Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



L (continued)

Lili (1953)

In Charles Waters' romantic drama:

  • sixteen year-old carnival waitress Lili (Leslie Caron) talking and singing to the puppets as if they were real people
  • the famous "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo" scene

Lilies of the Field (1963)

In director Ralph Nelson's drama - adapted by James Poe from a novel by William E. Barrett:

  • the scenes of handyman/carpenter and ex-GI Homer Smith (Oscar-winning Sidney Poitier) helping German nuns to build a chapel
  • his confrontations with the character of the stern and harsh but good-hearted Mother Superior (Lilia Skala)
  • the last scene when Homer teaches English to the German nuns by way of the spiritual song "Amen" (they sing the refrain as he leads)
  • his departure after his work is completed and the church is built - he leaves (while still singing), packs his station wagon and drives off quietly into the night (with "Amen" as "The End")

The Lion in Winter (1968)

In director Anthony Harvey's literate Best Picture nominee and costume/period drama of ruthless politicial and sexual intrigue, treason, incest, and patricide:

  • the dramatic dialogue between prison-bound, iron-willed Eleanor of Aquitaine (Oscar-winning Katharine Hepburn) and her husband King Henry II (Oscar-nominated Peter O'Toole) on Christmas Eve in 1183 in his lived-in, drafty castle, over which of their three sons (Richard - Anthony Hopkins in his film debut, Geoffrey - John Castle, and young John - Nigel Terry) should inherit the throne
  • Eleanor's annoyed, despairing lecture to her sons about the origins of war -- and peace: ("...It's 1183 and we're barbarians. How clear we make it. Oh, my piglets, we are the origins of war -- not history's forces, nor the times, nor justice, nor the lack of it, nor causes, nor religions, nor ideas, nor kinds of government, nor any other thing. We are the killers. We breed wars")
  • the powerful confrontational scene between Henry and wily 21 year-old King of France Philip (Timothy Dalton in his screen debut) that revealed Richard's homosexual attraction to Philip and his sexual manipulation of the eldest Prince
  • the film's best line of dialogue by Eleanor after Henry flees: "What family doesn't have its ups and downs?"
  • the joyous, crowd-pleasing ending in which Henry bids goodbye to Eleanor when she returns to her prison keep by boat and promises her return at Easter: (Henry: "You know? I hope we NEVER die!" Eleanor: "So do I!" Henry: "Do you think there's any chance of it?")

Little Big Man (1970)

In Arthur Penn's revisionist, Forrest Gump-like western epic based upon Thomas Berger's best-selling novel:

  • the character of 121 year-old Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman with Terry Miles' incredible makeup) - the only white survivor of Custer's Last Stand in 1876 at Little Big Horn - who in a fancifully-told flashback was raised by the Cheyenne Indians and wise tribal chief Old Lodge Skins (Oscar-nominated Chief Dan George) and later as a teenager by puritanical Reverend Silas Pendrake (Thayer David)
  • his sex-obsessed young wife (Faye Dunaway)
  • the recreation of insane Gen. George Armstrong Custer's (Richard Mulligan) 1868 mid-winter surprise attack and brutal massacre of Black Kettle's Cheyenne encampment (of mostly women and children) on Indian lands at Washita River (shot silently through a telephoto lens) with the additional slaughter of Indian horses

Little Caesar (1930)

In director Mervyn LeRoy's crime/gangster film - one of the first "talkie" gangster movies:

  • the image of the 'tough guy' gangsters, including vain Caesar Enrico or Rico "Little Caesar" Bandello (Edward G. Robinson) - posing for newspaper photographers after a shootout
  • Rico's threatening of rival gangster Little Arnie Lorch (Maurice Black) as he rose to the top: "If you ain't out of town by tomorrow morning, you won't ever leave it except in a pine box. I'm takin' over this territory"
  • the scene after Rico has taken over as boss of the gang and his threat about cowardly members: "There's a rope around my neck right now and they only hang ya once. If anybody turns yella and squeals, my gun's gonna speak its piece"
  • the memorable ending death scene as Rico is shot down behind a roadside billboard, and his final cry: "Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of Rico?"

The Little Colonel (1935)

In Shirley Temple's first costume picture:

  • her first tap-dance pairing between herself and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, in which they tapped side-by-side down and then up a staircase
  • their tap dancing duet was reprised with their competitive "challenge dance" in The Littlest Rebel (1935)

The Little Foxes (1941)

In director William Wyler's family melodrama based upon Lillian Hellman's work:

  • the famous, impressively-filmed, deep-focus scene of the coronary seizure of invalid Horace Giddens (Herbert Marshall) who makes pleas for help as he struggles upstairs behind his expressionless wife Regina (Bette Davis) who sits impassively on a sofa in the foreground

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

In Frank Oz' comedy/sci-fi musical (a remake of the original 1960 film by director Roger Corman):

  • the character of Rick Moranis as nerdy flower-shop worker Seymour Krelborn in Mushnik's Floral Shop located in "Skid Row"
  • the doo-wop Greek chorus trio
  • the buxom bimbo and shrill-voiced flower arranger Audrey (Ellen Greene) - the object of Seymour's infatuated crush
  • the sadistically abusive, motorcycle-riding and torturing dentist Orin Scrivello D.D.S. (Steve Martin) and his appointment with masochistic patient Arthur Denton (Bill Murray)
  • the dentist's own lethal addiction to nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • the scene of the giant, carnivorous fly-trap plant Audrey II (singing: "I'm just a mean green mother from outer space and I'm bad" who voraciously requested: "Feed me, Seymour")
  • by film's end, Audrey II's feeding of an axe-hacked Dr. Scrivello and the surly flower store manager Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia)

Little Women (1933)

In director George Cukor's classic adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel:

  • the snowy opening title credits
  • the amusing malapropisms by daughter Amy March (Joan Bennett): ("I know what I mean, and you needn't be 'statirical about it! It's proper to use good words and improve your 'vocabilary'")
  • the scene of the March sisters discussing what they'll each do with their Christmas present of $1 from their beloved mother Marmee (Spring Byington)
  • Marmee's reading of a letter to her daughters from their father fighting in the Civil War: ("Give them all my dear love and a kiss. Tell them I know they will remember all I said to them: that they will be loving children to you, they will do their duty faithfully, fight their bosom enemies bravely and conquer themselves so beautifully that when I come back to them, I may be fonder and prouder than ever of my little women")
  • Jo's (Katharine Hepburn) enthusiastic favorite expression: "Christopher Columbus!"
  • the reassuring words of dying Beth March (Jean Parker) to older sister Jo: "I'm not afraid anymore! I'm learning that I don't lose you, that you'll be more to me than ever, and NOTHING can part us, though it seems to. Oh, Jo! I think I'll be homesick for you - even in heaven"
  • Jo's written ode to her sister titled "My Beth"
  • Beth's last words: "I think I can sleep now. Oh look, Jo. My birds. They got back in time" - at the moment of her death when the birds fly off from the window sill

The Littlest Rebel (1935)

In director David Butler's musical comedy:

  • the scene of Virginia Cary (child star Shirley Temple) tap-dancing "Polly Wolly Doodle" with vaudeville and musical stage star Uncle Billy (Bill "Bojangles" Robinson)
  • his concluding "challenge" dance with her
  • Virginia's charming of President Lincoln (Frank McGlynn, Sr.) by sharing an apple with him

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)

In director Henry Hathaway's sweeping, escapist adventure tale of three British officers of the 41st Regiment of the Bengal Lancers stationed in northwest India:

  • the characterization of stubborn and high-ranking commanding officer Colonel Stone (Sir Guy Standing) and his coldness toward his young naive son Lt. Donald Stone (Richard Cromwell) serving in his regiment
  • the scene of arrogant replacement Bengal Lancer Lt. Forsythe (Franchot Tone) playing a snake charmer's pipe to deliberately irritate fellow lancer Lt. McGregor (Gary Cooper) as part of their ongoing friendly rivalry - and inadvertently attracting a swaying cobra to his side
  • evil warring chieftain Mohammed Khan's (Douglas Dumbrille) polite words of warning to the three captive lancers: "Well, gentlemen. We have ways to make men talk"
  • the subsequent scene of torture ("unpleasant extremes") in which bamboo slivers were driven beneath their finger-nails and set afire
  • the prisoners' cure for boredom by betting millions of non-existent rupees on cockroach races (the bugs are named after their enemies) within their dungeon cell
  • their suspenseful scheming to escape and heroically defeat Khan (McGregor sacrifices his life by blowing up the ammunition armory, while Lt. Stone redeems himself by stabbing Khan in the back) during the climactic battle
  • the final scene on the parade ground when the three Lancers are honored for distinguished service with medals - one of which is given posthumously to McGregor

The Lives of Others (2006, Germ.)

In writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's dramatic thriller (his debut feature film and the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film):

  • the scene of the bugging of suspected but successful Socialist playwright Georg Dreyman's (Sebastian Koch) apartment by the East German Stasi (secret police)
  • the keyhole shot of an apartment neighbor noticing the activity and being threatened to keep silent
  • the continual round-the-clock monitoring of Dreyman's activities by survelliance agent Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe in his final role before his death in a part written specifically for him by the writer/director) who was slowly transformed into being a conflicted but sympathetic 'guardian angel' (in the elevator scene with a young boy)
  • the scene in which Dreyman's devoted lover Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck) cleansed herself (both physically and emotionally) in the bathtub/shower of the filth after a forced sexual encounter with Cultural Department head Minister Bruno Hempf (Thomas Thieme) in the backseat of his limousine (in exchange for prescription drugs and protection)
  • she was then comforted by Dreyman when she was curled up in a fetal position afterwards, and she asked: "Just hold me"
  • Wiesler's failed attempt to emulate the tenderness of CMS' and Dreyman's relationship with a rigidly-scheduled prostitute in his drab apartment
  • the heart-breaking scene in which a distressed Christa-Maria committed suicide by running in front of a truck after she thought she had betrayed Dreyman by revealing the location of his incriminating red-ribboned typewriter that he had used to pen an anonymous article (ironically about suicide in East Germany) for West German magazine Der Spiegel - unaware that Wiesler had secretly removed the typewriter from under the apartment's doorsill to protect her and Dreyman
  • the scene of Georg's anguish over her bloody death in the street
  • the final sequence in which Georg discovered that Wielser had protected him when he read the declassified surveillance transcripts on himself, and discovered a thumbprint smudge of red ink (from the red-ribboned typewriter) next to his official notation HGW XX/7
  • the scene of Georg locating Wiesler (now a newspaper deliveryman) and deciding not to introduce himself to the humbled man
  • the final scene two years later when Wiesler saw a bookstore poster advertising a new book written by Dreyman titled "Sonata For a Good Man" and its dedication: "HGW XX/7 gewidmet, in Dankbarkeit. (Dedicated to HGW XX/7, in Gratitude)"
  • the film's final line of dialogue: Wiesler's subdued, double-entendre reply to the cashier's question if he'd like the book he was purchasing gift-wrapped: "No, it's for me"

Local Hero (1983, UK)

In writer/director Bill Forsyth's whimsical, magically light Scottish comedy:

  • the film's premise: a major Houston oil company (Knox Oil & Gas) wanting to take over the idyllic, fictional Scottish coastal fishing town of Ferness as an oil refinery site - and the local residents becoming ecstatic at the thought of instant wealth ("They have a right to make what they can of it. You can't eat scenery")
  • the character of straight-laced, ambitious Knox businessman "Mac" MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) who was sent there and transformed into a laid-back, sweater-wearing beachcombing philosopher
  • the funny running gag between eccentric billionaire Knox CEO Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster) and pushy psychiatrist Moritz (Norman Chancer) who is employed to insult him on a regular basis with abusive therapy, hostile phone calls ("I'm still here, Happer! And you're still a useless motherf--ker") and the hate message displayed on the skyscraper wall: "HAPPER IS A MOTHERF--KER" - causing Happer to growl orders to his secretary: "And Mrs. Wyatt. There's a madman on the roof. You'd better call the police to get some marksman over here. Shoot him off. Shoot to kill"
  • the scenes of Knox local representative Danny Oldsen's (Peter Capaldi) growing relationship with Knox marine researcher Marina (Jenny Seagrove) as they watch the Aurora Borealis ("It's red all over!") - and his romance with the suspected mermaid - especially after kissing her feet and discovering them to be webbed
  • the bonding between Happer and old, crusty hermit/vagrant Ben Knox (Fulton Mackay) who refuses to sell his beach land
  • and the happy ending in which nearly everyone benefits: the town is spared from being destroyed (the refinery is located off-shore instead), the townspeople get rich, Happer finds his place in life (remarking: "Oldsen, I could grow to love this place"), Marina has her oceanographic research facility built, Oldsen wins over Marina, and Mac is forced to return to the rat-race of Houston despite becoming deeply acclimated to the town life - memorably offering to swap his life with Ferness' local innkeeper-accountant-mayor Gordon Urquhart (Denis Lawson): ("I'm gonna stay here, run the hotel, do little bits of business, you can go to Houston. Take the Porsche, the house, the job. It's a good life there, Gordon")
  • the sad, transcendent ending in which Mac is in his apartment and decorates it with the scant mementos from his trip (clam shells and a few photos pinned to his bulletin board)
  • the evocative final long shot of the town and its sole red phone booth, futilely ringing (is Mac trying to call the town? is it just a memory?)

Lolita (1962)

In Stanley Kubrick's once-controversial film version of Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 novel:

  • the erotic pedicure scene under the credits of obsessed, middle-aged boarder and literature professor Humbert Humbert (James Mason) cradling the title character's foot and then lovingly and devotedly painting her toenails with bright enamel
  • the opening mad Ping-Pong match between TV writer/pedophile Quilty (Peter Sellers) and Humbert
  • the first image of skimpy bikini-clad nymphet teenager Dolores 'Lolita' Haze (Sue Lyon) in the back yard - sporting a broad-brimmed, feathered straw hat and heart-shaped plastic sunglasses - with her "Yi Yi" bubble-gum theme song as Humbert is led through the house by Lolita's blowsy mother Charlotte (Shelley Winters)
  • later, Humbert's watching of Lolita hula-hooping in front of him
  • Lolita's continual teasing (unintentional and intentional) of Humbert, and when she told Humbert: "Don't forget me" as she went away to summer camp
  • the scene following Charlotte's accidental vehicular death when Humbert took a hot bath and sipped from alcohol from a glass floating on the water
  • the scene of Humbert's and Lolita's overnight stay at a hotel and Lolita's early morning coquettish suggestion to play a game that she learned at camp, while seductively twirling the hair on his head with her finger --- followed by a discrete fade to black
  • the late sequence in which Humbert saw Lolita once again after she had married, and his greeting: "So this is what Mrs. Richard T. Schiller looks like!"

(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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