Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

P5 & Q


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

The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933, UK)

In director Alexander Korda's biographical/historical drama:

  • Anne of Cleves' (Elsa Lanchester) famous line: "The things I've done for England"
  • the unforgettable scene of despotic and gluttonous King Henry VIII (Oscar-winning Charles Laughton) at a banquet table devouring a chicken and tossing the remains over his shoulder

Prizzi's Honor (1985)

In Oscar-nominated director John Huston's dark romantic black comedy, adapted from Richard Condon's early 1980s novel:

  • a story of dim-witted, dutiful Brooklyn Mafia (Prizzi family) hitman Charley Partanna (Oscar-nominated Jack Nicholson), the grandson of Don Corrado Prizzi (William Hickey), who changed allegiances from his spurned, vengeful longtime sweetheart and cousin (and the don's daughter) Maerose Prizzi (Oscar-winning Anjelica Huston) by falling in love with beautiful blonde, non-Italian California hit-woman Irene Walker (Kathleen Turner) at a family wedding
  • Charley's first view of her in a lavender dress in the church balcony and then his dance with her at the reception
  • the scene of Charley's questioning of his black sheep, malevolently witty cousin Maerose about killing or marrying Irene: ("Do I ice her? Do I marry her? Which one of these?" and the reply: "Marry her, Charley. Just because she's a thief and a hitter doesn't mean she's not a good woman in all the other departments")
  • the scene in which the two lovers calmly discussed their dinner plans while disposing of the corpse of their latest victim
  • the shocking unusual 'love scene' moment when Charley settled the score with Irene by impaling her with his stiletto knife while she shot at him

The Producers (1968)

In Mel Brooks' most popular farce:

  • the early scene of cash-hungry, has-been Broadway producer Max Bialystock's (Zero Mostel) romancing of rich little old ladies for their money ("...when you've got it, flaunt it!"), during a high energy, hysterical opening credits sequence ("Don't forget the check-y! Can't produce plays without check-y") in which Max played ridiculous sex games (like "The Countess and the Chauffeur") with a spry Old Lady (85-year-old Estelle Winwood)
  • Max's unsuccessful attempts to calm his timid, meek and neurotic accountant Leo Bloom's (Gene Wilder) hysteria: ("I'm hysterical and I'm wet. I'm in pain and I'm wet, and I'm still hysterical"), and his need for a blue security blanket
  • play producer Max's clever scam to overproduce a "sure-fire flop" play
  • their promenade through the park (riding a carousel and renting a boat) - with the eruption of Lincoln Center's fountain
  • Max and Leo's meeting with insane, goose-stepping, ex-Nazi WWII helmet-wearing Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars), a playwright who sang German anthems
  • Max's hiring of a "toy" -- a blonde, buxom, hip-swinging, va-va-voom Swedish-speaking secretary Ulla (Lee Meredith) whose "work" consisted of go-go dancing in a tiger-skin bikini for Max
  • their recruitment of pompous, flamboyant, cross-dressing director Roger DeBris (Christopher Hewett) and his assistant/lover Carmen Giya (Andreas Voutsinas)
  • the extensive auditions for their overfinanced play Springtime for Hitler with deranged, middle-aged hippie actor Lorenzo St. Du Bois "L.S.D."'s (Dick Shawn) audition featuring the pathetic flower child love song "Love Power"
  • the premiere of the outrageous, outlandish and distasteful musical - with the opening, satirical title number Springtime for Hitler, complete with a goose-stepping, black-booted Nazi chorus (filmed Busby Berkeley style in a revolving swastika formation from overhead) that sang and danced (with the lyrics: "Don't be stupid, be a smarty, Come and join the Nazi party!"), and accompanied with gunshot sounds!
  • the character of Hitler played by spaced-out, adult flower child LSD
  • the panic of Leo and Max realizing that their flop will be a big hit - and Leo's court defense ("Whom has he hurt?") of Max when charged with fraud
  • their similarly fraudulent production of Prisoners of Love in Sing-Sing, with Max bellowing: ("Sing it out, men! Higher, you animals, higher! We open in Leavenworth Saturday night")
  • the affectionate tribute to Mostel in the end credits, listed only as "Zero"

The Professional (1994, Fr.) (aka Leon)

In director Luc Besson's provocative action thriller:

  • the redeeming but twisted father/daughter relationship between hitman-assassin Leon (Jean Reno) and protected 12 year-old, street-wise orphaned New York neighbor Mathilda (young Natalie Portman in her film debut)
  • the scene of the brutal killing of her family by corrupt New York cop and drug kingpin Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman)
  • Mathilda becoming acquainted with Leon and learning about guns and how to "clean" (kill) a scoped target with a rifle from a rooftop
  • the very bloody ending with Leon's surprise self-sacrificial death

The Professionals (1966)

In director Richard Brooks' western adventure (an Old West version of The Dirty Dozen (1967) and the precursor to The Wild Bunch (1969)):

  • the four man mercenary team (Lee Marvin as munitions expert Henry "Rico" Fardan, Woody Strode as tracker and bow/arrow expert Jake Sharp, Robert Ryan as horse specialist Hans Ehrengard, and Burt Lancaster as dynamiter Bill Dolworth) assembled by Texas railroad tycoon/millionaire Joe Grant (Ralph Bellamy) to rescue "in one bold swift stroke" his 'kidnapped'(?) wife (Claudia Cardinale as Maria) from Mexican revolutionaries led by the guerrilla leader Jesus Raza (Jack Palance)
  • Dolworth notable explanation of his life's work: "I was born with a powerful passion to create. I can't write, I can't paint, can't make up a song..." ("So you explode things") "Well that's how the world was born. Biggest damn explosion you ever saw"
  • the surprise plot-twist character reversal: Maria loved Mexican outlaw Raza from whom she was rescued, and was eventually allowed to return to him)
  • the curtain closing dialogue when Grant accused Rico of negating their "bad deal" agreement: (Grant: "You bastard!" Rico: "Yes, Sir. In my case, an accident of birth. But you, Sir, you're a self-made man")

Psycho (1960)

In Alfred Hitchcock's ground-breaking horror thriller:

  • the opening shots with a view of 1960s Phoenix as the camera above the city slowly descended into the window of a motel (not the first in the film)
  • the furtive love-making scene with secretary Marion Crane (Oscar-nominated Janet Leigh) in white bra and half-slip
  • the tense shots of Marion's face and the puzzled look on her boss' astonished face as she paused at a stoplight
  • the tracking shot in Marion's apartment linking her packed suitcase to the envelope stuffed with money
  • the scene of the state trooper's interrogation of Marion on the side of the road
  • the first sight of the Bates Motel seen through a rainy windshield
  • the haunted-looking Gothic house behind the motel
  • the back parlor scene of proprietor Norman's (Anthony Perkins) conversation with Marion amidst his stuffed birds
  • Norman's perverse peeping through a hole in the wall at Marion undressing
  • the shocking, carefully-edited, dialogue-less shower murder scene of the major star in the first third of the film by a blurry female figure wielding a knife high in the air - a purifying act that shockingly turned violent with the violin-screeching soundtrack of Bernard Herrmann timed to the stabbings, the ting-ting-ting sound as the shower curtain rings pulled off the rod, and the image of bloodied water spiraling down the drain that dissolved into a close-up of dead Marion's stationary open eye
  • the sounds of Norman's screams coming from the Gothic house on the hill behind the Bates Motel: "Mother! Oh, God! Mother! Blood! Blood!"
  • Norman's laborious clean-up of the murder scene, the deposit of Marion's corpse in his car's trunk, and the car's slow descent into the nearby swamp
  • private investigator Arbogast's (Martin Balsam) murder at the top of the staircase and the high-angle overhead shot of his unbalanced fall backwards down the entire length of stairs - and the relentless stabbing that he suffered from Norman's "mother" after hitting the floor
  • the Sheriff's (John McIntire) line of dialogue to Marion's sister Lila (Vera Miles) about who was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery: "You want to tell me you saw Norman Bates' mother?...Well, if the woman up there is Mrs. Bates, who's that woman buried out in Greenlawn Cemetery?"
  • Lila's shocking, revealing, fruit-cellar discovery scene when she turned a chair holding an elderly woman and saw Norman's mummified "mother" under the swinging light - casting ghastly images onto the wall, and her shrieking response
  • the next-to-last image of a psychotically-crazed Norman wrapped in a blanket with his Mother's voice-over, who condemned her son for the crimes while she claimed that she was harmless: (the film's last monologue: "It's sad when a Mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son, but I couldn't allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They'll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end, he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man, as if I could do anything except just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. Oh, they know I can't even move a finger and I won't. I'll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even gonna swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, 'Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly.'") - a grinning smile slowly crept over Norman's face - subliminally superimposed by and dissolving into the grinning skull of his mother's mummified corpse
  • the film's final image - a dissolve into the dredging of the swamp - Marion's car with her body and the almost-$40,000 in the trunk was hauled trunk-first from the muck by a heavy clanking chain on a winch; horizontal black bars partially, and then completely, covered the final image

The Public Enemy (1931)

In director William Wellman's gritty gangster classic:

  • brutal, cocky gangster Tom Powers' (James Cagney) infamous, argumentative breakfast scene when he stuffed half a grapefruit in the face of annoying mistress Kitty (Mae Clarke) after telling her: "I wish you was a wishing well, so that I could tie a bucket to ya and sink ya!"
  • the scene of the off-screen execution of a horse
  • the climactic shoot-out scene in which Tom slaughtered and eliminated his rival gang as the camera deliberately remained on the outside of the building while a barrage of shots and moaning screams of the wounded and dying were heard from inside
  • his wounding on a rainy street
  • in the final horrifying scene, his bandaged body's special delivery to his home - propped up like a mummy at the doorstep of his mother's (Beryl Mercer) house and his face-first fall forward (while a scratchy Victrola phonograph record played the upbeat tune I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles on the soundtrack)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

In co-writer and director Quentin Tarantino's great tri-story classic, a stylish, immensely-popular, violent, off-beat, modern B-movie cult classic with witty dialogue and heart-stopping violence:

  • the skillful interweaving of three major story lines throughout the film
  • the opening credits sequence including the coffee shop scene with a pair of hold-up artists Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) and Pumpkin (Tim Roth)
  • the casual conversation between two low-life, black-clad hit men Vincent Vega (Oscar-nominated John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) about the strange names given to Parisian McDonald's menu items such as a QuarterPounder with cheese ("a Royale with cheese") and a Big Mac ("Le Big Mac")
  • and their discussion about gangster boss Marsellus Wallace's (Ving Rhames) jealous attitude toward anyone giving his moll-wife Mia (Oscar-nominated Uma Thurman) a foot massage
  • Jules' crazed, paraphrased recitation of Ezekiel 25:17 before executions - "the path of the righteous man..."
  • the scene between Vincent and Mia in retro-fifties era diner Jack Rabbit Slims (with the MC impersonating Ed Sullivan) - and their hip-swiveling twist dance the Batusi (a dance invented for the campy mid-60s Batman TV series and made famous by Adam West) to the Chuck Berry tune You Never Can Tell during a dance-off contest, by making a horizontal V-sign with his index and middle fingers of both hands, and drawing them across in front of his eyes, one hand at a time, with the eyes roughly between the fingers; they also did versions of the Hitchhiker and the Swim
  • Mia's overdose after snorting heroin and the subsequent frantic recovery scene in which her heart (marked with a red dot) was directly injected with an adrenaline-filled needle
  • the scene of Captain Koons' (Christopher Walken) gold watch-up-his-ass speech
  • the character of boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) and the scene with two psychopathic hillbillies in a pawn shop, when Butch saved Marsellus by killing pawn shop owner Maynard (Duane Whitaker) with a katana, and then Marsellus took merciless "medieval" revenge on security guard Zed (Peter Greene) who had earlier raped him
  • the absurd scenes of the blood-drenched car's grisly insides when Vincent accidentally shot back-seat passenger Marvin (Phil LaMarr) in the face at point-blank range and "clean-up" specialist the Wolf (Harvey Keitel) was called upon

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

In writer/director Woody Allen's comedic Depression-era ode - a 'film within a film':

  • the surprise scene in which the handsome fictional adventure hero Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels) of the 30s black and white film 'The Purple Rose of Cairo' stepped out of the screen and spoke to audience member and New Jersey waitress Cecilia (Mia Farrow) - who had an abusive husband Monk (Danny Aiello)
  • Tom's innocence about real life (he'd never made love, seen a pregnant woman, etc.)
  • the seduction of Cecilia by selfish and deceptive actor Gil Shepherd (also Jeff Daniels) attempting to reject the fictional character for the real man (so his acting career could be saved from the scandal)
  • Tom's bringing of Cecilia into the film world
  • the dark downbeat conclusion in which wounded and forsaken Cecilia found further comfort at the movie theatre while watching the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film Top Hat (1935) as they sang and danced "Cheek to Cheek" (I'm in Heaven)


Queen Christina (1933)

In director Rouben Mamoulian's classic historical-romance drama:

  • the scenes of Queen Christina's (Greta Garbo) impersonation of a young boy
  • her affectionate kiss given to her neglected, complaining lady-in-waiting Countess Ebba Sparre (Elizabeth Young)
  • her revelation to Spanish ambassador Don Antonio (John Gilbert) during a clandestine love affair in a shared inn bedroom that she was female - and the Queen
  • her "memorization" of all the items in the bedroom scene
  • the Queen's silencing of a threatening mob by appearing at the top of the castle's outdoor stairs with a steely-eyed presence: "My business is governing and I have the knack of it as you have yours for your trade by inheritance. My father was a king, and his father before him. My father died for Sweden and I live for her. Now my good people, go home to your work and leave me to mine. My blessing on all of you"
  • the abdication scene when she gave up the throne for her love of Don Antonio ("I am resolved, therefore, here and now, to place in your hands my abdication from the throne of Sweden"), and removed the "emblems of power" - her sceptre, the heavy, burdensome crown from her head, and her regal robe
  • her farewell words: "And now, farewell. I thank Almighty God who caused me to be born of a royal stock and raised me to be a Queen over so large and mighty a kingdom. I thank too those nobles who defended the state when I was a child and all of you for the fidelity and attachment you've shown. Let me look at you once more. And so, let me remember you with love and loyalty until memory is no more. God bless you. Farewell"
  • Queen Christina's plan was to rendezvous with Don Antonio and sail to "the islands of the moon...a place I've never been"; however, a sword duel commenced between the vindictive Count Magnus (Ian Keith) and Don Antonio - the outcome was left unknown until Christina arrived at the ship and discovered Pedro (Akim Tamiroff) and Don Antonio's courtiers standing around her mortally-wounded lover and he died in her arms
  • left without her Queenship or a lover, she abandoned Sweden forever - in exile; there was the lengthy, slow-tracking-in final image of the film ending with a close-up - the proud, unblinking Queen's enigmatic face gazing into nothingness at the curved bow of her ship (like a figurehead) as she sailed off to Spain to face her unknown destiny - before a final fade to black

The Quiet Man (1952)

In Best-Director winning John Ford's romantic comedy:

  • the incredible color cinematography and the lush green countryside of Ireland
  • the fairy tale romance of Sean Thornton (John Wayne) and red-haired Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara)
  • Sean's first sight of Kate as she tended a flock of sheep in an emerald-green grassy area
  • their kissing scene in his new cottage
  • Michaeleen Flynn's (Barry Fitzgerald) horse stopping (from habit) in front of Cohan's Pub
  • their sensual romantic scene in the drenching rain at a church graveyard
  • their quiet tender scene in front of the golden glow of the hearth
  • Sean's pursuit of Mary Kate at the train station after which he dragged her five miles across the fields with a crowd of spectators following
  • the lengthy, epic brawl/fist-fight scene in the Irish village between Sean and Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen)
  • the scene of Will's reluctant release of Mary Kate's dowry
  • the final scene of Mary Kate whispering a sexy secret in Sean's ear

Quiz Show (1994)

In director Robert Redford's morality play about the quiz show scandals of the 1950's:

  • the fixed 50s NBC-TV game show "Twenty-One" with host Jack Barry (Christopher McDonald) and the authentic period design of the studio, and the prominent product placement of sponsor Geritol ("America's #1 tonic. Geritol, the fast-acting, high-potency tonic, that helps you feel... stronger... fast... ") above and between the two isolation booths
  • the character of Jewish working class, geeky contestant Herb Stempel (John Turturro)
  • Stempel's victimized anguish at being instructed to miss an easy question (regarding the well-known film Marty (1955)) to hand a victory (in exchange for $70 grand) to popular, WASP-ish bachelor "Twenty-One" contestant Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes) - English teacher at Columbia University and son of ethical and disapproving poet Mark Van Doren (Paul Scofield)
  • the Senate trial scenes in which Herb explained how he was coached in acting for the fixed game show
  • the revelation of proof to Harvard law graduate and federal investigator Richard 'Dick' Goodwin (Rob Morrow) that Van Doren was pre-supplied with answers
  • the scene of Van Doren (shot from behind with a smash-zoom) deliberately losing to earn a lucrative regular spot on NBC Today
  • the powerful line by smug Geritol president Martin Rittenhome (Martin Scorsese) to Federal investigator Dick Goodwin about the popularity of quiz shows: "You see, the audience didn't tune in to watch some amazing display of intellectual ability. They just wanted to watch the money"
  • the character of slimeball producer Dan Enright (David Paymer)
  • the subtly accusatory, slow-motion end credits showing a 50s television audience mindlessly laughing and applauding as Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife" played

(alphabetical by film title)

Intro | Quiz | A1 | A2 | A3 | A4 | B1 | B2 | B3 | B4 | B5 | B6 | B7 | C1 | C2 | C3 | C4 | C5 | D1 | D2 | D3 | D4 | E
F1 | F2 | F3 | F4 | G1 | G2 | G3 | G4 | H1 | H2 | H3 | I1 | I2 | I3 | J | K | L1 | L2 | L3 | L4 | M1 | M2 | M3
| M5 | M6 | N1 | N2 | N3 | O1 | O2 | P1 | P2 | P3 | P4 | P5Q | R1 | R2 | R3 | R4
S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S9 | T1 | T2 | T3 | T4 | T5 | U | V | W1 | W2 | W3 | W4 | YZ

Previous Page Next Page