Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



L (continued)

Lolita (1997)

In director Adrian Lyne's controversial version of Vladimir Nabokov's novel about the aberrant, still-taboo and touchy topic of underage sexuality and incestual pedophilia:

  • the first view of young nymphet Lolita (14 year-old Dominique Swain) sunbathing in the garden where a lawn sprinkler soaked her pale sundress, by obsessed professor and step-father Humbert Humbert (Jeremy Irons)
  • in one very controversial love-making scene in a hotel where they shared a double bed, she French-kissed him on the mouth. She told him about sexual games she had learned with a boy at camp, and then decided to demonstrate: "I guess I'm gonna have to show you everything." As a prelude to oral sex, she started to remove his pajama bottoms (and her own retainer), before a fade-out
  • Humbert explained in voice-over: "Gentlewomen of the jury, I was not even her first lover"
  • in the film's most provocative scene, Lolita rocked pleasurably on Humbert's lap while reading the newspaper comic pages
  • in another scene, Lolita stroked his thigh with her bare foot ("You want more, don't you?"), then nuzzled next to his crotch, inched her hand up his inner thigh, and bargained for $2 (instead of her usual $1/week allowance)
  • the symbolism was obvious when Lolita was eating a banana and wearing a two-piece outfit

The Long, Hot Summer (1958)

In Martin Ritt's sultry southern romantic melodrama that adapted a melange of William Faulkner stories - a film that was made during the passionate courtship of the two main performers (in their first film together):

  • the characters of sexy and virile Mississippi barnburning arsonist/drifter Ben Quick (Paul Newman) and 23 year-old old-maid schoolteacher daughter Clara (Joanne Woodward) of his rich boss Will Varner (Orson Welles)
  • their sensually hot scenes at a picnic, and in a department store after closing time in which they exude on-screen chemistry - w/o nudity or explicit sexual love scenes (except for kissing) - with Clara's repeated turn-downs and Ben's seductive come-ons
  • Clara's memorable speech about her ideal relationship

The Longest Day (1962)

In 20th Century-Fox studio chief/producer Darryl F. Zanuck's semi-documentary war epic:

  • with over three dozen international stars (including John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Sean Connery, Rod Steiger, Robert Wagner, Richard Burton, etc.) and three directors (Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, and Bernhard Wicki)
  • the recreation of the Allied invasion of Normandy Beach (D-Day, June 6, 1944) from five separate invasion points, with sweeping B/W Cinemascopic views of the assault

Longtime Companion (1990)

In Norman Rene's sensitively-told AIDS film:

  • the story of white Manhattanites in the 80s decade, including David (Bruce Davison in an Oscar-nominated performance) as the lover of a deteriorating AIDS patient, soap opera scriptwriter Sean (Mark Lamos); the scene of David's loving, calm advice to his dying partner and 'longtime companion' Sean: "It's OK, you can go. Let go now, baby. It's all right. Don't be afraid. I'm here...You let go of everything. Don't hold on...Let go. Just relax, let everything go. Let go. Let go...I know you're tired. Just let go. I've got ya. Now nothin' bad's gonna happen. Let go of everything. Don't worry. Let go. All your pain. Just let it all go. Just let go. There you go"
  • the famous closing "Fire Island Fantasy" in which the three surviving friends Willy (Campbell Scott), Alan/Fuzzy (Stephen Caffrey) and Lisa (Mary-Louise Parker) stroll on an empty Fire Island beach when Willy wistfully muses: "It seems inconceivable, doesn't it... there was ever a time before all this, when we didn't wake up every day wondering who's sick now, who else is gone?...I just want to be there if they ever do find a cure" - as bluegrass singer Zane Campbell's haunting Post-Mortem Bar is heard in the background
  • the heart-breaking fantasy of the joyous reunion/party of the three survivors and their dead loved ones, when all of the dead revert back to their healthy selves for a few moments and are greeted by the threesome before cutting back to them on the beach alone, as Willy repeats: "I just want to be there" - the film's last line

Lord of the Flies (1963)

In Peter Brook's adaptation of William Golding's dark novel:

  • the nightmarish and pessimistic story of about 30 English schoolboys (all non-professionals) stranded on a deserted tropical island following a plane crash, who become savages and murderers
  • the scene of the castaways devouring a pig after roasting it
  • the scene of the hunt by the leaders in the group to kill the pudgy and bespectacled Piggy (Hugh Edwards) (who had lost his glasses) by crushing him with a large rock boulder shoved from a cliff above
  • and later, the scene of a naval officer (dressed in white) discovering the exiled, democratic leader Ralph (James Aubrey) who was being hunted by the more sinister rival Jack (Tom Chapin)

Lost Horizon (1937)

In director Frank Capra's classic romantic fantasy:

  • the opening scene of a refugee evacuation as bullets fly about an airfield in war-torn China
  • the first views of Shangri-La - a paradise on Earth
  • the High Lama's (Sam Jaffe) discussion about his mission and search for a successor
  • Robert Conway's (Ronald Colman) one last look back at Shangri-La as he departs
  • the withered aging of Maria's (Margo) face after leaving the idyllic paradise

Lost in America (1985)

In Albert Brooks' funny road-trip comedy about a yuppie finding the 'American dream':

  • the story of a Los Angeles couple: neurotic adman David Howard (writer/director Albert Brooks) and his ditzy wife Linda (Julie Hagerty), who forsake their upwardly mobile, workaholic lives to 'drop-out' in exchange for a free-spirited, Easy Rider-inspired road-trip in a Winnebago motorhome
  • the scene of David's last day at work when he has a long telephone conversation with a Mercedes dealer about buying one of the luxury vehicles ("Mercedes leather? What's that?" --"Thick vinyl")
  • the scene of his firing in the executive's office when he is offered a transfer to New York rather than the position of senior vice-president
  • his conversation with Linda about his firing ("No more responsible David. I'm free. I was responsibly blind, honey. I was a dead man...I was on the road to nowhere") and his urging of her to quit her job
  • Linda's disastrous experience at a roulette table (gambling on # 22: "Twenty-two, twenty-two, come on back to me, come on back to me!") in Las Vegas' Desert Inn casino when she gambles away their nest-egg to David's dismay ("Say it! Say it! Say 'I lost the nest-egg.' Go on, say it!")
  • David's painful begging to the casino manager (Garry Marshall) to get their money back ("As the boldest experiment in advertising history, you give us our money back")
  • David's interview with an employment agency counselor in a small town for a $100,000 job

Lost in Translation (2003)

In director/writer Sofia Coppola's award-winning romance-drama:

  • the opening views of a garish-nighttime Tokyo from within a limo
  • the funny scene of middle-aged, disconnected movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) shooting a Suntory whiskey commercial in Tokyo requiring many takes
  • his scenes of growing friendship with bored newlywed Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) during off hours in a luxury hotel bar (the elevator, hallway, karaoke bars, pachinko parlors, etc.) and throughout the city as they share their disoriented bewilderment about their lives
  • the scene of a Japanese call girl invading Bob's room and demanding that he "lip" her stockings
  • the enigmatic ending in which there's a whisper between Bob and Charlotte on the Tokyo street

The Lost Patrol (1934)

In John Ford's bleak war/adventure drama:

  • the mirage-like appearance in the desert of a British rescue column (a second rescue party) and the sole-surviving Sergeant (Victor McLaglen) amidst the sand dunes
  • in the memorable film ending that concludes with a slow fade, his pointing to the gleaming row of sabers marking the heads of their graves when answering the Colonel's question: "Where are your men?"

The Lost Weekend (1945)

In Billy Wilder's social problem film about alcohol addiction:

  • the scene of the discovery of a hidden bottle of whiskey dangling out the window of NY wanna-be writer Don Birnam (Oscar-winning Ray Milland) struggling with writer's block
  • alcoholic Birnam's pitiful attempt to sell his typewriter and his desperate search from one closed pawn shop to another along Third Avenue on a Jewish holiday
  • the shadowy outline of a whiskey bottle in his overhead light fixture
  • his nightmarish hallucinations of a bat and a mouse in his apartment (accompanied by the first major (and effective) use of the spooky-sounding theremin during this and other nightmare sequences)
  • his psychiatric incarceration in the alcoholic ward of Bellevue Hospital
  • his rescue from suicide in the final scene

Love Happy (1949)

In director David Miller's anarchic comedy - the Marx Bros' final starring feature:

  • Marilyn Monroe as Detective Sam Grunion's (Groucho Marx) beautiful blonde client in a small but early, memorable walk-on role
  • Sam asks: "Is there anything I can do for you?" then pauses, reflects, looks at the audience, and says: "What a ridiculous statement." She responds to him: "Two men are following me," after which he replies: "I can't understand why."

Love Story (1970)

In director Arthur Hiller's sentimental and "weepie" romance melodrama:

  • Oliver Barrett's (Ryan O'Neal) opening flashback line ("What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?")
  • the scene of the doctor informing Oliver that "very sick" wife Jenny (Ali MacGraw) is dying ("She's dying")
  • Oliver's emotionally-numbing walk back to his apartment
  • the "Love means never having to say you're sorry" scenes (Jenny's original statement, and Oliver's repetition of his late wife's remark to his father after her death)
  • the concluding sequence in the hospital room including the ill-fated couple's tear-jerking final dialogue and Jenny's death in Oliver's arms as he stretched out next to her on the bed
  • his final silent walk into snowy Central Park before the closing credits

Lust for Life (1956)

In director Vincente Minnelli's CinemaScopic biopic of the nineteenth-century Dutch artist:

  • the scene in which impulsive artist Vincent Van Gogh (Oscar-nominated Kirk Douglas) agonizes over unrequited love and forces himself upon widowed cousin Kay (Jeanette Sterke) - causing her to never talk to him again
  • the various scenes of his life translated to his painted canvas (such as Vincent's Bedroom at Arles)
  • the discussion scene between the tortured painter and his fellow housemate/painter-mentor Paul Gauguin (Oscar-winning Anthony Quinn) about their different art styles (Gauguin: " paint too fast" -- Van Gogh: "You look too fast")
  • also, their argument scene (Gauguin: "I didn't have a brother to support me")
  • the resultant shocking scene of the suffering artist cutting off his part of his own left ear (off-screen) out of extreme loneliness and despair
  • the final scene of his death (after a suicide attempt) with his loyal and supportive art dealer/brother Theo (James Donald) at his bedside

Lust in the Dust (1985)

In Paul Bartel's campy cult Western comedy spoof (whose title was inspired by the nickname given to Selznick's Duel in the Sun (1946)):

  • lusty saloon owner Marguerita Ventura's (Lainie Kazan) bawdy, euphemism-filled song "South of My Border" ("I'd like to take you south of my border / Just north of my garter") to lone gunman Abel Wood (Tab Hunter)
  • corpulent, cat-fighting saloon rival Rosie Velez's (transvestite Divine, aka Glenn Milstead) sung retort ("Let her take you south of her border / If you think you can afford her")

(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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