Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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M (continued)
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

Mighty Aphrodite (1995)

In Woody Allen's comedy:

  • the clever but overused Greek Chorus (led by F. Murray Abraham) that observed and made comments on the plot
  • the Oscar-winning performance of Mira Sorvino as dumb, high-pitched-voiced, crude, horny, classless and blonde long-legged prostitute/porn actress Linda Ash/Judy Cum
  • neurotic sportswriter and adoptive father Lenny Weinrib's (Woody Allen) first encounter with Linda at her apartment door ("Hi, are you my 3 o'clock?"), with her thinking that he was a "high-strung" male "john" - a married client who was overdue for fellatio
  • her gleeful observation about her erotic antique watch, a gift that she recently received: ("As the main spring goes back and forth, the bishop keeps f--king her in the ass. It's a genuine antique and it keeps perfect time")
  • her incredulous reaction that he didn't want to sleep with her, after making numerous comments or attempts about reforming, saving, or changing Linda from her hooker sex-trade to something more domestic
  • in their third meeting together, the revelation that she was the mother of his adopted son Max (due to a broken condom)
  • the bittersweet twist ending (with the Chorus urging: "When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)") when they both met about a year later in a toy store - Linda was now married, with a regular job as a hairdresser, and she was pushing a baby in a stroller (fathered by Lenny, although she hadn't told him!) - each ended up with the other's child, without each other's knowledge



Mildred Pierce (1945)

In director Michael Cortiz' classic melodramatic post-war film-noir:

  • the opening beach house murder scene - in which two-timing playboy Monte Beragon (Zachary Scott), Mildred's second husband, was shot to death - by an unidentified and unseen assailant, and uttered the film's first word: "Mildred!"
  • the following scene of Mildred Pierce (Oscar-winning Joan Crawford) walking on the Santa Monica pier where she was saved from suicide by a patrolling cop: ("You take a swim, I'd have to take a swim. Is that fair? Just because you feel like bumpin' yourself off, I gotta get pneumonia? Never thought about that, did ya? OK. Think about it. Go on, beat it now. Go on home before we both take a swim")
  • the many flashback scenes from the local police station where Mildred was brought for questioning, and where she took the blame for Monte's murder
  • Mildred's scenes as a doting, long-suffering, sacrificial mother figure for her ungrateful and spoiled-rotten 19 year-old daughter Veda (Ann Blyth)
  • Veda's harsh words to her mother after Mildred admitted she was waiting tables in a downtown restaurant, in addition to baking pies: "My mother, a waitress!"; Mildred defended herself: ("I took the only job I could get so you and your sister could eat and have a place to sleep and some clothes on your backs") although Veda was ungrateful: ("Aren't the pies bad enough? Did you have to degrade us?")
  • Mildred's determination, after baking pies, to open her own restaurant: ("I didn't know what to do next. Suddenly, it hit me. Why not open a restaurant?....I've found the location I want. It's an old house that hasn't been lived in for years from the look of it. It's right on a busy intersection, which means it's good for drive-in trade. I clocked an average of five hundred cars an hour...And there isn't another restaurant within five miles")
  • Mildred's romance with lounge lizard Monte, beginning with a swim at his beach house, who at first admitted he was overindulgent: ("I do too much of everything. Too spoiled...I'm such a self-controlled and dignified young fellow...I loaf, in a decorative and highly charming manner...With me, loafing is a science") - and then told Mildred in front of the fireplace before kissing her: ("You take my breath away...When I'm close to you like this, there's a sound in the air like the beating of wings. Do you know what it is?...My heart beating like a schoolboy's")
  • Mildred's warning to Monte to stay away from her daughter Veda: ("Stay away from Veda...And it isn't funny. She's only seventeen years old and spoiled rotten")
  • Veda's insulting words to her mother about her low-class ways: ("With this money, I can get away from you....From you and your chickens and your pies and your kitchens and everything that smells of grease. I can get away from this shack with its cheap furniture, and this town and its dollar days, and its women that wear uniforms and its men that wear overalls.... You think just because you've made a little money you can get a new hairdo and some expensive clothes and turn yourself into a lady. But you can't, because you'll never be anything but a common frump, whose father lived over a grocery store and whose mother took in washing. With this money, I can get away from every rotten, stinking thing that makes me think of this place or you!")
  • when the scheming and money-hungry Veda admitted to her fraudulent marriage (she faked having a baby) with a pay-off check of $10,000 after divorce, Mildred ripped up the check, causing Veda to slap Mildred across the face and knock her down on the stairs; Mildred rose and stood face to face in front of Veda and commanded: ("Get out, Veda. Get your things out of this house right now before I throw them into the street and you with them. Get out before I kill you")
  • the words of warning from wise-cracking friend Ida (Eve Arden) about Mildred's beloved daughter Veda: ("Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young")
  • the final revelation (told through lengthy flashbacks) that promiscuous Veda, in the midst of an affair with Monte (now known by Mildred), was miffed when he insulted her: ("Just where did you get the idea I'm going to marry you?... I'm not joking. If you think I'm going to marry you, you're very much mistaken....Look. You don't really think I could be in love with a rotten little tramp like you, do you?") - and she pulled Mildred's gun on Monte and shot him to death
  • the flashbacked sequence of Veda desperately begging for her mother not to report Monte's murder to police: ("Think what will happen if they find me. Think what will happen...Give me another chance. It's your fault as much as mine. You've got to help me. Help me, Mother! Just this once. I'll change, I promise I will. I'll be different. Just give me another chance. It's your fault I'm the way I am. Help me")
  • the final scene of Veda being booked for murder and led away (her last words to her mother: ("Don't worry about me, Mother. I'll get by")), as Inspector Peterson (Moroni Olsen) noted to Mildred, the film's final line: ("You know, Mrs. Beragon, there are times when I regret being a police officer"); Mildred was released to the outside dawn and greeted by her estranged husband Bert Pierce (Bruce Bennett)









Miller's Crossing (1990)

In the Coen Brothers' twisty and complex crime drama (their third feature) that paid homage to hard-boiled 40s gangster films:

  • the dialogue-less, 5-minute attempted assassination shoot-out scene (beautifully choreographed), when Prohibition-era Irish gangster boss Leo (Albert Finney) was reclining in an upstairs bedroom while listening to a 78 rpm grammophone record playing 'Danny Boy', when he sensed trouble (smoke in the floorboards from a downstairs fire) as Tommy Gun-wielding assassins approached; he single-handedly killed a couple of men by leaping under the bed and shooting at their legs; after grabbing a machine-gun and leaping onto the roof and then onto the ground, he fired mercilessly at length at one assassin in the upstairs window who violently and spastically vibrated from the barrage of bullets; finally, he killed the two remaining hit-men fleeing in a black car when it crashed into a tree and caught fire
  • the prelude to the execution scene, when Prohibition mobster Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) was instructed about how to proceed with the killing, to prove his loyalty to Leo: ("Okay, take him in the woods and whack him....That's right. The boss wants you to do it. Make sure you're with the good guys. Now, you know how to do this, right? You gotta remember to put one in his brain. Your first shot puts him down, then you put one in his brain, and he's dead, then we go home")
  • the faked execution scene, when Reagan marched double-crossing bookie Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro) far into the woods at Miller's Crossing to shoot him, when he began to beg and soon was pleading on his knees: ("Tommy, you can't do this! You don't bump guys! You're not like those animals back there. It's not right, Tom! They can't make us do this. It's a wrong situation. They can't make us different people than we are. We're not muscle, Tom. I- I-I never killed anybody. I used a little information for a chisel, that's all. It's my nature, Tom! I- I-I can't help it, somebody gives me an angle, I play it. I don't deserve to die for that. Do you think I do? I'm-I'm-I'm just a grifter, Tom. I'm-I'm-I'm-I'm-I'm an nobody! But I'll tell ya what, I never crossed a friend, Tom. I never killed anybody, I never crossed a friend, nor you, I'll bet. We're not like those animals! This is not us! Th-th-this is some hop dream! It's a dream, Tommy! I'm praying to you! I can't die! I can't die out here in the woods, like a dumb animal! In the woods, LIKE A DUMB ANIMAL! Like, like a dumb animal! I can't, I can't, I CAN'T DIE OUT HERE IN THE WOODS! like a dumb animal. I can't die! I'm praying to you! Look in your heart! I'm praying to you! Look in your heart! I'm praying to you! Look in your heart! I'm praying to you! Look in your heart. I'm praying to you! Look in your heart. I'm praying to you. Look in your heart, look in your heart! You can't kill me, look in your heart") - and then Reagan shot in a different direction and freed him, and told him to disappear forever: ("Shut up! You're dead, get me?...Shut up! You have to disappear for good. No one can see you. No one can know...Go somewhere no one knows you. Anyone sees you, you really are dead. You're not my problem anymore")
  • and later in the film, a vengeful Reagan was again forced to deal with the blackmailing Bernie - and this time there were no second chances: ("Tommy! Look in your heart. Look in your heart"), although Tommy couldn't forgive him again: ("What heart?") and he put a bullet in his forehead





Million Dollar Baby (2004)

In the poignant Best Picture-winning film from actor/director Clint Eastwood:

  • the characters of headstrong, willful, Ozark white trash, 31 year-old uneducated waitress-turned-boxer Margaret "Maggie" Fitzgerald (Oscar-winning Hilary Swank), and her crusty, overprotective, veteran boxing manager/mentor and former cut-man Frankie Dunn (Oscar-nominated Clint Eastwood, and winner of the Best Director award) - estranged from his biological daughter, and sympathetic ex-boxer and gym janitor Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris (Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman)
  • on opposite sides of a boxing bag in an LA gym, Maggie's request for Frankie to train her: ("Because I know if you train me right, I'm gonna be a champ...I want a trainer. I don't want charity, and I don't want favors. If you're not interested, then I got more celebrating to do"), and Frankie's frustrated response to her continual interruptions, when he set the rules about their association - that he would give her the basics and then find another manager for her: ("If I'm gonna take you on...Look, just listen to me....God, this is a mistake already...If I take you on, you don't say anything, you don't question me. You don't ask why, you don't say anything except maybe, "Yes, Frankie." And I'm gonna try to forget the fact that you're a girl....And don't come cryin' to me if you get hurt...I'm gonna teach ya how to fight, then we'll get you a manager, and I'm off down the road....Don't argue with me, that's the only way we're doin' it. I teach you all you need to know, and then you go off and make a million dollars. I don't care. You get your teeth knocked out, I don't care. I don't wanna hear about it either way. That's just the way it's gonna be. It's the only way I'll do it.")
  • Maggie's speech to Frankie explaining her love of boxing: ("This is the only thing I ever felt good doing") to finally convince him to take her on though he wasn't impressed by female boxers: ("Girlie, tough ain't enough")
  • the realistic boxing matches
  • the inspiring match against the British champion, in which Maggie wore a green silk boxing robe emblazoned with the Gaelic phrase "Mo chuisle" ("Pulse of my heart") given to her by Frankie
  • the dramatic and devastating scene in which Maggie's self-centered and critical trailer park mother Earline (Margo Martindale) rejected her generous gift of a house: ("It's all yours, Mama. For you and Mardell and the kids. Yeah, all yours, free and clear"), because her mother claimed it endangered her welfare status: ("You shouldn't have done it. You should've asked me first. Government's gonna find out about this, they're gonna stop my welfare..") - and then she insulted her daughter: ("I know you didn't mean nothing hurtful but sometimes you just don't think things through...Find a man, Mary M. Live proper. People hear about what you're doin' and they laugh. Hurts me to tell you, but they laugh at you")
  • the crowd-pleasing scene in which Eddie taught a crass, abusive, hot-shot young boxer Shawrelle Berry (Anthony Mackie) a lesson
  • the dirty tactics used by world champion Billie the Blue Bear (real-life boxer Lucia Rijker) that left Maggie a quadriplegic in the ring
  • the bedside scene when an incapacitated Maggie refused to sign her family's legal papers to will everything to them, when her insensitive mother pressured her: ("You been a good daughter, Mary M. You sign that paper. It'll take care of your family - the way your daddy would've wanted you to. Uh, how do you make your mark? Can you hold a pen?... (about her last bout and devastating injury) You lost, Mary M. Ain't your fault, the way I heard it, but you lost. Don't wanna lose the rest of what you got left"); Maggie sent her family on their way, without signing: ("What happened to you?...Mama, you take Mardell and J.D. and get home before I tell that lawyer that you were so worried about your welfare you never signed those house papers like you were supposed to. So any time I feel like it, I can sell that house from under your fat, lazy, hillbilly asses. And if you ever come back, that's exactly what I'll do")
  • Maggie's insistence on dying (and at one point trying to commit suicide by biting off her own tongue), and her emotional request of Frankie to end her life: ("I can't be like this, Frankie. Not after what I done. I seen the world. People chanted my name. Well, not my name, some damn name you gave me. But they were chantin' for me. I was in magazines. You think I ever dreamed that'd happen? I was born at two pounds, one and a half ounces, Daddy used to tell me I fought to get into this world, and I'd fight my way out. That's all I wanna do, Frankie. I just don't wanna fight you to do it. I got what I needed. I got it all. Don't let 'em keep takin' it away from me. Don't let me lie here till I can't hear those people chantin' no more"); he responded simply: ("I can't. Please. Please, don't ask me....I can't")
  • the reassurance scene, when Eddie responded to Frankie (who guiltily stated: "I killed her") that Maggie's fate wasn't his fault: ("I found you a fighter and you made her the best fighter she could be...Maggie walked through that door with nothin' but guts. No chance in the world of bein' what she needed to be. A year and a half later, she's fightin' for the championship of the world. You did that. People die every day, Frankie. Moppin' floors, washin' dishes. And you know what their last thought is? 'I never got my shot.' Because of you, Maggie got her shot. If she dies today, you know what her last thought will be? 'I think I did all right.' I know I could rest with that")
  • the controversial, emotionally-draining ending with Frankie's final, pained acquiescence to her wishes - killing her by removing her breathing tube and by injecting her with an overdose of adrenaline
  • the silhouetted shot of Frankie walking away forever from boxing - down the hospital corridor, accompanied by Eddie's voice-over in the shadows (revealed to be the contents of a letter written by Eddie to Frankie's daughter) to end the film: ("Then he walked out. I don't think he had anything left...Frankie never came back at all. Frankie didn't leave a note, and nobody knew where he went. I'd hoped he'd gone to find you and ask you one more time to forgive him. But maybe he didn't have anything left in his heart. I just hope he found someplace where he could find a little peace. A place set in the cedars and oak trees. Somewhere between nowhere and goodbye. But that's probably wishful thinking. No matter where he is I thought you should know what kind of man your father really was")











Minority Report (2002)

In director Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, set in the year of 2054, including the prescient idea that advertisements flashing on walls were specially-tailored to each person due to casual, public retinal scanning and tracking:

  • the film's major concept: pre-crime law enforcement use of three psychic 'precogs' lying in flotation tanks in order to pre-visualize and forecast or envision future crimes, including a very fragile pre-cog named Agatha (Samantha Morton)
  • the scenes of Anderton manipulating a computer interface in mid-air like a symphony conductor
  • the film's opening - including a new prediction from the 'precogs' - the violent murder of Leo Crow ("Goodbye, Crow") by DC Pre-Crime cop John Anderton (Tom Cruise), who was completely surprised to see himself committing the future killing of someone he hadn't met - and watching a pre-vision of his gunshot that propelled Crow out a skyscraper window
  • the spectacular sequence of Anderton's flight from Pre-Crime officers with jet-packs - fighting them off on the side of a building, on the street, and into various brick apartment dwellings
  • the suspenseful sequence in which mechanical bot-spiders performed retinal scans in a tenement building to determine identities from eyeballs and to find out whether Anderton (with bandaged eyes) was there or not - while he was submerged in a bathtub of ice water
  • Anderton's actual confrontation with suspected serial child killer criminal Leo Crow (who begged to be killed claiming that he had been assured financial stability by an unknown individual for allowing himself to be set-up as the murderer of Anderton's son Sean): ("You're not gonna kill me? If you don't go through with this, my family gets nothing, okay? You're supposed to kill me. He said you would...He told me I'd be released if I went along, and my family would be taken care of....If I acted like I killed your kid, okay?...Look, you don't kill me, my family gets nothing. Okay?") - and the influential words of Agatha who cautioned Anderton about killing Crow, and urged him to change his fate: ("You can choose"), although in the end, Crow grabbed Anderton's gun and shot himself
  • the scene of corrupt Pre-Crime boss and founder Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow) shooting and killing suspicious US Dept. of Justice agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), after he suspected that an 'echo' recording was the actual murder of Agatha's mother Anne Lively (Jessica Harper): ("...what if a technician only thought he was looking at an echo? What if he was looking at a completely different murder altogether? All you'd have to do is hire someone to kill Anne Lively, someone like a drifter, a neuroin addict, someone with nothing to lose. Precrime stops the murder from taking place, haloes the killer, takes him away. But then, right then, someone else, having reviewed the prevision and dressed in the same clothes, commits the murder in exactly the same way. Technician takes a look, thinks he's looking at an echo, erases it. Of course, it would have to be someone with access to the previsions in the first place. Someone fairly high-up")
  • the scene of Agatha's vision of a possible life for Sean, the missing son of Anderton and his ex-wife Lara Clarke (Kathryn Morris) - a heartbreaking and beautiful description: ("He's on the beach now, a toe in the water. He's asking you to come in with him. He's been racing his mother up and down the sand. There's so much love in this house. He's ten years old. He's surrounded by animals. He wants to be a vet. You keep a rabbit for him, a bird and a fox. He's in high school. He likes to run, like his father. He runs the two-mile and the long relay. He's 23. He's at a university..."); and then before she could tell Anderton who had murdered her mother Anne Lively, Agatha provided a shocking warning: ("I'm sorry, John, but you're gonna have to run again...RUN!")
  • the action sequence in which fugitive Anderton lept from car to car as he and Agatha plunged vertically to escape pursuit
  • the conclusion in which Lamar was confronted by Anderton, who knew that he had been framed, and that Lamar was the hooded murderer of Agatha's mother Anne Lively by drowning five years earlier; as a result of the revelations, a new Pre-Crime report had been generated - that Lamar would kill Anderton; in their final sequence together, Anderton spoke of the dilemma facing Lamar - and mentioned the flaw in the Pre-Crime system - that people could change their future: ("The question you have to ask is, what are you gonna do now? No doubt the Pre-Cogs have already seen this....You see the dilemma, don't you? If you don't kill me, Pre-Cogs were wrong and Precrime is over. If you do kill me, you go away but it proves the system works. Pre-Cogs were right. So, what are you gonna do now? What's it worth? Just one more murder. You'll rot in hell with a halo, but people will still believe in Precrime. All you have to do is kill me, like they said you would. Except you know your own future, which means you can change it if you want to. You still have a choice, Lamar. Like I did"); Lamar announced his choice - to select his own fate and suicidally commit suicide by shooting himself: ("Yes, I have a choice and I made it. Forgive me, John. (gunshot) Forgive me. Forgive me, my boy")
  • the film's voice-over epilogue from Anderton: ("In 2054, the six-year Precrime experiment was abandoned. All prisoners were unconditionally pardoned and released, although police departments kept watch on many of them for years to come. Agatha and the twins were transferred to an undisclosed location - a place where they could find relief from their gifts. A place where they could live out their lives in peace")












The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)

In director/writer Preston Sturges' fast-moving, farcical screwball comedy - one of the funniest films ever made (and most controversial - at the time) - about the subversive fun of motherhood and "our boys overseas":

  • the introduction of the main character in an early scene in Rafferty's Music Store -- pretty clerk Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton), the daughter of Morgan Creek's Chief of Police, who was first seen mouthing the words to a phonograph record of a deep-voiced singer crooning "The Bell in the Bay"; when the song ended, she told a group of soldiers in the store: ("Come on now, you got to beat it or buy something before Mr. Rafferty gets after me"); after an invitation by the male group, she promised to attend their going-away military dance that night
  • the scene of Trudy's explanation to her skeptical, overprotective, "old-fashioned" father Constable Edmund Kockenlocker (William Demarest) that she was attending the dance, when he expressly forbid her to attend: ("Just a moment. What is this military kiss-the-boys-goodbye business, and where is it to be transacted?...Just a minute! What happens after the country club?...So, as your father and mother combined, I'm here to tell you that you ain't going on no more military parties")
  • Trudy's friendship with 4-F rated local bank clerk Norval Jones (Eddie Bracken) - he explained how his nervousness caused his rejection by the Army: ("I'm perfectly calm. I'm as cool as ice. I start to figure maybe they won't take me and some cold sweat runs down the middle of my back, and my head begins to buzz and everything in the middle of the room begins to swim, and I get black spots in front of my eyes and they say I've got high blood pressure again. And all the time I'm as cool as ice!")
  • Trudy's secret attendance at the wild, drunken farewell military dance party with lots of spiked Victory Lemonade (while her movie date Norval served as a "decoy" and attended three feature movies until one in the morning); and after lots of dancing, hitting her head on a rotating glitter ball and suffering subsequent memory problems; the next morning at 8 o'clock, she met up with Norval on Main Street, who was blamed by her exasperated father for returning her late
  • Trudy's shocking realization that she might have married one of the departing soldiers; she described the previous night to her pragmatic younger sister Emmy Kockenlocker (Diana Lynn), and had great difficulty recalling anything: ("Can you imagine gettin' hitched up in the middle of the night with a curtain ring to somebody that's goin' away that you might never ever see again, Emmy?"); when Emmy noticed the ring on Trudy's finger, she tried to remember what had happened: ("I remember I danced with a tall, dark boy with curly hair, and a little short one with freckles, and a big fat blond one who sang in my ear. But if I married any of those, it would have been the tall, dark one with the curly hair, don't you think?"), and then she claimed that she couldn't remember his name: ("It had a 'Z' in it....Like Ratzkiwatzki, Pvt. Ratzkiwatzki, or was it Zitzkiwitzki?") - but in any event, they had both given false names at the wedding that she couldn't remember); and she also discovered soon after, to complicate matters even further, that she was pregnant
  • the comedy of errors when Norval became involved in Trudy's problems by stepping in to be the soldier-father of the unborn child
  • the funny marriage proposal scene on the front porch, in which the overly-nervous Norval attempted to discuss tying the knot with Trudy to her father who was cleaning his hand-gun: ("Sit down! What are you so nervous about?...There's getting to be quite a little talk in the town....Where I come from, we don't skulk around in the bushes, you get me?...When we gotta cross the street, we don't crawl through the sewer to get there.... When we've got something to say, we say it!...When is the happy event?...When are you and Trudy getting hitched?... What are you laughing about?... You haven't answered my question...There isn't any idiocy in your family, is there?...Oh, she won't?...You didn't ask her right. You gotta be more forceful in these matters. Dames like to be bossed. Now, you take me...You can do better. You better do better....We accept. You're in....You can settle the details up between youse. All I'm interested in is results. I'm a man who looks at things broadly, see? (the gun accidentally discharged)...I almost forgot, congratulations!")
  • the last scene of Norval and Trudy after she had given birth, when she asked him: "Was it a boy or a girl?"; when he asked the same question of Emmy, she led him to an adjoining room where they looked through a glass partition at six cribs; he went hysterical when he realized the sextuplets were his, and he raced back to Trudy and collapsed on her bed
  • the film's ending title card: "But Norval recovered and became increasingly happy for, as Shakespeare said: 'Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.'" THE END









Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

In director George Seaton's perennial Christmas classic, a dramatic comedy about the commercialization of Santa Claus and Christmas itself:

  • the marvelous character of the charming NYC Macy's Christmas Santa 'Kris Kringle' (Edmund Gwenn), an older bearded gentleman given the job of the toy department's Santa
  • the scene of toy department boss Mr. Julian Shellhammer (Philip Tonge) urging Kris Kringle to memorize and push a list of overstocked toys on undecided children: ("Before you go up on the floor, I just want to give you a few tips on how to be a good Santa Claus...Here's a list of toys that we have to push. You know, things that we're overstocked on. Now, you'll find that a great many children will be undecided as to what they want for Christmas. When that happens, you immediately suggest one of these items. You understand?") - and Kringle's disgust at X-mas commercialization: ("Imagine - making a child take something it doesn't want just because he bought too many of the wrong toys. That's what I've been fighting against for years, the way they commercialize Christmas")
  • the sequence of Macy's event director Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara), a single divorcee, urging Kris Kringle to tell her delightfully skeptical young 2nd grade daughter Susan Walker (Natalie Wood) that Santa didn't exist: ("Would you please tell her that you're not really Santa Claus, that there actually is no such person?"), and Kringle's insistence that he really was Saint Nick: ("Well, I'm sorry to disagree with you, Mrs. Walker, but not only is there such a person, but here I am to prove it")
  • Doris' shocking discovery that Kris Kringle's employment card revealed that his address was the Brooks' Memorial Home for the Aged in Great Neck, Long Island, NY
  • Kringle's concerned conversation with Doris about the loss of the real meaning of Christmas: ("For the past 50 years or so, I've been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we're all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster, and look shinier, and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle...Christmas isn't just a day. It's a frame of mind. And that's what's been changing. That's why I'm glad I'm here. Maybe I can do something about it").
  • Kringle's kind-hearted speaking to a non-English-speaking immigrant Dutch girl/orphan (Ida McGuire) in her own native language (and performing a duet of a traditional Dutch carole together) while Susan watched from the side and was impressed
  • Susan's letter to Kris Kringle to cheer him up while in court for an insanity hearing (with her mother's added postscript: "I believe in you, too")
  • the heartwarming courtroom scene when lawyer Fred Gailey (John Payne) asked questions of the District Attorney's young son Tommy (Bobby Hyatt) on the witness stand: "Do you believe in Santa Claus?" and "Why are you so sure there's a Santa Claus?" - and eventually won the case to prove that Santa Claus actually existed
  • the climactic display of US mail evidence in the courtroom - 21 bags and stacks of thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus, brought into the court and proving that Kris was Santa Claus, and causing the case to be dismissed: ("Your Honor: Every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore, the Post Office Department, a branch of the federal government, recognizes this man, Kris Kringle, to be the one-and-only Santa Claus!")
  • the concluding scene of Susan in a car, repeatedly trying to persuade herself to have faith: "I believe" - and then her overwhelming joy at driving up to the house of her dreams - a house (with a "For Sale" sign) that Santa promised to her (with Kris Kringle's red cane found inside); she told Fred and Doris after wildly running through the house: ("But this is my house, Mommy, the one I asked Mr. Kringle for. It is! It is! I know it is! My room upstairs is just like I knew it would be! Oh, you were right, Mommy. Mommy told me if things don't turn out just the way you want them to the first time, you've still got to believe. And I kept believing, and you were right, Mommy! Mr. Kringle is Santa Claus!"); she helped to persuade them to think about purchasing the house - but Fred also expressed his doubts about winning the case: ("I must be a pretty good lawyer. I take a little old man and legally prove to the world that he's Santa Claus....Maybe I didn't do such a wonderful thing after all")









The Miracle Worker (1962)

In Arthur Penn's biographical drama about Helen Keller and her tutor Annie Sullivan:

  • the opening scene - and the disturbing moment when Kate Keller (Inga Swenson) realized that her baby daughter Helen was both deaf and blind after a severe case of scarlet fever, and she screamed out in horror for her husband Captain Arthur Keller (Victor Jory): ("Cap'n! Cap'n! Will you come?...Look! She can't see. Look at her eyes. She can't see...Or hear. When I screamed, she didn't blink. Not an eyelash!...She can't hear you!")
  • the sequence of Kate Keller's worry about how to teach young Helen how to act and communicate: ("How can I make you understand?...How can I get it into your head, my darling?...How can you discipline an afflicted child? Is it her fault?...I don't know what to do. How can I teach her? Beat her till she's black and blue?...She wants to talk like, be like you and me. Every day she slips further away. I don't know how to call her back"), and the parents' decision to contact the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston for assistance
  • the famous scene of the start of both a physical and mental battle of wills between partially-blind teacher Annie Sullivan (Oscar-winning Anne Bancroft) and pupil Helen Keller (Oscar-winning Patty Duke) during her first lesson, when Helen was taught how to use sign language and spell C-A-K-E, and D-O-L-L: ("C-A-K-E. Yes. You do as my fingers do. Never mind what it means. Now, D-O-L-L. Think it over. L. Imitate now. Understand later. End of the first lesson") - and afterwards, Helen hit Annie with her doll and locked her in the room
  • the sequence of an insistent Annie teaching table manners to the spoiled girl Helen during a particularly severe temper tantrum, and refusing to have Helen help herself from her plate: ("I'm not accustomed to it"); Annie told everyone: ("I know a tantrum when I see one and a badly spoiled child....The whole house turns on her whims. Is there anything she wants she doesn't get?...I can't unteach her six years of pity if you can't stand up to one tantrum")
  • Annie's demand that she have full control of Helen, in order to properly train her: ("I want complete charge of her....I mean day and night. She has to be dependent on me (for) everything. The food she eats, the clothes she wears, fresh air. Yes, the air she breathes. Whatever her body needs is a primer to teach her out of. It's the only way. The one who lets her have it should be her teacher, not anyone who loves her...I'll have to live with her somewhere else....until she learns to listen to and depend on me...It's the one way I can get back in touch with Helen. And I don't see how I can be rude to you if you're not around to interfere with me") - the alternative was having Helen committed to an asylum - gruesomely described by Annie: ("I grew up in such an asylum. The state almshouse...Why, my brother Jimmy and I used to play with the rats because we didn't have toys. Maybe you'd like to know what Helen will find there not on visiting days?...")
  • the scene of Annie teaching Helen that things have names, such as an egg hatching a chick, and her lesson about Helen breaking through her shell: ("Egg. It has a name. The name stands for the thing. Oh, it's so simple. Simple as birth to explain. Helen. Helen, the chick has to come out of its shell sometime. (gasps) You come out too")
  • the climactic moment of triumph in the water-pump scene when Helen learned that the name of a thing could be spoken: ("W-A-T-E-R") and Annie screamed out: "She knows!" - and Helen was embraced by her jubilant parents
  • the concluding scene of Helen giving her 'teacher' Annie a very gentle goodnight kiss, and Annie's response by speaking and signing: "I love Helen" - and rocking her back and forth to the lullaby tune "Hush, Little Baby"









The Mirror (1975, Soviet Union) (aka Zerkalo, or Зеркало)

In Andrei Tarkovsky's transcendent, auto-biographical, collage-like, unconventional drama, presented as a series of non-linear flashback-poems as Alexei (a dying poet) was lying on his deathbed, with visually-beautiful, unforgettable long takes and images in the film, including:

  • the mysterious opening sequence viewed on television, when a teenage boy was being cured of his stammer by a physician-hypnotist
  • a dream sequence of Maria (Margarita Terekhova) bent over and washing her hair in a basin, and then raising her head and pulling her hair back
  • another dream of Maria levitating several feet above her bed
  • and the most indelible (from the year 1935) - the family barn on fire in the countryside and slowly burning to the ground as everyone watched
  • the final view of a pre-war (mid-1930s) pregnant Maria, smiling in a country field




Misery (1990)

In director Rob Reiner's psychological thriller - and a Stephen King adaptation:

  • nurse Annie Wilkes' (Oscar-winning Kathy Bates) strange idolization and romance of author-writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) after rescuing him from a car accident (his car crashed in a blizzard), and bringing him to her remote Colorado home; he was known for penning a lucrative series of eight novels about a lovelorn 19th century character named Misery Chastain; when he awoke, she told him: ("I'm your number one fan. There's nothing to worry about. You're gonna be just fine. I'll take good care of you. I'm your number one fan....We're just outside Silver Creek....You've been here two days. You're gonna be OK. My name is Annie Wilkes")
  • Annie's eerie admission that she had been stalking him over a six-week period while he was writing his latest book in the Silver Creek Lodge nearby: ("Some nights I'd just tool on down there and sit outside, and look up at the light in your cabin. I'd try to imagine what was goin' on in the room of the world's greatest writer")
  • while Annie nursed the convalescing Paul back to health from severe leg pain from two fractured tibia in both legs, a fractured fibula in the right leg, and a dislocated shoulder, her angry voicing of objections to profanities that he wrote in his latest manuscript: ("The swearing, Paul...What do you think I say when I go to the feed store in town? 'Oh, now Wally, give me a bag of that f-ing pig feed and 10 pounds of that bitchly cow corn!' And in the bank, do I tell Mrs. Bollinger: 'Oh, here's one big bastard of a cheque - give me some of your Christing money!'"); she became so worked up that she spilled hot soup on him: ("Look there, see what you made me do!"); and then confessed: ("I love you, Paul. Your mind. Your creativity. That's, that's all I meant")
  • the reclusive Annie's weird introduction of her beloved sow named Misery to Paul: ("I thought it was time you two should meet. Paul, say hello to my favorite beast in the whole world - my sow Misery....This farm was kind of dreary, what with just a few cows and chickens and me. But when I got Misery here, everything changed. She just makes me smile so")
  • the scary sequence of Annie's insanely mad response in the middle of the night after learning that at the end of Paul's latest book Misery's Child, he had killed off the heroine character, Misery Chastain: ("You! You dirty bird! How could you? She can't be dead! Misery Chastain cannot be dead!...I don't want her spirit! I want her! And you murdered her!...You did it! You did it! You did it! You did it! You murdered my Misery!..I thought you were good, Paul. But you're not good. You're just another lying old dirty birdie. And I don't think I better be around you for a while. And don't even think about anybody coming for you. Not the doctors, not your agent, not your family, because I never called them. Nobody knows you're here. And you better hope nothing happens to me. Because if I die, you die")
  • the book manuscript burning, when Annie demanded that Paul light his latest manuscript (the only copy) on fire, even though he promised to never publish it: ("I'll tell ya what. It doesn't ever have to be published. No one ever has to read it. I'll just keep it for myself. No one will even know it exists"); she ignored his promise and sprinkled lighter fluid on his bed to convince him: ("As long as it does exist, your mind won't ever be free. I think you should light the match, Paul. Can't you see it's what God wants? You're so brilliant I would think you'd certainly be able to see that. We're put on this earth to help people, Paul. Like I'm trying to help you. Please, help me help you")
  • the scene of Annie's unpredictable outburst at Paul for being under-appreciated: ("I'll tell you what's the matter! I go out of my way for you! I do everything to try and make you happy! I feed you, I clean you, I dress you, and what thanks do I get? 'Oh, you bought the wrong paper, Annie. I can't write on this paper, Annie!' Well, I'll get your stupid paper, but you just better start showing me a little more appreciation around here, Mister Man!")
  • the tense scene of Paul struggling to return to his room before Annie entered the house (after buying three reams of smudge-free paper for him) and discovered that he had been trying to escape
  • the classic scene of Annie's monologue of how she felt a 'cliffhanger' episode of Rocket-Man at the Saturday afternoon movies in Bakersfield when she was younger had cheated her, because it had been unfairly modified: ("Anyway, my favorite was Rocket Man, and once it was a no-brakes chapter. The bad guys stuck him in a car on a mountain road, knocked him out, welded the doors shut, and tore out the brakes and started him to his death. And he woke up and tried to steer and tried to get out but the car went off a cliff before he could escape, and it crashed and burned, and I was so upset and excited! And the next week, you better believe, I was first in line. And they always start with the end of the last week, and there was Rocket Man trying to get out, and here comes the cliff and just before the car went off the cliff he jumped free, and all the kids cheered! But I didn't cheer. I stood right up and started shouting: 'This isn't what happened last week! Have you all got amnesia? They just cheated us! This isn't fair! He didn't get out of the cockadoodie car!'")
  • the scene of Annie's melancholy during a rainy day - causing Paul to worry that she might be self-destructive and do something drastic: ("I know you don't love me. Don't say you do. You're a beautiful, brilliant, famous man of the world and I'm not a movie-star type. You'll never know the fear of losing someone like you if you're someone like me....The book's almost finished. Your legs are getting better. Soon, you'll be wanting to leave....I have this gun. (She pulled the trigger, but it clicked empty) Sometimes I think about using it. I better go now. I might put bullets in it")
  • Annie's deranged and frightening decision to 'fix' things in the famed 'hobbling scene' - to prevent him from running away, she crippled Paul by breaking both of his ankles; after she lifted the sledgehammer and said: "Trust me, it's for the best," she blasted his left foot so that it visibly bent ("I'm almost done, just one more"), and then also mangled his right foot; and after completing the horrible deed, she adoringly said: "God, I love you"
  • the concluding basement scene, when Annie was planning on a double suicide-murder: ("You and I were meant to be together for ever. But now our time in this world must end. But don't worry, Paul. I've prepared for what must be done. I put two bullets in my gun, one for you and one for me. Oh, darling, it'll be so beautiful"), and Paul was able to trick Annie into getting a cigarette and second glass for champagne to celebrate completing the manuscript; he found an opportunity to bash her over the head with his typewriter, and although she shot him in the left shoulder, he was eventually able to stuff some of the manuscript into her mouth during a one-on-one fight, and then after tripping her, she fell and suffered a lethal blow to the head when she struck his typewriter
  • the haunting ending in a restaurant, when a waitress told Paul: "I just wanna tell you I'm your number one fan" - causing Paul continued visions of a now-dead Annie still stalking him














The Misfits (1961)

In director John Huston's modern western drama - the last film of both Gable and Monroe:

  • the image of Reno divorcee Roslyn (Marilyn Monroe) in her polka-dotted white dress
  • the overpowering action sequence of aging rodeo hand Gay Langland's (Clark Gable) one-on-one confrontation with the leader of the wild herd of horses
  • girlfriend Roslyn's hysterical reaction to the cowboys' roundup of "misfit" mustangs for dogfood
  • the film's memorable closing lines as they rode back in a truck: (Roslyn: "How do you find your way back in the dark?" Langland: (pointing to the night-time sky) "Just head for that big star, straight on. The highway's under it. It'll take us right home")


Mister Roberts (1955)

In John Ford's/Mervyn LeRoy's comedy-drama:

  • the scene of Lt. Doug 'Mister' Roberts' Henry Fonda) expression of disgust for Lieut. Commander 'Captain' Morton's (James Cagney) palm tree, told to Lt. 'Doc' (William Powell) early one morning: ("I looked down from our bridge and saw our captain's palm tree! Our trophy for superior achievement! The Admiral John J. Finchley Award for delivering more toothpaste and toilet paper than any other Navy cargo ship in the safe area of the Pacific")
  • the portrayal of Lt. Roberts as a well-liked officer who reluctantly served on the WWII naval cargo ship 'bucket' USS Reluctant (known as "The Bucket") while pining for real war action: ("Well, I don't want to be here, I wanna be out there. I'm sick and tired of being a lousy spectator")
  • the character of cowardly and lazy Ensign Frank T. Pulver (Oscar-winning Jack Lemmon)
  • the scene of Mister Roberts' confrontation with tyrannical and pompous "Captain" Morton when blackmailed to refrain from continually writing letters of transfer off the ship, in exchange for 'liberty' shore leave for the crew: (Captain: "There's a war on and l'm Captain of this vessel. And now you can take it for a change. The worst thing l can do to you is to keep you right here, Mister! And here is where you're going to stay! Now, get out!" Mister Roberts: "What do you want for liberty, Captain?" Captain: "You are through writing letters ever." Mister Roberts: "Okay." Captain: "And that's not all. You're through talking back to me in front of the crew. When l give an order, you jump!")
  • the humorous scene of Lt. 'Doc' and Lt. Roberts mixing up a batch of scotch (from water, Coke, and a "drop of iodine for taste", and "one drop of hair tonic for age") for Pulver's R&R aboard ship with visiting nurses; Pulver was pleased with the results: ("Smooth! That dumb little blonde will never know the difference!") and then sang to himself: ("She won't know the difference. She won't know the difference....She'll never know the diff-er-ence'')
  • Lt. Roberts' assessment of Pulver: ("There's no getting around the fact, you're a real likeable guy, but...well, l also think you're the most hapless, lazy, disorganized and, in general, the most lecherous person l've ever known in my life"); Pulver complained: ("l am not!...I'm not disorganized for one thing!")
  • Pulver's cock-eyed scheme on VE Day to explode a homemade firecracker (with "fulminate of mercury") under the Captain's bunk that instead blew up the laundry and caused an overflow of soapy suds throughout the ship's corridors
  • Roberts' salute to the Captain's revered palm tree before heaving it off the ship - and Captain Morton's vow to find the culprit: ("All right! Who did it? Who did it? You are going to stand sweating at those battle stations until someone confesses! It's an insult to the honor of this ship! The symbol of our cargo record has been destroyed and I'm going to find out who did it if it takes all night!")
  • the revelation that 'Mister' Roberts was the culprit when the crew heard (over the PA system) the Captain's strong-armed tactics and dastardly bargain with Roberts - and the crew's renewed respect for their officer for sacrificing his own ambitions for them
  • the concluding letter-reading scenes (both read by Ensign Pulver for the crew) with the first letter from Mister Doug Roberts (written three weeks earlier) who was serving his new assignment on board the USS Livingston during the Battle of Okinawa, including his statement that he would rather have his old crew's hand-made Order of the Palm than the Congressional Medal of Honor: ("Doc, I've been aboard this destroyer for two weeks now, and we've already been through four air attacks. I'm in the war at last, Doc! I've caught up with that task force that passed me by. I'm glad to be here. I had to be here, I guess. But I'm thinking now of you Doc, and you Frank. And Dolan, and Dowdy, and Insigna and everyone else on that bucket. All the guys everywhere who sail from Tedium to Apathy and back again, with an occasional side trip to Monotony. This is a tough crew on here, and they have a wonderful battle record. But I've discovered, Doc, that the unseen enemy of this war is the boredom that eventually becomes a faith and therefore, a terrible sort of suicide. And l know now that the ones who refuse to surrender to it are the strongest of all. Right now, I'm looking at something that's hanging over my desk. A preposterous hunk of brass attached to the most bilious piece of ribbon I've ever seen. I'd rather have it than the Congressional Medal of Honor. It tells me what I'll always be proudest of - that at a time in the world when courage counted most, I lived among 62 brave men. So, Doc, and especially you, Frank, don't let those guys down. Of course, l know that by this time, they must be very happy because the Captain's overhead is filled with marbles. And here comes the mail orderly. This has to go now. l'll finish it later. Meanwhile you guys can write too, can't you? Doug")
  • during the second letter reading, this one from Fornell, Pulver was stunned by the news that Mister Roberts had died in action during a kamikaze raid: ("Mister Roberts is dead. This is from Fornell. They took a Jap suicide plane and killed everybody in a twin 40 battery and went right on through and killed Doug and some other officer, in the wardroom. They were drinking coffee when it hit")
  • with a determined and resolute look on his face, Pulver tossed the replacement palm tree off the ship's deck into the water, entered the bridge, banged on Captain Morton's door, and finally stood up to him - with the film's final line of dialogue: ("Captain, it is I, Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your stinkin' palm tree overboard! Now what's all this crud about no movie tonight?")












Moby Dick (1956)

In director John Huston's stirring adventure film:

  • the scene of Father Mapple's (Orson Welles) long, stirring, ranting sermon about the battle of good vs. evil in the soul of man, with nautical metaphors, reference to St. Paul, and inspired by the Jonah and the whale tale, ending with the words: ("...Jonah did the Almighty's bidding. And what was that, Shipmates? TO PREACH THE TRUTH IN THE FACE OF FALSEHOOD. Now Shipmates, woe to him who seeks to pour oil on the troubled waters when God has brewed them into a gale. Yea, woe to him who, as the Pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway. But delight is to him who against the proud gods and commodores of this Earth stands forth his own inexorable self, who destroys all sin, though he pluck it out from under the robes of senators and judges! And Eternal Delight shall be his, who coming to lay him down can say:- O Father, mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be thine, more than to be this world's or mine own, yet this is nothing, I leave eternity to Thee. For what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?")
  • the sailing Nantucket departure of the Pequod for its whaling expedition
  • the peg-legged Captain Ahab's (Gregory Peck) obsession with the great white whale that caused him to lose his leg
  • the first glimpse of the monster
  • the thrilling sequence of Ahab's final encounter with the great white whale as he became entangled in the harpoon ropes wrapping around the mortally-wounded creature

Modern Times (1936)

In actor/director Charlie Chaplin's last 'silent' film:

  • the opening metaphoric image of sheep (workers) entering a factory
  • the scene of the 'Big Brother' factory owner spying on workers including the Tramp (Charlie Chaplin)
  • the out-of-control automated feeding machine promoted by a recorded voice, a masterful sequence of visual comedy involving a corn-cob feeder and a gentle face-wiper mechanism, and the engineer's final words: ("We'll start with the soup again")
  • the opening factory assembly-line scene with the Tramp armed with nut-tightening wrenches in both hands and unable to keep up with the fast-moving line
  • the Tramp's consumption by the big wheels of machinery
  • his unwitting leading of a protest march
  • his singing of a gibberish/nonsense song in a restaurant/nightclub as a singing waiter
  • his dive into an empty lake
  • his rollerskating scene in a department store
  • the final unforgettable image of the Tramp arm in arm with the homeless Gamin (Paulette Goddard) silhouetted together and walking into the sunrise (not the sunset!)






Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

In director Frank Capra's famous Capra-corn film:

  • the scene of Mr. Longfellow Deeds' (Gary Cooper) departure for New York from Mandrake Falls, VT
  • his meeting with the opera board
  • reporter Babe Bennett's (Jean Arthur) masquerade as "Mary" in a rainstorm and their visit to Grant's Tomb
  • their "Swanee River" duet
  • his marriage proposal with a sentimental poem
  • the climactic lunacy hearing when Deeds was accused of being "pixilated" and then successfully defended his philanthropy with a speech about helping the 'underdog'


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

In Frank Capra's classic political-drama with a message:

  • the scene in the Lincoln Memorial in which a disillusioned and betrayed Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) was encouraged by Clarissa Saunders (Jean Arthur) to go against the odds and tell the truth
  • the classic, climactic scene of the idealist Senator Smith's exhausting filibuster (almost 24 hours) in the US Senate against the graft of distinguished Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), causing him to collapse but also forcing Paine to finally admit his dishonesty
  • the triumphant conclusion - when the Senate floor and gallery erupted with joy




100's of the GREATEST SCENES AND MOMENTS
(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
M4
| 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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