Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



N (continued)

Network (1976)

In Sidney Lumet's satire on TV and the media (based on Oscar-winning Paddy Chayefsky's script):

  • the character of smart, driven programming executive Diana Christensen's (Oscar-winning Faye Dunaway) rant to her various program directors: ("I want angry shows. I don't want conventional programming on this network. I want counter-culture. I want anti-establishment")
  • the Messianic, raging figure of maniacal veteran TV anchorman Howard Beale (posthumous Oscar-winning Peter Finch) as an "angry prophet" and his rousing, rallying battle cry challenge to listeners to defiantly yell out their New York City windows ("I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!")
  • Diana Christensen's unrestrained turn-on by media ratings during the Beale controversy and during a sexual affair with veteran network news boss Max Schumacher (William Holden)
  • Schumacher's put-down of Diana when he leaves her: "...everything that you and the institution of television touch is destroyed. You're television incarnate, Diana, indifferent to suffering, insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality"
  • the scene of Beale's chastisement by the powerful conglomerate head Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty) ("You have meddled with the primal forces of nature")
  • Howard Beale's speech about how "democracy is a dying giant"
  • the superb and moving monologue in which Max's wife (Oscar-winning Beatrice Straight) berates her husband for unfaithfulness
  • the film's climactic ending when Howard Beale is murdered by two assassins in his audience during the start of his TV show - because of "lousy ratings"

Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)

In another of W.C. Field's unusual comedies - directed by Edward F. Cline:

  • the Great Man's (W. C. Fields) restaurant ordering scene with a tough, obnoxious waitress named Tiny (Jody Gilbert)
  • his leap from an airplane to retrieve his booze bottle
  • his fall into the mountain top retreat of wealthy matron Mrs. Hemogloben (Margaret Dumont) and her lovely daughter Ouliotta Delight Hemogloben (Susan Miller)
  • his mad drive through downtown LA to take an oversized woman (he presumes she's pregnant) to the maternity hospital

The New World (2005)

In writer/director Terrence Malick's visually-stunning poetic historical epic:

  • the first meeting in 1607 with the so-called "naturals" by expedition leader Captain Christopher Newport (Christopher Plummer) and his men - who timidly approach the strange visitors "like a herd of curious deer"
  • the scene in which the favored daughter of Powhatan (August Schellenberg) - lovely and graceful "princess" Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher) - saves Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) from death out of curiosity and empathy
  • the sublime sequence of them falling in love - as he teaches her English words ("Water," "Sun," "Eyes," "Lips," etc.)
  • the extensive use of narrated internal monologues
  • the winter scene in which the "princess" brings food to the starving Jamestown fort inhabitants
  • the scene of Pocahontas playing hide-and-seek with her child in a manicured English garden
  • the reunion scene in the English garden with her first love: regretful Captain John Smith, asking: "Did you find your Indies, John? (pause) You shall" - and his response: "I may have sailed past them. I thought it was a dream - what we knew in the forest. It's the only truth. It seems as if I was speaking to you for the first time" - followed by her expression of fully devoted love (and kiss) to her loyal farmer-husband John Rolfe (Christian Bale) (who she calls: "My husband")
  • a score enhanced by Mozart's concerto and a recurring prelude from Wagner's Das Rheingold

Niagara (1953)

In this Techni-colored noir directed by Henry Hathaway:

  • a sensual, adulterous Rose Loomis (Marilyn Monroe) lounging naked in her bed sheets in the Rainbow Lodge cabins next to the Falls
  • her memorable hip-bouncing walking scenes, first briefly in a light blue dress, and then overtly flaunting herself at an outdoor party in a bright red dress
  • her singing along with the tune "Kiss" (the illicit lovers' theme song) just before her crazed husband George (Joseph Cotten) destroys the phonograph record with his bare hands
  • another scene of her backside in a tight black dress and red top, walking away from the camera
  • her husband's stalking of scheming Rose up a clock-bell tower before murdering her
  • the exciting finale in which pretty honeymooner Polly Cutler (Jean Peters, who later married Howard Hughes) and George are adrift in a boat and heading toward the precipice -- before her rescue by helicopter from a rock outcropping and his demise down the falls

Night After Night (1932)

In director Archie Mayo's comedy/drama:

  • Maudie Triplett's (Mae West, in her first talking film) bawdy, wise-cracking entrance scene
  • her famous dialogue: ("Goodness, what lovely diamonds" Maudie: "Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie")
  • creating havoc for speakeasy owner Joe Anton's (George Raft) private dinner party

Night and Fog (1955, Fr.) (aka Nuit et Brouillard)

In director Alain Resnais' documentary-style short film:

  • the gruesome, graphic, sobering images of the corpses of Holocaust victims

A Night at the Opera (1935)

In this superb Marx Brothers classic directed by Sam Wood:

  • the classic parody scene of contract negotiations between shyster Driftwood (Groucho Marx) and manager Fiorello (Chico Marx): "The party of the first part...", ending with Fiorello's concluding that "There ain't no Sanity Clause"
  • the egg-ordering scene that precedes one of the Marx Brothers' most famous scenes - the small stateroom scene onboard a cruise ship crowded with all four brothers, chambermaids, an engineer, a manicurist, the engineer's assistant, a passenger looking for her Aunt Minnie, and staff stewards
  • Mrs. Claypool's (Margaret Dumont) opening of the door that spills all the occupants out onto the floor
  • the scene at City Hall in which the stowaways pose as bearded air heroes and Fiorello's speech when he describes the aviators' difficult trip to America
  • the hilarious bed-switching scene in Driftwood's apartment to confuse Detective Henderson
  • the opera's opening night scene including madcap havoc - wild backdrops, backstage and onstage chaos, and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the finale

Night Moves (1975)

In Arthur Penn's moody, post-Watergate noir detective film with the enigmatic title 'Night Moves' - or more significantly 'Knight Moves' symbolizing the protagonist's chessboard of life in which he was 'blind' to the events of his case:

  • the character of ex-football player and LA private eye Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman)
  • his famous quote when asked to attend a Rohmer film: "I saw a Rohmer film once; it was kind of like watching paint dry"
  • the missing persons case in which Harry tracks promiscuous runaway 16 year-old daughter Delly Grastner (Melanie Griffith in an early role) in the Florida Keys - the step-daughter of wasted ex-actress and sexually-liberated studio boss divorcee Arlene Iverson (Janet Ward)
  • the night-time nude dive sequence from a glass-bottom boat when Delly discovers a crashed plane with the remains of a stunt pilot named Marv Ellman (Anthony Costello) - later revealed to have been killed by suspicious mechanic Quentin (James Woods)
  • its conclusion involving Delly's orchestrated death in LA during a failed film location stunt with Joey Ziegler (Edward Binns)
  • the revelation of smuggling of pre-Colombian art by Delly's ex-stepfather Tom Iverson (John Crawford)
  • the shocking ending of the deaths of four individuals (Iverson's murder of Quentin, Iverson's fight to the death with Harry, Ziegler's drowning in a seaplane that crashes, with Iverson's mistress Paula (Jennifer Warren) being hit by the plane's propeller after emerging on the surface from scuba diving)
  • dying Harry's stranded boat (named "Point of View") circling about the ocean wreckage

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

In actor/director Charles Laughton's only directed film:

  • the image of terrifying preacher Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) driving in his car in one of the opening scenes
  • the tattoos LOVE and HATE on the fingers of his right and left hands
  • his favorite hand-wrestling sermon told to young John Harper (Billy Chapin) - "Ah, little lad, you're starin' at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand?" - that provides commentary on the eternal battle between the forces of good and evil that grapple together
  • Powell's shadow filling the window of the children's bedroom
  • the tortuous wedding night scene with widowed wife Willa Harper (Shelley Winters)
  • the scene of the preacher coaxing Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce) to disclose where her father hid the money
  • Willa's frightening knifing murder scene in a A-frame bedroom
  • the discovery of her corpse sitting underwater in a Model T with her long billowing hair tangled in the reeds
  • the pursuit sequence in the basement as Powell (Frankenstein-like) chases the two children up the stairs with arms outstretched
  • the children's escape and flight to a rowboat and the lyrical nighttime sequence of their floating down the river
  • the distant silhouette of the preacher on horseback against the night-time sky as the children sleep in a barn's hayloft
  • the preacher's first acquaintance with strong-willed opponent and savior Rachel (Lillian Gish)
  • the image of Rachel sitting on the porch in a rocking chair with a shotgun (looking like Whistler's Mother)
  • the singing of two versions of the religious hymn "Lean on Jesus"

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

In George Romero's raw and uncompromising low-budget midnight movie about flesh-eating zombies:

  • the opening scene in a cemetery, in which living dead Johnny (Russell Streiner) teases sister Barbra (Judith O'Dea) by approaching her in the graveyard and taunting: "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" - but then finds himself bitten by one of the zombies (Bill Heinzman)
  • the horrific scene of the horde of crazed, lurching, flesh-eating zombies surrounding the old farmhouse and terrorizing survivors Barbra and black hero Ben (Duane Jones)
  • the attack and murder of Barbra by her own zombified brother and other instances of cannibalism
  • the moment when a young girl dies and she returns as a zombie to kill her traumatized mother with a trowel
  • in the last scene - the tragic shooting of Ben by vigilantes, mistaking him for a zombie

A Night to Remember (1958)

In Roy Baker's documentary-style accounting of the April 14, 1912 sinking:

  • the climactic ending in which the Titanic oceanliner hits an iceberg and slices a hole in the ship, sending hundreds of passengers to their icy death

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

In Tim Burton's (and director Henry Selick's) imaginatively dark musical fantasy:

  • the technical brilliance of the stop-motion animated puppets and originally-composed songs (by Danny Elfman)
  • the scenes of the disastrous circumstances when Jack Skellington - the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown - kidnaps Santa Claus and delivers scary Halloween gifts instead of Christmas gifts from a coffin-shaped sleigh pulled by reindeer skeletons - at the conclusion of the "Making Christmas" sequence
  • rag-doll friend Sally's warning to him
  • the image of terrified children opening up their horrific presents ("And what did Santa bring you, honey?") (i.e., a scary yellow duck, bats, a shrunken head, a large toy snake that eats Christmas trees)
  • the fantastic "Poor Jack" song when Jack realizes his mistake and sings a torch song in an angel headstone's arms - lamenting: "What have I done? / What have I done? / How could I be so blind?"
  • the triumphant finale, with Jack finally realizing his love for Sally ("...for it is plain as anyone can see: we're simply meant to be") with a closing kiss on a snowy curlicue hill

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

In Wes Craven's horrific and unpredictable film teen slasher film:

  • the character of burn-faced, striped sweater-wearing Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) with a fedora hat, bladed-clawed hands in this original film and all its sequels - a child murderer who attacks during dreams
  • the scene of teen girl Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss) - during her dream - being invaded by Freddy and dragged up the wall and across her bedroom ceiling by the invisible Krueger
  • policeman's daughter Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) napping during a bubble bath with Freddy's gnarled hand appearing and moving towards her crotch area
  • the silhouetted image of Freddy reaching his 10 foot arms out to touch the walls in an alleyway
  • Freddy's transformation of a phone into a demonic tongue
  • the liquifying death scene of Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp in his debut movie role) when he drifts off to sleep with a blaring TV on his lap and Freddy's clawed hand bursts through, pulls him through the bed cover and reduces him to a bloody geyser that gushes toward the ceiling

9 1/2 Weeks (1986) (aka Nine 1/2 Weeks)

In director Adrian Lyne's sensual, soft-porn film:

  • Wall street executive John's (Mickey Rourke) question: "Does this excite you?" before caressing blindfolded art gallery assistant Elizabeth's (Kim Basinger) naked body with melting ice cubes
  • also his feeding her (with her eyes closed) one olive, a bowl of maraschino cherries, one cherry tomato, a pint of strawberries, one glass of champagne, two spoonfuls of Vick's cough syrup, a forkful of cold spiral pasta, a spoonful of cherry Jello, four jalapeno peppers, one glass of milk, a bottle of sparkling water, and gobs of honey - to the tune of Bryan Ferry's "Slave to Love"
  • the steamy sex scenes behind a giant roof-top clock-face and in a rainy brick stairway

(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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