Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



C4

 





C (continued)
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

Cliffhanger (1993)

In Renny Harlin's action-thriller, with breathtaking scenery and helicopter shots:

  • the opening, palm-sweating scene of stranded climber Sarah (Michelle Joyner) falling to her death into an abyss when her harness broke while attached to a taut steel cable thousands of feet above an abyss - and there was a vain attempt at a daring rescue by Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone), as she screamed: "I can't hold on..I don't want to die...I'm slipping...Please don't let me fall"

A Clockwork Orange (1971, UK)

In Stanley Kubrick's futuristic film adapted from Anthony Burgess' novel:

  • the opening close-up of slyly grinning hoodlum Alex (Malcolm McDowell) with one eye decorated with a false eyelash staring directly at the camera, followed by the pull-back view of him lounging with his 'droogie' friends in a milk bar with white furniture of nude women - accompanied by the voice-over beginning with: "There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs..."
  • the delinquent gang's stylized "ultra-violence" rampages including the fight scene in an old theatre with a rival gang synchronized with music from Rossini's The Thieving Magpie
  • the scene at novelist Mr. Alexander's (Patrick Magee) futuristic home when the droogs wear masks and deliver brutal kicks to the old man's body during the rape of his wife - rhythmically punctuated with the lyrics of Singin' In The Rain
  • the persistent use of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Alex's ecstasy: "Oh bliss, bliss and heaven..."
  • the sped-up, slapstick orgy scene accompanied by the William Tell Overture in Alex's bedroom with two teenage girls that he just met at a record store
  • the scene of Alex's brutalization of the 'Catlady' (Miriam Karlin) with an enormous penis sculpture/weapon
  • Alex's "aversion therapy" brainwashing against sex and violence with his eyes painfully held open
  • the scene with an almost-nude woman to demonstrate the effectiveness of his behavioral modification
  • the use of unique doublespeak slang-dialogue throughout
  • Alex's final closeup and line: "I was cured all right" accompanied by his fantasy of frolicking in slow-motion on piles of white snow while making love to (or raping?) a nude woman, while two rows of Victorian Londoners sedately applauded
  • Gene Kelly's original rendition of Singin' in the Rain heard during the end credits





Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

In Steven Spielberg's memorable sci-fi film:

  • the discovery in a northern Mexico desert during a sandstorm of a collection of vintage fighter aircraft from World War II
  • the scene of the lights/power going out section by section in Indiana
  • the moment at a railroad crossing when electrician Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) signals a second vehicle to pass his truck - and the UFO unexpectedly rises and bathes him in brilliant light
  • young Barry's (Cary Guffey) view of the swirling clouds, his exclamation "toys" when his playthings are brought to life, and the opening of his door to an orangish light-show - a house surrounded by aliens
  • the encounter of "the third kind" when everything goes haywire in the house and a mesmerized Barry is abducted by aliens
  • the recurring mental images of a huge mountain
  • the pattern of musical sound waves in five tones that signals communication
  • the scene of the dazzling hovering and the first sight of the arrival and landing at Devils Tower (Wyoming) of an immense, circular, revolving alien 'mother-ship' in the presence of newsmen and scientists
  • the finale in which the doors open, humans who have been missing emerge, and Roy is chosen or 'adopted' and taken into the 'mother-ship' craft, and one of the aliens says farewell with hand signals to UN scientist Claude Lacombe (Francois Truffaut) before the Mother Ship ascended and departed, as John Williams' score soared in triumph - incorporating "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio (1940)





Clueless (1995)

In writer/director Amy Heckerling's teen-oriented, coming-of-age comedy - a modern update of Jane Austen's classic 1816 novel Emma:

  • Alicia Silverstone's portrayal of self-centered, ultra-rich Beverly Hills Valley-Girl high-schooler Cherilyn "Cher" Horowitz, with her distinctive lingo, including such expressions as: the PC-correct "hymenally-challenged" (instead of virgin), "as if," "surfing the crimson wave", "Baldwin" (meaning a very handsome male), "Betty" (Cher's term for the perfect girl), and "Monet" - ("It's like a painting, see? From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess")
  • the opening scene in which she picks out her outfit for school - using a computer to match her tops and bottoms: ("I actually have a way normal life for a teenage girl. I mean, I get up, I brush my teeth. And I pick out my school clothes")
  • the classroom debate scene in which Cher debates immigration policy ('Should all oppressed people be allowed refuge in America') for two minutes against Amber (Elisa Donovan), when she talks about Haitian (pronounced 'Hay-tee-ans') and uses a a garden party anecdote: ("But it's like when I had this garden party for my father's birthday, right? I said R.S.V.P. because it was a sit-down dinner. But people came that, like, did not R.S.V.P. So I was, like, totally buggin'. I had to haul ass to the kitchen, redistribute the food, squish in extra place settings. But by the end of the day it was, like, the more the merrier! And so if the government could just get to the kitchen, rearrange some things, we could certainly party with the Haitians. And in conclusion may I please remind you it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty"); after Cher's side is presented, Amber claims that she can't argue against Cher's inane statements: "If she doesn't do the assignment, I can't do mine"
  • Cher's father Mel's (Dan Hedaya) warning to a date: "Anything happens to my daughter, I've got a .45 and a shovel. I doubt anybody would miss you"
  • the scene of Cher's mugging when she is robbed of her cellphone and bag, and forced to lie face-down on the pavement, and her excuse not to - it would ruin her dress: ("Oh, no. You don't understand. This is an Alaia....It's, like a totally important designer")
  • Cher's attitude toward report cards: ("Some teachers were trying to lowball me, Daddy. You say never accept a first offer. These grades are a jumping-off point to start negotiations"), and her father's surprise at her improved report card when she argued her way from a C+ to an A- and asserted: ("Totally based on my powers of persuasion")
  • the freeway driving scene ("We're on the freeway!") in which Cher's best friend Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash) was driving for the first time on an LA freeway, and her boyfriend Murray (Donald Faison) tried to offer helpful instruction, while everyone was freaking out, until they exited safely and Dionne and Murray kissed: (Cher: "Boy, getting off the freeway makes you realize how important love is. After that, Dionne's virginity went from technical to non-existent. And I realized how much I wanted a boyfriend of my own")
  • the scene of Cher's driving test with a DMV officer, when she almost hit a bicyclist, and also side-swiped another car when moving to the right lane in her Jeep: ("Oh, my bad!" and "Oh, should I write them a note?"), and the officer's assessment: ("We're going back to the DMV...It's over...How'd you do? Ha, ha, ha. Well, let's see, shall we? You can't park, you can't switch lanes, you can't make right hand turns, you damaged private property and you almost killed someone. Off hand, I'd say you failed")
  • and ultimately, Cher's finding of unexpected romance with her ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd) on her stairway, and sharing a tender kiss with him after he compliments her, and she reveals her love for him: ("You're young and you're beautiful...You know you're gorgeous, all right? And popular and, uh, and... but this is not, you know, why I'm here...Are you saying you care about me?") - and Cher summarizes ("Well, you can guess what happened next"), although she was humorously referring to a match-making wedding she attends - of two nerdy teachers Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Ms. Geist (Twink Caplan), where she kisses Josh after catching the flower bouquet








The Cocoanuts (1929)

In the Marx Brothers' first film:

  • the many insults and attempts by corrupt real estate salesman and hotel manager Hammer (Groucho Marx) at courting wealthy widow Mrs. Potter (Margaret Dumont): ("Are you sure your husband's dead?...Tonight, when the moon is sneaking around the clouds, I'll be sneaking around you")
  • the crazy scene between two adjoining hotel rooms
  • the famous "viaduct"/"Why a Duck?" routine between con man Chico (Chico Marx) and Hammer with a wet blueprint: (Hammer: "Now here is a little peninsula and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland." Chico: "Why a duck?")
  • the rigged land auction scene led by Hammer ("You can have any kind of a home you want to. You can even get stucco. Oh, how you can get stucco") during which Chico does most of the bidding
  • the "I Want My Shirt" scene after the brothers have played tic-tac-toe on Detective Hennessey's (Basil Ruysdael) undershirt




Cocoon (1985)

In Ron Howard's sci-fi fantasy:

  • the life-inspiring scene in which three seniors: Art Selwyn (Oscar-winning Don Ameche), Ben Luckett (Wilford Brimley), and Joe Finley (Hume Cronyn) are rejuvenated to life after swimming in the cocoon-filled swimming pool and exude vitality and spunk toward their wives and fellow retirement home residents
  • Art's amazing solo break-dancing scene at a disco dance club - ending with his salute to the appreciative younger audience
  • the sexy scene in the swimming pool in which gorgeous Kitty (Tahnee Welch, Raquel Welch's daughter) demonstrated how alien Antareans express their affection: ("we show ourselves...it's very fulfilling") - without touching - to charter boat operator Jack Bonner (Steve Guttenberg)
  • the sad scene of the death of Bernie Lefkowitz's (Jack Gilford) wife Rosie (Herta Ware) after which he carried her limp body over to the non-functioning life-giving pool near the Florida retirement community to vainly revive her
  • the goodbye scene of Ben telling his grandson David (Barret Oliver) goodbye while standing knee-deep in water - and what he would miss on Earth (grandsons, fishing holes, hotdogs, baseball games, etc.) by going away forever to another planet, but also what he would gain ("When we get where we're going, we'll never be sick, we won't get any older, and we won't ever die")
  • the scene of the boat-load of seniors being transported upward into a departing Antarean spaceship for the unknown planet in the finale





The Color of Money (1986)

In Martin Scorsese's sequel to the original film The Hustler (1961):

  • the older and wiser mentor "Fast Eddie" Felson's (Paul Newman in an Oscar-winning role - his first) characterization of the impulsive, hot-shot and clueless Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise): "I said you are a natural character. You're an incredible flake. But that's a gift. Guys spend half their lives inventing that. You walk into a poolroom with that 'go, go, go...', guys will be killing each other trying to get to you. You got that. But I'll tell you something, kiddo. You couldn't find big time if you had a road map. Pool excellence is not about excellent pool. It's about becoming something....You got to be a student of human moves. See, all the greats that I know of were students of human moves."
  • Felson's words of advice: "Sometimes if you lose, you win," and "Money won is twice as sweet as money earned"
  • during a semi-finals match against pool shark Amos Kennedy (Forest Whitaker), the scene of Eddie noticing his reflection on the cue ball and choosing to forfeit the game
  • the well-choreographed, Atlantic City pool contest-competition with trick shots between resurrected "Fast Eddie" and Vincent - ultimately, Vincent intentionally 'threw' the game in a side bet
  • the final anti-climactic and abrupt ending scene of a one-on-one private match in the green room between the older and cagier Felson and Vincent; Eddie shot a powerful break shot while confidently retorting to Vincent: "Hey, I'm back!" - and the credits began after a freeze-frame and fade to black



Colorado Territory (1949)

In Raoul Walsh's and Warner Bros' noirish western-adventure (W.R. Burnett's novel High Sierra recast as a western), and a remake of Walsh's own 1941 film:

  • the train robbery sequence
  • the relationship between outlaw Wes McQueen (Joel McCrea) and mixed-race, half-Indian El Paso dance-hall partner Colorado Carson (Virginia Mayo), who was devoted and in love with Wes, but was told: ("It won't work. I've got plans. There's no room in 'em for you, not for the long haul")
  • the exciting conclusion in which wounded, sought-after Wes McQueen made a last stand in rocky mountain outcroppings of a deserted Indian settlement or ghost town named Todos Santos with Colorado Carson standing next to him with guns ablazing toward the authorities; they made a heroic effort to defend themselves, but they were trapped, outnumbered and shot down - and at the moment of their fateful deaths, they poignantly clasped their hands together



Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)

In director Robert Altman's low-budget drama (an ensemble reunion film), a 1975 gathering of a James Dean fan club ("The Disciples of James Dean") occurred at the local Woolworth's 5 & Dime in a small Texas town, on the 20th anniversary of the screen legend's death. The play was written in 1976 by Ed Graczyk and became the basis for the 1982 Broadway stage play:

  • the innovative use of two-way mirrors for the flashback sequences
  • the six major characters, who revealed hidden secrets and lost innocence over 20 years, including:
    - Juanita (Sudie Bond), the Gospel music-loving manager of the store after the death of her husband
    - Sissy (Cher), a wisecracking cow-girl and bad-girl often bragging about the size of her boobs, but remaining a five-and-dime waitress for 20 years; she had undergone a double mastectomy which caused her town bully-husband to leave her
    - Mona (Sandy Dennis), a disturbed and unstable female who falsely boasted that she was an extra in the Dean movie Giant (1956) filmed closeby in Marfa, TX, and asserted that Dean fathered her now 20 year-old, simple-minded son (named Jimmy Dean after the star) ("I was chosen above all them thousands of others")
    - Joanne (Karen Black), well-dressed and Porsche-driving, also a trans-sexual who had a sex-change operation about 13 years earlier, and her revelation of a second major secret - she was the actual 'father' (as Joe, Mona's HS effeminate boyfriend who was raped by the town bully) of Mona's son Jimmy
    - Stella Mae (Kathy Bates), the chubby, well-to-do wife of a rich petroleum executive
    - Edna Louise (Marta Heflin), a shy, timid and withdrawn mother with many children (and again pregnant)
  • the re-enactment of the trio of MacGuire Sisters (Mona, Sissy, and Joe/Joanne) performing a singing-dancing number



Coming Home (1978)

In Hal Ashby's definitive, Oscar-winning anti-war Vietnam film:

  • the tender love affair between housewife Sally Hyde (Jane Fonda) and embittered and partially paralyzed, wheelchair-bound war veteran Luke Martin (Jon Voight) while she was working as a volunteer at a veteran's hospital
  • her subsequent violent breakup with returning husband-vet Bob (Bruce Dern) (Sally: "It happened. I needed somebody. I was lonely..." Bob: "Bulls--t...if it's over with us, it's over...What I'm saying ISSSS! I do not belong in this house. And they're saying that I don't belong over there")
  • Luke's "there's a choice to be made here" speech to high school students about the futility of war: ("...And now I'm here to tell ya that I have killed for my country, or whatever. And I don't feel good about it. Because there's not enough reason, man, to feel a person die in your hands or to see your best buddy get blown away. I'm here to tell ya it's a lousy thing, man. I don't see any reason for it. And there's a lot of s--t that I did over there that I find f--king hard to live with. And I don't want to see people like you, man, comin' back and having to face the rest of your lives with that kind of s--t. It's as simple as that. I don't feel sorry for myself. I'm a lot f--kin' smarter now than when I went. And I'm just tellin' ya, there's a choice to be made here")


The Company of Wolves (1984)

In director Neil Jordan's stylish fantasy horror film that updated the folklore fable/fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood:

  • the troubled dreams of a pubescent, almost 13 years old Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) on the verge of sexual awakening, wearing her sister's lipstick (and symbolically Little Red Riding Hood), that express her fearful anxieties about men and approaching womanhood and sexuality
  • the scene of her "killing" off her older sister Alice (Georgia Slowe) in the woods by wolves during a revenge-dream
  • matronly Granny's (Angela Lansbury) cautionary fairy tales and advice ("Once upon a time...") about wolves while knitting a red protective cloak for Rosaleen: "Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple, and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle," and "Oh, they're nice as pie until they've had their way with you. But once the bloom is gone... oh, the beast comes out" - and her advice to not stray from the path
  • Rosaleen's meeting of a handsome and tempting Huntsman (Micha Bergese) on her way to Granny's house - who transforms into a wolf with its snout forcing its way out through his gaping mouth, and encourages her to rid herself of her shawl
  • the scene of a pregnant witchy forest woman (Dawn Archibald) cursing everyone at a 19th century wedding party and horrifically transforming the newlyweds and their families into long-snouted werewolves
  • one of Granny's tales in which a young woman's missing husband (Stephen Rea) appears many years later in her log cabin and rips open his face to expose his "hairy" insides in another werewolf transformation scene
  • the final scene of a lone wolf crashing into Rosaleen's real waking-life bedroom window as she screams





Compulsion (1959)

In director Richard Fleischer's courtroom drama loosely based on the famous 1924 murder trial of Leopold and Loeb, in which there was a 10-15 minute eloquent, closing argument (considered the longest true monologue in film history) against the death penalty:

  • a Clarence Darrow-like Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles) and his spellbinding three-day argument against capital punishment, to save two rich young law student-turned-thrill-killers Artie Straus and Judd Steiner (Bradford Dillman and Dean Stockwell) in their court trial, with his final summation: ("...It's taken the world a long, long time to get to even where it is today. Your Honor, if you hang these boys, you turn back to the past. I'm pleading for the future. Not merely for these boys, but for all boys, for all the young. I'm pleading, not for these two lives, but for life itself, for a time when we can learn to overcome hatred with love, when we can learn that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of men. Yes, I'm pleading for the future. In this court of law, I'm pleading for love")


Contact (1997)

In director Robert Zemeckis' space exploration, sci-fi drama, based on Carl Sagan's best seller:

  • the stunning opening sequence - a long, zooming pull back shot from the planet Earth past other planets and the end of our solar system (accompanied by TV and radio transmissions on the soundtrack that stretch back in time) - culminating as a bright dot of reflected 'sun'-light on the iris of nine year-old Ellie Arroway (later Jodie Foster), in her bedroom speaking on her HAM radio and delivering a greeting "C-Q" ("seek you") while searching for alien contact
  • as an astrophysicist, Ellie's research with SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute) at Arecibo in Puerto Rico, and the moment of first "contact" - when Ellie joyously said: ("Hydrogen times pi. Told ya!...Let me hear it. Listen to that. Make me a liar, Fish!")
  • the overwhelming response to the alien "Message from Vega" (a signal composed of a sequence of prime numbers from a distant star system 26 light-years away) sent to researchers, including Ellie, working on the project at the Very Large Array (VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico, a facility with 27 large radio antenna dishes; huge crowds decended into the area: ("Like a bolt from the blue it came. 'The Message from Vega"' has caused thousands of believers and non-believers to descend upon the VLA facility here in the remote desert of New Mexico. Many have come to protest, many to pray but most have come to participate in what has become the best show in town")
  • the tense scene of a security breach and suicide bombing by a religious fanatic (Jake Busey) during the launch of a transport pod at Cape Canaveral, when Ellie watched on TV monitors and alerted security and astronaut David Drumlin (Tom Skerritt) to the problem: ("We've got a security breach here. Right behind you. The tall guy, the technician. See him? He's not supposed to be there. David, he's got something in his hand!")
  • the scene of Ellie's space travel in a second mechanical transport pod in a series of rapidly-rotating rings (constructed in secret on Hokkaido Island), when she voyaged through a quadruple system of wormholes to reach Vega
  • Ellie's first moving description ("They should've sent a poet") and reaction to what she was seeing after her arrival, in a reverential account, as the camera zoomed into her eye: ("Some celestial event. No, no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should've sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful. I had no idea. I had no idea...")
  • the heartwarming, poignant scene when agnostic scientist Ellie traveled to the distant planet of Vega where, after her mystical journey and arrival on a surreal beachfront, she saw her long-dead father Theodore "Ted" (David Morse) - he told her as a proxy for the alien beings: ("You're an interesting species, an interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable...is each other")
  • the scene of Ellie's testimony to a Congressional Committee about her experience, especially to a very skeptical NSA official Michael Kitz (James Woods) who headed up the investigation: ("I had an experience. I can't prove it, I can't even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real. I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever. A vision of the universe that tells us undeniably how tiny and insignificant and how rare and precious we all are. A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are not - that none of us are alone. I wish I could share that. I wish that everyone, if even for one moment, could feel that awe and humility and hope. That continues to be my wish.")








Contempt (1963, Fr.) (aka Le Mepris, or Il Disprezzo)

In New Wave film-maker Jean-Luc Godard's unrated European import - a marriage drama about a doomed romance, there was a controversial opening shot ordered by Italian producer Carlo Ponti, to capitalize on Brigitte Bardot's immense popularity:

  • the opening scene with an exploitative extended view of a fully nude Brigitte Bardot (as unsatisfied and bored wife Camille Javal) lying face down in bed with her director-screenwriter husband Paul (Michel Piccoli) - the scene, shot with a colored filter, desexualized the sex kitten with her long questioning dialogue about her own objectified body parts: ("See my feet in the mirror?...Think they're pretty?...You like my ankles?...And my knees too?...And my thighs?...Do you see my bottom in the mirror?... Do you think I have nice buttocks?...And my breasts? You like them?...Which do you like better, my breasts or my nipples?...And do you like my shoulders?...I don't think they're round enough...And my arms?...And my face?...All of it. My mouth, my eyes, my nose, my ears?...Then you love me totally")

The Conversation (1974)

In Francis Ford Coppola's thriller:

  • the technical brilliance and mystery presented in the opening sequence in which an alleged adulterous couple (Ann (Cindy Williams) and Mark (Frederic Forrest)) (heard saying "He's not hurting anyone" - "Neither are we") in a crowded Union Square in San Francisco are under surveillance by wire-tapping expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman)
  • the mesmerizing sequence in which Harry repeatedly replays and discloses the hidden dialogue on the audio tapes (Mark: "He'd kill us if he got the chance") - similar to a photographic scene in Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966) - and 'thinks' he knows what will transpire
  • Harry's guilt-plagued obsession to follow the couple to the Jack Tar Hotel on Sunday at 3 o'clock (Room 773) for a startling murderous revelation, when he rented the next-door room, and then illegally entered the room and discovered evidence of a bloody confrontation - the murder of the "Director" (Robert Duvall), Ann's husband, who had originally ordered Caul todo surveillance on Ann
  • the devastating ending as Harry sits amidst his destroyed apartment after receiving a phone call: "We'll be listening to you" - playing his melancholy-sounding saxophone with the camera encircling him









100's of the GREATEST SCENES AND MOMENTS
(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
M4
| 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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