Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments




O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

In the Coen Brothers' episodic 30s Homeric odyssey:

  • the great, Grammy-winning musical soundtrack (bluegrass, old-time gospels, African-American spirituals, and country) throughout the film
  • the singing and recording of "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" on a radio station by the Soggy Bottom Boys
  • silver-tongued, escaped convict and con-man Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), who likes Dapper Dan hair pomade, and his fellow escaped Mississippi chain-gang cons Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson)
  • their encounters with:
    - a church congregation singing "Down to the River to Pray" while being baptized
    - with seductive sirens
    - with a one-eyed two-faced Bible salesman Big Dan Teague (John Goodman - representing the Cyclops)
    - and with a Ku Klux Klan rally (with the red-robed Grand Wizard singing "O Death")

The Odd Couple (1968)

In director Gene Saks' version of Neil Simon's comedic play/screenplay:

  • opposing, incompatible male roommates (both divorced from ex-wives Blanche and Frances) in a Manhattan apartment
    - the compulsive, prissy, neat, tidy, know-it-all Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon)
    - and ultra-slobbish sportswriter Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau)
  • their fight in the kitchen: (Felix: "It's not spaghetti, it's linguini." Oscar (after throwing the linguini at the wall and making a mess): "Now it's garbage")
  • Oscar's reaction to the note he finds from Felix on his pillow: ("'We're all out of cornflakes, F.U.' It took me three hours to figure out 'F.U.' was Felix Ungar")

Odd Man Out (1947, UK)

In director Carol Reed's taut and suspenseful crime-chase drama:

  • the gritty black and white cinematography
  • the scene of underground leader Johnny MacQueen (James Mason) after being fatally wounded in an ill-advised robbery and being left behind by a get-away car - and his stumbling through the streets of Belfast (disguised)
  • the expressionistic chase sequences
  • Johnny's hallucinatory imaginings of faces from his past in the bubbles of his spilled beer and his delirious vision of paintings flying off a wall
  • the powerful finale at the snowy Belfast docks when girlfriend Kathleen (Kathleen Ryan) and Johnny embrace (she promises: "It's a long way, Johnny, but I'm coming with you - we're going away together") - he fires two shots at police closing in on them and they expire in each other's arms

Of Human Bondage (1934)

In director John Cromwell's romantic drama:

  • the most famous sequence in which blonde, trashy cockney waitress Mildred (Bette Davis) viciously tells off club-footed medical student Philip Carey (Leslie Howard)

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

In director Taylor Hackford's crowd-pleasing romantic drama:

  • scenes of Sgt. Emil Foley's (Oscar-winning Louis Gossett, Jr.) tough drill instruction and counsel, notably of trainee Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) brought up unwanted by his father in the Philippines
  • Zack's powerful determination to not quit his recruit training: (Foley: "I want your DOR...All right, then you can forget it! You're out!" Mayo: "I ain't gonna quit...Don't you do it! Don't you - I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g... I ain't got nothin' else. I got nothin' else")
  • the erotic love-making scene between Zack and one of the 'Puget Debs' -- paper factory worker-girlfriend Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger)
  • the rousing finale in which graduate-trainee Zack carries a surprised Paula away from her factory job (as her fellow employees wished her well: "Way to go, Paula! Way to go!") - to the sounds of "Up Where We Belong"

The Old Maid (1935)

In director Edmund Goulding's melodramatic tear-jerker:

  • spinster old maid Aunt Charlotte (Bette Davis) listening in horror behind a drawing-room door to the whispered love between Tina (Jane Bryan) and her young man
  • Charlotte dancing alone in an upstairs bedroom realizing she is old
  • the scene of Charlotte and Delia (Miriam Hopkins) facing each other in a quarrel on the stairs on the eve of the girl's marriage
  • the tearjerker sequences of Charlotte 'almost' telling her unknowing illegitimate daughter the truth of her parentage on the eve of her wedding day
  • the final scene of the new bride's last kiss given to her aunt

The Old Man and the Sea (1958)

In director John Sturges' adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway story:

  • the old Cuban fisherman/Narrator (Spencer Tracy) speaking to the gigantic marlin he is trying to land ("You're feeling it now, fish...and so, God knows, am I")

Old Yeller (1957)

In Disney's live-action drama with a tragic ending:

  • the episodic scenes in which stray golden retriever dog Old Yeller gallantly and heroically protects young Travis (Tommy Kirk) and the family from a rabid wolf and many other animal incidents (wild horses, raccoons, snakes, bears, rampaging hogs, and angry mother cows)
  • Travis' realization that he must pull the trigger on his infected and dying rabid companion
  • the conclusion when he replaces Old Yeller with a new puppy

Los Olvidados (1950, Mex.) (aka The Young and the Damned, and The Forgotten Ones)

In Luis Buñuel's nihilistic cautionary tale - one of the greatest, and harshest films ever made, set in the slums of Mexico City:

  • the horrific, sadistic, murderous brutality of the juvenile delinquent gang led by the amoral, violent reform school escapee Jaibo (Roberto Cobo) who commits acts of petty crime, and beats rival Julian (Javier Amezcua) to death in a half-constructed high-rise building's shadows
  • other such disturbing imagery as an abandoned boy called Big Eyes (Jesus Navarro) suckling from a goat
  • the homosexually-pedophilic advances on the sympathetic main character - youngest gang member Pedro (Alfonso Mejía) who prostitutes himself to survive
  • the poignant image of a bloody-nosed, battered Pedro looking forlornly through a dirty window
  • the famous unsettling dream (in slow-motion) that Pedro has of his mother floating after him with a raw piece of meat and Julian's bloody dead body under the bed (he witnessed the murder) with chicken feathers floating in the air
  • the sensous imagery of a young lady seductively pouring milk on her thighs
  • the killing of Pedro by Jaibo (who is, soon after, killed by the police -- a stray dog running toward the camera is superimposed over his face as he dies)
  • the graceless disposal of Pedro's body by being put in a sack and carried out of town on a donkey -- while Pedro's mother passes in the street, ironically not knowing her son is dead

The Omen (1976)

In Richard Donner's original film:

  • the setup - American ambassador to England Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) substitutes orphaned Damien for his wife Katherine's (Lee Remick) still-born child
  • the scene of Damien's (the Devil's own son, the Anti-Christ, with the 666 sign on his scalp) (Harvey Stephens) 5th birthday party when his nanny (Holly Palance) goes into the mansion's attic, ties a noose around her neck, stands out on the ledge of the window, and jumps and hangs herself (and shatters the second floor glass windows with her swinging body) after calling out her final words: "Damien, look at me. I'm over here. Damien, I love you. Look at me, Damien. It's all for you"
  • Damien's view shielded by his mother Katherine, but with a big smile visible on his face
  • the scene in which baboons from the zoo instinctively recognize Damien's devilish-nature and attack the car carrying Damien and his mother
  • the scene of the impalement death of Father Brennan (Patrick G. Troughton) by a freak storm outside a church after warning Thorn that he has adopted Lucifer's son
  • and the scene of Damien maniacally pedaling his tricycle and knocking his mother over the second-floor railing to the menacing sound of ''Ave Satani''
  • the demise of hapless photographer Keith Jennings (David Warner) by decapitation when a sheet of plate glass flies off a truck that loses its brakes and slices through his neck
  • the scene of bloodied Thorn dragging his screaming son to a church altar to sacrifice him

On Golden Pond (1981)

In director Mark Rydell's warm-hearted Best Picture nominated family drama based on screenwriter Ernest Thompson's off-Broadway stage play:

  • the opening scene in which adoring wife Ethel Thayer (Katharine Hepburn in the fourth Oscar-winning role of her career) excitedly tells her cantankerous "old poop" 80-year-old husband Norman, Jr. (76 year old Henry Fonda in an Oscar-winning role and his last film), upon walking near their Golden Pond cabin: "Come here, Norman. Hurry up. The loons! The loons! They're welcoming us back!"
  • Norman's distress and fear at his failing physical and mental health when he momentarily loses his way: "You want to know why I came back so fast? I got to the end of our lane, I couldn't remember where the old town road was. I wandered a way in the woods. There was nothing familiar. Not one damn tree. Scared me half to death. That's why I came running back here to you to see your pretty face. I could feel safe. I was still me"; and Ethel's famous comforting quote: "Listen to me, mister, you're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it"
  • Norman's harsh, cutting response to estranged daughter Chelsea's (real life daughter Jane Fonda) 45-year-old lover Bill Ray's (Dabney Coleman) request if he could sleep with his daughter: "...I'd guess I'd be DELIGHTED to have you abuse my daughter under my own roof. Would you like the room where I first violated her mother? Or would you be interested in the master bedroom?..." and Bill's indignant verbal parry: "You're having a good time, aren't you?...Chelsea told me all about how you like to have a good time messing with people's heads...But I think there's one thing you should know while you're jerking me around and making me feel like an asshole. I know PRECISELY what you're up to. And I'll take just so much of it..."
  • their 13-year old son Billy's (Doug McKeon) response to Norman's question of what he does with girls he picks up: "Suck face"
  • Chelsea's complaint about dealing with her father: "I act like a big person everywhere else. I'm in charge of Los Angeles, and I come here, I feel like a little fat girl"
  • the scary Purgatory Bay scene in which Norman is catapulted into the water when the speedboat crashes into a rock in a near-fatal accident, and Ethel rescues them - diving into the cold water herself (Hepburn did the scene without a wetsuit)
  • the scene of Ethel's slapping Chelsea hard when she calls Norman a "selfish son-of-a-bitch" and her angry retort: "That son-of-a-bitch happens to be my husband"
  • Billy catching the legendary trout 'Walter' with Norman
  • the heart-tugging reconciliation scene between a teary-eyed Chelsea and her father Norman: (Chelsea: "It just seems that you and me have been mad at each other for so long..." Norman: "I didn't think we were mad; I thought we just didn't like each other" - ending with "I want to be your friend") - in which she touches his knee, culminating with Chelsea eagerly doing "a real goddamned back-flip" off the diving board for an appreciative Norman
  • the final scene in which Ethel prays when Norman collapses due to angina ("Dear God, don't take him now. You don't want him. He's just an old poop"), and their discussion about death ("This is the first time that I've really felt that we were gonna die....When I looked at you here on the floor, I could actually see you dead. I could see you in your blue suit and white, starched shirt in Thomas's funeral parlor on Bradshaw Street....You've been talking about death ever since we met, but this is the first time I really felt it...Oh, it feels odd. Cold, I guess. Not that bad, really. Not so frightening. Almost comforting. Not such a bad place to go. I don't know!")
  • Norman's famous proposal to Ethel, using slang he has learned from Billy: "Wanna dance or would you rather just suck face?"; then his noticing that the loons have returned in the film's final line: "The loons, they've come around to say good-bye. Just the two of them now. Their baby's all grown up and moved to Los Angeles or somewhere"

On The Town (1949)

In director Stanley Donen's musical comedy - the first major musical to be filmed on location:

  • the opening show-stopping song-and-dance number "New York, New York (It's a Wonderful Town)" by sailors on leave Gabey (Gene Kelly), Chip (Frank Sinatra) and Ozzie (Jules Munshin)
  • the featuring of all the prominent sights of New York City, and other musical numbers shot on location

On The Waterfront (1954)

In Elia Kazan's Best Picture-winning film:

  • the realistic dialogue and sets of grimy Hoboken
  • the scene in which dockworker and ex-fighter Terry Malloy (Oscar-winning Marlon Brando) and Edie Doyle (Oscar-winning Eva Marie Saint) get acquainted
  • the scene in a neighborhood saloon when he tells her: "Boy, what a fruitcake you are"
  • Father Barry's (Oscar-nominated Karl Malden) delivery of a sermon and last rites over the body of dockworker Kayo Dugan (Pat Henning) and the priest's ride on the pallet up and out of the hatch (and heavenward) with Dugan's body on it
  • Terry's emotionally-naked and famous: "I coulda had class, I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody..." speech in the back seat of a taxi-cab scene with his mobster/lawyer older brother Charley (Oscar-nominated Rod Steiger) about a rigged boxing match that ruined his boxing career and the moment that Charley draws a gun on his sibling
  • Terry's smashing down the door of Edie's apartment for a kiss
  • his discovery of Charley's corpse hanging on a longshoreman's hook in an alley
  • Terry picking up one of his dead pigeons on the roof
  • the bloody fight with corrupt union boss Johnny Friendly (Oscar-nominated Lee J. Cobb) and a battered but triumphant, masochistic Terry leading the longshoremen in the finale

Once Upon A Time in the West (1968, It.)

In Sergio Leone's western masterpiece with a great musical score (with harmonica melody) by Ennio Morricone:

  • the detailed, almost wordless presentation of hired killers in the widescreen opening sequence - the train station arrival scene - with ambient sounds (a dry dusty wind, a creaking rocking chair, a dripping water leak and a pesky buzzing fly) in the deliberately-slow credit sequence as a trio of hired outlaw assassins waits impatiently at a small-town's train station
  • the sudden reveal shot - of an unnamed, mysterious gunman known as Harmonica (Charles Bronson) who has stepped off the train and appears in the middle of the screen when the train pulls away, flanked by three men who were there to kill him
  • the classic verbal conversation (before the shoot-out) between Harmonica and Snaky (Jack Elam), about how there were too many horses - Harmonica: "Did you bring a horse for me?" Snaky: "Well, looks like we're, looks like we're shy one horse" Harmonica: "You brought two too many"
  • the first appearance of black-hatted, blue-eyed killer-villain Frank (portrayed uncharacteristically against type by Henry Fonda), and the scene of Frank and his men's cold-blooded and merciless murder of a family (including Frank's murder of a nine-year-old boy)
  • the character of smoky-eyed Claudia Cardinale as the widow and reformed prostitute Jill McBain from New Orleans who is protected by honorable yet grizzled escaped con and scoundrel Cheyenne (Jason Robards)
  • other classic showdowns - especially in the closing sequence
  • the fateful flashback/revelatory moment when brooding loner "Harmonica" (The Man) remembers the cold-hearted, steely blue-eyed, mean badman Frank's cruel jest: "Keep your lovin' brother happy" (in a chilling flashback, a young "Harmonica" was forced to support his elder brother (with a noose around his neck) on his shoulders and to play a harmonica until he weakened and collapsed - and thereby killed his brother
  • Frank's final question: "Who are you?" - he finally remembers about Harmonica after a harmonica is placed in his mouth to remind him

(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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