Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



A (continued)

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)

In Martin Scorsese's dramatic film about female self-actualization that ultimately became a popular TV comedy series titled Alice:

  • the surrealistic Wizard of Oz prologue
  • the scene of recently-widowed, quietly-despairing, mid-30s New Mexico housewife Alice Hyatt (Oscar-winning Ellen Burstyn) in a hotel room in transit through the Southwest to California to find work - which she ultimately finds in a Tucson, Arizona diner (Mel's Diner), with her precocious, complaining, often-bratty, "whining" young son Tommy (Alfred Lutter)
  • Alice's demand that Tommy write down his "problems " and things that are wrong with his life ("all the bad things")
  • the scenes with fellow waitresses (Valerie Curtin as loopy Vera and Oscar-nominated Diane Ladd as foul-mouthed Flo), especially a scene of Flo and Ellen sunbathing ("If you bend over, you'll get more tips") and also talking in a toilet stall

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

In the animated Disney classic:

  • The White Rabbit's (voice of Bill Thompson) "I'm late" song, and his comical quip, "Don't just do something, stand there!"
  • Alice's many experiences when turning large and small
  • the Mad Hatter's (voice of Ed Wynn) Tea Party and "The Unbirthday Song"
  • all the fanciful characters (Tweedledee and Tweedledum, The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Lizard with a Ladder, The Talking Flowers, The Caterpillar, The Cheshire Cat, etc.)
  • the blustery, domineering Queen of Hearts' (voice of Verna Felton) constant bellowing of "Off with their heads!"

Alien (1979)

In director Ridley Scott's atmospheric sci-fi thriller:

  • the early scene of Nostromo crew member Kane (John Hurt) being attacked by the 'face-hugging' alien as he explores the alien ship - and later the attempt to surgically remove the parasitic Alien from Kane's face, spilling an acid-like substance
  • the horrifying, bloody, gory sequence revealing the birth of the sharp-toothed baby alien from the bursting chest of Kane and its scurrying across the floor
  • the life-and-death struggle with the relentless Alien
  • the scene of the bludgeoning of Ash (Ian Holm) revealing that he is an android/robot
  • the reactivation of Ash's severed head when he warns: "You still don't understand what you're dealing with"
  • the scene of crew-member Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) question to "Mother" (the ship's computer) and its harsh answer: "Insure return of organism for analysis. All other considerations secondary. Crew expendable"
  • the Alien's head-splitting murder of crew member Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) when he searches for the crew's cat named Jones
  • and the final scene on the shuttle craft when the sole remaining Ripley - ready for hibernation and stripped down to mini-bikini panties and T-shirt - realizes the Alien is still onboard, and how she carefully dons a spacesuit and fights the creature to the death by expelling it out of the airlock and incinerating it in the ship's engine blast

Aliens (1986)

In James Cameron's action blockbuster sequel:

  • in a reprised role (57 years after the original film), aggressive "Rambo-like" heroine Flight Officer Lt. Ellen Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) nightmare in the film's opening of 'giving birth' to an Alien, after being rescued by a deep-salvage team
  • the scene of gung-ho Marine Private Hudson's (Bill Paxton) realization when the drop-ship from the USS Sulaco crashes on LV-426 when trying to pick up the first group of Marine survivors from alien attack: "That's it, man. Game over, man! Game over!"
  • the mother-daughter bond formed between Ripley and orphaned Newt (Carrie Henn)
  • Ripley's confrontation with the egg-laying Alien Queen mother/monster when saving Newt, when she torches the entire egg chamber with her flamethrower
  • and then later when Ripley wears a walking forklift/loader in the Sulaco's hangar, she protects Newt with her threat: ("Get away from her, you bitch!") and aggressive, fisticuffs bitch-slap of the stowaway Queen alien with the arm of the contraption
  • the tense moment when Ripley's ankle is grabbed by the screaming beast as she holds onto the rung of the outer airlocked hatch ladder before expelling it into outer space in the exciting climax

All About Eve (1950)

In writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz' black-and-white, Best Picture-winning masterpiece:

  • the barbed, sophisticated and witty dialogue of the screen play and its flawless acting and direction with Oscar-nominated Bette Davis' peak performance as Margo Channing
  • the opening scene of Eve's (Oscar-nominated Anne Baxter) receipt of the Sarah Siddons Award
  • Margo's description of autograph collectors
  • the scene of adoring fan Eve relating her hard-luck, life-story to a backstage audience
  • the entire welcome-home birthday party scene including Margo's famous threat ("Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night")
  • Addison De Witt's (Oscar-winning George Sanders) introduction of Miss Casswell (Marilyn Monroe) at Margo's party as a so-called actress - "Miss Casswell is an actress - a graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art"
  • the scene of Margo in the back seat of a car ("The things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman")
  • De Witt's powerful scene denouncing and unmasking Eve's fraudulent duplicity just before her opening performance
  • and the final scene of one of Eve's star-struck fans Phoebe (Barbara Bates) clutching Eve's award while bowing in front of a mirror

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

In this Best Picture-winning war film from award-winning director Lewis Milestone:

  • the realistic battle sequences of World War I including rows of infantrymen instantaneously being mowed down by machine gun fire as the camera moves sideways across them and shows the remains of one unfortunate soldier (his hands grab barbed wire)
  • the scene of soldier Paul (Lew Ayres) stabbing a Frenchman in a panic and being trapped in the bomb crater with the slowly dying man and attempting to give him water to drink
  • the scene of Paul's return to his school to tell the students of his disillusionment with war
  • the death scene of experienced platoon leader Katczinsky (Louis Wolheim) when Paul discovers that his friend is dead
  • and Paul's death to the sound of the whine of a French sniper's bullet as his hand reaches out to touch a beautiful butterfly from the shell-hole trench
  • also the film's final image of ghostly soldiers marching away, while superimposed over a dark, battle-scarred hillside covered with a sea of white crosses

All That Heaven Allows (1955)

In Douglas Sirk's melodramatic soap opera:

  • the gossip-mongering subject ("Right now everybody's talking about us -- we're a local sensation...if the people get used to seeing us together, then maybe they'll accept us") for the 'ideal' Americana town's upper crust -- the relationship between fortyish widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) and her handsome younger gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson)
  • the scene after Cary suspends her love affair with Ron due to repressive community pressure and is presented with a brand new TV set (adorned with red ribbons) as a Christmas present from her grown children to keep her company (as a substitute for her lost love) - she sees her reflection on the screen as the salesman tells her: "All you have to do is turn that dial and you have all the company you want right there on the screen - drama, comedy, life's parade at your fingertips"

All That Jazz (1979)

In director/co-writer Bob Fosse's kinetic musical:

  • the cleverly-edited opening sequence of New York choreographer-director Joe Gideon's (Roy Scheider) waking in the morning (with dosages of dexedrine, alka-seltzer, eyedrops, etc.) and the repetition of his rousing stock phrase in front of the mirror: "It's showtime, folks!"
  • the full-stage 'cattle-call' audition dance number set to George Benson's "On Broadway"
  • the erotic, sweaty and sensual Air-Rotica rehearsal scene with the bizarre number "Take Off With Us" featuring sexy and half-naked Sandahl Bergman ("Going all the way, Won't you climb aboard?")
  • the impromptu top hat song-and-dance act "Everything Old Is New Again" performed in Joe's apartment by his girlfriend/lover Kate Jagger (Ann Reinking, Fosse's real-life lover essentially playing herself) and pre-teen daughter Michelle Gideon (Erzsebet Foldi)
  • the heart attack scene (with an angel of Death appearance by flirtatious Angelique (Jessica Lange) while Gideon was preparing for the theatre production of Chicago)
  • the spectacular finale with its wild, imaginatively-surreal hallucinations that are experienced by drug-addicted Gideon as he undergoes open-heart cardiac surgery with chorus girls dancing around his bed (while he and television host O'Connor Flood (Ben Vereen) sing "Bye Bye Life" to a heavenly studio audience in a dance-musical number)

All The King's Men (1949)

In director/writer Robert Rossen's Best Picture-winning political drama:

  • Willie Stark's (Oscar-winning Broderick Crawford) no-notes rousing, half-drunken campaign speech for governor at the Upton Fairgrounds barbecue ("Now, listen to me, you hicks...")
  • his assassination scene on the steps of the state capital building when shot twice by the embittered and vengeful young Dr. Stanton, the nephew of the judge whose career Willie has ruined
  • Willie's last words ("Could have been whole world - Willie Stark. The whole world - Willie Stark. Why does he do it to me - Willie Stark? Why?")

All the President's Men (1976)

In Alan Pakula's Best Picture-nominated political film:

  • the opening police call ("Car 727. Car 727. Open door at the Watergate office building. Possible burglary")
  • the statement by Deep Throat - delivered in the shadows: "Just follow the money"
  • the night scene at editor Ben Bradlee's (Oscar-winning Jason Robards, Jr.) house when Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) divulge the news from Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) that "everyone is involved"
  • Bradlee's final words of advice to his reporters were: "Nothing's riding on this except the, uh, First Amendment, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys f--k up again, I'm going to get mad. Goodnight" - and his go-ahead for his reporters to print their story
  • the opening and then compelling final scene in which they type (a closeup of typewriter keys banging on paper) in their news office while in the foreground - a TV broadcasts Nixon's 1972 second inauguration, 21-gun salute and oath of office - and then another teletype report of August 9, 1974 - "NIXON RESIGNS..."

Almost Famous (2000)

In director/writer Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical film:

  • the uplifting scene of the Stillwater band (mythical) on their tour bus singing along to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" playing on the radio
  • the scene on Stillwater's chartered airplane when lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) begins singing Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" when the aircraft hits heavy turbulence

Amadeus (1984)

In Oscar-winning director Milos Forman's opulent, historical epic/costume drama based on Peter Shaffer's extravagant 1980 Broadway play:

  • the opening suicide scene in which envious Antonio Salieri (Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham) attempts suicide - driven by guilt - by slashing his wrists when believing that he killed rival composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Oscar nominee Tom Hulce)
  • in flashback, Salieri's memory of being awed by the child prodigy Mozart
  • Salieri's later first hidden view of the crude, lecherous, hyena-laughing, bawdy genius in a dining room when Mozart proposed marriage to Constanze (Elizabeth Berridge) while asking her to eat his s--t
  • Mozart's sudden transformation from boor to artistic genius at the piano (he later stated: "I am a vulgar man, but I assure you, my music is not")
  • Mozart's constant embarrassment of Salieri (i.e., improving a march that Salieri had composed, literally farting in Salieri's face, seducing Salieri's object of lust, etc.)
  • Salieri's bitter rejection of God as he growls sarcastically: "Graci, maestro" to a crucifix -- out of jealousy at Mozart (because God had given a "creature" such talent and left him only as a self-proclaimed "mediocrity"), and his plan to kill Mozart by discrediting him
  • the characters of flippant, tone-deaf Emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones) and Mozart's somber, critical father Leopold (Roy Dotrice) - and his stranglehold on Mozart's emotions and sanity even after his death (inspiring Mozart to compose Don Giovanni)
  • Salieri's appropriation of Leopold's identity (appearing with a chilling black, frowning mask that Leopold had worn during a costume party)
  • Mozart's lingering death in bed of liver disease while Salieri took down musical dictation as Mozart composed his final Requiem Mass
  • Mozart's unceremonious corpse-dumping in a mass pauper's grave
  • the final, downbeat ending in which a half-insane Salieri proclaims himself as the King of Mediocrities and "absolves" his fellow asylum patients: ("Mediocrities everywhere... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you all...!")

Amelie (2001)

In the whimsical charming French film from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet:

  • the film's dizzying, hilarious, fast-paced, quick-cut introduction surveying the title character's life from actual conception to adulthood
  • the scene of Amelie's (Audrey Tautou) cherubic-faced discovery of an old tin box, hidden in her apartment wall, that is filled with a schoolboy's long-forgotten toys, treasures, and mementos
  • Amelie's epiphany while lying in bed that she will do good deeds, help others find true happiness and straighten out their lives
  • the moment that an embarrassed Amelie literally melts off the screen onto the floor
  • the scene of Amelie's tender and reciprocal kissing of quirky Nino Quincampoix (Mathieu Kassovitz) in her apartment - after they stared awkwardly at each other for a few moments

American Beauty (1999)

In Sam Mendes' Academy Award-winning Best Picture:

  • Lester Burnham's (Oscar-winning Kevin Spacey) opening voice-over as he masturbates in the shower: "My name is Lester Burnham. I'm 42 years-old. In less than a year, I'll be dead. Of course I don't know that yet, and in a way, I am dead already...Look at me, jerking off in the shower...This will be the high point of my day; it's all downhill from here"
  • the stark dinner table scene in which Lester non-chalantly tells his family he quit his job: ("...and then I told my boss to go f--k himself, and then I blackmailed him for almost $60,000. Pass the asparagus")
  • the digitally-created fresh rose petals - fantasies in the mind of Lester - that often cover the seductive image of high school teen blonde vamp Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari)
  • the videotaped image (made by next-door drug pusher Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley)) of an empty plastic bag swirling around and around in the wind in an empty parking lot and his revelation: ("And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever")
  • the scene at the fast-food burger joint ("Smile! You're at Mr. Smiley's") when Lester serves his adulterous wife Carolyn (Annette Bening) with her trysting partner Buddy 'The King' Kane (Peter Gallagher)
  • Angela's words to Lester before an aborted seduction: "This is my first time"
  • the shocking ending in which Lester is shot in the back of the head by homosexual neighbor - retired Marine Col. Fitts (Chris Cooper)

American Graffiti (1973)

In director George Lucas' homage to his teenage years:

  • the recreation of the feel, landscape, and sounds of the early 60s and small-town America, especially the vintage cars and dragsters, drive-ins (Mel's), an almost non-stop rock soundtrack, teenage activities (hot rod cruisin' and makin' out), and characteristic hair and clothing styles
  • the moment at a stoplight when the pretty blonde driver (unknown actress Suzanne Somers) of a white '56 Thunderbird mouths the words "I Love You" behind her closed car window to enthralled Curtis Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) adjacent to her on the strip

(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