Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments




Halloween (1978)

In John Carpenter's low-budget, quintessential slasher film:

  • the opening sequence of six year-old Halloween-masked killer Michael Myers stabbing his sister after she had sex with her boyfriend
  • the subjective point-of-view camera angles in the stalking of teenaged babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), especially the ones in which the psycho-killer appears and then disappears
  • the scene of the impaling of Lynda's (P. J. Soles) boyfriend Bob (John Michael Graham) against a wall with a large butcher knife and then - while wearing a white sheet draped over himself and with Bob's glasses perched on his face - strangling Lynda with a phone cord while she's on the phone, making her death screams sound like she's having an orgasm
  • the innumerable times that maniacal Michael Myers comes alive again
  • shrink Dr. Loomis' (Donald Pleasence) horrifying discovery that the killer ("boogeyman"), who was stabbed three times and shot six times, has vanished from the ground below after a fall from the two-story balcony - and hasn't succumbed
  • the final dialogue: bloodied and in near-shock, Laurie quizzically states: "[it]...was the boogey-man," while Dr. Loomis confirms: "As a matter of fact, it was..."

Hamlet (1948, UK)

In actor/director/producer Laurence Olivier's Best Picture-winning Shakespearean tragi-drama:

  • the two famous soliloquies of Prince of Denmark Hamlet (Oscar-winning Laurence Olivier) - "To be or not to be..."
  • the gravedigger scene in which Hamlet comes upon the skull of an old jester Yorick, someone he knew as a child: ("Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy")
  • Hamlet's death after a swordfight and slash from a poisoned blade

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

In director/writer Woody Allen's ensemble masterpiece:

  • Elliot's (Michael Caine) opening monologue about his lustful infatuation ("God, she's beautiful...") with his successful stage actress wife Hannah's (Mia Farrow) sexy sister Lee (Barbara Hershey)
  • the moment that he grabs Lee and kisses her - and her shocked reaction
  • and then later, his wide-eyed, childlike delight at discovering she is attracted to him as well ("I have my answer! I have my answer! I'm walking on air!")
  • hypochondriac Mickey's obsession about death ("Look at all these people, trying to stave off the inevitable decay of their bodies") and the scenes of his doctor's visits when he fancifully believes he has a brain tumor
  • the bitter and reclusive artist Frederick (Max Von Sydow) ("You are, you are my only connection to the world") and the stark, aching breakup scene with Lee for having an affair - shot with a continuous single, eight minute shot
  • neurotic, flighty, coke-head, struggling actress-caterer sister Holly's (Diane Weist) disastrous dates with Mickey ("Don't you just love songs about extra-terrestrials?" "Not when they're sung by extra-terrestrials!")
  • the restaurant lunch scene with the three sisters in which (1) Hannah discusses with Lee about how she fears that her husband Elliot may be having an affair, and (2) Holly has discovered that her catering partner April has taken away her architect boyfriend, and (3) Holly explains her idea to be a screenwriter - and after listening to Hannah's discouraging advice to be realistic and more productive, lambasts her with: ("You never have any faith in my plans. You always undercut my enthusiasm")
  • Mickey's later epiphany about life and death ("And I started to feel how can you even think of killing yourself? I mean, isn't it so stupid?...") after watching the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933),
  • the film's last line - newly-married Holly's revelation to husband Mickey: "I'm pregnant"

Hannibal (2001)

In Ridley Scott's sequel to the original The Silence of the Lambs:

  • the excruciating dinner scene in which Paul Krendler's (Ray Liotta) brain is neatly sliced open and exposed - and served by Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) for the gourmet meal

Happiness (1998)

In controversial film-maker Todd Solondz's infamous and subversive unrated film about pedophilia - a black satire on middle-class suburban dysfunctionality:

  • the character of unlikeable suburban dad and psychiatrist - Dr. Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker), a predatory pedophile, whose aberrant behavior is exhibited in the scene at his adolescent son Billy's (Rufus Read) little league baseball game, in the backseat of his car (where he masturbates to a teen magazine), and during sleepovers when he molests (off-camera) his son's teammate (drugged with a tuna sandwich)
  • the scene of the honest conversation between father and son, about the father being a molester
  • the famous ending scene of Billy admitting to his stunned family at the dining table: "I came" (he had masturbated while spying on a buxom sunbather from his balcony)

Happy Feet (2006)

In director George Miller's rollicking, poignant song-and-dance CGI animated musical:

  • the many song-and-dance numbers in this CGI-animated tale, including the opening courting duet songs between two Emperor Penguins in Antarctica: Elvis Presley-like Memphis (voice of Hugh Jackman) to Heartbreak Hotel and breathy Marilyn Monroe-like Norma Jean (voice of Nicole Kidman) to Prince's Kiss
  • the birth of their penguin chick Mambo (nicknamed "Mumble") (voice of Elijah Wood) - a young fuzzball without the gift of song but who has a unique talent as a tap dancer (noted dancer Savion Glover motion-captured to supply the dancing movements)
  • the brilliant Spanish-lingo version of Frank Sinatra's My Way by rambunctious Latino penguin Ramon (voice of Robin Williams) who supplies funny commentary, including his reaction to Mumble's screeching singing ("I heard an animal do that once, but then they rolled him over and he was dead")
  • Mumble's successful courting of Gloria (voice of Brittany Murphy) by tap dancing to her singing of a fully orchestrated rendition of Boogie Wonderland
  • the two exciting deadly chase sequences: one with a hungry sea lion and later in the film with two killer whales
  • the brave trek of the exiled Mumble to discover the "aliens" who were responsible for a severe fish shortage, as he fights through blizzards and finally dives off a high cliff to pursue an "alien" fishing ship - as penguin holy man-charlatan Lovelace (also Williams) calls after him: "I'm gonna be telling your story, Happy Feet, long after you're dead and gone!"
  • the heart-wrenching scene when a captured Mumble, now living a nightmarish life in a big-city aquarium, performs a soft-shoe routine for a little girl (a biped "alien") on the other side of the display glass, draws a crowd's attention and is set free
  • the conclusion in which the human scientist aliens follow him back to his habitat where they witness the penguins' mass dancing - resulting in the creatures being saved from starvation and hunting by a United Nations decree

Hard-Boiled (1992, HK)

In director John Woo's influential, star-making action film:

  • the two major shootout set-pieces featuring Inspector "Tequila" Yuen (Chow Yun-Fat), one set in a tea house and the climactic scene in a burning hospital

A Hard Day's Night (1964, UK)

In Richard Lester's kinetic music-video documentary:

  • the opening montage scene of the Beatles being besieged by a stampede of frenzied schoolgirl fans
  • their retreat to a train station and their encounter with an unimpressed, middle-aged gentleman (Richard Vernon) on a London-bound train in the first-class cabin who complains about their loud radio - with Lennon's coo-ed line to him as he leans over: "Give us a kiss!"
  • the old man's assertion: "I fought the war for your sort"
  • the group's dry, dismissive one-liners when interviewed by the press: ("Has success changed your life?" "Yes"; "Are you a mod or a rocker?" "Uhm, no, I'm a mocker"; "What do you call that collar?" "A collar"; and George's answer when asked the name of his hairstyle: "Arthur")
  • Ringo's solitary wanderings around London
  • the back-to-back, music-video style hits songs played in various locations - such as an open field ("Can't Buy Me Love")

Harold and Maude (1971)

In Hal Ashby's cult classic black comedy/romance:

  • Cat Stevens' musical score (especially "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out")
  • the dark humor of many elaborately-faked or staged suicides (hanging by a noose, cut wrists and throat, immolation, shooting, stabbing, drowning, etc.) by wealthy, 20 year old introvert Harold (Bud Cort) to shock and seek attention from his domineering mother Mrs. Chasen (Vivian Pickles)
  • Harold's unlikely love affair with 79 year old funeral-loving, free-spirited Maude (Ruth Gordon) - a concentration-camp survivor, who he first meets at a stranger's funeral service -- Harold drives a hearse
  • the funny scene in which Harold's over-bearing, match-making mother fills out his computer dating service questionnaire for him ("Did you enjoy life when you were a child?" -- "Oh yes, you were a wonderful baby, Harold"), while he prepares to commit fake suicide with a gun, and her continual efforts to set up Harold on blind dates after "bride interviews"
  • the seagull, daisy field, and white gravestone-cemetery scenes
  • the scenes of Maude stealing a car and evading a motorcycle cop
  • Harold's talk with hawkish, crazed, one-armed Uncle Victor (Charles Tyner), "General MacArthur's right-hand man," who recommends that he sign up for Army boot camp immediately, to "take on a man's job": "Now, that's what this country needs - more Nathan Hales"
  • the incredible scene when Harold performs harakiri in front of his drama student date Sunshine Doré (Ellen Geer) who also unwittingly acts out the tragic scene from Romeo and Juliet with her dagger finding its sheath in her chest
  • the hilarious scene of Harold's priest (Eric Christmas) impassioned warning him about having sex with an elderly person: "I would be remiss in my duty if I did not tell you that the idea of intercourse: and the fact of your firm, young body co-mingling with the withered flesh, sagging breasts and flabby buttocks, makes me want to vomit."
  • the scene of Maude's 80th birthday, when she happily reveals to Harold that she took a deadly overdose of pills
  • Maude's dying advice to Harold: "Go and love some more" - the film's last line
  • Harold's reaction to Maude's death at the hospital -- driving his hearse off a cliff (but surviving atop the cliff playing a banjo)

The Haunting (1963)

In Robert Wise's effective, low-key haunted-house film:

  • the frightening scenes of terror in the New England mansion Hill House during a weekend research study conducted by Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) - especially with the 'breathing' doorway, hallway and wall poundings and spooky sounds
  • the scene when Eleanor "Nell" Lance (Julie Harris) mistakenly believes she is holding the hand of roommate Theodora (Claire Bloom) in the adjacent bed for comfort from strange sounds surrounding their dark room, and the moment she realizes their beds are separated and she exclaims as she looks at her hand: "God, God! Whose hand was I holding?"
  • the scenes involving the ascent/descent of the risky spiral staircase in the library (and Grace Markway's (Lois Maxwell) shock appearance in a trap-door at the top)
  • Eleanor's car-crash demise

Heat (1995)

In Michael Mann's cop thriller:

  • the scene of the bank heist in downtown Los Angeles
  • the first wary, face-off meeting between LAPD top cop Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and criminal bank robber Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) over a cup of coffee in a coffee-shop/diner when they talk - "like a couple of regular fellows" - about their respective lives and duties [this was DeNiro's and Pacino's first appearance together on-screen],

Heavenly Creatures (1994, NZ)

In director Peter Jackson's crime story, a true-life tale:

  • the two emotionally unstable and murderous schoolgirls in 1950s New Zealand: 15-year-old Pauline Rieper (Melanie Lynskey) and 17-year-old Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet)
  • the scene of the two smashing in the skull of Rieper's mother with a brick in a stocking
  • the scenes of the deluded and "unwholesome" and inseparable girls retreating to their imaginary "Fourth World" with life-size versions of clay models they sculpted
  • their frenzied dancing in the woods together to the tune of their favorite tenor Mario Lanza's "Be My Love"

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

In John Huston's action-adventure drama:

  • the contrasting personalities of the two major lead characters both shipwrecked on a Pacific island during WWII and finding survival in a cave:
    - rough Marine Corporal Allison (Robert Mitchum)
    - Catholic nun Sister Angela (Deborah Kerr) only a month away from taking her final novitiate vows
  • his questioning of her religious vows and her denial of physical love: (Allison: "Suppose a nun changed her mind, you know, she didn't want to be a nun anymore. What could she do about it?" Sister: "Our vows are not taken lightly, Mr. Allison" Allison: "You mean no nun ever got out?" and "Whatcha gotta be a nun for? That's my luck. That's ol' Allison's luck. If ya gotta be a nun, why ain't ya old and ugly? Why do ya gotta have big blue eyes... and a beautiful smile... and freckles?")

Heaven's Gate (1980)

In Michael Cimino's expensive 'boondoggle' film and revisionistic western that bankrupted United Artists studio:

  • the opening set-piece of the swirling couples dancing Strauss' Blue Danube waltz on the Harvard College lawn following graduation in 1870 - especially the couple of Jim Averill (Kris Kristofferson) and a beautiful admirer
  • the gorgeous cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond of the panoramic Wyoming frontier landscapes - including the scene of the train bringing Eastern European immigrants to the West
  • the scene in which poor immigrant Kovach (Aivars Smits) was brutally killed as a suspected rustler and illegal butcherer of cattle - leaving a round shotgun blast hole in a sheet - with the first view of killer Nathan Champion (Christopher Walken)
  • the roller-skating dance scene in the Heaven's Gate dance hall with a young skating fiddler boy stirring up the audience
  • the tension in the love triangle between Sheriff Averill, Champion, and young bordello madam Ella Watson (Isabelle Huppert)
  • the hunting of immigrants by a posse of hired mercenaries of the Association led by black-garbed and evil Frank Canton (Sam Waterston), including the shocking scene of the rape of Ella (she was on the 'death list' because she would ask for "cash or cattle" as payment for her prostitutes)
  • the sequence of the final two-day bloody showdown between the immigrants and the mercenaries hired by the cattlemen's Association (including the use of a Roman offense) - interrupted by the arrival of the US Army after the slaughter was over
  • the fiery death scene of Champion, and the surprising shock ambush killings of both Ella and John L. Bridges (Jeff Bridges)
  • the final almost wordless, despairing coda or epilogue scene of Averill - now appearing miserable and unemotional about ten years later, quietly lost and adrift in his recollections as a rich yacht captain off Newport, Rhode Island in 1903 with his wife (his waltz partner in the opening scene, and the woman in the framed picture he kept with him)

(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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