Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



G (continued)

Great Expectations (1946, UK)

In David Lean's dramatic adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel:

  • the truly scary scene in the almost-silent, sweeping opening set in a shadowy graveyard in which young Pip (Anthony Wager) is suddenly confronted, with a brilliant whip-pan camera movement, by convict Abel Magwitch (Finlay Currie)

The Great Train Robbery (1903)

In Edwin S. Porter's pioneering film (in two versions, untinted and tinted):

  • the primitive elements of all films found in the first narrative (and Western) film only about 10 minutes long - composed of 14 scenes, with action sequences, cross-cutting, and panning
  • and the sensational, stunning close-up shot of a dark-hatted bandit firing directly into the camera (and into the audience!) with his six-shooter

The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

In director Robert Z. Leonard's lengthy musical biography:

  • the celebrated, moving telephone scene in which Anna Held (Oscar-winning Luise Rainer), the first of impresario Ziegfeld's wives, congratulates her ex-husband Flo on his forthcoming marriage
  • the famous scene of the lavish, gargantuan production number "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" with a gigantic revolving white staircase

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

In producer/director Cecil B. DeMille's undeserving, star-filled Technicolored Best Picture winning epic:

  • the character of makeup-wearing clown Buttons (James Stewart) with a secret to hide
  • the spectacular circus train wreck, the film's highlight

Greed (1924)

In Erich von Stroheim's severely-edited classic masterpiece:

  • the portrayal of a crazed, avarice-affected couple, especially Trina's (ZaSu Pitts) obsession with gold coins
  • earlier, the self-taught dentist McTeague's (Gibson Gowland) lustful look as he bends over and shamefully kisses the ether-anesthetized, helpless Trina in his dental chair
  • their wedding scene with a funeral procession outside the window
  • the scene of his biting her fingers and eventually murdering his wife Trina, who has been sleeping with the gold coins in her bed
  • the classic finale of a deadly confrontation in the parched, scorching Death Valley desert with McTeague discovering that he has no water and is handcuffed to his murdered former friend Marcus Schouler (Jean Hersholt) - the money that caused all the trouble scatters about on the cracked earth/sand, ending with the final extreme long shot of the two of them in the desert wasteland

The Green Mile (1999)

In director Frank Darabont's fantasy drama/prison film:

  • the flashbacked scenes in which illiterate, mystical child/giant and faith healer - black condemned convict John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) - resurrected Mr. Jingles - the small brown mouse (by blowing life into it in his hands)
  • the healing of Louisiana death row prison guard Paul Edgecomb's (Tom Hanks) urinary infection and the brain tumor of Warden Hal Moores' (James Cromwell) wife Melinda (Patricia Clarkson)
  • the scene of the botched execution of Eduard Delacroix (Michael Jeter)
  • the execution of the doomed and noble Coffey by the electric chair (for an alleged crime he didn't commit)
  • the moment he shared his gifted power with Paul as he was being electrocuted -- and sang "Heaven, I'm in heaven... heaven... heaven..." - from the movie Top Hat
  • the bittersweet ending in which Edgecomb, now a 108 year-old man (Dabbs Greer) in a retirement home (after being bestowed with the 'gift of life' - with his speech about outliving all of his friends and families, regarded as his punishment for making "a Miracle of God ride the lightning"), where every day he still fed a piece of toast to gray-haired Jingles

Gremlins (1984)

In Joe Dante's mischievous fantasy comedy produced by Steven Spielberg:

  • the first appearance in a Christmas-gift box of a Chinatown (NY) pet known as a mogwai in the American suburb of Kingston Falls: the elfin-eared, wide-eyed, tune-trilling, four-toed, fuzzy, brown and white fur-ball named Gizmo (voice of Howie Mandel)
  • the three important rules that the Chinese shop owner (Keye Luke) warns - never get it wet, never feed it after midnight, and never expose it to bright light
  • the film's last half - the mogwai morphing into hateful green beasties that raise hell in the town (the snowplow, the death of dog-hating spinster Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holliday) by jet propulsion from her gremlin-modified stairlift up her bannister, through the skylight, and headfirst into snow, etc.)
  • the tragic story that Kate Beringer (Phoebe Cates) tells her boyfriend bank clerk Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) of how she found out that there was no Santa Claus - when her father died ("...He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus")
  • the raucous and destructive group of theater-attending Gremlins during a showing of the animated Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • the narrator's warning in the last lines of the film (" can never tell, there just might be a gremlin in your house")

The Grifters (1990)

In Stephen Frears' modern crime neo-noir based upon Jim Thompson's novel:

  • small-time, nickel-and-dime crook Roy Dillon's (John Cusack) bar scam (ordering a drink with a neatly-folded $20 and then paying with a neatly-folded $10 bill)
  • the scene of race-track hustler Lilly Dillon's (Anjelica Huston) visit to her Baltimore-based bookie boss Bobo Justus (Pat Hingle) who demonstrates his punishment for disloyalty - an 'oranges-in-a-towel' beating and a burning cigar applied to her hand
  • sexy vixen Myra Langtry's (Annette Bening) naked seduction of Roy in a hallway
  • Lilly's last deadly confrontation with her estranged son Roy

Groundhog Day (1993)

In writer Danny Rubin and director Harold Ramis' science fiction/romantic comedy:

  • the fascinating, existentialist premise of the film: "What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same and nothing you did mattered?"
  • the innumerable times that Pittsburgh weather forecaster Phil Connors (Bill Murray) awakens on the morning of February 2nd at 6 am in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (for the annual Groundhog Day festival) to the tune of his clock radio playing Sonny and Cher's I Got You, Babe
  • the scenes of his annoyance, boredom, exhilaration, and self-destructive despair over the repetitive day
  • the 4th waking in which Connors again meets Ned Ryerson - known as "Needlenose Ned" or "Ned the Head" (Stephen Tobolowsky) on the street - and this time punches him to the ground
  • Phil's many repetitive daily chores (catching a boy falling out of a tree, saving the mayor from choking during dinner, and rescuing a homeless bum during a cold night)
  • his successful suicides and self-destructive behavior (driving off a cliff, electrocution with a toaster, stepping in front of a moving truck, jumping off a building, stuffing his face with food, robbing a bank's cash delivery, etc.) -- and his reawakening at 6:00 AM after each of them (Phil's reaction: "Aw, nuts")
  • Phil's line: "I'm a God. I'm not the God, I don't think..."
  • his wooing-seducing of his film producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) after learning her likes (19th century French poetry and a sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist) and dislikes to become her ideal man after repeated dates -- and her emphatic rejection of him when she realizes he's rehearsed every part of the date
  • Phil's reformation and acceptance of his situation and becoming a better person, telling her: "No matter what happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I'm happy NOW, because I love you"
  • his awakening with her on the morning of February 3rd, sobbing happily: "Do you know what today is?...Today is tomorrow! It happened!" and her response to his kisses: "Oh, Phil, why weren't you like this last night? You just fell asleep" - he replied - "It was the end of a very long day! Is there anything I can do for you today?"
  • his final words to Rita in front of the outdoor steps: "It's so beautiful! Let's live here. (They kissed) We'll rent to start"

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

In Stanley Kramer's family drama:

  • the driveway scene in which Christina Drayton (Katharine Hepburn) dismisses the derogatory, bigoted comments of ex-friend Hilary St. George (Virginia Christine) and gives directions for her firing - ending with "It's not that I don't want to know you - although I don't - it's just that I'm afraid we're not really the sort of people that you can afford to be associated with. Don't speak Hilary, just -- go" - after the high-society woman has met John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) - the black fiancee of her daughter Joey (Katharine Houghton)
  • the scene of John Prentice honestly telling his future in-laws: "Joanna is very close to both of you. If, by marrying me, she damaged her relationship with either of you, the pain of it would be too much for her. I wouldn't know how to deal with that kind of situation"
  • crusading publisher Matt Drayton's (Spencer Tracy in his final screen appearance) blessing of their future marriage, by citing his love for his own wife Christina ("...I know exactly how he feels about her and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that your son feels for my daughter that I didn't feel for Christina. Old - yes. Burned -out - certainly, but I can tell you the memories are still there - clear, intact, indestructible, and they'll be there if I live to be 110...")

Gun Crazy (1949) (aka Deadly is the Female)

In director Joseph H. Lewis' supercharged film-noir:

  • the opening scene of 14 year-old Bart Tare (Rusty Tamblyn) stealing a pearl-handled gun from a hardware store display window and then falling down in a mud puddle at the feet of the local sheriff
  • the entrance of blonde sharpshooter Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins) at Packet's sideshow Carnival
  • the contest/duel between gun-fixated Bart Tare (John Dall) and the markswoman - after they first sized each other up like dogs in heat, and then each one shoots at matches stuck in a crown worn on the other's head
  • the unedited, virtuoso, single-shot uninterrupted robbery scene of a Hampton bank filmed from the back-seat of the robbery car (a stolen Cadillac) from the time of their drive into town and up to the bank, Laurie's distraction of a cop during the robbery
  • their next robbery's getaway as they are pursued by a siren-screaming police car giving chase and his lie to her about killing the driver
  • the blackmailing scene of Annie Laurie seductively tempting Bart to pursue more crime with her
  • the final pursuit in the swamps before their demise

Gunga Din (1939)

In director George Stevens' adventure film:

  • the scene of Sgt. Cutter (Cary Grant) dangling a man out a window as he is commanded: "Take your hands off that man"
  • the image and character of loyal, spindly-legged Indian water carrier Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe)
  • the memorable scene of Gunga Din's bugle warning that causes him to be killed
  • the posthumous reading of a tribute to Gunga Din (the last stanza of Rudyard Kipling's classic poem)

The Guns of Navarone (1961)

In J. Lee Thompson's old-fashioned WWII action/adventure blockbuster film:

  • the climactic destruction of the two German guns (of the Mediterranean Greek island of Navarone) in a lofty impenetrable fortress cave

Gypsy (1962)

In director Mervyn LeRoy's musical biographical drama:

  • this screen version of the 1959 Broadway musical play (starring Ethel Merman) by Warners -- with a Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim score -- was suggested by the lives of ecdysiast-actress Gypsy Rose Lee (Natalie Wood), her sister June Hovick (Suzanne Cupito/Morgan Brittany as younger 'Baby' June, and Ann Jillian as older 'Dainty' June), and their bullying and domineering mother 'Mama Rose' (Rosalind Russell, singing voice of Lisa Kirk)
  • Mama Rose's torment of the seemingly-less talented and less-coordinated daughter Louise (Natalie Wood): "This time, I'm gonna make you a star!" before belting out "Everything's Coming Up Roses"
  • the funny "You Gotta Have A Gimmick" song by Minsky's burlesque house strippers (Roxanne Arlen, Betty Bruce and Faith Dane) to Louise on how to be a stripper
  • the confrontational scene of Louise telling off her brutal mother: "Well, Mama, look at me now! I'm a STAR! Look! Look how I live! Look at my friends! Look where I'm going! I'm not staying in burlesque! I'm moving! Maybe up, maybe down! But wherever it is, I'm enjoying it! I'm having the time of my life, because for the first time, it IS my life! And I LOVE it! I love every second of it, and I'll be DAMNED if you're gonna take it away from me!"
  • Louise's debut as "Gypsy Rose Lee" in an elegant blue evening gown, using Mama's vaudeville trademarks (the singing of "Let Me Entertain You" with a deeply sensual subtext and asking the audience: "Hello everybody, my name is Gypsy! What's YOURS?") and teasingly offering: "We'll have a real good time"

(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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