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
  • the 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 wore masks and delivered 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 had 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) signaled a second vehicle to pass his truck - and the UFO unexpectedly rose and bathed him in brilliant light
  • young Barry's (Cary Guffey) view of the swirling clouds, his exclamation "toys" when his playthings were 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 went haywire in the house and a mesmerized Barry was abducted by aliens
  • the recurring mental images of a huge mountain
  • the pattern of musical sound waves in five tones or notes that signaled 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 opened, humans who had been missing emerged, and Roy was chosen or 'adopted' and taken into the 'mother-ship' craft, and one of the aliens said 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)





Closely Watched Trains (1966, Czech) (aka Ostre Sledované Vlaky)

In Jirí Menzel's war-related, coming-of-age romantic drama, a Czech New Wave film, and the 1968 winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film of 1966 - with the intriguing tagline: "All it takes to make a man of a boy is a woman":

  • the first-person opening voice-over narration, introducing the humorous family history of the main protagonist - Milos Hrma (Vaclav Neckar): "My name is Milos Hrma. They often laughed at my name, but otherwise, we were a happy family. Our great-grandfather Lukas as a tambour (drummer) fought on the Charles Bridge of Prague, and when the students threw cobblestones at the soldiers, they great-grandfather with such aim that he was getting a pension ever since. One gulden per day. He didn't do anything after that except buy a bottle of rum and a pack of tobacco every day...My grandfather William was a hypnotist and the whole town believed his hypnotism was prompted by a desire to go through life without any effort...My father, an engine driver, has been retired since the age of forty-eight, and people are mad with envy since dad is healthy and will draw his pension for twenty, maybe thirty years without doing a thing...Great-grandfather Lukas bought a bottle of rum and two packs of tobacco every day. Instead of staying home, he went to see the workers and made fun of the hard- working men. So every year grandpa Lukas would get beaten somewhere. And in 1930 great-grandfather boasted in front of stone cutters whose quarry had just been closed and they beat him so badly he died. And when the Germans crossed the frontiers in March and proceeded towards Prague, grandfather William decided to face the Germans on his own with hypnosis and stop the advancing tanks by the force of his thoughts. With outstretched hands and eyes glued to the Germans, he tried to get them to turn around and go back. Actually the first tank stopped and the entire army stopped, but then the tank started forward again and grandfather wouldn't move - so the tank went right over him, cutting off his head and nothing more stood in the way of the Reich's army" --- Milos had just been newly-hired as the local assistant train dispatcher at Kostomlaty station during WWII, to 'closely watch' the trains so they wouldn't crash; before he left, he was being dressed in his uniform and hat by his proud mother
The Introduction of Milos
  • the character of Milos’ womanizing mentor/superior - bespectacled, short, and balding Ladislav Hubicka (Josef Somr), a freedom fighter at night
  • the symbolic, poster-enshrined image of the missed first kiss of Milos and seductive, nubile conductress Masa (Jilka Bendova), his co-worker - she was positioned on the train and he was standing below her on the platform; as they both closed their eyes and puckered up toward each other, the train suddenly pulled away; instead of contacting Masa's lips, Milos found that he had a whistle between his lips, placed there by Hubicka
Near-Miss Kiss with Masa
  • the scene of a curious Milos following a group of horny German soldiers who boarded a side-railed passenger train compartment filled with friendly young German nurses; soon, couples were having sex on the bench seats, although when Milos walked in, a curtain was pulled to block his entry
  • Milos' main objective - a quest for the loss of his virginity; a love-making attempt with Masa failed due to his continuing over-sensitivity problem with premature ejaculation, although she was understanding
  • afterwards, the dark sequence of Milos' near-fatal suicide attempt (by slitting his wrists in a steamy hot bath tub in a hotel) due to his adolescent anxiety and angst; he was hospitalized and soon recovered, and told Doctor Brabec (Jiri Menzel, the film's director): "So you see, doctor, I am not a real man, and I don't even want to be one. Everything is so difficult in life, for me. While for others it's all child's play. In other words, when I was to act, I flopped"; the doctor recommended that he "choose an older, experienced woman to initiate love-making"
  • the comic sexual horseplay scene of Hubicka chasing the young station telegraphist Zdenka (Jitka Zelenohorská) around the station office at midnight ("I told you I'd spank you"); he began to stamp her bare thighs and bare buttocks (she voluntarily pulled her own panties down) with the State's official bureaucratic ink stamp seal, causing embarrassment to her mother and other officials who learned of the offense
  • the sequence of Milos' awkward encounter with stationmaster Max's older wife (Libuse Havelková), whom he told about his raging hormonal problems with premature ejaculation and impotency: ("You see, I am a man but whenever I'm trying to prove that I'm a man I no longer am...Well, now for instance, I am a man"); as they talked and he hinted at having sex with her, she was stroking a goose's long neck that simulated the masturbatory, up-and-down phallic motion of male stimulation
  • the Resistance's sabotage plan, to be performed by Hubicka, was to drop a homemade bomb onto a German ammunition train (one of the "closely watched trains" with 28 carloads of ammunition in boxes) to destroy it; the bomb was delivered in a ribbon-wrapped gift package by beautiful Resistance follower Viktoria Freie (Nada Urbánková); Hubicka encouraged her to have sex with Milos before the plan was carried out the next day; when Milos was alone with her, and told her of his sexual issues, she urged him as she undressed and caressed his face: "Shut the light, will you please? So you've never had a girl before? Really and truly not?" - Milos was at last sexually fulfilled
  • the shocking death of Milos when, in place of Hubicka who was being disciplined in the train station for the rubber-stamp incident, he fulfilled the Resistance's mission of dropping the bomb from a train tower onto the loaded flat car of a freight train as it passed by below; gunfire was heard and Milos was hit (and fell from the tower onto the moving train); the bomb successfully blew up (off-screen around the corner - a massive blast) - and the film abruptly ended

Milos (Vaclav Neckar) With Hubicka (Josef Somr)


The Train Compartment with Sexy Nurses

Slit Wrist



Rubber Stamping of Buttocks


The Phallic Stimulation of a Goose's Neck

Viktoria Freie (Nada Urbánková)

The Resistance's Homemade Bomb

Fulfilling Sex with Viktoria


Dropping the Bomb and Losing His Life

The Cloud-Capped Star (1960, India) (aka Meghe Dhaka Tara)

In Ritwik Ghatak's tragic melodramatic musical, set in the late 1950s outside of post-partition Calcutta (Kolkata), India, about a struggling, impoverished Bengali family, refugees from East Pakistan - and functioning as a critique of the institution of the family, and as a painful allegory about the traumatic consequences of the partition of Bengal:

  • the exquisitely-filmed moment of singing under speckles of light shining through lattice-work - a duet of a sorrowful Rabindranath Tagore poem, first seen being performed solely by the family's oldest lazy and irresponsible son Shankar (Anil Chatterjee) - an aspiring singer who had just found work and was about to depart from home; with a shift of camera angles, he was seen to be joined by another - sitting side by side with his self-sacrificing, wrongly-treated, exploited, subjugated and despairing older sister Nita (Supriya Choudhury); the song ended with her despairing head leaning backwards and then collapsing in tears
  • the dutiful heroine had given up all of her own life's opportunities (a college Master's degree program) to take a lowly job and function as the breadwinner, to support her uncaring, ungrateful and callous family (including her aging, weak-willed unemployed and hapless father (Bijon Bhattacharya) and manipulative selfish mother (Gita De), and three other children)
  • ultimately, Nita lost her job, her fiancee and her health; in one of the final sequences, set on a hillside - Nita made an impassioned, agonized cry or plea to Shankar and the hills to let her live longer: (her final words: "I wanted to live! Tell me just once that I’ll live ... I want to live"); she fell into her brother's arms - suffering from a terminal case of tuberculosis




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 picked 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 debated immigration policy ('Should all oppressed people be allowed refuge in America') for two minutes against Amber (Elisa Donovan), when she talked about Haitian (pronounced 'Hay-tee-ans') and used 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 was presented, Amber claimed that she couldn'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 was 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 complimented her; she revealed 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?") - Cher summarized: ("Well, you can guess what happened next"), although she was humorously referring to a match-making wedding she attended between two nerdy teachers Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Ms. Geist (Twink Caplan), where she was able to kiss Josh after catching the flower bouquet








The Cocoanuts (1929)

In the Marx Brothers' first film:

  • the numerous puns (Groucho and the famous ice-water routine: "Oh, you want some [ice water]. Get some onions, that'll make your eyes (ice) water" and "On this site we're going to build an Eye and Ear Hospital. This is going to be a sight for sore eyes") and one-liners ("Believe me, you gotta get up early if you want to get out of bed")
  • the many insults and attempts by corrupt real estate salesman and leering 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. I'll meet you tonight under the moon. Oh, I can see you now—you and the moon. You wear a neck-tie so I'll know you" and "Your eyes, your eyes, they shine like the pants of a blue serge suit. That's not a reflection on you—it's on the pants")
  • the crazy 'swapping bedrooms' scene between two adjoining or connecting hotel rooms
  • the non-sequitur reenactment of Willard's famous "Spirit Of 76" painting in the hotel lobby
  • the famous tongue-twisting, precisely-timed "viaduct"/"Why a Duck?" routine between con man guest 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: ("I’ll wrestle any man here for five dollars!" and "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 did most of the bidding
  • the "I Want My Shirt" scene after the brothers had 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) were rejuvenated to life after swimming in the cocoon-filled swimming pool and exuded 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 expressed 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")
  • in the finale, the scene of the boat-load of seniors being transported upward into a departing Antarean spaceship for the unknown planet





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, orchestrated by ex-con and outlaw Wes McQueen (Joel McCrea), Reno Blake (John Archer) and Duke Harris (James Mitchell) along with Reno's part-Indian (mixed-race) El Paso dance-hall girlfriend, Colorado Carson (Virginia Mayo)
  • the growing relationship between McQueen and Colorado, who became devoted and in love with Wes, but was told when she hugged him: ("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 against a posse in rocky mountain outcroppings of a deserted Indian settlement or ghost town named Todos Santos, with Colorado Carson standing next to him with two guns ablazing in each hand 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 - finally reunited 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 expressed 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 transformed into a wolf with its snout forcing its way out through his gaping mouth, and encouraged 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) appeared many years later in her log cabin and ripped 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 screamed





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:

  • the character of 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")


Confessions of an Opium Eater (1962) (aka Souls for Sale)

In Albert Zugsmith's unconventional, low-budget and bizarre exploitational cult classic with a predominantly Asian cast, and the campy performance of Vincent Price - inspired by Britisher Thomas De Quincey's 1821 classic Confessions of an English Opium Eater:

  • the ominous opening sequence - the arrival and landing of a Chinese junk in a gray fog off the San Francisco coast -- the ship was carrying kidnapped and captive Asian females dumped into a giant fishing net (they were "Chinese brides" bound for the underworld, labyrinthine sex trafficking-slave trade in SF's Chinatown, using opium as currency); their arrival sparked a five-minute action combat scene on the beach between the kidnappers and a rescuing raiding party (part of the ongoing Tong Wars)
  • the protagonist: 19th century adventurer Gilbert De Quincey (Vincent Price) who had arrived in San Francisco as a mercenary from China; he had been hired by evil and mysterious drug lord Ling Tang to retrieve excaped female Lotus (June Kim) from the previous beach scene, who was secretly hiding in the offices of the Chinese Gazette - a progressive, anti-slave trade newspaper led by George Wah (who was presumed murdered at the beach)
  • his meeting with Tang's sinister second-in-command femme fatale dragon lady Ruby Low (Linda Ho) - described thusly (who was ultimately revealed to be a double agent) - the two were connected by a wrist tattoo (a moon serpent) that indicated sympathy with the slavers: "There is a devil in the drunkard and a ghost in the poet. Devil and drunkard, ghost and poet was I. But once to every man there comes a premonition of destiny. In that first instant of her image passing the lenses of my eyes, I felt that I was hanging in the immensity of space, and she was floating with me. Chained, locked inextricably together: arms, brains, heart pulsations, unable to free, unable to break apart. Sinking, sinking through the inexhaustible depths of time. I forgot the long journey by the sea. I forgot the pain. I forgot my mission. Was it the heavy, drifting perfume of the incense or some feverish fantasy searing my brain? Whatever it was, as I looked at her for a heartbeat, I knew whoever she was, whatever she might be, this woman had to be a kind of fate for me" - as she lit a funerary candle, Gilbert borrowed her match for his cigarette, causing her to scowl at him: "I am not sing-song girl to light cigarette!" - he replied: "Sorry, I got carried away"
  • the rescue sequence of Lotus in the newspaper building - Gilbert and Lotus fled through a hidden door and down an elevator shaft to the subterranean sewers, where they were confronted by thugs and Gilbert was struck with an axe and then knocked out with a board and left for dead; after awakening in the deep underworld - Gilbert's hallucinatory return from the dead - he trekked up stairs and then through a trap door to discover a Chinatown warehouse where there were suspended bamboo cages imprisoning emaciated-starved women
  • his encounter in the dungeons with Lo Tsen (Caroline Kido) and dwarf-midget Child (Yvonne Moray) - two women previously sold as courtesan sex slaves; after taking a circuitous route (a hall, stairs, and many doors, etc.), he entered a bath house and finally came to an opium den through a toilet cubicle
  • the bravura sequence beginning in the opium den where he rested on a bunk-bed and puffed on one of the bamboo drug pipes, becoming deliriously hallucinatory in a reverie - with laughter on the soundtrack (and a montage of death imagery, including distorted and warped shots of a Chinese mask and sea of faces, a crawling severed hand, a slithering python, the image of a human skull, and views of monstrous tropical animals, including a crocodile's open jaws merging into Ruby's open mouth): "From the dreams of the dark, idle, monstrous phenomenae move forever forward, wild, barbarous, capricious into the great yawning darkness, to be fixed for centuries in secret rooms. De Quincey, the artist? De Quincey, the pagan priest, to be worshipped, to be sacrificed. What is a dream and what is reality? Sometimes a man's life can be a nightmare; other times, cannot a nightmare be life? And the voices I heard, were they the voices of men, or of some strange imitation of men in some strange, writhing jungle of my imagination? Was this opium or was it reality? Was I dead? Or I was I only beginning to live?"
  • and the subsequent, marvelously-visual nightmarish chase out of the den while being shot at by pursuers - without sound and in slow-motion -- crashing through a window, falling across a tiled roof, hanging onto a gutter, balancing precariously on the rooftop, and more disturbing images (the decapitation of a pig by a white-hatted butcher, a squawking white cockatoo that was hit by bullets?), before being shot on a balcony, falling and wildly spinning to the ground as a cut-out - and then found himself at the end of the chase doused in the face with a bowl of water by Ruby ("You're a very clever man, but not clever enough")
  • the apartment seduction scene of the very sensual Ruby speaking to Gilbert - as the camera surveyed her movements, and then slowly came closer and closer to her lips: "We're alive! There is not many times in life, a man and a woman hear the call about eternity together. There is not many times in one life, a man and a woman find the other half of themselves. When I see you the first time, I felt it - as if, long ago, we whispered to the wind together, and the moon shone on us, and you and me..."; when they kissed, he grabbed her hair to fight her off, but she knocked him unconscious, and he found himself caged
  • throughout, Gilbert's many Confucian, Charlie Chan-isms, or fortune cookie aphorisms: "Open a passage to the East and we flow east. Open one to the West and we flow to the west," or "There is no poison in a green snake's mouth as in a woman's heart," or "Man's view of evil is like water boiling in box," or "Maybe you're the one who should find out whether you're a side of beef or a side of man" or "Somehow I think you wear more faces than there are stars in the gutter after the rain"
  • the lengthy grindhouse segment, when Lin Tang’s thugs forced the captive women to dance in front of their auctioneer purchasers (one of whom was disguised George Wah - still alive!); one of the slave women had her wig torn off, revealing her baldness
  • the downbeat ending - a battle against the captors by the main principals - and Gilbert's unsuccessful attempt to escape by fleeing back into the sewer, but struck with an axe, he fell into the sewer water with Ruby in his arms, and was swept away and drifted downstream - with his concluding narration: "...all passion spent, all evil behind us, as once again I put out to sea, were these the widening waters of death, or the gates of paradise?"
















Conflagration (1958, Jp.) (aka Enjo)

In Kon Ichikawa's adaptation of Yukio Mishima's 1956 novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, told in non-linear fashion with intercut flashbacks:

  • the story (told in flashback during police interrogation) of young, shy, internally-tortured, tormented Buddhist acolyte-novitiate Goichi Mizoguchi (Raizo Ichikawa) (with a stuttering speech impediment that kept him silent) who was serving at a Kyoto Zen temple, known as Shukaku or the Golden Pavilion (originally owned by Goichi's terminally-ill father)
  • the idealistic, withdrawn, socially-awkward, neurotic and sensitive Goichi's harsh and dysfunctional family, including a psychologically-abusive adulterous mother Aki (Tanie Kitabayashi) whose infidelity with Goichi's uncle led to his father's death, and also contributed to Goichi's fractured personality and mental disintegration
  • the final, desperate catharctic climax - the increasingly-mad and disillusioned Goichi's decision (after becoming hopeless in believing that he could ascend to the high priesthood) to commit arson and burn down the corrupted defiled temple, to cleanse it of its errant ways due to the chief priest Dosen Tayama's (Ganjiro Nakamura) actions to bring in revenue (the temple had become a tourist attraction), and his taking of a mistress-geisha
  • the end sequence of Goichi's successful suicide before being transported to prison



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 stretched 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./It.) (aka Le Mepris, or Il Disprezzo)

In New Wave film-maker Jean-Luc Godard's unrated, CinemaScopic European import - a drama and "film-within-a-film" about a doomed and crumbling marriage, with a controversial opening shot of Brigitte Bardot's nudity - ordered by Italian producer Carlo Ponti, to capitalize on her immense popularity:

  • the unique and unorthodox opening title credits sequence (filming was conducted in the backlot at Rome's Cinecitta Studios, with the movie camera eventually peering down directly into the film's camera), narrated (in voice-over) by director Jean-Luc Godard himself: "It's based on the novel by Alberto Moravia. It features Brigitte Bardot and Michel Piccoli. Jack Palance and Giorgia Moll, too. And Fritz Lang. Raoul Coutard did the photography. Georges Delerue wrote the score. The sound was recorded by William Sivel. Agnes Guillemot did the editing. Philippe Dussart and Carlo Lastricati were unit managers. It's a film by Jean-Luc Godard. It was shot in CinemaScope and printed in color by GTC Labs. Georges de Beauregard and Carlo Ponti produced it for Rome-Paris Films, Films Concordia and Compagnia Cinematografia Champion. 'The cinema,' said André Bazin, 'substitutes for our gaze at a world more in harmony with our desires.' Contempt is a story of that world"
  • the film's added, jarring prologue with an exploitative extended view of a fully nude, unsatisfied, faithless and bored wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot), a former typist, lying face down in bed with her unhappy French playwright husband Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli) - the scene, shot with a red colored filter (and then blue and white, the colors of the French and US flags?), and emphasizing her shapely bottom, became desexualized with her long questioning dialogue and cataloguing of her own objectified, dehumanized 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 scene in the movie theatre where Camille and Paul met with hired German-Austrian director Fritz Lang (as Himself), and Lang's arrogant, playboyish, vulgar and despotic American film producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) to screen the rushes from their filming of Odysseus, an adaptation/remake of Homer's The Odyssey directed by Lang; [Note: it was the tale of Ulysses (Paul) separated from his wife Penelope (Camille) - Ulysses was protected by Minerva but threatened by Neptune, his mortal enemy]; so far, the film rushes were mostly of slowly rotating classic Greek statues with painted eyes; there was a difference of opinion between Lang and Prokosch on the type of production: should it be an art-house film or a cheesier, more commercially-profitable production?; during the screening, Prokosch smiled lasciviously when he viewed a nude swimming 'mermaid' (Siren: Linda Veras) - he did not want a production that adapted a great piece of literature with classic views of the beauty of ancient Greece, but an exploitative film about beautiful, nude buxom women in exotic locales
  • at the end of the screening room scene, Prokosch had his assistant-translator Francesca Vanini (Giorgia Moll) bend over, so that he could use her back as a writing surface, as he wrote out a check for $10,000, and offered the salary to Paul - to rework and perform script-doctoring on the film's screenplay, to change it to his liking ("I wanna know, a yes or no, if you're gonna rewrite that stuff")
  • afterwards in the studio's backlot (plastered with movie posters), the scene of Paul submissively agreeing with the insistent Prokosch that he would take a taxi: ("Paul, you won't be comfortable back here, so why don't you take a taxi?"), while his wife Camille would ride in the producer's sporty, two-seater red Alfa Romeo convertible - a key turning point in the relationship between the couple; when Paul finally arrived after a delay, Camille untrustingly asked: "We've been waiting a half hour. What kept you?"
  • the film's centerpiece - an extended, thirty-minute apartment sequence highlighting the slow-burning and inevitable fracturing and break-up of the romance between the forever-bickering couple: the pouting and moody Camille (wearing a dark wig at times) and Paul; he asserted: "I can tell you've stopped loving me," and she ultimately and contemptuously denounced him, as they sat across from each other and the camera continually tracked back and forth between them as they sat on opposite sides of a white lamp that Paul impatiently flipped on and off: "It's true. I don't love you anymore. There's nothing to explain. I don't love you...Now it's over...All I know is I don't love you anymore...I despise you! That's really what I feel for you. That's why the love's gone. I despise you. And you disgust me when you touch me" - the motive was unclear, although it was most probable that she thought her husband had debased himself and offered her favors to Prokosch
  • the audition sequence in a movie theatre (the Silver Cine, with its marquee announcing Rossellini's Viaggio In Italia (1954, It.) (aka Journey to Italy), visible during the characters' departure) in front of a blank screen, where Camille and Paul arrived to meet with Lang and Prokosch - as they walked down the center aisle, a singer danced across the stage while mouthing a pop song's lyrics, although she was dreadfully out of sync; as the camera panned back and forth across the aisle (Camille and Lang on the left, and Paul and Prokosch on the right), suddenly and unrealistically (although it was a clear reminder by the director that this was a film in progress), the musical soundtrack cut off, and the conversation between Prokosch and Paul was overheard - a veiled comment about the artificiality of dubbed sound in the movies: (Prokosch: "I reread The Odyssey last night...and I finally found something I've been looking for, for a long, long time....Something that's just as indispensable to the movies as it is to real life...Poetry...Do you remember what I told you on the phone?...) - his words were translated (often inaccurately) into French by Francesca
  • the film's conclusion - set on the Isle of Capri at the rocky outcropping structure of Casa Malaparte where filming of The Odyssey was occurring; Paul happened to note Camille's infidelity when he peered over a flat rooftop into a window where he saw Prokosch embracing and kissing Camille
  • Pavel was resigned to losing Camille to Prokosch, and realized that he had sold himself out - solely because of his desperate need for money; after finding her sunbathing in the nude, he told her (without apology and with indifference) that the two times he encouraged her to be with Prokosch were no big deal: ("I know why you despise me. When I took the taxi the other day, you thought I let you go with him on purpose. Same thing on the boat earlier. Don't be stupid! I have faults, but that's not one"), but she couldn't see him as a 'man' anymore: ("You're not a man. Anyhow, it's too late. I've changed my mind about you...I'll never forgive you. I loved you so much. Now it's impossible. I hate you because you're incapable of moving me") - removing her yellow robe, she jumped naked into the blue Mediterranean water and swam away from him, as he rested against a rock
  • Paul heard the words of Camille's farewell letter - in voice-over: "Dear Paul, I found your revolver and took the bullets out. If you won't leave, I will. Since Prokosch has to return to Rome, I'm going with him. Then I'll probably move into a hotel alone. Take care. Farewell. Camille" (seen a few moments later in extreme close-up)
  • the unexpected and tragic parting of their ways: Camille accompanied Prokosch in his red sports car, but shortly later, they had a fatal car accident when they crashed into the connector between two sections of a tanker-trailer (off-screen)
  • meanwhile, before leaving for Rome to finish writing his play, Paul bid farewell to Lang, who was setting up for the next shot (Lang described the view over the empty horizon of the Mediterranean: "Ulysses' gaze when he first sees his homeland again, Ithaca") - the film's final words were: "Quiet on the set! (Silencio)" (with Godard playing the film's assistant director)


















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 were under surveillance by wire-tapping expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman)
  • the mesmerizing sequence in which Harry repeatedly replayed and disclosed 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 'thought' he knew what would 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 sat 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

Previous Page Next Page