Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments




L.A. Confidential (1997)

In director Curtis Hanson's great neo-noir police drama of the early 50s derived from James Ellroy's 1990 novel:

  • the scene in which gossip-mongering, suave celebrity detective Sgt. "Hollywood" Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) makes a deal with clean-cut, straight-arrow, college-educated, neophyte cop Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) and promises: "You help me with mine, I'll help you with yours - deal?"
  • the sight of Veronica Lake look-alike - high-class hooker Lynn Bracken (Oscar-winning Kim Basinger) pimped by millionaire Pierce Morehouse Patchett (David Strathairn) - specializing in movie-star look-alike prostitutes
  • the character of the sleazy tabloid Hush Hush magazine editor Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito)
  • the interrogation scene of an alleged rapist of a Mexican woman in which violent, tough cop Bud White (Russell Crowe) bursts in on Ed's questioning, pulls out his gun, empties it of all but one bullet, and then sticks the gun in the black suspect's mouth while pulling the trigger and threatening: "One in six, where's the girl?"
  • the bloody scene at the Night Owl Coffee shop where six victims were discovered
  • the scene when the cops mistake the real Lana Turner for a high-priced prostitute
  • the stunning scene when corrupt and diabolical veteran cop and police chief Capt. Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) unexpectedly kills Vincennes with one shot

L.A. Story (1991)

In actor/director Steve Martin's existential, surreal romantic comedy set in Los Angeles:

  • the many gags about LA's lifestyle (ie. the Walk/Don't Walk sign that reads: "Like Uh Don't Walk")
  • wacky LA Weatherman Harris K. Telemacher's (Steve Martin) complaint about how men can't judge if a woman is ready for a party or not
  • his amusing thought: "I could never be a woman, 'cause I'd just stay home and play with my breasts all day"
  • the one-upsmanship scene of ordering coffees at a trendy restaurant: ("I'll have a half double decaffeinated half-caf, with a twist of lemon")
  • the brilliantly funny cameo by Patrick Stewart as a French-accented Maitre D' ("You zink with a bank statement like zis you can have ze duck?!")
  • the classic museum scene in which Telemacher roller-skates past objets d'art, then describes one painting to his friends as sexy: ("Look how he's painted the blouse sort of translucent. You can just make out her breasts underneath and it's sort of touching him about here. It's really... pretty torrid, don't you think?") - and when the painting is revealed, it's a large red rectangle!
  • the romance between Harris and British journalist Sara McDowel (Victoria Tennant)
  • the freeway sign (!) that gives him advice about romancing her
  • Harris' reaction after touching bouncy, playful Valley Girl SanDeE*'s (Sarah Jessica Parker) breasts: "Your... your breasts feel weird" with her unexpected reply: "Oh, that's 'cause they're real"
  • the powerfully romantic scenes, including the Enya-scored scene when he walks with Sara and they are magically transformed into children and then they kiss
  • Harris' line after summoning storms to prevent Sara from returning to English - as he kisses her passionately: "Forget for this moment the smog and the cars and the restaurant and the skating and remember only this. A kiss may not be the truth, but it is what we wish were true" (and all of the freeway signs flash "CONDITION CLEAR")
  • the funny final shot of the freeway sign saying: "What I really want to do is DIRECT"

La Dolce Vita (1960, It.)

In Federico Fellini's landmark masterpiece:

  • the image in the opening scene of a helicopter lifting and transporting a huge statue of the figure of Christ with outstretched arms over the city of Rome (the Eternal City) and across the Vatican
  • the classic night-time sequence - following a dull party attended by playboy gossip writer Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) - of bosomy, sexy, and seductive blonde Hollywood starlet Sylvia (Anita Ekberg) in a black evening gown spontaneously wading, dancing, cavorting and cooling off in the water of Rome's Trevi Fountain (a practice now banned) to tempt Marcello and seek attention

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

In Disney's animated film:

  • the romantic 'spaghetti-dinner' scene of cocker spaniel Lady and the scruffy, backstreet roguish Tramp at the back entrance to an Italian restaurant, sharing nibbles on a strand of spaghetti and meeting in an unexpected kiss for the first time
  • Lady's encounter with the colorful assortment of dogs in the dog pound
  • the vicious fight between the Tramp and a disgusting rat that is threatening a baby

The Lady Eve (1941)

In Preston Sturges' classic romantic comedy:

  • the scenes of comic erotic seduction, sexy legs, slapstick pratfalls, and witty dialogue between Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck) and wealthy snake expert Charles "Hopsie" Pike (Henry Fonda)
  • the memorable seduction scene in her ship's cabin after Charles escorts Jean there to try on a new pair of evening 'slippers' - when she extends her shapely leg and he becomes overpowered by her perfume
  • their wedding night scene aboard a speeding train in which Jean's elaborate scam to pose as her own virtuous sister Lady Eve Sedgwick seduces Hopsie - a second time - when she tells him (to his dismay) about all her past lovers (Angus, Herman, Vernon, Cecil, Hubert, Herbert, and John)

The Lady from Shanghai (1948)

In writer/director Orson Welles' film noir classic:

  • the stunning character of short-haired blonde femme fatale Elsa Bannister (Rita Hayworth)
  • the secret meeting at the aquarium between Irish seaman Michael O'Hara (Orson Welles) and Elsa - deliberately positioned before predatory fish
  • the visually-intriguing, climactic shoot-out in the Crazy House-Hall of Mirrors in an abandoned amusement park between O'Hara, Elsa, and her wealthy lawyer husband Arthur Bannister (Everett Sloane) - set among multiple distorted mirrors that break and shatter into millions of shards

Ladyhawke (1985)

In Richard Donner's fantasy adventure:

  • the famous, beautifully photographed "transformation" scene in which cursed lovers Captain Etienne Navarre (Rutger Hauer) and Isabeau d'Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer) can only see each other for a split second between night and day, and cannot touch -- and Etienne's frustrated howl as Isabeau flies away as a hawke
  • the joyous tearful reunion-celebration of the lovers Etienne and Isabeau - after the curse had been lifted as Etienne remarked: "You cut your hair!" - in the scene, their companions: the escaped thief Phillipe Gaston - the Mouse (Matthew Broderick) and cloistered monk Father Imperius (Leo McKern) tearfully looked on

The Lady Vanishes (1938, UK)

In Alfred Hitchcock's early classic thriller and last British film:

  • elderly governess Miss Froy's (Dame May Whitty) silent scream that is drowned out by the sound of a train whistle on a train bound for London from the Swiss Alps
  • the vanished Miss Froy's handwriting on the train window
  • the sight of a Harriman's Herbal Tea bag stuck to the train window pane for a moment
  • socialite Iris Henderson's (Margaret Lockwood) sleepy discovery that the nurse-nun attendant is wearing high heel shoes
  • the eerie appearance of a fully-bandaged "patient"
  • the image of the two outsized glasses with doped brandy drinks
  • Miss Froy (actually revealed to be a British agent) seated at a piano playing her cryptic melody at the very end

The Last Detail (1973)

In director Hal Ashby's military-related, anti-authoritarian buddy film strewn with obscenities:

  • the character of Billy "Badass" Buddusky (Oscar-nominated Jack Nicholson)
  • the tense scene between Buddusky and a "redneck bartender" (Don McGovern) over a beer order for sailor/prisoner Meadows (Oscar-nominated Randy Quaid) - with the bartender threatening to summon the shore patrol, culminating with Billy's retort: "I am the motherf--king shore patrol, motherf--ker! I am the motherf--king shore patrol! Give this man a beer!"

The Last Emperor (1987)

In Bernardo Bertolucci's Best Picture-winning epic:

  • the sight of the last emperor of the Qing dynasty - child emperor Pu Yi (Richard Vuu as 3 years old), who ascends the throne in 1908 and toddles out beyond a billowing yellow curtain to view outside the palace throne room the lined-up hordes of supporters, eunuchs and ritualistic worshippers
  • the young emperor's tutoring by Scot Reginald 'R.J.' Johnston (Peter O'Toole)
  • the scene of the teenaged emperor riding his bicycle to the outer gate and being forbidden to leave the imprisoning Forbidden City walls
  • the scene of preparations for his marriage - in which he unveils his arranged marriage partner Wan Jung (Joan Chen) after which she smothers him with lipstick-kisses all over his head - and later shared his bed with a second wife-concubine Wen Hsiu (Vivian Wu) (as they explored each other's bodies under a silk sheet)
  • Pu Yi (John Lone) as an exiled young adult dressed in Western clothes, cigarette in his hand, and singing wistfully "Am I Blue?" while leaning on a piano in a Western nightclub in Tianjin in 1927
  • later, his escape to Manchukuo as a puppet ruler where his wife Wan Jung becomes an opium addict (and is eventually placed in an asylum) and has an affair with leather-clad lesbian Japanese spy Eastern Jewel (Maggie Han) (who nibbles on her toes!)
  • the ten years of his imprisonment as # 981 in Foo Shoe - a Russian prison/re-education camp (where he can't even tie his own shoes) - but where he majestically scribbles his name on the ground - and the scene of his eventual release in 1959
  • the final sequence of an older Pu Yi in 1967 (the year of his death) - as a simple Peking gardener and also as a tourist visiting the Forbidden City where he ascends the Dragon Throne once again and shows an amazed young boy his hidden cricket box

The Last House on the Left (1972)

In Wes Craven's controversial early low-budget horror film:

  • a taboo-breaking and often revolting 'snuff'-type film about the long ordeal of two teenaged girls: Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassell) and Phyllis Stone (Lucy Grantham) who are searching for pot when kidnapped by a group of escaped convicts led by Krug Stillo (David Hess)
  • their brutal and sadistic torture, rape, dis-embowelment, and eventual murder in the woods (intercut with views of 'surprise party' preparations for Mari by her parents (Gaylord St. James and Cynthia Carr))
  • and the later scene of payback revenge/slaughter by the Collingwoods on the gang

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

In Michael Mann's historical romance epic - based mostly on director George Seitz's 1936 film (starring Randolph Scott) with screenplay by Philip Dunne - of James Fenimore Cooper's early 19th century novel about the battles between British and French forces in the American colonies during the French and Indian War:

  • the visually stunning opening scene of the pursuit tracking of a deer, the exciting battle scenes of the hand-to-hand combat during the violent Huron ambush on the British troops - including scalpings, stabbings, throat slashings (and Cora's shooting of a charging Indian), and the siege of Ft. William Henry
  • Nathaniel "Hawkeye" Poe's (Daniel Day-Lewis) famous romantic instructions and farewell scene in a cave behind a cascading waterfall with a redcoat colonel's headstrong daughter Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe) as they are pursued by a Huron war party: ("...You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you!...")
  • the scene of the two lovers in golden light in the besieged fort
  • and the chilling, quietly vitriolic promise of revenge against Cora's father Colonel Edmund Munro (the "Grey Hair") (Maurice Roëves) by the villainous Huron warrior Magua (Wes Studi): ("The Grey Hair's children were under Magua's knife. They escaped...When the Grey Hair is dead, Magua will eat his heart. Before he dies, Magua will put his children under the knife, so the Grey Hair will know his seed is wiped out forever")
  • the dialogueless 15-minute sequence featuring the climactic one-on-one fights on a cliff-side path between Magua and Uncas (Eric Schweig), and then between Chingachgook (Russell Means) and Magua, ending with Chingachgook's final prayer as the "Last of the Mohicans" after the death of his son Uncas ("Great Spirit, Maker of All Life...")

The Last Picture Show (1971)

In Peter Bogdanovich's best film about life in a small Texas town in the early 1950s:

  • cinematographer Robert Surtees' magnificent black-and-white cinematography
  • the sex-capades of co-captains of the football team Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges) and Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) as they pondered their uncertain futures
  • the town's ravishingly beautiful, calculating, fortune-hunting Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd)
  • the character of Sonny's mentally retarded brother Billy (Sam Bottoms, Timothy's real-life brother)
  • Sonny's affair with the coach's wife Ruth Popper (Oscar-winning Cloris Leachman)
  • the reading of a Keats poem by an English teacher (John Hillerman) ("Beauty is truth, Truth Beauty")
  • the scene of the teenaged skinny-dipping indoor pool party with neophyte Jacy's strip-tease on the diving board
  • the fishing scene with ex-cowboy Sam 'The Lion' (Oscar-winning Ben Johnson) in which he reminisces about a girl he swam nude with one day ("...she wanted to swim the horses across this tank. Kind of a crazy thing to do, but we done it anyway. She bet me a silver dollar she could beat me across. She did. This old horse I was ridin' didn't want to take the water. But she was always lookin' for somethin' to do like that. Somethin' wild. I'll bet she's still got that silver dollar")
  • the cascade of misfortunes that follow in the wake of Sam's death (the closing of the local movie house and the pool hall, the molestation of a little girl)
  • the pre-arranged motel rendezvous and sexual encounter between Duane and Jacy
  • the scene of Duane and Sonny attending the 'last picture show' in town - Howard Hawks' western Red River (1948)
  • Duane being sent to fight in the Korean War
  • the senseless death of Billy -- hit by a truck -- and Sonny's anguished cry: "He was sweepin', ya sons of bitches. He was sweepin'!" - before covering Billy's body with his letter jacket
  • Ruth's tirade at Sonny for abandoning her when he returns to her after Billy's death ("What am I doing apologizin' to you? Why am I always apologizin' to you, ya little bastard?...") before empathically realizing Sonny's pain ("Never you mind, honey, never you mind...")

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

In Bernardo Bertolucci's landmark and controversial erotic film:

  • the scene of middle-aged American expatriate Paul's (Oscar-nominated Marlon Brando) anguished, out-of-control confessional (mostly ad-libbed) monologue next to his dead wife in their bedroom after she has committed suicide ("...For five years, I was more a guest in this f--king flophouse than a husband...")
  • the controversial and raw sexual scenes (conducted anonymously without names, and becoming increasingly more vile, empty and unromantic) between the widower Paul and 20 year-old Parisian Jeanne (Maria Schneider)
  • her passive acquiescence to various sexual encounters involving rape and forced sodomy (with an application of butter: "Get the butter") in an empty apartment
  • the scene of Paul's revelation of his past and his unhappy childhood to Jeanne
  • the shocking finale when Jeanne semi-accidentally shoots Paul in the stomach with a gun (and his simple act of removing his chewing gum from his mouth) - and her glazed, wide-eyed mantra ("He was going to rape me...I didn't know his name...he was going to rape me...") as Paul dies in a fetal position on a balcony

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

In Martin Scorsese's unorthodox and profound film - adapted from the novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis:

  • the scene of Nazarene Jesus Christ's (Willem Dafoe) angry outburst at the moneylenders in the temple and his confrontation with the priest ("This is my Father's house! It's a place of worship, not a market!...God doesn't need a palace. He doesn't need cypress trees or dead animals! He doesn't need shekles!")
  • the crucifixion scene, including the lengthy, slow-motion walk through Jerusalem's streets and mocking crowds to Golgotha
  • the moment when the cross is raised into an upright position (with the camera mounted upon it)
  • and then the moment that Jesus, naked and hanging on the cross during crucifixion, cries out as the camera turned sideways: "Father! Why have You forsaken me?"
  • the controversial "last temptation" visionary sequence in which Jesus is tempted by Satan (portrayed as a young androgynous guardian angel (Juliette Caton)) with visions of a "normal" earthly life with tattooed prostitute Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey) - including sex, marriage, and children
  • his ultimate return to the cross when the temptation is ultimately rejected by Jesus, with his triumphant dying words: "It is accomplished"

(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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