Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Key Largo (1948)

In director John Huston's crime/gangster film noir:

  • the first image of gangster Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) sweating profusely in a bathtub in his Florida Keys hotel room with a rotating fan, a cigar and an iced drink
  • Rocco's boasting about the old days in Chicago and then his identification of himself as an "undesirable alien" to his group of hotel hostages, including wheelchair-bound hotel owner James Temple (Lionel Barrymore), ex-soldier Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart), and Temple's widowed daughter Nora (Lauren Bacall): ("After living in the USA. for more than 30 years, they called me an undesirable alien. Me, Johnny Rocco! Like l was a dirty Red or somethin'!")
  • Frank's wise defense of Rocco's big ego, by calling him an "emperor": ("Johnny Rocco was more than a king. He was an emperor. His rule extended over beer, slot machines, the numbers racket and a dozen other forbidden enterprises. He was a master of the fix. Whom he couldn't corrupt, he terrified. When he couldn't terrify, he murdered...Welcome back, Rocco. It was all a mistake. America's sorry for what it did to you"); soon after, Rocco continued to boast: ("Yeah, yeah, that's me. Sure, I was all of those things. And more! 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 gonna see something")
  • Frank's principled quoting of President Franklin Roosevelt's address, when asked by Rocco why he fought in the war: ("But we are not making all this sacrifice of human effort and human lives to return to the kind of a world we had after the last world war. (Thunder) We are fighting to cleanse the world of ancient evils, ancient ills")
  • the scene of James Temple struggling to get out of his wheelchair in a rage and shrieking at Rocco: "You ain't comin' back ...filth, you filth" and falling to the ground after taking a swing, and then being defended by Nora who beat on Rocco's chest; he forced a kiss from her, calling her a "little wildcat"
  • the scene of Rocco's continued braggadocio, when he was being shaved with a straight-razor by Angel as he talked to the group, including Sheriff's deputy Sawyer (John Rodney) about his powerful connections: ("You'd give your left eye to nail me, wouldn't ya, huh? You can see the headlines, can't you? 'Local Deputy Captured Johnny Rocco'. Your picture'd be in all the papers. You might even get to tell on the newsreel how you pulled if off, yeah. Well listen, hick, I was too much for any big city police force to handle. They tried but they couldn't. It took the United States Government to pin a rap on me, yeah. And they won't make it stick. Oh, you hick, I'll be back pulling strings to get guys elected mayor and governor before you ever get a ten buck raise, yeah. How many of those guys in office owe everything to me? I made them, yeah. I made 'em, just like a tailor makes a suit of clothes. I take a nobody, teach him what to say, get his name in the papers. I pay for his campaign expenses. Dish out a lotta groceries and coal. Get my boys to bring the voters out. And then count the votes over and over again till they added up right, and he was elected. And then what happened? Did he remember when the going got tough? When the heat was on? No, he didn't wanna. All he wanted was to save his own dirty neck....'Public Enemy' - he calls me! Me, who gave him his public all wrapped up with a fancy bow on it!")
  • Rocco's threats with a gun toward his hostages, especially Nora after she spit in Rocco's face: ("Nothin's gonna stop me from wipin' you all out!"); when his henchman advised: ("What good'll that do, boss? Forget it. Her kind's a dime a dozen"), well-dressed Toots (Harry Lewis) suggested: "I say smack her and let it go at that," while Frank McCloud chimed in: ("That'd be right for you, Toots, not for him...The Roccos don't, or they wouldn't be Roccos. No Toots, smacking her isn't enough for such an insult. He'd have to kill her. Then he'd have to kill the rest of us because we witnessed it. Not just Mr. Temple and me, but all the witnesses. It's kill us all or nothing. He needs you and Curly and Angel. So it'll be nothing")
  • the memorable scene of Rocco's proposition to ex-moll Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor) to get a drink - and her desperate singing of "Moanin' Low" to hopefully earn a Scotch whiskey drink from him: ("Now you sing us your song, you can have a drink... the song, then the drink"), but was denied afterwards when he complained that her performance was awful: "You were rotten"
  • the final confrontation between Frank and Rocco on a boat bound for Cuba - when Frank shot Rocco dead

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 with a suspended tea kettle
  • the breaking/fixing windows scam-business that the boy and 'father' used to make a living
  • the devastating scene of their emotional separation when the boy was taken away by the authorities of the County Orphan Asylum and he outstretched 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 "Dreamland" sequence when the Tramp sat on a doorway stoop and dreamt 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) at her doorstep, when the Tramp was reunited with his elated adoptive son

The Killers (1946)

In Robert Siodmak's film noir classic:

  • the opening sequence - one of the greatest openings of any film - of the two unsmiling contract killers Max (William Conrad) and Al (Charles McGraw) arriving in Brentwood, NJ and terrorizing greasy-spoon Henry's Diner manager George (Harry Hayden)
  • the killers' fulfillment of their murder contract on a passive, fatalistic Swede (Burt Lancaster) in a blaze of gunfire in his dark boarding house room; co-worker Nick Adams (Phil Brown) had just come to warn him a few moments earlier, when the Swede admitted his reason to die: ("I did something wrong - once")
  • the swanky hotel party scene, when the Swede met and fell under the spell of gorgeous, alluring and treacherous femme fatale Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner), the moll/girlfriend and "hostess" of imprisoned, sleazy racketeering king-pin boss Big Jim Colfax (Albert Dekker)
  • the scene of Kitty's admission that knew of the Swede's obsessive love that she cleverly had a chance to manipulate on the eve of the heist: ("I hadn't seen him for a long time, but the minute I laid eyes on him, I knew. He was always looking at me. And it doesn't sound like very much, but he always carried a handkerchief I'd given him...I hated my life, only I wasn't strong enough to get away from it. All I could do was dream of some big payoff that would let me quit the whole racket. The Swede was my chance to make my dream come true. If I could only be alone with him for a few hours. But Colfax was always there. I thought it was hopeless. Then suddenly, my chance came")
  • the actual scene in which the unscrupulous Kitty lied to the Swede about the heist, and admitted her poisonous, lethal nature, while promising the Swede that the money would allow her to get away from her hated boyfriend (another major lie); after deceiving the Swede, she had him promise: ("Promise me one thing. You won't give me away. If Colfax ever found out what I did...You know why Colfax hates you? Because of me. He's no fool. He sees what's happened"); when the Swede asked: "Why did you ever go back to him, Kitty?", she responded with her most famous line: ("Maybe because I hate him. I'm poison, Swede, to myself and everybody around me. I'd be afraid to go with anyone I love for the harm I'd do them. I don't care harming him")
  • the final scene when Kitty was revealed to be Colfax's wife and partner in crime all along; when Colfax was lethally wounded, she knelt by her husband's body and again expressed how heartless and selfish she was, by repeatedly and desperately begging her dying husband to lie for her ("Jim! Jim!! Tell 'em I didn't know anything. Jim, listen to me. You can save me. Jim, do ya hear me? Tell them I didn't know those gunmen were coming. Say, 'Kitty is innocent. I swear, Kitty is innocent.' Say it, Jim, say it! It'll save me if you do...'Kitty is innocent. I swear, Kitty is innocent.'...Come back, Jim, tell them. Come back! SAVE ME! Jim! 'Kitty is innocent! I swear! Kitty is innocent! Kitty is innocent! I swear, Kitty is innocent! Kitty is innocent!'"); however, Colfax died, and his silence criminally implicated Kitty and condemned her
  • the film's final line, uttered by insurance investigator James Reardon (Edmond O'Brien), who wrapped up his own findings about Kitty's smoldering triple-cross: ("The double-cross to end all double-crosses!")

The Killing (1956)

In this early Stanley Kubrick film-noir crime thriller:

  • the scene in a New York City chess club, The Academy of Chess and Checkers, and the dialogue between veteran criminal Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) and bald, burly ex-wrestler Maurice Oboukhoff (Kola Kwariani), a member of Johnny's team of thieves: (Maurice: "You have my sympathies, then. You have not yet learned that in this life you have to be like everyone else - the perfect mediocrity; no better, no worse. Individuality's a monster and it must be strangled in its cradle to make our friends feel confident. You know, I've often thought that the gangster and the artist are the same in the eyes of the masses. They are admired and hero-worshipped, but there is always present underlying wish to see them destroyed at the peak of their glory")
  • the elaborate yet botched $2 million racetrack robbery sequence
  • the doomed circumstances of the heist when a baggage carrier driver swerved to avoid a poodle-dog, and sent Johnny's checked suitcase of stolen money off the cart onto the tarmac where it broke open - and the incredible visual shot of an airplane propeller blowing away the fallen suitcase's contents of banknotes that whirled all over the runway
  • the final scene when Johnny was being approached by armed and alerted plainclothes policemen to arrest him as he exited from the airport terminal to hail a cab; warned by girlfriend Fay (Coleen Gray): ("Johnny, you've got to run!"), he calmly and futily replied, with the film's tagline: ("Eh, what's the difference?")

The Killing Fields (1984, UK)

In director Roland Joffe's war-drama:

  • the staged scene of the 1975 evacuations and airlifts from Saigon
  • Cambodian journalist and interpreter-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 massacres and atrocities against Cambodian citizens, most memorably wading through water-filled shallow graves with thousands of skulls and decomposing corpses in the infamous 'killing fields' of the Pol Pot regime
  • the sequence of Dith Pran's tearful reunion with NY Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) at a Red Cross camp on the border in the film's finale: ("Nothing to forgive, Sidney. Nothing"), highlighted by John Lennon's song "Imagine"
  • the film's epilogue was 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 stood 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 and Victorian, strong-willed, widowed teacher/governess Anna Leonowens (Deborah Kerr) for the many children of the autocratic King Mongkut of Siam (Yul Brynner) in the 1860s
  • the sequence of "The March of the Siamese Children," when the King's children were introduced, including his eldest son and heir Prince Chulalongkorn (Patrick Adiarte)
  • the welcoming song by Anna to the many children: "Getting to Know You"
  • the King's description of rules to Anna, that no one's head should be higher than his, followed by his familiar string of etceteras: ("Observe care that head shall not be higher than mine. When I shall sit, you shall sit! When I shall kneel, you shall kneel. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!"); she responded with objections about having to grovel on the floor if he sat down near her; and later also voiced her disapproval: ("I am most certainly not your servant!")
  • the iconic, joyous dance segment "Shall We Dance" - Anna taught the barefooted monarch how to polka
  • just before Anna's departure back to England, the King's emotional deathbed scene after he had been starving himself and not sleeping - and the proclamation issued to his subjects by the newly-appointed young Prince, that he no longer required bowing before the King, as the King quietly expired nearby: ("There shall be no bowing like toad. No crouching. No crawling. This does not mean, however, that you do not show respect for king. You will stand with shoulders back and chin high, like this. You will face king with proud expression showing pride in self as well as in king. This is proper way for men to show esteem for one another by looking upon each other's faces with calmness of spirit, eyes meeting eyes in equal gaze, bodies upright, standing as men were meant to stand with dignity and awareness of self. So from this day forward...")
  • the film's final moment, as Anna placed her face next to the King's limp left hand following his death

King Kong (1933)

In Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's classic monster film, with tremendous special effects and stop-motion animation:

  • director/explorer and film-maker 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 first view of Kong as he crashed through the jungle to arrive at the gates - accompanied by native chanting and music
  • Ann's screams as she was made a tied-down bridal sacrifice
  • her scenes with Kong bristling with fear, wonder, and sexual overtones - including when the curious Kong peeled off her dress (and sniffed 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 after breaking loose from the platform, and his climb up the tall Empire State Building
  • 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
  • Kong's dramatic fall from the building after being shot down
  • Denham's famous last line at the street-level to a cop, to properly identify the cause of Kong's death: ("It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast")

Honorable Mention: 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 (1982)

In Martin Scorsese's shocking black comedy-drama about the cult of celebrity and American media:

  • the character of pushy, would-be, slimeball comic and autograph collector Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro), and his hostile arguments with his off-screen mother (Catherine Scorsese), while he fantasized about 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 very awkward scene of 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 with the assistance of love-struck, desperately-scary stalker-fan Masha (Sandra Bernhard), to force Jerry to telephone his producers (at gunpoint), read from a cue card script, and book him on the upcoming Jerry Langford Show (guest hosted by Tony Randall)
  • the sequence of Masha's "dream-date" with Jerry, including her sexual writhing on a table in front of an immobile, duct-tape bound and gagged Langford in her parents' candlelit Manhattan apartment
  • the montage finale in which the delusional and obsessed Rupert performed the opening stand-up comedy monologue on Jerry's show, introduced as "the newest King of Comedy": ("Now, a lot of you are probably wondering why Jerry isn't with us tonight. Well, I'll tell ya. The fact is, he's tied up - and I'm the one who tied him. (laughter) Well, ha, ha, I know you think I'm joking, but believe me, that's the only way I could break into show business - by hijacking Jerry Langford. Right now, Jerry is strapped to a chair somewhere in the middle of this city. (laughter) Go ahead and laugh, thank you, I appreciate it. But the fact is, I'm here. Now, tomorrow, you'll know that I wasn't kidding and you'll think I was crazy. But look, I figured it this way: better to be King for a Night than Schmuck for a Lifetime!!! (laughter) Thank you, thank you")
  • in the conclusion, Rupert's best-selling book: "King For a Night", after getting out on bail after serving two years and nine months of a six-year sentence, and his hosting of his own talk show - (with the announcer saying: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, the man we've all been waiting for, and waiting for. Would you welcome home please, television's brightest new star. The legendary, inspirational, the one and only king of comedy. Ladies and gentlemen, Rupert Pupkin! Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen! Let's hear it for Rupert Pupkin! Wonderful! Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen! Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen! Let's hear it for Rupert Pupkin! Wonderful! Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen!")
  • the final concluding shot of a speechless Rupert smiling into the camera, nodding and basking in the moderate applause, as the camera slowly moved in toward him

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

In director Philippe De Broca's cult classic sleeper film about the insanity of war, an anti-war fable set at the end of WWI:

  • the character of lone, kilt-wearing, French-speaking Scottish soldier Private Charles Plumpick (Alan Bates), an ornithologist, with the task of defusing a bomb in the French village of Marville, in the town square's clock before midnight
  • the scenes of Private Plumpick - masquerading in a French village as the coronated 'King of Hearts' among other inhabitants - all insane and crackpot asylum inmates who had merrily assumed 'normal' roles in the town for a short while during an emergency evacuation in World War I when the gates of the asylum were left open, and they were free to raid the abandoned shops and adopt festive costumes
  • the King of Hearts' acceptance of a queen and/or consort - the beautiful young coquettish Coquelicot (Genevieve Bujold), an acrobat and dancer
  • the sequence of the frightened inmates calmly returning "home" to their asylum behind locked iron gates (after the Brits and Germans slaughtered each other in the town), as liberating French troops arrived in the town and Plumpick was awarded a special "army citation" for bravery
  • the film's final famous shot of a naked Charles who almost immediately deserted his regiment as his truck left town; he was holding a birdcage (with his carrier pigeon) in front of the asylum's iron gates, where he was ready to ring the bell (as two startled nuns approached), to rejoin his asylum inmate friends in their world that seemed more sane than the real world of his own military regiment
  • the conclusion, in which the 'King of Hearts' was warmly greeted by his inmate friends and playing cards with them: ("Well, you're here now. And you won't be running off anymore"); the last line was spoken by an inmate: ("The most beautiful journeys are taken through the window")

King Solomon's Mines (1950)

In directors Compton Bennett's and Andrew Marton's and MGM's big-budget, melodramatic Technicolored 'safari' romantic-adventure film into uncharted territory - a third version of H. Rider Haggard's 1885 "novel of love and intrigue in the perilous jungles of the Dark Continent" - "Actually Filmed in the Savage Heart of Equatorial Africa!":

[Note: There were two earlier versions: King Solomon's Mines (1919), and director Robert Stevenson's King Solomon's Mines (1937, UK) starring Cedric Hardwicke, followed by two other lesser versions: director J. Lee Thompson's King Solomon's Mines (1985) (with Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone), and a two-part TV movie/mini-series: King Solomon's Mines (2004) (with Patrick Swayze and Alison Doody).]:

  • the trailer promised: "Sacred Dance of the Giant Watussi! Mad Charge of the Rogue Elephants! Flight Across the Burning Sands! Mystery of the Deserted Village! Grotesque Caverns of the King’s Mines! Battle Canoes of the Fighting Masai! Actual Death Fight of the Pagan Kings! The Spectacular Wild Animal Stampede!"
  • the wisdom of adventurer-hunter-guide Allan Quartermain (Stewart Granger) as he walked along a jungle path with prim, determined, red-haired Elizabeth Curtis (Deborah Kerr) and her brother John Goode (Richard Carlson): ("They're no souls in the jungle, sad little justice and no ethics. In the end you begin to accept it all. You watch things hunting and being hunted, reproducing, killing and dying, it's all endless and pointless, except in the end one small pattern emerges from it all, the only certainty: one is born, one lives for a time and then one dies, that's all")
  • the sudden dangers - Elizabeth's tent being attacked at night by a spotted jaguar, and crossing swampy water and finding herself stepping on top of a deadly crocodile
  • the realistic footage of the Watussi dance of African natives
  • the shocking cave discovery of the skeletal remains of Elizabeth's explorer husband who had been searching for the legendary diamond mines (briefly glimpsed although left behind)
  • the duel to the death between tall mysterious native, dethroned Umbopa (Siriaque) and the evil King Twala (Baziga), to decide who would rule as King of the Watussi tribe, ending with a spear thrown by Umbopa into Twala's chest to kill him
  • the romance that developed between prim but passionate Elizabeth and cynical Allan, who walked off arm in arm at film's end

Kings Row (1942)

In director Sam Wood's great romantic melodrama set in the town of Kings Row in the mid-West:

  • the melodramatic scenes of the secret love affair between Cassandra "Cassie" Tower (Betty Field) and idealistic neighbor Parris Mitchell (Robert Cummings) while her strict, protective (and incestuous, off-screen) father Dr. Alexander Tower (Claude Rains), who had confined her at home, was away; as a lightning storm struck outside, they kissed - and shortly later, the scene of her frantic crazed request to go away with him: ("...let me go away with you") when he was about to leave to study abroad in Vienna as a psychiatric medical doctor
  • 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 of his injured legs had been amputated by a vindictive Dr. Henry Gordon (Charles Coburn) following a railroad accident, and his famous exclamation: ("Where's the rest of me?")
  • the scene of Parris attempting to save his boyhood friend from depression and suicide, while Randy left the room and invoked the Virgin Mary three times while standing at the door: "Mary, blessed Mother of God"
  • the lengthy monologue by Parris to his legless friend Drake when he boldly revealed the truth about Drake's amputated legs and Dr. Gordon's butchery, after reciting half of 19th-century English poet William E. Henley's sixteen-line Invictus (meaning unconquerable or undefeated in Latin) - a poem about self-determination: ("My grandmother used to say, some people grow up and some people just grow older. I guess it's time we found out about us, you and me, whether I'm a doctor, whether you're a man. You know the kind of man I mean, Drake. There's a piece of poetry, Invictus. I don't think I remember all the words. 'Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody - but unbowed.' I don't know if you can take it, Drake...Dr. Gordon cut off your legs. I don't know if it was necessary. He was that kind of butcher, who thought he had a special ordination to punish transgressors. With you he had a double incentive because of Louise. Heaven knows what else. The caverns of the human mind are full of strange shadows, but none of that matters. The point is he wanted to destroy you, oh, not literally. He wanted to destroy the Drake McHugh you were. He wanted to see you turn into a life-long cripple, mentally as well as physically. That's all there is, Drake. Now, if you'd turn your face to that wall")
  • the response of a chuckling Drake to Parris and Randy - who had defiantly overcome his bitterness after learning that the amputations were unnecessary: ("That's a hot one, isn't it? Where did Gordon think I lived, in my legs? Did he think those things were Drake McHugh? Spout that poetry again, Parris. I never was any good at poetry. (To Randy, with an embrace) What was it you wanted, honey? To build a house? We'll move into it in broad daylight. And we'll invite the folks in, too. For Pete's sake, let's give a party. I feel swell")
  • the very dramatic final scene of Parris running off to meet his new love Elise Sandor (Kaaren Verne), and his traverse across a long expanse of lawn to embrace Elise in his arms - as Erich Wolfgang Korngold's music swelled at the end

The King's Speech (2010, UK)

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

  • in the film's opening, 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 was stammering through the closing speech delivered at Wembley Stadium for the Empire Exhibition in 1925
  • the series of meetings, years later, with Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who insisted on calling the Duke "Bertie," in which the future king practiced 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 dramatic biopic about the famous pioneering sex researcher:

  • the scene of Indiana University professor of biology Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) teaching his first introductory class in sex education, writing the word STIMULATION on a blackboard, and provocatively asking: "Who can tell me which part of the human body can enlarge a hundred times. You, miss?" - when a female student objected to the potentially embarrassing question in a "mixed class", he responded: ("I was referring to the pupil in your eye, young lady. And I think I should tell you, you're in for a terrible disappointment. It is often in the eye that stimulation begins")
  • the matter-of-fact interviews conducted by Professor Kinsey: ("Hello, I'm Professor Kinsey from Indiana University and I'm making a study of sex behavior. Can we sit and talk?"
  • the honeymoon scene of Kinsey with wife Clara "Mac" McMillen (Oscar-nominated Laura Linney) having painful sexual problems with her inexperienced husband during their honeymoon; on their wedding night, the two virgins were so sexually naive that their attempts to consummate their marriage were a complete failure when she begged him to stop intercourse - due to a medical issue with her hymen: ("I'm sorry, it hurts too much")
  • the later emotional scene of Kinsey's free-thinking wife "Mac" revealing her suspicions that her husband was unfaithful and bisexual: ("It's not like I'm surprised exactly. I've observed certain things over the years....A look or a gesture. The pet student who suddenly becomes a member of the family and then just as suddenly disappears when you tire of him...Haven't I always been open to whatever you wanted?...I'm just not enough. Is that it?"); Kinsey admitted: ("This is inside of me. To what extent, I don't know. But I'd be a hypocrite if I pretended it wasn't there"); then, after she complained about the problems in their marriage, he began lecturing her: ("The human animal is capable of all kinds of sexual expression. Not all sex has to be sanctioned by love, enriched by emotion. To the Greeks...); he tried to calm her by expressing his steadfast love: ("Listen to me. You're my girl. You always will be. The bond we have, the life we share - sex is nothing compared to that")
  • the last interview scene in which older lesbian subject (Lynn Redgrave in a cameo), after having read Kinsey's 1953 research study Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, expressed how she was freed from guilt - realizing that she was not alone in her feelings and attractions for the same sex: ("After I read your book, I realized how many other women were in the same situation. I mustered the courage to talk to my friend and she told me, to my great surprise, that the feelings were mutual. We-we've been together for three happy years now. (she stood and gratefully took his hand in hers to thank him) You saved my life, sir")
  • the concluding nature-walk discussion between Kinsey and "Mac" about the rootedness of very ancient trees: ("...the Mbeere?... They're an ancient East African tribe. They believe that trees are imperfect men eternally bemoaning their imprisonment. The roots that keep them stuck in one place. But I've never seen a discontented tree. Look at this one! The way its roots are gripping the ground. I believe it really loves it"); the film concluded with his final line as he walked off hurriedly: ("There's a lot of work to do")
  • 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, with 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 doomed hitchhiker Christina Bailey (Cloris Leachman) running barefooted (and naked under her trenchcoat) on a darkened stretch of road
  • their drive in his sportscar and her words of warning: 'Remember me' before they were run off the road by a black car
  • the horrifying scene of Christina's screaming torture/murder -- with only her twitching legs dangling off a table, as an unidentified criminal mastermind told his underlings that the victim couldn't be brought back from the dead: ("If you revive her, do you know what that would be? Resurrection, that's what it would be. And do you know what resurrection means? It means raise the dead. And just who do you think you are that you think you can raise the dead?")
  • the image of Lily, aka Gabrielle (Gaby Rodgers) with closely-cropped blonde hair and sitting up in bed with her gun pointed at Hammer's crotch, posing as Christina's roommate
  • the final apocalyptic scenes in the isolated beach house when Lily shot her deceitful boss Dr. Soberin (Albert Dekker) to death, as he was warning her about the leather-strapped, metal-lined box: ("Listen to me, as if I were Cerberus barking with all his heads at the gates of Hell, I will tell you where to take it. But don't, don't open the box")
  • the scene of Hammer bursting into the room, where Lily greeted him and commanded sexual favors: ("Hello, Mike. Come in. Come in. Kiss me, Mike. I want you to kiss me. Kiss me. The liar's kiss that says 'I love you.' It means something else. You're good at giving such kisses. Kiss me."), and then shot him in the abdomen
  • the amazing sequence of Lily opening the 'whatz-it' box, producing a hissing, hellish, unearthly noise that emanated from its interior as the searing light hit her face - she had unleashed the apocalyptic forces inside and the box couldn't be closed, as she became a flaring pillar of fire consuming her
  • the after-math - the nuclear conflagration of the beach house in the brutal finale, as Hammer and his secretary-assistant Velda Wakeman (Maxine Cooper) raced out of the exploding house to the beach, and hugged waist-deep in the foaming waves of the ocean - with the superimposed THE END

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 Tommy Udo tied up elderly, crippled Mrs. Rizzo (Mildred Dunnock) (the mother of alleged informant Pete Rizzo) in her wheelchair with an electrical cord and laughingly shoved her down a long flight of stairs - and then sadistically chuckled to himself

Kitty Foyle (1940)

In director Sam Wood's romantic melodrama and RKO's biggest hit of the year, about a love triangle:

  • the scene of hard-working and self-reliant Philadelphia sales-woman Kitty Foyle (Best Actress-winning Ginger Rogers in a non-stereotypical role) making her final life's decision before her mirror-reflection 'conscience' - with a snowglobe in her hand: ("You're no longer a little girl, you're a grown woman now")
  • Kitty's conversation about how to know if one was falling in love, with one of her suitors - struggling, respectable and idealistic Dr. Mark Eisen (James Craig): (Mark: "A fellow like me knows when he's falling in love, and he knows whether or not it's the real thing." Kitty: "How do you know when you're falling in love?" Mark: "Well, I don't make very much dough, and when I find myself wanting to spend ten bucks on a girl, then I know I'm falling in love")
  • also, working-class Kitty's straight-talk chastisement of the chilling, judgmental family of her husband - impetuous, upper-crust (Main Line family) philanderer Wyn Strafford VI (Dennis Morgan), when she was visiting his family after their elopement, and the family was talking about making plans for her re-education and preparation to enter the leisure class - so she could be a proper wife: ("I didn't marry Wyn for his money. I don't care if he hasn't got a penny...Let's get a few things straight around here! I didn't ask to marry a Strafford, a Strafford asked to marry me. I married a man, not an institution or a trust fund or a bank. Oh, I've got a fine picture of your family conference here. All the Straffords trying to figure out how to take the curse off Kitty Foyle. Buy the girl a phony education, and polish off the rough edges, and make a Mainline doll out of her! Aww, you oughta know better than that! It takes six generations to make a bunch of people like you. And by Judas Priest, I haven't got that much time")
  • Kitty's determination to be a 'bachelor' mother, after becoming pregnant with Wyn's baby, although their marriage had since dissolved: ("I'm going to have this baby. And I know what I'm going to name him, too. The doctor called me Mrs. Foyle. So I'm going to call the baby Foyle. I'll call him Tom Foyle after my Pop. He'll grow up to be proud of his name. And proud of his mother! And, by Judas Priest, he'll be a fighter too, hard as a pine-knot. Tom Foyle, the toughest kid in the block")
  • in the conclusion (told in flashback), the choice that Kitty faced: to meet either ex-husband Wyn on the docks to sail for South America, or to marry Dr. Mark Eisen
  • Kitty's note left with the hotel doorman Tim (Edward McNamara) regarding the life-changing choice of her path - to meet up with Dr. Eisen: ("...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 (Note: Klute was the name of a small-town detective played by Donald Sutherland):

  • the opening credits, with the lengthy voice-over (taped on a recorder) of high-priced New York call girl Bree Daniel (Oscar-winning Jane Fonda) propositioning a client - and her increasing involvement in the investigation of the murder of one of her clients, Thomas Gruneman (Robert Milli), who had allegedly written obscene letters to "a girl in New York City": ("Has anybody, uhm, talked to you about the financial arrangements? Well, that depends, naturally, on how long you want me for and, and what you want to do. I know you. It will be very nice. Uhm, well, I'd like to spend the evening with you if it's, if you'd like that. Have you ever been with a woman before? Paying her? Do you like it? I mean, I have the feeling that that turns you on very particularly. What turns me on is because I have a good imagination and I like pleasing. Do you mind if I take my sweater off? Well, I think in the confines of one's house, one should be free of clothing and inhibitions. Oh, inhibitions are always nice because they're so nice to overcome. Don't be afraid. I'm not. As long as you don't, uh, hurt me more than I like to be hurt, I will do anything you ask. You should never be ashamed of things like that. I mean, you mustn't be. You know, there's nothing wrong. Nothing, nothing is wrong. I think the only way that any of us can ever be happy is to, is to let it all hang out. You know, do it all and f--k it!...")
  • the telling scene in which Bree was servicing a client - and looked boringly at her watch
  • the scene of Bree's counseling with her high-priced therapist-psychiatrist (Vivian Nathan), when she confessed that she wanted to quit the sessions because of their cost and ineffectiveness: ("Well, I mean I've been coming here all this time, and I've been paying you all this money, and why do I still want to trick? Why do I still walk by a phone and want to pick up the phone and call?...when you're a call girl you control it, that's why. Because someone wants you, not me. I mean, there are some johns that I have regularly that want me and that's terrific. But they want a woman and I know I'm good. And I arrive at their hotel or their apartment, and they're usually nervous, which is fine, because I'm not. I know what I'm doing. And for an hour, for an hour, I'm the best actress in the world and the best f--k in the world...because it's an act. That's what's nice about it. You don't have to feel anything. You don't have to care about anything. You don't have to like anybody. You just, uh, you just lead them by the ring in their nose in the direction that they think they want to go in. And you get a lot of money out of them in as short a period of time as possible. And uh, and you control it and you call the shots, and I always feel just great afterwards... I don't think there's anything wrong with it, uh - morally. I didn't enjoy it physically. I-I came to enjoy it because it made me feel good. It made me feel like I wasn't alone. It made me feel, uh, that I had some control over myself, that I had some control over my life. That I, uh, that I could determine things for myself")
  • in a tense concluding scene, psychopathic sick killer Peter Cable's (Charles Cioffi) playing of 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 were heard as he strangled and killed her, while Bree bowed her head and silently cried; Cable was revealed to have framed Gruneman as the author of the obscene letters, before his disappearance
  • in the suspenseful ending, after playing the tape and turning off the recording, the killer's sudden attack of Bree, who was saved by private detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland) when Cable was smashed through a window
  • the final scene, of Bree moving out of her NYC apartment and returning to Pennsylvania with detective Klute, with whom she had become romantically involved, and her expression of fears to her therapist (in voice-over) that settled domestic life with him in Tuscarora, with a man so different than she was, might not work: ("I know enough about myself to know that whatever lies in store for me it's not gonna be setting up housekeeping with somebody in Tuscarora, and darning socks and doing all that... I'd go out of my mind..."); when she received a phone call from her female therapist, Bree further explained: ("Well, I'm leaving town right now and I don't expect to be back..."); the film ended as she departed her empty apartment, with her continued voice-over to her therapist, casting doubt on her future life with Klute as a couple: ("I have no idea what's gonna happen. I just, I can't stay in this city, you know? Maybe I'll come back. You'll probably see me next week")

Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

In Godfrey Reggio's experimental film, all set to Philip Glass' mesmerizing, pulsating, minimalist electronic score:

  • 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 disappeared 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
  • the exhausted, pensive reflection after the "The Grid" hit its feverish climax
  • and the finale, an explosion of a V2 rocket and its flaming module falling back to earth in slow-motion
  • the 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")

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

In director Robert Benton's Best Picture-winning marriage-related drama about divorce and gender roles:

  • the early shocking scene of unhappy, suicidal wife Joanna's (Oscar-winning Meryl Streep) announcement to workaholic Manhattan adman husband Ted (Oscar-winning Dustin Hoffman) that she was leaving, and her description of the provisions she had made to prepare for her departure: ("Ted, I'm leaving you. Ted, keys, here are my keys. Here's my American Express, here's my Bloomingdale's card, here's my checkbook. I've taken $2,000 dollars out of our savings account, because that's what I had in the bank when we first got married...Here's the cleaning, laundry ticket. You can pick them both up on Saturday...I paid the rent, I paid the Con Ed bill, and I paid the phone bill, so...So that's everything"); and her explanation that it wasn't his fault when he asked what the problem was: ("It's not you...It's me. It's my fault. You just married the wrong person, that's all"); and then she admitted that she wasn't a good mother for their young son Billy (Oscar-nominated Justin Henry): ("I'm not taking him with me. I'm no good for him. I'm terrible with him. I have no patience. He's better off without me"); as the elevator door shut, she added: ("And I don't love you anymore")
  • the scene of separated/divorced husband Ted's attempt to make a breakfast of French Toast for Billy shortly after his wife Joanna had left, by cracking an egg one-handed into a mug marked "Ted" ("Okay, you can be my number one helper. OK, now watch this. One hand. Here we go. Did you know that all the best chefs are men? I'll betcha didn't know that, did ya? Isn't this terrific? This is terrific! We gotta do this more often") - although Billy noted that he had dropped some egg shell in the cup; Ted kept trying to convince himself: ("We're havin' a good time!"), and kept chattering while forgetting one important ingredient - the milk: ("When you're having a good time, you forget the most important thing, right? I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. It's been a long time since I made this. That's fun, isn't it?")
  • the scene of Ted's difficult, tearjerking reading of Joanna's letter as "Mommy" to Billy: ("My dearest, sweet Billy.... Mommy has gone away. Sometimes in the world, daddies go away and mommies bring up their little boys. But sometimes, a mommy can go away too and you have your daddy to bring you up. I have gone away because I must find something interesting to do for myself in the world. Everybody has to, and so do I. Being your mommy was one thing, but there are other things too and this is what I have to do. I did not get a chance to tell you this, and that is why I'm writing you now. 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 acted out, was continually distracted, ignored his father's instructions to eat his main dinner meal of salisbury steak ("What is this crap?...I hate it...I hate the brown stuff. It's gross...I think I'm gonna throw's yucky"), and went instead to get dessert (chocolate chip ice cream) from the refrigerator - and completely disregarded Ted's warnings: ("If you take one bite out of that, you're in big trouble. Hey, Don't you dare. Don't you dare do that. Do you hear me? Hey, stop, hold it right there. You put that ice cream in your mouth and you are in very, very, very big trouble. Don't you dare go anywhere beyond that. Put it down right now. I am not going to say it again. I am not going to say it again!"); Billy forced Ted to take his "spoiled, rotten little brat" son to the bedroom as Billy screamed: ("I hate you!...I want my Mommy"); Ted retorted: "I'm all ya got!"
  • and later that night, Ted's tender, whispered bedside reconciliation with his son and explanation about why Joanna left, when Billy blamed himself for his mother's abandonment: ("Your mom loves you very much and the reason she left doesn't have anything to do with you. I don't know whether this is gonna make any sense, but I'll try to explain it to you, okay? I think the reason why Mommy left was because for a long time now, I've kept trying to make her be a certain kind of person, Billy. A certain kind of wife that I thought she was supposed to be. And she just wasn't like that. She was, she just wasn't like that. And now that I think about it, I think that she tried for so long to make me happy and when she couldn't, she tried to talk to me about it, see? But I wasn't listening 'cause I was too busy, I was too wrapped up just thinking about myself. And I thought that anytime I was happy, that that meant she was happy. But I think underneath she was very sad. Mommy stayed here longer than she wanted to, I think, because she loves you so much. And the reason why Mommy couldn't stay anymore was because she couldn't stand me, Billy. She didn't leave because of you. She left because of me.")
  • also the hilarious scene in which Billy encountered his father's nude overnight guest Phyllis Bernard (Jo Beth Williams) in the hallway and non-chalantly asked her if she liked fried chicken
  • the scene of a more peaceful and adjusted Joanna resurfacing after 15 months, and summarizing her original problem: ("All my life, I've felt like somebody's wife or somebody's mother or somebody's daughter. Even all the time we were together, I never knew who I was. And that's why I had to go away"), and then explaining to Ted that in California, she had found herself by getting a job, a therapist - and then her sudden declaration: ("Well, I've learned that I love my little boy. And, uh, that I'm capable of taking care of him....I want my son")
  • the courtroom scene when Joanna emotionally explained why she was seeking custody of her son Billy: ("Because he's my child and because I love him. I know I left my son. I know that that's a terrible thing to do. Believe me, I have to live with that every day of my life. But in order to leave him, I had to believe that it was the only thing I could do, and that it was the best thing for him. I was incapable of functioning in that home. And I didn't know what the alternative was going to be, so I thought it was not best that I take him with me. However, I have since gotten some help, and I have worked very, very hard to become a whole human being. And I don't think I should be punished for that. And I don't think my little boy should be punished. Billy's only 7 years old. He needs me. I'm not saying he doesn't need his father, but I really believe he needs me more. I was his mommy for five and a half years and Ted took over that role for 18 months. But I don't know how anybody can possibly believe that I have less of a stake in mothering that little boy than Mr. Kramer does. I'm his mother. I'm his mother")
  • and the dramatic scene of Ted's heart-felt plea at a child custody hearing that Joanna must not take Billy: ("I'd like to know, what law is it that says that a woman is a better parent simply by virtue of her sex? You know, I've had a lot of time to think about what is it that makes somebody a good parent? You know, it has to do with constancy, it has to do with patience, it has to do with listening to him. It has to do with pretending to listen to him when you can't even listen anymore. It has to do with love, like, like, like she was saying. And I don't know where it's written that it says that a woman has a corner on that market, that, that a man has any less of those emotions than a woman does. Billy has a home with me. I've made it the best I could. It's not perfect. 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")
  • the final scene in their apartment building lobby highlighting Joanna's change of heart, after she had her rethought her position even though she had just won custody of their child in a difficult divorce settlement and was about to take him away. But she decided that their son Billy should remain with Ted in his true home: ("I woke up this morning, kept thinking about Billy and I-I was thinking about him waking up in his room with his little clouds all around that I painted. And I thought I should have painted clouds downtown, because then he would think that he was waking up at home. I came here to take my son home. And I realized he already is home. Oh, I love him very much. (They hugged) I'm not gonna take him with me. Can I go and talk to him?..."); Ted suggested that Joanna should go up in the elevator by herself and see Billy, and he would wait downstairs. She asked him just before the elevator doors closed, after wiping the tears from her eyes: "How do I look?" He responded: "You look terrific."

(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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