Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Shock Corridor (1963)

In director Samuel Fuller's B-movie:

  • the expressionistic, claustrophobic sets portraying the inside of an insane asylum (symbolic of America) where ambitious newspaper-tabloid reporter Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck), pretending to be a madman, committed himself in order to solve a murder and win the Pulitzer Prize
  • the scene of his actually becoming mad during an indoor electrical thunderstorm
  • the scene in which black inmate Trent (Hari Rhodes) believed he was a white supremacist Klan member with a white hood - and fomented an attack on another black inmate
  • the scene of the attack on Barrett in the nympho ward

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

In Ernst Lubitsch's brilliant, charming and sophisticated romantic comedy about mistaken identities, the story was portrayed by everyday people in a "shop around the corner" - the main characters were two feuding, lonely-hearts co-workers who were also pen pals in a love-hate relationship - [Note: it was remade by Hollywood as You've Got Mail (1998) with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan]:

  • the setting: a Budapest (Hungary) notions/gift and leather goods shop, named Matuschek and Company, owned by Hugo Matuschek (Frank Morgan), where head sales clerk: bookish, mild-mannered and bashful bachelor Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) was a long-time top employee
  • one of the products in the shop, stubbornly promoted by Matuschek, was a cigarette box selling for 4.25 that played the tune: "Ochi Tchornya"; desperate job-seeker Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) in her first scene, entered the store and proved her ability to sell by suggesting the product's use as a weight-controlling candy box to a female customer - and even negotiated for a higher price: ("Now, this little box makes you candy-conscious. That's what Matuschek and Company designed it for. Every time you open it, this tinkling little song is a message to you. 'Too much candy, now be careful'!"); for her clever selling skills, she was offered a job by Matuschek; Alfred offered his own downgraded assessment: "I think people who like to smoke candy and listen to cigarettes will love it"; for the remainder of the film, however, no other cigarette boxes were sold
  • the scenes of the constant dislike, arguments, insults and mutual bickering between the newly-hired shopgirl and Alfred; both were unaware that they were each other's anonymous, love-struck pen pals who were writing each other very literate correspondence; they were, on paper, romantically compatible and corresponded with affectionate "lonely-hearts" letters
  • one of Klara's letters, read outloud by Alfred, began with her joy at receiving his letter: "My heart was trembling as I walked into the post office, and there you were, lying in Box 237. I took you out of your envelope and read you, read you right there. Oh, my Dear Friend"
  • the scene of Alfred's firing by his employer Hugo Matuschek (Frank Morgan) - wrongly suspected of having an affair with the owner's wife (never-seen)
  • in a memorable scene at Cafe Nizza that same night, unemployed Alfred was convinced by co-worker Pirovitch (Felix Bressart) to go ahead with his date with his pen pal sweetheart; Pirovitch had looked through the window and told Alfred that his date looked just like Klara Novak from the store and encouraged him to follow through; when Alfred entered, he didn't reveal his secret identity to her, and talked to her only as a co-worker; he suggested: "There are many things you don't know about me, Miss Novak. As a matter of fact, there might be a lot we don't know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth"; she was less than interested: "Well, I really wouldn't care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I'd find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter which doesn't work"; he considered her answer a "mixture of poetry and meanness"
  • he remained in the cafe and sat down behind her, but she thought he was sabotaging her date: "Are you deliberately trying to spoil my evening? Why do you want to do me harm? Why do you hate me so?"; he proved her point when he told her: "You may have very beautiful thoughts, but you certainly hide them. As far as your actions are concerned, you're cold and snippy like an old maid, and you're gonna have a tough time getting a man to fall in love with you"
  • Kralik's redemption: the seducer of Matuschek's wife was revealed to be another employee, womanizing Ferencz Vadas (Joseph Schildkraut); now vindicated, forgiven, rehired, and given the task of firing Vadas, Alfred called him a "two-faced, double-crossin' two-timer"; he pushed Vadas into a pile of the cigarette boxes that collapsed onto the floor and began playing the tune in discordant ways; as a reference letter, Alfred recommended Vadas as a "stool pigeon, a trouble-maker, and a rat"
  • in the happy conclusion two weeks later on Christmas Eve, while Alfred and Klara were alone in the store, he told her that he had just recently met her mystery-man fiancee - a Mr. Mathias Popkin; he described him as overweight, balding, depressed, unemployed, and a plagiarist; then, he grabbed her and confided that he couldn't keep his secret any longer: "My dearest, sweetheart Klara, I can't stand it any longer. Please, take your key and open post office box 237 and take me out of my envelope and kiss me" - he placed a carnation on his lapel - she registered shock and amazement that he was her mystery pen-pal correspondent - her "Dear Friend"; she asked: "You? Dear Friend?"
  • Alfred asked if she was "disappointed" - she disclosed: "Psychologically, I'm very confused. But personally, I don't feel bad at all"; she reminded him how rude she had been in the Cafe on their first date, and that she had called him bow-legged; in the final words of the film, he affirmed: "Oh, well, but, and I was going to prove to you that I wasn't. I was going to go out to the street and pull up my trousers" - she asked: "Well, would you mind very much if I asked you to pull them up now?" - after raising his pants legs, she took one look - and then they hugged and kissed before the final fade-out

Short Cuts (1993)

In Robert Altman's naked depiction of desperate people in Southern California:

  • the exhilarating opening credits scene with images of noisy helicopters dumping insecticide onto Los Angeles neighborhoods to kill medflys - and in the film's conclusion, another disaster - an earthquake
  • the film's fluid interweaving and overlapping of the tragi-comic stories/lives of 22 characters in about ten separate episodic story-lines, including:
    - classical cello-playing musician Zoe Trainer (Lori Singer), the pretty blonde daughter of alcoholic cabaret jazz singer Tess Trainer (Annie Ross), both next-door neighbors to the Finnigans; Zoe committed suicide by carbon monoxide asphyxiation in her garage
    - three fishing buddies on a three-day fishing trip: out of work salesman Stuart Kane (Fred Ward) - who was married to clown-performer Claire Kane (Anne Archer) who entertained at childrens' parties, Gordon Johnson (Buck Henry), and Vern Miller (Huey Lewis); they stopped off at Doreen's restaurant for breakfast before leaving on their trip; they found a dead 23 year-old raped girl's body floating lifeless near their campsite and decided to postpone reporting the murder
    - hit-and-run waitress Doreen Piggot (Lily Tomlin) who was married to abusive drunk limousine driver Earl Piggot (Tom Waits), who hung out in the nightclub where Tess Trainer performed
    - mother Lois Kaiser (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who engaged in phone sex while diapering and feeding her baby, and was married to swimming pool cleaner Jerry Kaiser (Chris Penn) - who cleaned the pools of the Trainers and the Finnigans (and while on the phone spyed through a fence at skinny-dipping Zoe Trainer)
    - jealous surgeon-doctor Dr. Ralph Wyman (Matthew Modine) and redheaded faithless wife Marian Wyman (Julianne Moore - while naked from the waist down - confessing her infidelity to her husband as she blow-dried her dress with a hair-dryer); Dr. Wyman cared for a young boy (a hit-and-run victim)
    - painter's model and housewife Sherri Shepard (Madeleine Stowe), Marian's sister, who was married to philandering cop Gene Shepard (Tim Robbins) - he was having an affair with adulterous Betty Weathers (Frances McDormand), and at one point sexually-harrassed and taunted a female driver - Claire Kane in her clown makeup
    - TV commentator Howard Finnigan (Bruce Davison) and his wife Ann Finnigan (Andie MacDowell) whose son Casey - on his 8th birthday - was run down by an automobile and eventually died in the hospital
    - Howard's estranged father Paul (Jack Lemmon), who during a visit with his son at the hospital discussed past infidelities that led to their estrangement
    - Honey Piggot Bush (Lili Taylor), Doreen's daughter, who was married to Hollywood make-up artist Bill (Robert Downey Jr.), was friends with young phone-sex mother Lois Kaiser
    - sinister, disgruntled and lonely baker Andy Bitkower (Lyle Lovett), who baked a cake for Casey Finnigan's 8th birthday, who repeatedly made nasty and anonymous return phone calls about their unclaimed cake when he was abruptly hung up on by distressed father Howard Finnigan
    - ex-husband and helicopter pilot Stormy Weathers (Peter Gallagher) who, in an enraged state of mind, used a chain-saw to divide up community property in his ex-wife Betty Weathers' house

Short Term 12 (2013)

In writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton's drama about a foster-care home for troubled teens:

  • home resident Marcus' (Keith Stanfield) rap song: "So You Know What It's Like," that he said had "a lot of 'f--ks' in it" - he was almost 18 and about to leave the foster home, and would then be forced to fend for himself in the big world that had already treated him with abuse and indifference: ("It don't matter now, damn near 18. All the pretty pictures in my f--kin' head is faded. And when I think about that trick that raised me, I think about sick, because the bitch is crazy. F--k that bitch, nigga, f--k that pain. Your body's in a ditch inside this turned up brain. I mean, I can't see how you claim it, you being ma? Doctors snatched me out the snatch of pure evil with eagle claws. Ho ho ho, slut, f--k the way you want it. Got your young, dumb son pitching pigeons for money. I mean, it's colder than the bitch when it's sunny. Blows raining down on the glow. Got the nerve to tell me you love me? I said, again? Again? Sell it, again. Bitch, I'm 10. Let me go outside and function with friends. You say you ma? You mother? You the father-f--king queen? I say, all right, I love her so I flip it again. No, not this time, bitch, because I'm stronger than you. Not this time, bitch, swinging harder than you. No, not this time, bitch, you ain't leave me a choice. You just a body in a ditch in the brain of a boy. All f--ked up now, damn near 18. All the pictures in my past ain't never fading. I'm always wishing for something amazing, but when your life is s--t then it ain't no trading. So put me in your books, so you know what it's like to live a life not knowing what a normal life's like. Put a label on my head so you know what it's like to live a life not knowing what a normal life's like. Look into my eyes so you know what it's like. Look into my eyes so you know what it's like. Look into my eyes so you know what it's like to live a life not knowing what a normal life's like")

A Shot in the Dark (1964, UK/US)

In Blake Edwards' comedy:

  • the character of bumbling, linguistically-challenged French Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) and his exasperated, long-suffering and bug-eyed Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), who promised: ("Give me ten men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world!")
  • innumerable attempts to bed suspected murderess and French chambermaid Maria Gambrelli (Elke Sommer): ("I believe everything and I believe nothing. I suspect everyone, and I suspect no one")
  • Clouseau's pronunciation of the word 'bomb' ("beumb"), and his elaborate chalkboard drawing of the crime scene: ("Facts, Hercule, facts! Nothing matters but the facts. Without them, the science of criminal investigation is nothing more than a guessing game")
  • Clouseau's setting his trenchcoat on fire after lighting a cigarette for Maria and pocketing the still-flaming cigarette lighter ("My coat is on fire!")
  • during one romantic encounter, an untimely and inopportune interruption and sneak attack from Clouseau's own judo-attacking, karate-chopping expert-aide and Chinese manservant Kato (Burt Kwouk), who specialized in surprise attacks
  • during Clouseau's questioning of Benjamin Ballon (George Sanders), the Parisian owner of the palace where the murder was committed, during his struggle with the game of billiards using an upturned curved cue stick, and his duel with an uncooperative cue rack
  • the visit of Clouseau to find Maria at Camp Sunshine - a nudist resort, where he found a dead corpse ("Dead Dudu"), and their unclothed drive through the crowded streets of Paris
  • Dreyfus' nervous breakdown about Clouseau's inept investigation in the office of his psychoanalyst: ("He released her again, and he's taking her out to dinner. Every paper in Paris has the story, including the Christian Science Monitor; and he gave them the story. You see, he claims he's protecting her lover, and the best way to force him into the open is to make him jealous. Jealous! That nincompoop, that megalomaniac. He's setting the science of criminal investigation back a thousand years, and I can't do anything about it...What if he's right?...I'm finished. Washed up. Sanity and reason become things of the past. Madness reigns...Relax? Don't you think l want to relax? Don't you think l'd give my arm for a good night's sleep? I haven't closed my eyes in three days. I've only eaten a chicken leg and some clear broth since Wednesday. I'm cracking up. I'm coming apart at the seams. Look at my eye. I used to have a perfectly good eye. Two eyes, l mean. No, Doctor, there is no hope. There is no hope unless l can get rid of Clouseau. I must get rid of Clouseau")

Show Boat (1936)

In director James Whale's 1936 version of the musical drama [Note: the film was remade as the colorful Show Boat (1951) by director George Sidney with a toned-down version of "Ol' Man River" sung by Joe (William Warfield)]:

  • the classic scene of the singing of the immortal song "Ol' Man River" by black stevedore Joe (Paul Robeson), filmed with a sweeping 270 degree camera pan around him and accompanied by an expressionistic montage
  • the poignant, solo performance of "Bill" by Julie (Helen Morgan)

Showgirls (1995)

In director Paul Verhoeven's (teamed up again with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas) big-budget, exploitative, misogynistic, guilty-pleasure, show-biz related adult film - a sexploitation drama that flopped at the box office; it was the first attempt of Hollywood to mass market a studio film with an NC-17 rating (since the failure of Caligula (1979)), yet it failed miserably, but it was one of the most notorious films of the 90s, later finding an audience among cult film-goers (although it reportedly destroyed the career of star Elizabeth Berkley, earlier noted for her role in the late 80s TV show Saved By the Bell).

It had lots of controversial content - and was loaded with very frequent nudity, sexuality, notorious dialogue, and campy sleaze in a drama about the sex industry - an uncensored look at the backstage show-biz world of Las Vegas strip clubs and shows:

  • the unintentionally cheesy acting and dialogue, and rampant nudity (almost boring)
  • the scene of Al Torres (Robert Davi), manager of the topless, pole-clinging dancers at the Cheetah, detailing requirements for a lap dance to new girl Penny (Rena Riffel): "Fifty bucks a pop, you take 'em in the back. Touch and go. They touch, they go. You can touch them. They cannot touch you...Now if they come, that's okay. If they take it out and come all over you, call the bouncer, unless he gives you a big tip. If he gives you a big tip, it's okay. You got that?...lf you want to last longer than a week, you give me a blow job. First l get you used to the money, then l make you swallow"
  • the sequences of naked dancing at two contrasting locales in Las Vegas - the low-class Cheetah and the higher-class hotel shows and headliner dancers at the Stardust
  • the love-hate relationship and rivalry between bi-sexual "Goddess" headliner Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon) at the Stardust Hotel and aspiring Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) and their unbelievable dialogue and discussion about their breasts: (Cristal: "You've got nice tits. I like nice tits." Nomi: "I like having nice tits")
  • the bare-breasted "Chorus Line" showgirl audition sequence, with Tony Moss' (Alan Rachins) introduction of himself: ("Okay, ladies. I'm Tony Moss. I produce this show. Some of you have probably heard that I'm a prick - I am a prick. I got one interest here, and that's the show. I don't care whether you live or die. I want to see ya dance and I want to see ya smile. I can't use you if you can't smile, I can't use you if you can't show, I can't use you if you can't sell"), his threat to one of the losing contestants: ("Come back when you've f--ked some of this baby fat off. See ya!"), and his insulting comment to Nomi: ("You got something wrong with your nipples?...I'm erect. Why aren't you erect?")
  • Nomi's extended lap dance sequence offered by Cristal to her boyfriend for $500, the Stardust Hotel's talent director Zack Carey (Kyle MacLachlan)
  • and her orgasmic thrashing sex romp in the pool with Zack

Shrek (2001)

In the first winner of the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar, a biting satire of classic Disney animated films by DreamWorks/PDI's revisionist fairy tale:

  • the opening Sleeping Beauty (1959) reference (through the use of a stylized storybook), and many other fairy tale references and one-liners
  • the character of surly, sarcastic, wisecracking, Scottish-accented green, smelly but affable ogre Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) in his swamp home, bathing in mud, brushing his teeth with caterpillar goo, and using the outhouse
  • Shrek's love/hate relationship with the faithful, talkative, wisecracking, annoying tag-a-long sidekick Donkey (voice of Eddie Murphy)
  • Shrek's rescue of the pouty, fiercely independent Princess Fiona (voice of Cameron Diaz) on a mission to save her from the Dragon for the nefarious, narcissistic midget Lord Farquaad (voice of John Lithgow) - who had banished fairy tale characters into exile, and tortured the Gingerbread Man on a cookie sheet
  • Donkey's romance with the female fire-breathing Dragon
  • the scene of a mechanical Information Booth featuring a spoof of Disney's sugary It's a Small World (It's a Perfect Place) with vaguely sarcastic wooden puppets, tiny welcome dolls
  • the unlikely romance between Shrek and Fiona, who initially rejected him for being an ogre
  • the revelation of the plot twist: Fiona was a maiden by day, and an ogre by night
  • the climax in which the forced marriage between Fiona and Farquaad was interrupted by the dragon, and Donkey's quip after Lord Farquaad was eaten by the dragon: "Celebrity marriages! They never last, do they?"
  • the sharing of their true love's first kiss when Shrek kissed Fiona to free her from her enchantment -- resulting in a glorious explosion of light, shattering the church's stained glass windows
  • in another twist, Fiona remained an ogre permanently -- love's true form
  • also the celebratory party finale in which Donkey and the other fairy tale characters sang The Monkees' "I'm a Believer"

Shrek 2 (2004)

In the popular blockbuster sequel:

  • the pre-opening credits sequence in which effeminate, narcissistic Prince Charming (voice of Rupert Everett) stormed the Dragon's castle tower believing that he was rescuing Princess Fiona (voice of Cameron Diaz) - but found the Big Bad Wolf (dressed in grandmother's clothing), reading Pork Illustrated
  • the opening credits sequence highlighting Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) and Fiona's honeymoon, with dozens of rapid-fire cultural and filmic references (from From Here to Eternity (1953) to The Little Mermaid (1989) to The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and visual gags -- all heard to the tune of the Counting Crows' Oscar-nominated song "Accidentally in Love"
  • the "Are we there yet?" scene with an extremely impatient Donkey (voice of Eddie Murphy) voicing his boredom in an onion carriage during their journey to Far, Far Away (the Hollywood/Beverly Hills-inspired town with Farbucks and Old Knavery, and other similar stores)
  • the stunned reaction of the crowd to ogres Shrek and Fiona -- punctuated by a distracted dove crashing into the castle wall
  • the Meet the Parents (2000)-inspired strained dinner party with Fiona's shocked royal parents King Harold (voice of John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (voice of Julie Andrews)
  • the plotting Fairy Godmother (voice of Jennifer Saunders) singing the "Fairy Godmother Song" to newlywed Fiona - a bouncy parody of "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • the Fairy Godmother's scheme to kill Shrek and marry Fiona to her rich son Prince Charming
  • the memorable, swashbuckling, Spanish-accented, Zorro-like Puss In Boots assassin (voice of Antonio Banderas): ("Pray for mercy from Puss-in-Boots!")
  • also, the scene of a TV show called KNIGHTS - a parody of the TV show COPS - culminating with Puss In Boots caught possessing an illegal narcotic - catnip
  • Shrek's drinking of a Happily Ever After Potion that turned him into a hunky man (and transformed Donkey into a white stallion to his personal delight - "I'm trotting!") -- as well as Fiona changing back to her original human form
  • the Academy Awards red-carpet parody, complete with Joan Rivers (as Herself)
  • Fairy Godmother's fantastic The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)-inspired, cabaret-style rendition of "Holding Out For a Hero"
  • the giant Gingerbread man character of Mongo (named after Alex Karras' character from Blazing Saddles (1974) and inspired by Ghostbusters (1984))
  • Donkey and Puss In Boots' concluding celebratory rendition of "Livin' La Vida Loca" (with Puss' homage to the chair water-dousing from Flashdance (1983))

Sicario (2015)

In Denis Villeneuve's taut crime action-thriller about efforts to stop drug trafficking and drug wars in Mexico:

  • the opening bravura sequence of a heavily-armed kidnap-response SWAT team converging on a suburban house in Chandler, Arizona (near Phoenix) - and bursting into the living room with a tank - and then the gruesome discovery of dozens of decomposing bodies (with plastic bags cinched tight over their heads) mummified within the home's walls
  • the scene of a heavily-armed US convoy going into Mexico to pick up a major player in the Mexican drug trade, to transport him back across the US border for questioning; aerial shots and tight POV shots captured the speeding convoy of black Chevy Tahoe trucks through the narrow streets of Juarez
  • the tense border crossing shoot-out scene at Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, on the crowded, grid-locked highway leading to the Bridge of the Americas, when principled FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) and a group of US Marshals and Delta Force soldiers were involved in an operation to extradite a leading Sonora drug cartel member, Guillermo Diaz (Edgar Arreola) back into the US; the attempted ambush by other cartel members in numerous other cars to rescue the prisoner failed when they were killed; as Kate watched the bloody slaughter, she asked herself: "What the f--k are we doing?" and she heard: "This is going to be on the front page of every newspaper in America"

Sideways (2004)

In director Alexander Payne's insightful comedy adapted from Rex Pickett's novel:

  • the Santa Ynez Valley wine country soul-searching road-trip of two middle-aged characters:
    - depressed and failed novel writer, San Diego English teacher and wine enthusiast Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti)
    - ex-soap star lothario Jack (Thomas Haden Church) and about-to-be-married
  • their encounters with Hitching Post waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen) and single mother Stephanie (Sandra Oh)
  • the scene of shared wine passion in which Miles explained to Maya how he viewed himself as a pinot noir: ("It's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early...Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression") and her extolling of wine for its evolving nature: ("...I like how wine continues to evolve. Like, if I opened a bottle of wine today, it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day. Because a bottle of wine is actually alive and it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline. Hmm. And it tastes so f--king good")
  • the hilarious scene of Miles' retrieval of Jack's wallet in the bedroom of his latest conquest - a married woman: ("My friend was the one balling your wife")
  • the last lines of the film - Maya's answering machine message: ("Don't give up, Miles. Keep writing. I hope you're well. Bye") listened to by Miles - followed by the poignant shot of Miles -- after having driven back to the Valley -- knocking on Maya's door

The Sign of the Cross (1932)

In director Cecil B. DeMille's spectacular, pre-censorship epic:

  • the display of Rome's sins and depravities (homosexuality, orgies, nudity, and murder) in multiple ways and memorable scenes
  • debauched Emperor Nero's (Charles Laughton in his first American film) wicked mistress Empress Poppaea (Claudette Colbert) bathing unabashedly in asses’ milk
  • the attempted corruptive seduction scene of virginal, blonde Christian Mercia (Elissa Landi) by Ancaria (Joyzelle Joyner) with a lesbian-tinged dance of the "Naked Moon" that visibly aroused its audience
  • the scenes of semi-naked women condemned to slaughter in the Arena while Nero watched distractedly from the side, including:
    - one rope-stretched screaming female victim awaiting hissing crocodiles
    - and another flower-garlanded-tied nude female Christian martyr awaiting death in a Roman arena from a devouring silverback gorilla

Signs (2002)

In M. Night Shyamalan's scary horror film about alien visitation:

  • the awesome opening scene of ex-Bucks County Pennsylvania "father" and emotionally-wounded widower Rev. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) awakening to find his two dazed children Morgan and Bo (Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin) in their cornfield looking at huge crop circles, with Morgan's thought: "I think God did it"
  • the scene around the dinner table with Graham's anger about prayer ("I am not wasting one more minute of my life on prayer") followed by the family's hug
  • Graham's speech about two kinds of reactions to an experience: ("See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?")
  • the scene of CNN news footage from a Brazilian children's birthday party, showing home video footage of a brief shot of a green alien walking past an alley, with horrified younger brother Merrill Hess' (Joaquin Phoenix) urgent warning shouted at the TV to the birthday party children: "Move children!! Vaminos!!"
  • the scene of the blocked kitchen pantry in neighbor Ray Reddy's (director Shyamalan) house, where Graham discovered a trapped giant alien - when he bent down, knelt, and tried to look under the pantry door (using the reflection of a shiny, large butcher knife). On a second attempt, the alien grabbed at him. He used the knife to cut off two protruding fingers on the alien's clawed hand reaching out from the underside of the closed door - causing the trapped creature to let out a high-pitched, blood-curdling scream.
  • Bo's calmly-delivered line in the dark basement: "There's a monster outside my room, can I have a glass of water?"
  • the final climax when a tall greenish, gas-expelling alien broke into the Hess household and put the weak and asthmatic Morgan at risk - but was killed by dousings with glasses of water (acting like acid on the alien), and swings of Merrill's baseball bat! ("Swing away, Merrill. Merrill... swing away")

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

In Jonathan Demme's Best Picture winning film:

  • the tense scene of FBI trainee agent Clarice Starling's (Oscar-winning Jodie Foster) walk along a row of underground Baltimore prison cells (and her abuse by prisoner Miggs (Stuart Rudin))
  • her first meeting with the chilling, repellent, super-intelligent, cold-eyed and intriguing Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter (Oscar-winning Anthony Hopkins) - who stood there with his head tilted and then requested that she come "Clos-er" to show her credentials
  • the serial killer Lecter's famous lines: "Memory, Agent Starling, is what I have, instead of a view" - "You use Evian skin cream and sometimes you wear L'air du Temps - but not today" - "You're so-o ambitious, aren't you? You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube..."
  • the infamous description given by Lecter about his refined taste in cruelty - with the sound effect of sifting through his teeth: "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chi-an-ti" - fpt-fpt-fpt''
  • the many scenes of their intense, seductive discussions-interrogations at his jail cell - including her confession about failing to rescue a lamb from the slaughter - as the camera moved in for intense close-ups
  • the scene in which Lecter lunged at Sgt. Pembry (Alex Coleman) with bloody, face-eating cannibalism, then savagely beat Sgt. Boyle (Charles Napier) to death with a police riot baton, and relaxed afterwards to Bach's Goldberg Variations
  • the image of Lecter's muzzled restraint with a face mask
  • Clarice's entry into the home of the serial killer Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb (Ted Levine) and stalking from Bill's POV with night-goggles
  • Lecter's curtain-closing phone call to Clarice with his final words about literally dining 'with' Dr. Chilton - and his disguised stroll wearing a Panama hat into a crowded Caribbean town's street: ("I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner")

Silver Lode (1954)

In director Allan Dwan's taut and suspenseful, Technicolored psychological low-budget western - a 'guilt-by-suspicion' allegorical film masking as a criticism of the McCarthy era (and close in theme to High Noon (1952)):

  • set during a July 4th celebration in a frontier town of Silver Lode - the character of respected wealthy rancher/citizen and town sheriff Dan Ballard (John Payne) (a reformed, ex-outlaw), who had his Fourth of July wedding to wealthy and pretty fiancee Rose Evans (Lizabeth Scott) interrupted by the ominous arrival of four men from the town of Discovery, California; the group of deputies, led by accusatory and vengeful blonde Fred McCarty (Dan Duryea) (the name was a clear reference to Sen. Joseph McCarthy), claimed they were US marshals on a manhunt with a warrant to arrest him for the murder of Ned's brother and the robbery of $20,000 a few years earlier
  • the fickle townsfolk began to express disloyalty as wrongly-accused Ballard stalled the proceedings to track down evidence to clear his name and prove his innocence; the only two townspeople left that believed persecuted Ballard were Rose and his brazen ex-mistress/saloon dancer-singer Dolly (Dolores Moran) in a bright purple dress
  • the film's masterful tracking shot that followed Ballard running across town and down Main Street (ironically through 4th of July "Independence Day" decorations, and at one point along a white picket fence) to find sanctuary in the town's church
  • the tense scene in the telegraph office, after Dolly and Rose had persuaded telegrapher Paul Herbert (Frank Sully) to send a message to receive a verification and confirmation of McCarty's identity, although transmissions failed - it appeared to be down (deliberately cut by McCarty); then, Ballard's bride-to-be forced Herbert to forge a phony telegram response (due to sabotage of the wires) showing that McCarty's credentials had been falsified: ("McCarty not what he represents himself to be. Wanted for murder and cattle rustling. Dan Ballard innocent of charge") - to exonerate Ballard and proclaim his innocence
  • simultaneously, the climactic confrontational showdown scene high up in the church belltower - when the cornered, defenseless and wounded Ballard was hiding on one side of the 'liberty' bell, while evil, gun-shooting antagonist McCarty was firing at him from the other side; miraculously Ballard was saved ("an act of God") -- literally, when McCarty's own bullet ricocheted off the giant swinging church bell, and he was struck in the heart by his own deflected bullet
  • the concluding sequence - the reprieved and saved Ballard angrily told the townsfolk: "You're sorry. A moment ago, you wanted to kill me, and you forced me to kill, to defend myself, to save my own life. You wouldn't believe me. You wouldn't believe what I said. A man's life can hang in the balance on a piece of paper. And you're sorry!"
  • the epilogue: the eventual truthful clearing of Ballard's name and confirmation of innocence, with the receipt of a real telegram: ("Fred McCarty wanted. Murder and Rustling. US Marshal on way to Silver Lode"); Dolly exclaimed "Hallelujah!" and ran from the office with the news - seen in a stationary shot through the Telegraph Office's window as she raced far into the distance down Main Street

Sin City (2005)

In director Robert Rodriguez' violent (cannibalism, dismemberment, mutilation, castration and more!), bloody and stylistic noirish monochromatic (with splashes of color) representation of Frank Miller's graphic novels:

  • the overlapping, cross-cut hard-boiled stories set in dark and rain-slick Basin City
  • the opening of a doomed, red dress-wearing dame standing on a terrace high above the cold, teeming city - to be kissed and killed by The Man (Josh Hartnett)
  • the first tale of disgraced, heart-failing cop John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) saving young girl Nancy (later growing up to be exotic dancer Jessica Alba) from depraved pedophile Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl)
  • the sensational character of tough ex-con, Frankenstein-like street fighter Marv (Mickey Rourke) seeking revenge against psycho-serial killer Kevin (Elijah Wood) for the death of blonde hooker Goldie (Jaime King)

Since You Went Away (1944)

In director John Cromwell's family war drama - based on Margaret Buell Wilder's bestselling novel:

  • the beautifully filmed, heart-rending parting scene at the train station, filmed from the point of view of the departing soldier William Smollett (Robert Walker) leaving on the moving train
  • the view of his girlfriend Jane (Jennifer Jones) running alongside the train and dodging large structural supports, as she cried out: "I love you darling!"

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

In Gene Kelly's and Stanley Donen's and MGM's classic film musical - a perfect example of an organic, 'integrated musical' in which the story's characters naturally expressed their emotions in the midst of their lives, with song and dance replacing the dialogue:

  • the three stars in the opening credits dancing in bold yellow raincoats and singing the title song "Singin' in the Rain"
  • the shrill, nasal-voiced silent star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen)
  • Cosmo Brown's (Donald O'Connor) acrobatic musical number "Make 'Em Laugh"
  • silent film hero Don Lockwood's (Gene Kelly) and ingenue Kathy Selden's (Debbie Reynolds) fabulous love duet/dance "You Were Meant For Me" on an empty sound stage
  • Lina's disastrous attempts to speak into a concealed microphone
  • the theatre preview of The Dueling Cavalier when the sound went out of synch
  • the marvelously upbeat production number "Good Morning"
  • Don's unforgettable, classic, joyous, lovestruck rain dance scene in a downpour by passing by shop windows, splashing through puddles, and standing on a streetlamp; he was in love and exuberantly singing the title song "Singin' in the Rain" with his trusty umbrella; it included the policeman's quizzical look after Don tipped his hat
  • the long "Broadway Melody Ballet" with guest dance artist Cyd Charisse
  • the final sequence revealing Kathy's voice substituting for Lina's and Don from the stage shouting "Stop that girl" and expressing his love to her back on stage
  • and afterwards, their hugging in front of a billboard announcing their new starring roles

(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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