chin up, don't cry, come on, give your old man a smile, keep it..."

Champion (1949)

In director Mark Robson's (and producer Stanley Kramer) archetypal, film-noirish sports film:

  • one of the best films about boxing and prize fighting, with intense boxing scenes
  • the character of brutal, arrogant and savage prizefighter Michael 'Midge' Kelly (Oscar-nominated Kirk Douglas) who decides to cross the mob-fixed fight by KO-ing his opponent

Charade (1963)

In this tongue-in-cheek thriller and mystery-romance by director Stanley Donen:

  • the violent fight scene on a slippery Paris rooftop between Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) and hook-armed Herman Scobie (George Kennedy)
  • other memorable chase sequences
  • the witty dialogue regarding the relationship between lovely Regina ("Reggie") Lambert (Audrey Hepburn) and Peter (Reggie: "Do you know what's wrong with you?" Peter: "No, what?" Reggie: "Absolutely nothing")
  • the final scene's revelation that Peter was none other than Mr. Brian Cruikshank in the Treasury Department - their closing discussion about marriage is interspersed with his demands for the hidden fortune (stamps):
    - Reggie: "...Marriage license! Did you say marriage license?"
    - Cruikshank: "Now don't change the subject. Just give me the stamps."
    - Reggie: "Oh, I love you, Adam... Alex... Peter... Brian... Whatever your name is. Oh, I love you. I hope we have a lot of boys and we can name them all after you."

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

In director Michael Curtiz' stirring war-adventure epic film inspired by Tennyson's poem of a battle in the Crimean War:

  • the character of Geoffrey Vickers (Errol Flynn) - a dedicated officer in the British Army (the 27th Bengal Lancers) stationed in India during the mid 19th Century
  • the famous, suicidally-doomed charge with Max Steiner's four-beat bass changing in tempo with the pace of the charge and its fatal aftermath (for both horses and men)

Chariots of Fire (1981, UK)

In Hugh Hudson's Best Picture-winning British drama:

  • the lyrical, often-imitated opening scene of Olympic runners in slow-motion in the surf on the edge of a beach preparing for the 1924 competition in Paris underscored by Vangelis' score
  • evangelical Christian Eric Liddell's (Ian Charleson) breaking of the race tape in the 400 m. finals

Charly (1968)

In director Ralph Nelson's soap-opera-ish adaptation of Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon:

  • the transformation of 30 year old bakery worker Charly Gordon (Best Actor winning Cliff Robertson) with an IQ of 59 into a supergenius via a science experiment
  • Charly's disproportionate, stunted emotional growth compared to his intellectual development, highlighted by his primitively-displayed seduction of his special-ed teacher Alice Kinnian (Claire Bloom) (who eventually falls for him and romps with him in the outdoors in a lengthy montage)
  • the sorrowful scene in which Charly finds out that his newfound intelligence is only temporary, and tells Alice to leave him (after she had proposed marriage to him)
  • the tearjerking freeze-frame shot of Charly, once again mentally retarded but smiling and care-free, playing with other children on a see-saw

Chicken Run (2000)

In Aardman Studio's claymation film:

  • the repeated attempts of fiesty heroine Ginger (voice of Julie Sawalha) to escape from the 'concentration camp' chicken coop of evil, money-hungry Mrs. Tweedy (voice of Miranda Richardson)
  • swaggering American rooster Rocky's (voice of Mel Gibson) daring rescue of Ginger from a Rube Goldberg-like chicken pie-making machine
  • the crowd-pleasing climax when Mrs. Tweedy, clinging to a rope of Christmas lights attached to a chicken-shaped aircraft, swiped her axe at Ginger -- momentarily, it seemed as if Ginger had been beheaded, but revealed she'd tricked Tweedy into severing the line, causing Mrs. Tweedy to plunge into her own pie-making machine -- as her husband (voice of Tony Haygarth) smugly told her: "I told you they was organized!"
  • the chicken-and-egg debate between rats Nick (voice of Timothy Spall) and Fetcher (voice of Phil Daniels) in the end credits (Fetcher: "Yeah, but you have to have an egg to have a chicken" Nick: "Yeah, but you've got to get the chicken first to get the egg, and then you get the egg...")

Un Chien Andalou (1929, Fr.)

In Luis Bunuel's surrealistic film:

  • the shocking and disturbing opening sequence when a young man - after seeing a cloud sliver slicing across a full moon - slices a woman's (Simone Mareuil) wide-opened eye (in closeup, it's actually a calf''s eye) in half with a sharp-edged razor
  • the image of ants coming out of a hole in a man's hand
  • the dismembered hand lying in the street
  • a decomposed horse on a grand piano

Children of Men (2006)

In director Alfonso Cuarón’s bleak but visually-brilliant science-fiction chase-thriller:

  • the opening scene of white-collar government bureaucrat and ex-activist Theo Faron (Clive Owen) on his way to work on London's Fleet Street in fascist-run, terrorist-riddled England in the dystopic year 2027 - in the midst of a civil war - when a suicide bomber blast occurred a few steps away
  • during the film's long and heroic journey to the utopian Human Project on the coast to protect a miraculously-pregnant woman, the scene of the terrifying road-ambush scene - filmed from the POV inside the car in a long unbroken shot - when Theo's estranged ex-lover/wife Julian Taylor (Julianne Moore), the leader of the insurgent underground Fishes revolutionary group, was shot in the neck and died shortly after
  • the scene of African fugee (short for refugee) Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) revealing to Theo her extended pregnant belly (the first pregnancy in the world in about 18 years) and telling him that she trusted him
  • their thrilling escape from the 'safe house' when Theo attempted to jump-start their vehicle by coasting downhill
  • their seeking of refuge at the hidden-in-the-woods home of Theo's long-haired, dope-smoking hippie friend Jasper Palmer (Michael Caine) - and the scene of Jasper's execution (after he euthanized his catatonic wife with a Quietus suicide-kit) with his "pull my finger" joke
  • the amazing, single-shot scene of Theo assisting Kee in the birth of her baby girl in a crumbling, cold Bexhill apartment building in the refugee camp and internment center area
  • the film's most magical moment when Theo and Kee (with her crying baby in her arms) descended the stairs in the midst of a bloody seige and uprising (filmed continuously with a hand-held camera) surrounding a Bexhill apartment building - and the British soldiers and other combatants stood back momentarily in quiet awe
  • the hopeful final scene in which Theo (wounded during the skirmish) slumped over in a rowboat and died at the same moment that they reached the buoy rendezvous point with the Human Project's ship Tomorrow's appearance in the fog

(alphabetical by film title)

Intro | Quiz | A1 | A2 | A3 | A4 | B1 | B2 | B3 | B4 | B5 | B6 | B7 | C1 | C2 | C3 | C4 | C5 | D1 | D2 | D3 | D4 | E
F1 | F2 | F3 | F4 | G1 | G2 | G3 | G4 | H1 | H2 | H3 | I1 | I2 | I3 | J | K | L1 | L2 | L3 | L4 | M1 | M2 | M3
| M5 | M6 | N1 | N2 | N3 | O1 | O2 | P1 | P2 | P3 | P4 | P5Q | R1 | R2 | R3 | R4
S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S9 | T1 | T2 | T3 | T4 | T5 | U | V | W1 | W2 | W3 | W4 | YZ

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