Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

Horse Feathers (1932)

In director Norman Z. McLeod's satirical academic/sports comedy from the Marx Brothers:

  • the opening scene of Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff's (Groucho Marx) address to Huxley College faculty members and students: ("... As I look over your eager faces, I can readily understand why this college is flat on its back. The last college I presided over, things were slightly different. I was flat on my back. Things kept going from bad to worse but we all put our shoulders to the wheel and it wasn't long before I was flat on my back again")
  • the sequence at a speakeasy where Wagstaff attempts to guess doorman Baravelli's (Chico Marx) secret password ("swordfish")
  • Pinky (Harpo Marx) providing a hot cup of coffee from the inside of his coat for a bum on the street
  • Pinky's scene with his horse blocking traffic and a cop who writes him a ticket
  • the classic Biology classroom scene ending with a peashooter fight between Wagstaff and two unruly students
  • Wagstaff's romancing and serenading of flirtatious "college widow" Connie Bailey (Thelma Todd) and their scene in a canoe on a duck pond - and his response to her baby talk: "If icky girl keep on talking that way, big stwong man's gonna kick all her teef wight down her thwoat"
  • the scene of the attempted kidnap of the two star Darwin College athletes
  • the climactic zany Huxley-Darwin football game involving audible football signals, banana peels, an elastic band, and a chariot



House of Wax (1953)

In Andre de Toth's classic horror film - created in "Natural Vision" 3-D:

  • the amazing scene of the burning of the wax museum and the melting of the historical figures, with wax sculptor Professor Henry Jarrod (Vincent Price) presumably dying in the burning building
  • the scene of a cloaked disfigured murderer killing Jarrod's business partner Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts) (made to look like a suicidal hanging in an elevator shaft), then murdering Burke's now ex-fiancee Cathy Gray (Carolyn Jones); also pursuing Cathy's friend - leading lady Sue Allen (Phyllis Kirk) along fog-shrouded streets and alleyways of turn-of-the-century New York City
  • the 3-D effect shown off with the carnival barker's bouncing paddle-balls, and his admonitions to the crowd in front of the newly-opened House of Wax: ("Watch it, young lady. Careful, sir, keep your head down or I'll tap you on the chin. Look out! Duck. (He turned to other customers behind him) Wow, that's a becoming hat you're wearing, madam. I wonder if I can clip the flower off it. Hold steady now, don't move your head, or you'll lose the powder off your nose. Wow, there's someone with a bag of popcorn. Close your mouth. It's the bag I'm aiming at, not your tonsils. Here she comes. Well, look at that, it's in the bag.")
  • the dance hall scene with a line of dancers doing the can-can kick
  • Sue's discovery that her friend Cathy's corpse has been dipped in wax to create a Joan of Arc wax figure ("It is Cathy. It's Cathy's body under the wax! I knew it! I knew it all the time!")
  • the shocking moment that Phantom-of-the-Opera-like Jarrod has his face beaten by Sue and his wax mask breaks off to reveal his hideously-burned and disfigured face below
  • the cellar laboratory scene of Sue strapped and naked under a boiling vat of wax as he prepares her to be his next exhibit victim as Marie Antoinette





How Green Was My Valley (1941)

In John Ford's Best Picture-winning classic:

  • the opening voice-over prologue by a faceless adult man - Huw (pronounced Hugh) Morgan - who packs some belongings and leaves a Welsh mining valley as a grown man after about fifty years. In his words (provided by the eloquent, mellifluous voice of Irving Pinchel), he idealistically and subjectively looks back and remembers (in flashback) earlier, rosier times of his life and 'green valley' home in South Wales: ("And I'm going from my valley. And this time, I shall never return. I am leaving behind me my fifty years of memory. Memory. Strange that the mind will forget so much of what only this moment has passed, and yet hold clear and bright the memory of what happened years ago - of men and women long since dead. Yet who shall say what is real and what is not? Can I believe my friends all gone when their voices are still a glory in my ears? No. And I will stand to say no and no again, for they remain a living truth within my mind. There is no fence nor hedge round Time that is gone. You can go back and have what you like of it, if you can remember. So I can close my eyes on my Valley as it is today - and it is gone - and I see it as it was when I was a boy. Green it was, and possessed of the plenty of the earth. In all Wales, there was none so beautiful")
  • as a ten year-old youth (Roddy McDowell), Huw characterized his stern and firm but respected father Gwillym Morgan (Donald Crisp), as they slowly climb up a hill in the attire of 1890's residents: ("Everything I ever learnt as a small boy came from my father, and I never found anything he ever told me to be wrong or worthless. The simple lessons he taught me are as sharp and clear in my mind as if I had heard them only yesterday")
  • the realistic depiction of family life - father and sons returning home from the grimy Welsh coal mines, and then bathing and sitting around the dinner table
  • crippled Huw's first feeble steps on a daffodil-covered hillside under the guidance of the preacher Mr. Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon)
  • the preacher's romance with Angharad (Maureen O'Hara) - ultimately unsuccessful
  • the last sermon of the preacher - his condemnation of his congregation for hypocrisy and vicious unfounded accusations and rumors: ("There is not one among you who has had the courage to come to me and accuse me of wrongdoing. And yet, by any standard, if there has been a sin, I am the one who should be branded the sinner. Will anyone raise his voice here now to accuse me? No. You're cowards, too, as well as hypocrites. But I don't blame you. The fault is mine as much as yours. The idle tongues, the poverty of mind which you have shown mean that I have failed to reach most of you with the lesson I was given to teach")
  • the heart-wrenching mining disaster tragedy
  • the final image of Huw and his father (Donald Crisp) walking in the hills







Howard the Duck (1986)

In the George Lucas-produced sci-fi comedy about a humanoid duck (based upon the Marvel Comics' character):

  • the clever opening credits sequence set in Howard T. Duck's Marshington DC apartment (3636 Lakeside Dr.) located on a "duck" version of Earth (Duckworld), with duck-versions of everything ("Rolling Egg" Magazine, a film poster for "Breeders of the Lost Stork" with Indiana Drake, Mae Nest and W.C. Fowls in a My Little Chickadee film poster, Playduck Magazine, etc.)
  • the sudden expulsion of Howard in his armchair into outer space (and his landing in Cleveland)
  • the scene of the interstellar duck Howard saving the life of Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson), a musician in a struggling punk rock band known as Cherry Bomb, by declaring: ("That's it, no more Mr. Nice Duck"), and fighting off mean street thugs with strange martial arts ("Let the female creature go! Every duck's got his limit, and you scum have pushed me over the line...No one laughs at a master of quack-fu")
  • the sequence of Howard the Duck having a "brewski" at Beverly's apartment, and admitting that he was having an identity crisis: ("What I don't know is what the hell I'm doing here! It's like a bad trip. I mean, talk about an identity crisis"), and then when he fell asleep, Beverly's peek into his wallet, where she found his ID, photos, credit cards (MallardCard and Bloomingducks), cash bills with a duck President, and a condom!
  • the hilarious scene in the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services where Howard was advised about finding a job by a large and outspoken counselor named Cora Mae (Virginia Capers) - warning that she didn't like dealing with a "slacker" or "misfit" like him: ("They think that by trapsing in here and looking outlandish, they are not gonna be able to find work....Do you think that by looking controversial, you is never gonna find a job and just go on coIlecting unemployment and living happy on the public dole. Well, dude, you've got another thing coming! Because Cora Mae always places her interviewee. I'm gonna find your ass a job that'll wipe that snarl right off your face, little - whatever you is. In fact, I think I got just the position for you! I got a feeling you're gonna take to this job like a duck to water")
  • the strange seduction scene in Beverly's apartment when Howard complimented her figure: ("I have developed a greater appreciation for the female version of the human anatomy"); he joined her in bed to watch David Letterman on television, as he suggestively remarked: ("Maybe it's not a man you should be looking for"); she wondered: ("Do you think I might find happiness in the animal kingdom, duckie?") and he proposed: ("Like they say, doll, love's strange. We could always give it a try. Hmm?"); she called his bluff and began unbuttoning the front of Howard's shirt - as the feathers in the middle of his head flared up: ("OK, let's go for it, Mr. Macho...It's just that you're so incredibly soft and cuddly...I just can't resist your intense animal magnetism"); he expressed his worry: ("Anyway, where will it all lead? Marriage? Kids? A house in the suburbs?"), and as she began to remove her blouse: ("Let's just face it, it's fate"), he shied away from intimacy - but they shared a few short kisses, seen in silhouette
  • the long extended scenes (about getting Howard back home with a reversed cosmic ray) involving multiple chase scenes and lots of explosions, including Howard and scientist/janitor Phil's (Tim Robbins) ride in an ultralight aircraft
  • the character of researcher Dr. Jenning (Jeffrey Jones) becoming possessed while driving: ("Listen, an evil has landed. The world is in great danger...It feels like something inside me gnawing at my guts! What's wrong with me?..The pain. It's like I'm transforming inside. I'm afraid I'm about to become something else...Something's growing inside me...It's replicating and superceding all my internal organs!...That monster's shape I saw...It's inside my body...The end of the world is coming, and I will be the cause of it...I'm not Jenning any more. The transformation is complete. I am now someone else")
  • the scene in Joe Roma's Cajun Sushi restaurant, when the waitress asked the possessed Dr. Jenning about his food order: ("What do you think he'd like to eat?"), with his reply: ("I no longer need human food...You are about to witness the end of the old world and the birth of the new"); then he explained his transformation into the Dark Overlord: ("I told you, bird brain, I am not Jenning any more! I am now one of the Dark Overlords of the universe...Tonight the laser beam hit the Nexus of Sominus...It lies beyond the planets. It is a region of demons to which we Dark Overlords were exiled eons ago...Just as you were brought down here accidentally. Tonight, the laser beam released me from that region of demons and pulled me down into that lab...During the explosion, I entered Jenning's body. So, I have disguised my true form which would be considered hideous and revoIting here...This will mean the extinction of all existing life forms...My powers are growing"); he then showed them the code-key - that he would soon use that night to activate the laser spectra scope to bring down the other Dark Overlords; he ended with the threat: ("Soon the Dark Overlords will engulf the Earth - Nothing human will remain here") - and soon destroyed much of the diner: ("If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen")
  • and the scene of the possessed Dr. Jenning driving a truck with Beverly as his hostage - and at one point - using his extended tongue to extract power from the vehicle's dashboard cigarette lighter; he then entered an Exhaust Emissions Testing area, where he used a laser-beam blast from his eyes to obliterate other cars - and then joked: "Smog inspection!"
  • the sequence of the Dark Overlord of the Universe (created by George Lucas' special effects division) transforming into a monstrous scorpion-like creature
  • Howard's coming to the saving rescue and defeating the monstrous creature by blowing it to smithereens with an experimental "neutron disintegrator" laser
  • the film's conclusion with Howard (strumming a red electric guitar) and Beverly on-stage and singing together: "Howard the Duck"









Howl's Moving Castle (2004, Jp.)

In director Hayao Miyazaki and producer John Lasseter's Best Animated Feature-nominated enchanting fantasy based on English writer Diana Wynne Jones' book:

  • the evocative opening shot of a gigantic, anthropomorphic Castle (with legs) strolling past a farm ranch on its mechanical chicken legs
  • the character of roguish, narcissistic, immature, yet brave and principled powerful teenaged wizard Howl (voice of Christian Bale), who owned the Castle
  • the memorable scene in which The Witch of the Waste (voice of Lauren Bacall) - looking like an obese woman - was spiteful and jealous over Howl's attentiveness and growing love for the pretty but mousy and shy young hatmaker Sophie (voice of Emily Mortimer), so when Sophie refused to serve the Witch, the young girl was transformed with a spell into a 90 year-old old woman (voice of Jean Simmons)
  • the scene of Sophie's flight to the countryside to break the curse, where she was led to the Castle by bouncing Turniphead, a living Scarecrow (voice of Crispin Freeman) also cursed
  • throughout the film - Sophie's fluid age-shifting depending upon her emotions, and the Witch's waning or changeable powers
  • the funny, exhaustive race up long, steep stairs between Sophie and The Witch - both tiring by the effort, although won by Sophie
  • the bizarre, creepy scene (involving giant light bulbs and dancing shadows) in which Howl's former tutor, now the King’s royal magic adviser or sorceress Madame Suliman (voice of Blythe Danner) strips The Witch of her powers, causing her to regress to just an elderly woman; in another sequence, Mme Suliman cast a spell revealing to Sophie what Howl really was in his fierce, beastly/feathered flying form
  • the enchanting scene in which Sophie restores Howl's heart by pushing Calcifer into Howl's chest - this freed the Castle's talking ball of fire demon and source of energy - aka Calcifer (voice of Billy Crystal) - to become a starry sprite again
  • the heart-warming, poignant, happily-ever-after shot of the restored family of Sophie (young again, but with silver-white hair), Howl, Howl's apprentice Markl, the Witch, the strange, wheezing dog Hean, and Calcifer returning to be with the others - now free of deceptions and curses - and sailing away in a new flying castle, as Howl and Sophie kiss











Hud (1963)

In Martin Ritt's emotionally-powerful, revisionist western drama:

  • the fascinating portrayal of irresponsible, wayward, rude, non-hero Texas cowboy Hud Bannon (Paul Newman), especially his driving of a big pink Cadillac convertible
  • Hud's womanizing of housekeeper Alma Brown (Oscar-winning Patricia Neal) with lines such as: ("The only question I ever ask any woman is: 'What time is your husband comin' home?' What's keeping ya? You're over the age of consent, ain't ya?"), and ("Ya still got that itch?..Well, let me know when it gets to botherin' ya.")
  • Hud's advice to idolizing nephew Lon (Brandon de Wilde): "You don't look out for yourself, the only helping hand you'll ever get is when they lower the box"
  • principled patriarch Homer Bannon's (Melvyn Douglas) condemnation of his drunken son Hud: ("You don't give a damn. That's all. That's the whole of it. You still don't get it, do ya? You don't care about people, Hud. You don't give a damn about 'em....Oh, ya got all that charm goin' for ya, and it makes the youngsters wanna be like ya. That's the shame of it 'cause you don't value nothing. You don't respect nothin'. You keep no check on your appetites at all. You live just for yourself and that makes ya not fit to live with"), and Hud's drunken (and angry) admission: "My mama loved me, but she died"
  • Homer Bannon's comment about the changing country to his grandson Lon, and the corruptive influence of Hud: "Little by little the look of the country changes because of the men we admire....You're just gonna have to make up your own mind one day about what's right and what's wrong" - he was referring to the choice of either admiring Hud or someone better
  • the shocking and terrifying attempted rape scene of Alma by Hud
  • the scene of the slaughter of the entire Bannon herd of diseased cattle due to hoof-and-mouth disease
  • the bus station goodbye scene between Alma and Hud, after the rape attempt, and Alma's disgust-attraction at Hud while he tried to assuage her feelings: ("Well, it looks like we're losin' a good cook. Maybe we should've boosted your salary a little. You ain't lettin' that little ruckus we had run ya off, are ya?...It seems I'm the first guy that ever stuck his foot in your door?...I'm the first one ever got rough, huh? Well, I'm sorry. That ain't my style. I don't usually get rough with my women. Generally don't have to"); although she complimented his appearance, she was ready to leave: ("You're rough on everybody...You want to know something funny, it would've happened eventually without the rough house. You look pretty good without your shirt on, you know. Sight of that through the kitchen window made me put down my dishtowel more than once"); as she boarded the bus, he shouted out: ("I'll remember ya, honey. You're the one that got away")
  • the final scene of Lon walking off from the ranch and speaking to Hud in his car, and deciding not to follow his ways: ("I'm goin' somewhere else and work for awhile if I can happen onto a job...I won't be back this way"), and Hud's rebuttal in the film's last lines of dialogue: ("Well, I guess you've come to be of your granddaddy's opinion that I ain't fit to live with. That's too bad. Yeah, we might've whooped it up some, you and me. That's the way you used to want it ...You know somethin' Fantan? This world is so full of crap, a man's gonna get into it sooner or later whether he's careful or not")








The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

In RKO's and director William Dieterle's classic adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel:

  • the radiant beauty of gypsy girl Esmeralda (Maureen O'Hara)
  • the extremely touching scene in which she mercifully offers a drink of water to the deformed hunchback bellringer Quasimodo (Charles Laughton) after a public scourging during his one hour on the pillory
  • Quasimodo's thrilling rescue of the girl from a hanging by swinging to her on a rope and taking her to Notre Dame, crying "Sanctuary, Sanctuary"
  • his heartbreaking closing line next to a gargoyle high atop Notre Dame: "Why was I not made of stone like thee?"
  • the tremendous zoom back of the camera from the cathedral with choruses of 'Hallelujah' to end the film



Hunger (2008, UK/Ire.)

In Steve McQueen's compelling biographical drama about a politically-defiant individual on a hunger strike in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland in 1981:

  • the 24 minute (mostly long-shot) conversational scene at a prison table, between 27 year-old hunger strike IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) leader Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) and a priest, Father Dominic Moran (Liam Cunningham), who incessantly smoked cigarettes as they talked about the morality of suicide, and Sands' defense of his actions on political, emotional, and moral grounds: ("You want me to argue about the morality of what I'm about to do and whether it's really suicide or not? For one, you're calling it suicide. I call it murder. And that's just another wee difference between us two. We're both Catholic men, both Republicans. But while you were poaching salmon in lovely Kilrea, we were being burnt out of our house in Rathcoole...Similar in many ways, Dom, but life and experiences focused our beliefs differently. You understand me?"); and Sands' conclusion about his own sacrifice: ("Putting my life on the line is not just the only thing I can do, Dom. It's the right thing")
  • also, Sands' concluding realization - a metaphor of his own reasoned suicidal sacrifice - with a tale about a wounded, four or five-days old foal (with snapped back legs from the sharp rocks) next to a stream - whose suffering (and "real pain") and life he ended by drowning it, although he knew he would be punished: ("So it's clear to me in an instant. I get down on my knees and I take the foal's head in my hands and I put him underwater. He's thrashing around at the start, so I press down harder until he's drowned...But I knew I did the right thing by that wee foal, and I could take the punishment for all our boys. I had the respect of them other boys now, and I knew that. (pause) I'm clear of the reasons, Dom. And clear of all the repercussions. But I will act and I will not stand by and do nothin'")
  • ("Faced now with the failure of their discredited cause, the men of violence have chosen in recent months to play what may well be their last card. They have turned their violence against themselves through the prison hunger strike to death. They seek to work on the most basic of human emotions, pity, as a means of creating tension and stoking the fires of bitterness and hatred")
  • a doctor's description of the results of a hunger strike on the human body: ("And from week one there has been a gradual deterioration of the liver, kidney and pancreatic function. Also the bone density decreases substantially due to calcium and vitamin deficiencies. The muscles of the heart is also undernourished causing impaired function and eventually cardiac failure. The left ventricle can shrink to 70% of its normal size. He will have low blood sugar, low energy and muscular wasting. He will be experiencing gastro- intestinal ulcers with the thinning of the intestinal wall and sub-mucosal hemorraging. There will have been degenerative changes to the mucous membranes of the intestines, and indeed all the organs in the body")
  • the death scene of an emaciated and skeletal Sands after a 66 day hunger strike - as he had flashbacked visions of his youth as a runner (through trees) for his school in Belfast, with birds flying
  • the final postscript and results of the hunger strike: ("Bobby Sands died after 66 days on hunger strike. At that time he was elected to the British Parliament M.P. for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. After 7 months the strike was called off. A further 9 men had died. during the 'blanket' and a 'no-wash' protests. In the following days and months, the British Government effectively granted all the prisoners' demands but without any formal recognition of political status")




The Hunt for Red October (1990)

In John McTiernan's action spy-thriller set in the mid-1980s late Cold War era - an adaptation of Tom Clancy's novel:

  • the memorable performances of over-the-top, magnanimous, pompous, rogue Soviet submarine Captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), a defecting naval commander of the prototype Russian nuclear submarine Red October, and his cynical hard-nosed American counterpart Commander Bart Mancuso (Scott Glenn) of the USS Dallas, commissioned to intercept the Russian sub (and its commander) and determine its motivations
  • the early scene of the main protagonist - American CIA analyst and book author Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin), briefing US government officials and military personnel on the threat of the Red October, and his tantalizingly bold prediction that Capt. Ramius was not insane or on the attack, but was motivated to defect and seek asylum in the US: ("I was just thinking that perhaps there's another possibility we might consider. Ramius might be trying to defect")
  • Ryan's plan - with only a few days to spare - was to get in contact with and rendezvous with the vessel: ("We definitely grab the boat, sir...Maybe it's enough then to just get some people onboard to inspect it. Call it whatever you want to - a Coastguard safety inspection...Well, first, we need to contact the commanders in the Atlantic directly. If the Russians get one whiff of this through the regular communications circuits, the game is up. Second, we need to figure out what can we do to help them. We need to devise a plan to intercede - ready to go at a moment's notice. And third, somebody's gonna go out there and make contact with Ramius and find out what his intentions really are")
  • the thrilling action sequences including Ryan's perilous helicopter-to-submarine transfer into the Red October to prove his theory
  • the sequence of Ramius' first officer Vasily Borodin (Sam Neill) describing his dream of life in America to Ramius: ("Good, then I will live in Montana and I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits. And she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck or possibly even a recreational vehicle and drive from state to state...Well then, in winter, I will live in Arizona. I think I will need two wives")
  • the stunning gunfight set within the bowels of the Red October, among towering red pumps, between saboteur-cook Igor Loginov (Tomas Arana) and Ryan - and Ryan's firing on Loginov to kill him
  • the death scene of the opposing Soviet attack submarine V. K. Konovalov and its Captain Tupolev (Stellan Skarsgård) and crew by their own fired torpedo during diversionary tactics, with the Captain's first mate growling: "You arrogant ass! You've killed us!"
  • the closing exchange on the Red October between Ramius and Ryan, who had navigated the vessel to a blue-lit river in New England (Maine), where they spoke about the aftermath: (Ramius: "Maybe some good will come from it. A little revolution now and then is a healthy thing, don't you think? Do you still like to fish, Ryan?...There's a river not unlike this one near Vilnius where my grandfather taught me to fish. 'And the sea will grant each man new hope. As sleep brings dreams of home.' Christopher Columbus"; Ryan: "Welcome to the New World, sir")









The Hurricane (1937)

In director John Ford's adventure/disaster drama and intense love story:

  • the iconic images of Dorothy Lamour (as childhood sweetheart Marama) in her tropical sarong next to bare-chested lover Terangi (Jon Hall) on the South Pacific, French-controlled colonial island of Manakoora
  • freedom-loving Polynesian sailor Terangi's many efforts to escape imprisonment and confinement, after being harshly and unjustly imprisoned following a bar-room brawl incident
  • the spectacular, but disastrous hurricane sequence in which the local church, a place of refuge, is soon devastated by the rising waves and washed out to sea
  • the final line in which the strict French Governor Eugene De Laage (Raymond Massey) observes through his binoculars wrongly to his wife Germaine (Mary Astor): "You're right, Germaine, it's only a floating log," in order to save Terangi, who had rescued some of the survivors (including Germaine) and was escaping in a canoe




The Hurt Locker (2009)

In Kathryn Bigelow's fact-based, but fictional character study and action thriller about the defusement and detonation of dangerous IED based upon the actual experiences of journalist and screenwriter/producer Mark Boal (Note: a "hurt locker" was the destination of explosion victims):

  • the stressful and tense series of war scenes/set-pieces of an elite group of three bomb-squad specialists or EOD bomb defusers (Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squad) in Bravo Company (cognizant of a 39-day countdown until their home-leave deployment-rotation)
  • the film's opening with the death of team leader SSG Matt Thompson (Guy Pearce) in a bulky Kevlar suit after the failed defusement of a dangerous IED (improvised explosive devices) bomb with a robotic device in the rubble and garbage-strewn streets of Bagdad in 2004 Iraq, when they were threatened with sniper fire and the bomb was set off by a cellphone from a marketplace butcher shop
  • the fears and difficulty of level-headed African-American Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and nervously fearful and pessimistic Spc. Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) ("Pretty much the bottom line is, if you're in Iraq, you're dead") in comfortably accepting Thompson's replacement (Sanborn calls him "a redneck piece of trailer trash") - newcomer and risk-taker Army Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner)
  • in scene after scene, James displayed bravado, recklessness and fearlessness -
    (1) he activated a flare, obscuring everyone's visibility, and drew his pistol on a suspected Iraqi-haji cab driver during a stand-off while commanding him to back up and get out of the car - and then after clipping the wires to one bomb detonator found it attached to seven others buried nearby, and
    (2) his disregard for orders when he attempted to defuse bombs in an illegally-parked, torched car near an evacuated UN building and removed his protective helmet and gear (so if he's gonna die, he can die "comfortable") - and also threw away his headset while searching to dismantle the device, and
    (3) the sequence of the tense stake-out in the hot desert sun when aiding a party of British army contractors (including Ralph Fiennes) caught in an ambush, and the use of scopes to zero in on targets - and James' fumbling unwrapping of a juice pack and straw to give a drink to dehydrated partner Sanborn, and
    (4) the unsuccessful attempt to break the bolts of locks holding strapped explosives with a timer to an Arabic family man's waist
  • the sequence in which curious Colonel Reed (David Morse) asked how many bombs "wild man" James had disarmed (he was told 873) - and his remark: "That's just hot s--t", and his follow-up question about the best way to disarm a bomb, with James' dry reply: "The way you don't die, sir"
  • the scene of the three comrades after a tense day - in their compound swigging alcohol, punching each other, and wrestling (and discovering that James kept souvenirs of his bomb dismantlings)
  • the scene of the wounding of Eldridge with a gunshot shattering his femur during an unnecessary nighttime mission and his anger at James as he was airlifted for medical treatment: "We didn't have to go out looking for trouble to get your f--king adrenaline fix, you f--k!"
  • the scene of James' sense of extreme disorientation when confronted by so many choices of frozen pizza and boxed cereal in a US supermarket during home-leave







Husbands and Wives (1992)

In Woody Allen's last true masterpiece to date, famously filmed during (and severely overshadowed by and paralleling) the real-life breakup of Allen's marriage to longtime companion/actress Farrow, and presented with interviews of the characters and some hand-held camera work:

  • the opening apartment scene of middle-aged married man Jack (Sydney Pollack) and his distraught, neurotic wife Sally's (Oscar-nominated Judy Davis) glib and calm announcement before dinner to couple Gabriel "Gabe" (Woody Allen) and Judy Roth (Mia Farrow): ("Jack and I are splitting up"), and then their insistences that it wasn't a big deal that they had grown apart: ("Don't turn this into a tragedy, OK, 'cause it's a very positive step for both of us")
  • the subsequent documentary-styled account of their marriages all crumbling (with new flings) following the news - complete with violently-panning handheld camera shots and jump-cutting
  • the disastrous new romances: Jack with younger, sexy yet ditzy 24 year-old blonde aerobics instructor Sam (Lysette Anthony) and Sally's relationship with romantic Irishman Michael Gates (Liam Neeson), one of Judy's co-worker colleagues
  • the relationship between professor Gabe and his bright, 20 year-old creative writing student Rain (Juliette Lewis) - and her (voice-over) reading of Gabe's sublimely-written manuscript about relationships and sex: ("...of course men would make love at any given moment with any number of women, while females were selective. They were in each case catering to the demands of only one small egg, while each male had millions and millions of frantic sperms screaming wildly 'Let us out! Let us out!'...")
  • during a car ride, Rain's honest assessment of Gabe's book, and her expression of some disappointment, causing him to feel defensive: ("I was a little disappointed, I guess, with, uh, some of your attitudes...The way your people just casually have affairs like that...Are our choices really between chronic dissatisfaction and suburban drudgery?....You have to be careful not to trivialize things like that (marriage)...The lead character's views on women is so retrograde, it's so shallow, you know?...Isn't it beneath you as a mature thinker, I mean, to allow your lead character to waste so much of his emotional energy obsessing over this psychotic relationship with a woman that you fantasize as powerfully sexual and inspired when in fact she was pitifully sick")
  • the sour, embarrassing party scene in which Jack (who just learned that Sally was dating Michael) became jealous and took it out, in an intense argument, with Sam; when he heard her speaking about her logical belief in astrology: ("Why wouldn't the position of the planets have an influence on our personalities?...Because, you know, the position of the planets, it's like, is crucial to your life"), he dragged her from a party after rudely berating her: ("If you don't know what the hell you're talkin' about, why don't you try not talking?...I'm sick of listening to your crap about soybeans and Zen foods, and the f--kin' Zodiac") - she screeched at him and begged for "Help!" (to deliberately embarrass him) when he tried to drag her to the car (twice!) - leading soon after to their breakup when he realized his mistake in leaving Sally: ("God damn it, I must have been out of my mind. You're crazy! Totally crazy!")
  • during an interview, Sally's brilliant "hedgehogs and foxes" internal monologue about unromantic, frigid sex with Michael: ("I thought that I liked what Michael was doing to me, and it felt different from Jack. More gentle and more exciting. And I thought how different Michael was from Jack. How much deeper his vision of life was. And I thought Michael was a hedgehog and Jack was a fox. And then I thought Judy was a fox, and Gabe was a hedgehog. And I thought about all the people I knew, and which were hedgehogs, and which were foxes")
  • the awkward scene when Jack returns home in an effort to reconcile with Sally, and he finds Michael and Sally together in bed: (Jack: "This is my f--king house!" Sally: "No, this is MY f--king house!")
  • the breathtaking kiss between Gabe and Rain (on the occasion of her 21st birthday) during a rainstorm accompanied by thunder and lightning: (Gabe: "Do you want a kiss? I mean, do you want a real kiss?...You want an actual, professional kiss, right?...Both lips, upper and lower simultaneously?"), and Gabe's decision not to pursue a romantic relationship with his seductive student
  • the downbeat final interview with Gabe, now single, after Judy left him to marry Michael, and his musings about his life: ("I'm out of the race at the moment. I-I don't want to get involved with anybody. I-I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't want to get hurt. I just, you know, don't mind, you know, living by myself and working. You know, it's temporary. I mean, these feelings will pass and then I'll have the urge to get back into the swing of things. And that seems to be how it goes....I'm writing, I'm working on a, a novel, a new novel. Not the old one anymore, and, um - it's fine"), with his closing line to the interviewer: "Can I go? Is this over?"










The Hustler (1961)

In Robert Rossen's exciting drama about the sports world of high-stakes pool:

  • the realistic pool play [sometimes by real-life player Willie Mosconi] and authentic sleazy pool-room milieu in the pool bar including the performance of legendary Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) and the challenge match from pool shark "Fast" Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) for $200 per game
  • "Fast" Eddie's admiring compliments about Minnesota Fats' play: ("Boy, he is great! Geez, that old Fat Man. Look at the way he moves, like a dancer...And those fingers, them chubby fingers. And that stroke, it's like he's uh, like he's playin' a violin or somethin'.")
  • late into the night during the marathon match, when "Fast" Eddie finally gets to play, he boasts about his hot streak: ("You know, I gotta hunch, Fat Man. I've gotta hunch it's me from here-on in...I mean, did that ever happen to you? When all of a sudden, you feel like you can't miss? 'Cause I dreamed about this game, Fat Man. And I dreamed about this game every night on the road...You know, this is my table, man, I own it...")
  • as the match continued between "Fast" Eddie and Minnesota Fats, Eddie was persistent and arrogantly wanted to force Fats to admit defeat and acknowledge his superiority in the marathon contest, when evil gambling promoter Bert Gordon (George C. Scott) labeled Eddie a 'loser': (Eddie: "I came after him and I'm gonna get him. I'm goin' with him all the way. The pool game is not over until Minnesota Fats says it's over. Is it over, Fats? (Fats turned to Gordon for the answer) (To Gordon) I'm gonna beat him, Mister. I beat him all night and I'm gonna beat him all day. I'm, I'm the best you ever seen, Fats. I'm the best there is. Now even if you beat me, I'm still the best"); Gordon responded to Fats: ("Stay with this kid. He's a loser") - and before long, the self-destructive and drunken Eddie didn't bow out, Fats gained the upper-hand, and Eddie was defeated; the victorious champion declared the match over: "Game's over, Eddie."
  • the painful breaking of Eddie's thumbs with his face pressed against a glass window of the men's room
  • the monologue during a picnic when Eddie tells alcoholic and crippled girlfriend Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie), an aspiring writer, the rush he experiences in playing a perfect game of pool, comparing it to a jockey riding a horse: ("When I'm goin', when I'm really goin', I feel like a, like a jockey must feel when he's sittin' on his horse, he's got all that speed and that power underneath him, he's coming into the stretch, the pressure's on him - and he knows. He just feels, when to let it go and how much. 'Cause he's got everything workin' for him - timing, touch. It's a great feeling, boy - it's a real great feeling - when you're right and you know you're right. Like all of a sudden, I got oil in my arm. Pool cue's part of me. You know, it's a - pool cue, it's got nerves in it. It's a piece of wood; it's got nerves in it. You can feel the roll of those balls. You don't have to look. You just know. You make shots that nobody's ever made before. And you play that game the way nobody's ever played it before"); taken over by his description, Sarah confidently stated her belief in him as a "winner" - and her love: ("You're not a loser, Eddie. You're a winner. Some men never get to feel that way about anything. I love you, Eddie")
  • the tragic suicide of Sarah after writing "Perverted, Twisted, Crippled" on her mirror
  • the stunning ending scene of Eddie standing up to Bert, and admitting that in his own single-minded pursuit of pool, he wasted the one meaningful thing in his life, Sarah, and gave up his humanity: ("I loved her, Bert. I traded her in on a pool game. But that wouldn't mean anything to you, because who did you ever care about. 'Just win,' 'Win!' you said, 'win, that's the important thing.' You don't know what winning is, Bert. You're a loser. 'Cause you're dead inside and ya can't live unless you make everything dead around ya! Too high, Bert - the price is too high. If I take it, she never lived. She never died. And we both know that's not true, Bert, don't we, huh? She lived, she died. Boy, you better, you tell your boys they better kill me, Bert. They better go all the way with me, but if they just bust me up, I'll put all those pieces back together again, then so help me, so help me God, Bert, I'm gonna come back here and I'm gonna kill you"); Bert's thugs moved toward Eddie, but Gordon conceded and gestured to his goons to back off, but delivered an ultimatum: ("All right. All right. Only, uh, don't ever walk into a big-time pool hall again")
  • and after the redemptive concluding match between Fats and Eddie, the film's final words by challenger Eddie to a beaten Fats: "Fat Man, you shoot a great game of pool"; Fats responded: "So do you, Fast Eddie"











100's of the GREATEST SCENES AND MOMENTS
(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
M4
| 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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