Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments




Key Largo (1948)

In director John Huston's crime/gangster film:

  • the first image of gangster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) sweating profusely in a bathtub with a rotating fan, a cigar and an iced drink
  • his braggadocio as he talks about his rise to power "back in Chi' in the old days" - ("When Rocco talked, everybody shut up and listened. What Rocco said went. Nobody was as big as Rocco. He'll be like that again, only more so. I'll be back up there one of these days, and then you're really going to see something")
  • the scene of hotel owner James Temple (Lionel Barrymore) getting out of his wheelchair in a rage and shrieking at Rocco: "...filth, you filth" and falling to the ground, and then being defended by daughter Nora (Lauren Bacall) who beats on Rocco's chest
  • the memorable scene of gangster moll Gaye Dawn's (Claire Trevor) desperate singing of "Moanin' Low" to hopefully earn a drink from Rocco
  • ex-soldier Frank McCloud's (Humphrey Bogart) complaint against Rocco ("an emperor...whom he couldn't corrupt he terrified, whom he couldn't terrify he murdered")
  • McCloud's principled quoting of President Franklin Roosevelt's address ("We are fighting to cleanse the world of ancient evils, ancient ills")

The Kid (1921)

In director/actor Charlie Chaplin's first self-produced and directed feature film:

  • the frustrating efforts of the Little Tramp (Charles Chaplin) to place an abandoned child in another mother's carriage
  • the fathering scenes of the young orphan Kid (Jackie Coogan) including his ingenious devising of a cradle and feeding-bottle apparatus
  • the breaking/fixing windows scam-business that the boy and 'father' use to make a living
  • the devastating scene of their emotional separation when the boy is taken away by the authorities of the County Orphan Asylum and he outstretches his arms from the back of the truck toward the Tramp
  • the Tramp's run across the rooftops and jump into the vehicle to hug, kiss and rescue the Kid
  • the scene of their stay in a boarding house among other outcasts
  • the charming fantasy sequence when the Tramp sits on a doorway stoop and dreams of a blissful, happier life in Heaven with the slum transformed into Paradise and the poor transformed into white winged angels (one of whom was Chaplin's future wife Lita Grey)
  • and finally, the reunion scene of the Kid with the Tramp and his real mother (Edna Purviance)

The Killers (1946)

In Robert Siodmak's film noir classic:

  • the opening sequence of the killers terrorizing a greasy-spoon diner manager
  • the fulfillment of their murder contract on the passive Swede (Burt Lancaster) in a blaze of gunfire in his dark boarding house room - one of the greatest openings of any film
  • the great alluring and treacherous femme fatale Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner) who confesses: "I'm poison - to myself and everybody around me"

The Killing (1956)

In this early Stanley Kubrick crime thriller:

  • the botched racetrack robbery sequence including the incredible visual shot of an airplane propeller blowing away the fallen suitcase's stolen money all over the runway

The Killing Fields (1984)

In director Roland Joffe's war-drama:

  • the staged scene of the airlift in Saigon
  • Cambodian translator Dith Pran's (Haing S. Ngor) experiences in a "re-education camp"
  • his escape from Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge through apocalyptic scenes of 'killing fields' massacres and atrocities, most memorably wading through water-filled shallow graves with thousands of skulls and decomposing corpses
  • his tearful reunion with NY Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) in the film's finale ("Nothing to forgive, Sidney. Nothing")
  • the film's epilogue provided in two title cards as the camera slowly panned to the left over the rooftops, and looked out over rice fields, followed by a still image of two refugee children (that changed from color to black and white):
    "Dith Pran returned with Sydney Schanberg to America to be reunited with his family. He now works as a photographer for The New York Times where Sydney Schanberg is a columnist. Cambodia's torment has not yet ended. The refugee camps on the Thai border are still crowded with the children of the killing fields."

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949, UK)

In this morbid and black Ealing comedy by director Robert Hamer:

  • the remarkable casting of Alec Guinness as all eight aristocratic D'Ascoyne family relatives, all pictured in the title screen (young and old, and male and female -- a General, a snob, a young photographer, a suffragette, an Admiral, a Reverend, a banker and the Duke) who stand in the way of cold-blooded serial killer and impoverished, embittered commoner Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) - the ninth in line to inherit the Dukedom of Chalfont, who must murder all the other rival successors
  • vengeful Mazzini's flashback to his earlier days ("In those days, I never had any trouble with the sixth commandment") and his recounting of how his father died in childbirth, while his disinherited mother was killed by a train (and refused a burial at Chalfont)

The King and I (1956)

In director Walter Lang's film version of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's 1951 Broadway hit musical:

  • the series of vignettes and confrontations between prim Victorian, widowed teacher/governess Anna (Deborah Kerr) and the autocratic King of Siam (Yul Brynner) ("I am most certainly not your servant"
  • the iconic, joyous dance with Anna and the barefooted monarch for "Shall We Dance"
  • the other two famous songs "Getting to Know You" and "Something Wonderful"
  • and the emotional deathbed scene of the King

King Kong (1933)

In Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's classic monster film:

  • director/explorer Carl Denham's (Robert Armstrong) shipboard training of blonde starlet Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) to scream realistically in a sexy off-the-shoulder "Beauty and Beast costume"
  • the tremendous special effects and stop-motion animation
  • the first view of Kong as he crashes through the jungle to arrive at the gates - accompanied by native chanting and music
  • Ann's screams as she is made a tied-down bridal sacrifice
  • her scenes with Kong bristling with fear, wonder, and sexual overtones - including when the curious Kong peels off her dress (and sniffs at the garment)
  • Kong's lifting of a huge log and shaking sailors free of it
  • Kong's battles with the Tyrannosaurus and other prehistoric creatures including the pterodactyl
  • the monster's display on stage in New York as the 8th Wonder of the World - chained to a giant steel platform
  • the sequence of Kong's rampage through New York City's streets
  • Kong's memorable death scene on top of the Empire State Building while wearily swatting at WWI bi-planes with his beauty Ann in his giant paw
  • his fall from the building after being shot down
  • Denham's last line at the street-level: "It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast"

-- also the scene of a topless Ann (Jessica Lange) held in the giant paw of the Beast in the inferior remake King Kong (1976), as well as Peter Jackson's incarnation of the giant Beast in his own remake King Kong (2005)

Two Other Versions

King Kong (1976)

King Kong (2005)

The King of Comedy (1983)

In Martin Scorsese's shocking black comedy about the cult of celebrity:

  • pushy, would-be, slimeball comic Rupert Pupkin's (Robert De Niro) hostile arguments with his off-screen mother (Catherine Scorsese)
  • his fantasies of being a popular guest on a late night talk show hosted by his idol Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) - a Johnny Carson-like talk-show host
  • the uninvited arrival of Rupert and reluctant bartender/girlfriend and beauty queen Rita (Diahnne Abbot) at Jerry's country retreat home
  • the kidnapping of Jerry - and the love-struck, desperately-scary stalker-fan Masha's (Sandra Bernhard) sexual writhing on a table in front of an immobile, duct-tape bound and gagged Langford in her candlelit apartment
  • the montage finale in which the delusional and obsessed Rupert (now famous) performs an opening monologue on Jerry's show, culminating with being on stage and the host of his own talk show (with the announcer saying: "Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s hear it for Rupert Pupkin. Wonderful. Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen")
  • the final shot of Rupert staring into the camera

King of Hearts (1966, Fr.) (aka Le Roi de Cœur)

In director Philippe De Broca's cult classic about the insanity of war:

  • the character of Scottish soldier Private Charles Plumpick (Alan Bates) with the task of defusing a bomb in the village clock before midnight, who masquerades in a French village as the coronated 'King of Hearts' among other inhabitants (all insane and crackpot asylum inmates)
  • the inmates assuming 'normal' roles in the town for a short while during an emergency evacuation in World War I when the gates of the asylum are left open
  • his acceptance of a queen - the beautiful young acrobat Coquelicot (Genevieve Bujold)
  • the film's final famous shot of a naked Charles who has deserted his regiment - he is holding a birdcage (with his carrier pigeon) in front of the asylum's iron gates - where he is ready to ring the bell (as two nuns approach) and rejoin his asylum inmate friends in their own world that seems more sane than the real world of his own military regiment

King Solomon's Mines (1950)

In director Robert Stevenson's version of H. Rider Haggard's adventure novel of love and intrigue:

  • the realistic footage of the Watusi dance of African natives

Kings Row (1942)

In director Sam Wood's romantic melodrama:

  • the melodramatic scene of Cassandra "Cassie" Tower (Betty Field) kissing Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) while her strict, protective father Dr. Alexander Tower (Claude Rains) is away - as a lightning storm strikes outside - and shortly later her frantic request to go with him ("...let me go away with you") when he is leaving to study abroad
  • the scene of playboy Drake McHugh (Ronald Reagan) waking up, calling to Randy Monoghan (Ann Sheridan) and looking toward the foot of his bed to discover that both his legs have been amputated by a vindictive doctor following a railroad accident ("Where's the rest of me?")
  • the embrace between legless Drake and Parris while Randy repeats over and over again at the door: "Mary, Blessed Mother of God"
  • the final scene of Parris running off to meet his new love Elise Sandor (Kaaren Verne) as Erich Wolfgang Korngold's music swells at the end

The King's Speech (2010, UK)

In Tom Hooper's historical British drama - an intelligent Best Picture-winner:

  • the portrayal of the stuttering King George VI (Oscar-winning Colin Firth), at first only Prince Albert, the Duke of York (and second son of the King George V), who is stammering through the closing speech delivered at Wembley Stadium for the Empire Exhibition in 1925, in the film's opening
  • the series of meetings, years later, with Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who insists on calling the Duke "Bertie," in which the future king practices muscle relaxation exercises and breath control techniques, including the scene of his unorthodox spouting of a string of swear words - without hesitation
  • the revelation of the underlying reasons for Prince Albert's stuttering - from early childhood pressures
  • the new King's climactic and tense wartime radio broadcast at Buckingham Palace, delivered from a private chamber, when Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, with Logue coaching him from the side ("Forget everything else and just say it to me. Say it to me as a friend")
  • the aftermath of the speech, with the more confident, assured King waving to applauding crowds from the palace's balcony with his family and wife, Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter)
  • the final postscript: "Lionel and Bertie remained friends for the rest of their lives"

Kinsey (2004)

In director/writer Bill Condon's biopic about the famous pioneering sex researcher:

  • the final interview scene in which older lesbian subject (Lynn Redgrave in a cameo), after having read Indiana University professor Alfred Kinsey's (Liam Neeson) Sexual Behavior in the Human Female expresses how she was freed from guilt ("You saved my life")
  • the final credits sequence of actual film footage shot by Kinsey's group - of animals copulating (to the tune of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It") - with the porcupine segment the most intriguing

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

In Robert Aldrich's film noir based on Mickey Spillane's hard-boiled novel:

  • inventive camera angles depicting violence and murders
  • the strangely-presented opening credits
  • the character of violent, self-serving, mean and misogynistic gumshoe Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker)
  • the startling opening sequence of Hammer's pickup of hitchhiker Christina Bailey (Cloris Leachman) running barefooted on a darkened stretch of road
  • their drive in his sportscar and her words of warning: 'Remember me'
  • the scene of her screaming torture/murder -- with only her twitching legs dangling off a table
  • the image of Lily (Gaby Rodgers) with closely-cropped blonde hair and sitting up in bed with her gun pointed at Hammer's crotch
  • the final apocalyptic scenes in which Lily wounds Hammer after asking him to "Kiss me"
  • the after-effects of Lily opening the leather-strapped, metal-lined box and burning to death - the nuclear conflagration of the beach house in the brutal finale

Kiss of Death (1947)

In Henry Hathaway's definitive crime noir:

  • the characterization of maniacal, cold-blooded, chuckling killer Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark in an impressive debut performance) with a nervous hyena-like giggle
  • the frightening scene when Udo ties up an old woman (Mildred Dunnock) (the wheelchair-bound mother of an alleged informant) in her wheelchair with an electrical cord and laughingly shoves her down a long flight of stairs - and then sadistically chuckles to himself

Kitty Foyle (1940)

In director Sam Wood's romantic melodrama and RKO's biggest hit of the year:

  • the last scene of hard-working and self-reliant Philadelphia woman Kitty Foyle (Best Actress-winning Ginger Rogers in a non-stereotypical role) making her final decision before her mirror-reflection 'conscience' ("You're no longer a little girl, you're a grown woman now") with a snowglobe in her hand
  • her two choices: to meet upper-crust (Main Line family) philanderer and ex-husband Wyn Strafford VI (Dennis Morgan) on the docks to sail for South America, or to marry struggling and idealistic Dr. Mark Eisen (James Craig) (told in flashback) --
  • the note left with the doorman regarding her choice of life's path ("...I'm going to be married tonight -- (to taxi driver: "St. Timothy's Hospital")) - and the astonished doorman's last line: "Well, Judas Priest"

Klute (1971)

In Alan Pakula's stalker-thriller character study:

  • the telling scene in which high-priced New York call girl Bree Daniel (Oscar-winning Jane Fonda) is servicing a client - and looks boringly at her watch (Note: Klute is the name of a small-town detective played by Donald Sutherland)
  • in a tense concluding scene, psychopathic sick killer Peter Cable (Charles Cioffi) plays an audiotape for Bree of his murder of a second prostitute, Arlyn Page (Dorothy Tristan). He was heard calmly promising the hooker: "Why don't you lie down on the bed and make yourself comfortable...Nothing's going to happen...Just put your head down. You have such lovely long blonde hair. Turn your head." Screams are heard as he strangles and kills her, while Bree bows her head and silently cries
  • in the suspenseful ending, after playing the tape and turning off the recording, the killer's sudden attack of Bree, who is saved by Klute when Cable is smashed through a window

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

In Godfrey Reggio's experimental film:

  • the visually striking images and shots of every-day objects with time-lapse photography, including clouds rolling over landscapes (Grand Canyon, Monument Valley)
  • the most famous part of the experimental film - "The Grid", in which a massive rising moon disappears behind a tower
  • the sped-up tail-lights of cars on a highway making the roads appear like blood-filled arteries
  • views of riders on subway escalators, landing jetliners, the creation of American icons like hot dogs, Twinkies, televisions and cars, all accompanied by a pulsating electronic score
  • the exhausted, pensive reflection after the "The Grid" hits its feverish climax
  • and the finale, an explosion of a V2 rocket and its flaming module falling back to earth in slow-motion
  • its dissolve into Hopi cave art -- then the only English narrative of the film -- the translation of the chanted Hopi prophecies and the definition of the title ("1. crazy life, 2. life in turmoil, 3. life out of balance, 4. life disintegrating, 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living," all set to Philip Glass' mesmerizing minimalist score

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

In director Robert Benton's Best Picture-winning marriage-related drama:

  • Manhattan adman and separated/divorced husband Ted's (Oscar-winning Dustin Hoffman) attempt to make a breakfast of french toast for young son Billy (Oscar-nominated Justin Henry) shortly after wife Joanna (Oscar-winning Meryl Streep) leaves
  • his tearjerking reading of Joanna's letter as "Mommy" to Billy: "I will always be your mommy and I will always love you. I just won't be your mommy in the house, but I'll be your mommy at the heart. And now I must go and be the person I have to be"
  • their dinner scene in which Billy continually ignores his father's instructions and gets the dessert (chocolate chip ice cream) from the refrigerator before eating his main meal of salisbury steak - forcing Ted to take his "spoiled" son to the bedroom as he screams: "I hate you! I want my Mommy"
  • and later that night, Ted's tender bedside reconciliation with his son and explanation about why Joanna left
  • also the hilarious scene in which Billy encounters his father's nude overnight guest Phyllis Bernard (Jo Beth Williams) in the hallway and non-chalantly asks her if she likes fried chicken
  • and the dramatic scene of Ted's plea at a child custody hearing that Joanna must not take Billy: "I'm not a perfect parent. Sometimes I don't have enough patience 'cause I forget that he's a little kid. But I'm there. We get up in the morning and then we eat breakfast, and he talks to me and then we go to school. And at night, we have dinner together and we talk then and I read to him. And we built a life together and we love each other. If you destroy that, it may be irreparable. Joanna, don't do that, please. Don't do it twice to him"

(alphabetical by film title)

Intro | Quiz | A1 | A2 | A3 | A4 | B1 | B2 | B3 | B4 | B5 | B6 | B7 | C1 | C2 | C3 | C4 | C5 | D1 | D2 | D3 | D4 | E
F1 | F2 | F3 | F4 | G1 | G2 | G3 | G4 | H1 | H2 | H3 | I1 | I2 | I3 | J | K | L1 | L2 | L3 | L4 | M1 | M2 | M3
| M5 | M6 | N1 | N2 | N3 | O1 | O2 | P1 | P2 | P3 | P4 | P5Q | R1 | R2 | R3 | R4
S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S9 | T1 | T2 | T3 | T4 | T5 | U | V | W1 | W2 | W3 | W4 | YZ

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