Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



O (continued)
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

In Milos Forman's Best Picture-winning drama (of the top five awards) based upon Ken Kesey's anti-establishment book:

  • the characterization of rebellious patient Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) opposed to the stern, rigid and authoritarian Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher)
  • the memorable scenes of playing basketball in the exercise yard, and gambling card games with cigarettes as currency
  • the two scenes in which votes were taken to change the daily schedule so that the patients could watch the World Series - followed by McMurphy's defiance to tyrannical Nurse Ratched's technicalities (when they were denied TV privileges) by a recreation of the play-by-play action of an imaginary ballgame in front of a blackened TV set - contagiously infecting the other inmates with his enthusiasm
  • the wild, fishing field trip scene
  • McMurphy's challenge to the other inmates to leave the institution after learning that he wouldn't be automatically released: ("You're no crazier than the average asshole out walkin' around the streets")
  • McMurphy's shocked realization that giant Chief Bromden (Will Sampson) could actually talk when he lent him a stick of Juicy Fruit gum
  • the scene of McMurphy's zombie-like return from electro-shock therapy
  • the midnight celebration and McMurphy's enraged attack and its disastrous consequences
  • Chief Bromden's suffocation/mercy killing of his lobotomized friend and his escape from the institution by heaving a previously-immovable water fountain/sink through a window

One Foot in Heaven (1941)

In director Irving Rapper's religious biographical drama:

  • the poignant scene in which devoted Methodist minister Rev. William Spence (Fredric March) viewed his first movie (a William S. Hart western, "The Silent Man") with his oldest son Hartzell (Peter Caldwell), and being surprised by the western's non-objectionable content
  • the memorable sequence in which he replaced an aging, off-key church chorus with a young, fresh-faced children's choir, thereby offending the music director Mrs. Thurston (Laura Hope Crews)
  • the stirring, uplifting and dramatic ending accompanied by the congregation's singing of the popular church hymn "The Church's One Foundation", when Rev. Spence - on a weekday morning - decided to leave his finished dream church, Elmwood Methodist; he viewed the entire congregation from an upper window spontaneously assembling and joining together to sing as he played the hymn on the church's new carillon

One Million B.C. (1940)

In director Hal Roach's (of Hal Roach Studios) sci-fi adventure fantasy, with only grunting and mono-syllabic dialogue:

  • the framing narrative, told by a paleontologist (Conrad Nagel) in a cave, describing or interpreting a story (a saga of tribal, prehistoric people) to mountain climbers, from his readings of primitive cave/rock paintings
  • the contrast between the starring roles for hunkish Victor Mature (as Tumak, a member of the savage, meat-eating and primitive Rock People tribe, son of the brutish tribal chieftain Akhoba (Lon Chaney, Jr.)), and pretty blonde Carole Landis (as Loana, a member of the pacifist, vegetarian, well-mannered Shell People tribe)
  • the banishments (exiled once from each tribe) of outcast Tumak (for defying his father, and for stealing a tribe member's spear)
  • the special effects and trick enlargement photography (and the use of dressed-up lizards) to depict dinosaurs and other wild creatures, including an alligator (with a fin affixed to its back), an armadillo, the lengthy scene of a Gatorsaurus and Tegudon fighting with each other, a bear killing a snake, the braining of a wild pig or small bull, the bloody demise of the gila monster, etc. (controversial to anti-animal abuse advocates)
  • the scene of a giant iguana menacing and cornering a group of the tribes-people in a cave (who were saved with a rock avalanche that buried the creature under immense boulders)
  • the climactic volcanic eruption, covering people with lava flow, and giant lizards swallowed up by fissures
  • the curious scene of Loana teaching the primitive Rock People about manners: women go first, and meat should be carved into slices, not grabbed in pieces and torn off
  • the storybook ending, with Loana, Tumak, and a young child (not their own) walking off into the sunset

One Million Years B.C. (1966, UK)

In this camp classic, fantasy prehistoric adventure film from director Don Chaffey, a remake of One Million B.C. (1940) by Hal Roach, with minimal plot and dialogue:

  • the banishing of Tumak (John Richardson) from his primitive prehistoric tribe, the dark and savage Rock People
  • the views of half-clad cave woman Loana (Raquel Welch) in tight-fitting animal skins of the more advanced, fair-haired, pacifist Shell People - the basis for a best-selling pin-up poster - who spoke only one decipherable word ("Tumak!"); the film was promoted with the slogan: "See Raquel Welch In Mankind's First Bikini!"
  • the 'cat fight' between Loana and Tumak's former wild lover Nupondi (Martine Beswick)
Ceratosaurus vs Triceratops
  • Ray Harryhausen's remarkable stop-motion animation (termed "Dynamation") and enlargements of live creatures to portray giant monsters, including an Iguana (giant lizard), an Apatosaurus, a giant Spider (or tarantula), a menacing Turtle (Archelon), an Allosaurus attacking a tree with a child, a fierce battle between a Ceratosaurus (a medium sized predatory horned lizard) and a Triceratops, and a flying Pteranodon (similar to a pterodactyl) that carried Loana off to its nest before being attacked by a similar Pterosaur

- Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

In director Howard Hawks' quintessential aviation-adventure film:

  • the nerve-wracking scene of the attempted fog landing by flier Joe Souther (Noah Berry, Jr.) - ending with a fatal crash
  • the on/off again love story between Latin American pilots' boss Geoff Carter (Cary Grant) and perky Brooklynite blonde Bonnie Lee (Jean Arthur)
  • the arrival of flier Bat MacPherson/alias Kilgallen (Richard Barthelmess) with his radiant wife Judy (Rita Hayworth in her first appearance in a major film), Geoff's ex-wife
  • the discovery that MacPherson was really a disgraced, unworthy pilot whose cowardice once caused the death of older daredevil pilot Kid Dabb's (Thomas Mitchell) younger brother
  • the scene of MacPherson's treacherous flight carrying nitroglycerin to prove his bravery
  • aging daredevil pilot Kid Dabb's affecting death and farewell scene after a crucial flight with a redeemed MacPherson

Open Water (2003)

In writer/director Chris Kentis' effectively suspenseful, low-budget shark tale:

  • the relationship between a vacationing and stressed-out married couple, Susan Watkins (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel Kintner (Daniel Travis), before signing up for an ill-fated diving expedition in the Caribbean - on their first night on vacation, she wasn't in the mood for sex due to stress: "A little stressed still, l guess...Yeah, work, life"; when he asked: "Maybe l can get you to think of something else," she replied: "l might not be in the mood...Yeah, l'm not in the mood...Sorry. l'm just tired"
  • the incredibly realistic situation of the two left behind by their Reef Explorer tour boat at a dive site known as Magic Kingdom, and finding themselves (after surfacing) stranded in open Bahamas water: ("You've gotta be kidding me") - with real predatory sharks circling them for the majority of the film; their first view of a shark was terrifying: ("Daniel, was that a shark?")

Open Your Eyes (1997, Sp.) (aka Abre Los Ojos)

In director Alejandro Amenabar's film, remade in Hollywood with Penelope Cruz (again) and Tom Cruise (real-life lovers at the time) as Vanilla Sky (2001), by director Cameron Crowe:

  • the sight of nude, brown-haired Sofia (Penelope Cruz) straddling, sitting up, and posing above Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) in his 'dream' (?) life
  • the transcendental, stunning conclusion when Cesar plunged from a 50-story skyscraper roof to 'awaken'

Ordinary People (1980)

In actor Robert Redford's directorial debut film - an intense psychological drama (an adaptation of the Judith Guest novel by Alvin Sargent):

  • the moving scene of suicidal, guilt-ridden 18 year-old high-school student Conrad "Con" Jarrett (Oscar-winning Timothy Hutton) and his therapeutic breakthrough, admitting his feelings about his older brother Buck's (Scott Doebler) accidental drowning (during a sailing trip revealed over the course of the film by flashbacks) in his late-night counseling session with his sometimes unorthodox psychiatrist Dr. Berger (Judd Hirsch): ("What was the one thing wrong you did?" "I hung on, I stayed with the boat"), and Dr. Berger's reassurances that he was Conrad's friend: ("I am. Count on it")
  • the icy portrayal of grieving, hostile and rejecting mother Beth Jarrett (Mary Tyler Moore) who was contrasted with her warm-hearted and compassionate husband Calvin (Donald Sutherland) - who ultimately admitted the loss of his love for his wife: ("You're not strong. And I don't know if you're really giving. Tell me something. Do you love me? Do you really love me?...We would've been all right if there hadn't been the mess.You can't handle mess. You need everything neat and easy. I don't know. Maybe you can't love anybody. It was so much Buck. When Buck died, it was as if you buried all your love with him. And I don't understand that. I just don't know. Maybe it wasn't even Buck. Maybe it was just you. Maybe, finally, it was the best of you that you buried. But whatever it was, I don't know who you are. I don't know what we've been playing at. So I was crying. Because I don't know if I love you anymore. And I don't know what I'm going to do without that")
  • the closing scene before the credits in which Calvin began to re-connect with his son and hugged him, and they both pledged their love
  • the brilliant mood-setting use of Johann Pachelbel's mournful adagio Canon in D Major

Orphans of the Storm (1921)

In D.W. Griffith's melodramatic epic about the French Revolution and two orphans half-sisters that were separated during the Reign of Terror:

  • close-ups of virginal Henriette Girard's (Lillian Gish) face
  • the spectacular crowd scenes
  • the scene in which Henriette heard the voice of her blind, kidnapped half-sister Louise (Dorothy Gish) singing in the street below but was arrested before she could get to her from the balcony
  • the thrilling rescue scene of Louise from the guillotine by revolutionary hero Danton (Monte Blue)
  • a tearful reunion scene between the sisters (and the miraculous restoration of eyesight for Louise)

Out of Africa (1985)

In director Sydney Pollack's Best Picture-winning biographical romantic epic:

  • the lyrically-beautiful scenes on location in Kenya, Africa (with the opening voice-over narration: "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Mountains"), and Danish authoress/wife Karen Tania Blixen-Finecke's (Meryl Streep) (aka pen name Isak Dinesen) arrival at the Nairobi plantation home of husband Baron Bror Blixen-Flecke (Klaus Maria Brandauer)
  • the tense scene of a lionness threatening to attack Karen, while white hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) held a gun and waited for the animal to walk off peacefully
  • the biplane ride over the wilds of Africa in which Karen reached back and held hands with Denys during their affair
  • the scene of Hatton shampooing Karen's hair during a safari
  • the sequence of the plantation's processing shed-barn burning to the ground, destroying all the farm equipment and crops as well
  • the sad sequence of the funeral of Denys after a deadly plane crash, and Karen's attendance at the outdoor burial/funeral in the Ngong Hills, where she delivered a memorial reading from A.E. Houseman's "To An Athlete Dying Young": ("The time you won your town the race, we cheered you through the market-place. Man and boy stood cheering by, as home we brought you shoulder-high. Smart lad to slip betimes away, from fields where glory does not stay, early though the laurel grows, it withers quicker than a rose. Now you will not swell the rout of lads that wore their honors out, runners whom renown outran, and the name died 'fore the man. And round that early-laurelled head will flock to gaze the strengthless dead, and find unwithered on its curls, a garland briefer than a girl's. Now take back the soul of Denys George Finch Hatton, whom you have shared with us. He brought us joy, and we loved him well. He was not ours. He was not mine")
  • the scene of Baroness Karen's goodbye at the train station to Farah (Malick Bowens), and the film's bittersweet final lines - read by Karen from a letter she received: ("'The Masai have reported to the district commissioner at Ngong that many times, at sunrise and sunset, they have seen lions on Finch Hatton's grave. A lion and a lioness have come there and stood or lain on the grave for a long time. After you went away, the ground around the grave was leveled out into a sort of terrace. I suppose that the level place makes a good site for the lions. From there, they have a view over the plain and the cattle and game on it'... Denys will like that. I must remember to tell him")

Out of Sight (1998)

In Steven Soderbergh's sexy crime thriller:

  • the reassuring words of charming bank robber Jack Foley (George Clooney), without a gun, convincing bank teller Loretta Randall (Donna Frenzel) to load up a bag with lots of fills: "Is this your first time being robbed?" (she nodded) "You're doing great. Just smile, Loretta, so you don't look like you're being held up. You got a very pretty smile"
  • the scene of the exciting Florida jail break when Foley escaped from prison disguised as a guard, and took deputy federal marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) as a kidnapped hostage
  • the very memorable and erotically-flirtatious, dialogue-rich scene in the trunk of a getaway car between Foley and Karen who exchanged sexy quips and banter (a discussion of Faye Dunaway films, such as Bonnie and Clyde, Network, and Three Days of the Condor): "You must really see yourself as some kind of Clyde Barrow, huh?...In that part where they get shot, I remember thinkin' to myself, that wouldn't be such a bad way to go, if you had to. You sure are easy to talk to. I was thinkin', if we met under different circumstances, if you were in a bar and I came up and we started talking, I wonder what would happen...if you didn't know who I was...just saying if we met under different circumstances..."
  • the momentary instant that Foley and Karen caught sight of each other - he was in an elevator and she was seated in the lobby during a police operation: ("She just looked right at me...Karen...She's in the lobby")
  • their later sexual encounter in which they flirtatiously called each other different names: Gary and Celeste during a conversation in a Detroit hotel lounge over drinks, when Foley mentioned the chance nature of their meeting and their attraction to each other: ("It doesn't have to. It's something that happens. It's like seeing someone for the first time, like you could be passing on the street, and you look at each other and for a few seconds, there's this kind of a recognition, like you both know something. The next moment, the person's gone, and it's too late to do anything about it. And you always remember it, because it was there, and you let it go, and you think to yourself: 'What if I had stopped? What if I had said something? What if? What if?' And it may only happen a few times in your life")
  • and minutes later, the cross-cutting scene of them kissing, undressing and getting into bed in a penthouse hotel room with snow falling outside before making love, after she had performed a strip-tease for him in front of the windows
  • the final stairway showdown between a masked Foley and Karen Sisco during a safe robbery at billionaire insider-trader Richard Ripley's (Albert Brooks) posh Detroit mansion, when Foley was confronted by her and he wouldn't surrender: ("I'm not going back...No more time outs"); although she begged him: ("Jack, please, don't make me do this. Put the gun down. Damn it, Jack, put the gun down!"), she was forced to shoot him in the leg ("You win, Jack"); and then she apologized: ("I'm sorry. I wish things were different")

Out Of The Past (1947) (aka Build My Gallows High)

In Jacques Tourneur's great film noir - one of the best ever made:

  • the flashback structure of the film and shadowy cinematography
  • the archetypal, duplicitous femme fatale Kathie Moffett's (Jane Greer) silhouetted entrance into a Mexican cantina from the bright and hot outdoors - wearing a broad-brimmed white hat during the pursuit of cool private eye Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) for her after being hired by menacing gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas)
  • the snappy dialogue and tawdriness of the love/hate relationship between Jeff and Kathie: ("I think we deserve a break" and his reply: "We deserve each other")
  • his sneering insult of her: "You're like a leaf that the wind blows from one gutter to another"
  • their romantic interlude on a moonlit beach (where they were framed by an entrapping fish net)
  • their final tragic end at the police roadblock

Outcast of the Islands (1951, UK)

In Carol Reed's compelling and dramatic adventure set in the Indonesian tropics - based on Joseph Conrad's 1896 novel:

  • the character of failed roguish Englishman Peter Willems (Trevor Howard), a swindling and cheating shipping firm manager in Singapore, scandalously fired from his job, saved from an attempted drowning suicide, and taken under the mentoring wing of lucrative trader Capt. Lingard (Ralph Richardson): ("I'm taking you to that place of my own, about which people talk so much and know so little. It's up a river. It isn't easy but I've found a way to get her up. You'll learn something now, my boy")
  • their sailing to the hidden, secret idyllic river-bank village of Sambir (after perilously navigating through a rocky river mouth) - Lingard's remote trading post; Willems dubiously promised to keep the navigational route a secret: ("Your secret's safe with me")
  • Willems' lustful stalking and leering at exotic native girl Aissa (Kerima in her debut film) (who never spoke a word in the film), who was dedicated to feeding her blind father - chieftain Badavi (A. V. Bramble), and brought shame to him for her association with Willems - leading to his eventual neglect and death
  • the savage assault of the natives on Lingard's pompous, self-interested and despicable trader son-in-law Elmer Almayer (Robert Morley) - torturing him by wrapping him up in a hammock and swinging him above a bonfire
  • the climactic ending, in which the greedy and obsessed Willems, who had aligned himself and been manipulated by the sly native Babalatchi (George Colouris in black-face) and competing Arab trader Ali (Dharma Emmanuel), betrayed Lingard's trust and revealed the treacherous trading route to the lagoons
  • the final and last confrontation between Lingard and Willems, leading to the latter's exile and ostracism on a remote and isolated piece of land with Aissa; Willems begged to be taken away, but Lingard refused after giving him so many other breaks: ("You have been possessed of a devil...I regret nothing else I ever did, but this was different. I picked you up like a starving cat when you were twelve, I helped you through your life till it became part of mine. Then, I let you ruin the lives of all those who put their faith in me. I am an old fool...Did you ever see me lie and cheat and steal, tell me that, hey!? I wonder where in perdition you came from when I found you under my feet? No matter. You'll do no more harm. Well, what do you expect? Do you know what you've done? What do you expect?....No promise of yours is any good to me. I am going to take your future into my own hands. You are my prisoner. You shall stay here. You are not fit to go among people. Who could suspect, who could guess, who could imagine what is in you? I couldn't. You are my mistake. I shall hide you here. If I let you out, you'll go out among unsuspecting men and lie and steal and cheat for a little money or for some woman. I don't choose to shoot you. It would be the safest way, but I won't. Don't expect me to forgive you. To forgive, one must first be angry and then contemptuous. There's nothing in me now, no anger, no contempt, no disappointment. To me, you are not Willems, the man I thought much of and helped the man who was my friend. You're not a human being to be destroyed or forgiven. You are a bitter thought, something without a body that must be hidden. You are my shame...You say that you don't want to die here. Very well then, you must live. (To Aissa) Understand, I leave him his life, not in mercy but in punishment. You are alone. (To Willems) You say that you did this for her. Well, you have her"); as Lingard strutted off to return to his boat, Aissa handed a revolver to Willems to shoot Lingard, but he couldn't pull the trigger; they had a few final words at the beach, in the midst of a thunderous tropical rainstorm: (Lingard: "Provoke you? What is there in you to provoke?"); Willems called out an echoing goodbye, the film's final line of dialogue: "We shall meet again, Captain Lingard"; Willems and a spiteful Aissa were stranded but together

The Outlaw (1943)

In producer/director Howard Hughes' "adult" sex-western film originally filmed in 1941, and delayed in its general release for many years:

  • the buxom cleavage of statuesque and formidable Mexican half-breed mistress Rio (Jane Russell) displayed to the fullest and greatest effect (angering censors) throughout this notorious film
  • the much-more revealing publicity shots of the sultry star, more suggestive than the film itself
  • the wrestling in the hay stable scene with Billy the Kid (Jack Beutel) when he cautioned her to end her struggling resistance in the dark shadows: ("Let me go" -- "Hold still lady or you won't have much dress left") as the scene faded to black
  • and later, as Rio cared for Billy, she promised: "I'll warm him up" - she bent down (in the uncensored version) - and then followed an incredible zooming full-face (and lips) closeup when she was preparing to kiss him
  • the close-up view of Rio galloping along on horseback

Outrage (1950)

In director/writer Ida Lupino's B-level crime-related drama:

  • the memorable rape scene (in one of the first films to address the taboo subject in the 50s, called a 'criminal attack/assault') in which young naive plant secretary-bookkeeper Ann Walton (Mala Powers) left work one night and her ordeal while being pursued through a maze of streets and alleys for over five minutes [the camera pulled back behind a building and avoided showing the act]
  • and the devastating aftermath for the traumatized victim

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

In director William Wellman's "Western noir" adaptation of Walter Van Tilburg Clark's novel:

  • the "trial" at the hanging tree with Gil Carter's (Henry Fonda) witnessing of the sham trial and his forceful statement to the lynch mob: "Hangin's' any man's business that's around"
  • the actual hanging (with the shadows of the dead men hanging)
  • the final scene of Gil Carter's reading of a letter of one of the victims, Donald Martin (Dana Andrews)

(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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