Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Gallipoli (1981, Australia)

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 erupted with a scream of despairing anguish, knowing friend Archy and other companions were being senselessly killed because of miscommunications and bad timing
  • and then the actual scene as Archy was 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, UK)

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, a NY neighborhood in the mid 1800s:

  • the confrontational line-up scene on snowy streets between an Irish-Catholic immigrant gang dubbed the Dead Rabbits (led by 'Priest' Vallon (Liam Neeson)) against the Natives - the forces of the character of villainous leader Bill 'the Butcher' Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis); Bill's derogatory comment about the opposing forces: ("Is this it, Priest? The Pope's new army? A few crusty bitches and a handful of ragtags?"); the Priest's forces responded with a show of force among the recruits: ("Now, now, Bill, you swore this was a battle between warriors, not a bunch of Miss Nancys. So warriors is what I brought. The O'Connell Guard. The Plug Uglies. The Shirt Tails. The Chichesters. The Forty Thieves")
  • Bill 'the Butcher's' speech (while holding out two knives in each hand) before commencing the bloody territorial Battle of the Points, fought on the snowy streets of the Five Points: ("On my challenge, by the ancient laws of combat, we have met at this chosen ground to settle for good and all, who holds sway over the Five Points: Us Natives, born right-wise to this fine land or the foreign hordes defiling it. By the ancient laws of combat, I accept the challenge of the so-called Natives. You plague our people at every turn. But from this day out, you shall plague us no more.")
  • the death of Vallon on the bloody battlefield, stabbed in the abdomen by Bill - witnessed by his young son Amsterdam (Leonardo di Caprio as adult), who returned 16 years later to seek revenge for the death of his father by ingratiating himself with Bill the Butcher
  • the scene of newly-arrived poor immigrants on the docks being conscripted to fight the Civil War, as coffins were being stacked up
  • Bill the Butcher's monologue (with a tattered US flag draped over his shoulder) about how violence and the "spectacle of fearsome acts" had allowed him to maintain his powerful grip: ("I'm 47. Forty-seven years old. You know how I stayed alive this long? All these years? Fear. The spectacle of fearsome acts. Somebody steals from me, I cut off his hands. He offends me, I cut out his tongue. He rises against me, I cut off his head, stick it on a pike and raise it high up so all in the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear")
  • Bill's continuing monologue about knowing Amsterdam's father, claiming that his enemy Vallon was worthy of respect - because on one occasion, the Priest had beaten Bill, but let him survive in shame - to fight again with greater resolve: ("I killed the last honorable man 15 years ago....The Priest and me, we lived by the same principles. It was only faith divided us. (pointing to a scar) He give me this, you know. That was the finest beating I ever took. My face was pulp, my guts was pierced and my ribs was all mashed up. And when he came to finish me, I couldn't look him in the eye. He spared me because he wanted me to live in shame. This was a great man. A great man. So I cut out the eye that looked away. Sent it to him wrapped in blue paper. I would have cut 'em both out if I could have fought him blind. Then I rose back up again with a full heart and buried him in his own blood")
  • the scene of Amsterdam attempting to assassinate Bill with a knife, with Bill's counter-attack, striking Amsterdam in the abdomen and then acknowledging that he knew Amsterdam was "the son of Priest Vallon" - and then beating him up and terrorizing him in front of a cheering crowd and letting him live ("marked with shame - a freak worthy of Barnum's Muzeum of Wonders") - after burning his cheek with a hot blade: ("I want yous all to meet the son of Priest Vallon. I took him under my wing and see how I'm repaid?...Saves my life one day, so he can kill me the next like a sneak-thief, instead of fightin' like a man. A base defiler, unworthy of a noble name.... We need to tenderize this meat a little bit. All right, let's kiss good night to that pretty young face of yours. What'll it be, then? Rib or chop? Loin or shank?...He ain't earned a death. He ain't earned a death at my hands. No. He'll walk amongst you marked with shame - a freak worthy of Barnum's Museum of Wonders")
  • the climactic face-to-face confrontation between Bill and Amsterdam, interrupted by the quelling of draft riots by cannon fire from Union Army ships, and Bill's wound in the abdomen from cannon shrapnel ("Thank God. I die a true American"), and Amsterdam's further stabbing of Bill to end his life
  • the astonishing "time passage" finale of the Battery Park's development from 1863 to pre-9/11 New York City - with Amsterdam's concluding voice-over: ("It was four days and nights before the worst of the mob was finally put down. We never knew how many New Yorkers died that week before the city was finally delivered. My father told me we was all born of blood and tribulation. And so then too was our great city. But for those of us what lived and died in them furious days, it was like everything we knew was mightily swept away. And no matter what they did to build the city up again, for the rest of time, it would be like no one even knew we was ever here")

Garden State (2004)

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

  • the character of mid-20s would-be LA actor/waiter, an estranged and lithium-fogged Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff), who returns to his high school and NJ home for his mother's funeral
  • Andrew's encounters with old school buddies - including stoned gravedigger Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), Kenny the Cop (Michael Weston), a millionaire classmate named Jesse (Armando Riesco) who became rich after the invention of silent velcro, "fast food knight" Tim (Jim Parsons) who worked at Medieval Times, and local girl compulsive liar and epileptic Sam ("Samantha") (Natalie Portman) whom he met at a doctor's office waiting room
  • the creatively-filmed scene of Andrew's emotionally-numb and warped sense of participation with sexy Dana (Amy Ferguson) and others during a drug-induced spin-the-bottle party: ("This is gonna be a good night!")
  • 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 led by Albert (Denis O'Hare) who lived in an abandoned, rickety boat perched on the edge of a stone quarry in Newark during a rainstorm - where the threesome (wearing garbage bags as raincoats and atop a derelict crane) screamed down into the "infinite abyss" of the quarry pit - as the camera zoomed backwards
  • the final scene of 'goodbye' at the airport between Sam and Andrew (after only four days), when he spoke about putting an "ellipsis" on their relationship so he could figure out his own life; he left and boarded his plane, but then reconsidered and returned to her (finding her crying in a phone booth), explaining that he wanted to live his life from now on with her: ("Do you remember that idea I had about working stuff out on my own, and then finding you once I figured stuff out?...The ellipsis. It's dumb. It's dumb. It's an awful idea. And I'm not gonna do it, okay? 'Cause like you said, this is it. This is life and I'm in love with you, Samantha. I think that's the only thing I've ever been really sure of in my entire life. I'm really messed up right now, and I got a whole lotta stuff I gotta work out. But I don't want to waste any more of my life without you in it, okay?...And I think I can do this! I mean, I want to, I mean, we have to, right?") - the film ended with his uncertain words: "So what do we do? What do we do?"

Gaslight (1944)

In George Cukor's dramatic thriller:

  • the domination and slow destruction of wife Paula Alquist Anton's (Ingrid Bergman) sanity by her manipulative and greed-obsessed husband Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), in a search for her aunt's valuable jewels
  • her experience of panic when the gaslights dimmed, her hearing of footsteps in the attic above, suspicions that she was a kleptomaniac, and other strange occurrences - all ploys of Gregory to make Paula go crazy
  • the search through Paula's purse at the Dalroy's musical party and the discovery of Gregory's missing pocket watch in her handbag - causing Paula's serious breakdown
  • the revelation that Gregory (aka Sergius Bauer) had in fact murdered Paula's Aunt Alice Alquist, in the same home located at Number 9 Thornton Square in London, England
  • Paula's final scene of psychological retribution - including her vengeful and scornful statement against her husband, who was tied by rope to a chair: "If I were not mad, I could have helped you. Whatever you had done, I could have pitied and protected you. But because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I'm mad, I'm rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, 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) pursued 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 flipped 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 moved half-way across a burned-through bridge and it fell downwards - both the train and collapsing bridge plunged 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 found her stoking the locomotive with toothpick-sized wood and half-playfully grabbed for her by the neck, throttled and shook her and then swiftly planted 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 landmark film - and an historically-significant and tough expose of post-war anti-Semitism:

  • the scene of widowed, crusading, non-Jewish (Gentile) magazine writer Phil Schuyler Green (Gregory Peck) speaking to his mother (Ann Revere) about how he was struggling with the approach to his next writing assignment, and his idea to try and capture the feelings of his Jewish childhood friend Dave Goldman (John Garfield) on paper: ("Can I think my way into Dave's mind. He's the kind of fellow I'd be if I were a Jew, isn't he?...Whatever Dave feels now - indifference, outrage, contempt - would be the feelings of Dave not only as a Jew but the way I feel as a man, as an American, as a citizen. Is that right, Ma?...Hey, maybe I've broken this log jam, Ma, maybe this is it?") - but then he realized: ("There isn't any way you can tear open the secret heart of another human being")
  • Phil's adoption of an unorthodox approach in order to gather material for a series of articles ("I Was Jewish for Six Months"): he would assume a Jewish identity as Phil Greenberg for six months to experience at first hand discrimination and anti-Semitism
  • Phil's discussion with his bothered secretary Elaine Wales (June Havoc) (who was Jewish herself, but had changed her name to obtain employment); she couldn't believe that he was willing to give up his 'Christian' identity for eight weeks for the sake of a story, and he defended himself: ("Face me, now Miss Wales. Come on, now look at me. Same face, same eyes, same nose, same suit, same everything. Here. Take my hand. Feel it! Same flesh as yours, isn't it? No different today than it was yesterday, Miss Wales. The only thing that's different is the word Christian")
  • the confrontational scene of his checking into a luxury hotel where the clerk (Morgan Farley) refused 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?")
  • the scene of Phil's conclusion about the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism among "good people" to Kathy Lacey (Dorothy McGuire), emphasizing major differences between their attitudes: ("People who think that anti-Semitism is something away off in some dark crackpot place with low-class morons. That's the biggest discovery I've made about this whole business. The good people, the nice people")

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 told him: "I really love you"
  • the scene of senseless violence in which Sam was mortally wounded and died in Molly's arms
  • the scene of Sam's funeral
  • another pottery wheel scene in which spirit-ghost Sam tried to reveal himself behind the grieving Molly as she sculpted clay
  • the scene in which spiritualist Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) convinced 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 died in her British seaside cottage's chair when captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), greeted 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 walked off, hand-in-hand with him downstairs and through the front door into the afterlife

Ghost Busters (1984)

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

  • the catchy theme tune: "Who ya gonna call? - Ghostbusters!" and the film's logo: a red-lined "No Ghosts" sign
  • the unorthodox group of three defrocked, eccentric, Columbia University parapsychologists: Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), who were in the offbeat business of supernatural extermination of poltergeists, spirits, ghosts, and other haunts, using proton pack weapons
  • the scene of Venkman conducting an ESP test (to identify symbols on 80 cards) with two paid student volunteers, and always accepting whatever answer the cute female (Jennifer Runyon) provided ("Incredible! Five for five. You can't see these, can you?...You're not cheating me, are you?"), but electrically shocking her male counterpart for every response
  • the image of Venkman covered in ectoplasm after being attacked by a green ghost, and his one-liner exclamation of: "He slimed me!" after being covered in slime
  • the parody covers of various magazines proclaiming their heroic fame
  • Venkman's statement - a paraphrasing of the famous Latin phrase: "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass" - spoken to the Hotel Manager (Michael Ensign) about capturing their first ghost Slimer in a box: ("What you had there was what we refer to as a focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm, or a class-five full-roaming vapor. Real nasty one too") - however, the manager refused to pay a special offered price of $5,000 for entrapment and storage of the beast
  • two of the Ghostbusters' customers: demonically-possessed cellist musician Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and her nerdy accountant neighbor Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), (possessed by the "Keymaster") who realized that their apartment building (and her refrigerator) had become a gateway for hell and the residence of ancient demi-god Zuul (the "Gatekeeper")
  • the City Hall scene of EPA lawyer Walter Peck (William Atherton) accusing the Ghostbusters in front of mayor Lenny Clotchof (David Margulies) of being con-men and of causing an explosion: ("These men are consummate snowball artists. They use sense and nerve gases to induce hallucinations. People think they're seeing ghosts, and they call these bozos who conveniently show up to deal with the problem with a fake electronic light show"); when Raymond retorted to Peck: ("Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here"), Venkman confirmed: ("Yes, it's true. This man has no dick")
  • Venkman's seduction by the possessed Dana, who proposed: "I want you inside me" - and when he refused ("I can't - it sounds like you got at least two people in there already"), her levitation above the bed - and his later description of her: "I find her interesting because she's a client and because she sleeps above her covers... four feet above her covers"
  • the confrontation with god Gozer in the shape of a woman (voice of Paddi Edwards, and portrayed by supermodel Slavitza Jovan), when fourth Ghostbuster Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson) angrily chastised Raymond after the Ghostbusters were blasted by Gozer: "Ray, when someone asks you if you're a God, you say YES!"; this was followed by Venkman's announcement: "This chick is toast!"
  • the climax's legendary visual image of the menacing, 20-story-tall monster - a giant, 100 foot tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, selectively imagined as harmless by Raymond: ("I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never, ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft") - Venkman's reaction: "Mother pus-bucket!"

Giant (1956)

In Best Director-winning George Stevens' grandiose epic western about a family over a 25 year period:

  • the 1920s scene of Virginia socialite belle Leslie Lynnton's (Elizabeth Taylor) arrival at newly-wed husband Jordan 'Bick' Benedict's (Rock Hudson) sprawling Benedict Texas ranch ("Reata")
  • the characters of Bick's older sister Luz Benedict (Mercedes McCambridge), known for being a tough, cattle-driving spinster: (Adarene Clinch: "Aw, Luz, why everybody in the county knows you'd rather herd cattle than make love!" Luz: "Well, there's one thing you gotta say for cattle: You put your brand on one of them, you're gonna know where it's at!") and her uneducated, laconic Texas ranch-hand cowboy Jett Rink (James Dean in his last film appearance), in an iconic pose - sitting in the back of a black convertible with his feet up during an outdoor BBQ
  • the scene of newly-made tycoon Jett Rink's striking of oil as he was covered with the gushing liquid black gold, and his boastful, resentful statements to the Benedict family about how he would be richer than them: ("My well came in, Bick, ha, ha, ha....Everybody thought l had a duster. Y'all thought ol' Spindletop Burke and Burnett was all the oil there was, didn't ya? But l'm here to tell you it ain't, boy. lt's here. And there ain't a dang thing you gonna do about it. My well came in big, so big, Bick. And there's more down there, and there's bigger wells. l'm rich, Bick! l'm a rich one. l'm a rich boy. Me - l'm gonna have more money than you ever thought you could have. You and all the rest of you stinkin' sons of Benedicts")
  • Jett's inappropriate behavior toward Leslie: ("My, you sure do look pretty, Miss Leslie. You always did look pretty. Just pretty now, and good enough to eat") - ending in a few punches exchanged between Bick and Jett (who exclaimed: "You're touchy, Bick. Touchy as an old cook"), before he drove off; Bick's friend remarked: "You should have shot that fella a long time ago. Now he's too rich to kill"
  • the spectacle of Rink's aging from a young man to a mumbling outcast and dissolute drunkard (known as "Mr Texas"), especially during the celebratory scene to commemorate the opening of his new airport and hotel in Hermosa, Texas, and the scene of Rink drunkenly sobbing in the empty banquet room, and rambling about his love for Leslie: ("Pretty Leslie. Wonderful, beautiful girl bride! Poor boy. Rich. Rich Mrs. Benedict. She's beautiful. Lovely. The woman a man wants. A woman a man has got to have, too!")
  • Bick's fist-fight with the bigoted cafe owner of Sarge's Place who refused to serve an elderly Latino couple while "The Yellow Rose of Texas" blared on the jukebox

Gigi (1958)

In director Vincente Minnelli's Best Picture-winning musical romance set at turn-of-the-century Paris:

  • the memorable performance of aging, charming boulevardier and womanizing Honore Lachaille (Maurice Chevalier in a comeback role) singing "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"
  • the central title character, carefree, courtesan-trained Gilberte ("Gigi") (Leslie Caron) and her liveliest, best song (and dance): "The Night They Invented Champagne"
  • the duet: "I Remember It Well" between Honore and Parisian courtesan Madame Alvarez (Hermione Gingold) - singing about their long-time-ago romance
  • the character of Honore's wealthy young nephew Gaston Lachaille (Louis Jourdan) and his realization of his growing love for "Gigi" - exemplified by his singing of "Gigi"

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 flipped back her luxurious auburn hair and purred 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, delivered to her good-looking male escort Gabe Evans (Robert Scott): "Didn't you hear about me, Gabe? 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 about the Altamont rock concert murder in 1969:

  • 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 - the back-stabbing of 18 year-old drugged-up spectator Meredith Hunter (with a long-barreled .22 revolver gun), wearing a bright lime-green suit) very near the stage where Mick Jagger was performing "Under My Thumb"
  • the scene in which lead Rolling Stones singer Jagger was shown the footage of the murder in the editing room on a small monitor, and the use of freeze-frames to highlight the violence:
    ("No, you couldn't see anything, well, it was another, it's another scuffle, it was..."
    "There's the Angel right there with the knife"
    "Where's the gun?"
    "I'll roll it back, and you'll see it against the girl's crocheted dress"
    "Right, it's there, isn't it?"
    "It was so horrible")

(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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