Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



D (continued)

Diner (1982)

In writer/director Barry Levinson's period comedy film, the classic episodic rites-of-passage film of the late 5os centered around a Baltimore diner (Fells Point):

  • the many fast-paced, late night, often mindless discussions (with overlapping dialogue) between six post-high school male friends
  • the diner argument scene in which wise-cracking Modell (Paul Reiser) eyes an exasperated Eddie's (Steve Guttenberg) roast-beef sandwich ("You gonna finish that?") but Shrevie (Daniel Stern) ends up taking a bite out of it
  • the scene between a married couple - a neglected and under-appreciated Beth (Ellen Barkin in her screen debut) and exasperated music-obsessed 'Shrevie' when he complains about her improper alphabetical/categorical filing of his treasured record collection - she has placed a blues record in the R & B section, and her lack of knowledge of Charlie Parker
  • the scene of football fanatic 'Eddie' trivia-quizzing his fiancee about pro football as a requisite to getting married in a few days
  • the intensely passionate debate about the best make-out music (Johnny Mathis vs. Frank Sinatra) with the blunt answer: "Presley"
  • Earl's (Mark Margolis) attempt to eat all the items listed on the left side of the diner's menu
  • the set-piece joke in a movie theatre of scheming 'Boogie' (Mickey Rourke) sticking his privates into a box of popcorn during a first date in order to fool his blonde date Carol Heathrow (Colette Blonigan) into touching his "pecker"

Dinner at Eight (1933)

In MGM's and George Cukor's sophisticated comedy/drama with many great stars:

  • Mrs. Oliver Jordan's (Billie Burke) hysteria over her dinner plans
  • Oliver Jordan's (Lionel Barrymore) nostalgic memories of his love for Carlotta (Marie Dressler)
  • the image of Larry Renault's (John Barrymore) profile in a vivid but pathetic suicide scene by turning on the gas
  • and platinum blonde Kitty Packard (Jean Harlow) in memorable assault scenes upon husband Dan (Wallace Beery)
  • the image of Kitty taking bites out of chocolates and putting the pieces back in the box
  • the well-known show-stopping closing with priceless dialogue when Kitty makes conversation with Carlotta on their way into dinner ---
    Kitty: "I was reading a book the other day."
    Carlotta (staggering at the thought): "Reading a book!"
    Kitty: "Yes. It's all about civilization or something, a nutty kind of a book. Do you know that the guy said that machinery is going to take the place of every profession?"
    Carlotta (eyeing Kitty's costume and shapely physical charms): "Oh, my dear, that's something you need never worry about."

Dirty Dancing (1987)

In Emile Ardolino's teen dance film:

  • the repressed, sweaty, off-limits scenes of early 1960s 'dirty dancing' among the staff in their staff quarters
  • the character of the macho Catskill Mountains resort hotel resident dance instructor and sexy suitor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) who ends up teaching 17 year-old Frances 'Baby' Houseman (Jennifer Grey) expressive R 'n' B dance moves
  • the scene in his red-lit bungalow when she invites him ("Dance with me") - to the tune of Cry to Me, and strips down to her white bra and jeans
  • Johnny's confrontation with 'Baby's' parents (mostly her protective father Dr. Jake Houseman (Jerry Orbach)) as he leads her to the dance floor ("No-one puts Baby in the corner!") and puts on a spectacular show in the film's finale ("The Time of My Life"), lifting her above his head in an iconic pose

The Dirty Dozen (1967)

In this popular action-war film, the ultimate 'guy's' movie, from Robert Aldrich:

  • its exciting sequences of the training and then the behind-the-lines suicidal assault ("Operation Amnesty" composed of 16 separate steps) on a Nazi-filled French chateau by a dozen convicted murderers led by Major John Reisman (Lee Marvin) - only one of whom survives -- stoic Pole Joseph T. Wladislaw (Charles Bronson)

Dirty Harry (1971)

In Don Siegel's action-crime film - the first of many films featuring the "Dirty Harry" character:

  • the character of renegade San Francisco cop "Dirty Harry" Callahan (Clint Eastwood) with a powerful .45 Magnum
  • the spectacular opening bank robbery sequence that interrupts Harry's hot-dog lunch - a signature piece in cop films - in which a cornered and wounded black man (bank robber) (Albert Popwell) while reaching for a gun hears the famous dialogue: "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - and the criminal's question as Harry walks away: "I gots to know" - with Harry obliging by pulling the trigger with the gun aimed at the man's head - it clicks on an empty barrel
  • the flood-lit Kezar stadium scene with the 50 yard-line questioning ("The girl? Where is she?...Where's the girl?") torture and arrest of psychotic serial killer Scorpio (Andy Robinson) by Callahan after wounding him, as the killer pleads ("I have the right for a lawyer") - ending with the lengthy pull-back helicopter shot into the darkness
  • the final hi-jacked school bus scene (with Harry riding on the top of the bus)
  • the quarry gun battle that ends when the wounded killer hears another challenge with the same famous threatening lines of dialogue - and winds up shot
  • Harry's final gesture - discarding his police badge (Inspector 2211, SF Police) into the stagnant pond with the body of Scorpio

Bank Robber
(Albert Popwell)

Rooftop Sniper Scorpio
(Andy Robinson)

Kezar Stadium Scene

Concluding Quarry Gun Battle With Scorpio

D.O.A. (1950)

In Rudolph Maté's nihilistic, classic film noir detective story (remade as Color Me Dead (1969) and as D.O.A. (1988), starring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan in a completely-revised story):

  • the famous opening in which tax accountant/notary public Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien) - fatally poisoned (with a "luminous toxin") - enters the homicide division of a police station to report a murder ("I want to report a murder")
  • when asked who was murdered by the Police Captain, he delivers the classic reply: "I was"
  • the memorable film debut of Beverly Garland as feisty Miss Foster - secretary to a deceased import clerk
  • the giggling, psychotic character of Chester (Neville Brand): with the words: "Don't get cute. I'm just itchin' to work you over!" - reminiscent of Richard Widmark's Tommy Udo from Kiss of Death (1947)
  • Bigelow's learning that he was killed because he inadvertently and innocently notarized a bill of sale for stolen iridium
  • Bigelow's gun-blasting face-off with murderer Mr. Halliday (William Ching)
  • the return to the police station, after the film's lengthy flashback, when Bigelow finished describing how he had just solved his own murder case: "All I did was notarize a bill of sale. But, that piece of paper could have proven that Philips didn't commit suicide. He was murdered. And that's why Halliday poisoned me."
  • the equally famous closing exchange after Bigelow fell dead to the floor: ("How shall I make out the report on him, Captain?" "Better make it... 'dead on arrival'") - in close-up, Bigelow's Missing Persons report was stamped: D.O.A., before the end credits.

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

In David Lean's romance epic based upon Boris Pasternak's novel:

  • the splendid sets, scenery and the epic cinematography of Freddie Young
  • the great scenes of war and the Russian Bolshevik Revolution
  • the czar's cavalry charge and execution of socialist marchers/students protesting in a Moscow square
  • the Christmas Eve wedding party during which mistreated Lara (Julie Christie) shoots her lecherous scoundrel/benefactor Victor Komarovsky (Rod Steiger) after he had told her that she was "a slut" - and then brutally assaulted her ("...Don't delude yourself [that] this was rape. That would flatter us both")
  • the scene of the transportation of exiles by train to the frozen countryside
  • the long, star-crossed love affair between poet-doctor Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) (although married to loyal Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin)) and beautiful nurse Lara - who was married to passionate political activist Pasha Antipova (Tom Courtenay) - as Lara tells Yuri: "My dear, don't - please... We've been together six months on the road, in here. We haven't done anything you have to lie about to Tonya. I don't want you to have to lie about me..." - and her simple goodbye to him: ("Goodbye, Zhivago")
  • the brutal train ride through the Urals
  • Maurice Jarre's "Lara's Theme"
  • the magical image of the winter fairyland of an ice-frozen house/castle (or dacha) of Varykino
  • the scene of Lara's departure in a carriage-sled and Yuri's waving goodbye from an upstairs window where he has rubbed the ice off for one final look
  • the image of snow crystals dissolving into pretty yellow sunflowers in springtime and then into Lara's face
  • and the sentimental scene of Yuri's sighting of Lara on a Moscow street and his struggle to get to her before suffering a heart attack

Dodge City (1939)

In director Michael Curtiz' energetic landmark western:

  • the scene of the spectacular free-for-all saloon brawl next door to a temperance meeting
  • the climactic burning hijacked runaway train sequence
  • the relationship between cattleman and Sheriff Wade Hatton (Errol Flynn in his first western) and Abbie Irving (Olivia de Havilland)

Dodsworth (1936)

In William Wyler's Best Picture-nominated bittersweet romance drama:

  • the scene in their Parisian hotel room of youth-obsessed and self-centered wife Fran (Ruth Chatterton) telling her retired US auto industrialist husband Sam Dodsworth (Oscar-nominated Walter Huston) that she wants him to return to the US without her for the summer: ("You've got to let me have my fling now! Because you're simply rushing at old age, Sam, and I'm not ready for that yet")
  • later, her declaration of intentions to marry young German baron Kurt Von Obersdorf (Gregory Gaye): ("I'll be happy with Kurt. I'm fighting for life - you can't drag me back") and her demands for a divorce, followed by their parting at the train station when he tells her: "Did I remember to tell you today that I adore you?"
  • the scene of Kurt's stern Baroness mother (Oscar-nominated Maria Ouspenskaya in her first Hollywood film) telling a devastated Fran that she won't allow her son's marriage: ("You will forgive if I observe that you are older than Kurt...Have you thought how little happiness there can be for the old wife of a young husband?")
  • and the confrontational scene on the cruise liner when Sam decides to leave his wife for good: ("I'm going back to doing things...Love has got to stop someplace short of suicide")
  • Sam's return and his waving in the final scene to divorcee Edith Cortwright (Mary Astor) at her villa in Naples, Italy


Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

In Sidney Lumet's true crime drama:

  • hyperactive Sonny (Al Pacino) during a Brooklyn bank robbery when hostages are taken
  • his chanted shouts of "Attica! Attica!" to encourage a mob outside the bank
  • and the impassioned police telephone call conversation between Sonny and his transvestite lover Leon (Chris Sarandon) in which he promises to purchase a sex-change operation

Donnie Darko (2001)

In writer/director Richard Kelly's mystifying debut cult film, a psychological thriller re-released in 2004 with 20 minutes of added footage for a director's cut:

  • the early scene of the obscenity-laden family pizza dinner conversation during the Dukakis-Bush presidential campaigns ("I'm voting for Dukakis") in a suburban home among the members of the dysfunctional Darko family, including conservative mother Rose and father Eddie (Mary McDonnell and Holmes Osborne)
  • the title character Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhall) - a disturbed teenager with paranoid schizophrenia, who is saved from death when a detached jet engine crashed into his second-story bedroom while he is out sleep-walking - called away by Frank
  • Donnie's many experiences of doomsday-countdown conversations with a weird and demonic 6-foot-tall rabbit Frank (James Duval) who predicts the end of the world in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds
  • Donnie's worried thoughts about dying alone ("Every living creature on earth dies alone") - thoughts that are first whispered in his ear by elderly/senile neighbor Grandma Death (or Roberta Sparrow) (Patience Cleveland) who authored the book "The Philosophy of Time Travel"
  • the characters of two of Donnie's high-school teachers: beatnik English teacher Ms. Pomeroy (Drew Barrymore) who assigns Graham Greene's nihilistic The Destructors, and his science teacher Dr. Monnitoff (Noah Wyle) who discusses time-travel and wormhole theories with him
  • Donnie's confrontation in class with his strict, censorship-promoting health teacher Kitty Farmer (Beth Grant) teaching about the lifeline continuum between FEAR and LOVE and supportive of the ideas of self-help guru and motivational speaker Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze) - revealed as a child pornographer
  • the scene of Donnie vigorously and intelligently discussing the sexual habits of Smurfs to his friends, his growing romantic relationship with 'new girl in town' girlfriend Gretchen Ross (Jena Malone) as a 'couple' going together, his therapy sessions with psychologist Dr. Lilian Thurman (Katharine Ross), and the performance of the dance group Sparkle Motion in a talent show
  • Donnie's visions of liquid spears or tubes of fluid light emanating from people's chests - indicating where they would walk
  • the final time-loop sequence in which Donnie returns to an earlier date - October 2, 1988 - to change the course of history

Don't Look Now (1973)

In Nicolas Roeg's haunting and classic supernatural thriller based upon a Daphne du Maurier short story tale:

  • the early sudden scene (filmed with a Steadi-cam) of the tragic, drowning death of the red-raincoated, young Baxter daughter Christine (Sharon Williams) in a muddy fishpond in England
  • the explicit, realistic love-making scene between art restoration expert John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and wife Laura (Julie Christie) intercut with their post-coital dressing to go out - while on a recuperative vacation in Venice after their daughter's death
  • the repetitive thematic images of water, the color red, miscommunication, doppelgangers (or duplicates), and shattered glass
  • the bloody, shocking murderous conclusion in which John's neck is sliced by a red-hooded, wizened-faced dwarf figure in a dark Venetian alleyway

Do the Right Thing (1989)

In African-American writer/director Spike Lee's third (and breakout) feature film:

  • during the opening credits, Public Enemy's performance of the film's hard-edged anthem and title song "Fight the Power"
  • the scene of a complaint by militant activist neighborhood patron Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito) that there were no pictures of 'brothers' on the "Wall of Fame" in a white-operated, Italian "Famous Pizzeria" restaurant owned by Sal (Oscar-nominated Danny Aiello), followed by his attempt to "boycott [Sal's] fat pasta ass"
  • the tense scenes beginning with the brutal choke-hold police murder of Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn), the arrest of Buggin' Out, and pizza delivery boy Mookie's (Spike Lee) incitement of a fiery riot by hurling a trashcan through Sal's storefront window, causing further racial divide and police brutality
  • the two contradictory quotations about violence and non-violence that end the film

A Double Life (1947)

In George Cukor's noirish melodrama:

  • the scene in which delirious Broadway matinee actor Anthony John (Oscar-winning Ronald Colman) strangles his mistress Pat (Shelley Winters)
  • the curtain-falling conclusion of Othello which blurs the boundary between art and life when he stabs himself to death on-stage

Double Indemnity (1944)

In Billy Wilder's classic film noir scripted by Raymond Chandler:

  • the witty, hard-boiled screenplay with its flashback story
  • the introduction of blonde femme fatale Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) - first in a towel, and then as she descends a staircase flashing an engraved, gold ankle strap on her left ankle at insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) standing below
  • the agent's sexual banter with Phyllis who coyly counters his advances in their classic double-entendre conversation about "speeding" and "traffic tickets"
  • the nerve-wracking murder (with the camera stationary on Phyllis' stoic face in the driver's seat) and post-murder car-sputtering scene
  • the scene in the hallway when Phyllis hides behind Neff's apartment door when claims adjuster Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) pays an unexpected visit
  • Keyes' dogged investigation of his colleague with a rapid-fire speech-monologue about suicide statistics and various ways to commit suicide - and his continued discussion about the "little man" inside him that senses fraud
  • the continued clandestine and furtive meetings and discussions at the supermarket between Neff and Phyllis
  • the deadly double-cross scene between the two conspirators in her living room ("We're both rotten" -- "Only you're a little more rotten") after which Phyllis wounded Neff and he taunted her to finish him off ("Maybe if I came a little closer?") - and his murder of her ("Goodbye, baby") with a point-blank gunshot during an embrace
  • the final confrontation between Neff and Keyes as the insurance agent lies dying slumped in a doorway and is offered a light for his cigarette by Keyes (a reversal)

(alphabetical by film title)

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

Previous Page Next Page