Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



S (continued)

Scary Movie (2000)

In Keenen Ivory Wayans' raunchy teen comedy:

  • the crude, low-brow, semi-sexually-explicit, satirical, Airplane!-style jokes (skewering the slasher film genre, such as Scream (1996) and I Know What You Did Last Summer, and more)
  • the well-advertised early scene of wet underwear-wearing Drew Decker (Carmen Electra) stabbed in the chest with a silicon-enhanced knife when pursued by a masked and hooded killer
  • the name of the school (B.A. Corpse High) and the female gym teacher (Ms. Mann)
  • the scene in a motion picture theater of the murder of an incessantly-talking female - not by the serial killer but by the entire audience

Scent of a Woman (1992)

In director Martin Brest's coming-of-age drama:

  • blind Lt. Col. Frank Slade's (Oscar-winning Al Pacino) musings about female breasts ("Tits. Hoo-hah! Big ones, little ones. Nipples staring right out at ya, like secret searchlights")
  • his graceful, sensuous tango dance scene with Donna (Gabrielle Anwar)
  • the scene of his test drive of a Ferrari while Charlie (Chris O'Donnell) shouts directions
  • Slade's dramatic speech to the student body of Baird College during Charlie's disciplinary hearing (including "This is such a crock of s--t!")

Schindler's List (1993)

In Steven Spielberg's Best Picture-winning historical epic of the Holocaust:

  • the crisp black and white cinematography
  • the opening restaurant/cabaret scene in which would-be war profiteer Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) wheels and deals his way into the pocketbooks of SS officers in a Krakow nightclub
  • the interview scene with eighteen pretty secretaries
  • the many scenes of random and indiscriminate killings including the one-armed worker and the female construction engineer - usually at point-blank range with a gun
  • the stunning and brilliant performances by the three male leads - Schindler, Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), and Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley)
  • the brutal scene of the clearing and liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto
  • the image of a girl in a drab red coat walking amidst the murderous chaos (and later spotted on a cart piled with corpses)
  • the night-time follow-up hunt
  • the scene in which a shirtless, overweight Goeth fires his telescopic rifle from his villa's balcony perch above the Plaszow work camp at innocent prisoners
  • the hinge-making scene and its aftermath
  • Schindler's delivery of the speech about power with restraint
  • the disturbing confrontation of Goeth with his trembling housekeeper Helen Hirsch (Embeth Davidtz) in her basement living quarters
  • the scene of the winnowing out of the healthy from the unfit with prisoners running naked before doctors in the medical examination scene
  • the image of children hiding waist-deep in latrine excrement
  • Schindler's birthday celebration including a sustained kiss of a young Jewess
  • the exhumation and incineration of the corpses in graves
  • the labored compilation and typing of 'Schindler's List' by Stern as Schindler desperately paces the room - including Stern's eloquent summation: "The list is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its margins lies the gulf"
  • the arrival of a boxcar of female workers at Auschwitz and the intense shower scene
  • Schindler's receipt of a golden ring, his emotional final address to his factory workers following the war and his farewell to Stern: ("I could've got more... I didn't do enough")
  • the final coda (in color) pairing real-life survivors with their counterpart actors-actresses as they place rocks on the real-life grave of Schindler

Scream (1996)

In Wes Craven's horror film spoof:

  • the opening 12-minute prologue scene in which all-American, sweatered girl Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore in a very short cameo) is alone preparing pop-corn to watch a video when she receives an initially playful phone call (she is asked what her favorite scary movie is - and replies Halloween)
  • the repeated terrifying calls turn obscene, threatening and ugly; when she demands to know what the caller wants, he simply replies: "To see your insides" - and she ends up slaughtered and hanging in the front yard
  • the wise words about how to avoid being murdered by the knowledgeable video geek Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy): "You can never have can never drink or do drugs...and number three: never, ever, ever under any circumstances say, 'I'll be right back'"

The Sea Hawk (1940)

In one of the best pirate/swashbuckling adventure films ever made by director Michael Curtiz:

  • the action-filled sequences of sea battles and duels
  • the dashing character of privateer "Sea Hawk" Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe (Errol Flynn)

The Searchers (1956)

In John Ford's classic and landmark western:

  • the breathtaking cinematography of Monument Valley
  • Confederate soldier Ethan Edwards' (John Wayne) entrance on horseback to the frontier house with everyone watching from the homestead's porch
  • the unspoken love between Ethan and his brother's wife Martha (Dorothy Jordan)
  • the pre-massacre image of Chief Scar (Henry Brandon) standing over young Debbie Edwards (Lana Wood)
  • the scene of Ethan shooting out of the eyes of a dead Comanche to prevent him from entering the spirit world ("...has to wander forever between the winds")
  • his relentless search for his kidnapped niece Debbie and his ominous statement to fellow searchers after finding Lucy's mutilated body: "Long as you live, don't ever ask me more"
  • Ethan's oft-repeated: "That'll be the day"
  • the dramatic scene in which Ethan catches Debbie (now Natalie Wood) five years later, scoops her into his arms and tells her: "Let's go home, Debbie"
  • the final famous exit scene in which Ethan is framed and isolated by the silhouetted dark doorway (in front of the harsh outdoor sunshine) and watches as reunited friends and family enter the homestead, but is left out, 'cursed' and doomed to wander - and so he turns and the door shuts behind him

Serenity (2005)

In writer/director Josh Whedon's 26th century, sci-fi space action-adventure/western film (adapted from the TV series Firefly) - his directorial debut film:

  • the opening scene of doctor Simon Tam (Sean Maher) rescuing his psychic 17 year-old, goth-like sister River Tam (Summer Glau) from her Alliance captors, led by the evil and sinister government Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who were experimenting on her brain and wishing to harness her power ("Given the right trigger, this girl is a living weapon")
  • all of the characters that composed the crew of the rogue Serenity transport spacecraft that took on the Tams as passengers - including Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion)
  • the scene in a way-station bar when River saw a subliminal secret message in an anime advertisement ("Miranda") - that triggered an aggressive attack
  • the scene on the Outer Rim habitable planet of Miranda where the crew encountered only corpses and watched a terrifying hologram from scientist Dr. Caron (Sarah Paulson) who explained how the Alliance caused death on the planet by using a Pax drug released through the air processors - and thereby also contributed to the development of hyper-aggressive, menacing, flesh-eating Reavers
  • the final standoff scene of the Serenity crew against the ferocious Reavers as Mal broadcast the truth of the hologram message ("I'm gonna show you a world without sin") after fighting the Operative and defeating him as River simultaneously battled the Reavers single-handedly and left a pile of their corpses at her feet to save the crew
  • the concluding scene with River serving as Mal's co-pilot in a repaired ship (and Mal's final line: "We'll pass through it [storm] soon enough...What was that?")

Sergeant York (1941)

In director Howard Hawks' inspirational war biopic:

  • the opening boom shot down a Tennessee river behind the credits
  • the scenes depicting Alvin York's (Oscar-winning Gary Cooper) Tennessee backwoods existence before the war
  • the fast-paced action scenes of World War I including the tracking shots of York's scramble through no-man's land and his single-handed killing of over two-dozen German soldiers and the capture of dozens more

A Serious Man (2009)

In this Best Picture-nominated dark comedy from the Coen Brothers:

  • the series of unexpected batterings, trials and tormenting tribulations experienced by a perplexed, middle-class Jew in suburban Minnesota in 1967 -- a beleaguered, mild-mannered, Job-like university physics professor named Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg):
    -- a letter containing money given to him as a bribe by disgruntled South Korean student Clive Park (David Chang) to change his mid-term grade from an F to passing (and with additional threats of a lawsuit by the student's father)
    -- imminent tenure consideration with unofficial warnings from the chairman of the committee Arlen Finkle (Ari Hoptman) that anonymous letters had been received referring to his "moral turpitude"
    -- an expensive bar-mitzvah for his marijuana-smoking son Danny (Aaron Wolff) who loved listening to the rock group the Jefferson Airplane and complained repeatedly about poor TV reception from the rooftop TV antenna making it impossible for him to watch F-Troop
    -- a rebellious, self-centered eldest daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) who was stealing money from her dad's wallet for a desired nose-job
    -- his matronly, discontented and adulterous wife Judith (Sari Lennick) seeking a divorce because she was seeing overbearing, erudite, and unctuous widower Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed)
    -- Larry's displacement from the house to the local Jolly Roger Motel along with his ailing, depressed, loser/odd-ball brother Arthur (Richard Kind) who had a sebaceous draining cyst on his neck and was suspected of both illegal gambling and sodomy
    -- a property line dispute with his redneck, anti-semitic neighbor Mr. Brandt (Peter Breitmayer)
    -- his disorientation after spying on his nude-sunbathing, semi-abandoned, blase, promiscuous next-door neighbor Mrs. Samsky (Amy Landecker) from his rooftop while adjusting the antenna - who later offered to smoke a joint with him in her home (she asked provocatively: "Do you take advantage of the new freedoms?"),
    -- a triple fender-bender on the same day that Sy was killed in another automobile accident
    -- repeated annoying phone calls from Dick Dutton at the Columbia Record Club for four-months non-payment of fees for receipt of the selection of the month
    -- high-priced consultation with pessimistic divorce lawyer (Adam Arkin)
    -- and his unsuccessful encounters with three rabbis regarding his treatment by Hashem (aka God)
  • in his last meeting, he pleaded: "I've tried to be a serious man, you know? Tried to do right, be a member of the community, raise Danny, Sarah, they both go to school, Hebrew school....Please, I need help"
  • his life succinctly illustrated by a blackboard completely filled with physics formulas demonstrating "The Uncertainty Principle" -- as he told the exiting class when the bell rang: "It proves we can't ever really know what's going on. But even though you can't figure anything out, you will be responsible for it on the mid-term"
  • the clincher - a film-closing call from his doctor to ominously discuss recent X-rays (taken at the start of the film) amidst a threatening tornado
  • at the end of the credits, it was noted: "No Jews Were Harmed in the Making of This Motion Picture."

Se7en (1995)

In David Fincher's crime thriller:

  • the ingenuity of the clues at the various murder scenes (none of which are seen committed)
  • the unforgettable, nail-biting, concluding climax in which maniacal serial killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey) leads arrogant, hotshot replacement Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) and retiring veteran Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) to another sick and gruesome crime and souvenir - "her pretty head" in a bloody box
  • the lurid demonstration of the last two of the Seven Deadly Sins (gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy and wrath)

Seven Beauties (1976, It.)

In director Lina Wertmuller's tragi-comic war film (she became the first Oscar-nominated female director for this film):

  • the dream-like opening credits sequence with a jazzy tune (repeating the refrain: "Oh yeah"), about man's inhumanity to man throughout history (with stock WWII documentary photos of Mussolini and Hitler, bombs, and trench warfare)
  • the character of small-time Naples crook Pasqualino Frafuso (Oscar-nominated Giancarlo Giannini) who must support his many ugly sisters and mother
  • his time in an insane asylum (where he rapes a bound madwoman) after murdering and dismembering the pimp who coerced his sister into a life of prostitution
  • the scenes in a WWII Nazi concentration camp when a desperate, debased and unscrupulous Pasqualino trades sexual favors with the grotesquely-obese, whip-wielding commandant (Shirley Stoler) for survival (she tells him: 'You have found the strength for an erection, that's why you'll survive") - but he must also choose those to be executed (and also kill his best friend)
  • the film's final shot - in closeup - of Pasqualino returning home and his sadly-spoken words to his mother: "Yes, I'm alive"

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

In one of the greatest and most exuberant dance musicals from MGM, from director Stanley Donen:

  • the dynamic dancing scenes (choreographed by Michael Kidd)
  • the barn-raising scene with sensational gymnastic acrobatics (each of the brothers shows off on a single or double narrow plank)
  • the choreographed fight

Seven Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)

In director George Pal's fantasy:

  • the fantastic sequence in which Dr. Lao's (Tony Randall) pet fish becomes a 7-headed monster

The Seven Samurai (1954, Jp.) (aka Shichinin no samurai)

In Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece - later used as a template for The Magnificent Seven:

  • the 16th century epic plot of a town's protection from ferocious bandits by wise veteran leader ronin (samurai) Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) and six other warriors, including a burly, wild and arrogant Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), the black sheep of the group
  • the powerful sequence in which warrior Kambei disguised himself as a monk (with head shaved and dressed in priest's robe) to rescue a 7 year-old child hostage held in a village hut by a kidnapper-thief; he calmed the kidnapper: ("I'm just a monk, I mean you no harm") and offered food (rice-balls), but then killed the man with a bloodied sword, who ran out of the hut and fell face-forward dead (in slow-motion) - in an intercut edited sequence with various crowd reaction shots
  • Kikuchiyo's discovery of traditional Samurai armor from dead warriors that was secretly hidden by the villagers - most likely when the villagers killed injured, fleeing or dying samurai from other nearby battles - and the surprising revelation that he wasn't a samurai at all, but the son of a village peasant ("You were born a farmer, weren't you?"); while wearing some of the armor, Kikuchiyo ranted at the other samurai, calling them, in general, rapists, thieves, and overall mean, stupid murderers - clearly identifying with the plight of the villagers and revealing his own upbringing: ("What did you think these farmers were anyway? Buddhas or something? Don't make me laugh! There's no creature on earth as wily as a farmer! Ask 'em for rice, barley, anything, and all they ever say is, 'We're all out.' But they've got it. They've got everything. Dig under the floorboards. If it's not there, try the barn. You'll find plenty. Jars of rice, salt, beans, sake! Go up in the mountains. They have hidden fields. They kowtow and lie, playing innocent the whole time. You name it, they'll cheat you on it! After a battle, they hunt down the losers with their spears. Listen to me! Farmers are misers, weasels, and cry-babies! They're mean, stupid murderers! Damn! I could laugh till I cry! But tell me this: Who turned them into such monsters? You did! You samurai did! Damn you to hell! In war, you burn their villages, trample their fields, steal their food, work them like slaves, rape their women, and kill 'em if they resist. What do you expect 'em to do? What the hell are farmers supposed to do?)
  • the final rain-soaked battle (the third day of fighting) in the mud during a torrential downpour
  • the ending shot - Kambei's view of the graves or funeral mounds of four dead comrades (each with a samurai sword sticking out), with his words: "We've lost yet again. With their land, the farmers are the victors, not us"; and beneath the samurai mounds, the graves of the fallen villagers

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

In director Billy Wilder's romantic sex comedy:

  • The Girl's (Marilyn Monroe as a quintessential blonde) famous pose in a white dress flying and billowing up around her knees when a train whooshes by as she stands spread-legged astride a New York subway grating to cool herself during a hot summer ("Isn't it delicious?")
  • paperback publisher and married Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) standing by and observing: "Sort of cools the ankles, doesn't it?"

(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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