Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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P (continued)

The Player (1992)

In director Robert Altman's famed low-budget Hollywood satire with a tapestry of characters:

  • the subtle opening and closing shots that reveal the underlying joke of the premise -- the movie is a 'film-within-a-film' about how the film came to be (the erroneous murder and cover-up of a disgruntled screenwriter by callous, insincere, back-stabbing, shallow film producer Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins))
  • the uncut, unedited, single-take opening credits sequence - a remarkably complex, 8-minute and six second roaming and tracking camera on a Hollywood studio lot to capture glimpses of pitch meetings and overhear bits of conversations (one pair of producers ironically and referentially comments on Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958) and its famed opening uncut tracking shot)
  • the huge cast of celebrities and filmmakers who play themselves (except for Whoopi Goldberg who plays Beverly Hills police chief Susan Avery ("Oh, please! This is Pasadena. We do not arrest the wrong person. That's L.A.!"))
  • the ridiculous 25 words or less cross-breeded film pitches that Mill hears - like for the sequel The Graduate Part II ("Mrs. Robinson has a stroke...dark and weird and funny") or other films described as 'Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman' (for Goldie Hawn) or 'Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate' (for Bruce Willis)
  • the hot tub scene of Griffin with story editor/girlfriend Bonnie Sherow (Cynthia Stevenson) - that sets up the premise of the film about the receipt of threatening postcards and the amount of time "before he becomes dangerous" - 5 months
  • the scene the morning after the writer's murder in the studio office in which ambitious new employee Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher) proposes finding storylines from the morning's paper instead of hiring scripters, with Mills' response: "I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process"
  • the film's ending with Griffin driving while hearing a pitch by a mysterious psychotic writer of a movie called The Player - about the movie just seen ("It's a Hollywood ending, Griff. He marries the dead writer's girl (Greta Scacchi) and they live happily ever after") - with a mocking of the audience with a subtle and faintly-heard: "Nyah, nyah, nyah-NYAH-nyah" sung by an infant in the score




Point Blank (1967)

In John Boorman's brutal crime classic neo-noir based on the pulp crime novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake (under the name Richard Stark):

  • virtuoso, artsy, avant-garde editing techniques (i.e., flashbacks, time lapses, dream motifs, etc), such as Walker's (Lee Marvin) shooting (and dying dream?) in an Alcatraz cell before the opening credits -- and his return visit a few years later by ferry
  • the scene of Walker's loud stride along a corridor - cross-cut with a view of his wife Lynne (Sharon Acker) in bed and then dressing before visiting a beauty parlor
  • his violent and vengeful shoot-up of his double-crossing wife's empty bed - defiled after she ran off with his ex-partner Mal Reese (John Vernon) - and Lynne's later suicidal drug overdose
  • Walker's wild driving and crashing of a car under LA freeway ramps in order to intimidate and get the salesman to talk
  • Walker's backstage fight in a nighclub against two thugs with a swirling psychedelic backdrop behind them
  • the scene of Lynne's sister Chris (Angie Dickinson) - naked and hastily dressing in the background as Walker holds a gun on Reese in the foreground while demanding: "I want my 93 grand now"
  • the scene of Chris' energetic but futile slapping, throttling (with her handbag), and pounding of her fists into Walker to make him feel something - until she collapses to the floor

Point Break (1991)

In director Kathryn Bigelow's action cult film:

  • the skydiving scene (nominated as the "Best Action Sequence" in the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, and ranked 7th in Empire Magazine's Top 10 Crazy Action Sequences) in which both surfer-bankrobber Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) have jumped with only one parachute (Bodhi's) and they exchange taunts about pulling the ripcord
  • finally, after Bodhi tells Johnny that they will be "meat waffles" in about five seconds at an altitude of 1,000 feet, Johnny drops his gun and pulls Bodhi's ripcord handle to save the two of them

Police Academy (1984)

In director Hugh Wilson's hit police-related comedy:

  • the podium fellatio scene - in which Cmndt. Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) delivers a speech to dignitaries, while a hooker (Georgina Spelvin) and cadet recruit Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg) hide inside the podium - during the speech, Lassard shows facial signs of being pleasured, with contortions, groans and moans
  • after he finishes the delivery, Lassard sees Mahoney, not the hooker, emerge from beneath the podium



Poltergeist (1982)

In director Tobe Hooper's and co-producer/co-writer Steven Spielberg's horror classic:

  • special effects of television possession and scenes of paranormal events
  • the view of wide-eyed daughter Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) watching late-night TV snow and her memorable: "They're heeere"
  • the view of chairs unexplainably self-stacked in the kitchen
  • the scare-moment of the frightening, evil-grinning clown doll vanishing from its customary chair, grabbing owner Robbie (Oliver Robbins), pulling him under the bed and attempting to strangle him
  • all the attempts at exorcism and house-cleansing by short-statured clairvoyant Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein)
  • the terrifying climax of muddy, unearthed corpses


Porco Rosso (1992, Fr./Jp.) (aka The Crimson Pig)

In famed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's film:

  • the adult fable of a dashing seaplane pilot, Porco Rosso (meaning "Red Pig"), who'd been cursed with the head of a pig
  • Porco's astounding mystical tale to young Fio about how he became cursed - told in flashback: after a fierce air battle, he found himself in an aerial limbo, floating on a sea of cloud that stretched for an eternity, with pure blue sky above, broken only by a white band that turned out to be thousands of planes manned by dead pilots (reminiscent of A Guy Named Joe (1943) and A Matter of Life and Death/Stairway to Heaven (1946))

Porky's (1982)

In director Bob Clark's notoriously infantile, coming-of-age teen sex comedy:

  • the shower-room scene, in which one of the teens exclaims after viewing through a peep-hole: "I've never seen so much wool! You could knit a sweater"
  • the discovery of the ogling boys by the towel-clad girls
  • Tommy's (Wyatt Knight) placing of his member through the spyhole and gym coach Ms. Balbricker's (Nancy Parsons) painful two-handed grab

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

In this classic Irwin Allen disaster epic (with an Oscar-winning song "The Morning After" and a special Oscar for Visual Effects):

  • the scene of the immense tidal wave (caused by a submarine-induced earthquake) hitting the Poseidon
  • the incredible special effects shots of the capsized luxury cruise ship turned upside down with passengers dangling and a man falling up/down from a table through a large window
  • the scene of using a giant Christmas Tree to climb up and out of the ship's grand ballroom
  • the water-rescue scene when Jewish passenger Mrs. Belle Rosen (Oscar-nominated Shelley Winters) saves Rev. Frank Scott (Gene Hackman) from drowning, and gasps: "You see, Mr. Scott, in the water, I'm a very skinny lady," and then dies of a heart attack after admitting: "I guess I'm not the champion of the Women's Swimming Association anymore"
  • the scene of detective cop husband Mike Rugo's (Ernest Borgnine) reaction to his ex-prostitute wife Linda's (Stella Stevens) death -- angrily venting his rage at Frank and sobbing: "You! Preacher! YOU LYIN', MURDERIN', SON-OF-A-BITCH! You almost suckered me in! I started to believe in your promises! That we had a chance!"
  • Frank's sacrificial death (he closes the steam vent while yelling: "Keep going! Rogo! Get them through!" and then falls into the flaming wreckage himself)
  • the triumpant ending in which the five survivors bang on the thin hull to attract rescuers
  • Mike's changed opinion of Preacher Frank: "The preacher was right! That beautiful son-of-a-bitch was right!"






The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

In director Tay Garnett's thriller-noir based upon James M. Cain's novel:

  • the first appearance of smoldering, femme fatale Cora (Lana Turner) wearing a white, two-piece playsuit - she drops her lipstick case and it rolls across the floor
  • the terrific magnetism between Cora and drifter Frank (John Garfield)
  • the scene in which an evil Cora convinces Frank to murder her roadside eatery proprietor-husband Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway)
  • the tragic car crash scene (their kiss while he is driving is a fatal one)




Pretty Woman (1990)

In Garry Marshall's romantically-sentimental fantasy Cinderella story:

  • the changing relationship over a week between Hollywood street-hooker Vivian Ward (Oscar-nominated Julia Roberts) and wealthy corporate raider Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) after starting out as client-customer date ("We both screw people for money" and "I appreciate this whole seduction thing you've got going on here, but let me give you a tip: I'm a sure thing")
  • the scene of Vivian's extravagant shopping spree in boutiques on Rodeo Drive
  • the bathtub scene
  • her ultimate rescue by her gallant Prince Charming in the film's conclusion with a stretch limousine, a dozen red roses, his fire-escape climb to her balcony, and his profession of love - with a kiss ("I want more. I want the fairy tale")




The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

In director Sam Wood's popular biographical baseball sports movie:

  • the famous heart-tugging, July 4, 1939 farewell scene of famed # 4 ball player Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper), afflicted with the uncurable disease of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in his mid-30s, first accompanied by his supportive and tearful wife Eleanor (Teresa Wright) in the dark tunnel leading to the infield
  • his sad farewell to his fans and teammates and the delivery of his speech at a microphone at home plate: "...People all say that I've had a bad break. But today -- today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" - as it echoes throughout Yankee Stadium with 62,000 in attendance

The Princess Bride (1987)

In Rob Reiner's romantic fantasy comedy based on screenwriter William Goldman's novel:

  • the scenes of the Grandfather (Peter Falk) telling sick and bedridden 10 year old Grandson (Fred Savage) about the story (from the S. Morgenstern novel The Princess Bride) of the heroic noble knight (farm boy Westley played by Cary Elwes) saving his beautiful fair-haired princess (lover Buttercup played by Robin Wright Penn) from evil fiancee Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon)
  • the storyteller's regaling about the swashbuckling, chatty cliff-top duel between caricatured drunken Spanish master swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and the mysterious masked Man in Black named Dread Pirate Roberts (Cary Elwes - Westley in disguise) - with clever-thinking Inigo's switch of his sword from his left hand to his better right hand ("I am not left-handed") and the Man in Black's reply: "I'm not left-handed either..."
  • the dreaded 'Fire Swamp' (with giant rodents and quicksand)
  • the characters of exiled, cynical magician Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) and his screeching wife Valerie (Carol Kane), and Max's famous line: "Have fun storming the castle!"
  • Inigo's vengeful quote to six-fingered Count Tyrone Rugen (Christopher Guest): "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die"
  • the fairytale ending with a successful rescue and romantic kiss (described by the Grandfather as "Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind -- THE END")
  • the Grandson's bedtime request to have the story read again the next day - and the Grandfather's reply: "As you wish"




The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

In director John Cromwell's and David O. Selznick's classic production of Anthony Hope's swashbuckling adventure:

  • the romantic pairing of Rudolph/King Rudolf (Ronald Colman) and Princess Flavia (Madeleine Carroll), especially in their garden scene together
  • the exciting swordfight (with cross-cut dialogue) between impersonating King Rudolf and villain Rupert (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.)
  • the final departure scene between the two lovers
 

Private Benjamin (1980)

In Howard Zieff's comedy:

  • Best Actress-nominated Goldie Hawn as pampered, naive socialite Judy Benjamin, who randomly joined the Army after her husband Yale (Albert Brooks) died in bed on her wedding night
  • her hysterically clueless complaints to her harsh, strict commanding officer Capt. Doreen Lewis (Oscar-nominated Eileen Brennan): "See, I did join the Army, but I joined a different Army. I joined the one with the condos and the private rooms...To be truthful with you, I can't sleep in a room with 20 strangers...And I mean look at this place. The army couldn't afford drapes? I'll be up at the crack of dawn here!"
  • Lewis' response to Pvt. Benjamin's complaints about the dirty bathroom -- forcing her to scrub them with nothing but her electric tooth-brush
  • the practical joke revenge against Lewis - blue dye in the shower nozzle, forcing her to wear clown-white makeup during the enlisted soldier graduation
  • Benjamin's single-handed capture of the entire Red team in an Army training exercise
  • her rebuffing of a General's sexual advances
  • her marriage over the Army's objections to French artist Henri Alan Tremont (Armand Assante in his first major film role)
  • the famous closing long shot of her walking away from the altar in her wedding dress when she discovered Henri's male chauvinism and unfaithfulness with his ex-lover




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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