Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

In Adrian Lyne's psycho-horror thriller:

  • the opening Vietnam War scene in which soldier Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) was wounded (or killed?) during combat, when bayoneted in the abdomen
  • the scene of a frenzied Jacob in an ice bath to calm his fever
  • traumatized veteran Jacob's many nightmarish, chilling images and blurry, drug-related visions (during his own purgatorial after-life after being wounded), including the hallucinatory scene of temptress Latina girlfriend/co-worker Jezebel's ("Jezzie") (Elizabeth Pena) erotic dance to James Brown's Ma Thang (Sex Machine), when a snake-like devil with a scaly reptilian tail curled around her and then a horn abruptly ripped open her mouth
  • Jacob's disturbing trip through a decaying, underworld hospital (purgatory or hell?), when he was strapped down on a stretcher and wheeled through a corridor littered with bloody human body parts on the floor, stacks of amputated limbs and appendages, and populated by deformed mental patients; when he was being operated upon with barbaric surgical instruments, he asserted: "I'm alive" - the doctor retorted back: "Then what are you doing here?"
  • the revelation of the evil eyeless doctor (Davidson Thomson) with flesh-covered eyes (no eye sockets), who told Jacob: ("There is no outta here. You've been killed. Don't you remember?"), and then painfully stuck a long syringe-needle into the middle of Jacob's forehead
  • his therapeutic sessions with guardian angel chiropractor Louis (Danny Aiello) who reassured him while treating him: ("You ever read Meister Eckart?...How'd you get your doctorate without reading Eckart? Relax...You're a regular basket case, you know that? Eckart saw Hell, too. You know what he said? He said: 'The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life. Your memories, your attachments. They burn 'em all away. But they're not punishing you,' he said. 'They're freeing your soul.' Relax. Good. So the way he sees it, if you're frightened of dyin' and you're holdin' on, you'll see devils tearin' your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freein' you from the earth. It's just a matter of how you look at it, that's all. So don't worry, okay? 'K? (laughing) Relax, relax. Relax")
  • the guilt from the death of his son Gabe (or Gabriel) (uncredited Macauley Caulkin) when Jacob remembered /imagined Gabe's death by an automobile when the young boy was picking up baseball cards he had dropped in the middle of the street while walking his bicycle
  • the final scene in which Jacob spotted his dead son Gabe who was playing with a red music box (playing "Sonny Boy") on the stairs - the boy looked up and greeted him with: "Hi Dad!"; as they hugged, Gabe reassured his father: "It's OK" - followed by Gabe telling him: "Come on, let's go up" - and their calm and peaceful ascension up the staircase (or ladder) into the golden light, after Jacob accepted his own death
  • the revelation of the plot twist - his actual death during combat in Vietnam from a fellow US soldier accidentally gutting him, and the army doctor's words as he was on an operating table in Vietnam: ("He's gone. He looks kind of peaceful... He put up a hell of a fight, though")












Jailhouse Rock (1957)

In director Richard Thorpe's prison-related musical-drama, arguably Elvis Presley's best film:

  • ex-convict Vince Everett's (Elvis Presley) introductory prologue, delivered to the NBC-TV cameras, about his life in prison where he had first started singing 'Jailhouse Rock': ("Ladies and gentlemen, a little while back, I had kind of a vacation with a bunch of men in a big place out yonder. While I was there, well, these uh, these men, kind of guests, you might say, uh, we'd get together and horse around a little bit and sing 'cause we were havin' such a good time. And uh, we always had a lot of fun with this one: 'The Jailhouse Rock'")
  • the great production number "Jailhouse Rock" by hip-swiveling, arrogant ex-prison convict/rocker Vince Everett while singing: "C'mon everybody, let's rock"



Jane Eyre (1943)

In this faithful adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic romantic story set in Victorian times by director Robert Stevenson:

  • the opening scene (voice-over narration) of abused, neglected and orphaned young Jane Eyre (Peggy Ann Garner as child, Joan Fontaine as adult) reading from the first paragraph of the printed novel: ("My name is Jane Eyre. I was born in 1820, a harsh time of change in England. Money and position seemed all that mattered. Charity was a cold and disagreeable word. Religion too often wore a mask of bigotry and cruelty. There was no proper place for the poor or the unfortunate. I had no father or mother, brother or sister. As a child I lived with my aunt, Mrs. Reed of Gateshead Hall. I do not remember that she ever spoke one kind word to me.") [Note: The opening words were not from the original novel, which began: "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day..."]
  • at the charity boarding school Lowood Institution, ten year-old Jane's public punishment by rigid disciplinarian Reverend Brocklehurst (Henry Daniell) to stand on a stool and remain ostracized from the other students, and afterwards given a piece of bread by sympathetic fellow classmate Helen Burns (a young Elizabeth Taylor, uncredited)
  • the delayed entrance of mysterious Edward Rochester (Orson Welles), thrown off his horse in the foggy moors, when Jane stepped into his path, and his harsh reprimand of her; Jane's 'mousy' and timid demeanor throughout the film (similar to her role in Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940))
  • the entire brooding, atmospheric mystery (filmed beautifully in expressive black and white and enhanced by Bernard Herrmann's original score) surrounding Rochester's Thornfield Hall, the character of Grace Poole (Ethel Griffies, uncredited) (spoiler- revealed as the nurse/guard of Rochester's insane wife locked up in a tower cell)
  • the Gothic scene of darkly moody and tempestuous Edward Rochester demanding that prim and intimidated governess Jane Eyre express her love and marry him -- followed by lightning striking a nearby tree and cracking off a large branch
  • the marriage ceremony of Jane and Rochester, interrupted by Mason (John Abbott), the elder brother of Bertha Mason, Rochester's deranged, locked away wife






Jason and the Argonauts (1963, UK/US)

In Don Chaffey's visually-stunning fantasy film - a tale of the Greek myth adventure-search for the Golden Fleece of a winged ram (a sign of authority to bring peace and health to the land), noted for its creative animation effects by Ray Harryhausen - [Note: the spectacular sole swordfighting skeleton in the earlier The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) was multiplied in this film]:

  • the title character Jason (Todd Armstrong) on a fateful voyage on his Argo ship to the island of Colchis with his Argonauts
  • the encounter on the Isle of Bronze with a giant bronze statue known as Talos (the guard of Crete) that creakingly came to life - eventually defeated by draining its bloody innards (ichor) from its heel
  • the Argonauts' battle against two half-human, half-bird Harpies, flying vulturous creatures
  • the sequence of sailing between Clashing Rocks when the gigantic sea god Triton (a merman) held the rocks apart and protected Jason's ship from being destroyed
  • the scene of the Golden Fleece guarded by a 7-headed Hydra
  • the sword-wielding living skeleton warriors that were transformed from the Hydra's teeth seeded in the ground, to engage in battle with Jason and his Argonauts in broad daylight on a cliff - a brilliantly-choreographed sequence; included was one semi-closeup of a grinning skull of a skeleton waving his sword






Jaws (1975)

In Steven Spielberg's summer blockbuster:

  • the ominous, driving, menacing John William's 'da-dum...da-dum' score (of cellos) that brought on shark attacks
  • the shocking opening scene in which carefree blonde Chrissie Watkins (Susan Backlinie) left a beach party to go skinny-dipping and was devoured by being jerked underwater - prefaced by the shark's-eye view of the legs of the nude swimmer
  • the closeup of police chief Martin Brody's (Roy Scheider) face (a simultaneous dolly-in and zoom-out shot) as he watched warily on a crowded beach jammed with vacationers and witnessed the first shark attack
  • shark-hating, salty and grizzled fisherman-hunter Quint's (Robert Shaw) way of catching a tumultuous room's attention - noisily screeching his fingernails against a blackboard
  • marine biologist and shark expert Matt Hooper's (Richard Dreyfuss) examination of the remains of Chrissie and his angry pronouncement: "This was no boating accident!"
  • Mrs. Kintner (Lee Fierro) dressed in funereal clothes and her silent, angry slap of Brody's face
  • Brody's son Sean copying his father's worried gestures at the table and kissing Brody at his request: (Brody: "Give us a kiss," Son: "Why?", Brody: "Because I need it")
  • the Brody dinner scene with Hooper explaining his obsession with sharks: ("I love sharks!")
  • the shocking sight of the head of fisherman Ben Gardner (Craig Kingsbury) (missing one eye) suddenly appearing in a gaping hole in his sunken boat
  • Hooper's single-handed crushing of his styrofoam cup after Quint crushed his beer can
  • the jolting first full view of the shark one hour and twenty minutes into the film as Brody was throwing chum into the ocean ("Slow ahead! I can go slow ahead. Come on down and chum some of this s--t!") -- followed by Brody's dead-panned quip to Quint after jumping back: "You're gonna need a bigger boat"
  • the memorable drunken evening of story-swapping (about scars) on the boat when WWII veteran Quint descriptively recalled the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the subsequent shark attacks: ("Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin'. So we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like that you see in the calendar named 'The Battle of Waterloo.' And the idea was, the shark comes to the nearest man and he starts poundin' and hollerin' and screamin'. Sometimes the shark go away. Sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark, he looks right into ya, right into your eyes. Y'know, the thing about a shark, he's got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes. When he comes after ya, he doesn't seem to be livin' until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white, and then - aww, then you hear that terrible high-pitch screamin', the ocean turns red, and in spite of all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and rip ya to pieces....So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.")
  • the monumental battle with the shark from The Orca in the finale with Quint's memorable death scene as he slid into the mouth of the Giant Great White while being bitten in half and stabbing at its eyes
  • Brody's killing of the shark by firing at a compressed oxygen tank in its jaws ("Smile, ya son-of-a-bitch")
  • the last shot of Brody and Hooper hand-paddling back to shore and their last-lines quip: ("I used to hate the water," with the reply "I can't imagine why")









The Jazz Singer (1927)

In director Alan Crosland's landmark picture - the first Warner Bros' Vitaphone release (and first feature-length Hollywood "talkie" film in which spoken dialogue was used as part of the dramatic action):

  • performer-musician Jack Robin's (Al Jolson) first words - an ad-libbed introduction before his dynamic performance of "Toot Toot Tootsie," accompanied by various bird noises made by the singer: ("Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin' yet. Wait a minute, I tell ya, you ain't heard nothin'! Do you wanna hear 'Toot, Toot, Tootsie!'? All right, hold on, hold on. (To the band leader) Lou, Listen. Play 'Toot, Toot, Tootsie!' Three choruses, you understand. In the third chorus I whistle. Now give it to 'em hard and heavy. Go right ahead!")
  • the lengthy scene of a natural conversation between an affectionate Jack and his mother Sara (Eugenie Besserer) during the singing of "Blue Skies" at the piano in his home: ("Did you like that, Mama?...I'm glad of it. I'd rather please you than anybody I know of. Oh, darlin' - will you give me something?...You'll never guess. Shut your eyes, Mama. Shut 'em for little Jakie. I'm gonna steal something. (He kissed her and then laughed) I'll give it back to you someday too - you see if I don't. Mama darlin' - if I'm a success in this show, well, we're gonna move from here. Oh yes, we're gonna move up in the Bronx. A lot of nice green grass up there, and a whole lot of people you know...")
  • the reconciliation scene in which son Jack met his dying father Cantor Rabinowitz (Warner Oland) and later decided to sing "Kol Nidre" in his father's place in the synagogue
  • Jack's curtain-closing rendition of "Mammy" (in black-face makeup) to his mother seated in the Winter Garden Theater audience, when he was down on one knee for the final chorus to her, flinging his arms out toward her and the world: ("Mammy! My little Mammy! The sun shines east. The sun shines west. But I know where the sun shines best. It's on my Mammy I'm talkin' about. Nobody elses. My little Mammy! My heart strings are tangled around, Alabamy. Mammy! I'm comin'! I hope I didn't make you wait! Mammy! I'm comin'! Oh God, I hope I'm not late. Mammy! Don't ya know me? It's your little baby! I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles! My Mammy!")




Jerry Maguire (1996)

In writer/director Cameron Crowe's popular sports-related romantic comedy-drama, noted for many famous catch-phrase lines:

  • the introductory scene demonstrating the hard-sell tactics of cocky sports super agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise), working for Sports Management International, to a potential client: ("I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game featuring you, while singing your own song in a new commercial, starring you, broadcast during the Super Bowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not sleep until that happens. I'll give you 15 minutes to call me back")
  • the continuation of the opening sequence when Jerry began suffering from guilt and burn-out, and wrote a breakthrough "mission statement": ("Who had I become? Just another shark in a suit? Two days later at our corporate conference in Miami, a breakthrough. Breakdown? Breakthrough. I couldn't escape one simple thought: I hated myself. No, no, no, here's what it was: I hated my place in the world. I had so much to say and no one to listen. And then it happened. It was the oddest, most unexpected thing. I began writing what they call a mission statement. Not a memo, a mission statement. You know, a suggestion for the future of our company. A night like this doesn't come along very often. I seized it. What started out as one page became twenty-five...The answer was fewer clients. Less money. More attention. Caring for them, caring for ourselves and the games, too. Just starting our lives, really. Hey - I'll be the first to admit, what I was writing was somewhat touchy feely. I didn't care. I have lost the ability to bulls--t. It was the me I'd always wanted to be")
  • the scene of Jerry's phone call to disgrunted Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), promising to represent him - with the client's request to: "Show me the money!"
  • Jerry's "Flipper" Speech, when he broke off from his job to go independent and form his own sports agency, and challenged others to join him: ("Well, don't worry. Don't worry. I'm not gonna do what you all think I'm gonna do, which is just Flip Out! But let me just, let me just say, as I ease out of the office I helped build - I'm sorry, but it's a Fact! - - that there is such a thing as manners, a way of treating people. (He then referred to an aquarium fish tank in the office) These fish have manners. These fish have manners. In fact, they're coming with me. I'm starting a new company, and the fish will come with me. You can call me sentimental. The fish - they're coming with me....Okay. If anybody else wants to come with me, this moment will be the moment of something real and fun and inspiring in this God-forsaken business, and we will do it together. Who's comin' with me? Who's coming with me? Who's coming with me besides 'Flipper' here? This is embarrassing"); only idealistic, 26 year-old single young mother Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger), a staff accountant, joined him
  • the scene of the front-door kiss after a date between Jerry and Dorothy, when after a few nibbling kisses, she invited him in and both decided to get together for sex: ("I think you should not come in. Or, come in, depending on how you feel....No, I have to go in. I live here....Good. Are you sure we want to do this?"); inside her bedroom, when he cautioned: "You know this is gonna change everything," she responded: "Promise?"
  • the restroom-locker-room scene of Jerry's inspirational advice to a reluctant Rod Tidwell, begging him to help him: ("Let's show them your pure joy of the game. Let's bury the attitude a little bit, and show them...I'm saying to get back to the guy who first started playing this game. Remember? Way back when, when you were a kid, it wasn't just about the money, was it? Was it? Was it?...I am out here for you. You don't know what it's like to be me out here for you. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, okay?! God. Help me! Help me, Rod. Help me help you. Help me help you. Help me help you!"); Rod couldn't help but laugh, then responded that he agreed: ("You are hangin' on by a very thin thread. And I dig that about you! No contract? I'll help me, I'll help you, help everybody! That's my man"); Tidwell ended the conversation, seen from his nude backside: ("See, that's the difference between us. You think we're fighting and I think we're finally talking")
  • the Monday night football game scene of Cardinals player Tidwell suffering an injury on the field, but then recovering and dancing for the wild, cheering crowds in the stands, with the stadium board lit up - "In Rod We Trust"
  • the sequence of Jerry's admission of his love to his stunned wife Dorothy Boyd in front of her friends during a divorced womens' support group meeting in her own living room, stressing: ("I'm looking for my wife...If this is where it has to happen, then this is where it has to happen. I'm not letting you get rid of me. How about that?...Our little project, our company had a very big night. A very, very big night, but it wasn't complete. It wasn't nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete, because I couldn't share it with you. I couldn't hear your voice, or laugh about it with you. I missed my wife. We live in a cynical world, a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. You complete me, and I just...."); Dorothy interrupted with tears and accepted his profession of love: ("Aw, shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello. You had me at hello") - they embraced (viewed from outside the window)
  • the final Tidwell interview scene on Roy Firestone's Sports Show, when he was reminded of his difficult upbringing and past: ("Your father leaves home on Christmas Eve, leaves your family all alone, had a mother had to sweep out the steps of the prison just to earn enough money for tuition for you. Your brother loses a leg in a tragic bass fishing accident. I mean, there's been a horrific list of things that have happened to you in your life"); Tidwell reacted: "I'm not gonna cry, Roy"; and then, Tidwell was told "good news," to his surprise, that he had just secured a guaranteed $11.2 million contract to play for four years with the Arizona Cardinals pro-football team, and finish up his career in his home state; Tidwell was ecstatic with thanks, and almost forgot to acknowledge Jerry: ("I love everybody. I love my wife! Whoo, Marcee! I love my kids! Tyson. My baby, my new baby, Katie. My older brother, who got one leg but he's still doin' it, and my younger brother, Tee Pee. You're militant, but I ain't mad at ya. I ain't got nothin' but love for ya. I love my teammates. I'm leavin' somebody out here, Roy... I want to send some beautiful love out to my offensive line....Wait, wait, wait. Wait, I'm forgettin' somebody. Jerry Maguire, my agent. You are my ambassador of kwan, man")











La Jetée (1962, Fr.) (aka The Jetty, or The Pier)

In director Chris Marker's landmark, eloquent short, philosophical sci-fi French film - composed entirely of B/W still photograph frames and voice-over narration - the "photo-novel" was set after WWIII, about a group of scientists in bombed-out Paris who attempted to send a man back in time to his life before the devastating war - [Note: the influential film was remade as Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys (1995), and was similar in plot to Jacob's Ladder (1990) and The Jacket (2005), and with some homage paid to Last Year in Marienbad (1961, Fr.) and Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958)]

  • the opening title cards: (voice-over) "It's the story of a man marked by an image of his childhood. The violent scene which upset him, and whose meaning he was to grasp only years later, happened on the main pier at Orly Paris Airport sometime before the outbreak of World War Three"
  • the film's brief post-title credits prologue: a vague, haunted and fateful boyhood memory at the Orly Airport on a Sunday with parents, watching the departing planes - a boy remembered the face of a Woman (Helene Chatelain) who was horrified when a man fell dead running toward her on the airport's pier (jetty) or rooftop viewing platform
  • the confounding plot: after a nuclear global holocaust that hit Paris, with many photos of the vast devastation ("Above ground, in Paris as in most of the world, everything was rotten with radioactivity. The victors stood guard over a kingdom of rats"); surviving underground mad scientists (commanders or jailers, led by a "Dr. Frankenstein"), who conducted time-travel experiments on "guinea pigs" in a network of caves, proposed to send an unnamed prisoner-volunteer (Jean Negroni) - the film's narrator - into the past, to help rescue the present by finding food, medicine, and energy ("This man was selected only because he was glued to an image of his past")
  • during the time travel to the pre-war past, the volunteer met a Woman "on the 30th day" - and eventually developed a relationship of trust and love with her ("This time, she is near him. He says something. She doesn't mind, she answers. They have no memories, no plans. Time builds itself painlessly around them. As landmarks, they have the very taste of the moment they live, the scribbling on the walls"); while looking at the cut slice of a giant sequoia tree, he showed her the time from the future that he had come from by pointing to one of the tree ring circles
  • the dreamy narration: "...he would meet her at different times. She welcomes him in a simple way. She calls him her ghost. One day, she seems frightened. One day, she leans over him. As for him, he never knows whether he moves towards her, whether he is driven, whether he has made it up, or whether he is only dreaming"
  • around the 50th day, they visited a museum filled with dead "ageless animals" (stuffed, immobile or taxidermied giraffes, elephants, a rhino, zebras, hippos, a whale, various wildcats, etc.) - "Now they have hit the bulls-eye. Thrown at the right moment, he may stay there and move without trouble. The girl seems also to be tamed. She welcomes, as a natural phenomenon, the ways of this visitor who comes and goes, who exists, talks, laughs with her, stops talking, listens to her, then vanishes"
  • the film's memorable sole moment when the Woman, in a single, startling and effective moving image, dreamily opened her eyes from sleep and looked directly at the camera
  • also, during a brief trip to the future ("the world to come...Paris rebuilt") while wearing sunglasses, he met with a group of strange, shadowy beings (with a third eye) who provided technology (a "power plant strong enough to put all human industry in motion again") to save mankind
  • in the evocative, paradoxical plot twist conclusion, he made his last return to his past childhood memory on the airport jetee-platform: "He ran towards her. And when he recognized the man who had trailed him since the camp, he knew there was no way out of time, and he knew that this haunted moment he had been granted to see as a child was the moment of his own death" - he discovered that he was the dying man he saw as a child, who was killed by a man from the post-apocalyptic "present"










Jezebel (1938)

In director William Wyler's romantic drama:

  • the Olympus debutante ball scene in which spoiled, rebellious and strong-willed Julie Morrison (Bette Davis) stubbornly wore a red gown (when unmarried women were expected to wear white) and danced with beau Preston "Pres" Dillard (Henry Fonda), who insisted when she realized her mistake that they would continue dancing together; afterwards, she blamed him for inflicting humiliation and slapped his face
  • after their broken engagement, Julie's apology and humbling of herself a year later delivered on her knees to Preston, while wearing a white dress: ("Pres, I can't believe it's you here. I dreamed about it so long. A lifetime. No, longer than that. I put on this white dress for you to help me tell ya how humbly I ask you to forgive me. (She dropped to the floor) Pres, I'm kneelin' to ya....to ask ya to forgive me and love me as I love you"); to her shock, she was told that he had married a Northern woman named Amy Bradford (Margaret Lindsay)
  • Julie's determination and scheming to win Pres back: ("Do you think I wanna be wept over? I've gotta think, to plan, to fight...Marriage, is it! To that washed-out little Yankee. Pres is mine! He's always been mine. And if I can't have him.."); and her begging to take Pres back: ("You had to come home, didn't you? You had to come back to the country and the things you know 'cause you belong here. Nothing can change that. Pres, listen. Can you hear 'em? The night noises - the mockingbird and the magnolia. See the moss hangin' from the moonlight. They're gonna taste the night. Can't you? You're a part of it, Pres, and it's part of you, like I am. You can't get away from us Pres. We're both in your blood. This is the country you were born to, the country you know and trust. Your country, Pres. Amy wouldn't understand. She'd think there'd be snakes...Oh, it isn't tame, and isn't like the North. It's quick and dangerous, but you trust it. Remember how the fever mist smells in the bottoms, rank and rotten, but you trust that too, because it's part of you. Just as I am part of you and will never let you go. (She made a sexual advance and began kissing him, but he repulsed her.) Pres, you're afraid")
  • the scene in which Julie convinced Pres' wife Amy to allow her to care for her sick husband, who was afflicted with yellow fever, making the ultimate sacrifice: ("I'm askin' for the chance to prove I can be brave and strong and unselfish. Help me, Amy. Help me make myself clean again as you are clean. Let me prove myself worthy of the love I bear him....Amy, you must let me go with him...What does it matter who he loves? It's his life that matters!...We both know. Pres loves his wife. Who else would he love? Not me, surely. I've done too much against him. You see, I never know how to be gentle and brave as you are. Had there been any love in his heart for me, I'd have taken him from you. I tried and failed 'cause he loves only you")
  • the final view of a resolute Julie riding off in a quarantined wagon-load of yellow fever victims (including Pres) to the hellish, condemned Lazarette Island






JFK (1991)

In Oliver Stone's masterpiece about the possibility of a massive conspiracy and coverup (allegedly led by Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones)) surrounding JFK's shooting in Dallas' Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963:

  • the scene of the secret rendezvous of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) with "Mr. X" (Donald Sutherland) and his spellbinding, 15-minute long monologue to encourage Garrison to continue to pursue his investigation of the JFK assassination: ("Well, that's the real question, isn't it? Why? The 'How' and the 'Who' is just scenery for the public. Oswald, Ruby, Cuba, the Mafia, keeps 'em guessing like some kind of parlor game. Prevents 'em from asking the most important question: Why? Why was Kennedy killed? Who benefited? Who has the power to cover it up? Who?......Everything is cellularized. No one has said, 'He must die.' There's been no vote. Nothing's on paper. There's no one to blame. It's as old as the crucifixion. A military firing squad: five bullets, one blank. No one's guilty, because everyone in the power structure who knows anything has a plausible deniability. There are no compromising connections except at the most secret point. But what's paramount is that it must succeed. No matter how many die, no matter how much it costs, the perpetrators must be on the winning side and never subject to prosecution for anything by anyone. That is a coup d'état...Your only chance is to come up with a case. Something. Anything. Make arrests. Stir the s--t storm. Hope to reach a point of critical mass that'll start a chain reaction of people coming forward. Then the government'll crack. Remember, fundamentally, people are suckers for the truth, and the truth is on your side, Bubba. I just hope you get a break")
  • the jigsaw-like assembly and merging of various sources of material (newsreels, photos, black and white, color, 8 mm, 16 mm, etc., miniature models, and re-enactments) into one film
  • the final third of the film in the courtroom, in which the obsessed and dogged Garrison first debunked the single or "Magic Bullet Theory" with a detailed examination of the Zapruder film, to disprove the idea that assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) acted alone, and to disprove the Warren Commission's open and shut case of "three bullets, one assassin" - "the time frame of 5.6 seconds established by the Zapruder film left no possibility of a fourth shot"
  • the assertion that the Magic Bullet Theory was unlikely or impossible - junior counselor Arlen Spector's theoretical description of the 'Magic Bullet Theory' as "one of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people"
  • Garrison's walk-through, display of a diagram of the bullet's zig-zag path, and use of a scale model of the Plaza area to continue his arguments
  • the impassioned closing-statement monologue scene - his delivery of a final summation of the case to the jury - with his damnation of the entire US military-industrial complex: ("The truth is the most important value we have because if the truth does not endure, if the government murders truth, if we cannot respect the hearts of these people, then this is not the country in which I was born and this is certainly not the country I want to die in. Tennyson wrote, 'Authority forgets a dying king'. This was never more true than for John F. Kennedy, whose murder was probably one the most terrible moments in the history of our country. We, the people, the jury system sitting in judgment on Clay Shaw, represent the hope of humanity against government power. In discharging your duty, in bringing the first conviction in this house of cards against Clay Shaw, 'ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.' Do not forget your dying king. Show this world that this is still a government 'of the people, for the people, and by the people'. Nothing as long as you live will ever be more important. It's up to you")






Johnny Belinda (1948)

In director Jean Negulesco's (and Robert Wise's) psychological drama:

  • hearing-impaired/mute Belinda MacDonald (Best Actress winning Jane Wyman) sensing something of what music must be like, and trying to dance when her hand was placed upon a vibrating violin
  • the shadowy rape-attack sequence of Locky McCormick (Stephen McNally) against Belinda - that quickly faded to black
  • the murder of Belinda's father Black (Charles Bickford) at the seaside cliff's edge by her rapist
  • the violent scene of Belinda's shotgun murder of her rapist to protect her baby, Johnny Belinda, from being taken by Locky
  • the scene of widowed Stella McCormick's (Jan Sterling) outburst at Belinda's trial, for murder, confessing that she was told that Locky was the rapist: ("It was him, Locky. He's the baby's father. It was his fault!")
  • Belinda's silent recitation of the Lord's Prayer in sign language at the bedside of her dead father



Johnny Guitar (1954)

In Nicholas Ray's off-beat Western and bizarre psychological film for Republic Pictures, often called a 'lesbian western' and a visually-excessive melodrama:

  • the entrance of gun-crazed drifter and reformed gunslinger Johnny Guitar/Johnny Logan (Sterling Hayden) during a sandstorm into a deserted Arizona saloon with a guitar strung over his shoulder - and later, his description of his own identity to inquisitive gunslinger The Dancin' Kid (Scott Brady) during a robbery of the local bank - Guitar declined to get involved: "Besides, I'm a stranger here myself" - words that would reverberate throughout the remainder of the film
  • the introduction of the main protagonist - non-conformist, strong-willed, drag-queen-looking, deserted Arizona saloon-owner Vienna (Joan Crawford), who often wore masculine clothes: a black shirt, a string tie around her collar, pants, and boots; she was described as very manly by her saloonkeeper employee Sam (Robert Osterloh): "I've never seen a woman who was more a man. She thinks like one, acts like one, and sometimes makes me feel like I'm not"
  • Vienna's descent down the stairs of her casino, with a gun threat to a group of intolerant 'good guy' vigilantes, led by blood-lusting, mean-spirited, sexually-repressed, bull-dyke rancher Emma Small (Mercedes McCambridge), who displayed hostility and animosity toward a new casino on the outskirts of town - Vienna cautioned: "Down there, I sell whiskey and cards. All you can buy up these stairs is a bullet in the head. Now which do you want?"
  • the scene of Emma's face to face warning: "I'm going to kill you" and Vienna's reply: "If I don't kill you first!"
  • Vienna's 'love scene' with ex-lover Johnny Guitar from five years earlier in her past - a relationship of attraction and repulsion; he asked: "How many men have you forgotten?"; she responded: "As many women as you've remembered"; he asked for her to tell him something "nice": "Lie to me. Tell me all these years you've waited....Tell me you'd have died if I hadn't come back...Tell me you still love me like I love you"; when she was forced to comply (without feeling), he briskly said: "Thanks. Thanks a lot!" She smashed his drink glass, and claimed that she struggled on her own to build her saloon, and that life was now different: "Stop feeling so sorry for yourself. You think you had it rough. I didn't find this place, I had to build it. How do you think I was able to do that?... I want you to know. For every board, plank and beam in this place...No, you're going to listen...You can't shut me up, Johnny. Not any more. Once I would have crawled at your feet to be near you. I searched for you in every man I met." He claimed that they could still be married and end the 'bad dream': "It's just like it was five years ago. Nothing's happened in between...Not a thing. You've got nothin' to tell me, cuz it's not real. Only you and me, that's real. We're havin' a drink at the bar in the Aurora Hotel. The band is playing, we're celebrating 'cause we're getting married. And after the wedding, we're getting out of this hotel and we're going away. So laugh, Vienna, and be happy. It's your wedding day." She finally agreed that she had waited for him, and was finally relieved for his return: "What took you so long?" and she sobbed in his arms as she kissed him
  • the sequence of Emma and her gang's seizure of Vienna to lynch her, and the burning down of Vienna's casino
  • the film's show-down challenge and ending - when Johnny Guitar rescued Vienna from the lynch-happy posse of vigilantes led by Emma; the two female leads faced off with a bloody one-on-one pistol duel on the porch of the The Dancin' Kid's secret hideaway cabin, and although Vienna was wounded in the shoulder, she shot and killed Emma. Johnny carried Vienna away for a new life, as Peggy Lee sang the title song with the words: "There is no one like my Johnny."












Journey to Italy (1954, It./Fr.) (aka Viaggio in Italia, or Voyage in Italy)

In Roberto Rossellini's romantic drama:

  • the two main characters - an unhappily-married English couple (after eight years of marriage) touring in Naples, Italy to sell a property left to them by a recently deceased uncle, and finding themselves alone for one of the first times in their marriage and very dissatisfied: sensitive-minded Katherine Joyce (Ingrid Bergman) and workaholic, cold-hearted Alexander 'Alex' Joyce (George Sanders)
  • their unexpected strained relationship and troubled marriage - and contemplation of getting a divorce: - "You've done everything you could to make things worse. We are like strangers...For eight years of marriage, it seems we don't know anything about each other"
  • the pivotal scene - their visit to the ancient ruins of the lava-covered city of Pompeii in 79 AD, the site of archaeological excavations; and the slow uncovering and unearthing of the disintegrated yet preserved remains of two people (in plaster casts or molds) who had died lying together: ("Two people just as they were at the moment they died...a man and a woman, perhaps husband and wife, who knows? May have found death like this together?") - and the profound, disturbed and moving reaction of the couple: Katherine: "Oh, Alex, this is too much. I can't stand it any longer. Please take me home. I want to go home. I don't want to stay here any longer." Later as they quickly departed, Alex also admitted to her: "I understand how you feel. I was pretty moved myself"
  • the moving resolution scene - the reconciliation of the couple, who were seriously threatening to break up in the midst of a religious processional (crowds of joyous marchers cried out 'Miracle! Miracle!'); when they became separated, she desperately called out for Alex's help - and the two were reunited and became recommitted to each other with newfound hope and an embrace: Katherine: "Oh, I don't want to lose you." Alex: "Katherine, what's wrong with us? Why do we torture one another?" Katherine: "When you say things that hurt me, I try to hurt you back. Don't you see? But I can't - I can't any longer, because I love you." Alex: "Perhaps we get hurt too easily." Katherine: "Tell me that you love me." Alex: "Well, if I do, will you promise not to take advantage of me?" Katherine: "Yes, but tell me. I want to hear you say it." Alex: "Alright, I love you."





Juarez (1939)

In director William Dieterle's historical biopic:

  • the regal scene of the arrival of idealistic Archduke Maximilian von Habsburg (Brian Aherne) and his ambitious Empress wife Carlota (Bette Davis) in Mexico, after being appointed by French leader Napoleon III (Claude Rains) to lead the country in the mid-19th century; the pair sensed danger (there were no crowds of supporters) as their carriage drove them from the ship: (Maximilian: "Since we set foot off the ship, I have felt myself surrounded by mystery as though everything we looked at possessed some hidden meaning" Carlota: "It has touched me too, Max. It has made me apprehensive at having urged you so much toward this undertaking")
  • the character of native Mexican President Benito Pablo Juarez (Paul Muni), and his patriotic leadership of the resistance efforts against the French
  • Carlota's angry and fiery outburst at Napoleon for setting up her husband for failure in Mexico - and accusing Bonaparte of being a murderer: ("More than an empire is in danger. My husband's life. And knowing this, you could abandon him? Answer me, sire!...Was it you or your ministers who conceived the plan to mask your infamies behind my husband's noble name? Who tricked him into accepting the throne by means of a pretended plebiscite? Who assured him of French troops and French funds until the day that the Empire of Mexico could take her place among other nations? Answer me, sire!"); he briefly answered: ("It is useless, Madame. Not another franc. Not another man. We are through with Mexico"); she snarled back: ("What else might a Hapsburg have expected from the word of a bourgeois Bonaparte? You charlatan! But you will not dare let him die! I will denounce you in every court in Europe for what you will be: a murderer! A murderer!"); and then when she collapsed to the floor and was offered water to drink, she crazily accused Bonaparte of poisoning her and subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown
  • the ending sequence of the trial, sentencing, and guilty verdict for Maximilian, who was to die by firing squad; as he was led to his execution, he spoke: ("Distribute this money among your men and tell them to aim for my heart")
  • the conclusion in which re-established President Juarez walked to view the corpse and coffin of Maximilian in an ornate cathedral, after the European puppet leader's death; Benito uttered the film's final line of dialogue: ("Forgive me")



Jules and Jim (1962, Fr.) (aka Jules et Jim)

In Francois Truffaut's acclaimed New Wave romantic drama, based on Henri-Pierre Roché's semi-autobiographical novel - about a doomed and unconventional, tragic three-way love triangle (and "open" or "free love" relationship) over the course of two decades from 1912 to the early 1930s until the eve of World War II:

  • the opening pre-title credits voice-over monologue (with a black screen), delivered by the film's female protagonist - a perfectly succinct summary of the film's plot:
    - You told me: "I love you."
    - I told you: "Wait."
    - I almost said: "Yes."
    - You said: "Go."
  • the unconventional title credits with labels and images of the principal actors engaged in various activities; and the innovative cinematic style of the entire film, with haphazard newsreel footage, intermingled narration and voice-overs, temporal distortions, wild camera moves, photographic stills, jump-cuts, super-impositions, wipes, gliding crane shots, collages, tracking and 360 degree circular shots, and momentary freeze frames
  • the 'homosexual' relationship first established between quiet, shy, calm, naive and blonde conservative Austrian writer Jules (Oskar Werner), and extroverted, French-born Jim (Henri Serre); and their holiday in the Adriatic (Greece), where they went to an outdoor museum after becoming bewitched by a picture of an ancient Greek sculpture of a female with an alluring and mysterious smile - and the two decided that they wanted to find a woman with the same smile ("They stared at the face for an hour. It stunned them into silence. They were speechless. Had they ever met such a smile? No. If they ever met it, they would follow it")
  • the love triangle, soon to be established between the elusive Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) - a free-spirited, liberated, impulsive French illustrator with the enigmatic smile the two were looking for, Jules (her eventual husband) and Jim, a returning WWI soldier
  • the famous sequences of their bicycle riding in the countryside, and their competitive foot-race across a Parisian bridge, after Catherine (disguised and dressed as a male, with a painted-on mustache) challenged the two men: "Let's have a race. First one to the end of the bridge" - she won, although "cheated" by getting a head-start before the countdown ended; and their threesome at the beach
The Many Scenes of the Threesome
  • the sequences of the "burning of lies" when Catherine set fire to a bowl full of her letters, and her dress accidentally caught fire, and when she threw herself off a bridge during a mock suicide and was rescued by the two men
  • after the intervention of WWI, when the two men fought on opposite sides of the conflict, Jim reacquainted himself with Catherine and Jules, who now had a five year-old daughter named Sabine (Sabine Haudepin) and lived in the Black Forest area cottage near the Rhine, but whose marriage was in disrepair
  • the captivating scene of Catherine, in her countryside home and accompanied by Albert (Serge Rezvani) on guitar, spontaneously singing the folksy Le Tourbillon de la Vie ("Life's whirlpool of days") - although mistakenly she inverted two verses and made a hand gesture acknowledging that she had reversed them: (Chorus: "We met with a kiss A hit, then a miss It wasn't all bliss And we parted We went our own ways In life's whirlpool of days")
  • in the shocking twist conclusion, the vascillating and depressed Catherine decided to end things for herself; after stopping briefly at an outdoor cafe driving her new motorcar, she invited Jim to go for a ride while Jules was urged to watch from afar: ("Watch us, Jules!") - and then she proceeded across a broken and damaged bridge and straight off its edge - the abrupt incident was ruled a murder/suicide by police
  • in the ending, following their deaths, their coffins were slid into the furnace of a crematorium, and their remaining bone fragments were crushed into ashes, and inserted into two urns for interment in separate compartments in a mausoleum, as Jules watched; afterwards, he departed down the cemetery driveway as the soundtrack played Catherine's song; the narrator recounted the events: "Jules would no longer dread, as he had from the beginning, her unfaithfulness and that he might lose her, since she was gone now. Their bodies were found in the river. Jim's coffin was huge. It dwarfed Catherine's. They left nothing of themselves. But Jules had his daughter. Did Catherine merely seek excitement? No. But she had dazed Jules. He was overcome with relief. The friendship of Jules and Jim had no equivalent in love. They enjoyed little things together. They accepted their differences with tenderness. Everyone called them Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The ashes were placed in an urn. Jules might have mixed them. Catherine wanted hers to be cast to the wind but that was not permitted"















Jungle Patrol (1948)

In Joseph M. Newman's rarely-seen, stage-bound war drama set in a WWII remote airstrip in New Guinea in 1942:

  • a group of eight US Army AF officer-pilots stationed in the remote outpost, and flying missions against Japanese planes threatening Australia, without casualties - although they believed their invincibility and luck was running out
  • the unexpected arrival of pretty blonde USO entertainer Jean Gillis (Kristine Miller), who was a Broadway actress and former anti-war activist who joined the USO after her husband's death at Dunkirk
  • the scene of Jean's growing closeness to the group of men during an improvised "dinner dance" sequence, when she learned about the pilots' wives and girlfriends and their hopes for the future after the war
  • Jean's entertainment of the men with an impromptu one-girl show (when the rest of the troupe was stranded), and then the late night delivery of an emotional song to them in their quarters, Forever and Always - when the entire group experienced an epiphany
  • the similarities between the squadron and the film Death Takes a Holiday (1934), when the character of Death took a brief vacation
  • in the film's ending, however, the squadron was outnumbered during an attack on the airstrip and many of the men suffered casualties; Jean was left alive only with squadron leader Major "Skipper" Wright (Ross Ford), facing an ambiguous future

Junglee (1961, India) (aka Uncouth)

In Subodh Mukherji's romantic comedy - his first color film - and a big hit in the early 1960s that forever changed the formulaic, traditional Bollywood films of its type:

  • the main actor - Shammi Kapoor - the "Elvis Presley" of Hindi (Bollywood) cinema
  • the story: a self-controlled, sober, cantankerous and serious Bombay (Mumbai) aristocratic executive Chandra Shekhar (Kapoor) agreed with his domineering, widowed matriarch (Lalita Pawar) that laughter was only for the lower classes; his stubborn mother had also arranged marriage for her son to a Princess, named Rajkumari (Azra)
  • the sequence of his fateful romance with beautiful and charming, similarly-named Rajkumari 'Raj' (Saira Banu in her debut film at age 17) - a doctor's assistant, during a business trip to the northern province of Kashmir
  • in love, he declared through song his new-found, fun-loving freedom and wildness with her, in "Yahoo Yahoo Chahe Koi Mujhe" (dubbed by Mohammad Rafi) - as he descended and fell down the snow-covered mountains and hills, and declared his uninhibited joy by triumphantly crying out: "YAHOO" (it became a rallying cry for his generation)
  • another musical highlight - the flamenco-styled dance duet between hip-swiveling Shekhar and Miss Suku (Helen) - a musical production of "Aai Aai Ya Suku Suku" with pastel-colored sets inspired by the paintings of Monet and Van Gogh







Jurassic Park (1993)

In Steven Spielberg's big-budget version of Michael Crichton's 1990 best-seller, featuring the revolutionary use of special effects (live-action models, miniatures, CGI-generated images) to recreate realistic-looking prehistoric dinosaurs:

  • the scene of the first view of the real-life creatures - a Brachiosaurus eating from a tall treetop - in the island's theme park
  • the scary build-up to the appearance of the T-Rex, with the glasses of water vibrating on the car's dashboard from the dinosaur's ominous footsteps signaling the coming disaster
  • the sudden dropping of a bloody goat's leg onto the windshield after teenage Alexis "Lex" Murphy (Ariana Richards) wondered: "Where's the goat"? - and the first sight of the giant monster chomping on the animal
  • the suspenseful stalking of T-Rex around the vehicle with the kids trapped inside, including the monster's giant eyeballing of Lex and then crashing through the vehicle's viewing roof with its giant jaws
  • the monster's stalking and chewing of cowardly lawyer Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) cowering in a thatched-roof toilet
  • the rear-view mirror image in which objects were closer than they appeared (OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR), as the group of adults fled in an open jeep (Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum): "Must go faster!") from the menacing, approaching monstrous T-Rex; after they had escaped, Malcolm joked: "You think they'll have that on the tour?"
  • the view of a herd of small, bird-like animals racing past the human beings ("They're flocking this way") when being followed and attacked by the T-Rex
  • the tense, hide-and-go-seek scene in the restaurant kitchen with a pair of velociraptors stalking the young grand-children Alexis and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) while Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) assured everyone that they were probably safe ("Unless they figured out how to open doors...") - with a cut to a close-up of the kitchen door handle turning and the creature pushing the door open, while the two kids were huddled together worrying: ("It's inside!")
  • the exciting finale in the Visitor's Center amidst fossil/skeleton displays when the group was 'saved' from becoming dinner for the velociraptors by a voracious T-Rex (roaring as a banner reading "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" fluttered down)









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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