Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Basic Instinct (1992)

In Paul Verhoeven's erotic thriller:

  • the opening scene - a couple making love - the unidentified female with her face obscured (the film's brutal ice-pick murder suspect) atop rock star Johnny Boz (Bill Cable), and elements of S&M revealed when she tied his arms to the bedpost with a length of sheet - before reaching back and stabbing him to death with an ice-pick
  • the infamous police interrogation scene when ice-pick murder suspect/millionaire mystery novelist and bi-sexual Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) first smoked in the no-smoking area: ("What are you going to do? Charge me with smoking?") and then openly crossed her legs - a full underwear-free view - to flirtatiously tease a panel of policemen facing her
  • her oversexed taunting line to Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) - "Have you ever f--ked on cocaine, Nick? (long pause) It's nice"
  • and other outrageous dialogue by scriptwriter Joe Eszterhas, such as: "Well, she got that magnum cum laude pussy on her that done fried up your brain"
  • Catherine's open lesbian relationship with Roxy (Leilani Sarelle), and her seductive lesbian dance with Roxy in a nightclub to taunt the detective
  • the scene of Nick's controversial, aggressively-brutal, misogynistic, near-rape love-making scene with police psychiatrist Beth Gardner (Jeanne Tripplehorn), when he forced himself on her, pinned her arms up on the wall, kissed her forcefully, ripped her dress open in the front, draped her over the sofa as she protested: "Nick, stop, no!", and approached her from behind
  • the film's final scene - paralleling the opening sex-murder sequence, in which Catherine was making love to Nick, and the question of whether she had picked up an ice-pick conveniently located under her side of the bed to murder him

Batman (1989)

In Tim Burton's influential and dark blockbuster about the comic-book superhero:

  • Danny Elfman's memorable, brooding march score during the opening credits when a Batman logo is revealed
  • Anton Furst's revolutionary, Oscar-winning art direction/set design of a Gotham City (part Blade Runner, part comic book) with massive architecture and statuary
  • the first appearance of black-masked vigilante Batman (Michael Keaton), who held up a crook named Nic (Christopher Fairbank) over the side of a building; after the mugger begged for his life ("Don't kill me!") - Batman made a request: ("I'm not going to kill you. I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me") - the mugger asked: "What are you?" - and heard back: ("I'm Batman!")
  • the reappearance of growling mob enforcer Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) after he had been dropped into a vat of acid during a raid on the Axis Chemical Company; he had submitted himself to reconstructive facial plastic surgery; in the famous, oft-imitated 'reveal' scene, Jack (seen from behind, with face hidden) demanded a mirror from the flustered doctor after the facial bandages had been unwrapped; upon looking at his face in the mirror, he moaned and groaned at first as the nervous doctor rationalized: "You understand that the nerves were completely severed, Mr. Napier" - before Jack laughed maniacally and smashed the mirror, as the doctor pointed to his tray of crude instruments: "You see what I have to work with here"
  • the sequence of sociopathic Jack Napier's first memorable entrance (and revelation of his face) as the reinvented character of The Joker (with a painted red smile, chalky skin and green hair), when he came upon mob boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance) from behind - he sought revenge and explained his new name and identity: ("You set me up over a woman. A woman!...I've been dead once already. It's very liberating if you think of it as therapy...Jack? Jack is dead my friend. You can call me Joker! And as you can see, I'm a lot happier!"); the Joker then shot Grissom during a wild dance, emptied his gun, and then laughed and sighed non-chalantly: "Oh, what a day!"
  • the post-coital moment when blonde photographer-journalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) woke up to see love-interest - billionaire-industrialist Bruce Wayne (also Michael Keaton), the alter-ego of Batman, swinging like a bat while doing his exercises
  • the many classic one-liners by the cackling, villainous Joker: ("Winged freak terrorizes? What'll they get a load of ME!", "Where does he get those wonderful toys?", and "If you gotta go, go with a SMILE!")
  • the Joker's murder of disloyal, impudent rival subordinate Antoine "Tony" Rotelli (Edwin Craig) with a lethal joy-buzzer that burned him to a crisp: ("Whoo! Whoo! Oh, I've got a live one here! Oh, there'll be a hot time in the old town tonight. Antoine got a little 'hot' under the collar....Haven't you ever heard of the healing power of laughter?")
  • the confrontational challenge between the Joker and Bruce Wayne in Vicki's apartment, as the Joker held a gun on him: "Tell me something. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?...I always ask that of all my prey! I just like the sound of it"; after shooting at Bruce (who was saved by wearing body armor), the Joker added: "Never rub another man's rhubarb. Why is it, every time I come for you [Vicki], somebody always gets in the way?"; he then recited a poem to the terrified Vicki: "I'm only laughing on the outside / My smile is just skin deep / If you could see inside I'm really crying / You might join me for a weep"
  • the flashback in which Bruce Wayne remembered his parents being murdered by Jack - who used the same line: "You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
  • Vicki's scary ride through a dense forest in the Batmobile en route to the Batcave, when she tentatively asked: "Where are we going?"
  • the ironic silhouette of the Batplane against the moon to form the Batman logo
  • the death of the Joker - plunging from the top of a cathedral spire with a gargoyle attached after his climactic duel with Batman, and the macabre sight, after the Joker's fall, of his still-grinning face as he laid dead, splayed on his back on the church's front steps many stories below - a toy (in proxy for the villain) was heard laughing maniacally in his pocket
  • the final scene in which Commissioner James Gordon (Pat Hingle) announced: "Our police have rounded up all of the Joker's men. The reign of crime is over. Public safety in Gotham City is no longer a laughing matter"; District Attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) then read a letter from Batman promising to defend Gotham City against crime: "We've received a letter from Batman this morning. 'Please inform the citizens of Gotham that Gotham City has earned a rest from crime. But if the forces of evil should rise again, to cast a shadow on the heart of the city, call me'" - Gordon unveiled a new Bat-Signal to be used to summon Batman
  • the ending closing shot of Batman standing alone in a heroic pose on the top of a city building, the guardian of his Gotham City, looking up at the Bat-Signal projected onto the night sky

"You can call me Joker"

"Where does he get those wonderful toys?"


Batman Begins (2005)

In Christopher Nolan's tight and re-tooled prequel of the Caped Crusader series, the fifth film in the revived series:

  • the film's emphasis on the early roots and origins of tortured superhero Batman's career, including his fall as young 8 year-old boy Bruce Wayne (Gus Lewis as child) into a well on his parents' estate Wayne Manor - and the development of his recurring, traumatic, bat-phobic nightmare of fluttering black bats attacking him, and his horrific witnessing of his parents' death (Thomas and Martha) by mugger Joe Chill (Richard Brake) in a city alleyway outside an opera house (his father's last words were: "Don't be afraid")
  • the car scene between industrial playboy millionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and his childhood friend, now grown-up Gotham City Assistant DA Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes); both of them had just witnessed the startling killing of Joe Chill (by one of Falcone's thugs) after an early court appearance and release due to a plea deal; Rachel gave Bruce helpful advice -- to go beyond his personal vendettas; she stated how justice was more than revenge; she sent him on his mission in the crime-ridden, economically-depressed city with wise words: "You're not talking about justice, you're talking about revenge...Justice is about harmony. Revenge is about you making yourself feel better...You care about justice? Look beyond your own pain, Bruce"
  • the introduction to one of the film's two evil characters in Gotham City: Italian crime boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) who threatened Bruce with a gun: "People from your world have so much to lose. Now, you think because your mommy and your daddy got shot, you know about the ugly side of life, but you don't. You've never tasted desperate. You're, you're Bruce Wayne, the prince of Gotham. You'd have to go 1000 miles to meet someone who didn't know your name. So don't, don't come here with your anger, trying to prove something to yourself. This is a world you'll never understand. And you always fear what you don't understand"; as Wayne was being beaten up to teach him a lesson, Falcone reminded Bruce of how Chill had murdered his parents: ("He said your father begged for mercy. Begged like a dog"); eventually, Batman vengefully tied Falcone to a floodlight to make the first bat-symbol in the sky
  • the sequences of adult Bruce's (Christian Bale) training in Bhutan - to face his fears - with the mysterious vigilante ninja sect known as The League of Shadows, led by mystic Ra's Al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) and personally led by the enigmatic martial arts training mentor Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) - he was ultimately revealed as the villainous, real Ra's Al Ghul in a concluding plot twist
  • the more evil character of effete, shady psycho-pharmacologist Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka "The Scarecrow" (Cillian Murphy) who was the perverse proprietor of Arkham Asylum populated with lunatics; he often used a burlap bag mask when he sprayed opponents with a toxic, insanity-causing vapor (a fear-inducing hallucinogen); he claimed to work for Ra's al Ghul
  • the film's explanation of the creation of Batman's persona and accoutrements or gadgets (the armored protective Batsuit and cowl, the all-terrain Batmobile known as The Tumbler, the cave, the cape, etc.) by Wayne Enterprises' genius high-tech scientist Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman)
  • the climactic final action sequence of a race against time to prevent an elevated monorail train from reaching Wayne Towers and causing Crane's plan to work - the destruction of the city by the release of a fear-inducing hallucinogen into and through Gotham's central water supply (aided by Ra's al Ghul's plan to vaporize the water supply with a stolen microwave-emitter on the train to cause Crane's drug to go airborne)
  • the deadly moment onboard the crashing train that Batman told villainous Henri Ducard: ("l won't kill you, but l don't have to save you") - before flying away from the speeding train as it plunged downward on demolished tracks - taking Ducard (with his eyes closed) to his fateful death
  • the momentous kissing scene between Bruce and Rachel (she finally realized that Bruce was Batman): "l never stopped thinking about you. About us. And when l heard you were back, l-l started to hope. (They kissed) But then l found out about your mask" - he interjected: "Batman's just a symbol, Rachel" - she replied: "No. (She touched his face) This is your mask. Your real face is the one that criminals now fear. The man I loved - the man who vanished - he never came back at all. But maybe he's still out there, somewhere. Maybe some day, when Gotham no longer needs Batman, I'll see him again" - she had gained respect for him and expressed her pride in him
  • in the final scene, newly-promoted police Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) told Batman about his worries over the escalation of violence in Gotham, although Batman was hopeful: "We can bring Gotham back"; however, Gordon explained to Batman that there was a new criminal in town - the Joker: "Now, take this guy. Armed robbery, double homicide. Got a taste for the theatrical, like you. Leaves a calling card"; Batman simply replied: "I'll look into it"; when Gordon added: "I never said Thank You," Batman responded: "And you'll never have to" - before disappearing into the night sky

Batman's First Appearance to Falcone

The Key Phrase: "lt's not who l am underneath,.but what l do that defines me"

Battleship Potemkin (1925, Soviet Union) (aka Броненосец Потёмкин)

In Russian director Sergei Eisenstein's classic film with revolutionary uses of montage and editing:

  • the extremely famous Odessa Steps montage sequence of the indiscriminate execution and massacre of civilians by rows of the Czar's Cossack's troops who fired indiscriminately - during the failed, real-life 1905 revolution - including these images:

- angry citizens
- crowds fleeing wild gunfire by running down the stone steps
- a young mother being cut down and her baby carriage carrying her infant bouncing and tumbling down the harbor steps in Odessa (later copied in Brazil (1985), and The Untouchables (1987))
- a woman being shot in the face (shattering her glasses)

Beau Geste (1939)

In director William Wellman's adventure drama:

  • the memorable puzzling opening sequence in which a relief column of French Foreign Legionnaires soldiers crossed the Saharan desert dunes and arrived at a strangely silent Fort Zinderneuf
  • the brutality of sadistic Sergeant Markoff (Brian Donlevy) toward deserters
  • the scene in which John Geste (Ray Milland) presented Lady Patricia Brandon (Heather Thatcher) with a letter from brother Beau (Gary Cooper), disclosing that her prized valuable gem - "The Blue Water" sapphire, had been sold years before and that Beau had stolen a substitute gem to save her the embarrassment of selling it - she read the letter aloud at the foot of the stairs: ("I was inside the suit of armor in the hall the day you sold the Blue Water to the Maharajah's agent and received an imitation to take its place. When the wire from Sir Hector came, I thought I could repay your devotion to us by giving Brandon Abbas its first robbery. So the lights went out and so did Beau. Lovingly, Beau Geste")
  • the unraveling of the 'Blue Water' Sapphire mystery - with the final line tearfully spoken by a grateful Lady Patricia Brandon after she finished reading Beau's letter: "Beau Geste? Gallant gesture. We didn't name him wrongly, did we?"

Beautiful Girls (1996)

In director Ted Demme's coming-of-age comedy/drama:

  • the memorable scene of Paul Kirkwood's (Michael Rapaport) monologue about "supermodels" and "beautiful girls": ("Supermodels are beautiful girls, Will. A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you've been drinkin' Jack and Coke all morning. She can make you feel high - full of the single greatest commodity known to man - promise. Promise of a better day. Promise of a greater hope. Promise of a new tomorrow....")
  • also the scene of the bar-room singing of "Sweet Caroline"
  • and the scene of down-to-earth Gina Barrisano's (Rosie O'Donnell) smart-mouthed put-down monologue about the centerfold beauty myth and unrealistic expectations that guys have about supermodels to Tommy Rowland (Matt Dillon) and high-school grad Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton) - ("Oh, guys, look what we have here. Look at this, your favorite, oh you like that?...Yeah, that's nice, right? Well, it doesn't exist, OK? Look at the hair, the hair is long, it's flowing. It's like a river. Well, it's a f--king weave, OK? And the tits? Please! I could hang my overcoat on them. Tits, by design, are intended to be suckled by babies. Yeah, they're purely functional. These are silicon city. And look, my favorite, the shaved pubis. Pubic hair being so unruly and all. Very vain. This is a mockery, this is sham, this is bulls--t...")
  • the advice-giving scenes between Willie and precocious, well-versed 13 year-old neighbor girl Marty (Natalie Portman) - from a window (Marty: "Romeo and Juliet, the dyslexic version") and Marty's recognition of their age difference: "Alas, poor Romeo, we can't do diddly. You'd be taken to the penitentiary and I'd become the laughing stock of the Brownies"
  • Willie's follow-up comment about growing up: ("I can't play Pooh to your Christopher Robin") at the edge of a frozen pond while Marty ice-skated

Beauty and the Beast (1946, Fr.) (aka La Belle et La Bete)

In director Jean Cocteau's visual fantasy:

  • the fanciful scenes including the one in which Beauty's merchant father (Marcel André), and then Beauty (Josette Day) entered the Beast's (Jean Marais) enchanted and haunted castle and moved down its corridor - with human arm candelabra (that lit themselves) reaching out from the walls
  • the magnificent costuming of the Beast himself, who had steaming claws (symbolic of a recent kill of deer), and the image of Beauty's tear that transformed into a diamond

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

In Disney's landmark film - the first (and only) animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture:

  • the moving dinner and ballroom dance scene in Disney's film between Belle (voice of Paige O'Hara) and the Beast (voice of Robby Benson)
  • the singing of the memorable title ballad: "Beauty and the Beast" by an anthropomorphic, grandmotherly talking teapot - or Mrs. Potts (voice of Angela Lansbury): ("...Tale as old as time True as it can be Barely even friends Then somebody bends Unexpectedly Just a little change Small, to say the least Both a little scared Neither one prepared Beauty and the Beast")

Becky Sharp (1935)

In director Rouben Mamoulian's period drama, an adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel Vanity Fair:

  • its milestone first display in a feature film of the landmark three-color Technicolor - a new and expensive technology process
  • the stunning and clever contrast shot, set up by Mamoulian to emphasize the difference between black and white and color compositions; two red-jacketed soldiers were speaking in the foreground to Becky Sharp (Miriam Hopkins) and wealthy friend Amelia Sedley (Frances Dee) - seen only in b/w silhouette behind a curtain in the background
  • the sight of brilliant and rich colors was taken advantage of in the film's opening sequence - a grand ball scene set in Brussels on the eve of and within sight of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815; waltzing couples in colorful ball gowns were interrupted by cannon fire (thought at first to be thunder) that exploded open the tall, curtained full-length French windows and extinguished the lights, resulting in complete pandemonium; English soldiers in scarlet uniforms (with capes) and gold helmets reacted and responded by rushing out to fight against Napoleon
  • the resourceful, social-climbing, ruthless and manipulative English lady Becky Sharp, the title character, pledged her love with attractive military officer and wealthy playboy Rawdon Crawley (Alan Mowbray) (her dashing husband) who was leaving her with his gambling debts; he assured her before being ordered away to fight with Wellington: "Wellington's orders. I just dashed back for a few moments. Oh, darling, I have so many things to tell you before I go. I've been happy with you. I've gambled and I drank but always, always I've loved you....Here, take this money. I shan't need it. You sell my watch, my silver dressing case. Oh, darling, I leave you with so many debts...and sell my two horses"; she responded: "Don't think about money. I'll make out. I'll pray for you, Rawdon. I want you back. I love you, I love you and I'll never love anybody else"; he told her goodbye during an embrace and kiss: "I must go now, but remember. Never forget this. I worship you, Becky, from your little toes up"

Beetlejuice (1988)

In Tim Burton's haunted comedy-fantasy about a ghost named Beetlejuice:

  • after a fatal car accident that killed the newly-wed Maitlands: Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis), the scene of their arrival at an other-worldly (or netherworld) waiting room full of other recently-dead and distressed clients, especially the explorer with a shrunken head and ping pong ball eyes, before meeting their caseworker Juno (Sylvia Sidney)
  • the yuppie Deetz family from NYC - who moved in and were living in the Maitland's Winter River, Connecticut home; the Deetz family included obnoxious sculptor wife Delia Deetz (Catherine O'Hara), real-estate developer Charles Deetz (Jeffrey Jones), and goth, black-clad teenaged Deetz daughter, photographer Lydia (Winona Ryder) from Charles' first marriage (who stated: "My whole life is a darkroom. One big dark room")
  • the first sight of demonic, crude, yellow-haired, morbid, and over-the-top title character Betelgeuse (the "afterlife's leading bioexorcist"), seen hawking his services on an ad on television: ("Havin' trouble with the livin'? Ya tired of havin' your home bein' violated? Ya wanna get rid of them pesky livin' critters once and for all? Well, come on down and see me folks, because I'm the afterlife's leading bio-exorcist. Yes, sirree! Come on down here. I want to tell ya, I'll do anything! I'll scare 'em real bad. The point is, I'll do anything to get your business. Hell! I'll possess myself if I gotta! Yo! I got demons runnin' all through me. All through me. Come on down here and see it. And hey - if ya act now, you get a free demon possession with every exorcism. Ah! You can't beat that, can ya? Bring the little partners down here. Hell, we've got plenty of snakes, lizards and worms for them to play with. There's no problem with that at all. So, say it once, say it twice, third time's a charm. And remember, (singing) I'll eat anything you want me to eat. I'll swallow anything you want me to swallow. So, come on down, I'll chew on a dog")
  • Lydia's discovery of the ghostly and dead Maitlands in the attic (whom she met when they were first wearing sheets) - she was the only living person who could see them - she asked: "Are you gross under there? Are you Night of the Living Dead under there? Like all bloody veins and pus?...You're not gross. Why are you wearing sheets?"; she explained her magic power: "I read through that Handbook for the Recently Deceased. It says: 'Live people ignore the strange and unusual.' I myself am strange and unusual"; Lydia learned the main objective of the Maitlands: "We wanted to frighten you so you would move out...You tell them that we are horrible desperate, ghoulish creatures who will stop at nothing to get our house back"
  • the Maitlands unwittingly hired Betelgeuse as a free-lance veteran scare-master to remove the Deetz family from their home; he claimed: "In order to do that, I'll have to get to know you. We've got to get closer. Move in with you for a while. Get to be real pals. You know what I'm saying?...Come on, we're simpatico, here....We're like peas in a pod, the three of us, let's face it. You want somebody out of the house. I want to get somebody out of your house" - and shortly later, asked: "Come on kids, what do I have to do to strike a deal with you two, huh?" - and then demonstrated how he could spin his head around ("Don't you hate it when that happens?")
  • the hosted dinner party (song and dance) scene in the Deetz home, where the recently-deceased Maitlands attempted (without Beetlejuice's help) to use a haunted 'parlor trick' to spook and dislodge the Deetz family from their home; during the dinner, to her shock, Delia belted out the calypso "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" - in Harry Belafonte's voice
  • the first attempt to remove the Deetz, when Beetlejuice took the form of a hideous snake
  • the decaying view of the Maitlands - who after what they thought was a seance was actually an exorcism (conducted by the Deetz' interior designer Otho Fenlock (Glenn Shadix)) - the couple were now transformed into exorcised, greenish decaying ghosts
  • the scene of Beetlejuice begging Lydia to marry him so that he could escape to the world of the living and also help save the decaying Maitlands: "Look, I'm what you might call an illegal alien. OK? I want out - for good. In order for me to do that, hey, I gotta get married. Hey! These aren't my rules. Come to think of it, I don't have any rules. Come on. Come on. Look, you think of it as a marriage of inconvenience. OK? We both get something. I get out. You get to say you're hitched to the most eligible bachelor since Valentino came over. We're even"; when she agreed to help him by saying his name three times, Beetlejuice - with outstretched arms - exhorted as lightning flashed: ("It's Showtime!"); he quickly got rid of real estate tycoon Maxie Dean (Robert Goulet), Deetz's boss, and his wife, and also Otho; Beetlejuice grew inflated mallet-arms and propelled them through the ceiling (as if in a carnival's strong-man 'ring the bell' game)
  • the sequence of Beetlejuice's wedding to Lydia before a ghastly-looking minister, although the marital ceremony was interrupted at the last moment by a Sandworm! that devoured Betelgeuse and sent him back into the netherworld
  • the final scene in the netherworld's waiting room where Betelgeuse was seen with a shrunken head (after a witch doctor seated next to him sprinkled powder on him for cutting in line) - and his hilarious, upbeat, but dead-panned statement about his messed-up hair: ("Whoa, hey! What are you doing? Hey, stop it! Hey, you're messing up my hair! C'mon! Whoa! Whoa! Stop it! Whoa! Hey, this might be a good look for me")
  • Lydia's pre-ending credits performance (suspended in mid-air) of "Jump in the Line (Shake Señora)", with singing by Harry Belafonte, after the Deetz's and the Maitlands found they could live in cooperative harmony in the house

Before Sunrise (1995)

In Richard Linklater's sweet romance:

  • the initial chance meeting between two young tourists on a train bound for Paris: American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French Celine (Julie Delpy), and their lengthy existential ruminations (that started in the dining car) on life, death, love, past lives, success, parents, relationships, religion, etc.
  • the scenes of their roaming around Vienna (and taking public transportation) throughout the night
  • the wonderfully-subtle scene of their first realization of a romantic attraction for each other in a record booth while listening to a 33 rpm recording of Kath Bloom's "Come Here", making shy eye contact and nervously shifting
  • their first kiss on the famous Viennese Ferris wheel the Riesenrad [the location of the famous "cuckoo clock" speech and scene in The Third Man (1949)] when she asked: "Are you trying to say you want to kiss me?" after which she hugged him closely and tenderly rested her head on his shoulder
  • also, their encounter with various Viennese personalities - such as a palm reader (Erni Mangold) who told them they both were composed of stardust ("You're an adventurer, a seeker...You need to resign yourself to the awkwardness of life...You're both stars, don't forget, and the stars exploded billions of years ago to form everything that is this world. Everything we know is stardust. So don't forget. You are stardust. Ha, ha!"), and a strange vagrant street poet (Dominic Castell) who rapidly wrote poems with any random word given to him ("milkshake") and presented them with the poem Delusion Angel (written for the film by the poet David Jewell): ("...See what you mean to me / Sweet-cakes and milkshakes / I'm a delusion angel / I'm a fantasy parade...")
  • the concluding heartbreaking goodbye scene in the train station when they hastily parted with a few final kisses and embraces (Celine: "OK, I guess this is it, no?...Have a great life. Have fun with everything you're gonna do!"), and vowed to see each other again in exactly six months at the same location; as she boarded the train and he caught a bus to the airport (and each reflected upon their time together during the closing montage as the film returned to the locations they had visited which were now empty) - to the sound of Bach's Andante from Sonata No. 1 in G Major for Viola

Before Midnight (2013)

In Richard Linklater's final film in the "Before..." trilogy series, set 18 years after the first film, with the married couple experiencing serious personal issues on a summer vacation in Greece with their twin girls:

  • the sequence of Celine's (Julie Delpy) and Jesse's (Ethan Hawke) conversation - a so-called "bimbo fantasy" - that she play-acted, about how it was important to stroke a male's ego and play the part of a bimbo to get a man: ("Let me tell you right now, Anna, how to keep a man. You gotta let them win at all the silly little games they like. When I met Jesse the first night, we were playing pinball. And of course, I was winning.... And at the last minute, I let the ball go down the middle... It builds their confidence. If I didn't let him win at every game, we would never have sex. I mean, I'm sorry to say it, but he's actually a closet macho. He dreams of having a bimbo for a wife")
  • and Celine's sarcastic reenactment of their first meeting together: "So you're a writer?...So you write, like, books?...Wow, I've never met a writer before...You must be really smart....Okay, well, you're very, very smart. (whispered) And I bet you have a gigantic penis" - he ended the charade with: "Why am I finding myself so attracted to this woman?!"
  • the authentic relationship between the couple, including a realistic sex sequence between the two when they became flirtatious and intimate
  • the scene of a 20-minute long, painful, heated and vicious argument between Celine and Jesse in their hotel room suite, about issues affecting their future together - the possibility of a move to Chicago, gender roles, their children and careers and the promise of her "dream job", and the current state of their complex relationship - including Jesse's assessment: "You are the f--king mayor of crazy town, do you know that?", Celine's cutting judgment on their sex life: "You like to have sex the exact same way every time....Kissy, kissy. Tittie, tittie. Pussy, (snoring sound)"; he delivered a pronouncement: "I don't wanna live a boring life where two people own each other, where two people are institutionalized in a box that others created, because that is a bunch of stifling bulls--t!"; she reacted with a climactic bold confession before leaving the room: "You know what's going on here? It's simple. I don't think I love you anymore"
  • the ending scene between the two a few moments later in the hotel's outdoor restaurant (in the southern Peloponnese), when Jesse pretended to be a "time-traveler" reliving a night from the year 1994, to prevent her "from being blinded by all the little bulls--t of life"; he read to her a letter from her 82 year-old self, which included thoughts such as: "Celine, my advice to you is this. You're entering the best years of your life...Celine, you will be fine. Your girls will grow up to become examples and icons of feminism....P.S. By the way, the best, by the way, the best sex of my life happened one night in the southern Peloponnese. Don't miss it. My whole sexual being went to a new, ground-breaking level"; then Jesse admitted to her: "You're just like the little girls and everybody else. You wanna live inside some fairy tale. All right? I'm just trying to make things better here. All right? I tell you that I love you unconditionally, and I tell you that you're beautiful. I tell you that your ass looks great when you're 80. Huh? I'm trying to make you laugh....All right, I put up with plenty of your s--t. And if you think I'm just some dog who's gonna keep coming back, then you're wrong. But if you want true love, huh, then this is it. This is real life. It's not perfect, but it's real. And if you can't see it, then you're blind, all right, and I give up"
  • eventually, Celine came around to his time-traveling story, and seemed to be reconciled to him, and he spoke again about the one night in the southern Peloponnese that she would never forget, as the camera slowly pulled back: "There's somethin' that I've been thinkin' about, about your letter....You mentioned the southern Peloponnese? Yeah, yeah, and, uh, we're in the southern Peloponnese.. Yeah, and do you think it could be tonight that you're still talking about in your 80's?"
  • her reply was the last line in the film: "Well, it must have been one hell of a night we're about to have"

Before Sunset (2004)

In Richard Linklater's sequel to Before Sunrise (1995), set nine years later:

  • the departure scene in Celine's apartment between the two lovers Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) with only a short time before Jesse's flight, when they had tea and listened to a CD recording of Nina Simone singing Just in Time; Celine performed an impression of the singer when she stopped in the middle of the song and came to the edge of the stage, while slowly moving her hips side to side and puckering up her lips in a pout, seductively speaking: "Oh yeah, baby. Oh, yeah. Uh, hmm. I love you too. And then she'd walk back, took her time, no hurry, you know. She had that big cute ass that she would move, woooh! And then she would, uh, go back to the piano and play some more. And then she would, uh, I don't know, just start another song in the middle of another. You know, like, stop again, and be like: 'You over there, can you move that fan? Uh, huh. Ooh. You're cute. Hmm. Oh, oh yeah.'"
  • then, Celine gave a warning to Jesse: "Baby, you are gonna miss that plane"; Jesse responded quietly and knowingly: "I know" as he held his left hand up and briefly twirled his wedding ring with his left thumb

Being There (1979)

In Hal Ashby's satire adapted from Jerry Kosinski's screenplay - an insightful tale that satirized politics, celebrity, media-obsession and television:

  • the view of enigmatic character of illiterate, TV-watching gardener Chance the Gardener or Chauncey Gardiner (Peter Sellers) and his fool-turned-prophet transformation
  • the short scene of black maid-cook Louise's (Ruth Attaway) cynical, and contemptuous commentary on retarded Chance/Chauncey Gardiner's rise to power, while watching him on television and seeing the country's adoration for him: "It's for sure a white man's world in America....Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I'll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between the ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jack-ass. Look at him now! Yessir, all you've gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want. Gobbledy-gook!"
  • the sequence of Dennis Watson's (Mitch Kreindel) hitting on Chauncey at a formal party with Chauncey's naive reply: "Is there a TV upstairs? I like to watch" and Dennis' delighted response: "You like to, uh, watch?... You wait right here. I'll go get Warren!"
  • Chauncey's simpleton lecture to President Bobby (Jack Warden) about how the garden grew: ("In a garden, growth has its season . . . as long as the roots are not severed, all will be well")
  • the protracted "seduction scene" in which dying financier's wife Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), love-starved and seductive, desperately tried to arouse an unresponsive Chauncey - he only responded, with a shocking but understandable line, that he "like(s) to watch" - and "it's very good, Eve"; she viewed his statement as an invitation to sexually arouse and stimulate herself; she complied with his request by reclining on the floor, and laid on top of a full-sized bear-skin rug while grabbing the bedpost; meanwhile, he was watching an exercise program on TV from the end of the nearby bed and mimicking the exercises (he even performed a hand-stand) - oblivious to her sexual pleasure as she masturbated herself nearby
  • the film's ending: the memorial funeral of sickly businessman-financier Benjamin Turnbull Rand (Melvyn Douglas), while one of the pallbearers discussed the protagonist's bid for the Presidency: "I do believe, gentlemen, if we want to hold on to the Presidency, our one and only chance is Chauncey Gardiner"
  • in the mystical, incongruous conclusion (accompanied by off/on-screen voices), the totally innocent idiot Chance-Chauncey Gardiner, who had wandered away from the ceremony into a wooded area closeby, blithely stepped onto a pond and literally walked on the water; he tested the depth of the water with the length of his umbrella - and then continued walking away from the camera
  • the final words of the film were delivered by the President at the funeral, and were heard from a distance: "Life is a state of mind"

Belle de Jour (1967, Fr./It.) (aka Beauty of the Day)

In Luis Bunuel's first color film (and most commercially-successful film), a surrealistic drama about a daytime brothel prostitute, but without nudity or on-screen sex:

  • the major masochistic erotic fantasy-dream sequence of masochistic Severine Serizy (Catherine Deneuve) in the opening sequence (with the off-screen dreamy sounds of her turn-ons: meowing of cats and the jingling of carriage bells); she was driven in an open carriage (landau) through the woods of an estate where her respectful society surgeon-doctor husband Dr. Pierre Serizy (Jean Sorel) ordered her dragged from the coach, and instructed the coachmen to gag her and tie her hands/arms to a nearby tree above her; there, he pulled down her mouth gag and threatened: "If you scream, I'll kill you"; the back of her dress (and bra) were torn off and her bare back was whipped (pleasurably) by two coachmen, as she screamed out: "I beg of you, don't let the cats loose!"
  • afterwards, Pierre also told one of the whipping coachman (Michel Charrel) before a presumed scene of rape: "That's enough. She's all yours ...Go ahead" --- the scene cut back to Severine's bedroom where she was lying in bed and her PJ'd husband Pierre (of one year) was in the bathroom, reflected in a mirror, who asked: "Severine, what are you thinking about? Tell me"; she answered: "About you, about us" - and mentioned that she had the coach fantasy again - theirs was an unconsummated, chaste and frigid relationship - the reason she engaged in elaborate S&M fantasies; they kissed before retiring in separate single beds, and did not consummate their love
  • the brief flashbacks to Severine's early life as a young girl, when she was groped by a blue-collar worker, and she rejected a Communion wafer during a Catholic (guilt-inducing) service
  • the further elucidation of the character of bored, repressed, blonde upper-class Parisian newlywed housewife Sévérine Serizy who was hired by sophisticated brothel Madame Anais (Genevieve Page) as a part-time afternoon prostitute in a chic, high-class brothel with two other girls: Mathilde (Maria Latour) and Charlotte (Françoise Fabian); Anais told her: "My girls have to be polite and very cheerful. You have to enjoy your work" - she was given a "very simple and very cute" and "easy to remember" name: "Belle de Jour" ("since you only come in the afternoons")
  • Severine soon experienced a variety of strange clients, including her first one Monsieur Adolphe (Francis Blanche), who thought she looked sad and was immediately put off by her (due to her newness in the job), but then brought her into the bedroom and stripped her down, stating: "It seems you're new at this. Listen to me. I have a nose for these things. You don't fool me. But if it's true, you shouldn't be ashamed. Don't tell me that at your age, you're still a virgin. We'll find out soon. Well, do I scare you? You don't like my face? You better get used to it, my little friend"; when she tried to flee the room, Adolphe slapped her face and chastised her: "Who do you think you are, you little slut?! You turn me on and then you take off. Games are fun for awhile, but enough is enough!"
  • the S&M sequence in which Severine in an immaculate white gown was tied up in a barnyard setting while Pierre and older family friend Henri Husson (Michel Piccoli) pelted her with thick black mud (or cow dung?) and called her horrific names: "Little Slut," "Bitch," "Old Whore," "Maggot," "Pig," "Scum," "Garbage," "Tramp," and "Slut"; just before the mud-slinging, Husson had pointed out his two prized bulls: Remorse and Expiation
  • the film's enigmatic object - the possession of a mysterious box by strange East Asian client (Iska Khan)
  • the subsequent scene of Severine with fearful but sympathetic brothel maid Pallas (Marguerite Muni) after she had serviced the client who had frightened her: ("That man would frighten me, too. It must be painful sometimes"); as she partially sat up on the bed, Severine replied: "How would you know, Pallas?"
  • the film's most graphic set-piece: while seated alone at an outdoor cafe table, a 19th century costumed duke-nobleman (Georges Marchal) approached Severine from a horse-drawn carriage, and brought her to his manor-chateau in the woods; as part of his sexual fetish, she was required to impersonate his dead daughter ("Worms are eating you up. And the smell of dead flowers fills the room"), by lying in a coffin wearing a transparent black nightgown over her nude body, while he placed lilies on her chest and masturbated nearby; they were interrupted by the butler who asked: "Shall I bring in the cats?"; the perturbed duke shouted back: "To Hell with you and your cats!"; afterwards, she was dismissed into the rain outdoors
  • another carriage-woods masochistic fantasy, in which Severine was bound to a tree and shot in the left temple (after an imagined duel between Husson and Pierre); Pierre approached and kissed her
  • the sequence of her brutal and possessive john - thuggish, self-indulgent gangster Marcel (Pierre Clémenti) with metal teeth, a weaponized walking stick, and shiny leather boots and cape-overcoat, who jealously shot Pierre three times on the Parisian street outside Severine's apartment (she was awakened from a nap on the couch) - Marcel regarded Pierre as an "obstacle" to his relationship with Severine; shortly later, Marcel was shot and killed by pursuing police
  • the concluding ambiguous sequence (another hallucinated fantasy or wish-fulfillment in Severine's unstable mind); Pierre was comatose in a wheelchair, but suddenly sat up, and asked: "What are you thinking about?" (she answered: "About you"); he arose from his wheelchair, walked to the other side of the room, and poured himself a drink - the ubiquitous off-screen sounds of meowing cats and jingling bells were heard; when he suggested going to the mountains with her, she asked if he heard the bells and went to the window, where she watched from the balcony as the carriage (with two coachmen) approached

La Belle Noiseuse (1991, Fr.) (aka The Beautiful Troublemaker or The Beautiful Nuisance)

In French director Jacques Rivette's lengthy (almost 4 hour) Grand Prize of the Jury winner at Cannes:

  • the creative process, exemplified by the return to work (after 10 years) on an abandoned, neglected masterpiece of ten years - a painting known as "La Belle Noiseuse," by married, impatient and aging French artist-painter Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) who had lost his artistic inspiration
  • the many scenes in his vast, long-neglected stone-walled studio - with minimal dialogue - engaged with his strong-willed model Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart) who was required to be stark naked as his muse for the majority of the film
  • the captivating process by which he made many preliminary sketches of her in various naked poses, as he attempted to capture her essence, while positioning her in painful, demanding, contorted, cramping and unmoving positions, as he touched her to set her postures, he told her: "I don't care about your breasts, legs, your lips... I want more. I want everything. The blood, the fire, the ice... All that's inside your body. I'll take it all. I'll get it out of you and put it into this frame...I'll get to know what's inside under your thin surface. I want the invisible"
  • at the film's conclusion when the painting was finished after a marathon battle of wills over a 4-day period, Marianne described its stunning image: "A thing which was cold and dry -- it was me"; in voice-over, Marianne narrated: "Marianne put on her old mask again or maybe she took a new one...It used to be me," but then confided in the artist's wife Elizabeth (Jane Birkin): "I'm not unaware any more"
  • in a surprise scene, Frenhofer secretly sealed the painting - unseen - behind a newly-laid brick wall, and then presented another faceless painting as the finished product, claiming: "It's my first posthumous work"

Bellissima (1951, It.)

In director Luchino Visconti's neo-realistic, satirical comic drama about the Italian film industry:

  • the star role of Anna Magnani as a working class, determined, desperate and nervous wanna-be stage mother Maddalena Cecconi, who was hoping that her only child - 7 year-old daughter Maria (Tina Apicella) would win the title of 'prettiest child in Rome' - a contest sponsored by Stella Films, at open-casting auditions at the Cinecittà studio
  • the scene of her attendance near the projectionist's booth at the disastrous screening of her child's film tests (a scene requiring Maria to blow out birthday candles, although she struggled, and the recitation of a poem, when she began crying half-way through); she overheard the cruel, sarcastic and candid comments from the stage crew and director, who felt the audition was a waste of time, film, and money: "Poor thing...She really can't do this...She's a dwarf, look...She's so funny with that fringe... She's not a kid, she's a dwarf - she went to school with me in 1925"; Maddalena shielded her child's eyes and asked: "What are they laughing at?...Why are they laughing so much? Why are they so amused?...Bastard! I can't take this. I can't take this!"
  • the confrontational scene when Maddalena burst into the group of film-makers to lambast the director Mr. Blasetti (Alessandro Blasetti as Himself) and others, asking: "Why does she make you laugh so much? She's like any other child...One of you even called her a dwarf. How rude! You have no respect for other people's feelings. You've no respect for other people's sacrifices. I made so many sacrifices to buy her this dress"
  • the classic, solitary park bench scene outside the studio that night -- where Maddalena (with Maria collapsed next to her in her arms) experienced a mental nervous breakdown and tumultuous sobbing after realizing she had failed; suddenly, she cried out: "Help!"

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)

In this silent film religious epic from director Fred Niblo:

  • the original, thrilling chariot race sequence (filmed with 42 cameramen) between Judah Ben-Hur (Ramon Novarro) and Roman centurion Messala (Francis X. Bushman)

(alphabetical by film title)

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

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