Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

Dames (1934)

In Ray Enright's extravagant musical romance:

  • the astonishing Busby Berkeley production numbers, including the clever "I Only Have Eyes For You," in which Barbara Hemingway (Ruby Keeler) and musical producer Jimmy Higgens (Dick Powell) fell asleep aboard a subway train as he dreamt of repeated images of her face (chorus girls with large Keeler-face masks) and saw images of white-gowned chorus girls on a rotating white ferris wheel and multiple sets of stairs
  • the set ended with the chorus girls (with puzzle pieces strapped on their backs) coming together to form a huge jigsaw puzzle of Ruby's face
  • in the title number "Dames," close-ups of the faces of various 'dames' applying for work led to the camera voyeuristically following the chorus girls through a single day (including their waking, stretching, bathing, powdering, applying makeup, etc.), ending with an overhead kaleidoscope star-formation - in one sequence, the trick reverse-action camera made it appear that the tap-dancing chorines with black tights were flying straight up from the floor into the camera



The Damned (1963, UK) (aka These Are the Damned)

In director Joseph Losey's bleak, post-war hybrid of drama, sci-fi, and horror, based on H.L. Lawrence's novel The Children of Light, and with the tagline: "Children of Ice And Darkness! They Are the Lurking Unseen Evil You Dare Not Face Alone!" [Note: It was similar to the previous film Village of the Damned (1960, UK), but not related to Luchino Visconti's The Damned (1969, It.) (La caduta degli dei)]:

  • the stunning title credits sequence: an aerial bird's eye view of waves far below crashing on a remote shore near a rocky cliff, where grotesque bronze sculptures were set along its edge - one of the disfigured, fragmented figures (looking like charred remains of humans) was a bust of an equine face on a wooden platform positioned looking away from the sea, and another of a prone or fallen human
  • in the dramatic opening sequence - there was a montage, beginning with a distant view of the coastal Southern England resort of Weymouth, accompanied by an un-named rock band singing Black Leather Rock: "Black leather, black leather, rock-rock-rock. Black leather, black leather, ta-ta-ta. Black leather, black leather, hip-hip-hip. I got that feeling - black leather rock!..."; the camera panned downward from the town's clock tower to reveal a set-up - Simon Wells (MacDonald Carey), a recently-divorced, middle-aged American tourist (and insurance executive drop-out) was on vacation in his Dolce Vita yacht moored in Weymouth; he was lured to follow sexy 20 year-old local Joan (Shirley Anne Field), who was being used as bait for a mugging, to steal his wallet and watch; she was associated with a menacing, leather-clad motorcycle gang known as the Teddy Boys, led by thuggish King (Oliver Reed) wearing a checkered-plaid jacket and wielding a knife-tipped umbrella; King was soon identified as Joan's over-possessive, semi-incestuous, unstable brother
  • both on the run from King, the defiant Joan and Simon made a cliff-side discovery of a top-secret military compound attached to an underground bunker with a network of caves; the property was owned by the sultry, cynical bohemian sculptress Freya Neilson (Viveca Lindfors) who had an art studio (or 'birdhouse') on the cliff-side
  • Freya's boyfriend Bernard (Alexander Knox), a government bureaucrat and scientist, was in charge of nine imprisoned children (all eleven years old) with ice-cold body temperatures and skin; isolated from the world, the children were the subjects of experiments; they were being educated by closed-circuit TV, and monitored by a bank of video cameras
  • the nine parentless, mutant children were named after the Queen and Kings of England: Victoria, Elizabeth, Anne, Mary, Richard, Henry, William, George, and Charles; the isolated and lonely children soon regarded Joan and Simon as their parents
  • the sequence of the liberation of the children, who were dangerously radioactive; they were led out of the caves by Joan and Simon to discover a small flower - and briefly enjoy the sunlight during an aborted escape attempt; the children were sadly rounded up by soldiers (in radiation suits), under Bernard's supervision, and dragged back to the bunker; confronting Bernard above him, Simon yelled out: "I've seen you before. You're the man that knows all about violence, aren't ya? You're the man who knows all the answers, aren't ya? Why are you doing this? What's it all for? What are you trying to make out of these children? What do you want with us? Answer me. Will you answer me?"
  • the gradual reveal - later explained by Bernard to Freya, that the British government was preparing the "nine precious" school-children to inherit a post-apocalyptic world (they were all born as the result of a nuclear accident with their mothers and exposed to radiation - and therefore resistent to a future and inevitable nuclear horror and its fallout): "To survive the destruction that is inevitably coming, we need a new kind of man. An accident gave us these nine precious children - the only human beings who have a chance to live in the conditions which must inevitably exist when the time comes. Every civilized nation is searching, searching for the key to survival that we have found...My children are the buried seeds of life. When that time comes, the thing itself will open up the door, and my children will go out to inherit the Earth"; Freya was aghast: "After all that man has made and still has to make, is this the extent of your dream? To set nine ice-cold children free in the ashes of the universe. I have no choice, I have no choice at all!" - and she firmly refused to endorse his plan, and returned to her sculpting
  • meanwhile, one boy Henry had begged and received a ride in King's stolen car to get away, although King knew it would be fatal to him - he drove the boy away, then ordered him from the car ("Get out now. I can't take you anywhere. Go back, Henry...Get out of the car. Look after yourself...You're poison. Don't you know you're poison? You're killing me"); however, two helicopters intercepted them and descended, surrounded the car, and kidnapped Henry, while King drove off and deliberately (and suicidally) crashed his car off a bridge
  • the chilling conclusion: after exposure to radiation and lethal contamination from being in contact with the children, Simon and Joan departed on his yacht (to try to escape to France) with a mechanical helicopter (like a vulture) trailing them and hovering above, readied to destroy them after their inevitable deaths; they spoke their final words to each other before kissing: (Simon: "We can start again, Joan. We can go back again to the beginning." Joan: "We can't, Simon. We can't leave the children")
  • after Bernard shot and assassinated Freya at her cliff-side studio as she sculpted one last time, there was one final image -- the camera panned along the coastline, overhearing the distressed screaming and cries of the children ("Help! Help! Help! Help! Please help us! Someone help us! Someone help us! Please help us! Help! Help! Please, help us, please. Someone help us! Please help. Help! Help! Please help us. Someone help us. Help! Help! Help us!") - a distant view of beach-goers at Weymouth meant that the children were unable to be heard











Dances With Wolves (1990)

In star/director Kevin Costner's western Best Picture winner, his directorial debut film:

  • the opening Civil War battle scene in which injured Union Army Lieut. John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) made an attempted suicidal charge on horseback with his arms outstretched between opposing lines of Union and Confederate forces, and helped to defeat the Rebels - Dunbar lived triumphantly and unintentionally became a hero
  • the scene of Dunbar's appearance at his own request at Fort Hays before mentally-ill and suicidal Major Fambrough (Maury Chaykin) to seek a transfer, and his wish to be transferred: ("I've aIways wanted to see the frontier...Before it's gone"); and the granting of the wish with written permission by the Major: ("Sir Knight. I am sending you on a knight's errand. You wiII report to Captain CargiII at the furthermost outpost of the reaIm, Fort Sedgewick. My personaI seaI wiII assure your safety through many miIes of wiId and hostiIe country")
  • the scene of Dunbar's first encounter with white Sioux female Stands With A Fist (Mary McDonnell), the white adopted daughter of the tribe's medicine man Kicking Bird, who was bloodied while attempting suicide with a knife - in mourning for her husband: ("You need heIp. You're hurt. Let me heIp you. You're hurt"), and her panic at his help
  • the buffalo hunting scene
  • the scene of Dunbar chasing and frolicking with a wolf named Two Socks on the open prairie, and receiving the name 'Dances With Wolves' - the source of the film's title
  • the tearful, downbeat farewell scene of his departure from his adoptive Sioux tribe with Stands With a Fist, because of the threat and danger he posed living with them; from a clifftop, Wind in His Hair (Rodney A. Grant) shouted out a friendly goodbye: ("Dances With Wolves. l am Wind ln His Hair. Do you see that l am your friend? Can you see that you will always be my friend?")







Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

In director Stephen Frears' sexy period costume drama of 18th century one-upmanship, game-playing, seduction and romantic intrigue - adapted from the 1782 novel by Choderlos de Laclos, and remade as Milos Forman's Valmont (1989) and as Roger Kumble's Cruel Intentions (1999):

  • the scene of the wager between aristocratic wealthy widow Marquise Isabelle De Merteuil (Glenn Close) (calling herself a 'virtuoso of deceit') in her challenge with devilish, rakish ex-lover Vicomte De Valmont (John Malkovich) - she declared "Wa-a-a-a-r" and offered her bed for a night as the prize if Valmont could:
    - seduce and 'deflower' a teenaged bride-to-be virgin Cecile De Volanges (Uma Thurman), engaged to Merteuil's ex-lover the Comte de Bastide (by providing her with sexual lessons every night
    AND
    - corrupt the religiously-virtuous, married Madame De Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer)
  • Valmont's cruel accomplishment of both challenges in order to win at all costs (the guilt-ridden Cecile miscarried Valmont's child, and Tourvel retired in poor health to a convent)
  • the deceitful Valmont apathetically and coldly dumped Tourvel with the shocking excuse: "It's beyond my control...My love had great difficulty outlasting your virtue. It's beyond my control...There's a woman. Not Emilie, another woman. A woman I adore. And I am afraid she is insisting that I give you up. It's beyond my control"
  • Valmont's demands of Merteuil after winning the wager: "But of course, the best thing about it is, I am now in a position to be able to claim my reward" - but she denied his claims, calling their arrangement "null and void" because Valmont didn't have written proof
  • the next scene of the discussion of their previous love, when she asked Valmont: ("Have you forgotten what it's like to make a woman happy? And to be made happy yourself?...We loved each other once, didn't we? I think it was love And you made me very happy"); Valmont replied: ("And I could again. We just untied the knot. It was never broken"); she responded: ("Illusions, of course, are by their nature sweet") - although he retorted that he wanted to be with her: ("I have no illusions. I lost them on my travels. Now, I want to come home. As for this present infatuation, it won't last but for the moment, it is beyond my control")
  • the duel between Cecile's music teacher Le Chevalier Raphael Danceny (Keanu Reeves) and Valmont, ending with the latter's death
  • the final images of the disgraced Merteuil





The Dark Knight (2008)

In director Christopher Nolan's violence and action-packed superhero, comic-book film:

  • the exciting opening sequence of the mob-owned, Gotham City bank robbery by clown-faced criminals - with the Joker (Oscar-winning Heath Ledger) revealing himself with a painted clown face (with a grinning red scar-smile) when he removed his mask in front of a bank employee on the floor after killing off all of his accomplices: ("What do you believe in? Huh, what do you believe in? I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger")
  • the Joker's meeting with underworld mob bosses (Salvatore Maroni (Eric Roberts), The Chechan (Ritchie Coster), and Gambol (Michael Jai White) an African-American gang leader), and his demonstration of a lethal pencil trick, when he slammed a thug's head into the upright writing utensil: ("How about a magic trick? I'm gonna make this pencil disappear. Ta-daaaa! It's gone!")
  • the Joker's negotiation with the mob bosses, who had been emasculated by Batman, that he would offer to "Kill the Batman" for them, in exchange for half of the bank robbery money: ("Let's wind the clocks back a year. These cops and lawyers wouldn't dare cross any of you. I mean, what happened? Did your balls drop off? Hmm? You see a guy like me....A guy like me. Look, listen. I know why you choose to have your little group therapy sessions in broad daylight. I know why you're afraid to go out at night. The Batman. You see, Batman has shown Gotham your true colors, unfortunately...It's simple. We, uh, kill the Batman")
  • the scene of Batman (Christian Bale) landing on the Scarecrow's (Dr. Jonathan Crane, Cillian Murphy) van and flattening it
  • the sight of a semi-trailer doing a somersault on a NY city street (and the Bat-pod doing its own wall flip) during a frenetic chase scene
  • every scene in which the Joker threatened victims with his knife and told them how he acquired his own facial scars from his abusive father -- including his intimidation of Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) at Bruce Wayne's penthouse during a fundraiser: ("Well, hello beautiful! You must be Harvey's squeeze! And you are beautiful. Well, you look nervous. Is it the scars? You want to know how I got 'em?"); he 'let her go' from the side of the skyscraper, forcing Batman to swoop down and rescue her
  • the scene of the Joker (dressed as a nurse in a white uniform) blowing up Gotham General Hospital by setting off various explosions - remotely
  • the Joker's two confrontation scenes with Batman:
    - in the police interrogation room when he said laughingly: ("I don't want to kill you. What would I do without you?...You complete me")
    - and while hanging upside down, he also stated his feelings about the battle for Gotham's soul: ("You truly are incorruptible, aren't you? Huh? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever...")
  • the scene of crazed district attorney Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face, with a disfigured face) (Aaron Eckhart), now corrupted and vengeful (and lured to the dark side by the Joker), terrorizing with a coin toss about everyone's fate - and Batman's rescue by hurling himself at Dent and tackling him off the side of the building, where he fell to his death
  • Lt. James Gordon's (Gary Oldman) and Batman's realization about how Batman would purposely take the blame and Dent would be lauded as a hero, because the citizenry of Gotham would lose hope if they knew how Dent's heroic goodness had been brought down by the Joker: ("They must never know what he did...the Joker cannot win"); Batman explained how he must sacrifice himself: ("Gotham needs its true hero....You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I can do those things because I'm not a hero, not like Dent. I killed those people. That's what I can be....I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be")
  • the final scenes of Lt. Gordon's eulogy for Harvey Dent, and Batman escaping as a hunted fugitive as his Bat-Signal was destroyed by an axe wielded by Lt. Gordon: (Batman's voice-over: "You'll hunt me. You'll condemn me. Set the dogs on me. Because that's what needs to happen. Because sometimes the truth isn't good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded")
  • Lt. Gordon's delivery of a final voice-over regarding Batman's fate, when he watched Batman flee and disappear into the darkness, to escape on his Bat-pod: ("Because we have to chase him") from a massive police sweep with dogs, but to rise another day although "he didn't do anything wrong": ("Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight")












Dark Passage (1947)

In Delmer Daves' dreamy, expressionist noir-thriller, one of four films made by Bogart with Bacall:

  • during the film's first hour of restricted perspective, the many subjective POV camera angles - from the viewpoint of wrongly-accused escaped San Quentin fugitive Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart)
  • the newspaper photo of Humphrey Bogart's character Vince Parry (Frank Wilcox) before the surgery - in many headlines, one of which read: "ESCAPED KILLER IN S.F. - Police Dragnet Spread Throughout Bay Area For Fugitive Murderer"
  • a lonely San Francisco taxi-driver's story to Parry about taking goldfish for a ride to the Pacific: "You should see the character I had for a fare yesterday. Picked him up at the Ferry Building. Standin' on the curb with a big goldfish bowl in his arm, full of water. Two goldfish. Climbs in the back of the cab, sits down and puts the goldfish bowl in his lap. Where do you think he wants to go? To the ocean. Clean from the Ferry Building to the Pacific Ocean. But he doesn't know that there's seven hills. Seven steep hills in between. So we start off. Up the first hill, slippity slop, down the hill, slippity slop. Water all over the back seat, the goldfish on the floor. He picks 'em up, puts them back in the bowl. Up we go again, slippity slop, water all over the -- You never saw such a wet guy in your life when we got to that ocean. And two tired goldfish. But I like goldfish. I'm gonna get a couple for the room. Dress it up a little bit, it adds class to the joint. Makes it a little homey"
  • the kaleidoscopic, surreal sequence of Parry's facial plastic surgery by a clandestine "SPECIALIST" Coley (Houseley Stevenson)
  • the scene in an apartment when Parry - with his face obscured by shadows or bandages after facial plastic surgery - was hiding out with the supportive assistance of sympathetic and attractive artist Irene Jansen (Lauren Bacall), and being fed out of a glass tube (a symbolic umbilical cord)
  • the confrontational sequence of evil Madge Rapf (Agnes Moorehead) with Parry, who tried to force her to sign a confession (he told her: "I've got to make you confess it" - for committing two murders for which he had been framed); as she backed away from him and yelled out: "They'll believe me, they'll believe me!", she ducked behind a window curtain - where she crashed through a window and fell to her death many stories below onto the street, and he looked down at her demise
  • the sequence of rebirth 62 minutes into the film when Irene unwrapped Parry's facial bandages and his face was revealed in a mirror - and he uttered his first reaction: ("Same eyes. Same nose. Same hair. Huh! Everything else seems to be in a different place. I sure look older. That's all right. I'm not. If it's all right with me, it ought to be all right with you") - and he was renamed Allan Linnell
  • the happy ending phone call between Parry and Irene, who made plans to separately flee to Paita, Peru - and then after a time-dissolve (and an end to dialogue), the pair were seen meeting up and dancing in an oceanside cafe to the song Too Marvelous for Words, and the film's fade to black











Dark Victory (1939)

In director Edmund Goulding's ultimate tearjerker:

  • the scene of socialite Judith Traherne's (Bette Davis) secret discovery in the doctor's office that her prognosis was negative
  • the final tearjerking sequences when dwindling eyesight informed her that death was near and she sent her husband Dr. Steele (George Brent) off to a medical conference - and truly accepted her coming death: ("You know I used to be afraid. I died a thousand times. When death really comes, it will come as an old friend, gently and quietly")
  • the ending scene in which she planted hyacinth flowers in the garden with best friend Ann King (Geraldine Fitzgerald) and comforted her: ("Don't, Ann. I'm happy, really I am. Now let me see, is there anything else? Oh yes, one more thing. When Michael runs Challenger in the National, oh, and he'll win - I'm sure he'll win - have a party and invite all our friends. Now let me see, silly old Alec, if he's back from Europe, Colonel Mantle and old Carrie and, oh yes, and don't forget dear old Dr. Parsons. Give them champagne and be gay. Be very very gay. I must go in now. Ann, please understand, no one must be here, no one - I must show him I can do it alone. Perhaps it will help him over some bad moments to remember it. Ann, be my best friend. Go now. Please")
  • Judith's greeting of her dogs in the house, before going up the stairs toward her bedroom for the last time after telling her maid to let her die in peace: ("Is that you, Martha? I don't want to be disturbed") - reaching total blindness and death





Das Boot (1981, W. Ger.) (aka The Boat)

In Wolfgang Petersen's harrowing and nerve-wracking, claustrophobic thriller, conveyed by a Steadicam moving camera through the narrow passageways and by tightly-composed shots:

  • the memorable sequence when the World War II German U-boat, captained by conscience-stricken, embittered, stoic Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock (Jurgen Prochnow), torpedoed a British convoy tanker; later, the German sub crew watched the enemy tanker still afloat, as helpless survivors scrambled over the fiery wreckage, burned, screamed for help, and drowned - and some of the sailors swam toward them
  • the tense scene when the alarm was sounded, orders were shouted ("Get into diving positions!"), and the sub was forced to dive - although it was only a practice dive
  • the real scene of a deep emergency free-fall dive when the malfunctioning, aging sub was surrounded by British ships and the crew raced through the narrow tube to their stations as the sub dove deep - and there were the first indications that the submerged aging structure was no longer functioning properly - it was feared that it would start leaking due to the powerful underwater pressure, signaled by excruciating groans and moans and rivets popping and blasting like gunshots
  • the crew was able to get the sub's engines running in order to rise from a dangerous depth of 280 metres just before their oxygen ran out - and the crew's jubilation: ("They're going. I've never heard such sweet music in all my life...They're running! They won't catch us this time. Not this time!...They haven't spotted us. They're snoring in their bunks. They're drinking in the bar. Celebrating our sinking! Not yet, my friends!")




David Copperfield (1935, UK)

In director George Cukor's literary film of Charles Dickens' novel:

  • W.C. Field's definitive characterization of the always-in-debt Mr. Micawber
  • his denouncement of Uriah Heep (Roland Young)

Dawn of the Dead (1978, It./US)

In George Romero's horror sequel to his Night of the Living Dead (1968):

  • the memorable scenes in which marauding, staggering, flesh-eating zombies in a deserted suburban Pittsburgh shopping mall relentlessly engaged in attacks upon the living survivors: pregnant TV anchorwoman Francine (Gaylen Ross), her boyfriend, helicopter pilot/traffic reporter Stephen (David Emge), and two SWAT cops Roger and Peter (Scott Reiniger and Ken Foree)
  • the biting social satire that equated zombies with consumers (as perky, goofy mall music played, zombies stumbled around on escalators, etc.)
  • the climactic band of about a few dozen bikers in a motorcycle gang that attacked the mall and the zombies inside, and when outnumbered by the hungry creatures, their eviscerated bloody flesh was fought over
  • the death of Stephen, when he was bitten in the leg and neck inside an elevator - and hours later when the doors opened, his reanimated zombie corpse joined the army of undead





A Day at the Races (1937)

In this Marx Brothers' madcap comedy:

  • the classic "Tootsie-Frootsie" ice cream scene in which vendor Tony (Chico Marx) sold racing tips to horse doctor Dr. Hugo Hackenbush (Groucho Marx)
  • the scene in which Hackenbush played half-deaf "Colonel Hawkins" of the Florida Medical Board to infuriate Whitmore (Leonard Ceeley)
  • the two absurd medical examination scenes: ("Just put the gown on, not the nurse") - first with Stuffy (Harpo Marx) and then with Mrs. Upjohn (Margaret Dumont)
  • the famous one-liners: "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped!" - and "If I hold you any closer, I'll be in back of ya"
  • the film's highlight in which villainess Miss Nora "Flo" (Esther Muir) was wallpapered to the wall
  • the conclusion in which race horse Hi Hat burst into a sprinkler-soaked sanitarium and rescued the "Hackenbush team" of doctors during their exam of Mrs. Upjohn before they were apprehended
  • the steeplechase Big Race slapstick sequence

 






A Day in the Country (1936, Fr.) (aka Partie de Campagne) (short)

In writer/director Jean Renoir's compelling, short (uncompleted) romantic comedy-drama based upon a Guy de Maupassant short story, about a summer-afternoon love affair in 1860 along the banks of the Seine:

  • the sequence of a summer trip to escape the city with a countryside picnic, taken by the family of middle-class Parisian shop-owner Monsieur Dufour (André Gabriello), including his wife Madame Dufour (Jane Marken) and their engaged daughter, young Henriette Dufour (Sylvia Bataille) - who was happiest when standing on a swing in motion
  • the seduction sequence when persistent and amorous local worker Henri (Georges Saint-Saens) separated Henriette away from her family and convinced her to take a boat-ride with him: ("I did so want to go boating...We're just gliding along. It's so quiet here. I feel it would be a sin to make a noise and break the silence" - she told him)
  • as he rowed along, he urged her to stop along the banks of the Seine ("Wouldn't you like to get out - to stretch our legs?"), and at first she was resistant - but then he convinced her to stop to listen to the birds; as they walked along, he mentioned that the spot was familiar to him: ("I often come here; I call it my study") - and then he forced himself upon her during an extreme close-up of her face kissing him; he sexually took her (off-screen) followed by a dissolve back to a view of them lying together
  • in the film's epilogue and flash-forward years later, it was established that Henriette had lovelessly married dim-witted and boring Anatole (Paul Temps); she met up again with love-sick Henri at the exact same spot where they had spent a single afternoon together; filmed with intense emotion via direct and reverse shots of their two faces, they happily remembered their brief idyllic time together, their lost love, and regretting what might have been between them (as tears welled up in Henriette's left eye)






Day of Wrath (1943, Denmark) (aka Vredens Dag)

In director Carl Dreyer's somber and dark drama about a religious witch hunt in 17th century Denmark (in the year 1623) when women were persecuted - a parallel to the political situation in Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943 when Jews were targeted, deported or captured, and executed:

  • the main plot: young and sexy Anne Pedersdotter (Lisbeth Movin) was forced into marriage to much-older, widower-pastor Master Absalon Pedersson (Thorkild Roose); (Anne's own mother was threatened with burning at the stake as a witch, and Anne suspected that she was a witch herself, although her mother was spared by the Master's intervention: "You knew she was a witch, but kept quiet...You kept quiet for Anne's sake")
  • the ordeal of elderly wife Herlofs Marte (Anna Svierkier), an herb woman, who was accused of being a witch by her husband, including Marte's capture, interrogation in a torture chamber, confession, and eventual execution by burning at the stake; Anne tried to save Marte, at her own peril; Marte threatened to reveal that the hypocritical Absalon had earlier saved Anne's mother, who was also a witch ("She could call the living and the dead"), because he had an interest in the young Anne
  • the harsh scene of Marte's questioning: "How did you enter the devil's service?...Where did you first meet the devil?...Was it beneath the gallows?...You had to trample on the Cross?...He forbade you to attend Communion?...You had to renounce God and Christ?...You signed an eternal contract with the devil?" - she admitted to everything, under duress
  • the scene in the rectory hallway near where the interrogation of accused-witch Marte was taking place, and the complex, dual-purpose camera movement when Anne was walking forward among the pillars - the camera both panned away from her and tracked after her (reflecting her ambivalent feelings of both fear and curiosity)
  • before her death, Marte pleaded not to be burned; she also cursed out at Master Absalon and threatened to denounce Anne as a witch, as she was hoisted above the fire: "I'll denounce Anne, do you hear? I'll get even with you. You will regret this. You yourself are going to the Devil. You hypocrite, you liar! You liar! You liar!"
  • Anne was conducting an incestuous affair with the pastor's handsome young son Martin (Preben Lerdorff Rye); she told Martin that she never loved her husband: ("...I have never loved him. And he has never loved me...I often think if he was dead...I only said 'if'"), and she dreamed of the two of them living together and having a child: "We'll live by the sea in a little house. I'll awaken with my head on your shoulder, and wake you with a kiss. We'll lie like that for a long time. Then, a little Martin will cry from his cradle. I'll take him up. And as I found life on your breast, he shall find life at my breast. I shall pass to him all the tenderness you gave me. I'll sing to him about you and me. Isn't it lovely to think about?"
  • the Reverend/Master admitted he took Anne without her permission, stole her youth and married her: "I have done you a great wrong. I never asked if you wanted to be mine. I just took you. I took your best years. A wrong that can never be put right"; boldly, she all but confessed her adultery to him: "I have burned for somebody I could love. I have dreamt of a child to hold in my arms. You haven't even given me that. Have I ever wished you dead? I have wished it hundreds of times. I have wished you dead when you were with me and when you were away from me. But never as intensely as since Martin and I...Yes, Martin and I. Now you know. That's why at this very moment, I wish you dead. Dead!"; as he dramatically rose up and called out for Martin, he collapsed and died of heart failure
  • during the funeral, the pastor's strict, mean and domineering mother Merete (Sigrid Neiiendam), who stood by the casket, denounced Anne as willing her son's death: "My son lies murdered. And his murderer is sitting there. Life for life. Blood for blood"; she also accused Anne of being a witch herself, with power over Martin: "You yourself are in her power. She lured you with the help of the evil one. She murdered her husband with the help of the evil one. I denounce her as a witch. Let her deny it, if she dare"; Martin chose to stand by his grandmother's claims and not defend Anne
  • in the final scene, the resigned Anne did not deny the charges; sitting next to her husband's open coffin, she confessed her trust in the devil to ensnare Martin and to murder her husband: "Absalon. I have..I give witness, I give witness. I - So you got your revenge after all. Yes, I murdered you with the help of the evil one. And I have lured your son into my power with the help of the evil one. Now you know. Now you know. I'm seeing you through tears, but nobody is coming to wipe them away"
  • the film's prologue (with the shadowy imprint of a cross above a hymnal, and scrolling down the page of ornate calligraphy): "Day of Wrath. O Day of Mourning. See fulfill'd the Prophet's Warning. Heav'n and Earth in ashes burning. Oh, what fear man's bosom rendeth, when from Heav'n the Judge descendeth, on whose sentence all dependeth. Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth, through earth's sepulchres it ringeth, all before the throne it bringeth. Death is struck and nature quaking, all creation is awaking, to its Judge an answer making. Lo! the book exactly worded, wherein all hath been recorded, thence shall judgement be awarded. While the wicked are confounded, doom'd to flames of woe unbounded, call me with thy Saints surrounded. Low, I kneel, with heart submission see, like ashes, my contrition, help me in my last condition.... (a boys' choir sang the epilogue) Day of Wrath. O, Day of Mourning. From the Dust of Earth Returning, Man for Judgement Must Prepare Him. Lord All Pitying, Jesu Blest. Grant Them Thine Eternal Rest!"










The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

In Robert Wise's seminal science-fiction film:

  • the film's intriguing title sequence of an approach into the earth's atmosphere
  • the initial spaceship landing in Washington DC - causing a panic and troop deployment
  • the emergence of a humanoid, pacifist alien emissary named Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and a giant robot (Gort) from the vessel
  • Gort's laser-beam, death-ray vision to melt weapons and a tank
  • the scene of Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) delivering the command of three words - "Klaatu barada nikto" - to the menacing Gort as he loomed above her - to prevent the killer robot from destroying the planet after Klaatu had been shot by troops; afterwards, the robot carried Helen in his arms into the spaceship
  • the film's final scene, with soft-spoken extra-terrestrial Klaatu's pro-disarmament address to scientists and other top leaders: ("...but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple. Join us and live in peace or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you")





Days of Heaven (1978)

In director/writer Terrence Malick's beautiful love-triangle drama set in the WWI-era:

  • the breath-taking visual images and cinematography of Oscar-winning Nestor Almendros
  • to the tune of Leo Kottke's acoustical guitar "Enderlin," a steam locomotive carrying migrant workers crossed a high suspension/trestle scaffold bridge, silhouetted against the partly cloudy blue sky - with the view of the original threesome of the film sitting atop the train as it journeyed through Midwest farmlands and America's heartland with dozens of other would-be harvest hands, including: ex-apple juggler Bill (Richard Gere), Bill's girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) posing as Bill's sister, and Bill's young sister Linda (Linda Manz) who narrated (in voice-over): ("Me and my brother, it just used to be me and my brother, we used to do things together. We used to have fun. We used to roam the streets. There was people suffering of pain and hunger. Some people their tongues were hangin' out of their mouth...In fact, all three of us been goin' places, lookin' for things, searchin' for things, goin' on adventures. They told everybody they were brother and sister. My brother didn't want nobody to know. You know how people are. You tell 'em somethin' - they start talkin'")
  • Linda's voice-over reflections about a fiery apocalypse that would consume everything in its path, unless one was judged to be good and saved by God's mercy in heaven: ("...the whole Earth is goin' up in flame. Flames will come out of here and there and they'll just rise up. The mountains are gonna go up in big flames, the water's gonna rise in flames. There's gonna be creatures runnin' every which way, some of them burnt, half of their wings burnin'. People are gonna be screamin' and hollerin' for help. See, the people that have been good - they're gonna go to heaven and escape all that fire. But if you've been bad, God don't even hear you. He don't even hear ya talkin'")
  • the arrival of horse-pulled wagons across the golden plains at sunset, bound for a wheat farm on the flat landscape of the Panhandle - and the sight of an entrance archway amidst immense fields of golden wheat, and an imposing farm house standing three stories tall in the distance as a lone fixture.
  • the wheat field sequence at dawn's light as the priest blessed the harvest ("For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. As soon as thou scatters them"), before tractors and threshers moved in from a hilltop and migrant workers gathered the wheat
  • the devastating scene of the arrival of locusts, signaling workers into the fields with shovels, branches, noisemakers and other swatters to scare off the invaders - to kill them, smoke them out, collect them by the bushel-full, and burn them in a bonfire, although their deafening sounds and implacable, gnawing and devouring mandibles had already done damage





Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

In Blake Edwards' devastating cautionary tragedy about a self-destructive couple due to alcohol:

  • the elevator scene of alcoholic, San Francisco advertising PR executive Joe Clay (Oscar-nominated Jack Lemmon) making a face behind pretty, Encyclopedia-reading secretary Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick), after she had slapped him in the face, when he insulted her about her 'special qualifications' for her job: ("What special qualifications do you feel that you have for a job that allows you to sit around all day and chat with the boss? I heard about your job. Maybe answer a few personal letters for him and accompany him to parties? Hmm? You spend half your working day reading a book while two typists who get less money than you do all the work? Hmm? ...I'll tell you what special qualifications you have. You're pretty. That's what 'special qualifications' you have. And that old lech loves to have you around to look at and lean on when he gets drunk, like he did last night. And who knows what else. That's what 'special qualifications' you have")
  • Joe's enticement: ("It's special, for you. It's chocolate. Go on, try it") of tee-totaling, chocolate-addicted Kirsten with a chocolate-flavored (with crème de cacao) Brandy Alexander cocktail at dinner: ("Oh, it's good, it is")
  • when invited to Kirsten's second-floor apartment ("the roach kingdom") for a "home-cooked meal", Joe's toast to her: ("To men of principle, wherever they may be") while spraying roach killer and threatening the pests: ("Cockroaches. Come out, wherever you are...You're gonna go to cockroach heaven")
  • the abrupt visit of neighbor Dottie (Maxine Stuart) who complained about the cockroach spraying: ("Oh, well, now, you ought not to do that. I mean, you get 'em all stirred up, and what's the good? Now you made a mess. You gotta think about other people, you know. Well, I mean, look, look, I don't like to complain, but, I mean, this is ridiculous. They don't bother anybody. They don't destroy anything. You know they're there. You leave 'em alone, they leave you alone. You lock up what you don't want crawled over, and that's that. But all of a sudden, you start spraying that stuff on the walls, and look at the mess"); when they ducked away, Kirsten laughed and joked with Joe - with a warning: "You've undermined the whole base of metabolism of the building" and that the cockroaches would track him down: "You'll be a goner!"
  • while drinking one night together by the SF Bay, Kirsten told boozing Joe about a dream she had of being murdered, and the fact that her father was very private and uncommunicative during her upbringing; then, she recited poetic words to him: "They are not long the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream, our path emerges for a while, then closes within a dream"
  • the scene of Joe's honest assessment to his mutually-boozing wife Kirsten of how alcoholism had made their marriage relationship a "threesome" - after he had looked at his reflection in the Union Square Bar window: ("And I thought, 'I wonder who that bum is.' And then I saw it was me. Now, look at me, I'm a bum. Now, look at me, look at you. You're a bum! Look at you. And look at us. Look at us, come on! Look at us. (He dragged her to a mirror) See? A couple of bums. Now, look! You've gotta listen to me. It came to me all of a sudden. I saw the whole thing. You know why I've been fired from five jobs in four years, and it's not politics, like we always say. It's not office politics or jealousy or any of that stuff. It's booze! It's booze!...We have more than a couple of drinks, we get drunk! And we stay drunk most of the time")
  • the 'bender' scene of a desperate Joe madly tearing apart his father-in-law's greenhouse-nursery to search for a hidden bottle of liquor
  • his experiences detoxifying and suffering delirium tremens in a hospital ward, while confined in a strait-jacket
  • the film's ending when Kirsten (sober for only two days) attempted a reconciliation (but admitted she was uncertain that she could conquer her alcoholism), and Joe (now sober for a year) told her in very clear terms: ("I'm afraid of you. I'm an alcoholic, I can't take a drink. And I'm afraid of what we'd do to each other....You and I were a couple of drunks on the sea of booze, and the boat sank. I got ahold of something that kept me from going under. And I'm not gonna let go of it. Not for you, not for anyone. If you want to grab on, grab on. But there's just room for you and me, no threesome")
  • in the ambiguous ending, Kirsten wandered off after their failure to come together, and Joe told their young daughter Debbie (Debbie Megowan) that she might not return: ("Honey, Mommy's sick. And she has to get well before she can come home"); however, a huge flashing neon "BAR" sign reflection from outside also beckoned Joe












Dead End (1937)

In William Wyler's urban drama - an adaptation of Lillian Hellman's classic play:

  • the memorable sequences of wealthy, sinister, gang-war gangster "Baby Face" Martin's (Humphrey Bogart) return to his old New York City (East River) slum neighborhood on the East Side
  • the memorable debut of the gang of Dead End Kids (including Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey)
  • Baby Face's 'tricks of the trade' advice to the gang about a fight at 4 o'clock: ("Get there early, earlier than you said, see? Then they won't be ready for ya...And get yourself some old electric bulbs and throw 'em. Then you throw a couple of milk bottles, see? When some of the other kids get hurt, then you charge 'em, but not before, see?...Listen, kid, when you fight, the idea is to win. It don't matter how. And in gang fightin', you take out the tough guys first. And a stocking full of sand and rocks is good for that. And if that don't work, a knife will")
  • Martin's devastating, tearjerking encounter with his mother (Marjorie Main) on the stairway of her slum building, when she called him a "no-good tramp" and a "dirty yellow dog"; when he asked: "Mom, ain't you glad to see me?", she repudiated him with a harsh slap across the face ("That's how glad I am"); she told him: "Don't call me Mom. You ain't no son of mine. What do you want from me now?", and urged him to go: "...then get out of here before I crack your face again! Get out of here...Yeah, you're a killer all right. You're a murderer. You're a butcher, sure. Why don't you leave me forget you? Ain't I got troubles enough with the cops and newspapers botherin' me?...Just leave us alone. You never brought nothin' but trouble. Just stay away and leave us alone and die. But leave us alone")
  • Martin's meeting with his old girlfriend Francey (Claire Trevor) - he had come back for her, and his horrified reaction when he realized that she had become a ravaged, syphilitic prostitute - she told him: "I wouldn't be good for ya...It's a dream. I'm having a dream. What I wanted for so long. I'm tired. I'm sick. Can't you see it? Look at me good. You've been lookin' at me like I used to be....Well, what did ya expect?"; when he felt pity for her, he reached for a wad of bills: "Here. It's hot. Be careful where you spend it. And keep your lips buttoned up"; then, as she left, but turned back, she asked for a kiss on the cheek: "For old times' sake, will you do me a favor? Please. Will you kiss me here? Just for old times' sake? Thanks"





Dead Man Walking (1995)

In Tim Robbins' anti-death penalty drama:

  • the flashback scene of the murders of a teen couple by death row inmate and convicted criminal Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn)
  • comforting nun Sister Helen Prejean's (Oscar-winning Susan Sarandon) poignant words to Matthew before he took a walk to the execution room: ("Look, I want the last thing you see in this world to be a face of love, so you look at me when they do this thing. You look at me. I'll be the face of love for you")
  • the tearjerking ending and chilling death scene, including Matthew's last words before he died from lethal injection while strapped on a cross-shaped gurney, as victims' families and the comforting nun witnessed the capital punishment behind a glass window: ("Mr. Delacroix, l don't want to leave this world with any hate in my heart. l ask your forgiveness for what l done. lt was a terrible thing l done in taking your son away from you...Mr. and Mrs. Percy. l hope my death gives you some relief. l just wanna say l think killin' is wrong no matter who does it. Whether it's me or y'all or your government...")


Dead Poets Society (1989)

In Peter Weir's dramatic film about educational inspiration:

  • eccentric, unorthodox 1959 Vermont prep school English teacher John Keating's (Robin Williams) lesson on the motto: "Carpe Diem" to his staid Welton Academy boarding school students ("Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary") as they stood in front of old pictures of the school's athletic teams (and the camera panned across the faces of the now-deceased lads)
  • the scene in which the dedicated but dismissed teacher was paid tribute by his former pupils (including tongue-tied betrayer Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke)) as they stood on their desks, defied authority and emotionally chanted: "O Captain! My Captain!" (taken from Walt Whitman's poem about Abraham Lincoln), as Keating thanked the students from the doorway: "Thank you boys, thank you"


Dead Ringer (1964)

In Paul Henreid's dramatic and suspenseful thriller about identity theft, considered a classic of 'Grand-Dame Guignol':

  • the opening funeral scene at LA's Rosedale Cemetery commemorating the death of wealthy 'Frank' DeLorca (from an alleged heart attack); the ceremony brought together estranged identical twin sisters after 18 years: rich, callous, stylish, selfish, materialistic wife Margaret or Maggie (covered in a thick black veil) and frumpy, dowdy, lower-class Edith Phillips (both 55 year-old Bette Davis)
  • Edith's visit to the DeLorca mansion after the funeral - and the few amazing split-screen trick scenes of both Maggie and Edith in the frame together (plus some uses of body doubles); and the contrast between the two of them: Maggie's life of shopping, luxury, maids & servants, and Edith's working-class life running a seedy bar in downtown Los Angeles (at Figueroa and Temple), living in a one-room decrepit apartment above the cocktail lounge, and three months behind in rent and facing eviction
  • determined non-smoker Maggie's comment about smoking to Edith: "You shouldn't smoke. It's bad for the skin. I gave it up years ago"
  • the backstory causing conflict between the two sisters: both females loved DeLorca, but Maggie had tricked him into marriage by claiming she was pregnant; the secret fact that there was no child was revealed by the family chauffeur George (George Chandler) (seen in the rear-view mirror) to a shocked and then vengeful Edith during her drive away from the mansion
  • the scene of Maggie being lured to visit Edith's apartment, and Edith's question to Maggie as she looked around: "A dump?" - followed by Edith's cross examination of Maggie about the faked pregnancy, and Maggie's subsequent confession: "There never was a baby. That's what you want to hear, isn't it?..."; Edith was still angry: "You never loved him. You never made him happy. You ruined both our lives" - Edith plotted to steal back the life that had been taken from her
  • the actual murder scene of Maggie in Edith's apartment, an off-screen death made to look like Edith's suicide - Edith pulled the trigger on a gun next to Maggie's right temple (with a brief cutaway to a musician loudly playing drums in the bar), then left a suicide note, modified her hair style to bangs, changed clothes with her sister, and returned to the mansion to impersonate her sister
  • the many complexities and complications of assuming another person's identity and 'playing' the role of "Maggie": she didn't know the combination to the wall safe containing valuables and jewelry, she confused her maid Janet (Monika Henreid), Edith had a chain-smoking habit (but Maggie had given up smoking many years earlier), there was a changed relationship with Maggie's now-friendly Great Dane named Duke, and more; to avoid having to sign Maggie's papers for the family lawyer Paul Harrison (George MacReady), Edith/"Maggie" resorted to burning her hand with a hot fireplace poker
  • in a few instances, "Maggie" realized that her former life as Edith was possibly happier and more worry-free: (1) her off-handed discovery that in Mr. DeLorca's will, he had left her $50,000 - enough to have covered her debts, and (2) her close relationship with cop/friend Sgt. Jim Hobbson (Karl Malden)
  • the confrontative sequence with Maggie's secret lover - playboyish, gold-digging golf pro Tony Collins (Peter Lawford) who easily saw through Edith's charade when he saw clear differences in "Maggie" from the real Maggie; as he tried to force himself on her, the despicable Tony tricked her by claiming they had vacationed together in places they had never been: ("You don't want me to make love to you? I don't understand. After all the fun we had, Honolulu, Nassau, Miami. It was fun, wasn't it?"); when she answered: "Well, of course," he knew she was lying: ("You're not Margaret, you're Edith! Maggie and I never went to any of those places! Never! You killed her. The smoking, the dog"); he slapped her but was restrained by Sgt. Hobbson
  • Collins blackmailed "Maggie" for her jewelry to buy himself a Maserati ("I'm gonna take you for everything you got"); soon after, a search of his high-rise apartment after he failed to pawn off some of the jewels led to the discovery of a sackful of arsenic powder: ("Arsenic poisoning is often mistaken for a heart attack"); he was suspiciously linked with Maggie in plotting the death of her husband
  • the scene of the mauling death of Tony by the attacking Great Dane, when "Maggie" was quarreling with Tony and ordered him out - and the dog thought that he was going to hurt her
  • knowing that she would be tried for Maggie's crime, "Maggie" - in a long monologue, appealed to suspicious Sgt. Hobbson by claiming to be Edith (and inferring that she didn't commit the crimes that Maggie had): "Did you, did you ever wake up in the dark, feeling, feeling all alone? Oh, I mean terribly alone. No one, no one else on Earth, just the dark all around you. And that, that awful, scary emptiness? Don't you know me? Don't you know me, Jim? I'm not Margaret. I didn't kill Frank DeLorca. I'm Edith, Jim"; but he asserted that he didn't believe her: "Mrs. DeLorca, I don't know where you think this'll get you, but you couldn't be Edie in a thousand years. Why, Edie was the kind of person a guy is lucky to meet once in his lifetime. She was an honest-to-God, good person. Sweet, gentle, kind. And you - you don't know the meaning of those words. Edie would never murder her sister. She wouldn't even hurt a fly"; "Maggie" walked back her attempt for sympathy: "Forget it, Sergeant. It was just a, a lousy joke. Edie and I used to try and fool people all the time when we were kids"
  • the montage of "Maggie's" trial consisted of the super-imposition of her face onto the proceedings with quotes from witnesses and lawyers from both sides of the case: "Silence in the court, silence!...She told me Collins was her lover...Mr. Collins didn't pay the rent, Mrs. DeLorca did...A very cozy set-up, ladies and gentlemen... Look at her, an admitted adulteress... Margaret DeLorca is guilty of loving the wrong man, nothing else...She never waited on Mr. DeLorca personally...Whiskey and milk - Madame gave it to him the night he died...Frank DeLorca had a history of coronary disease, symptoms similar to those of arsenic poisoning...He said he wanted it for his lawn...Heart failure induced by a massive dose of arsenic...Guesses, opinions, but no proof...Facts, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Facts and proof beyond any reasonable doubt"
  • the final scene - "Maggie" was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to the gas chamber at San Quentin State Penitentiary - she seemed resigned to her fate (she had committed murder, but not of Mr. DeLorca); as she was led to a police car from the courthouse, she had one final discussion with a very troubled Sgt. Hobbson, who was still wondering about her identity: ("The last time I was at your house, you said something I can't get out of my mind. You said, 'I'm Edie, Jim. Don't you know me?' Something like that. Was that the truth?"); to end the unrest in his mind about her, she repeated his words: "I'm Margaret DeLorca, Sergeant. As you said, Edie would never have hurt a fly"; he solemnly watched as she was driven away












Death in Venice (1971, It.) (aka Morte a Venezia)

In director Luchino Visconti's stylistically lavish adaptation of Thomas Mann's novel - a tale of sexual obsession:

  • the beautifully shot, quiet and lonely death scene of aging, avant-garde German composer Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde) slumped on a deck chair on a Venice beach (accompanied by the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony) dying of heart failure (other causes could be cholera, or suicide) with dark hair dye dripping down his sweaty, chalk-white face and cheeks, while lovingly watching an angelic-looking teenaged boy named Tadzio (Bjorn Andresen) on the beach who pointed out toward the horizon of the ocean - Gustav's expression mixed contentment, pain, and acceptance



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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