Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



W4

 





W (continued)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

In Billy Wilder's adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery and courtroom drama:

  • the playful banter between crafty barrister/defense attorney Sir Wilfrid Robarts (Charles Laughton) and his nurse Miss Plimsoll (real-life wife Elsa Lancaster) (Sir Wilfrid: "If I'd known how much you talked, I'd have never come out of my coma!"), including the scene in which she reveals the forbidden cigars (causing Sir Wilfrid's heart attack) hidden in his cane
  • Sir Wilfrid's use of his monocle to extract truth from potential clients by reflecting light blindingly into their eyes
  • the seduction of elderly wealthy widow Emily Jane French (Norma Varden) by her accused murderer - American Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power in his last role before his death)
  • the entrance of dignified, strong-willed Mrs. Christine Vole/Helm (Marlene Dietrich) in Sir Wilfrid's doorway
  • the scene of a vengeful, scarred, thick Cockney-accented mystery woman giving Sir Wilfrid critical evidence and showing him her disfiguration ("Want to kiss me, duckie?")
  • the memorable moment on the witness stand when Christine screams at Sir Wilfrid - "Damn you, damn you!"
  • the startling surprise courtroom scene ending after defendant Leonard's acquittal when Christine admits that her husband Leonard had indeed killed Mrs. French
  • the shocking moment when she stabs Leonard to death in the stomach for his double-crossing philandering with Diana (Ruta Lee)
  • Sir Wilfrid's classic line after the stabbing when he corrects Miss Plimsoll: "Killed him? She executed him"




The Wizard of Oz (1939)

In Victor Fleming's immortal classic (of L. Frank Baum's novel):

  • the quintessential scene of lonely Kansas teenager Dorothy Gale's (Judy Garland) singing of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
  • the first appearance of Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch (Margaret Hamilton) on a bicycle
  • the thrilling twister-tornado scene and Dorothy's hallucinations swirling and floating by in front of her
  • the transition from sepia-tone to full color as Dorothy enters the fanciful, Technicolored Land of Oz through the door
  • Dorothy's exclamatory statement to her dog Toto: "I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore"
  • the lively Munchkin sequences
  • the green-faced Witch's appearance in a red puff of smoke
  • the Witch's attempt to seize the ruby slippers from Dorothy's feet
  • Dorothy's first steps on the Yellow Brick Road after receiving guidance from the Good Witch Glinda (Billie Burke)
  • her first encounter with each of her companions - the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr)
  • their journey with linked arms as they skip: "We're off to see the Wizard" down the Yellow Brick Road
  • their songs "If I Only Had a Brain" and "If I Were King of the Forest"
  • the amazing, scary sequences of Dorothy and her friend's first encounter with the Wizard (Frank Morgan) - a disembodied head engulfed in flames
  • the Wicked Witch's taunting of the Scarecrow with fire ("How about a little fire, Scarecrow?")
  • her cackling threat: "I'll get you, my pretty - and your little dog, too!"
  • and her subsequent "I'm melting" death scene that destroys her "beautiful wickedness"
  • the scene of the pulling-aside of the curtain and the revelation of the Wizard
  • the presentation of awards scene
  • Dorothy's farewell scene in the land of Oz (and particularly her tearful goodbye to the Scarecrow)
  • the closing scene when Dorothy awakens from her fantastic dream in her own bedroom (where she is surrounded by family and friends) - she denies that she was only dreaming her adventures in the Land of Oz, and repeatedly exclaims: "There's no place like home"










The Wolf Man (1941)

In this literate Universal Studios, moody black and white horror film classic from director George Waggner:

  • the amazingly-effective transformation scene in which American-educated British heir Sir Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) becomes the werewolf - after being bitten by fortune-teller/ werewolf Bela (Bela Lugosi)
  • and later being told by Bela's gypsy mother Mariva (Maria Ouspenskaya) that he is in danger ("Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself...Heaven help you!") - in the scene, Talbot grows fur and paws for feet
  • the exciting climax in fog-shrouded woods when the werewolf during a full moon pursues pretty antique shopgirl Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers) and is hunted down



Wolfen (1981)

In director Michael Wadleigh's horror thriller:

  • the visually-creative, sped-up, low-angle, Steadicam and crane traveling shots - from the predatory wild creature's perspective - through deserted NYC slum lots
  • the amazing optical printing techniques that subjectively demonstrated the wolves' sense of heat, movement, and smell as infra-red or solarized images of the hapless victims


Woman of the Year (1942)

In director George Stevens' romantic comedy-drama (the first of nine films starring Tracy and Hepburn together):

  • international political columnist and baseball-illiterate Tess Harding's (Katharine Hepburn) first baseball game-date with fellow NY sportswriter Sam Craig (Spencer Tracy) during which he has to explain the "men's only" game and its rules
  • her disastrous failed attempt to cook a decent breakfast and be a traditionally-domesticated housewife for him - she fights with the kitchen appliances, watches toast pop out of the toaster onto the floor, boils coffee over, and overfills the waffle griddle with batter as he watches in amazement


The Woman in the Window (1944)

In Fritz Lang's dark, noirish murder-melodrama masterpiece:

  • the scene in which law-abiding, mild-mannered, middle-aged and married Gotham College Professor Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) meets beautiful, strange painting model and femme fatale named Alice Reed (Joan Bennett) - when she emerges as a reflection next to a painting in the window
  • the scene in which he becomes embroiled in a crime due to his unintentional self-defense murder (by stabbing his assailant to death in the back with a pair of scissors) when he is attacked by her burly and jealous boyfriend Frank Howard (Arthur Loft) who has accused her of infidelity
  • his plottings with Alice when marked as the killer and blackmailed by Howard's crafty bodyguard Heidt (Dan Duryea) with evidence of a scratch on his hand and a case of poison ivy while dumping the body in the woods
  • the tense scene of paranoid and increasingly-desperate Wanley's visit to the crime scene with District Attorney Frank Lalor (Raymond Massey)
  • the final comical sequence in which Wanley wakes up in the men's club to find that everything has been a dream!


A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

In director John Cassavetes' heavy drama about madness:

  • the increasing mental breakdown ("She's not crazy...she's unusual") experienced by lonely, eccentric, middle-aged, working-class housewife Mabel Longhetti (Best Actress-nominated Gena Rowlands)
  • the spaghetti breakfast scene with her husband Nick (Peter Falk) and his construction co-workers
  • the scene of Mabel's angry accosting (and flipping up of her thumb) toward a finely-dressed women walking down an LA street who literally ignores her when asked the time of day
  • Mabel's welcome-home party following institutionalization

The Women (1939)

In director George Cukor's adaptation of Clare Boothe's legendary stage comedy with an all-female cast:

  • the opening credits that represent each of the leading lady stars as an animal before dissolving into a close-up
  • a Technicolor Fashion Show sequence
  • the Sylvia/Peggy (Rosalind Russell-Joan Fontaine) exercise/work-out scene
  • the sequence of a rough, dirty-fighting brawl (including a leg bite) at a dude (divorce) ranch in Reno between Miriam Aarons (Paulette Goddard) and Sylvia (Mrs. Howard Fowler)
  • Mary Haines' (Norma Shearer) "women are equal" speech
  • the acidic dialogue including gold-digging shopgirl Crystal Allen's (Joan Crawford) final parting words: "...there's a name for you ladies, but it isn't used in high society, outside of a kennel"

Women in Love (1969, UK)

In extravagant director Ken Russell's sexually explicit, landmark X-rated film, adapted from D.H. Lawrence's 1920 novel:

  • the scene of quiet, white-suited school master Rupert Birkin (Alan Bates) provocatively describing how to eat a fig during a picnic with free-spirited and artistic Gudrun Brangwen (Oscar-winning Best Actress Glenda Jackson) and her shy schoolteacher sister Ursula (Jennie Linden)
  • the famous extended, homoerotic fight scene of nude male wrestling in the light of a roaring fireplace in a locked room between local mine owner Gerald Crich (Oliver Reed) and Rupert

Woodstock (1970)

In director Michael Wadleigh's innovative, documentary-style epic (originally X-rated due to brief glimpses of nudity) about the upper-state New York rock-music concert held on Yasgur's farm in the summer of 1969:

  • the experimental cinematography (cinema verite, multi-angle shots, and split-screens)
  • various memorable performances on stage (Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix playing the "Star Spangled Banner", Richie Havens, The Who, etc.)
  • the revolutionary love generation spirit of the event
  • the rain-soaked chaotic denouement



Working Girl (1988)

In director Mike Nichols' Best Picture-nominated modern farcical romantic comedy about the workplace:

  • the breathtaking, rotating opening shot of the Statue of Liberty as the Oscar-winning Carly Simon song "Let the River Run" plays
  • the character of ambitious and smart 30 year-old Manhattan brokerage firm secretary Tess McGill (Oscar-nominated Melanie Griffith) who is manipulated by her career-driven, icy female boss Katherine Parker (Oscar-nominated Sigourney Weaver), who steals Tess' business idea for a business merger
  • Tess' flirtatious line of dialogue in a bar to handsome investment broker Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford in his first light comedy): "I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?"
  • the brilliant final pull-back shot of Tess in her office, revealing her office to be just one of thousands in a single building in the whole of New York City, as the subtly subversive lyrics of "Let the River Run" undercuts the triumphant moment



Written on the Wind (1956)

In Douglas Sirk's tempestuous, sordid and soap-opera-ish Technicolored melodrama:

  • the characterization of alcoholic, gun-loving Texas millionaire, oil heir and playboy Kyle Hadley (Oscar-nominated Robert Stack)
  • the scenes of his jealous, promiscuous, unstable and nymphomaniacal sister Marylee (Oscar-winning Dorothy Malone) ("I'm filthy, period!") continually with Kyle's best friend and geologist Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson), and suggesting to Kyle that Mitch and Kyle's level-headed secretary/wife Lucy Moore Hadley (Lauren Bacall) are having an affair
  • his mad and insane suspicion and attack on Lucy thinking that it must be Mitch's child when Lucy becomes pregnant (because he has been stunned by a doctor's report that he has a low sperm count - in a scene in which he views a young boy on a rocking horse!)
  • the striking scenes of lustful Marylee's provocative mambo dance in her room (with a picture of Mitch in her arms) intercut with the elder Jasper Hadley (Robert Keith) having a heart attack and toppling down the spiral staircase to his death
  • the phallic symbolism of Marylee gripping a miniature oil rig derrick with both hands at her father's desk (in front of his painted portrait)




The Wrong Man (1956)

In Alfred Hitchcock's film-noirish crime drama filmed in semi-documentary style:

  • the early sequences in which Stork Club musician Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero (Henry Fonda) is questioned, arrested, and ultimately put in jail - (even though wrongly accused)
  • the astonishing match-cut scene in which the face of the actual look-alike robbery criminal is super-imposed onto Balestrero's face
  • the final scenes of his strained wife Rose (Vera Miles) ending up institutionalized


Wuthering Heights (1939)

In director William Wyler's superb romantic drama - of Emily Bronte's novel about a haunted love story:

  • the opening scene as a stranger staggers through a blizzard on the Yorkshire moors to find refuge at Wuthering Heights
  • the romantic scenes of Cathy (Merle Oberon) and Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) in their make-believe castle on windy Peniston Crag on the atmospheric moors where they profess their eternal love to each other
  • Cathy's realization: "I am Heathcliff"
  • the tragically romantic death scene in Cathy's bedroom as Heathcliff is reuinted with her and carries her to the window for one last look at the moors in the distance as she dies in his arms
  • the final memorable scene of the ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff reunited on Peniston Crag on the moorlands





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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