Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

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 left 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 Louise Schumacher (Oscar-winning Beatrice Straight) berated her husband for unfaithfulness
  • the film's climactic ending when Howard Beale was 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) two very funny restaurant ordering scenes in the Cozy Corner Cafe - a greasy-spoon restaurant with a tough, obnoxious, fat waitress named Tiny (Jody Gilbert); he asked: "Is there any goulash on this menu?"; she wiped a spot off the menu and replied: "It's roast beef gravy"; then, he asked about the steak: "Is that steak New York cut?"; she crossed if off the menu because it was unavailable. Pouring him a glass of ice water, she became distracted and he ended up with the overflow on his lap. He joked: "No extra charge for the cold shower, I hope"; struggling to order something, he asked: "Do you think it's too hot for pork chops?" That also was crossed off the menu, along with a number of other items. He wondered: "That, uh, practically, uh, eliminates everything but ham and eggs...No ham." He was forced to order two four-minute eggs in a cup, white bread, and milk, causing him to mutter: " I don't know why I ever come in here - the flies get the best of everything."
  • during his second visit to the restaurant with the fleshy waitress, he told her: "I didn't squawk about the steak, dear. I merely said I didn't see that old horse that used to be tethered outside here" - and then insultingly commented on her big behind: "There's something awfully big about you too"; when he paid his tab, she advised: "And another thing, don't be so free with your hands" - to which he replied: "Listen honey. I was only trying to guess your weight. You take things too seriously"
  • the scene of his diving to retrieve his precious bottle of booze which he had accidentally knocked over the side while gesturing; he made a drunken free-fall dive from out of the airplane, now flying over Mexico; catching up with the bottle as he fell thousands of feet to the ground, he landed on a giant mattress in a strange mountain cliff-top country (Ruritania), bouncing about a dozen times until he came to rest, and then asked himself: "Why didn't I think of that parachute? What a bump!"
  • the scene of the Great Man falling in a large basket off the cliff of the mountain top retreat of wealthy matron Mrs. Hemogloben (Margaret Dumont) and her lovely daughter Ouliotta Delight Hemogloben (Susan Miller), to avoid marriage, and his remark as he looked down: "Don't start worrying until we get down to one-thousand, nine-hundred, and ninety-nine. It's the last foot that's dangerous"
  • the final ten minutes - the Great Man's mad drive through downtown LA to take an oversized woman (he presumed she was pregnant) to the maternity hospital (borrowed for Abbott and Costello's In Society (1944)), with a police escort from cops on motorcycles, sirens blaring; after many near-misses and collisions, his car's roof was tangled up with the hook and ladder of a fire-engine, and his car was hoisted high into the air and then dumped back onto the highway; he narrowly missed pedestrians and other cars in the frantic ride to the hospital; his wrecked and disintegrating car finally came to a halt next to the "Maternity Hospital Quiet!" sign, where he was left holding only the steering wheel in his hands. Hospital orderlies rushed out with a stretcher and wheeled the unconscious passenger into the delivery room - she recovered consciousness just in time to berate the hospital staff. The Great Man staggered at the crash site, musing: "Lucky I didn't have an accident...I would have never gotten here"






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 approached 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) - saved Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) from death out of curiosity and empathy
  • the sublime sequence of them falling in love - as he taught her English words ("Water," "Sun," "Eyes," "Lips," etc.)
  • the extensive use of narrated internal monologues
  • the winter scene in which the "princess" brought 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) (whom she called: "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) destroyed the phonograph record with his bare hands
  • another scene of Rose's backside in a tight black dress and red top, walking away from the camera
  • Rose's husband's stalking of his scheming wife 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 were 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")
  • the creation of 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:

  • regarded by some as the funniest sequence ever filmed -- the famous "stateroom" scene (preceded by the 'food-ordering' scene) in which a small cruise ship room was crowded with all four Marx Brothers, chambermaids, an engineer, a manicurist, the engineer's assistant, a passenger looking for her Aunt Minnie, and staff stewards - and opera matron Mrs. Claypool's (Margaret Dumont) opening of the door that spilled all the occupants out onto the floor
  • the preceding egg-ordering scene
  • the classic 'contract-tearing' parody scene of contract negotiations between shady shyster manager Otis P. Driftwood (Groucho Marx) and Fiorello (Chico Marx): "The party of the first part...", ending with Fiorello's concluding that "You can't fool me - There ain't no Sanity Clause"
  • the scene at City Hall in which the stowaways posed as bearded air heroes and Fiorello's speech when he described the aviators' difficult trip to America
  • the hilarious, rearranged furniture and bed-switching sequence in Driftwood's apartment to elude and confuse private Detective Henderson
  • Driftwood's complaint/suggestion: "You're willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie"
  • and the operatic opening night finale (a lavish production number) of Il Trovatore with madcap havoc: wild backdrops, backstage and onstage chaos, Harpo swinging Tarzan ape-like on stage fly-ropes in tune to Verdi's music, and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"





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)
  • Harry's 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 tracked 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 discovered 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 crashed, 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 provided commentary on the eternal battle between the forces of good and evil that grappled 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 Willa's 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) chased 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 slept 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) teased sister Barbra (Judith O'Dea) by approaching her in the graveyard and taunting: "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" - but then found 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 the young girl died and she returned 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, UK)

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

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

(Tim Burton's) 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 - kidnapped Santa Claus and delivered 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 Jack
  • 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 ate Christmas trees)
  • the fantastic "Poor Jack" song when Jack realized his mistake and sang 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 attacked 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 drifted off to sleep with a blaring TV on his lap and Freddy's clawed hand burst through, pulled him through the bed cover and reduced him to a bloody geyser that gushed 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



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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