Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



T (continued)

True Romance (1993)

In director Tony Scott's action 'lovers-on-the-run' crime film (with a script by Quentin Tarantino - his first):

  • the sexy couple: comic shop assistant and Elvis-worshipping Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) and his call girl newlywed wife Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) - and their flight to Los Angeles to sell cocaine stolen from Alabama's pimp and former boyfriend Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman) after killing him
  • the harrowing scene of Virgil (James Gandolfini) beating up Alabama at the Safari Inn and her retaliation with a shotgun
  • the confrontational face-off 'Sicilian scene' of verbal sparring between alcoholic ex-security cop Clifford Worley (Dennis Hopper), Clarence's father, and debonair mobster Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken); after being punched and having his hand slashed open - Clifford provokes and insults the gangster regarding his Sicilian heritage: ("Sicilians were spawned by niggers...your ancestors are're part eggplant")
  • Vincenzo's retort ("You're a cantaloupe") and other non-PC epithets - causing laughter and the unloading of a gun into his head
  • the final slow-motion shoot-out scene in the Beverly Ambassador Hotel with flying pillow feathers, white powder and bodies

Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991, UK)

In director Anthony Minghella's romantic ghost fantasy:

  • the scene of cellist Jamie (Alan Rickman) - the ghost of pianist Nina's (Juliet Stevenson) lover after an untimely death, returning to the London apartment of the bereaved - and revealing himself and resuming their relationship ("I didn't die properly. Maybe that's why I can come back")
  • the scene of their lengthy proclamation of their love for each other: Nina: "I love you." Jamie: "I love you." Nina: "I really love you." Jamie: "I really, truly love you." Nina: "I really, truly, madly love you." Jamie: "I really, truly, madly, deeply love you." Nina: "I really, truly, madly, deeply, passionately love you." Jamie: "I really, truly, madly, deeply, passionately, remarkably love you." Nina: "I really, truly, madly, deeply, passionately, remarkably, uhmm... deliciously love you." Jamie: "I really, truly, madly, passionately, remarkably, deliciously... juicily love you...." Nina: "Deeply! Deeply! You passed on deeply, which was your word, which means that you couldn't have meant it! So you're a fraud, that's it!...(They hug) You're probably a figment of my imagination. (pause) Juicily?"
  • their song duet (he played on his cello, and then joined her on the piano) of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore"
  • his recitation to Nina of Pablo Neruda's Spanish poem La Muerta (which she translates line by line from Spanish to English) when she is about ready to move on from him: "Forgive me...If you are not living...If you, beloved, my love, if you have died... All the leaves will fall on my breast... It will rain on my soul all night, all day... My feet will want to march to where you are sleeping... But I shall go on living." Jamie then asks: "Do you want me to go?" She hugs him tightly: "No, never, never, never."
  • the scene in which Jamie's fellow ghosts come to him and ask if Nina is ready to move on to a new relationship - with art therapist-psychologist Mark (Michael Maloney). One asks: "Well?", and Jamie responds: "I think so. Yes." The ghosts watch from her upstairs apartment window as Nina leaves for good to be with Mark from now on

The Truman Show (1998)

In director Peter Weir's existentialist, biting social satire about reality TV:

  • the premise of the prophetic, thought-provoking story that a person - a good-natured insurance adjuster named Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) - was adopted by a TV network to film his entire life 24 hours a day without his knowledge over a period of 30 years ("An entire human life recorded on an intricate network of hidden cameras, and broadcast live and unedited, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to an audience around the globe")
  • the massive town-film set called Seahaven Island ("enclosed in the largest studio ever of only two man-made structures visible from space")
  • the manipulation of the title star Burbank's life by the megalomaniac network owner/producer Christof (Oscar-nominated Ed Harris) - who delivers an opening speech about the world being bored by fake human emotions while expounding the virtues of Truman TV ("We've become bored with watching actors give us phony emotions. We're tired of pyrotechnics and special effects. While the world he inhabits is, in some respects, counterfeit, there's nothing fake about Truman himself")
  • the fake opening credits for the show itself (Truman Burbank as himself, created by Christof, Hannah Gill as meryl, etc.)
  • Truman's happy catchphrase: "Good morning...Oh, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!"
  • the magical moment when Truman begins to realize the world revolves around his actions - stopping traffic with a wave of his hand
  • Truman's attempt to escape via sailboat (Santa Maria) and Christof summoning a torrential storm to try to prevent it (nearly drowning Truman)
  • the moment that Truman reaches the edge of the fabricated, enclosed set
  • the allegorical scene in which Christof speaks to Truman with a "voice of God" speech, identifying himself: "I am the creator of a television show that gives hope and joy and inspiration to millions"
  • Truman's rejection of Christof's plea to remain in the artificial world (where he had "nothing to fear" - "You belong here with me") rather than venturing into the real world (with "the same lies, the same deceit")
  • in the conclusion, Truman's beatific smile at the camera, sarcastic utterance of his cheerful catchphrase: "In case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" and a deep farewell bow before exiting from the massive set through the stage door to freedom (to the sounds of Philip Glass' stirring "The Opening from Mishima") and a new existence
  • after TV's Truman Show ceased transmission, two chubby, pizza-eating security guards conversed together about changing the channel (- "What else is on?" - "Yeah, let's see what else is on?" - "Where's the TV Guide?")

12 Angry Men (1957)

In director Sidney Lumet's excellent courtroom drama:

  • the dramatic debate scenes within a swelteringly-hot New York City jury room among twelve jurors
  • the sequence of their preliminary vote on the fate of a Puerto Rican boy charged with first degree murder - when rational Juror # 8 (Henry Fonda) is the only one to vote not guilty and Juror # 10 (Ed Begley) mutters: "Boy oh boy, there's always one"
  • the discussion about the switchblades when Juror # 8 plunges a switchblade knife (identical to the murder weapon) into the juror's long table to destroy the basis of the prosecution's case and cast doubt in the jurors' minds
  • the angry outbursts toward the film's end by Juror # 3 (Lee J. Cobb) and Juror # 8's questioning of his personal attitudes: "Are you his executioner?"

12 Monkeys (1995) (aka Twelve Monkeys)

In director Terry Gilliam's sci-fi fantasy about time travel and a devastating plague (a remake of Chris Marker's short film La Jetée/The Pier (1962, Fr.)):

  • the key scene in the film - the recurring obsessive nightmarish dream that haunts delusional, time-traveling convict and asylum inmate James 'Jim' Cole (Bruce Willis) of himself as a young boy (Joseph Melito) seeing a man in an airport gunned down by police, and then raising his bloody hand up to the face a grieving blonde woman - a childhood memory whose meaning is not understood even though it replays itself endlessly
  • the dystopic 1996-1997 snow-covered, plague-ridden Philadelphia, overrun with wild animals (bears, lions, etc.)
  • Brad Pitt's memorable Oscar-nominated role as insane animal activist Jeffrey Goines whose radical group "The Army of the 12 Monkeys" was not the cause of the worldwide plague that killed five billion people and made Earth unlivable
  • the scene in which psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) realizes Cole is telling the truth, when she sees him in an old World War I photograph (after removing an antique bullet from a leg wound) from her book research - and then fell in love with him
  • the transcendent scene when "the 12 Monkeys" released all the animals out of Philadelphia's Garden Zoological Society
  • the ending in which it is revealed that young Cole's dream-memory was actually him witnessing his own death (with the blonde woman being Kathryn)
  • the film's brilliant use of performer Louis Armstrong's singing "What A Wonderful World" during the end credits

12 Years a Slave (2013)

In Steve McQueen's Best Picture-winning historical dramatization based upon the account of a freed black who was returned to slavery in the 1840s-50s:

  • the devastating, torturous scene of the beating of the bare back of black slave Patsey (Oscar-winning Lupita Nyong'o), when cruel slave owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) forced another slave, Platt/Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to whip her; at first, Epps told Patsey: ("You done this to yourself, Pats"), and then Mistress Epps (Sarah Paulson) spurred him on: ("Do it. Strike the life from her"); not able to whip her himself, Epps ordered Platt to take his place: ("Beat her. Give her the whip! Give it all to her! Platt, you come here and you beat her now. Platt! Come here!...You strike her. Strike her!"); but then, Mistress Epps complained that Platt wasn't striking her hard enough: ("He pantomimes. There's barely a welt on her. That's what your all niggers make of you... a fool for the takin'); Epps became angered and held a gun to Platt's head: ("Strike her, Platt. Strike her! You will strike her. You will strike her until her flesh is rent and meat and blood flow equal... or I will kill every nigger in my sight. You understand me? Strike her! Strike her! Until I say no more. I ain't said nothin'"); then, Epps grabbed the whip and whipped Patsey himself, until she ceased struggling and responding, and her back was terribly lacerated, literally flayed, and the lash was wet with blood. Platt yelled out to Epps: ("Thou devil! Sooner or later, somewhere in the course of eternal justice thou shalt answer for this sin!"). Epps replied: ("No sin! There is no sin! A man does how he pleases with his property. At the moment, Platt, I am of great pleasure. You be goddamn careful I don't come to wantin' to lightenin' my mood no further")

Twentieth Century (1934)

In Howard Hawks' first screwball comedy:

  • the blustery, self-parodying performance of John Barrymore as theatre director Oscar Jaffe ("OJ") and his Pygmalion-like transformation of showgirl Mildred Plotka (Carole Lombard) into an accomplished serious actress and stage leading lady newly named Lily Garland by alternating humiliation (at one point, pointedly chalking lines on the set to stress where her marks are) and relentlessly engaging in long rehearsals with encouragement and devotion
  • their stormy relationship that leads to their breakup and her moving to Hollywood to become a star
  • Jaffe's repeated line: "I close the iron door on you!"
  • the many attempts by Jaffe to get Lily to sign a theatre contract with him while both are riding the Twentieth Century cross-country passenger train, finally succeeding by pretending to be dying of a heart attack

25th Hour (2002)

In director Spike Lee's emotional drama:

  • Brooklyn drug dealer Monty Brogan's (Edward Norton) profanity-rich restroom bathroom mirror monologue - a rant against everybody and everything in his environment: ("F--k me? F--k you! F--k you and this whole city and everyone in it. F--k the panhandlers, grubbing for money, and smiling at me behind my back. F--k squeegee men dirtying up the clean windshield of my car. Get a f--king job. F--k the Sikhs and the Pakistanis bombing down the avenues in decrepit cabs, curry steaming out their pores and stinking up my day...")

28 Days Later (2002)

In director Danny Boyle's zombie film:

  • the opening scene in which bicycle courier Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes from a coma and wanders out to find London completely deserted and evacuated, with haunting views of a virus-ravaged landscape
  • the many attack scenes: in a church by an infected zombie priest (when a cross doesn't repel the living dead), in a tunnel after getting a flat tire, and by a soldier zombie in the house

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

In Disney's and director Richard Fleischer's live-action interpretation of the 1868 Jules Verne fantasy-adventure and sci-fi novel, with Academy Award-winning production design:

  • the character of Captain Nemo (James Mason) - the war-hating commander of the atomic submarine Nautilus (with its large windows looking out underwater)
  • the memorable battle with the giant squid

Twilight (2008)

In director Catherine Hardwicke's erotic vampire blockbuster (the adaptation of the first volume of Stephenie Meyer's vampire-romance saga, a four-book series about burgeoning teenage sexuality):

  • the strained, teenaged love relationship - one of dangerous attraction - between pale, intrigued and mesmerized 17 year-old new-girl-in-school Isabella ("Bella") Swan (Kristen Stewart) and handsome, icy-to-touch, mysterious immortal vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson)
  • her first view of him in the Forks, Washington High School cafeteria
  • his rescue of her from being crushed by a runaway van in the school parking lot
  • their many smoldering, staring encounters and intense conversations together without consummating their love (in school, in the woods, in a restaurant, in her bedroom) highlighted by a few quotes: Edward: "I can read every mind in this room. Apart from yours," "Your scent, it's like a drug to me. You're like my own personal brand of heroin," Bella: "I'm not afraid of you, I'm only afraid of losing you"
  • her holding onto his back when he whisked up the mountain to view his sparkling diamond-like skin in the sunlight, and later took her to the tree tops above his home: "You better hold on tight, spider monkey"
  • Bella's voice-over statement about him after Edward had revealed himself as a vampire in the woods: "About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him - and I didn't know how dominant that part might be - that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him" - after which she saw him standing outside her bedroom window
  • the scene at the home of the incestuous Cullen vampire family ("Here comes the human...")
  • Edward's saving of Bella from dying and becoming a vampire by sucking venom from a wrist bite caused by a bloodsucking vampire thug (Cam Gigandet) - he was cautioned by his father Carlisle to stop before killing her: ("Edward, stop. Her blood is clean. You're killing her. Edward, stop. Find the will")
  • the final scene of the couple dancing at the high school prom under an outdoor gazebo, where Bella professed her dying love for him, surrendered her neck to him, and they kissed: (Bella: "I dream about being with you forever..." Edward: "Is it not enough just to have a long and happy life with me?" Bella: "Yeah. For now. (voice-over) No one will surrender tonight, but I won't give in. I know what I want")

Twister (1996)

In director Jan de Bont's blockbuster action disaster film:

  • the sight of a cow being hurled through the air in the spectacular computer-generated special-effects within the film about thrill-seeking storm chasers

The Two Jakes (1990)

In the mystery film - a sequel to the original film Chinatown (1974):

  • the scene in which post-war LA private detective J.J. "Jake" Gittes (Jack Nicholson) (specializing in infidelity cases) is startled (he is awakened from sleep when a power blackout ends) when he hears the name of Katherine Mulwray (from a case in his past from the original film Chinatown (1974)) on a tape recording made during a motel tryst in Redondo Beach between unfaithful Kitty Berman (Meg Tilly) and Mark Bodine (John Hackett)
  • "Jake" hears her name in a conversation between the two cheaters just before Bodine is killed by Jake's client
  • the killer - identified as Kitty's jealous husband and as the second "Jake" Berman (Harvey Keitel) from the film's title, the victim's real estate development business partner at B&B Homes!
  • Jake's encounter with emotional, crude and widowed femme fatale Lillian Bodine (Madeleine Stowe) in a pink angora sweater, who frantically protests at first: "Don't make me do it, don't make me do it..." then allows herself to be seduced in order to hear the tape recording: "Oh, you're gonna make me do it, aren't ya? You're gonna make me!"
  • Jake's tired, bitter response before having sex with her: "Honestly, I'm tryin' to be a gentleman about this. Now just, get down on your knees, stick your ass up in the air, and don't move 'til I tell ya"
  • Jake's violent responses to taunting Detective Lt. Loach (Brian Keith) (the son of the man that had tragically killed Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), the mother of Katherine Mulwray and Jake's former lover in the original film) - when Jake forces him to perform fellatio on his cocked gun ("Suck it!"), causing Loach to urinate in his pants
  • the two revelations: (1) Bodine was blackmailing Kitty about her real identity (she was Katherine Mulwray) by forcing her to sign over mineral rights to the land where B&B Homes was building tract homes in a San Fernando Valley subdivision, and (2) the terminal illness (of syphilis and cancer) that Jake Berman was suffering - causing him to blow himself up by lighting a cigarette in the volatile, natural gas-filled environment of the subdivision after a shaky earthquake
  • the closing dialogue between Kitty and Gittes as she left his office: "Katherine!... It [the past] never goes away." (Jake's belated answer to her earlier question: "Does it ever go away, the past?")

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

In Monte Hellman's road movie:

  • the scene in a small Flagstaff, Arizona cafe when two road freaks: the Driver (James Taylor, the singer) and the Mechanic (Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys), sit in the foreground and an unidentified teenaged hippie Girl (Laurie Bird) leaves her psychedelic van and gets into the back of their parked '55 Chevy outside in the background (to the tune of "Hit the Road Jack") - to tag-along with them with no questions asked
  • the playing of Kris Kristofferson's Me and Bobby McGee
  • the final image of the film (a race down another two-lane blacktop) freeze-framing and then burning within the stalled projector - and turning to complete blackness (followed by the credits - white letters on a black background)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

In Stanley Kubrick's influential and awesome, genre-defying sci-fi masterpiece:

  • the introductory imagery of a heavenly alignment (of the sun and moon) to the thrilling bold chords of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra
  • the opening "Dawn of Man" episode with the man-apes' tableaux scenes and their first confrontation with the mysterious black monolith
  • the marvelous, seamless transition/edit of a deflected, flying skeleton bone-weapon from an ape-man - in slow-motion - turning into a futuristic, earth-orbiting space satellite
  • the black, immense quiet and visual, weightless spendor of outer space and the slow docking scene of the Pan-Am space shuttle with the space station to the accompaniment of Johann Strauss' waltz Blue Danube (while the passenger on the shuttle sleeps)
  • the sequence of the viewing (and touching) of the brightly-lit, humming monolith in an excavation pit on the Moon
  • the presence of the omniscient but faulty HAL 9000 computer (voice of Douglas Rain)
  • the set of the circular habitat of the crew in the spaceship
  • the great scene of the HAL 9000 computer malevolently eavesdropping by reading the lips of the astronauts as they privately speak to each other in a space pod
  • astronaut David Bowman's (Keir Dullea) frantic attempts to re-enter the spaceship ("Open the pod bay doors, HAL")
  • HAL's methodical murder of the hibernating crew members
  • the slow de-braining and disconnecting of the computer as Bowman removes memory modules while HAL calmly responds ("I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it")
  • HAL's child-like singing of "Daisy" as his 'mind' deteriorates
  • the ultimate light-show trip through space ("the Stargate") toward Jupiter and into another dimension
  • the final enigmatic scene of Bowman aging in a Victorian bedroom somewhere beyond Jupiter
  • and the image of the birth of the ambiguous Star Child

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

In Peter Hyam's sequel to Kubrick's classic:

  • Dave Bowman's (Keir Dullea) last words: "My God, it's full of stars!"
  • the rough slingshot around Jupiter
  • HAL 9000's (voice of Douglas Rain) reactivation
  • Dr. Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider) and Dr. Walter Kurnow's (John Lithgow) discussion of ball park hot dogs: ("...Yankee Stadium. September. The hot dogs have been broiling since opening day in April. Now that's a hot dog")
  • the scene on Earth, in which the ghost (an incorporeal being) of astronaut David Bowman visits his former wife Betty Fernandez (Mary Jo Deschanel) - now remarried. he appears on her television screen to check on her and say good-bye for one last time: ("I remember Dave Bowman and everything about him...All Dave Bowman really was is still a part of me...Something's gonna happen and I wanted to say goodbye...something wonderful")
  • Bowman's ethereal appearances, and his conversation with Floyd about "Something wonderful"
  • Dr. Chandra (Bob Balaban) telling HAL 9000 that it must be sacrificed to save the crew (and HAL's quiet, dignified acceptance of his fate and thanks: "I understand now, Dr. Chandra...Thank you for telling me the truth" - and Chandra's response and farewell: "You deserve it...Thank you, HAL")
  • HAL 9000's final conversation with Bowman before Jupiter implodes and the Discovery is destroyed (HAL: "I'm afraid" - Dave: "Don't be. We'll be together")
  • Floyd's final speech about the second star in the sky and his dreams of interplanetary friendship ("Someday, the children of the new sun will meet the children of the old. I think they will be our friends")
  • the final evocative shot of the Monolith in a primordial jungle on Europa as Richard Strauss' Thus Spake Zarasthustra plays

Two Women (1960, It.) (aka La Ciociara)

In writer/director Vittorio De Sica's sub-titled Italian film:

  • Sophia Loren's sole Oscar-winning role as Cesira - the widowed and tormented shopkeeper mother of 13-year-old teenaged daughter Rosetta (Eleanora Brown) who she vainly tries to protect in war-torn Italy during World War II in the dark war year of 1943
  • in the Italian countryside during the taking of Rome, their long trek back on foot when they are almost run over by a column of allied Moroccans in jeeps amid ogling and catcalls
  • the film's most horrifying, traumatic and memorable scene - the two are forced to survive during an overnight beating and brutal gang rape by a platoon of retreating Moroccans in a bombed-out church

(alphabetical by film title)

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