Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

Paisan (1946, It.) (aka Paisà)

In Roberto Rossellini's war-time, neo-realistic, propagandistic docu-drama about the liberation of Italy in WWII - an anthology divided into six episodes or vignettes - his second post-war follow-up film to Rome: Open City (1945, It.):

  • in the bleak, ragged, rough and minimalist film - in its sixth and final downbeat episode set in the Po River Delta of Italy, in December 1944: during guerrilla warfare, a group of American-Allied OSS agents, two British airmen, and six Italian partisans had been captured by the Germans behind enemy lines
  • from a long distance away, the camera recorded a moving and horrifying scene - the sacrificial deaths of six Italian POWs who were bound (hands tied behind their backs), and pushed - one-by-one - into the water from the side of a boat to drown (they were not protected under the Geneva Convention treaty); one American officer and one British officer on the shore objected and ran toward the boat, and were quickly gunned down by the Germans; the remainder of the executions were conducted - and the film ended on the watery waves calming down from the body splashes
  • the passionless narrator (Giulio Panicali) spoke (in voice-over): "This happened in the winter of 1944. At the beginning of spring, the war was over"





Pakeezah (1972, India)

In writer/director Kamal Amrohi's romantic melodrama (with music) - one of the best Bollywood films of all time, and India's first Cinemascopic color film:

  • the incredible, complex and elaborate set-production design of the film's main setting, a red-light district brothel (or katha) in North India (Lucknow) at the turn of the century, where tawaifs (girls who sang and danced for rich noblemen in exchange for money) could be seen far into the distance and background on various multi-storied levels of the brothel
  • the back story: a Muslim courtesan named Nargis (the director's wife Meena Kumari) had attempted to elope with her lover Shahabuddin (Ashok Kumar); when rejected by the patriarch of Shahabuddin's family, Nargis fled to a graveyard, on her deathbed, she wrote him a letter (never delivered) asking him to come for his newborn daughter
  • the main protagonist - young, pure at heart Sahibjaan (or Sahib Jan) (also Kumari), Nargis's daughter, brought up by brothel madame Nawabjaan (Veena), her mother's sister; she entranced male visitors to the brothel with her beautiful dancing and singing
  • the scenes of Sahibjaan's romance with aristocratic, wealthy prince Salim Ahmed Khan (Raaj Kumar), Shahabuddin's nephew, who renamed her "Pakeezah" (meaning 'pure girl') - although his offer of marriage was refused because of parental pressure (the same fate as her mother!)
  • the film's conclusion - Sahibjaan was invited to dance at Salim's wedding to another woman, where she performed on broken glass (symbolically seeking a destruction of their love); during the ceremony, she met with her lost father, Shahabuddin
  • the final shot of the 'real' Pakeezah, a young girl watching from another balcony, who was trapped, as she watched Pakeezah taken away by Salim; in contrast, she would never have a man come into her life and take her away from the brothel




The Palm Beach Story (1942)

In Preston Sturges' fast-paced 'comedy-of-errors' classic comedy:

  • the frenzied opening credit montage of confusing, mystifying marital vignettes without dialogue (unexplained until film's end)
  • the two unzipping of gown romantic scenes between Gerry and poor struggling inventor husband Tom (Joel McCrea)
  • the character of the hard-of-hearing "Wienie King" (Robert Dudley)
  • the madcap scenes on the southbound train to Florida when scatter-brained, fortune-hunting, runaway wife Gerry Jeffers (Claudette Colbert) experienced the Ale & Quail Club - an unruly group of aging sportsmen and millionaires
  • the wacky character of crackpot billionaire J.D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee) and his yacht, with pithy, funny one liners: "Chivalry is not only dead, it's decomposed!" and "That's one of the tragedies of this life - that the men who are most in need of a beating up are always enormous!"
  • Hackensacker's oversexed, oddball heiress sister Princess Centimillia (known as "Maude") (Mary Astor)
  • the "Goodnight Sweetheart" serenade scene




Pandora's Box (1929, Ger.) (aka Die Büchse Der Pandora)

In director G.W. Pabst's classic silent film melodrama:

  • the scene of the insatiable, free-spirited, 18 year-old cabaret chorus girl and femme fatale Lulu (Louise Brooks), with a black bob (pageboy) haircut, caught backstage in a wardrobe room scandalously kissing her obsessed and spell-bound patron - a wealthy newspaper owner named Dr. Ludwig Schon (Fritz Kortner) - by his more socially-acceptable fiancee Charlotte Marie Adelaide (Daisy d'Ora)
  • the scene of Dr. Schon's subsequent wedding party in which virginally white-dressed (inappropriately), bi-sexual and amoral bride Lulu engaged in an intimate, flirtatious tango with black silken-dressed, chic lesbian aristocrat Countess Anna Geschwitz (Alice Roberts)
  • the dramatic scene in which just-married bridegroom Dr. Schon became enraged with jealousy at Lulu (for her starry-eyed flirtations with his son Alwa (Franz Lederer)) and thrust a gun at her, crying: "Take it! Kill yourself!...so that you don't drive me to murder as well" - and the moment of his accidental murder/manslaughter during a struggle for the gun between them
  • the trial scene in which the prosecutor accused the hedonistic Lulu (wearing a black veil) of being like a Pandora's box of evil
  • the expressionistic finale on Christmas Eve as London Soho prostitute Lulu became another gleaming-knifed victim of Jack the Ripper (Gustav Diessl) during an erotic embrace and kiss (her hand went limp to indicate her death)





Pan's Labyrinth (2006, Sp./Mex./US) (aka El Laberinto del Fauno)

In Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro's wondrously imaginative World War II era fantasy film set in Spain during fascist Franco's regime:

  • young Ofelia's (Ivana Baquero) seeking of refuge in an imaginary escapist world in a forest home filled with fairies and a menacing faun named Pan (Doug Jones) - located at the center of the labyrinth
  • Ofelia's communications with a stick bug-insect (CGI) that she believed was a fairy
  • Ofelia's scary confrontation with the Pale Man (also Jones), a faceless, vile, humanoid, all-devouring creature (with pale, elastic skin) who enjoyed consuming live and defenseless children; he was accidentally awakened from his slumber when Ofelia was disobedient and stole a grape from the banquet table - he took his eyeballs from the table in front of him, and placed them into eye sockets in the palm of his two claw-like hands, to enable him to see so that he could pursue and eat Ofelia
  • the unexpected death of Ofelia at the hands of her own adoptive stepfather, malevolent and brutal Spanish fascist Captain Vidal (Sergi López); her murder occurred as she fulfilled the third of three challenging tests given to her by Pan to prove that she was the true Princess of the underworld; Ofelia's spilled blood opened a portal to the underworld kingdom
  • in the final sequence, Ofelia's transport to the underground realm, where she was seen dressed in gold joining her dead mother Carmen/Queen and actual father, the underworld King (Federico Luppi), in the land of the fairies' throne room - she was applauded as the long-lost Princess Moanna, whose soul had returned. She died believing that she had successfully completed the three tasks and achieved immortality. Pan spoke the last lines of the film, in voice-over: ("And it is said that the Princess returned to her father's kingdom. That she reigned there with justice and a kind heart for many centuries. That she was loved by her people. And that she left behind small traces of her time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look")







Paper Moon (1973)

In director Peter Bogdanovich's comic road-drama:

  • the character of young and precocious, orphaned 9 year-old Addie Loggins (Oscar-winning Tatum O'Neal in her film debut) who convinced her fly-by-night Bible-selling con-man 'father' Moses Pray (Ryan O'Neal) in a diner (while eating a Coney dog and drinking a Nehi) to let her accompany him on the road: ("We got the SAME jaw!" and "I want my $200")
  • the image of the young Addie smoking in bed (Moses: "You're too young to smoke, you're gonna set this whole place on fire"), and her frequent cussing
  • the scenes of their conversations on the road and her manipulative and unethical swindling with Moses as they sold Bibles to recent widows - especially when she suggested doubling the price for rich widows ("24 dollars"), such as widow Edna Huff (Dorothy Forster), and conversely giving Bibles away to poor clients
  • the scene of Addie's con of an unsuspecting salesgirl (Dejah Moore), claiming that she had given the clerk a $20 bill rather than a $5
  • the entrance of gold-digging, good-time girl and carnival dancer Miss Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn) walking to Moses' car - and when she tried to cajole Addie on a hillside to come down to the car and sit in the back seat, with a very funny monologue: ("You don't have to worry. One of these days, you're gonna be just as pretty as "Mademoiselle," maybe prettier. You already got bone structure. When I was your age, I didn't have no bone structure. Took me years to get bone structure. And don't think bone structure's not important. Nobody started to call me "Mademoiselle" until I was seventeen and gettin' a little bone structure. When I was your age, I was skinnier than a pole. I never thought I'd have nothin' up here. You're gonna have 'em up there, too. Look, I'll tell you what. Want me to show you how to use cosmetics? Look, I'll let you put on my earrings, you're gonna see how pretty you're gonna be. And I'll show you how to make up your eyes. And your lips. And I'll see to it you get a little bra or somethin'. But right now, you're gonna pick your little ass up and you're gonna drop it in the back seat and you're gonna cut out the crap - you understand? You're gonna ruin it, ain't ya? Look, I don't wanna wipe you out. And I don't want you wipin' me out, you know. So, I'm gonna level with you, okay. Now, you see with me, it's just a matter of time. I don't know why, but, somehow I just don't manage to hold on real long. So, if you wait it out a little, it'll be over, you know. And even if I want a fella, somehow I manage to get it screwed up. Maybe I'll get a new pair of shoes, a nice dress, a few laughs. Times are hard. Now if you fool around on the hill up here, then you don't get nothin'. I don't get nothin'. You don't get nothin'. So how 'bout it, honey? Just for a little while. Let ol' Trixie sit up front with her big tits")
  • and later, the scene of Addie ingeniously devising a way to separate Trixie from Moses by having her bed the hotel clerk
  • the final tearjerking scene in which Addie left Moze a picture of herself in his car after they parted - of her sitting on a paper moon at a carnival - so that she could be reunited again with him on the road by film's end







Papillon (1973)

In director Franklin J. Schaffner's biographical prison-escape film:

  • the horrible prison conditions in the notorious French penal colony of Devil's Island
  • the character of French prisoner Henri "Papillon" Charriere's (Steve McQueen) feeding on bugs (centipedes, cockroaches) during solitary confinement at half-rations
  • his response to guards when asked to rat on a friend during an interrogation (he was threatened: "Give me the name and you're back on full rations"): "I was born skinny"
  • the idyllic scenes of Charriere being nursed back to health by topless native girl Zoraima (Ratna Assan) after a miraculous escape
  • the final successful third escape attempt of Charriere as he took a plunge off a Devil's Island cliff with a raft made of coconuts lashed together



The Parallax View (1974)

In Alan J. Pakula's post-Watergate political conspiracy film:

  • the opening assassination sequence, when prominent US Senator Charles Carroll (Bill Joyce) from California (and aspiring Presidential candidate) was delivering a speech ("I've been called too independent for my own good") in a room atop Seattle's Space Needle on Independence Day - and was gunned down
  • the tense sequence when rogue investigative newspaper reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) visited the town of Salmontail where The Sheriff L.D. Wicker (Kelly Thordsen) attempted to drown Frady at a dam by opening the dam's floodgates while holding a gun on Frady fishing in the water
  • the memorable six-minute sequence in the middle of this film - a 'brainwashing' montage-collage of non-verbal images (juxtaposed with white-on-black words such as "Love," "Mother," "Father," "Me," "Home," "Country," "God," "Enemy," and "Happiness") that functioned as a psychological test for Frady by the shadowy Parallax Corporation; words were repeated, the tempo increased, and the images became more violent
  • Frady's obsessive pursuit of a possible conspiracy about political assassination ("Who's ever behind this is in the business of recruiting assassins") and his recruitment into the organization as a disaffected political assassin - with unforseen consequences
  • Frady's gradual awareness that he was being framed and set up by the company to take the fall for another similar assassination - this time the murder of Senator George Hammond (Jim Davis) in a convention hall during a dress rehearsal for a political rally, with a planted shotgun; when he ran for the door exit, he was gunned down by a blast from a shotgun pointed at him by the real unseen assassin (Bill McKinney) - the same Parallax assassin responsible for the attempted murder of Senator Cunningham, and the murders of Senator Carroll, Bill Rintels, Senator Hammond - and probably many others
  • the ultimate official conclusion of The Hammond Commission (as it did at the film's opening), after an investigation of six months and 11 weeks of hearings - Frady was blamed for killing both Senators Carroll and Hammond



Paris Belongs to Us (1961, Fr.) (aka Paris Nous Appartient)

In Jacques Rivette's low-budget, French New Wave debut film - a frustrating, dark, doom-laden, psychological thriller-mystery set in 1957 Paris:

  • the film's opening contradictory epigraph: "Paris Belongs to No One" from a poem by Charles Péguy, and the camera's blurry train trip (shot through the train window) through Paris, arriving at the apartment of college literature student-ingenue Anne Goupil (Betty Schneider) reading The Tempest; she heard the grief and sobbing of a Spanish female neighbor who knew her older brother Pierre (François Maistre) (and falsely claimed he was dead!) and spoke about the murder of an unseen character named Juan
  • the initial Left Bank party scene of a diverse group of youthful, self-deluding, troubled bohemian idealists, including the young innocent heroine Anne with Pierre, also expatriate American and boozy, angry and neurotic Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Philip Kaufman (Daniel Crohem) escaping blacklisting McCarthyism, Philip's mysterious ex-wife Terry Yordan (Françoise Prévost) - a political exile from the US and femme fatale Terry's current boyfriend - a struggling and tortured theatre director Gerard Lenz (Giani Esposito)
  • the main subject of party conversation was the mysterious and suspicious suicide of Juan - a strong-willed Spanish political activist, avante-garde guitarist and mutual friend, and Terry's ex-boyfriend, and the possible intriguing and fearful notion of the existence of a secret worldwide organization involved in conspiracy and political assassination, including Juan as a victim: ("Everything's threatened - the world. And nothing can be done"); and it was suspected, according to Philip, that Gerard would be the organization's next victim
  • a play-within-a film - Gerard's rehearsal of Shakespeare's play Pericles, Prince of Tyre, and the choice of Anne to play the role of Marina in the off-beat, no-budget, bare-bones, left-wing summer production
  • Anne's elusive and intriguing detective-like quest for the truth about Juan's suicide, and for the dead Spaniard's legendary last musical guitar recording before his death, to be used as part of soundtrack for Gerard's play
  • the sequence of a bizarre sidewalk cafe cameo appearance by Jean-Luc Godard (as Himself) wearing sunglasses, who was asked questions by Anne about Juan's tape recording - he responded: "A tape? It's possible. All Spaniards play the guitar"; he claimed he had heard the tape at a friend's place: "Tania somebody. A Russian name. A descendant of Genghis Khan...Tania Fedin" - who lived "near the Odeon somewhere"; Godard continued: "Was this Juan talented? He didn't look it - the Modigliani type. His genius lay in sitting for hours without saying a word. He'd watch passers-by, especially girls. If he didn't like someone, he'd hit him. Once he got two weeks for hitting a man he said was a Fascist spy. You believe that? It's OK by me"; he didn't believe in the rampant paranoia; Godard scribbled "You're adorable" on the edge of his newspaper and flirtatiously showed it to a cute female customer at a nearby table; when she ignored it, he stated: "That's all I know and all I want to know"
  • the unusual doodling artwork of Philip - pictures of evil, open-mouthed, growling and demonic, Pacman-like heads that littered his bedroom wall
  • at a private cinephile party, the viewing of an excerpt from Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927, Germ.) - the sinister Tower of Babel sequence evoking capitalistic, dictatorial greed, cross-talking confusion, hands reaching skyward, and pride leading to apocalyptic destruction (and a blank white screen)
  • Anne's famous line of dialogue: "Am I going crazy, or is it the whole world?" - and Pierre's reply: "Both, kid"
  • in the confusing conclusion set in the outdoor woods near a country pond, Anne finally came to the conclusion that the deaths of Juan and Gerard (from suicide) had nothing to do with any coordinated conspiracy - it was speculated, however, that Juan might have been killed by agents of the Falange (Spanish Fascists); suddenly, there was a quick cutaway or sudden flash - a premonition in Anne's mind of a murder scene - Terry shooting and murdering her brother Pierre
  • and then shortly later when Terry drove up by herself, Anne was suspicious that Terry had just murdered her brother Pierre: ("You killed him, it's you!"); to add to the deadly motive, the ultra-paranoid Philip admitted that the existence of an evil international organization was completely fabricated and make-believe, and that he had been wrong about Pierre: "I was wrong, Terry. Pierre wasn't guilty....I was wrong, Terry. Pierre wasn't guilty"
  • during a final confrontation in the country house bedroom, Terry and Anne spoke together, and Terry briefly explained to Anne what was going on - Terry confirmed that Gerard had committed suicide, but that the organization was "just an idea. It exists only in Philip's imagination. It's easy to encompass everything in one idea. His idleness, his cowardice. Nightmares are alibis"; Anne was regretful about Gerard's suicide: "And Gerard died for that"; Terry continued: "Such organizations do exist, but less clear-cut. Money, policing, factions - all the figures of fascism. Evil has more than one face"
  • then, Anne asked about Pierre's fate: "And what about Pierre? Pierre too?" Terry: "Pierre is dead." Anne: "You killed him?" Terry: "Yes, for no reason...Anyway, he was a rat!" Anne: "And you?!" Terry: "We're imbeciles. It's all your fault. You sought the sublime. Poor fool" - Anne shouted: "Go away!"
  • by the downbeat conclusion, Anne's sleuthing had been unable to prevent Gerard's suicide, or the murder of her own brother; forlorn, she sat by herself at the country pond and watched white birds skim over the surface of the water












Paris, Texas (1984, US/Fr./W.Germ.)

In director Wim Wenders' road movie drama:

  • the music of Ry Cooder accompanying the quest by dazed wanderer Travis Clay Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) for his estranged wife Jane (Nastassja Kinski) - beginning with his stumbling through and out of the arid Texas desert during the film's opening credits
  • the peep-show booth reunion scene, when Travis ended his search and found Jane on the other side of a one-way mirror
  • the bravura scene of their long conversation (through microphones) and his confession to her
  • her gradual realization that she recognized his voice, and the moment he turned his booth light off so that she could see him
  • the overlapping or melting together of their images and then their separation
  • the heartbreaking conclusion - estranged father Travis returned his seven year old son Hunter (Hunter Carson) to Jane and then drove away




Passenger (1963, Poland) (aka Pasażerka)

In director Andrzej Munk's unfinished and incomplete documentary and Holocaust war drama, using only still photographic images in the unshot scenes - assembled by the director's assistant Witold Lesiewicz:

  • the opening explanatory montage of still shots of director Munk (he died in a car accident in 1961 before the film was completed), with voice-over commentary providing an overview of the film's making and production as a renovated salvage job: ("...We have no intention of adding what he had no time to say himself. We are not searching for solutions which might not have been his, nor seeking to conclude the plots which his death left unresolved. We merely wish to present what was filmed with all the gaps and reticence, in an attempt to grasp whatever is alive and significant. Andrzej Munk was our contemporary. We shared his hopes and fears, and while not anticipating the answers, we may perhaps manage to present questions that he wished to pose")
  • the main fragmented plot: on a journey home to Germany after many years, Liza (Aleksandra Slaska) - a former Auschwitz SS officer-guard, spotted a person she thought resembled someone she used to know -- Marta (Anna Ciepielewska) - a Polish woman and former Jewish POW inmate; Marta was seen by Liza from the ship's deck, boarding the luxury passenger ship's gangplank (all of the scenes on the ship's deck were still images); the sight of Marta triggered her long-forgotten memories ("What has Liza seen? Her husband does not understand why this encounter has upset her"), structured in a series of three flashbacks (moving images) - each one revealing a deeper and more complex view of Liza's past
  • after spotting Marta, Liza closed her eyes and the image flared to bright white - and the beginning of the first of the film's three flashbacks; there was a brief tour (with short recreated or re-enacted scenes) of the death camp of Auschwitz, including naked females at daytime enclosed in a circle and forced to run through a gauntlet of dogs and guards, scenes of death and hard labor, and the sight of the tattooing of a prisoner's arm
  • distressed by the memory, Liza spoke to her husband Walter (Jan Kreczmar): ("Don't call me 'poor little thing.' You know nothing about it. My time in the camp was not what you think, my dear Walter. I wasn't a prisoner, I was an overseer. Don't look at me like that. I didn't hurt anyone. And if Marta is alive, it's only because of me. I haven't told you much about my past. You were an emigrant. You'll never understand how we had to live and obey our leaders. Perhaps it's best for us both if you hear it at last..."); she offered a confessional voice-over to her husband during a second longer flashback - a self-justifying, redemptive, mostly sanitized and distorted version of her Auschwitz experience; there were more images of the camp - confiscated or left-behind possessions and trunks next to the train tracks, a lengthy tracking shot of the camp's barbed wire perimeter, the outside of the camp's brick buildings (with a view up to a crematory chimney with black smoke pouring out), the interior of a storehouse of inmates' discarded clothes, rows of grim-looking female inmates in muddy striped uniforms, and some examples of the brutalities suffered by the prisoners (often seen at the perimeter of the images)
  • Liza's second version of events at Auschwitz was also told - an interior monologue that marked the film's third and longest flashback - with the real subjective and emotionally-honest 'truth' of what had happened, when she supervised workers in the warehouse of confiscated goods; the vindictive and brutal Liza struggled to gain mastery and control over Marta and her attempted love affair with fellow prisoner Tadeusz (Marek Walczewski); included in her lengthy remembrances were more arrivals (of families and children being led to their deaths in an underground bunker), the many executions (hangings), gassings, crematory burnings, the immense piles of prisoner's possessions - including many baby carriages, vicious dog attacks in the mud, and a night-time 'game' when naked female Holocaust prisoners were forced to run between a gauntlet of dogs and guards
  • the indeterminate and unfinished ending - was the passenger actually Marta? - however, it was made explicit that Liza's Nazi guilt, crimes and complict self-justifications had followed her into the present day: ("The brush with the past did not last long. Marta, or someone resembling her, disembarked at the next port of call. The ship sails on. It's doubtful if the women will ever meet again. Liza won't be challenged by truths buried in the mud of Auschwitz. Nothing can disturb Liza's life among people indifferent to yesterday's crimes, who even today...")













The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Fr.) (aka La Passion De Jeanne D'Arc)

In director Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent film masterpiece

  • French warrior heroine Jeanne D'Arc's (Maria Falconetti) heresy trial (bound in chains) before the Holy Office of cruel, tormenting, grotesque inquisitors (stern priests, prison guards and judges)
  • the scenes of her ridicule, when she was shouted at, beaten, tortured, and deceived; also mocked and abused in prison, was given a fake crown to wear, and denied the Holy Sacrament, while she continually clung courageously and painfully to her faith (eventually with tears streaming down her face) without confessing to the charges
  • the verdict of guilty and her execution - burned at the stake (with an uplifted, beatific, and forgiving face)

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

In Mel Gibson's popular version of the final twelve hours of Jesus Christ's life (in Aramaic and Latin with English subtitles):

  • the quiet prayer scene of Christ (James Caviezel) in the garden of Gethsemane before the graphic and unforgiving torture scenes of Christ that included a whipping, a bloody crown of thorns, and the agonizing, unsparing crucifixion itself with nails driven into hands and feet


Pat and Mike (1952)

In director George Cukor's sports-related romantic comedy:

  • the scene of outdoorsy athlete and college phys-ed instructor Pat Pemberton (Katharine Hepburn) being criticized for her lack of coordination on the golf course (and advised to tense up her gluteal muscles in order to help her golf-stance) by screechy Mrs. Beminger (Phyllis Povah), and her retort after twice pushing her into a chair before hitting nine teed-up golf balls in a row: ("If you could possibly lift the needle from that long-playing phonograph you keep in your face....Watch this. Will you excuse me? (She struck nine golf balls) (To Mrs. Berninger) You know what you can do with your gluteal muscle? Give it away for Christmas")
  • the scene of sports promoter Mike Conovan (Spencer Tracy) telling Pat: "A lady athlete properly handled - always a market...I don't think you've ever been properly handled" and her retort: "That's right, not even by myself"; and then as she walked away across the golf course green, he commented on her figure: "Nicely packed that kid...There's not much meat on 'er, but what's there is cherce"
  • their concluding decision to get married: "Together, we can lick 'em all"




Pather Panchali (1955, India) (aka Song of the Road, or Lament of the Path)

In Indian director Satyajit Ray's first film, the low-budget, visually-poetic, coming-of-age drama (the greatest Indian film of all-time) - the first of an "Apu Trilogy" followed by Aparajito (1956) (aka The Unvanquished) and Apur Sansar (1959) (aka The World of Apu) - with its realistic portrayal of low-class poverty in India - backed by sitar ragas of famed Ravi Shankar:

  • the point of view of the protagonist Apu (Subir Banerjee) - the youngest child of a small Brahmin family in an impoverished, rural Bengal village, led by Harihar "Hari" Ray (Kanu Bannerjee), a well-intentioned dreamer (playwright and poet) and part-time priest, but not always a good provider for his overworked, self-sacrificing, harried wife Sarbojaya Ray (Karuna Bannerjee)
  • the character of elderly, stooped-backed, toothless, wrinkled crone-grandmother Indir Thakrun (Chunibala Devi), who did nothing to discourage Apu's older sister Durga (Uma Das Gupta) from stealing fruit from the neighbor's mango grove once owned by her family
  • the progression of simple daily life and survival, including meal preparation, the children chasing after the candy vendor, teasing, or playing
  • Durga's and Apu's favorite past-time - awaiting the thundering roar and whistling of an approaching train - and watching the big steam engines pass by (a symbol of promise and the future) from an adjacent meadow of tall grass and rice fields, and in one instance on their return, their discovery of their Auntie's starved-to-death, slumped-over body
  • the scenes of torrential and deadly monsoon rains and whistling winds that decimated the landscape, and brought a lethal chill of pneumonia to young Durga; as she was very ill and tended by her mother, the winds shook the door of their hut - with the accompanying image of Ganesh (the beloved, good-luck Hindu deity with an elephant's head) illuminated by the flickering flame of an oil lamp; when Durga perished from fever and respiratory exposure in the arms of her mother, the flame went out - and the statue of Ganesh was only visible during lightning flashes
  • the sequence of Harihar Ray's long-overdue return home after being away for five months to seek work - bringing gifts of a wooden board and rolling pin, and a picture of goddess Lakshmi for his wife ("Our worries are over. I'm back" - he reassured her) - and the eloquent wordless, grieving moment when Harihar realized that his daughter Durga had died in his absence (he had brought her a new sari) - his sobbing wife sank to the ground clutching the sari
  • in the film's conclusion, the family's bittersweet departure and move (sitting on the back of a bullock-cart) from their ancestral home to the city of Benares to find better living conditions









Paths of Glory (1957, UK)

In Stanley Kubrick's pacifist war film - the first of his anti-war trilogy, including Dr. Strangelove Or:... (1964) and Full Metal Jacket (1987):

  • the opening voice-over narration, setting the scene on the wartime's Western Front in France of 1916: "War began between Germany and France on August 3, 1914. Five weeks later, the German army had smashed its way to within 18 miles of Paris. There the battered French miraculously rallied their forces at the Marne River, and in a series of unexpected counterattacks, drove the Germans back. The Front was stabilized and shortly afterward developed into a continuous line of heavily fortified trenches zigzagging their way five hundred miles from the English Channel to the Swiss frontier. By 1916, after two grisly years of trench warfare, the battle lines had changed very little. Successful attacks were measured in hundreds of yards - and paid for in lives by hundreds of thousands"
  • the planning of a devastating suicidal attack on the impregnable "Ant Hill" - a German fortified enemy stronghold, ordered by vain, scar-faced divisional French General Paul Mireau (George Macready), and backed up by Corps Commander General George Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) - a wily, cultivated but calloused, evil, scheming and ruthless officer in the French High Command, who had commandered a grand, stately, palatial chateau as his headquarters
  • the endless, absorbing and dramatic tracking shot of Mireau uncomfortably walking through the muddy trenches, speaking to various soldiers, along with distant sounds of exploding mortars, on his way to meet with 701st Infantry Regimental Commander Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) and pass on the responsibility for his foolish strategy
  • the memorable, lengthy, tense, one-take shot sequence (about 65 seconds in length) of Dax striding solemnly through the center of the narrow trenches with bombs blasting on every side; the soldiers were readied with fixed bayonets to go over the top for the assault; Dax climbed a ladder, crouched, ready with a pistol in one hand, and after a countdown on his watch, he blew a whistle to signal his men to charge over the top of the trenches toward the Ant Hill
  • the stunning choreographed, ten-minute sequence of the disastrous failed attack on the Ant Hill, when hundreds of soldiers were slaughtered by machine-gun fire in no man's land - as Mireau called out: "Miserable cowards, they're not advancing...they're still in the trenches!"
  • the three scapegoated soldiers randomly selected to take the blame: Private Ferol (Timothy Carey), Corporal Paris (Ralph Meeker), and Private Arnaud (Joseph Turkel) - held responsible for the stupid blunders of the commanders, and court-martialed for "cowardice in the face of the enemy"
  • the taut and compelling court-martial trial sequence, held in the clean, gleaming, high-ceilinged ballroom of the chateau; the prosecutor argued for a guilty verdict: "And I submit that attack was a stain on the flag of France, a blot on the honor of every man, woman, and child in the French nation. It is to us that the sad, distressing, repellent duty falls, gentlemen. I ask this court to find the accused guilty..", while Dax argued for their acquittal: "Gentlemen of the court, to find these men guilty will be a crime to haunt each of you to the day you die. I can't believe that the noblest impulse in man, his compassion for another, can be completely dead here. Therefore, I humbly beg you to show mercy to these men"
  • during incarceration, the condemned men were brought their last meal - Ferol thought of escape, while Arnaud put his faith in Colonel Dax - possibly for a last-minute reprieve, and Paris wondered if they had friends among the guards; Corporal Paris spotted a cockroach: "See that cockroach? Tomorrow morning we'll be dead and it'll be alive. It will have more contact with my wife and child than I will. I'll be nothing, and it'll be alive"; Ferol crushed the cockroach with his fist and added: "Now you've got the edge on him"
  • the dawn scene at 7 am of the prisoners facing a firing squad-execution - Arnaud was strapped unconscious on a stretcher, Ferol continued to pray and kneel with a priest, and Paris was soberly silent and looked stoically resigned to his fate; in the tense, 7-minute firing squad scene, drums monotonously sounded in the background as the prisoners were marched between lines of soldiers to the open area near the chateau, where three stakes were set up; the firing squad raised its weapons (the ominous drum roll stopped), readied, aimed (with the commands: "Ready, Aim") - birds twittered - and then fired at the command to "Fire" - filmed subjectively from behind the firing squad; the victims momentarily twitched and then collapsed dead
  • the scene of Dax's post-firing squad meeting with General Broulard when he staunchly refused a self-serving promotion, and was then forced to apologize to the commander: "I apologize for not being entirely honest with you. I apologize for not revealing my true feelings. I apologize, sir, for not telling you sooner that you're a degenerate, sadistic old man. AND YOU CAN GO TO HELL BEFORE I APOLOGIZE TO YOU NOW OR EVER AGAIN"; Broulard innocently appealed: "Wherein have I done wrong?" - Dax gasped and replied bluntly and quietly: "Because you don't know the answer to that question, I pity you"
  • the final tavern scene in which a frightened, fragile, teary-eyed and innocent German blonde girl (Susanne Christian in the credits, actually Christiane Harlan, director Kubrick's future third and last wife) was forced to sing a well-known ballad for a group of Dax's French soldiers - a folk song of love in war, called "The Faithful Soldier," and the looks on their faces as they first humiliated her, and then softened, listened empathically and understood her pain
  • in the film's conclusion, Dax was outside the tavern, where he was watching and listening impassively; he received orders from Broulard to immediately return his unit to the front's trenches; to give his men the "short" rest they were promised but never fully received following the assault on Ant Hill, Dax replied, with the film's last line: "Well, give the men a few minutes more, Sergeant"
















The Patsy (1964)

In actor/director/co-writer Jerry Lewis' comedy about Hollywood pretense and celebrity, similar to Frank Tashlin's The Girl Can't Help It (1956) and even My Fair Lady (1964),The King of Comedy (1982), and Trading Places (1983):

  • the film's premise: following the death of famous comic Wally Brandford in an airplane crash in Alaska (footage from The Mountain (1956)), klutzy Beverly Hilton Hotel bellhop Stanley Belt (Jerry Lewis) - a totally-untalented unknown nebbish - was recruited and trained to replace him by an entourage of Hollywood professionals, including impresario/producer Caryl Fergusson (Everett Sloane), joke writer Chic Wymore (Phil Harris), publicist/press agent Harry Silver (Keenan Wynn), director Morgan Heywood (Peter Lorre in his last film appearance), stylist/valet Bruce Alden (John Carradine), and secretary Ellen Betz (Ina Balin), Stanley's future love interest
  • the timely appearance of bumbling, red-blazered bell-hop Stanley into a hotel suite - clumsily dropping a tray of glasses and bucket of ice cubes, and eventually falling off a balcony into the hotel's swimming pool
  • the scene of Stanley receiving voice lessons from music Professor Mulerr (Hans Conreid), and Stanley's multiple close-calls destroying the teacher's priceless antiques collection in the extravagant music studio; at the end of the training sequence during Mulerr's painfully long-held note after his right hand had been smashed inside the grand piano lid (and Stanley's own dissonant note joining him), the walls and ceiling of the room crumbled and self-destructed
  • the sequence of Stanley's failed lip-synching recording session, as he first made his way through a cluster of microphones, booms, and cables to an uncooperative music stand; when he attempted to sing, Stanley's voice was inaudible; someone in the control room yelled out: "I need more voice from the trio!" - Stanley was seen to be backed by a trio of singers (three incarnations of himself, all in ugly drag) who were singing "yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah"
  • Stanley's horrible live, lip-synching performance (to a pre-existing track) of his single: "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie" - a Billboard # 1 smash hit, on the KLUTZ-TV show, Teenage Dance Time, where he was first introduced by Dick Clark-lookalike Lloyd (Lloyd Thaxton); as the song began, Stanley mimed plucking guitar strings with his necktie, then missed his starting cue and began singing completely out-of-synch - and using four different 'voices'; as various keywords were heard, he pantomimed corresponding actions (for example, "heart" - he placed his hand over his heart, "drive-in movie" - he pretended to steer a car, at the sound of a honking horn - he did one pelvic thrust, and along with the line: "I wasn’t a bit hungry. I just wanted to taste her lip" - he puckered up with fish-lips, etc.)
  • the scene of Stanley's stage-fright during a very unsuccessful appearance at the Copa Café nightclub during his debut performance, when he stumbled onto the stage, clumsily interacted with the microphone, and then delivered an awful, stand-up joke-telling comedy act: "On the way here, my dog chased the car a lot. Uh, speaking of my uncle, he said I'm a psycho ceramic. And I said, 'Oh! What's that?' And he said, 'A crackpot.' My uncle said it. Then l have, uh, an aunt. l mean, l have a... And, uh, very absent-minded. And one day, uh, she had an itch and she poured syrup down her back and scratched her waffle...Are there any requests?"; someone in the hostile audience yelled back: "Yeah! Get off!"; he then suggested "I could do a number - my hit record - would anyone like to see that?”, but after he ineptly failed to set up a phonograph player for lip-synching his hit song and broke the record, he ad-libbed: "I could hum a part of it. Since you love jokes, that would be good, then. And since the phonograph wasn’t good, then maybe I could remember the song by heart - it would be better if I remembered it by mouth" - finally, after garbled attempts at singing, he did a few facial gags, and then asked: "Do you wanna hear more of that song?" - and his handlers in the audience magically transformed into a firing squad shooting at him
  • the flashback fantasy sequence of Stanley's humiliating high-school prom dance-hop experience, that he reminisced about with Ellen; he recalled how he had been mocked by other students for his rented tuxedo before he met the equally-gawky, teenaged Ellen and danced with her in the gymnasium of Harrington Heights HS; Ellen kindly reminded him after their shared memory together: "Of course it was good. The sweet things and the good things aren't always the things that make us better people. I think the heartaches and pleasant things, even the heavy burdens we've had placed upon us, make us stronger in the long run. And yes, it's nice to have pretty memories, and our hearts are happier when pain doesn't exist. But 'bad' is a test. If we can carry on after a bad thing happens, then we've grown up some. Wouldn't you agree?"
  • Stanley's climactic live-TV appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, a "Big Night in Hollywood" silent pantomime skit, where he was introduced with a nod to Lewis himself: "The Beatles [and] Martin and Lewis all made their debuts"
  • in the finale, after Stanley had been disowned by his entourage, Stanley fell backwards to his 'death' from the hotel suite's 10th floor balcony when backing up from the ever-loyal Ellen; she began weeping, but when he reappeared (revealing it was only a fake cityscape set), he reassured her, and used her real name: "Aren't you overacting a little bit, Ms. Balling, Balin, Balin? It's a movie, see? I'm fine. The people in the theater know I ain't gonna die. It's a movie stage. Here, look at this, see? There's wires and lights and I'm gonna make more movies. So I couldn't die. It's like a make-believe. It's a dumb city"; when she responded to his real self: "Mr. Lewis, you are a complete nut," he replied, in jest: "Which reminds me, I'm having nuts and whipped cream for lunch. Would you join me please? Crew - that's lunch! One hour for the actors and seven days for the technicians. It's a movie set breaking once and for all, to go to have lunch..." - the camera reversed itself and broke the fourth wall, revealing the crew on the other side of the camera, as he walked off arm-in-arm with Ina Balin
















Patton (1970)

In Franklin J. Schaffner's Best Picture-winning biopic war film:

  • the unforgettable opening shot of fierce American General 'Old Blood and Guts' Patton (George C. Scott) in front of an enormous red and white-striped US flag, addressing the troops in a memorable 6-minute pep-talk monologue: ("Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country...")
  • the scenes of Patton standing in a street and firing his pistol at German planes during an air raid
  • Patton's battlefield confession: "I love it. God help me, I do love it so. I love it more than my life"
  • his threat toward Hitler ("And when we get to Berlin I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler")
  • the scene of Patton's slapping of a 'cowardly' combat-fatigued soldier


The Pawnbroker (1964)

In director Sidney Lumet's psychological drama:

  • quick-cutting flashbacks representing Nazi concentration camp survivor and Harlem pawnbroker Sol Nazerman's (Rod Steiger) memory flashes (including his memory of outstretched hands next to barbed wire having jewelry removed from fingers by the Nazis)
  • Sol's skewering of his hand
  • the controversial scene in which a prostitute (Thelma Oliver) bared her breasts for him in exchange for money ("You've got to get me some money - Look!") - it was the first US film to show a woman nude from the waist up with bare breasts that was granted a Production Code seal because the nakedness was integral to the story

The Pearl (1947, Mexico) (aka La Perla)

In writer/director Emilio Fernández' drama with beautiful black and white cinematography (by Gabriel Figueroa), based upon John Steinbeck's original novella - and one of the first Mexican films to receive widespread distribution in the domestic US film market:

  • the underwater sequence of simple, impoverished Mexican fisherman-shell diver Kino (Pedro Armendáriz) discovering a bed of giant, untouched oyster shells after dropping his knife; when he risked his life to deep-dive for one very large one, he found the giant oyster with a beckoning valuable pearl inside - and barely made it back to the surface with his prized find
  • as he broke out into an hysterical laughter while holding out the pearl and looking up to the heavens, his wife Juana (María Elena Marqués) collapsed next to him
  • the film's parable - as he showed off the great pearl to the townspeople who held a celebration in his honor, he told them what he could now buy - a rifle, clothes and shoes for his wife, and money for his son's education; he added "These things will make us free...This is what the pearl will do. The pearl will make us free!" - although the valuable pearl would soon bring his family ruin, death, and despair
  • in various scenes, the pearl brought great disaster - Kino struck down Juana for wanting to throw the unlucky pearl back, and there was danger from greedy individuals - a Godfather (Alfonso Bedoya) and two other greedy pearl dealers (Fernando Wagner and Raúl Lechuga) who wanted to steal the pearl; Kino was forced to take human life in self-defense; also, the couple’s baby son Juanito was tragically shot by the Godfather, leading to another death when Kino vengefully killed him
  • in the final sequence, Kino stood next to his wife Juana on a cliffside ocean bluff as they decided which of them would toss the cursed pearl into the ocean waves; after Kino chose to throw the pearl where it had come from, he tightly grasped her wrist as she clenched her fist - and the film faded to black





Pearl Harbor (2001)

In Michael Bay's recreation of the Dec 7, 1941 Japanese attack:

  • the revolutionary, famous (or infamous) special effects shot, dubbed the "bomb-cam" - in which a bomb dropped on a ship was followed from its point of view as it was released, fell and exploded on the USS Arizona


Peeping Tom (1960, UK)

In director Michael Powell's highly-disturbing, British psychological horror film about voyeurism - a variation on Psycho (1960):

  • the 'voyeuristic' chilling story of shy, reclusive and disturbed young cameraman (and psychopath) Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) who murdered women with his 16mm camera (with a cross-haired viewfinder creating a POV shot) at the time of their deaths with an ingenious mirror device attached so that his screaming, red-headed female victims could watch themselves die
  • Mark's capture of their distorted, fearful faces in a mirror as the sharp spiked leg of his camera tripod was plunged into their throats
  • in the opening credits sequence, Mark stalked and filmed the murder of a prostitute he met on a dark London street
  • also the scene of the viewing of b/w home movies by female friend Helen Stephens (Anna Massey) of Mark's abused childhood when he was tormented by his professor-father (director Michael Powell himself) and experiments were conducted on him (e.g., his reaction to the lizard dropped on his bed)
  • Lewis' own suicidal death (in the same horrific manner that he often used) when he impaled himself in the neck with his own spiked device, as he spoke to spared Helen: "Helen, Helen, I'm afraid...And I'm glad I'm afraid," and then slumped to the floor before the police arrived




Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

In director Tim Burton's garish first major feature film - a road film:

  • the normal outfit of the quirky and nerdy man-child Pee Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) character (tight and small gray flannel suit, white shoes, a large red bow tie, with lipstick, etc.)
  • the cartoon-like toy/contraption-filled environment of Pee Wee's home and the Rube-Goldberg breakfast routine he had created - in which he woke up and had breakfast completely made for him (pancakes, two eggs and bacon shaped like a happy face), topped off with Mr. T cereal
  • Pee-Wee's worship of his ridiculously over-gadgeted beloved bicycle (customized and complete with plastic lion's head on the handle-bar)
  • the scene of Pee Wee's argument with his neighbor Francis Buxton (Mark Holton): ("I know you are but what am I?"), and "PeeWee!" ("That's my name, don't wear it out!")
  • his famous remark after tumbling when he attempted to perform too many tricks on his bike, and told a group of young male onlookers: "I meant to do that!"
  • his Rebel Without a Cause (1955)-inspired warning to love interest Dottie (Elizabeth Daily): "There's things about me you don't know, Dottie. Things you wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't understand...You don't want to get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel"
  • his delighted perusal of Mario's Magic Shop (trying on X-Ray Spex, and at one point putting on an oversized ear and yelling, "WHAT? WHAT?")
  • his anguished realization that his overly-chained red bike had been stolen - and collapsing in a bike store - causing a row of bikes to topple over
  • his feverish questioning of Francis in an oversized bathtub - and PeeWee's offer of gum - that turned out to be "trick gum," and then his long over 3-hour meeting with his friends to discuss the loss of his bike, including a large detailed map and scaled model, and exhibits to look at
  • Pee Wee's search for his bicycle during a tour of America after a sham fortune-telling gypsy named Madam Ruby (Erica Yohn) told him it was in the Alamo's basement
  • while hitchhiking, Pee-Wee's helping of a fugitive con Mickey (Judd Omen) to escape the law by pretending to be his wife, and telling an officer when asked to step out of the car: ("Why don't you take a picture? It will last longer")
  • his crashing the car and strolling around in total darkness (cartoonishly, only his eyes were seen)
  • Pee-Wee's startling and hysterical encounter with the ghost of deceased trucker Large Marge (Alice Nunn)
  • Pee-Wee's nightmares about the fate of his bike (e.g., eaten by a T-Rex, destroyed by clown surgeons)
  • Pee-Wee proving over the phone that he was in Texas (he shouted "The stars at night are big and bright...", and a crowd sang back: "...deep in the heart of Texas!")
  • Pee-Wee's visit to the Alamo, the tour, and his question: "Where's the basement?...Aren't we gonna see the basement?" and his astonishment when informed: "There's no basement at the Alamo"
  • spoiled child actor Kevin Morton (Jason Hervey) growling at his director: ("Doesn't it look like I'm ready? I am always ready! I have been ready since first call! I am ready! ROLL!")
  • the cameo appearance of heavy metal rock group Twisted Sister
  • Pee-Wee's escape from the Warner Bros. studio lot where his bike was eventually located as a prop for a film - ensnaring Santa Claus, Godzilla, and swinging across a ravine on a bike and yodeling like Tarzan
  • Pee-Wee's hilariously deep-voiced cameo in a Hollywood movie about his own story, when he took the role of a red-uniformed bell-hop and delivered a PA announcement: ("Paging Mr. Herman, Mr. Herman, you have a telephone call")
  • the evocative closing shot as the silhouettes of Pee-Wee and Dottie bicycled sedately in front of the kissing Hollywood versions of themselves











Penny Serenade (1941)

In director George Stevens' classic heartbreaker melodrama:

  • the scene of childless parents Roger Adams (Cary Grant) and his wife Julie (Irene Dunne) bringing home an adopted baby girl
  • their nervousness about keeping quiet and their exhaustion after getting up all night with it
  • the scene before a judge a year later, when Roger (without an income) movingly begged and pleaded for the official to grant them a continuation of the adoption, rather than return the child to the orphanage: ("...the first time I saw her, she looked so little and helpless. I didn't know babies were so, so little. And then when she took a-hold of my finger and I held onto it. She, she just sort of walked into my heart Judge and, and she was there to stay. I didn't know I could feel like that... It's not only for my wife and me, I'm asking you to let us keep her Judge, it's for her sake, too. She doesn't know any parents but us. She wouldn't know what'd happened to her. You see, there's so many little things about her that nobody would understand her the way Judy and I do. We love her Judge, please don't take her away from us. Look, I'm not a big shot now, I-I'll do anything, I'll work for anybody. I-I'll beg, I'll borrow, I-I'll. Please, Judge, I'll sell anything I've got until I get going again. And she'll never go hungry, she'll never be without clothes not so long as I've got two good hands, so help me!")
  • and later, the scene of the aftermath following the death of their six-year-old child Trina (Eva Lee Kuney) following a brief illness, when the bereaving Mrs. Adams wrote a letter to the saddened adoption agency's representative Miss Oliver (Beulah Bondi): ("Since the night of Trina's death, we have been like strangers to one another. I don't know what to do. It seems as if there is nothing between us any more. I've tried to talk to him, but he does not wish to listen. He is punishing himself, not realizing that he is also punishing me")
  • the final scene in which another child, a two-year old boy, was offered for adoption to the Adams couple, communicated via a phone call from Miss Oliver: ("He's the exact image of the youngster you asked for when you first wrote to me. Do you remember? I have that old letter here in front of me now - 'Curly hair, blue eyes, dimples'. And this is strictly off the record, but really, another couple has the right to see him first, but he's such a remarkable baby that I thought perhaps you and Mr. Adams might take a look"); Julie responded with great anticipation: "Please don't have that other couple see him until we do!"





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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