Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



C (continued)

Children of Paradise (1945, Fr.) (aka Les Enfants du Paradis)

In Marcel Carne's dazzling and beautiful theatrical masterpiece set in early 19th century Paris and shot during the period of France's occupation by the Nazis:

  • after the opening credits, the rising of an actual theatre curtain to reveal the first view of the 'children of paradise' - the poor and rowdy playgoers in the audience who must watch from the galleries at a distance in the cheap seats
  • the scene of introverted, delicate, moon-faced theater mime Baptiste Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault) re-enacting - through remarkable pantomime - a crime (the criminal theft of an onlooker's watch) that was performed by petty thief Pierre-Francois Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand) - and proving that the falsely-charged raven-haired, fickle, seraphim-like (or Garbo-like) beauty/courtesan Garance (Arletty) is not the pickpocket
  • the scene of Garance telling a nobleman in her bedroom that she loves the mime Baptiste

Chimes at Midnight (1966) (aka Falstaff)

In Orson Welles' last classic masterpiece:

  • the portrayal of William Shakespeare's charismatic, corpulent thief/drunken scoundrel/adventurer Sir John/Jack Falstaff (Orson Welles)
  • the Battle of Shrewsbury with inappropriately-armored Falstaff wading through the muddy battlefield and other armored men swinging heavy weapons
  • Prince Hal's (Keith Baxter) final betrayal of his friend Falstaff that elevates him to the status of a King (renamed Henry V)

The China Syndrome (1979)

In James Bridges' cautionary political thriller-drama:

  • the thrilling, suspenseful scene of heroic, long-time nuclear power plant engineer Jack Godell (Jack Lemmon) locking himself inside the reactor room following a scary 'incident' and demanding to speak on live TV after knowing that a meltdown almost occurred and that there are Ventana nuclear power plant violations that need to be divulged
  • the later scene of his speaking to reporter Kimberly Wells (Jane Fonda) from inside the control room when a SWAT team cuts the signal, enters the control room and shoots Jack dead

Chinatown (1974)

In director Roman Polanski's great neo-noir detective story:

  • the dark evocation of a late 1930s Los Angeles in a tale of murder, incest, and water rights
  • the night-time slitting of impulsive detective Jake Gittes' (Jack Nicholson) nose with a switchblade (by director Roman Polanski) ("You're a very nosy fellow, kitty-cat, huh?")
  • Gittes' sporting of a bandaged nose for the remainder of the film
  • Jake's lunch conversation with corrupt and perverse tycoon Noah Cross (John Huston) at the Albacore Club, who repeatedly mispronounces his name and where he is told: ("You may think you know what you're dealing with, but believe me, you don't," "You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of anything," and "The future, Mr. Gits - the future!")
  • the celebrated scene of beautiful and wealthy, troubled newly-widowed client Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) repeatedly being slapped by Gittes and revealing the scandalous truth about the young and enigmatic Katherine (Belinda Palmer) that she is hiding: "she's my sister...she's my daughter...She's my sister and my daughter! ...My father and I...understand? Or is it too tough for you?"
  • the tragic ending in Chinatown including the haunting closing line: "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown"

Cimarron (1931)

In this early sound western and Best Picture winner based on the best-selling Edna Ferber epic by director Wesley Ruggles:

  • the breathtaking reenactment of the homesteaders' wild dash in the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

In Norman Jewison's Hustler-like high-stakes poker-gambling film:

  • the scene of the climactic and suspenseful showdown 5-card stud poker game between young poker player The Cincinnati Kid or Eric Stoner (Steve McQueen) and legendary champion card player Lancey Howard or "The Man" (Edward G. Robinson) - in which the Kid's full-house (with Aces and tens) is beaten by "The Man's" straight flush (when he turns over a Jack of Diamonds) - accentuated by closeups
  • the "Kid" admits: "I'm through" although Lancey compliments him on a good game: ("You're good, kid, but as long as I'm around, you're second best. You might as well learn to live with it")

Cinderella (1950)

In Disney's animated, mid-century masterpiece:

  • the fanciful and magical transformation of Cinderella's (voice of Ilene Woods) plain dress into a beautiful, sparkling white gown
  • other transformations: the pumpkin into a carriage, the mice into horses, the dog into a footman and the horse into a driver by her fairy Godmother (voice of Verna Felton)
  • her singing of the Oscar-nominated song, "Bibbidy-Bobbidi-Boo"

Cinema Paradiso (1988, It./Fr.)

In writer/director Giuseppe Tornatore's sentimental homage to the movies that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film:

  • the euphoric scene of middle-aged Italian film director Salvatore Di Vitto (Jacques Perrin) returning to his childhood, small-town Sicilian home of Giancaldo after 30 years to revisit the condemned Cinema Paradiso theatre in the town square (where he was a projectionist through his teenaged years), when it was destroyed to make way for a city parking lot
  • his recalling of a short romance with a rich banker's pretty daughter, a blonde, blue-eyed classmate named Elena Mendola (Agnese Nano) - when he was keeping vigil outside her window for 100 nights
  • her miraculous appearance after he had given up hope, when she kisses him lovingly in the projectionist booth - making him forget his responsibilities when the film reel runs out
  • in town to attend the funeral of his kind-hearted mentor/surrogate father Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), his widow presents him with a gift of one last reel of film, which he takes back with him to Rome and screens
  • the viewing of the reel, with all of the excised and censored kisses (presented in an amorous montage - two stills shown to the right) that the village priest Father Adelfio (Leopoldo Trieste) had ordered snipped from dozens of films shown there during Toto's childhood - the images bring tears to his eyes

The Circus (1928)

In director/actor Charlie Chaplin's early and captivating award-winning silent film:

  • the scene of the Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) eluding a pickpocket and cop in the hall of mirrors
  • his antics in a circus environment where he inadvertently becomes part of the show as a prop man
  • his eating of a hotdog from the extended hand of a baby in its father's arms
  • the scenes of being locked in a cage with a sleeping lion (and a barking dog outside)
  • the tightrope act attempt with a wild monkey on his head and biting his nose
  • the classic memorable finale in which The Tramp walks in the opposite direction away from the departing circus

Citizen Kane (1941)

In one of filmdom's most celebrated films with many landmark cinematic techniques (including dramatic lighting and deep-focus), from co-writer/actor/director Orson Welles:

  • the opening prologue including the shot of media tycoon Charles Foster Kane's (Orson Welles) estate of Xanadu and the uttering of the mysterious word "R-o-s-e-b-u-d" by the giant rubbery lips of a dying, mustached man as a crystal globe/ball of a snowy scene (of a snow-covered house) falls from his hand and shatters
  • the "March of Time" newsreel sequence
  • the scene in the smoky projection room where shafts of light come from the projection booth and the reporters are told to investigate the enigmatic meaning of Kane's last word
  • the deep-focus scene as young Kane plays in the snow outside and his future guardian talks to his parents inside
  • the clever transition when a picture of a newspaper staff comes to life
  • the Walter P. Thatcher library flashback sequence
  • the famous breakfast montage scene that symbolizes the deterioration of Kane's marriage
  • the dolly shot/dissolve into the skylight of Susan Alexander's (Dorothy Comingore) nightclub
  • Kane's explanation to his accountant: "You're right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in 60 years"
  • Bernstein's (Everett Sloane) speech about his memory of a girl with a white dress and a parasol
  • Kane's memorable political speech
  • the memorable boom shot upward to two stage hands who comment on Susan's disastrous operatic debut
  • Kane's firing of Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten) and his finishing of the negative review of his wife's performance
  • the images of Xanadu's huge fireplace and Susan hunched over a crossword puzzle
  • the startling jump cut to a screaming bird
  • the scene of Kane's angry furniture-destroying rage after Susan's departure
  • his stumbling walk through the mirrored hall
  • the panoramic view of Kane's basement warehouse
  • the final fadeout scene from the time the reporters start up the stairs to a shot that closes in on the incineration of the sled in the furnace -- (revealing the meaning of "Rosebud") - and the smoke rising toward the sky

City Lights (1931)

In this memorable Charlie Chaplin silent film:

  • The Tramp's (Charlie Chaplin) mocking of talkies in the opening scene
  • the Tramp's encounters with a drunken millionaire who repeatedly attempts suicide
  • the marvelous pantomime of the prize fight episode in which the Tramp dances around the ring to evade his opponent
  • the slapstick scene when the blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill) pulls a thread and unravels the Tramp's long underwear
  • the hilarious spaghetti-confetti sequence in which the Tramp confuses the spaghetti on his plate with strings of streamers
  • the tearful, sentimental ending when the Tramp first sees the blind girl - now with restored sight in the flower shop window of her successful business
  • the moment that she takes pity on a trampish beggar - and simultaneously recognizes and realizes that he is her unlikely benefactor-savior - shown with a closeup of the Tramp's face and smile (with a rose stem in his mouth) when she identifies him

Cleopatra (1934)

In director Cecil B. DeMille's classic:

  • Queen of Egypt Cleopatra's (midriff-bearing Claudette Colbert) seduction of both Caesar (Warren Williams) and Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon)
  • the infamous barge/bordello scene (the prelude to the seduction of Antony) that begins with near-naked dancing girls accompanying an ox (with a dancer riding upon it and stroking its side) - and the remarkable sequence in which 'clams' that are hauled up in a net were revealed to be more dancing-girls wrapped in seaweed, followed by leopard-skinned animals/girls led by trainers with whips - and more! -
  • and in the film's conclusion - her memorable live snake-to-breast death scene ("Now give me the basket - it holds victory")

Cleopatra (1963)

In this expensive, over-budget sumptuous epic by director Joseph L. Mankiewicz:

  • the pageantry of the spectacular, triumphant entrance scene of Queen Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) riding into the Eternal City of Rome on a giant sphinx behind a processional of dancers and chariots, and wearing an elaborate costume

Clerks (1994)

In this low-budget comedy by writer/director Kevin Smith:

  • the appalling scene in which New Jersey video store clerk Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) orders X-rated stock (with really filthy titles like "Cum Clean") over the phone in front of customers at the counter - while a Mom (Connie O'Connor) and her young daughter wish to purchase "Happy Scrappy Hero Pup"
  • the ludicrous Star Wars dialogue ("...any independent contractors who were working on the uncompleted Death Star were innocent victims when they were destroyed by the Rebels")
  • the "I'm 37!?" scene when girlfriend Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti) tells a shocked Dante (Brian O'Halloran) the honest truth about her sexual history (Dante: "...I understood that you had sex with three different guys and that's all you said!...How many?...How many d--ks have you sucked?" and Veronica's reply: "Something like - 36..." and including him made 37)

(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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