Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

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 liked 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:

  • the continuing contrast of two opposing, incompatible, divorced/separated male roommates (both divorced from ex-wives Blanche and Frances) trapped together in a Manhattan apartment
  • the compulsive, prissy, hypochondriacal, neat, tidy, know-it-all photographer Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon)
  • the ultra-slobbish, unkempt sportswriter Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau)
  • during his weekly poker game, Oscar's offer to share food from his refrigerator now broken for two weeks - spoiled and rotten sandwiches: ("I got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches. Which one do you want?" "What's the green?" "It's either very new cheese or very old meat")
  • 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")
  • the restaurant scene where Felix demonstrated his loud honking technique to clear his sinuses: ("I'm trying to clear up my ears. You create a pressure inside your head. It opens up the eustachian tubes"), and then complained: "I think I strained my throat"
  • Oscar's laundry list of problems with Felix, and his interpretation of the note he found from Felix on his pillow: ("I can tell you exactly what it is. It's the cooking, the cleaning, the crying. It's the talking in your sleep. It's those moose calls that open your ears at 2:00 o'clock in the morning. I can't take it anymore, Felix. I'm crackin' up. Everything you do irritates me, and when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. I've told you 158 times I cannot stand little notes on my pillow. 'We are all out of cornflakes. F.U.' Took me three hours to figure out that 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 embraced (she promised: "It's a long way, Johnny, but I'm coming with you - we're going away together") - he fired two shots at police closing in on them and they expired 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 told 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 candidate 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 carried 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 (1939)

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 was 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 was 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 protected 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 replaced Old Yeller with a new puppy

Oldboy (2003, S. Korea)

In director Chan-wook Park's mysterious and visceral (double) revenge thriller:

  • the 15 year imprisonment of womanizing businessman Dae-su Oh (Choi Min-sik) in a hotel-like room, who was then inexplicably freed and released by his former schoolmate - villainous, sadistic and insane captor-tormentor Woo-jin Lee (Yu Ji-tae)
  • the three excessively vulgar, devastating and scary scenes of extreme pain and self-torture:
    (1) the initial tooth extraction, performed on Dae-su, while sushi chef Mi-do (Kang Hye-jeong) was being tortured nearby (strung up by her hands)
    (2) a vengeful forcible tooth extraction (with the claw of a hammer) in the control room of the prison manager Mr. Park, removing 15 of his teeth - one for each year he was imprisoned - Dae-su explained: "I am going to avenge myself for all 15 years. Each tooth I extract will age you by one year"
    (3) tongue self-excisement with a rusty pair of scissors - to find atonement and to prevent any further rumors or talk after taking the virginity of his own long-lost daughter Mi-do
  • the scene of Dae-su consuming a wriggling, live octopus (eaten headfirst!)

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 with gangs of street kids:

  • the horrific, sadistic acts of murderous brutality of a juvenile delinquent gang led by amoral, violent reform school escapee Jaibo (Roberto Cobo) who committed acts of petty crime; in an early sequence, he beat rival Julian (Javier Amezcua) to death with a rock (hidden in an arm sling) 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 prostituted 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 had of his mother floating after him with a raw piece of meat and Julian's bloody dead body under the bed (he had witnessed the murder) with chicken feathers floating in the air
  • the sensous imagery of a young lady seductively pouring milk on her thighs
  • the vengeful killing of Pedro by Jaibo, for announcing that he had seen Jaibo kill Julian
  • the death of Jaibo - who was shot and killed by the police - (a stray dog running toward the camera was superimposed over his face as he died)
  • the graceless disposal of Pedro's body by being put in a sack and carried out of town on a donkey, to be dumped down a garbage-covered cliff -- while Pedro's mother passed in the street, ironically not knowing her son was 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) went into the mansion's attic, tied a noose around her neck, stood out on the ledge of the window, and jumped and hanged herself (and shattered 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 recognized Damien's devilish-nature and attacked 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 had 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 flew off a truck that lost its brakes and sliced through his neck
  • the scene of bloodied Thorn dragging his screaming son to a church altar to sacrifice him

On Dangerous Ground (1951)

In Nicholas Ray's classic, black and white, noirish rogue-cop drama, with a memorable, bold and moody Bernard Herrmann score:

  • the portrayal of embittered, repressed, sadistic, violently-brutal and relentless veteran, urban NYC cop Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan), a lonely, hardened workaholic bachelor living in a tenement apartment
  • in a frightening scene, after bursting into a grungy apartment and threatening a thug, Wilson shouted: "Why do you make me do it? You know you're gonna talk! I'm gonna make you talk! I always make you punks talk! Why do you do it? Why?" and then viciously beat him; at one point, Police Captain Brawley (Ed Begley) chided and reprimanded Wilson as "a gangster with a badge"
  • the sexually-induced murder (rape and knifing) of a teenaged girl in the wintry, rural northern community and mountain town of Westham, and the subsequent investigation there, pairing Wilson with the victim's vengeful, vigilante father Walter Brent (Ward Bond), wielding a shotgun (Wilson's own raging mirror-image)
  • the manhunt led to the remote cabin of kind, tolerant, self-sacrificing, loving and blind Mary Malden (Ida Lupino) - and the revelation that she was protective of her mentally-ill, immature brother Danny (Sumner Williams) - the prime murder suspect, and he was hiding in the storm cellar (she entreated Wilson: "Promise me he'll be safe")
  • the concluding scene of the chase after Danny up an icy rocky cliff and his fall to his death, when Walter was aghast: "Just a kid"
  • the sentimental concluding scenes showing Wilson's growing, semi-compromising infatuation with his romantic savior Mary (who told him: "Sometimes, people who are never alone are the loneliest. Don't you think so?"), and his ultimate redemption and awakening humanization by her - symbolized by the image of them joining outstretched hands in the tacked-on ending

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 told 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 lost 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 did with girls he picked 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 was catapulted into the water when the speedboat crashed into a rock in a near-fatal accident, and Ethel rescued them - diving into the cold water herself (Hepburn did the scene without a wetsuit)
  • the scene of Ethel's slapping Chelsea hard when she called 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 touched 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 prayed when Norman collapsed 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 had learned from Billy: "Wanna dance or would you rather just suck face?"; then his noticing that the loons had 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 with realistic dialogue and sets of grimy Hoboken, and featuring a prime example of Method acting from Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando:

  • the opening lines of the film: "Joey, Joey Doyle!...Hey, I got one of your birds. I recognize him by the band...He flew into my coop. You want him?" - delivered by slow-witted, illiterate waterfront bum and ex-fighter Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) who lured fellow pigeon-lover Joey Doyle, a young dockworker and informant union worker, to a rooftop where two shadowy thugs were lurking - to his deadly fate
  • the subsequent murder of Joey Doyle who was hurled from the rooftop to his death many stories below with a bloodcurdling scream - Terry owed his waterfront career and livelihood to corruption union boss Johnny Friendly (Oscar-nominated Lee J. Cobb), head of the racketeers
  • the scene in which Terry Malloy and fresh-faced aspiring teacher Edie Doyle (Oscar-winning Eva Marie Saint), the informant's sister (with a Catholic school background) became acquainted as he escorted her home through the park; as they talked and walked along and he teased her, Edie accidentally dropped one of her white gloves-mittens; Terry picked it up and cleaned it off, but instead of immediately returning it, he held it, and then put it on his left hand - as a substitute for getting close to her; eventually, she was able to remove the glove from his hand
  • the scene in a neighborhood saloon between the kind-hearted Edie and Terry during a date, when she expressed a philosophy of life totally foreign to him; he believed in a 'dog-eat-dog' world point of view ("Do it to him before he does it to you"), while Edie countered: "Shouldn't everybody care about everybody else?" - he responded: "Boy, what a fruitcake you are!"
  • in the symbolic and memorable "Sermon on the Docks" sequence, Father Barry's (Oscar-nominated Karl Malden) delivery of a sermon to commemorate the death of dockworker Kayo Dugan (Pat Henning): "Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary. They better wise up. Takin' Joey Doyle's life to stop him from testifying is a crucifixion. And dropping a sling on Kayo Dugan because he was ready to spill his guts tomorrow - that's a crucifixion. And every time the mob puts the crusher on a good man - tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen - it's a crucifixion. And anybody who sits around and lets it happen - keeps silent about something he knows has happened - shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of Our Lord to see if He was dead" - he also delivered last rites, and rode on the pallet up and out of the hatch (and heavenward) with Dugan's body on it
  • Terry's emotionally-naked and famous New York taxi-cab scene dialogue, delivered in the back seat of a taxi-cab with his mobster/lawyer older brother Charley Malloy "The Gent" (Rod Steiger) (Oscar-nominated Rod Steiger) after his brother drew a gun on him; Terry spoke about a rigged boxing match that ruined his boxing career: "It wasn't him, Charley! It was you. You remember that night in the Garden, you came down to my dressing room and said: 'Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson.' You remember that? 'This ain't your night!' My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors in the ball park - and whadda I get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville....You was my brother, Charley. You shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me - just a little bit - so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money....You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let's face it (pause) ...... It was you, Charley"
  • the next sequence - Terry's smashing down the door of Edie's apartment when he told her: "Edie, you love me...I want you to say it to me," she cowered from him and responded: "I didn't say I didn't love you. I said, 'STAY AWAY FROM ME"; but he put his arms around her, and they ended up embracing in a kiss
  • the sequence of Terry's discovery of Charley's corpse hanging on a longshoreman's hook in a back alley, illuminated by a truck's headlights
  • the devastating scene when Terry found that neighborhood friend Tommy, who used to admire and idolize him, had killed his pigeons on the rooftop and tossed the body of a dead bird at him: "A pigeon for a pigeon"; for testifying against the mob, Terry was derided and ostracized as a 'canary" and all of his beloved birds had their necks wrung
  • in the finale, the challenge Terry delivered to Johnny Friendly: "You're a cheap, lousy, dirty, stinkin', mug. And I'm glad what I've done to you" - followed by their bloody confrontation and fight - although Terry was beaten unmercifully behind the waterfront shack and nearly killed in a fight to the death, the battered but triumphant, masochistic Terry broke the strangle-hold power of the union boss; the workers, forming a line on the side, rallied around their new leader as he led the loitering longshoremen back to work through the gate - in an act of defiance - they ignored the desperate screams of the soaking-wet Friendly, who tried to prevent them from following: "Where you guys going? Wait a minute? I'll remember this! I'll remember every one of ya! I'll be back, don't you forget that. I'll be back"

Once Upon A Time in the West (1968, It.) (aka C'era una Volta il West)

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 waited impatiently at a small-town's train station
  • the sudden reveal shot - of an unnamed, mysterious gunman known as Harmonica (Charles Bronson) who had stepped off the train and appeared in the middle of the screen when the train pulled 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 was 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) remembered 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 remembered about Harmonica after a harmonica was placed in his mouth

(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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