Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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The Wages of Fear (1953, Fr/It.) (aka Le Salaire de la Peur)

In director Henri-Georges Clouzot's suspenseful adventure thriller:

  • the depiction of the treacherous, death-defying mission by truck driver Mario (Yves Montand) and three others (for $2,000 wages) of driving two trucks with highly-explosive nitroglycerine across rough terrain and a tightly-angled road (with a rotting wooden back-up platform) in Central America - to put out an oil well fire 300 miles away

Wait Until Dark (1967)

In this classic claustrophobic thriller by director Terence Young:

  • the shocking discovery of the dead body of Lisa (Samantha Jones) in a garment bag in a closet by amiable thug Mike Talman (Richard Crenna)
  • the relentless search for the rag-doll with drugs inside
  • the final battle of wits showdown in complete darkness between blind Susy Hendrix (Oscar-nominated Audrey Hepburn) ("the world's champion blind lady") and crazed and villainous Roat (Alan Arkin)
  • her dousing of him with gasoline after asking: "Mr. Roat, are you looking at me?"
  • the exciting moment in which the knife-wielding, wounded killer jumps out of the dark
  • Susy's outwitting of him by hiding behind the refrigerator door and pulling the plug - with her slow emergence as the survivor



Waking Life (2001)

In Richard Linklater's innovative, digitally shot, computer rotoscope-animated dreamy, existential, and spiritual cult classic:

  • the many intelligent, explorative and surreal speeches on dreams, reality, the universe, life and death -- faced by 'The Dreamer' (Wiley Wiggins) and other lead characters including Celine and Jesse (Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke from Before Sunrise (1995)) - who discuss reincarnation
  • various segments include Steven Soderbergh's (Himself) interview on TV about an encounter between directors Louis Malle and Billy Wilder
  • the idea that there's a similarity between sleep and death ("Doesn't it make sense that death, too, would be wrapped in a dream...except that, in the post-mortal state, you could never again wake up...")
  • Timothy ' Speed' Levitch's (Himself) rambling, spellbinding speech about identity and reality ("...And so many think because then happened, now isn't. But didn't I mention? The ongoing WOW is happening right NOW...")
  • the Pinball Playing Guy's (director Richard Linklater) long, sublime speech about existence and God ("Behind the phenomenal difference there is but one story, and that's the story of moving from the 'No' to the 'Yes.' All of life is like, 'No thank you, No thank you, No thank you.' And then, ultimately, it's, 'Yes I give in, Yes I accept, Yes I embrace.'") and his advice to The Dreamer ("If you can wake up, you should, 'cause someday you won't be able to, so just um...but it's easy....just wake up")
  • the wonderfully ambiguous ending in which the Dreamer floats into the sky, never to return (is he waking up? is he dead?)



Waking Ned Devine (1998) (aka Waking Ned)

In director Kirk Jones' charming, Irish working-class comedy:

  • the aftermath of the death of Ned Devine (Jimmy Keogh), an Irishman in the small village of Tullymore who instantly died of shock after learning that he had won the Irish National Lottery worth almost 6.9 million Irish pounds - and was still holding the winning signed ticket in his hand
  • two old friends Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly), believing that they were respecting Ned's generous wishes, plotted to claim the lotto prize money and split the winnings (130,000 pounds) with all 52 residents of the small town
  • after Ned died and his body was discovered, Jackie exclaimed: "Dear God. You'll be cursing in heaven tonight, Ned Devine," and dreamed of taking a boat ride with Ned and befriending him with a chicken dinner as he entered into the golden light of heaven, while Ned reassured ("The tide will bring us there safely")
  • the scene of Michael forced to ride his motorcycle nude to quickly get to Ned's house to impersonate the dead man for lottery official Jim Kelly (Brendan Dempsey)
  • his assured way of providing identification information from the bathroom to the official as forms were filled out
  • the heartfelt scene (during Ned's funeral service) of Jackie delivering a eulogy to Michael who was sitting in the front row, to avoid disclosing to the lottery official in attendance that Ned had died ("As we look back on the life of...Michael Sullivan was my great friend...")
  • in the conclusion, the timely demise of uncooperative wheelchair-bound, witchy spinster Lizzy Quinn (Eileen Dromey) who was in a cliff-side phone booth (hit by the parish priest's van-truck avoiding the lotto representative's swerving car when he sneezed) while she was calling to inform lottery officials to expose the fraud and claim 10% of the prize - the booth sailed into the air and crashed far below on the cliff's shore - at the same time the townsfolk were celebrating and a violin string broke during the playing of a high note
  • the final joyous scene of the group toasting Ned Devine on the cliffside in the golden light with their glasses held high in the air ("Take a drink and remember the man. Then raise your spirits to the sky. Raise them to Ned Devine. God bless you, Ned and may we be forever in your debt") to the tune of "The Parting Glass" performed by Liam O'Maonlai as the camera spun into the misty air around them






Walkabout (1971, Australia)

In Nicolas Roeg's haunting directorial solo debut film:

  • the shocking scene of a suicidal Australian businessman (John Meillon) trying to murder his teen-aged schoolgirl daughter (Jenny Agutter in her film debut) and six-year-old son (Lucien John) in the bush and then killing himself
  • their meeting with a teenaged aborigine boy (David Gulpilil) during his 'walkabout'
  • the awe-inspiring, natural scenes in the hostile outback terrain including their nude swimming sequence
  • the stunning mating dance (in his own native fashion) that the native aborigine performs for the civilized girl - but that she ignores - with disastrous results, when she found him hanging from a mango tree the next morning
  • the final scene of the young girl - now married and returned to civilization, living in a high-rise apartment complex where she wistfully daydreams back to her days in the outback when she happily swam naked with the aborigine and her young brother - they were long-gone days of paradise lost




Wall-E (2008)

In Pixar's and Disney's animated science-fiction love story:

  • the wordless scenes of the title character WALL·E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class) (voice of Ben Burtt) - the last lone garbage-compacting robot on Earth, eccentrically collecting various treasures (plastic forks, light bulbs, Rubik's Cubes, Zippo lighters, etc.) and neatly stashing them in his protective truck shelter
  • and after the arrival of EVE (short for Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) (voice of Elissa Knight), a sleek, white-shelled probe droid-robot, the scene of their introducing themselves by name
  • the scene of showing her his collection of treasured trinkets - including a hand-mixer and popping bubble-wrap, and constructing a replica of himself out of trash as a present to her
  • his repeated watching of a VCR recording of Helly, Dolly! (1969) including the romantically-inspiring songs: "It Only Takes a Moment", and "Put on Your Sunday Clothes"
  • the sight of humans on the planet AXIOM - all Bob's Big-Boy style corpulent fatsos reclining on floating, robotic lounge chairs while electronic robots served their every need - on the 700th year anniversary of their 5-year cruise
  • the repeated scenes of robot M-O ("Moe") cleaning up the "foreign contaminant" of WALL-E's tread-tracks
  • the space dance sequence between WALL-E and EVE after she kissed him
  • the great reawakening scene of the Captain (voice of Jeff Garlin) standing up (to a "Thus Spake Zarathustra" theme song) as he shut off the one-eyed, AUTO-pilot, HAL-like robot (voice of MacinTalk)
  • the final scene when a crushed and 'dead' WALL-E (rebuilt by EVE who used his own spare parts collection to reconstruct him) appeared to have lost his acquired sentience and memories but then remembered who EVE was after they clapsed 'hands' and she 'kissed' his forehead, and they then enjoyed a longer second kiss







Wall Street (1987)

In writer/director Oliver Stone's cautionary treatise on the Me-Decade of stock trading:

  • the notorious "Greed is...good" monologue ("Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms.") delivered by predatory, slithery and ruthless, money-mad corporate financial trader Gordon Gekko (Oscar-winning Michael Douglas) to the annual shareholders' meeting of Teldar Paper
  • the scene of young stockbroker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) questioning him about his exorbitant wealth ("So tell me, Gordon--when does it all end, huh? How many yachts can you water-ski behind? How much is enough?") and Gekko's reply about how he makes the rules in the free market: "It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply, uh, transferred from one perception to another. Like magic. This painting here - I bought it 10 years ago for $60,000. I could sell it today for $600. The illusion has become real. And the more real it becomes, the more desperate they want it. Capitalism at its finest"
  • the climactic scene when Gekko angrily rages at Bud and slaps him around - revealed later to be recorded by investigators: ("I took you in! A nobody! I opened the doors for you!...I showed you how the system works!...") when Bud is assured: "You did the right thing"



WarGames (1983)

In director John Badham's sci-fi fantasy:

  • the scene of young computer-game player/hacker David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) challenging NORAD's military super-computer (WOPR - War Operations Plan Response) to a 'simulated' game of Global Thermonuclear War ("SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?...Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War?") - not realizing that the computer is connected to the US arsenal of ICBM missiles
  • the tense scene in the NORAD headquarters where David helps to 'teach' the computer to 'learn' how to play itself in an endless series of tied Tic-Tac-Toe games - thereby getting it to stop its play (by understanding the concept of mutual assured destruction with no winners)


The War of the Worlds (1953)

In director Byron Haskin's and producer George Pal's science-fiction cult classic - an updating of H.G. Wells' 1898 science-fiction novel and an Oscar winner for Special Effects; remade as Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (2005) with a post-9/11 mentality:

  • the scene in which the aliens invade a farmhouse and one of them places its creepy, tentacled hand on Sylvia Van Buren's (Ann Robinson) shoulder
  • the scenes in which Los Angeles is set ablaze by Martian invaders
  • the images of eerie green flying saucers with deadly heat rays
  • the conclusion in which the aliens - attacking a church - are decimated by simple bacteria - as explained by narrator Cedric Hardwicke: ("The end came swiftly. All over the world, their machines began to stop and fall. After all that men could do had failed, the Martians were destroyed and humanity was saved by the littlest things, which God, in His wisdom, had put upon this Earth")



Waterloo Bridge (1940)

In director Mervyn Leroy's melodramatic romance:

  • the romantic sequence of WWI Capt. Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor) and ballet dancer Myra Lester (Vivien Leigh) waltzing in candlelight in the Candlelight Club to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne" as groups of musicians extinguish their lights - and their first kiss
  • their lengthy parting scene in which he asks: "Please leave me first..." when he goes off to war
  • the difficult lunch scene in which Myra meets Roy's rich, socially-conscious mother Lady Margaret Cronin (Lucile Watson) just after reading Roy's name on a casualty list
  • the scene of guilt-ridden Myra (now as a penniless prostitute) having an unexpected reunion at the train station with the returning Captain
  • their parting scene for the last time after she has confessed her profession to his mother
  • the sequence in which Myra's roommate/best friend Kitty (Virginia Field) reveals the truth of Myra's nightlife to Roy by taking him through one seedy bar after another
  • the scene of Myra's tragic end as she walks into oncoming traffic on the bridge
  • Roy's flashback memory years later on the bridge of her words in the film's final melodramatic moments: "I loved you...I've never loved anyone else...I never shall" - as the sound of "Auld Lang Syne" rises and he fingers her good-luck charm


Way Down East (1920)

In D.W. Griffith's silent melodrama:

  • the spiritually affecting, melodramatic performance of Anna Moore (played marvelously by Lillian Gish)
  • the scene of the young, innocent country girl's ecstatic reaction to a marriage proposal, soon followed by the scene in which her playboy "husband" Lennox Sanderson (Lowell Sherman) reveals that her marriage was only a mock ceremony
  • the sequence in which Anna baptizes her sick, newborn baby just before it dies in her arms
  • the innocent love scene by the river between Anna and David (Richard Barthelmess) with the title card: "One heart for one heart, One soul for one soul, One love for one love, Even through Eternity" - but Anna is reluctant to fall in love with David when reminded of the ghosts of her past - she sadly cannot allow him to say such things, feeling unworthy of him due to her checkered past: "So she tells him he must never speak like this again"
  • the classic casting-out scene in which she accuses and denounces Sanderson before entering into a fierce blizzard
  • the final sequence of her daring, last-minute rescue by David from floating ice floes that are perilously close to a precipitous waterfall

Way Out West (1937)

In this Laurel and Hardy western comedy directed by James W. Horne:

  • the scene of Stan and Oliver's discussion about the deed to the gold mine - delivered to the wrong woman ("That's the first mistake we've made since that guy sold us the Brooklyn Bridge")
  • their soft-shoe dance routine of "At the Ball, That's All" while outside the Mickey Finn Palace Saloon
  • the scene of Stan being wrestled and tickled for the gold mine deed - reduced to helpless laughter
  • Stan biting - chewing - and gulping pieces of his hat after losing a bet ("now you're taking me illiterally")
  • the rope-pulley sequences with Ollie and then a mule (and Ollie on the other end) to try to retrieve the deed



The Way We Were (1973)

In Sydney Pollack's melodramatic chick flick:

  • the on-and-off, star-crossed romance-marriage-divorce between two radical opposites: Jewish political activist Kate Morosky (Barbra Streisand) and WASP writer Hubbell Gardner (Robert Redford), spanning from the 30s, through World War II to the McCarthy-era 1950's
  • the tearjerking final scene in which they meet accidentially in New York as she is handing out "Ban the Bomb" leaflets, to the strains of Streisand's performance of the title song (Oscar-winning music from Marvin Hamlisch - "Mem’ries, like the corners of my mind / Misty water-colored memories of the way we were") when she characteristically brushes the hair back on his brow

Wayne's World (1992)

In director Penelope Spheeris' crazy comedy:

  • the original characters (spun-off from a sketch on TV's Saturday Night Live) Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) - two friends with their own local public-access TV show (in their wood-paneled basement) in Aurora, Illinois
  • noted mostly for their dialogue, sight gags, and catchphrases: "Excellent!", "Party On!", "She's magically babelicious", "Schwing!", "If you're gonna spew, spew into this", "Hurl", "We're Not Worthy" (spoken to rocker Alice Cooper), and "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?", among others
  • also, the famous sing-a-long performance by Wayne, Garth and friends of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in a car

100's of the GREATEST SCENES AND MOMENTS
(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
M4
| 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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