Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



H (continued)
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Heiress (1949)

In director William Wyler's great romantic drama based on Henry James' 1880 novella Washington Square:

  • the scene in which the plain and gawky heiress Catherine (Olivia de Havilland) was awakened to love at an engagement party and later in her house (with his piano-playing) by the seductive charm of young fortune hunter Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift)
  • the agonizing scene on the night of their elopement as she waited hour after hour in the front drawing room - and finally realized that she was jilted
  • Catherine's ultimate revenge in the devastating conclusion after she came into her inheritance (she accepted Morris' next proposal and then told her Aunt Lavinia (Miriam Hopkins) her real intentions): ("He came back with the same lies, the same silly phrases...He has grown greedier with the years. The first time, he only wanted my money. Now he wants my love, too. Well, he came to the wrong house, and he came twice. I shall see that he never comes a third time....Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters")
  • the image of a revenge-purged Catherine carrying a gas lamp upstairs as she listened to returning suitor Morris frantically banging on the outside of the bolted door and futilely calling her name: "Catherine, Catherine, Catherine!"

Hell's Angels (1930)

In director Howard Hughes' war adventure/drama:

  • the realistic aerial dogfights and German zeppelin raids on London
  • the early scenes of a sexy platinum blonde Helen (Jean Harlow in her first role) - the two-timing, slutty fiancé of unsuspecting Roy (James Hall)), who wore a slinky velvet evening dress (with beaded straps) that barely covered her breasts as she encouragingly asked brother Monte Rutledge (Ben Lyon) to take her home during a dance
  • her delivery of a famous line to him in her apartment: ("...Come see my room. I've only had a place of my own for a week...(After serving him a drink) Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?") and then she retreated into her bedroom

Hell's Highway (1932)

In director Rowland Brown's hard-hitting indictment of the sadistic prison chain-gang system (the first of its kind in the film industry, by RKO's David Selznick):

  • the early scene of the suicide of hapless prisoner Joe Carter (John Arledge) in a sweatbox by self-strangulation
  • the resultant angry protest by fellow prisoners about Carter's death before a meal
  • the whipping-punishment scene of 'forgotten man' prisoner Frank 'Duke' Ellis (Richard Dix) - whose military tattoo on his back caused the guard to pause

The Help (2011)

In director Tate Taylor's poignant, early 1960s-era drama about racism faced by two black maids ('the help') in Jackson, Mississippi, based upon Kathryn Stockett's novel:

  • the strong relationship between the film's two main characters - black maids: Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) - who worked for Elizabeth "Miss Leefolt" (Ahna O'Reilly), and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), who at first worked for Hilly Holbrook's mother, Mrs. Walters (Sissy Spacek)
  • the character of racist, bigoted, snooty segregationist housewife Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) who demanded a 'separate but equal' toilet for her housemaid Minny, because of her worry about sanitary conditions and the catching of some strange disease
  • the 'white trash' bottle blonde and socially-inept Celia Rae Foote (Jessica Chastain) who was taught by her pie-making black maid Minny Jackson to cook, so that she could impress her wealthy socialite husband Johnny Foote (Mike Vogel), Hilly's ex-boyfriend
  • aspiring, liberal-minded writer/journalist and recent Univ. of Mississippi graduate-debutante Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) writing for the Jackson, Mississippi newspaper, and secretly interviewing the two reluctant black housemaids - and taking notes for her anonymously-published book The Help, to tell the unknown stories of their experiences as servants-maids, and to expose rampant racism
  • the scene of Celia's bloody miscarriage in a bathroom
  • the "Terrible Awful" episode related by Minny to 'Skeeter' - the spiteful feeding of two slices of baked chocolate pie (Minny's shit) to Hilly, who complimented her: ("What do you put in here that makes it taste so good?!") - Minny replied: ("That good vanilla from Mexico and somethin' else real special") - and then admitted: "Eat my shit!"
  • the shooting of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in June 1963, announced by the city bus stopping and forcing the disembarkment of the black passengers
  • the revelation, the last story for the book, told to 'Skeeter' by her cancer-stricken mother Charlotte Phelan (Allison Janney), about why she had 'broken the heart' of the family's long-time, elderly and ill maid Constantine (Cicely Tyson) (the servant/nanny who had raised 'Skeeter', seen in flashback) by unnecessarily firing her in order to save face among other white ladies during a DAR luncheon; she recalled how Constantine had become frail and incompetent during the serving of the lunch: ("She didn't give me a choice. The Daughters of America had just appointed me state regent. Grace Higginbotham, our esteemed president, came all the way down from Washington, D.C., to our house for the ceremony...She'd gotten so old and slow, Skeeter") - and then Constantine's daughter Rachel (LaChanze) arrived - awkwardly - at the front door and embarrassed Charlotte by barging into the dining room to see her mother; at the strong urging of Grace Higginbotham, Charlotte fired her maid: ("Get out of this house, Rachel...Both of you. Leave. Now!") - after walking out the front door, Constantine appeared stunned; Charlotte explained with a lame excuse to 'Skeeter': ("She was our president. What was I supposed to do?")
  • the final scene in which black maid Aibileen Clark was framed for theft by a vindictive Hilly: ("Maybe I can't send you to jail for what you wrote, but I can send you for being a thief") - who Aibileen then chastised to her face: ("I know something about you. Don't you forget that. From what Yule Mae says, there's a lot of time to write letters in jail. Plenty of time to write the truth about you. And the paper is free...All you do is scare and lie to try to get what you want...You a godless woman. Ain't you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain't you tired?")
  • the firing and departure of Aibileen from her domestic job by Elizabeth, after being urged on by Hilly, with the wailing cries of the pale, chubby, abandoned toddler Mae Mobley (Eleanor/Emma Henry) she cared for at the window (calling out: "A-a-a-aibee!"); Aibileen recalled the moment - in voice-over, and then expressed hope to become a writer: ("Mae Mobley was my last baby. In just ten minutes, the only life I knew was done....God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by tellin' the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinkin' about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it's gonna be me")
  • after her firing, Aibileen's long walk down the suburban street as the credits rolled

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) (released in 1990)

In John McNaughton's disturbing "fictional dramatization," based upon the account of real-life convicted serial killer Henry Lee Lucas:

  • the realistic, detached cinema-verite documentary style filming that enhanced each brutal, gory and violent killing by serial killer Henry (Michael Rooker) and his dim-witted, paroled, roommate-prison buddy Otis (Tom Towles)
  • the numerous sickening, brutally-violent, off-screen and on-screen murders by the pair of psychotic killers - seen as still shots of Henry's trail of carnage in Illinois - they were the death poses of many of the murder victims (killed off-screen), sometimes with accompanying sounds of their screams or death struggle: the death of a young woman left in a grassy field, shots-to-the-heads of a storeowner couple (Elizabeth and Ted Kaden), a prostitute (Mary Demas) killed in a bathroom with a broken soda bottle in her face
  • the disturbing killings of a helpless family (a couple and their son) (Lisa Temple, Brian Graham, and Sean Ores) in their suburban home, poorly-videotaped for repeated viewings by both Henry and partner-in-crime Otis on their sofa
  • the repeated stabbing of smart-alec TV salesman/fence (Ray Atherton) with a soldering iron (first in the hand) and smashing of a cheap $50 B/W TV over his head, after which Otis plugged in the set to end his life by electrocution
  • the conclusion which documented the eventual killing of Otis (and his beheading in a bathtub) when Henry found him strangling and raping his sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) - Henry's 'girlfriend' - and then fled with her, only to dump her body the very next day in her heavy blood-stained suitcase by the roadside

(King) Henry V (1944, UK) (aka The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France)

In Laurence Olivier's adaptation of Shakespeare's staged play - a winner of Honorary Awards in 1946:

  • the opening sequence - a panorama of the city of London in 1600, and a view into Shakespeare's 17th century Globe Theatre (Playhouse), where a stage-bound play, Henry the Fift, was to be presented - with the remarkable transition from the theatre to the plains of Agincourt before the famous battle in 1415 A.D.
  • narrator Chorus' (Leslie Banks) prologue delivered on the stage to the Globe Playhouse's audience, urging them to use their imaginations: ("O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention, a kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene! Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all, the flat unraised spirits that have dared on this unworthy scaffold to bring forth so great an object: Can this cockpit hold the vasty fields of France? Or may we cram within this wooden O the very casques that did affright the air at Agincourt?..On your imaginary forces work. Suppose within the girdle of these walls are now confined two mighty monarchies, whose high upreared and abutting fronts the perilous narrow ocean parts asunder: Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts. Think when we talk of horses, that you see them printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth; for 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings, carry them here and there, jumping o'er times, turning the accomplishment of many years into an hour-glass: for the which supply, admit me Chorus to this history; who prologue-like your humble patience pray, gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play")
  • the characterization of Shakespeare's Plantagenet King Henry V (Oscar-nominated Laurence Olivier)
  • the scene of King Henry V's first rousing battle speech as he exhorted his troops for battle against the French at the siege of Harfleur, astride his horse, garbed in armor and swinging his sword: ("Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility. But when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger. Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage. Then lend the eye a terrible aspect. Let pry through the portage of the head like the brass cannon. Let the brow o'erwhelm it as fearfully as doth a galled rock o'erhang and jutty his confounded base, swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean. Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit to his full height. On, on, you noblest English whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!...")
  • King Henry's St. Crispin's Day address-speech to his weary troops before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415: ("This story shall the good man teach his son and Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remember'd; we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, be he ne'er so base. And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day")
  • the magnificently-created Battle of Agincourt war scene - both stylized and realistic (with archers letting forth a volley of arrows), with Britain's victory over the French in 1415
  • Henry's courting of Princess Katherine (Renee Asherson)

Henry V (1989, UK)

In writer/director/producer/actor Branagh's superb film version of Shakespeare's play:

  • King Henry V's (Kenneth Branagh) dramatic, silhouetted entrance through a towering portal
  • the King's inspired pre-battle address to his weary troops on St. Crispin's Day before the Battle of Agincourt: ("We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother... The games afoot. Follow you spirit, and upon this charge. Cry 'God for Harry, England and St. George!'")
  • after the Battle of Agincourt, the extended tracking shot as King Henry carried the body of Falstaff's Boy (Christian Bale), slung over his shoulder, across the bloody and muddy field of Agincourt, to the somber singing of the Agincourt Hymn: 'Non nobis, Domine'

High Fidelity (2000)

In Stephen Frears' romantic comedy:

  • the character of 30-something, commitment-phobic Chicago LP music store (Championship Vinyl) operator Rob Gordon (John Cusack) - often speaking directly at the camera - who had just been dumped by his live-in girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) of several years: ("What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?")
  • Rob's reorganizing of his 500-plus record collection and his compulsive list-making of top fives, including his romantic breakups: "My desert island, all-time, top-five most memorable breakups" (seen with flashbacks during his junior high, high school and college days), including the discussion of the top five songs to make love to with his store employees, and Laura's own listing of his five top dream jobs, ending with: "record store owner"
  • his offbeat, anti-social loudmouth clerk Barry (Jack Black), one of two "musical moron twins," who despised customers who didn't like his musical selections; when an older customer wished to purchase: "I Just Called to Say I Love You," Barry refused to sell it to him: ("Well, it's sentimental, tacky crap, that's why not. Do we look like the kind of store that sells 'I Just Called to Say I Love You'? Go to the mall....Do you even know your daughter? There's no way she likes that song. Oh- uh, oh, is she in a coma?"); the incensed customer replied before storming out: ("Oh, okay, buddy. I didn't know it was Pick On The Middle-Aged Square Guy Day. My apologies. I'll be on my way....F--k you!")
  • the scene of Rob's lying-in-his-empty-bed nightmarish fantasy that Laura was having sex with Ian 'Ray' Raymond (Tim Robbins) upstairs: ("You are as abandoned and noisy as any character in a porn film, Laura. You are Ian's plaything, responding to his touch with shrieks of orgasmic delight. No woman in the history of the world is having better sex than the sex you are having with Ian in my head")
  • Rob's discussion of the "top five things I miss about Laura" - ("One - a sense of humor. Very dry, but it can also be warm and forgiving. And she's got one of the best all-time laughs in the history of all time laughs, she laughs with her entire body. Two - she's got character. Or at least she had character before the Ian nightmare. She's loyal and honest, and she doesn't even take it out on people when she's having a bad day. That's character....")
  • the funny replays of Rob's fight-fantasy of reacting to a smug Ian in the record store, after Ian stated: ("So shall we leave it at that then?") - one of the alternative fantasies was Rob swearing at him and insulting him to his face: (" pathetic rebound f--k! Now, get your patchouli stink out of my store! Move it, lard-ass! Dumb motherf--ker"); another was viciously beating him up, with the help of his friends; in the final scenario, after Ian said: "Well, think about it, Rob" - Rob didn't react at all

High Noon (1952)

In Fred Zinnemann's tense black and white Western:

  • a masterful portrayal of a deserted and retiring Marshal Will Kane (Oscar-winning Gary Cooper) left alone in Hadleyville against vengeful gunslingers led by Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) after his marriage to Quaker bride (Grace Kelly)
  • Kane's agonized wait for the train that arrived at noon - with numerous, repetitive, large closeup views of clocks ticking in 'real time'
  • Kane's fist-fight in the livery stable with Harvey Pell (Lloyd Bridges)
  • Kane's plea in the church to enlist deputies: ("It looks like Frank Miller's comin' back on the noon train. I need all the special deputies I can get"); and Mayor Jonas Henderson's (Thomas Mitchell) fears that a violent shoot-out would create a bad image for Hadleyville up North, especially for financial growth and investment support from Northern business interests. But then he concluded by advising Kane ("a mighty brave man, a good man") to flee town for the good of the local economy
  • the cynical opinion of aging, discarded, arthritic, and embittered ex-marshal Matt Howe (Lon Chaney, Jr.) to Kane about his past profession as a life-long 'tin-star' lawman: ("It's a great life. You risk your skin catchin' killers and the juries turn 'em loose so they can come back and shoot at ya again. If you're honest, you're poor your whole life, and in the end you wind up dyin' all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothin'. For a tin star")
  • Kane's writing of a last will and testament
  • the exciting final shootout (with his wife's aid) against four desperadoes at noon
  • his concluding disavowal of the town by throwing his badge into the dirt

High Sierra (1941)

In Raoul Walsh's crime/gangster film:

  • the heartbreaking scene of aging gangster Roy "Mad Dog" Earle's (Humphrey Bogart) visit to see a post-surgical club-footed Velma (Joan Leslie): ("We can still be friends...")
  • the film's suspenseful manhunt high up in the Sierra Mountains as police pursued Earle in a doomed last stand
  • Marie's (Ida Lupino) refusal to the authorities to call out to Earle: ("No, I won't....I won't, I tell you...He's gonna die anyway, he'd rather it was this way. Go on, kill him! All of you. Kill him, kill him, do you hear?")
  • the sequence of a sniper shooting Earle, when the fugitive heard barking from his mongrel dog Pard who was running up the steep cliff to him; he stood up and called out "Marie!" - and was shot by a sniper's bullet from behind. Marie screamed from down below. After Earle's body rolled down the steep rocky cliff, Pard licked his hand.
  • Marie's sad repetition of the word "Free" for Roy's "crash out", questioning his unnecessary death
  • the final, blurry fadeout on Marie's tear-stained face as it filled the frame before a pan up to the mountains

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959, Fr.)

In Alain Resnais' first feature film:

  • the opening, lengthy montage of an erotic love scene in bed during the brief love affair, occurring in Hiroshima in the aftermath of the bomb, between married, lonely French actress "Elle/She" (Emmanuelle Riva) and married Japanese architect "Lui/He" (Eiji Okada)
  • their discreetly-nude bodies held together and entwined - with both ash and then rain blowing across their skin (recollecting the horrific scenes of devastation caused by the atomic bomb at Hiroshima)

His Girl Friday (1940)

In this classic Howard Hawks screwball comedy of Hollywood's Golden Age - from Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's stage play 'The Front Page':

  • the frantic, overlapping whirlwind nature of the fast-talking dialogue in the opening scene (and throughout the entire film) between big-city newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant) and his ex-reporter/ex-wife Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell)
  • classic one-liners such as Hildy's description of Walter's charm to her fiancee Bruce (Ralph Bellamy): "Well, he comes by it naturally. His grandfather was a snake"
  • the hilarious restaurant-luncheon scene with Walter and Hildy's fiancee - the staid, dull, but devoted insurance salesman Bruce, with Walter's unending conniving to find a way to dislodge Hildy from her imminent marriage and stop the couple's impending move to Albany to live in Bruce's mother's house: Walter (sarcastically): "Oh, you're gonna live with your mother?...Oh, that will be nice! Yes, yes, a home with mother - in Albany too!"

The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)

In this very primitive all-star musical from MGM Studios and director Charles "Chuck" Riesner:

  • the debut presentation of "Singin' in the Rain" by ukelele-playing Cliff (Ukelele Ike) Edwards (the future voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney's Pinocchio) - a leitmotif throughout the entire picture

Home Alone (1990)

In director Chris Columbus' family comedy:

  • the scene of 8 year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) slapping too much after-shave to his cheeks - and screaming

(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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