Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



D (continued)
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Diner (1982)

In writer/director Barry Levinson's period comedy film, the classic episodic rites-of-passage film of the late 50s centered around a Baltimore diner (Fells Point):

  • most of the scenes at the 1959 Fells Point diner between a group of six post high-school graduate male friends - the many fast-paced, late night, often mindless discussions (with overlapping dialogue)
  • the scene of a pre-nuptial 140 question trivia test (65 was passing) about the Baltimore Colts pro football team required by virginal momma's boy and football fanatic Eddie (Steve Guttenberg) for his off-screen fiancee Elyse just before the wedding in a few days - friends and family members gathered around the basement to keep score where he grilled her
  • Earl's (Mark Margolis) attempt to eat all the items listed on the left side of the diner's menu
  • the intensely passionate debate about the best make-out music (Johnny Mathis vs. Frank Sinatra) with the blunt answer: "Presley"
  • Fenwick's (Kevin Bacon) drunk destruction of the city's Nativity scene
  • the scene at Eddie's bachelor party when Billy (Tim Daly) suggested: "Are we gonna pick up the beat?!"), and took a place at the piano to increase the tempo, as Eddie joined the stripper on stage
  • the set-piece joke in a movie theatre of scheming, hustling, indebted Boogie's (Mickey Rourke) macho movie-theatre wager with his friends that he could entice a girl on a first date to a certain level of intimacy - executed with the creative use of a popcorn box with blonde date Carol Heathrow (Colette Blonigan) when he stuck his privates into the bottom of the box to fool her into touching his "pecker"
  • the scene between a married couple - a neglected and under-appreciated Beth (Ellen Barkin in her screen debut) and exasperated music-obsessed 'Shrevie' (Daniel Stern) when he complained about her improper alphabetical/categorical filing of his treasured 45 rpm record collection according to year and genre category - she had placed a blues record in the R & B section - and her lack of knowledge of Charlie Parker
  • the diner argument scene in which wise-cracking Modell (Paul Reiser) eyed an exasperated Eddie's roast-beef sandwich: ("You gonna finish that?") but Shrevie ended up taking a bite out of it

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
  • 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 made 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 ended up teaching 17 year-old Frances 'Baby' Houseman (Jennifer Grey) expressive R 'n' B dance moves
  • the scene in Johnny's red-lit bungalow when Baby invited him ("Dance with me") - to the tune of Cry to Me, and stripped 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 led her to the dance floor ("No-one puts Baby in the corner!") and put 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 assault ("Operation Amnesty" composed of 16 separate steps) by a dozen anti-social, convicted, death-row murderers led by Major John Reisman (Lee Marvin), including Telly Savalas as religious madman Archer Maggott, Donald Sutherland as dim-witted Vernon Pinckley, football star Jim Brown as black Robert Jefferson, John Cassavetes as rebellious and outspoken Victor Franko, and Charles Bronson as stoic Polish Joseph T. Wladsilaw
  • their suicide mission to go behind Nazi enemy lines to destroy a Nazi-filled French chateau and its German officers (with their mistresses), after which only one of the 'dirty dozen' survived -- Wladislaw

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 interrupted 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 heard the famous dialogue: "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - and the criminal's question as Harry walked away: "I gots to know" - with Harry obliging by pulling the trigger with the gun aimed at the man's head - it clicked 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, roof-top sniper and serial killer Scorpio (Andy Robinson) by Callahan after wounding him, as the killer was pleading: ("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 ended when the wounded killer heard another challenge with the same famous threatening lines of dialogue - and wound up shot dead
  • Harry's final gesture - discarding his police badge (Inspector 2211, SF Police) into the stagnant pond with the body of 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") - entered 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 delivered 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, US/UK)

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 Antipova (Julie Christie) shot 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 told 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 had 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 crowded Moscow street from a streetcar, and his struggle to get to her before suffering a massive 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 wanted 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 told 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 wouldn'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 decided 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 were 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 promised 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 was saved from death when a detached jet engine crashed into his second-story bedroom while he was 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 predicted 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 were 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 assigned Graham Greene's nihilistic The Destructors, and his science teacher Dr. Monnitoff (Noah Wyle) who discussed 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 returned to an earlier date - October 2, 1988 - to change the course of history

Don't Look Now (1973, UK/It.)

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 was 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 about racial and social strife on a hot summer day on one block of Brooklyn, NY:

  • during the opening credits, Public Enemy's performance of the film's hard-edged anthem and title rap song "Fight the Power"
  • the opening scene of Mister Senor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson) vehemently waking up the Bed-Stuy neighborhood with his "We Love Radio" sounds provided with the day's forecast: ("This is Mister Senor Love Daddy, your voice of choice. The world's only 12-hour strongman on the air, here on We Love Radio, 108 FM, the last on your dial, but first in your hearts, and that's the truth, Ruth...I have today's forecast for you. Hot! The color for today is black. That's right, black. So you can absorb some of these rays and save that heat for winter. So you wanna get on out there and wear that black and be involved! Also, today's temperature's gonna rise up over 100 degrees. So that's a Jheri curl alert")
  • 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" (with only photos of famous white Italian-Americans) in a white-operated and owned Italian "Famous Pizzeria" restaurant run by Sal (Oscar-nominated Danny Aiello), followed by his demanding attempt to stage a neighborhood boycott of "[Sal's] fat pasta ass"
  • the scenes of Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) always accompanied by his boom box playing Public Enemy, and his story of LOVE and HATE, illustrated by his two giant-sized gold rings (referencing the film The Night of the Hunter (1950)): ("Let me tell you the story of right hand, left hand. It's a tale of good and evil. HATE! It was with this hand that Cain iced his brother. LOVE! These five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand, the hand of LOVE. The story of life is this - Static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, LOVE, is finished. But hold on, stop the presses. The right hand's comin' back. Yeah. He got the left hand on the ropes now. That's right. Yeah. Ooh, it's a devastating right and HATE is hurt. He's down! Ooh, ooh. Left hand, HATE, KO'd by LOVE")
  • the infamous ice cube melting scene with girlfriend Tina (Rosie Perez), on a hot afternoon when Sal's 25 year-old pizza delivery boy Mookie (director Spike Lee) brought out two trays of ice-cubes and methodically rubbed them over her naked body (forehead, lips, neck, kneecaps, elbows, thighs, and breasts) in full-closeup view, as he worshipped her body parts: (""Thank god for the lips...Thank god for the neck...Thank god for kneecaps...Thank god for elbows...Thank god for thighs...Thank god for the right nipple. Thank god for the left nipple. Ah, she likes, she likes, she likes")
  • the tense scenes beginning with the brutal choke-hold police murder of Radio Raheem, the apprehension of Buggin' Out, and Mookie's incitement of a riot by hurling a trashcan through Sal's storefront window, causing further racial divide and police brutality, and the burning down of the pizzeria (with fiery flames licking the 'Wall of Fame')
  • the two contradictory quotations about violence and non-violence (from Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X) that end the film

A Double Life (1947)

In George Cukor's noirish, spell-binding melodrama about an unpredictable stage actor overly-involved and influenced by his character roles (and leading a double life):

  • the amazing soliloquy (partly in voice-over) delivered by popular Broadway matinee actor Anthony John (Oscar-winning Ronald Colman) to his ex-wife Brita (Signe Hasso), about his insecurities and anxieties about performing on stage as Othello: ("The tricks your mind can play. You know, somewhere in the future, I can see it all finished. I can see the whole magical production. Opened, praised. It feels fine to have done something worthy, and then I think of all the things that have to be done between now and then. The terrifying thought of that first rehearsal. The actors nervous and frightened. Your inner self telling you every instant you're making a big mistake to try this, knowing all the time you're caught, and it's too late to change your mind. Trying to make someone else's words your own, thoughts your own. Over and over and over. You whip your imagination into a frenzy. The key to the character? Jealousy, and you dig for it within yourself. What does it feel like - real jealousy. Try to remember jealous moments in your own past. Jealousy. Jealousy. Find it, hold it, live it! Jealousy! And the hours when you worry about nothing but shoes and props and make-up and the costume fittings. And then the dress rehearsals. The heartening moments when it seems to be going right. The inevitable things that go wrong... Nerves, arguments, changes... Far, far into the night. Pills to help you stay awake. And pills to help you sleep. The part begins to seep into your life, and the battle begins. Imagination against reality. Keep each in its place. That's the job if you can do it. And all at once, it's opening night. And you look out at the audience, a terrifying monster with a thousand heads. You're in a kind of trance, only vaguely aware that the curtain is about to go up. Then, somehow, the next thing you know, the play is almost over. The last scene is about to begin. But you remember that you're on the stage in a theater, an audience in front of you, And suddenly, suddenly you're startled by the sound of your own voice. You try to hang on desperately. You're two men now, grappling for control, you - and Othello")
  • Anthony's disorienting experience of delirium at Othello's opening night party, and his request that Brita take him home
  • the scene during the 300th performance of Shakespeare's play Othello - the near-death, on-stage strangulation of Anthony's co-star Brita (as Desdemona) - she begged: ("Tony, please, you're hurting me! Be careful, please!")
  • the scene shortly later when Tony was miffed when he asked Brita to remarry him and she rejected him: (Brita: "Because if at first you don't succeed, don't try again - isn't that how it goes?...Let's not try marrying again"); he was angered and jealous that Brita was in love with press agent Bill Friend (Edmond O'Brien), and chastised her with multiple questions about him: ("Is he smooth? Is he charming? Does he speak gently? Does he write lovely stories about you? Does he dance well? I don't. Remember? Do you? Does he listen? Does he sympathize? And what else does he do? Does he?"); she told him to "Stop it!" and demanded that he leave
  • Anthony John's angry, deliriously confused and jealous strangulation of his own naive mistress Pat (Shelley Winters), a waitress named Pat at the Venezia Cafe, in the middle of the night in her bedroom; he kissed and then choked her to death behind a curtain, in retaliation for being slighted by Brita moments earlier - and then he suffered amnesia (with no memory of the crime)
  • the curtain-falling conclusion of Othello which further blurred the boundary between art and life, when guilt-ridden and troubled Anthony John (who was tricked into believing that the murdered Pat was still alive and serving him at the restaurant) stabbed himself in the abdomen on-stage
  • Anthony's last deathbed words, in which he recognized the fact of his murder of Pat: ("The things that go through one's head...It doesn't feel bad now. Peaceful, really. It's in my mind I feel bad. Pat. That unfortunate Pat. I'll apologize to her up there. Or down there. Yeah, down there. You bet. Bill?...Look out for the papers. Don't let 'em say I was a bad actor, huh? Brita...Brita, Brita, you...")

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 descended 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 countered 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 hid behind Neff's apartment door when claims adjuster Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) paid 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 sensed 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 was dying slumped in a doorway and was 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

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