Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932)

In this Warner Brothers crime/prison drama (with a message) by director Mervyn LeRoy:

  • the scene of WWI unemployed veteran James Allen's (Paul Muni) unsuccessful attempt to pawn off his war medal, a Belgian Croix de Guerre, when the owner already had a drawer case full of medals from other unemployed, vagrant veterans
  • the dissolve/transition as the judge's gavel was brought down for sentencing of punishment in prison at hard labor for ten years for a $5 robbery - a crime Allen didn't commit - the sentencing was completed by the clanging sound of a blacksmith's hammer pounding the chain on prisoner Allen's leg
  • Allen's meal scene when he was disgusted by the tasteless and abominable food, and told by a fellow prisoner that he would have to get used to it: ("Grease, fried dough, pig fat and sorghum. And you better get to like it, because you're going to get the same thing every morning, every year")
  • the exciting and memorable escape scene, when Allen was taking a break in the bushes - and he slipped the shackles off his legs, grabbed clothes from a clothesline and changed out of his uniform, ran through the swamps, and outwitted guards and bloodhounds that were chasing him by breathing through a hollow reed underwater
  • the visually impressive and chilling fade-out ending when hunted, falsely-accused fugitive James Allen was asked by his fiancee Helen (Helen Vinson) questions about how he lived: ("Can't you tell me where you're going? Will you write? Do you need any money? But you must, Jim. How do you live?") he responded: - "I steal" - as he receded into the shadowy darkness





I Am Cuba (1964, Soviet Union/Cuba) (aka Soy Cuba, or Я-Куба)

In Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov's long-forgotten and rarely-seen cinematic work about the Cuban Revolution (and the final days of the Batista regime) - composed of an episodic series of four short stories or vignettes about the Cuban people on the exotic Caribbean island, politically-supported by the Soviet Union; the pro-Castro, propagandistic (agitprop) film was a joint venture of Mosfilm, the Soviet film studio, and Cuba's ICAIC, the new state film enterprise:

  • the female-voiced narrator (Raquel Revuelta) who broke into the storyline - known as "The Voice of Cuba" (in the credits), with verses beginning: "I am Cuba"
  • the bravura lengthy opening sequence with inventive and fluid camera-work, featuring a hand-held camera filming with a long continuous take - across Havana rooftops (including views of affluent American tourists and bikini-clad beauties strolling high up on an outdoor fashion runway platform as they were voted upon by applause and photographed, and entertained by rock 'n' roll musicians) - and then the camera descended to another roof-top and its swimming pool where other US tourists were lounging, sunbathing, being served drinks, playing cards, etc. - and without a cut, the camera ducked underwater into the pool (after following one of the bikinied brunettes into the water) - it was a decadent example of an American-run gambling casino-hotel in the heart of Batista's Havana - its skyline seen on the horizon
  • the first episode: Cuban Maria/"Betty" (Luz María Collazo) - a bar prostitute wearing a chic black dress, was picked up by Jim (Jean Bouise) - an insensitive, wealthy American tourist in a seedy and smoky nightclub; he was taken to her broken-down, seaside, one-room shack for the night; the next morning, her fruit-seller boyfriend Rene was dismayed when he realized his mistreated, innocent fiancee was a hooker going by the name of Betty; as Jim fled, he had to wind his way through the maze of alleyways and shacks: "I am Cuba. Why are you running away? You came here to have fun. Go ahead, have fun! Isn't this a happy picture! Don’t avert your eyes. Look! I am Cuba. For you, I am the casino, the bar, hotels and brothels. But the hands of these children and old people are also me"
  • the second episode: tenant-farmer peasant Pedro (José Gallardo) learned that he had been evicted from his land, and that his sugar cane crop had been sold by his greedy, co-opted landlord Senor Acosta to the US United Fruit Company; frustrated and despairing, he set fire to his field and shack, and perished from smoke inhalation: "I am Cuba. Sometimes it seems to me that the trunks of my palm trees are full of blood. Sometimes it seems to me that the murmuring sounds around us are not the ocean, but choked-back tears. Who answers for this blood? Who is responsible for these tears?"
  • the third (main) episode: liberal, middle-class student revolutionary Enrique (Raúl García) protested against fascist police forces, and was tempted to use a sniper rifle to assassinate the chief of police; he rallied with other friends and workers to demonstrate against the oppressive regime; one radical student broke away from officers during an arrest in an office, and began throwing recently-printed leaflets off a balcony while shouting: "Long Live Freedom!", he was shot in the back and killed, and his body spiraled down to the plaza below; afterwards, as Enrique led a major protest in the plaza to overthrow the system - on the grounds of Havana University (the film scene paid homage to the Odessa Steps sequence in Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (1925, USSR)), the mob was met with powerful fire hoses; amidst the smoke of burning cars, Enrique became the next martyr for the cause of Castro, when the police chief shot him to death; his Cuban flag-draped body was marched through Havana's streets in a massive cortege by his comrades; in a dazzling one-take shot, the camera rose up from the street level, crossed the street, entered the open window of a cigar-rolling factory and then emerged on the other side of the room above the street and rooftops (where a Cuban flag was unfurled from the window) as the parade of grieving mourners passed below and stretched long into the distance
  • the fourth episode: peace-loving peasant Mariano was barely surviving in a mountain hut in the area of the Sierra Maestra; after his home and land was bombed by Batista's Air Force and his young son was killed, he was drawn into joining rebel, freedom-fighting guerrillas in the hills led by revolutionary Fidel Castro: "I am Cuba. Your arms have gotten used to farming tools, but now a rifle is in your hands. You are not shooting to kill. You are firing at the past. You are firing to protect your future"












I Live in Fear (1955, Jp.) (aka Record of a Living Being, or Ikimono no kiroku)

In writer/director Akira Kurosawa's family drama - a tale of inter-generational rivalries during an age of atomic paranoia in the mid-1950s (a decade after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki):

  • the opening credits sequence - with views of traffic at a busy Tokyo intersection, accompanied by theremin music
  • the character of the lead protagonist: elderly, self-made, wealthy, eccentric and age-degenerating steel foundry owner Mr. Kiichi Nakajima (Toshiro Mifune), facing the debilitating, fear-stricken dread of nuclear weapons and radioactive fallout, and stubbornly determined to convince his reluctant, greedy, and entitled family members to emigrate to a farm in Brazil for safety's sake
  • the sequence of the overly-anxious Nakajima confusing bright flashes of lightning and thunder for a nuclear attack, ducking at imagined blasts, and panicking
  • the continuing domestic-family arbitration case, led by a three-person tribunal (and arbitrator-counselor Dr. Harada (Takashi Shimura), a dentist), to rule on the overly-worried Nakajima's rationality and mental competency (and the fate of their inheritance) - and whether he could sell his foundry and home, and uproot his entire family to Brazil
  • in the film's conclusion, Nakajima's desperate and irrational decision to destroy his assets (by burning down his factory, and unwittingly hurt his factory workers) to persuade his family - afterwards, he was committed and placed in an insane asylum, where he sat with his delusions while staring at the sun - (believing he had safely escaped from Earth and transported elsewhere) - in a chilling moment, he cried out as he pointed out the barred window at the rising sun: "It's burning! It's burning! The earth is at last burning away"
  • the film's final juxtaposed, metaphoric shot of differing generations: Dr. Harada slowly descended the sloped corridor of the mental hospital after his visit, while Nakajima's mistress Asako Kuribayashi (Akemi Negishi), bearing her little boy on her back, walked up a stairway - they both passed each other without recognition







I Love Melvin (1953)

In director Don Weis' energetic, much-neglected, but formulaic light-weight musical:

  • in the opening to the title sequence, an unidentified backstage performer, in front of her marquee-styled mirrror, inscribed the film's title - in bright red lipstick - on a mirror
  • the opening number "A Lady Loves (to Love)" - performed by ambitious Broadway musical chorus girl and aspiring actress Judy Leroy (Debbie Reynolds) in a purple feathered-costume with a black-top-hatted male chorus - revealed to be a daydream when she was shaken awake by her mother ("Come on, get up, it's late!")
  • the scene of the first meeting between the musical's two eventual lovers - Judy and lowly assistant Melvin Hoover (Donald O'Connor) to ornery LOOK Magazine photographer Mergo (Jim Backus). Both were daydreaming when they bumped or collided into each other in Central Park after walking along two sides of the same tall hedge, and they sang the song "We Have Never Met, as Yet" together
  • the sequence of Judy's theatre show, Quarterback Kelly, with an amazing, acrobatic sequence of "Saturday Afternoon Before the Game" (Reynolds portrayed the inflated, light brown pigskin football!)
  • after their first meeting, the scene of Melvin's exaggerated boasting and flattering claims that caused Judy to believe he was a famous magazine photographer who would shoot her for a two-page spread and possibly put her on the magazine's cover
  • Judy's and Melvin's deceptively-simple dance duet "Where Did You Learn To Dance?" performed in Judy's living room after he had taken photographs of her in various poses to show her backstage and city life - shots of Judy vacuuming, ironing, washing her hair, and visiting NYC sites
  • Melvin's roller-skating (and tap-dancing) act in a park gazebo (and his swinging from lamp posts and stomping - in homage to Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain) to entertain Judy's younger sister Clarabelle Schneider (Noreen Corcoran) who had just finished singing "Life Has Its Funny Little Ups and Downs" with him
  • Melvin's crazy romp through the travel agency sections of the Look Magazine offices while singing "I Wanna Wander" - and entering into various locales and personas (via changing backdrops, props and quick costume changes)
  • Judy's fanciful dance with a trio of Gene Kellys and Fred Astaires - and afterwards imagining that she was receiving an Oscar award - another dream ("If I Had a Million Dollars" sequence)
  • the wish-fulfillment ending after Melvin was dejected, ashamed, and had run away and abandoned his job; he disappeared for three weeks, and awoke back in Central Park on one of the benches; he discovered that Judy was on the cover of Look Magazine and an inside article was written about him, beseeching him to come back: "Melvin Where Are You?" - the happy conclusion was orchestrated by Judy to identify him, entice him to come out of hiding, and bring them together








I Spit on Your Grave (1978) (aka Day of the Woman)

In producer/director/writer Meir Zarchi's gruesomely-told and widely vilified exploitation story, a notorious rape/vigilante revenge splatter-horror ('nastie') film:

  • the character of NYC socialite/writer Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton, grand-niece of the famous comedian Buster Keaton) who rented a remote and woodsy summer riverside dwelling in Connecticut, and was spied upon
  • the graphic, lengthy and violent, painful-to-watch sequence of her repeated rape by four locals, including three aimless, misogynistic and sex-obsessed guys she had first met at a gas station (Eron Tabor as gas station manager Johnny, and his two unemployed friends Anthony Nichols as Stanley, and Gunter Kleeman as harmonica-playing Andy), and a fourth bespectacled, mentally-slow supermarket delivery man (Richard Pace as Matthew Lucas) who was there to lose his virginity
  • the planned revenge of the traumatized victim who paid a visit to a church to pray for forgiveness before her brutal counter-assault
  • the scenes of her angry (yet often seductive) revenge against each of the four attackers: a noose-hanging for Matthew, a lethal bloodletting castration for Johnny conducted nude in a bathtub with a conveniently-placed knife, an axing for Andy, and a disembowelment with an outboard boat motor for Stanley



I Walked With a Zombie (1943)

In this acclaimed occult horror film from RKO producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur, with atmospheric tension and shadowy nighttime scenes:

  • the scene of Canadian nurse Betsy Connell (Frances Dee) on the deck of a schooner bound for the Caribbean island of Saint Sebastian, watching the stars, and looking out on the horizon after seeing flying fish, and sensing beauty: ("I looked at those great glowing stars and I felt the warm wind on my cheeks and I breathed deep and every bit of me inside myself said, 'How beautiful'") - and interrupted by rich sugar plantation owner Paul Holland (Tom Conway) who had read her thoughts: ("It is not beautiful...It's easy enough to read the thoughts of a newcomer. Everything seems beautiful because you don't understand. Those flying fish, they are not leaping for joy. They're jumping in terror. Bigger fish want to eat them. That luminous water, it takes its gleam from millions of tiny dead bodies. It's the glitter of putrescence. There's no beauty here, only death and decay...Everything good dies here, even the stars")
  • Betsy's strangely-afflicted patient, Paul Holland's wife Jessica (Christine Gordon), who exhibited symptoms of inactivity and an inability to speak (was she a zombie?), and the mystery about the cause of her condition (possibly because of Paul's retribution against Jessica for her adulterous affair with Paul's half-brother and employee, Wesley Rand (James Ellison))
  • the unsettling nighttime scene of Betsy's haunting walk with her patient Jessica through tall sugar cane fields (adorned with several talismans, including a skull and hanging goat carcass) to a local voodoo ceremony, superbly photographed with tracking shots
  • the abrupt appearance in the darkness of huge zombie guard or gatekeeper Carre Four (Darby Jones) - a memorable image
  • the shocking revelation that the Voodoo priest in the ceremony was none other than Mrs. Rand (Edith Barrett), a doctor, and the mother of Paul and Wesley, and that she was the one who had put a voodoo curse or spell on Jessica to zombify her
  • the final sequence of the double suicide of Wesley and Jessica, when he thrust an iron arrow into Jessica's body to kill her (at the same time a voodoo doll effigy of Jessica was pierced by a voodoo master), and then walked her body into the ocean






I Want to Live! (1958)

In director Robert Wise's grim and dramatic biopic:

  • hard-living, bad-luck woman Barbara Graham (Oscar-winning Susan Hayward) convicted of murder although she vowed her innocence: ("I despise the lawyers, all the ones who want me dead - I'm innocent")
  • the final, realistic San Quentin gas-chamber execution scene when the heroine was advised: "When you hear the pellets drop, count ten, take a deep breath - it's easier that way" and her response: "How do you know?"
  • the image of Barbara clenching her fist and slumping over in death



I Was Born, But... (1932, Jp.) (aka Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo)

In director Yasujiro Ozu's silent film classic - a poignant dramatic comedy about childhood perspectives (about class roles and social hierarchy), set in suburban Tokyo, Japan in the early 1930s:

  • a tale about a lower middle-class Japanese family, led by office manager-clerk husband Kennesuke Yoshi (Tatsuo Saito) and housewife Haha (Mitsuko Yoshikawa), with two young school-aged sons: the older one Ryoichi (Hideo Sugawara) and Keiji (Tomio Aoki) who were often bullied by other neighborhood boys in their new surroundings, but then overcame and became the top alpha-males among their fellow classmates
  • the pivotal scene of the two sons at the home of their father's wealthy industrialist boss Juuyaku or "Iwasaki" (Takeshi Sakamoto) where in his mansion, they were invited to view the projection of an amateur movie reel depicting their father as foolish, when he was debased and demeaned at work, made clownish funny faces and tried to amuse his boss; everyone in the audience - except the boys - laughed
  • in reaction to the film, the boys lost confidence in their father and stubbornly went on a brief hunger strike (refusing to eat their noodles in protest); they felt that their subservient father shouldn't be kowtowing and always pleasing his boss because of his lowly social and financial status, and that society's hierarchy should be based rather on ability, strength and toughness
  • Yoshi felt ashamed and resigned to his limited working-man's life - and was tempted to begin drinking; the film's most dramatic image was of the despairing father, who grabbed a liquor bottle and leaned against a doorframe near his wife - contemplating his lowly despair ("I give up. I need a drink...Will they lead the same sorry lives we have?"), but then wishing for and affirming personal dignity for them as they slept: "Don't become miserable apple-polishers like me, boys"
  • in the conclusion the next morning, the youths ate rice balls for breakfast shared with their father; as they walked together, the schoolboys even encouraged their father to acknowledge his boss, waiting at his chauffeured car at a train crossing: "You better go say good morning to him, Dad" - their father accepted a ride to work
  • the two boys had come to accept injustices in the world and realize that their father's place in the regimented social strata was not enjoyable but understandable, and that his behavior (of playing up to the boss who was ranked higher) was justified because it furthered their own lives (he had earlier argued why he worked for the boss: "If he didn't pay me, you couldn't go to school. You couldn't eat"); they had gained new respect for him






If... (1968, UK)

In director Lindsay Anderson's violent and controversial coming-of-age social drama about youth rebellion at a conformist public school in the UK (a symbolic microcosm of a repressive Establishment-oriented society) - it was considered a precursor of Stanley Kubrick's own controversial A Clockwork Orange (1971, UK):

  • the arrival of students at a British public school for the new school year, and the ever-present rivalry and bullying between the younger, lower-form boys (treated as and called "scum"), and the upper-form senior prefects (known as "Whips") who enforced discipline and took advantage of the junior boys by making them their slaves
  • the introduction of returning student Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell in his debut film role), a rebellious and anti-authoritarian character, called Guy Fawkes by one of the prefects ("It's Guy Fawkes back again"), who removed the black scarf on his face (hiding his mustache), spoke into the mirror: "My face is a never-failing source of wonder to me," and soon after was shaving off the illegal growth of hair
  • Mick's off-handed, fatalistic quotes while speaking to his roommates: "The whole world will end very soon - black, brittle bodies peeling into ash...War is the last possible creative act....(looking at a side-profile of a nude pinup model in a magazine) Hello, sweetheart. There's only one thing you can do with a girl like this. Walk naked into the sea together as the sun sets. Make love once. Then die"
  • the scene of the punishment of Mick and his classmates for being "degenerate" - a two-minute cold shower [Note: the full-frontal male nudity was excised by censors]
The Homoerotic Gymnastics Scene
  • the slow-motion, black and white homoerotic gymnastic scene with great sexual tension, when Wallace (Richard Warwick) flirtatiously and seductively grabbed the horizontal high bar and performed graceful rotational moves, at the same time that he knew that younger Bobby Philips (Rupert Webster), one of the 'prettier' boys, standing on the balcony above was pulling a sweater over his head, and watching him [Note: Later in the film was a view of the two males peacefully sleeping in the same bed together]
  • the Packhorse Cafe coffee-shop scene, after Mick and friend Wallace went joyriding on a stolen motorcycle during a truant day from school; there, Mick rudely flirted with an unnamed coffee-house waitress, the Girl (Christine Noonan), and she slapped him across the face for stealing a kiss; in a fantasy sequence, she came up behind him at the jukebox and animalistically taunted him: ("Go on, look at me. I'll kill you. Look at my eyes. Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror and my eyes get bigger and bigger. I'm like a tiger. I like tigers. Rrrrah!"); he contemplated kissing her, but was fearful of getting too close, during their ritualistic mating (using the metaphor of two tigers); their love-making was accompanied by growls, sniffs, clawing, swipes, hissing, and biting - suddenly, they appeared totally naked as they rolled around and wrestled each other on the floor
  • the protracted whipping corporal punishment scene in the gymnasium, after Mick (and his pals Wallace and Johnny Knightly (David Wood)) had continually been regarded as a "nuisance" because of their attitude by one of the "Whips" - the mean head of house Rowntree (Robert Swann): Mick's insult: "The thing I hate about you, Rowntree, is the way you give Coca-Cola to your scum, and your best teddy bear to Oxfam, and expect us to lick your frigid fingers for the rest of your frigid life"; in the gym, all three were caned - the last to suffer a brutal lashing was Mick, who was bent over a bar and whipped with ten strokes instead of the usual four for his comrades (most of Mick's whippings were off-screen, accentuated by the sounds of quickening steps and the slashing whip against his buttocks); as he left the room, Mick was required to shake Rowntree's hand and thank him: "Thank you, Rowntree”
  • Mick's contemplation of a retaliatory and brutal attack on all of his enemies, during a blood-brother oath ceremony with his two buddies, when they all cut themselves on the palm of their hands with a straight-edge razor and vowed: "Death to the oppressor. The resistance. Liberty. One man can change the world with a bullet in the right place. Real bullets"
  • about three quarters of the way through the film, the sequence (a dream fantasy of the boys?) of the meek young wife of the House Master, Mrs. Kemp (Mary MacLeod), wandering down a hallway stark naked (seen in long-shot), and entering the empty washroom area where she was seen naked from a side-view; she fondled and caressed soap, towels and other objects the boys had carelessly strewn about [Note: it was reportedly the first instance of a full-frontal female nude passed by the British Board of Film Classification]
  • the Headmaster's (Peter Jeffrey) reprimanding speech to Mick, Johnny, and Wallace - offering them an opportunity and "privilege" to serve by performing work as punishment: "Now you boys are intelligent. You're too intelligent to be rebels. That's too easy. And it would be easy to punish you in the normal way. But I'm going to give you a privilege. Work. Real work. And I want you to think of this not as a punishment, but as an opportunity to give, to serve"
  • the boys' shocking discovery in the church's basement, while cleaning it, of a fully-developed fetus in a large jar, and a stock pile of armaments, weaponry and bombs
  • the violent, vengeful and bloody finale - an armed shoot-out and anarchistic attack by rebellious, revolting students (including the Girl), known as the Crusaders, from the rooftop of the school during Speech Day ceremonies; after the church was smoked out, the students opened fire with machine guns and explosions were set off; but then some in the crowd that were being fired upon acquired rifles and shot back, including the General, police officers, a mother, and some of the other students; when the Headmaster walked out into the open and called for a cease-fire, Mick's Girl coldly shot him between the eyes with a handgun while he pleaded: ("Boys, boys, I understand you. Listen to reason and trust me, trust me!")
  • the film's concluding "THE END" was substituted with "IF..."



















Ikiru (1952, Jp.) (aka To Live)

In Akira Kurosawa's humanistic, existential, and poignant drama about a terminally-ill man - divided into two distinct parts: the first of the man's wasted life, and second as a series of non-chronological flashbacks and memories at the protagonist's funeral-wake service:

  • the character of unemotional, rather dull, longtime petty bureaucrat Kanji Watanabe (Takashi Shimura), a widower with an estranged and greedy son Mitsuo (Nobuo Kaneko), and working as a disagreeable and spirit-lacking Tokyo City Hall office chief and civil servant in the same monotonous, rubber-stamping job for decades
  • Watanabe's learning of his imminent death within a year from stomach-gastric cancer (seen in the opening shot of his X-Ray) - and his devastated, head-down depressed reaction as he left the hospital after his diagnosis, and was nearly killed by a truck with a blaring horn
  • the news of the impending end of his life - causing him to reevaluate in his few remaining months what his life had meant; he began a search for meaning, first taking a leave of absence, drinking, fequenting hooch, striptease and pachinko gambling parlors and other dark locales of the underworld of Tokyo nightlife - guided by a dead-beat novelist who was self-described as Mephistopheles (Yunosuke Ito)
  • Watnabe's brief dating of cheerful and exuberant younger employee Toyo Odagiri (Miki Odagiri) who inspired him to make a mark with his life - he told her: "You're so full of life. And me, I'm jealous of that. If I could be like you for just one day before I died. I won't be able to die unless I can do that. I want to do something. Only you can show me. I don't know what to do. I don't know how. Maybe you don't know either, but, please, if you can show me how to be like you!"
  • the sequence of his uncharacteristic generous, worthwhile and socially-motivated decision to support a city project to transform a garbage dump-sewer area in the slum district into a playground and park for children - his final triumph
  • twice, Watanabe's symbolic singing of "Gondola no Uta" - a 1915 dirge song: in a Tokyo nightclub (onlookers were stilled but felt he was destroying the mood), and while rocking slowly back and forth on a swing in the newly-constructed park during a light snowfall in the finale (it was the flashback of a policeman who had found his body) - the lyrics: "Fall in love, dear maiden, While your lips are still red, And before you are cold, For there will be no tomorrow. Life is so short, Fall in love, dear maiden, While your hair is still black, And before your heart withers, For today will not come again"
  • in the second part of the film after his death, the cynical, judgmental and gossipy reactions from his shallow bureaucratic co-workers (freely drinking sake at the wake) to his passionate, socially-productive act, with some exhibiting contempt, conjecture, inspiration, credit-claiming, jealousy, suspicion, confusion, and frustration over the park project
  • the character of Kimura (Shinichi Himori), the only civil servant at the wake who seemed truly inspired by Watanabe’s example, but was afterwards quickly stifled and sternly repressed at the office for acting out of place; in the film's final ambiguous frames, it was unclear whether Kimura's newfound convictions would be realized







I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)

In director Daniel Mann's dramatic biopic about a Broadway star:

  • showbiz singer/actress Lillian Roth's (Oscar-nominated Susan Hayward) characterization - singing on stage as a glamorous screen star of the jazzy number: "Sing, You Sinners" - during the filming of the pre-Code Hollywood musical comedy Honey (1930), while her domineering stage mother Katie (Jo Van Fleet) watched from off-stage
  • Lillian's descent into drunkenness and alcohol abuse, and telling manipulative, fellow alcoholic third husband Tony Bardeman (Richard Conte) in a Los Angeles bar, before having a very public incident in the parking lot with him: ("I'm what you call an adorable drunk...I'm no good. That's the way it's gotta be. I'm just nothin'. A hopeless drunk gettin' just what I deserve")
  • her vicious argument with her mother Katie in their tiny NYC apartment, blaming her for deliberately breaking an alcohol bottle: ("OH! Look what ya did! And ya DID IT ON PURPOSE! You're still trying to make me do what you want, to be what you want! I can't be anything except what I am! Look, look what did you drop that bottle for? What are you trying to do, drive me crazy? Go on, GET THE BOTTLE! GET IT NOW!"); her mother admitted pushing her into being the famed actress Lillian Roth and projecting her own ambitions onto her, in order to survive: ("All right! All right! All right, it's my fault, huh? I made you become an actress, you didn't want to, all right. I've been a bad mother. You had to support me, all right! All right! ALL RIGHT, EVERYTHING! Just this, and for once in your life you're gonna hear it! Do you know at all why I did it, do you? No, you don't! Do you know what kind of a life I had? Do you know what it was like to live with your father, put up with his mistakes and afterwards to be left alone with nothin'? No money, no career, not young anymore, nothin' to fall back on? No, you don't! You don't know at all what I tried to save you from, the kind of freedom I never had! I tried to give to you by making you LILLIAN ROTH!"); Lillian barked back that her mother's efforts weren't entirely successful: ("So you admit it! You invented Lillian Roth! All right, now look at me. I said look at me, don't turn your face away! I'm the looking glass you created to see yourself in! All right, all right see yourself now in me! Look at this ugly picture! And then GET OUTTA HERE! But keep this picture before your face for as LONG AS YOU LIVE!")
  • Lillian's attempt at suicide by jumping from the upper floor of a NYC hotel skyscraper window: ("Oh, dear God, help me, help me") when she was unable to do it, then slumped and fell to the floor
  • her remarkable comeback and battle against alcohol, after attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with the support of her friend-sponsor Burt McGuire (Eddie Albert)
  • the film's conclusion, her courageous appearance on the This Is Your Life TV program hosted by Ralph Edwards, who introduced Lillian's life as ("a story of degradation and shame, but when you hear the facts, you'll realize how much courage it took for her to come here tonight. You'll also realize that it's a story full of hope, hope for many who are living and suffering in a half-world of addiction to alcohol. Hope for all people, whoever and wherever they are, so THIS IS YOUR LIFE, LILLIAN ROTH!"); she had attended to give hope to others who suffered the same pain due to alcoholism; she shared her thoughts to Burt just before walking down the aisle (with tears welling up in her eyes) to speak to the host: ("I only know that you get by giving, and this is all I've got to give")








Imitation of Life (1959)

In Douglas Sirk's great melodrama about dysfunctional families and racism:

  • the scene in an alley -- light-skinned Sarah Jane Johnson (Susan Kohner) (who was hiding her racial background) asked her handsome date Frankie (Troy Donahue): "Frankie, you said you wanted to take a job in Jersey. Couldn't we run away? I'd do anything to be with you, anything"; but then he just wanted one racist question answered: "Just tell me one thing...Is it true?...Is your mother a nigger? Tell me, tell me!"; when she responded: "What difference does it make? You love me!", he responded about all the rumors he had heard: "All the kids talking behind my back! Is it true?...Are you black?" - when she answered: "No, I'm as white as you," he accused her of lying and repeatedly slapped her, leaving her lying on the ground
  • the scene in a Hollywood motel room in which estranged black-maid mother Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore) (who was in the employ of career-minded actress Lora Meredith (Lana Turner)) met with her self-hating daughter Sarah Jane, who had essentially disowned her; in a moving farewell scene, Sarah Jane disavowed her mother forever: "I'm white! White! White!...and if by accident, we should ever pass on the street, please don't recognize me"; then, Sarah Jane's mother made one last, two-part heart-wrenching request or wish: "If you're ever in trouble, if you ever need anything at all, if you ever want to come home and you shouldn't be able to get in touch with me, will you let Miss Lora know?...I'd like to hold ya in my arms once more like you was still my baby... Oh, my baby, my beautiful, beautiful baby. I love you so much. Nothin' you ever do can stop that"
  • in the funeral scene finale with Mahalia Jackson singing "Trouble of the World," Sarah Jane unexpectedly returned for her mother's funeral, rushed to the casket, and sobbed uncontrollably as she apologized: ("Mama, Mama, I didn't mean it, I didn't mean it. Mama, do you hear me? I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, Mama. Mama, I did love you...I killed my mother, I killed her. I wanted to come home. Now she'll never know how much I wanted to come home")




I'm No Angel (1933)

In statuesque blonde Mae West's second starring feature film comedy, by director Wesley Ruggles:

  • the film's opening - one-ring circus and sideshow carnival barker's (Russell Hopton) tempting of a crowded audience, and his introduction of carnival queen and dazzling international small-time, vamp circus star performer Tira (Mae West) in a sequined, tight-fitting gown: ("Over there, Tira, the beautiful Tira, dancing, singing, marvel of the age, supreme flower of feminine pulchritude, the girl who discovered you don't have to have feet to be a dancer")
  • Tira's sauntering entrance on the catwalk and her purring to spectators to follow her behind the curtain: ("A penny for your thoughts....Get the idea, boys....Ya follow me?")
  • the final courtroom scene (Tira was wearing a floor-length black gown and fur wrap), when she sued lover Jack Clayton (Cary Grant) for breach of promise; she flirted with the judge, and asserted her right to have lots of male acquaintances to her own lawyer: "Why shouldn't I know guys? I've been around. I travel from coast to coast. A dame like me can't make trips like that without meetin' some of the male population"
  • her self-defense when she acted as her own lawyer, and at one point quipped: ("How'm I doin'?"); with her hands on her hips, she sashayed in front of the male jury, and cross-examined many male witnesses before having the case dismissed
  • the courtroom scene ended with a risque one-liner and memorable quip when she was asked why she knew so many men in her life: "Well, it's not the men in your life that counts, it's the life in your men"





In a Lonely Place (1950)

In Nicholas Ray's black and white film noir classic:

  • the scene in which beautiful but cool blonde next-door apartment neighbor Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) - first viewed voyeuristically in a window frame - provided an alibi during questioning in a detective's office, for cynical, hard-living, self-destructive and volatile Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart); he had been accused of murdering hat-check girl Mildred Atkinson (Martha Stewart): (Dixon: "She was standing on her balcony in a negligee," AND Laurel: "I believe he was looking at me"); she then bluntly described why she paid attention to her new neighbor and took an interest in him almost immediately: ("I noticed him because he looked interesting. I like his face")
  • later, Dixon complimented Laurel on providing a life-saving alibi, based upon his face: ("It's a good thing you like my face. I'd have been in a lot of trouble without you"); Laurel then gave a classic response to Dixon when he attempted to kiss her: ("I said I liked it. I didn't say I wanted to kiss it")
  • in an unforgettable dinner conversation scene, murder suspect Dixon Steele's convincing 'visual' re-enactment of his idea of the strangulation murder in a car to his cop buddy Det. Sgt. Brub Nicolai (Frank Lovejoy) and his wife Sylvia (Jeff Donnell): ("Brub, you sit down there. Sylvia, you sit there on Brub's right. Now, you're the killer. You're driving the car. This is the front seat...If she'd been killed before she got in the car, the murderer would've hidden her body in the back. In that case, he couldn't have dumped her out without stopping. Now, you're driving up the canyon. Your left hand's on the wheel....She's telling you she'd done nothing wrong. You pretend to believe her. You put your right arm around her neck. You get to a lonely place in the road, and you begin to squeeze. You're an ex-GI. You know judo. You know how to kill a person without using your hands. You're driving the car, and you're strangling her. You don't see her bulging eyes or protruding tongue. Go ahead, go ahead Brub, squeeze harder. You love her, and she's deceived you. You hate her patronizing attitude. She looks down on you. She's impressed with celebrities. She wants to get rid of you. Squeeze harder. Harder. Squeeze harder. It's wonderful to feel her throat crush under your arm")
  • Dixon's famed line of dialogue, a line of script written for some future work, that he told to Laurel while driving together: "I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - she repeated the phrase back to him - but hesitated on the last sentence
  • in the film's unhappy ending, Laurel's teary murmered words of goodbye to him as he walked away after their relationship had deteriorated, and he disappeared through an outer archway to the street: "I lived a few weeks while you loved me. Goodbye, Dix" - she was repeating the bittersweet words from Dix's script while leaning wearily on her apartment's door frame





In Cold Blood (1967)

In Richard Brooks' adaptation of Truman Capote's best-selling non-fiction novel about two ex-con, paroled drifters and an "in cold blood" set of murders:

  • the two main protagonists: charming Richard "Dick" Hickock (Scott Wilson) and violence-prone, unstable, and quiet Perry Smith (Robert Blake)
  • the brutal mass murder crime (delayed in the film and shown mostly as a post-crime scene flashback) against the four-member Herbert Clutter family in rural Holcomb, Kansas (November 15, 1959) in the western part of the state, conducted by the two drifters who were looking for $10,000, and ended up with only $40
  • in flashback, during the robbery-murder when speaking to the young Clutter teenaged daughter Nancy (Brenda Currin) and searching for her silver dollar that he had dropped on the floor, the expression of Perry's doubts to Dick that they were "ridiculous" - ("And all to steal a kid's silver dollar. Ridiculous! This is stupid!")
  • and just before committing the murders, Perry's self-reflections about his own traumatic and abusive childhood, including a frightening vision of his mean father pulling a shotgun on him and threatening: ("Look at me, boy. Take a good look. I'm the last living thing you're ever going to see"); after the killings, Perry calmly admitted: ("It had nothing to do with the Clutters. They never hurt me, they just happened to be there. I thought Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up until the time l cut his throat.")
  • the scene - after the crime - of con artist "Dick" in a Kansas City men's clothing store, claiming he was the "best man" and offering to purchase a "trousseau" for his about-to-be-married friend Perry; when being fitted by a tailor for the suit, Dick claimed his friend obtained leg scars fighting in Korea (and received the Bronze Star), although they were from a motorcycle accident; Dick was purchasing everything for $192.70 - but then claimed he would have to return later, since he only had $4.00; he convinced the gullible clerk to accept a personal check (a hot check) and cash-back
  • the sequence in a decrepit Mexican hotel, where a delusional and excited Perry urged Dick that they should seek Cortes' buried treasure in the Yucatan: ("I met this kid. He's a shoeshine boy. Well, he's got a cousin in Yucatan, a fisherman. And he's got a powerboat...So, we drive to Yucatan, we sell the car, buy us a load of deep-sea diving gear and 'pow,' we hit the Cortés jackpot. $60 million dollars in Spanish gold. Of course, we'll have to cut the kid in, and his cousin, too. But even so, Yucatan! Hot, dry, clean, no crowd, no noise. Doin' what we came to do"); Dick was unconvinced and angry, and wished to return to the US: ("You listen! l've had it! You, your maps, fishing boats, buried treasures, all of it! Everything! Stop jacking off. There ain't any caskets of gold. No buried treasure. And even if there was, hell, boy, you can't even swim!")
  • the scene of the two killers hitch-hiking in the California desert, when Dick suggested their next plotted move to score - that they garrotte a driver from the back seat with a belt and steal the car: ("We want a score. One guy with a fat wallet, in a fast car, with a back seat. I sit beside him. You get in the back, l feed him a few jokes. I say, 'Hey, Perry, pass me a match.' That's your signal. Fast. Hard. Snap. I grab the wheel"); Perry disagreed: ("You're so good at it, you sit in the back seat. You do it.")
  • the trial scene, when the Prosecutor (Will Geer) effectively argued to the jury about the necessity for capital punishment, because life imprisonment would mean possible parole in only 7 years; he also quoted from The Ten Commandments "Thou Shalt Not Kill": ("If you allow them life imprisonment, they will be eligible for parole in seven years. That is the law. Gentlemen, four of your neighbors were slaughtered like hogs in a pen by them. They did not strike suddenly in the heat of passion, but for money. They did not kill in vengeance. They planned it for money. And how cheaply those lives were bought: $40 dollars, $10 dollars a life...They who had no pity, now ask for yours. They who had no mercy, now ask for yours. They who had no tears, now ask for yours. If you have tears to shed, weep not for them, weep for their victims. From the way the Holy Bible was quoted here today, you might think the word of God was written only to protect the killers. But they didn't read you this: Exodus 20, verse 13: 'Thou shalt not kill.' Or this, Genesis 9, verse 12: 'Who so shedeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.'")
  • the killers' long wait of five years on death row in the Kansas State Penitentiary
  • the image of Perry Smith's face next to a rain-streaked cell window (that appeared to streak his own face with rain drops, a replay of a similar Katharine Hepburn scene in Alice Adams (1935))
  • the convicted murderer's final moments on the night he was scheduled to be hanged, when he delivered a final monologue; he recounted to the Chaplain a pivotal and traumatic time in his life - his relationship with his father, when they were prospecting together in Alaska; everything failed miserably and they were starving - and Perry's father blamed him and pulled a gun on him - a repetition of the memory during the Clutter killings: ("I'm the last living thing you're ever going to see") - but the gun wasn't loaded; at that point in his life, Perry admitted he left home for good without emotion: ("I walked away and never looked back. I guess the only thing l'm gonna miss in this world is that poor old man and his hopeless dreams"), and that he still hated AND loved his father: ("I hate him. And l love him")
  • the execution by hanging scene (April 14, 1965) of both convicted killers - Dick first, and then Perry, who yearned to apologize for the murders during a reading of Psalm 23, and spoke a few words before a black bag covered his head and he was put to death, when he imagined the hangman to be his father: ("I think maybe l'd like to apologize. But who to?...Is God in this place, too?")








In Old Chicago (1937)

In director Henry King's urban disaster film and family drama - a fictionalized account of the historic fire in Chicago in the 19th century:

  • the spectacular 20-minute sequence of the famous Chicago fire of 1871 with thousands fleeing into Lake Michigan as a panoramic shot shows the city totally ablaze
  • the concluding segment in which Irish immigrant matriarch Mrs. Molly O'Leary (Oscar-winning Alice Brady), watching the city burn down in the distance with playboyish entrepreneur son Dion (Tyrone Power) and pretty saloon singer Belle Fawcett (Alice Faye) in his arms, speaking sadly about the loss of her crusading lawyer son Jack (Don Ameche): ("It's gone, and my boy's gone with it. But what he stood for will never die. It was a city of wood, and now it's ashes, but out of the fire will be coming steel. You didn't live to see it, my lad, no more than your father did before you. God rest the two of you. But there's Dion left, and his children to come after"); Dion assured his mother: ("He'll have his dream, Ma. Nothing can lick Chicago any more than it could lick him")
  • wet-eyed Molly steadfastly ended the film with words of hope that the city would rebuild and survive, and life would go on - the dream of both her boy Jack and her deceased husband Patrick: ("Aye, that's the truth. We O'Learys are a strange tribe. There's strength in us. And what we set out to do, we finish")




In the Heat of the Night (1967)

In Norman Jewison's Best Picture-winning racial drama:

  • black stranger and Philadelphia homicide policeman Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) identifying himself when asked by bigoted Mississippi red-neck Sheriff Gillespie (Rod Steiger): "Virgil - that's a funny name for a nigger boy that comes from Philadelphia. What do they call ya up there?" - with the famous, angry but noble one-line self-introduction: "They call me Mister Tibbs"
  • the powerful greenhouse scene in which Tibbs exchanged an angry back-hand slap to the face of white murder suspect Eric Endicott (Larry Gates) in the presence of Sheriff Gillepsie - leading to Endicott's lethal threat against Tibbs: "Gillespie...you saw it....Well, what are you gonna do about it?...There was a time when I could have had you shot"
  • the plot-twist: the murderer of a prominent and wealthy industrialist named Philip Colbert (uncredited Jack Teter) was revealed to be Ralph Henshaw (Anthony James), a diner counter worker (and peeping tom) who was the 'true father' of slutty 16 year-old girlfriend Delores Purdy's (Quentin Dean) baby; in a sheriff's office confession, he admitted that he had murdered Colbert to pay for Delores' abortion, but he claimed that it was an assault that all went wrong ("I didn't mean to kill him")
  • the final parting scene at the train station when the begrudging Sheriff and Tibbs showed mutual respect and understanding for each other: (Sheriff: "Virgil? You take care. You hear?" Tibbs: "Yeah")






In the Line of Fire (1993)

In Wolfgang Petersen's action thriller about a Secret Service agent in a cat-and-mouse game with an assassin:

  • the opening scene in a boat at a marina during a confrontation with a counterfeiting ring led by Mendoza (Tobin Bell), in which undercover Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) saved another undercover Agent D'Andrea (Dylan McDermott), when he was pressured into killing the agent to prove his loyalty - and he was able to outwit the gang (that was asphyxiating D'Andrea), kill two other gang members and arrest Mendoza, before identifying himself as another agent: ("You're under arrest, too. Secret Service!")
  • the effective taunting phone call scenes with conversations between haunted JFK Secret Service agent Horrigan and menacing, psychotic ex-CIA hit man and potential assassin Mitch Leary (John Malkovich) (calling himself "Booth" after John Wilkes Booth), who threatened to kill the President (Jim Curley) running for re-election; during one call, Horrigan identified Leary as crazy and as a cold and calculated killer: ("Why is it everyone who ever knew you said that you're a sick son-of-a-bitch? Your colleagues. Your wife"); Horrigan asked the monstrous Leary about his hallucinations: ("What do you see when you're in the dark and the demons come?"); Leary answered with his daring plan to shoot the current President: ("I see you, Frank, I see you standing over the grave of another dead president...I have a rendezvous with death, and so does the President, and so do you Frank, if you get too close to me"); Horrigan threatened: ("That's not gonna happen. I'm on to you...I want you to give yourself up...You have a rendezvous with my ass, motherf--ker!")
  • the exciting Washington rooftops scene of the assassin chased by D'Andrea and Horrigan, and Leary's sudden and ominous appearance above Horrigan to lend him a helping hand as he was dangling from the side of a building - and then Horrigan pointed his gun at him: ("Take my hand, Frank? Take it. If you don't, you'll die. Take it. Are you going to shoot me, Frank, after I saved your life? The only way to save the President is to shoot me. Are you willing to do that, to trade your life for his? Or is life too precious?"); to taunt Horrigan, Leary grabbed the gun barrel with his teeth, and then mercilessly shot D'Andrea dead
  • another of the numerous phone conversations between Horrigan and Leary, when the agent told the killer: ("I'm way ahead. Look, Leary, I know what you look like. I've seen your eyes....You better pray I don't find you, prick"); when Leary asked: "Do you want to kill me, Frank?", Horrigan spit back: "That's right," and Leary replied: ("The irony's so thick, you could choke on it...Think, Frank, think. The same government that trained me to kill, trained you to protect. Yet now you want to kill me, while up on that roof, I protected you. They're gonna write books about us, Frank...Don't be a poor sport, Frank. Hmm? You could have taken me out, but you chose to save your ass. Don't cry about it now, OK? You know, it does make me wonder about Dallas though. Did you really do all you could have, or did you make a choice there, too? Hmm? Do you really have the guts to take a bullet, Frank?"); before hanging up, Harrigan ended with: ("I'll be thinking about that when I'm pissin' on your grave")
  • Frank Horrigan's "IF only I reacted" reflections to fellow agent Lilly Raines (Rene Russo) about years earlier when he was assigned to protect President JFK in Dallas: ("You know something? For years I've been listening to all these idiots on bar stools with all their pet theories on Dallas. How it was the Cubans or the CIA or the white supremacists or the mob or whether it was one weapon or whether it was five. None of that's meant too much to me. But Leary, he questioned whether I had the guts to take that fatal bullet. God, that was a beautiful day. The sun was out. Been raining all morning. The air was - the first shot sounded like a firecracker. I looked over and I saw him. I could tell he was hit. I don't know why I didn't react. I should have reacted. I should have been running flat-out. I just couldn't believe it. If only I reacted, I could've taken that shot. That would have been all right with me"); she took his hand and squeezed it
  • the scene in a Westin Los Angeles hotel ballroom during a campaign dinner appearance when agent Horrigan (with a bulletproof vest) lept in front of the President and took a bullet - to foil Leary's assassination attempt by posing as bespectacled campaign contributor James Carney, but then Horrigan was taken hostage by the killer
  • Leary's discussion with his hostage Horrigan, trying to take credit for making Horrigan a hero: ("I saved your life. You owe me...I was always honest and fair with you...I'm waiting for you to show me some goddamn gratitude. Without me, you'd still just be another sad-eyed, piano-playing drunk. I brought you into this game. I let you keep up with me. I made you a god-damn hero today...I redeemed your pathetic, shitty life"), as sharpshooters attempted to "aim high" (coded words spoken by Frank) and kill their target
  • the climactic external elevator car fight in which Leary was offered Frank's hand - with the same words spoken earlier to him: ("Take my hand. If you don't, you'll die...Take it"), but Leary purposely refused Frank's hand, deliberately let go, and chose to fall to his death










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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