Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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P (continued)
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Screenshots

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 revealed the underlying joke of the premise -- the movie was 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 that captured glimpses of pitch meetings and overheard bits of conversations (one pair of producers ironically and referentially commented on Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958) and its famed opening uncut tracking shot)
  • the huge cast of celebrities and filmmakers who played themselves (except for Whoopi Goldberg who played 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 heard - 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 set 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) proposed 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 (his debut Hollywood film), a stylistic thriller with a high body count - and a major cult classic - based on the pulp crime novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake (under the name Richard Stark):

  • the many virtuoso, artsy, avant-garde editing techniques (i.e., flashbacks, time lapses and jumps, overlapping sound, repetitions, dream motifs, etc) to blur the line between fantasy and reality in the fractured "it was all a dream" narrative - a revenge fantasy
  • the opening sequence of anti-hero Walker's (Lee Marvin) double-crossing shooting (hallucinations and dying dream?) in an Alcatraz cell (in the deserted prison) and his confused voice-over: "Cell. Prison cell. How did I get here?...Did it happen? A dream. A dream"; Walker was left for dead, but seemingly-survived and miraculously made it off Alcatraz Island, and was now on a return to San Francisco some time later on a sight-seeing ferry
  • Walker's single-minded vengeful quest to get his stolen $93,000 repaid from the upper echelons of a criminal "Organization", with mysterious assistance after the sudden appearance of Yost (Keenan Wynn) on a SF Bay ferry - a detective, an other-worldly apparition?
  • the scene of Walker's loud stride (echoing and increasing in intensity) as he marched along a corridor at LAX after his arrival - cross-cut with a view of his wife Lynne (Sharon Acker) in bed and then dressing before visiting a beauty salon parlor - and then his violent and vengeful shoot-up of his double-crossing wife's empty bed (just in case her lover was in it) - defiled after she ran off with his double-crossing, sleazy ex-partner Mal Reese (John Vernon); Reese had shot him and left him for dead during the Alcatraz heist
  • the abstract scene of a motionless Walker as he listened silently without response when his faithless wife Lynne, in a suicidal daze and sitting next to him on her couch, asked questions and provided her own answers: ("Walker, Reese isn't here. He's gone. Three months ago. Gone. Cold. Moved out. Walker, I'm glad you're not dead. It's true. I really am. You ought to kill me. I can't sleep. Haven't slept. Keep taking pills. Dream about you. How good it must be - being dead. Is it? No. No, I can't. Never had the courage. This? Payoff, I guess. I don't know where he is, I really don't. Money? A guy brings it the first of every month. Thousands, thousands. Always a different guy. No contact with Mal. Just couldn't make it with you, Walker. With him, it was kind of fun. Just drifted into it. That night on Alcatraz. I knew it was you I really wanted. I found out too late"); then she explained why she had run off with Reese (accompanied by more flashbacks); and then the next morning, he found the despairing Lynne face down and dead on the bullet-riddled bed - of a suicidal, intentional drug overdose
  • Walker's wild test-driving and crashing of a new car under LA freeway ramps in order to intimidate and get car salesman 'Big John' Stegman (Michael Strong) to talk ("Where do I find Reese?")
  • Walker's brutal backstage fight in the noisy Movie House nightclub against two thugs with a swirling, kaleidoscopic and psychedelic backdrop of images behind them
  • the scene of Chris (Angie Dickinson), Walker's sister-in-law, agreeing to help Walker get to Reese - they cased the Huntley House hotel in Santa Monica by driving by and viewing it through a beachside telescope; she pointed out how difficult it would be to enter Reese's heavily-guarded penthouse on the top floor: ("Men everywhere. You're gonna have a lot of trouble getting in, but you'll never get out")
  • the scene of Walker's diversionary tactics and stealthy entry into Huntley House, as Chris - used as a "Trojan Horse" - entered the penthouse, allowed Reese to unbutton the entire front of her dress, and then seduced him in the bedroom; Walker barged in and had a lethal confrontation with Reese (found naked in bed with Chris), while Chris dashed to the bathroom in the background and was hastily dressing; Walker held a gun on Reese in the foreground, demanding: "I want my 93 grand now"; the naked, blanket-wrapped Reese was accidentally flung over the penthouse balcony railing and plunged to his death onto the street below
  • the sequence of Frederick Carter (Lloyd Bochner), one of the corrupt, organized crime corporation leaders, promising to pay off Walker at a rendezvous point - the LA storm-drain river basin; Walker sensed that there would be a set-up and watched as both money-deliverer Stegman and Carter were mistakenly shot to death by a sniper (James Sikking) with a high-powered telescopic gun; Walker discovered that the pay-off package-bundle was only blank bills
  • the scene of Chris' energetic and angry, but futile throttling and pounding of her fists into Walker's chest and her slaps to his face, to make him feel something - until she collapsed to the floor from exhaustion; he stood granite-like and motionless without flinching or reacting; the beating was followed by love-making between them (although Walker's flashbacks during sex were of many different partners)
  • the scene of Walker's confrontation with another "Corporation" higher-up - second-in-command Brewster (Carroll O'Connor); Walker forced him to phone Fairfax ("the man who signs checks") - who promptly scoffed and refused to pay Walker ("Threatening phone calls don't impress me"); incensed by the refusal, Walker blasted the phone with his gun
  • the final sequence of the $93,000 money drop-off with Brewster (a package was brought via helicopter) at Ft. Point (an old Spanish mission) in San Francisco; again, Walker sensed an ambush and stayed hidden, as the hit-man sniper shot Brewster dead; Yost seemed to be revealed as the final contact, the top man and puppet-master known as Fairfax, and offered to hire Walker as an enforcer; Walker listened from the shadows, then decided to refuse the money and offer, and disappeared in the darkness
  • the final fade-out to black - with another slow, zooming-in view of Alcatraz Island - Walker's final resting place?












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) jumped with only one parachute (Bodhi's) and they exchanged taunts about pulling the ripcord
  • finally, after Bodhi told Johnny that they would be "meat waffles" in about five seconds at an altitude of 1,000 feet, Johnny dropped his gun and pulled Bodhi's ripcord handle to save the two of them

Police Academy (1984)

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

  • the embarrassing scene of Lieutenant Thaddeus Harris (G.W. Bailey) riding a tricked out motorcycle, and being propelled into the back end of a horse (off-screen)
  • the scene of a driving lesson, given by recruit Cadet Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg) for Moses Hightower (Bubba Smith) before the next day's driving test exam - late at night, the two stole Cadet Chad Copeland's (Scott Thomson) compact car and ripped out the front seats (to sit in the back), immediately rear-ended another vehicle (Mahoney: "You didn't hit the brake" Hightower: "You didn't tell me to"), and then became involved in a chase with a police cruiser - bringing the car back wrecked
  • the scene of defensive training when female blonde Sgt. Debbie Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook) floored one of the recruits and sat on his neck with her thighs, and then asked for the next volunteer: "Who's next?" - and all the other recruits raised their hands
  • the infamous podium fellatio scene - in which Cmndt. Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) delivered a speech to VIP dignitaries, while a hooker (appropriately cast porn star Georgina Spelvin) and cadet Mahoney hid inside the podium - during the speech ("I think you'll find the presentation interesting as well as very stimulating!" - followed by the sound of his zipper being unzipped), Lassard showed facial signs of being pleasured, with contortions, distorted speech, groans and moans: ("Now, this first SLIIIDE shows a very, very interesting thing: our main building. In slide TWO! We see another view of IT! Oh, my God, you wouldn't believe it!"), and when he finished the delivery, he summarized: "Well, I hope this was as much fun for you as it was for me"; as he walked away from the podium, Lassard saw Mahoney, not the hooker, emerge from beneath the podium: (Mahoney: (smiling and delivering the deadpan line) "Good speech")




Poltergeist (1982)

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

  • the 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 words: ("They're heeere")
  • the view of chairs inexplicably 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, or Kurenai No Buta)

In famed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's film:

  • the adult fable of a dashing seaplane pilot, Porco Rosso (meaning "Red Pig"), who had 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 "Peeping Tom" girls' shower-room scene, in which one of the teens exclaimed 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 male organ through the spyhole and gym coach Ms. Beulah Balbricker's (Nancy Parsons) painful two-handed grab
  • the infamous scene of turned-on gym teacher Ms. Honeywell (Kim Cattrall) (nicknamed "Lassie") revealing the reason for her nickname --when her skirt was pulled off and she was in the midst of love-making with one of the male coaches, she let out a loud, shrill dog-howl


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) saved Rev. Frank Scott (Gene Hackman) from drowning, and gasped: "You see, Mr. Scott, in the water, I'm a very skinny lady," and then died 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 closed the steam vent while yelling: "Keep going! Rogo! Get them through!" and then fell into the flaming wreckage himself)
  • the triumpant ending in which the five survivors banged 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 opening sequence of unemployed, hitchhiking drifter Frank Chambers (John Garfield) being dropped off in front of the rural Twin Oaks diner, owned by California roadside eatery proprietor Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway), with the fateful sign: MAN WANTED (a come-on with many meanings!)
  • young wanderer Frank's brief conversation with the driver as he was about to set off (soon identified as Kyle Sackett (Leon Ames), the local district attorney prosecutor), revealing his wanderlust freedom and explaining why he kept "looking for new places, new people, new ideas," and couldn't settle down: "Well, I've never liked any job I've ever had. Maybe the next one is the one I've always been lookin' for....maybe my future starts right now"
  • after being hired as the diner's handyman and mechanic, the first appearance of smoldering, femme fatale Cora (Lana Turner) wearing a white, two-piece playsuit (white shorts, white halter top, and white turban) - she dropped her lipstick case and it rolled across the floor; Frank picked up the lipstick case and asked: "You dropped this?"
  • the terrific magnetism between Cora and Frank, exemplified during their first real conversation, when he grabbed her and planted a kiss on her lips
  • the incriminating note that Cora had put into the cash register: "Nick - I'm going away with Frank - I love him. Cora"
  • the scene in which an evil and conniving Cora convinced Frank to murder her husband Nick Smith, because she was engaged in a loveless marriage with him: (Cora: "There's, there's one thing we could do that would fix everything for us" Frank: "What? Pray for something to happen to Nick?" Cora: "Something like that")
  • the many illicit, moonlit beach swimming scenes between Cora and Frank
  • the tragic accidental car crash scene; her last words before warning of an impending crash were: "When we get home, Frank, then there'll be kisses, kisses with dreams in them. Kisses that come from life, not death" - (their final kiss was unfortunately, however, a fatal one)
  • the startling imagery - the car door opened after the crash, Cora's lifeless arm fell off the seat, and a tube of lipstick slowly dropped to the floor of the car and onto the ground
  • the subsequent trial when Frank was convicted of murdering Cora and was sentenced to death (execution in the gas chamber): "This man, Frank Chambers, and the dead woman, first murdered her husband to get his estate. And then Chambers murdered her so that he would have it all to himself"
  • Fate (the figurative 'postman') had determined that both he and Cora would pay in the long run - thus explaining the title of the film: "You know, there's somethin' about this that's like, well, it's like you're expectin' a letter that you're just crazy to get. And you hang around the front door for fear you might not hear him ring. You never realize that he always rings twice...He rang twice for Cora. And now he's ringing twice for me, isn't he?...The truth is, you always hear him ring the second time, even if you're way out in the back yard" - Frank realized that if he was innocent of the car crash death of Cora, he could still be prosecuted for the death of Nick
  • Frank's acceptance of his fate in the final scene, with one final prayer request of the priest Father McConnell (Tom Dillon) - he would pay with his life for a crime he didn't commit, making up for getting away with the murder of Cecil: "Somehow or other, Cora paid for Nick's life with hers. And now I'm going to. Father, would you send up a prayer for me and Cora, and if you could find it in your heart, make it that we're together, wherever it is?"












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 white stretch limousine, a dozen red roses, his fire-escape climb to her balcony, and his profession of love - with a kiss (Edward: "So, what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?" Vivian: "She rescues him right back")




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 as it echoed throughout Yankee Stadium with 62,000 in attendance: ("...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")

The Princess Bride (1987)

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

  • the film's sly parody of the subgenre of fantasy-adventure films
  • 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 (originally farm boy Westley played by Cary Elwes), who was presumed dead, and his return as black-garbed Dread Pirate Robert to reunite with and save his beautiful fair-haired princess-lover Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) from her evil fiancee Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon), the Crown Prince of Florin
  • the storyteller's regaling about the swashbuckling, chatty cliff-top sword 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..."; eventually the Man in Black bested Inigo
  • the dreaded 'Fire Swamp' (with giant rodents and quicksand)
  • the wine-poisoning "battle-of-wits" death scene in which brilliant Sicilian kidnapper and self-described 'genius' Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) was given a choice between drinking from two wine goblets by black-masked and garbed Dread Pirate Robert -- one of which contained an odorless but deadly iocaine powder - in a contest to decide the fate of kidnapped Princess Bride/Buttercup; although Vizzini cleverly switched the goblets, thinking he could fool the Dread Pirate/Westley when his back was turned, it was in vain, however, since the black-garbed man dosed both drinks (he was immune to the killer powder); while Vizzini laughed about his cleverness and explained: "You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!" - he fell over dead in the middle of a boisterous laugh
  • the revelation that the Dread Pirate Robert was actually Westley, after Buttercup pushed him down a steep hill as he shouted out his familiar: "As you wish" - and she knew that he was her beloved Westley ("Oh my sweet Westley, what have I done?"); she tossed herself off the top of the hill and tumbled to his side, where he told her: "Death cannot stop true love. What it can do is delay it for awhile" - and they kissed
  • the irrascible, Jewish couple: exiled, cynical magician 'Miracle Max' (Billy Crystal), Prince Humperdinck's disgruntled former employee, and his screeching wife Valerie (Carol Kane), with Max's famous lines: ("Have fun storming the castle!" and "He's only mostly dead!")
  • 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 between Wesley and Buttercup, 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 about military life for a misfit female:

  • 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 only 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 Pvt. Benjamin 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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