Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments




Gallipoli (1981, Aust.)

In director Peter Weir's anti-war film:

  • the realistic World War I desert battle scenes
  • the characters of two young Australian soldiers Frank Dunne (Mel Gibson) and Archy Hamilton (Mark Lee) etching their names next to Napoleon's in ancient Egyptian ruins
  • the preface to the suicidal, ill-fated bayonet charge scene in which Archy chanted the mantra that his track coach and uncle Jack (Bill Kerr) used while training him - to Tomaso Albinoni's mournful Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ: ("What are your legs? Springs, steel springs. What are they gonna do? They're gonna hurl me down the track. How fast can you run? As fast as a leopard. How fast are you gonna run? As fast as a leopard. Then let's see you do it...")
  • message running soldier Frank frantically sprinting back to the front line, but arriving just a few moments too late - he erupts with a scream of despairing anguish, knowing friend Archy and other companions are being senselessly killed because of miscommunications and bad timing
  • and then the actual scene as Archy is shot by Turkish machine guns -- captured in freeze-frame death at film's end - against impenetrable Turkish trenches in 1915 on the Anzac battlefield

Gandhi (1982)

In director Richard Attenborough's Best Picture-winning biopic:

  • the remarkable performance of Ben Kingsley as Indian spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi
  • the opening scene of the sudden shooting assassination of 79 year-old Gandhi, and then flashbacks of his life including his use of passive, non-violent resistance in a speech to thousands: ("We must defy the British")
  • his exhortation to burn English cloth as a protest: ("...we will light a fire that will be seen in Delhi and in London. And if, like me, you are left with only one piece of homespun, wear it with dignity")
  • the scene of the Salt March amidst his supporters ("the function of civil resistance is to provoke response")

The Gang's All Here (1943)

In director Busby Berkeley's musical (his sole Fox film, and his first Technicolor film):

  • the famous, most-amazing production number "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" - in which dozens of chorus girls were choreographed to sway back and forth while carrying oversized bananas
  • the entrance of Dorita (Carmen Miranda) wearing an over-sized headdress of fruits and flowers and carried on a fruit cart between rows of strawberries

Gangs of New York (2002)

In Martin Scorsese's historical epic about Manhattan's Five Points:

  • the opening bloody battle sequence on snowy streets between an Irish gang (led by 'Priest' Vallon (Liam Neeson)) against the forces of the character of villainous Nativist leader Bill 'the Butcher' Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis)
  • the scene of newly-arrived poor immigrants being conscripted to fight the Civil War as dead soldiers' caskets are stacked on the docks
  • the astonishing "time passage" finale of the Battery Park's development from 1863 to pre-9/11 New York City, depicted in the conclusion

Garden State (2004)

In writer/star/director Zach Braff's twenty-something, Generation X, introspective debut film:

  • would-be LA actor/waiter, estranged and lithium-fogged Andrew Largeman's (Zach Braff) return to his high school NJ home for his mother's funeral
  • his encounter with old school buddies including stoned gravedigger Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), a cop, a millionaire classmate, a "fast food knight," and local girl compulsive liar and epileptic Sam or Samantha (Natalie Portman) at a doctor's office
  • the scene of Andrew's participation with Dana (Amy Ferguson) on his lap in the ecstasy-induced spin-the-bottle party
  • the film's scenes of a visit to three unusual places: a Handi-World housewares store, an underground sex club in the basement of a hotel, and to a family who lives in an abandoned, rickety boat perched on the edge of a stone quarry during a rainstorm
  • the final scene of 'goodbye' at the airport

Gaslight (1944)

In George Cukor's dramatic thriller:

  • the domination and slow destruction of wife Paula's (Ingrid Bergman) sanity by husband Gregory (Charles Boyer)
  • his facial expression while describing the crown jewels
  • her experience of panic when the gaslights dim
  • the search through her purse at the Dalroy's musical party, his discovery of the prized jewelry
  • her final scene of retribution including her statement: "...watching you go with glory in my heart"

The General (1927)

In actor / director Buster Keaton's silent action-comedy classic masterpiece set during the Civil War:

  • the many spectacular train chases, ground-breaking pursuit sequences and acrobatic stuntwork as Southern Confederate locomotive engineer Johnnie Gray (Buster Keaton) pursues his own hijacked train (The General)
  • Johnnie's deadpan expressions and the perfectly timed and staged scene of Johnnie with a stumpy, snub-nosed howitzer cannon and his ride on the cowcatcher of the train as he flips away cross-ties strewn across the tracks
  • the most expensive sight gag in silent film history (filmed in a single take with an actual train - not a miniature) when the pursuit train confidently moves half-way across a burned-through bridge and it falls downwards - both the train and collapsing bridge plunge into the river, a mass of hurtling metal, exhaling/hissing smokestack steam, burning bridge logs, and a geyser of belching smoke
  • the romantic relationship between Johnnie and lady-love Annabel (Marion Mack) - especially the scene when he finds her stoking the locomotive with toothpick-sized wood and half-playfully grabs for her by the neck, throttles and shakes her and then swiftly plants a small, loving kiss on her lips
  • the almost-perfect image of his absent-minded ride on the General's driveshaft (alternately raising and lowering him)

Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

In producer Darryl F. Zanuck's and director Elia Kazan's serious, preachy Best Picture-winning social drama, a tough expose of post-war anti-Semitism:

  • its story of a crusading, non-Jewish magazine writer Phil Green (Gregory Peck) who assumed a Jewish identity for six months to gather material, write a series of articles, and at first hand experience and understand discrimination and anti-Semitism
  • the confrontational scene of his checking into a luxury hotel where the clerk (Morgan Farley) refuses to answer Phil's direct questions about his bias: ("Look, I'm Jewish and you don't take Jews - that's it, isn't it?...If you don't accept Jews, say so!...Do you or don't you?")

Ghost (1990)

In Jerry Zucker's romantic, supernatural chick-flick:

  • the sexual but non-nude pottery wheel scene between New York investment banker Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) and sculptor/artist girlfriend Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) sensuously molding clay together to the tune of the Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody before making love in the darkened apartment
  • the oft-repeated response "Ditto" when Molly tells him: "I really love you"
  • the scene of senseless violence in which Sam is mortally wounded and dies in Molly's arms
  • the scene of Sam's funeral
  • another pottery wheel scene in which spirit-ghost Sam tries to reveal himself behind the grieving Molly as she sculpts clay
  • the scene in which spiritualist Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) convinces a bereaved Molly that her dead lover Sam was trying to contact her by speaking: "Molly, you in danger girl," and using Sam's favorite expression: "Ditto"
  • the bittersweet finale farewell (and kiss and final "See ya") in which Sam bid Molly goodbye before he passed on into The Light

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

In the classic fantasy romance weepie from director Joseph L. Mankiewicz:

  • the scene in which ghostly sea captain and lover Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), Gull Cottage's former owner who had been haunting her bedroom and thoughts in his non-flesh-and-blood form, bid good-bye to Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) while she slept, telling her that she must find her own way in life - and that she was only dreaming of a sea-captain haunting the house: ("You've made your choice, the only choice you could make. You've chosen life and that's as it should be. And that's why I'm going away, my dear. I can't help you now...You must make your own life amongst the living, and whether you meet fair winds or foul, find your own way to harbor in the end...It's been a dream, Lucia")
  • the transcendent ending in which white-haired, elderly widow Lucy dies in her British seaside cottage's chair when captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), greets her with outstretched hands: "And now, you'll never be tired again, come Lucia, come my dear"
  • and then in the conclusion, rejuvenated and young again, Lucy walks off, hand-in-hand with him downstairs and through the front door into the afterlife

Ghostbusters (1984)

In director Ivan Reitman's sci-fi fantasy comedy:

  • the catchy theme tune: "Who ya gonna call? - Ghostbusters!"
  • the unorthodox group of defrocked university parapsychologists: Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), who are in the offbeat business of supernatural extermination of poltergeists, spirits, ghosts, and other haunts
  • Venkman's one-liner exclamation of: "He slimed me!" after being covered in slime
  • the parody covers of various magazines proclaiming their heroic fame
  • two of their customers: possessed musician Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and her nerdy accountant neighbor Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) who realize that their apartment building (and her refrigerator) is a gateway for hell and ancient god Zool
  • the climax's legendary visual image of the menacing, 20-story-tall monster - a giant Stay Puft marshmallow man

Giant (1956)

In Best Director-winning George Stevens' grandiose epic:

  • the scene of Virginia belle Leslie's (Elizabeth Taylor) arrival at newly-wed husband Jordan 'Bick' Benedict's (Rock Hudson) sprawling Benedict Texas ranch ("Reata")
  • the scene of Texas tycoon Jett Rink's (James Dean in his last film appearance) ecstatic striking of oil as he is covered with the gushing liquid black gold
  • the spectacle of Rink's aging from a young man to a mumbling outcast and dissolute drunkard
  • Bick's fist-fight with the bigoted Sarge's Place cafe owner who refuses to serve Latino customers while "The Yellow Rose of Texas" blares on the jukebox

Gigi (1958)

In director Vincente Minnelli's Best Picture-winning musical romance:

  • the memorable performance of Maurice Chevalier (in a comeback role) as aging boulevardier Honore Lachaille singing "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"

Gilda (1946)

In Charles Vidor's noirish romantic drama-mystery:

  • gorgeous Gilda's (Rita Hayworth as the era's movie-star 'love goddess') first appearance as she sexily flips back her luxurious auburn hair and purrs an answer to a question from her casino-owning husband (George Macready) about her decency: "Me? (pause) Sure, I'm decent"
  • her oft-quoted one-liner: "If I'd been a ranch, they would've named me the Bar Nothing"
  • her memorable striptease dance performance of "Put the Blame on Mame" - wearing a strapless, slinky black dress and removing her long black glove while singing "Put the Blame on Mame, boys"

Gimme Shelter (1970)

In the Maysles Brothers' gripping musical documentary:

  • the disturbing scene (in the finale) filmed during the Rolling Stones' final free rock concert show appearance in 1969 at the Altamont Speedway in California - with the shocking footage of the Hell's Angels' murder-stabbing of 18 year-old spectator Meredith Hunter near the stage where Mick Jagger was performing
  • the scene in which Jagger is shown the footage of the murder in the editing room

(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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