Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



S (continued)

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, commits 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) believes he's a white supremacist Klan member with a white hood - and foments an attack on another black inmate
  • the scene of the attack on Barrett in the nympho ward

Short Cuts (1993)

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

  • the exhilarating opening scene with images of helicopters dumping insecticide to kill medflys onto Los Angeles neighborhoods
  • the film's fluid interweaving and overlapping of the tragicomic stories/lives of twenty-two characters, including:
    - a mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who engages in phone sex while diapering her baby
    - a jealous surgeon (Matthew Modine) and redheaded faithless wife (Julianne Moore - while naked from the waist down - confessing her infidelity to her husband as she blow-dries her dress)
    - a couple (Bruce Davison, Andie MacDowell) whose son - on his birthday - is run down by an automobile
    - the hit-run waitress (Lily Tomlin) who is married to an abusive drunk (Tom Waits)
    - a sinister and lonely baker (Lyle Lovett) who makes nasty and anonymous phone calls
    - fishing buddies (Fred Ward, Buck Henry, and Huey Lewis) who find a dead girl's body floating lifeless near their campsite
    - an ex-husband (Peter Gallagher) who uses a chain-saw to divide things up in his ex-wife's house

A Shot in the Dark (1964)

In Blake Edwards' comedy:

  • bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau's (Peter Sellers) innumerable attempts to bed suspected murderess and French chambermaid Maria Gambrelli (Elke Sommer) ("I suspect everyone, and I suspect no one")
  • an untimely interruption from judo-attacking aide Kato (Burt Kwouk)
  • Clouseau's exasperated and bug-eyed Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus' (Herbert Lom) line: "Give me ten men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world!")
  • Clouseau's struggle with the game of billiards using a curved cue stick
  • his duel with an uncooperative cue rack
  • the visit of Clouseau and Maria to Camp Sunshine - a nudist resort and their unclothed drive through the crowded streets of Paris

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, but 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):

  • the film 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
  • its controversial content - loaded with very frequent nudity, sexuality, notorious dialogue, and campy sleaze in a drama about the sex industry - an uncensored look at the show-biz world Las Vegas strip clubs and shows
  • the sequences of topless pole-clinging dancing at the Cheetah and higher-class hotel shows and their headliner dancers at the Stardust in Las Vegas
  • the love-hate relationship between bi-sexual "Goddess" headliner Cristal Conners (Gina Gershon) and Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) and their unbelievable dialogue (Cristal: "You've got nice tits. I like nice tits." Nomi: "I like having nice tits")
  • the bare-breasted "Chorus Line" audition sequence
  • Nomi's extended lap dance sequence
  • her orgasmic thrashing romp in the pool with the Stardust Hotel's talent director Zack Carey (Kyle MacLachlan)

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)
  • the character of surly, sarcastic, wisecracking, Scottish-accented green, smelly but affable ogre Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) in his swamp home
  • Shrek's love/hate relationship with the faithful, talkative, annoying tag-a-long Donkey (voice of Eddie Murphy)
  • the opening mud bath taken by Shrek
  • Shrek's rescue of the pouty, fiercely independent Princess Fiona (voice of Cameron Diaz) on a mission to save her from a fire-breathing Dragon for the nefarious, narcissistic midget Lord Farquaad (voice of John Lithgow) - who has banished fairy tale characters into exile
  • Donkey's romance with the female Dragon
  • the many one-liners and fairy tale references
  • 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
  • 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, how Fiona remained an ogre permanently -- love's true form
  • also the celebratory party finale in which Donkey and the other fairy tale characters sing 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 finds 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," a bouncy parody of "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • her 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!")
  • 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))

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)
    - about-to-be-married ex-soap star lothario Jack (Thomas Haden Church)
  • their encounters with Hitching Post waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen) and single mother Stephanie (Sandra Oh)
  • the scene of shared wine passion in which Miles explains to Maya how he views 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 ("'s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline")
  • 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 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 stands there with his head tilted and then requests 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..." - and the one 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 moves 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 psychological western:

  • the July 4th bell-tower scene in which respected citizen Dan Ballard (John Payne), wrongly-accused of murder and taking $20,000, is saved -- literally, by a church bell (on the other side is gun-shooting Ned McCarthy (Dan Duryea)) and by bride-to-be Rose Evans (Lizabeth Scott) who forges a telegram to proclaim his innocence - a metaphoric re-enactment of the McCarthy era of blacklisting
  • the reprieved and saved Ballard angrily telling the townsfolk: "A moment ago, you wanted to kill me...You wouldn't believe what I said. A man's life can hang in the balance on a piece of paper"

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 cries out: "I love you darling!"

Singin' In The Rain (1952)

In Gene Kelly's and Stanley Donen's classic film musical:

  • the three stars in the opening credits dancing in bold yellow raincoats
  • 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 goes out of synch
  • the marvelously upbeat production number "Good Morning"
  • Don's unforgettable, classic, joyous, lovestruck rain dance scene in a downpour while in love and exuberantly singing the title song - including the policeman's quizzical look after he tips 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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