Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

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 revealed 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), now on trial for her murder
  • 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 facial disfiguration: ("Want to kiss me, duckie?")
  • the memorable moment when Sir Wilfrid screamed at Christine for her habitual perjuring: "Or are you not, in fact, a chronic and habitual liar?"
  • the startling surprise courtroom scene ending after defendant Leonard's acquittal when Christine admitted to Sir Wilfrid that her strategy as a "witness for the prosecution" worked
  • the shocking moment when she stabbed 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 corrected Miss Plimsoll: "Killed him? She executed him"

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

In Victor Fleming's immortal classic (adapted from 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 riding down a rural farm road in Kansas
  • the thrilling twister-tornado scene and Dorothy's hallucinations swirling and floating by in front of her
  • the astonishing, cleverly-shot transition (in one single take without any special effects) from sepia-tone to full color as Dorothy entered the fanciful, Technicolored Land of Oz through the door of her downed house
  • 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 skipped: "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 destroyed 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 awakened from her fantastic dream in her own bedroom (where she was surrounded by family and friends) - she denied that she was only dreaming her adventures in the Land of Oz, and repeatedly exclaimed: "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.) became 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 was in danger: ("Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself...Heaven help you!") - in the scene, Talbot grew fur and paws for feet
  • the exciting climax in fog-shrouded woods when the werewolf during a full moon pursued pretty antique shopgirl Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers) and was 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 had 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 fought with the kitchen appliances, watched toast pop out of the toaster onto the floor, boiled coffee over, and overfilled the waffle griddle with batter as he watched 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) met beautiful, strange painting model and femme fatale named Alice Reed (Joan Bennett) - when she emerged as a reflection next to a painting in the window
  • the scenes in which he became 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 was attacked by her burly and jealous boyfriend Claude Mazard/Frank Howard (Arthur Loft) who had accused her of infidelity
  • his plottings with Alice when marked as the killer and blackmailed by Mazard'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 woke up in the men's club to find that everything had 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 ignored 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 represented 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 proper way to eat a fig in to split it in four...holding it by the stump...and open that it is a glittering, rosy, moist...honeyed, heavy-petaled, four-petaled flower. Then you throw away the skin...after you have taken off the blossom with your lips. But the vulgar just to put your mouth to the crack...and take out the flesh in one bite. The fig is a very secretive fruit. The Italians vulgarly say it stands for the female part, the fig fruit. The fissure, the yoni...the wonderful moist conductivity towards the center...")
  • 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 - 3 Days of Peace & Music (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" played
  • the character of ambitious and smart 30 year-old Manhattan brokerage firm secretary Tess McGill (Oscar-nominated Melanie Griffith) who was manipulated by her career-driven, icy female boss Katherine Parker (Oscar-nominated Sigourney Weaver), who stole 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" undercut the triumphant moment

The World of Henry Orient (1964)

In director George Roy Hill's coming-of-age drama-comedy, with a semi-autobiographical screenplay based on Nora Johnson's novel:

  • the mischievous girlish-teenage, authentic-sounding friendship between two 14 year-old urban private school students: gifted and bright Valerie "Val" Boyd (Tippy Walker) and Marian 'Gil' Gilbert (Merrie Spaeth) who pranced with endless exhilaration and energy through many blocks of NYC, jumping while doing the splits ("splitzing") over garbage cans and fire hydrants
  • their stalking, obsession and imaginative infatuation and idolization of eccentric, vain, self-centered, and mediocre concert pianist and lothario Henry Orient (Peter Sellers in his first US film, basing his performance on Oscar Levant), even in the first scene spying on him kissing skittish married housewife Stella Dunnworthy (Paula Prentiss) from the suburbs behind a large rock in Manhattan-NY's Central Park, and thwarting subsequent dalliances with her - while wearing conical Chinese peasant straw hats and tormenting Orient
  • the contrast between the family life of the two girls -- the more stable and modest Marian with her kind, divorced mother Mrs. Avis Gilbert (Phyllis Thaxter) and understanding co-spinster "Aunt" Erica "Boothy" Booth (Bibi Osterwald), and the emotionally-disturbed, seemingly-unwanted Val (who regularly met with a psychiatrist), with wealthy parents living abroad who were busily engaged in international trade
  • the scene of the two girls spying on Henry Orient (who feared the girls were spies sent by the wronged husband), and the devastating discovery that Val's rich, snobby and bitchy mother Isabel Boyd (Angela Lansbury) was also entrapped by the pianist's womanizing charms - and competitively turned her daughter's fantasies into reality
  • understanding father Frank Boyd's (Tom Bosley) coming to his senses (and knowing Isabel's lying deception) in a bittersweet scene, and his comforting assurances to daughter Val that he would be divorcing Isabel to finally be a single father to her
  • the final scene when the two girls, now a little older and more mature, met again and shared more advanced teenaged thoughts about boys, while comparing new hairdos, and applying lipstick

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) were having an affair
  • his mad and insane suspicion and attack on Lucy thinking that it must be Mitch's child when Lucy became pregnant (because he had been stunned by a doctor's report that he had a low sperm count - in a scene in which he viewed 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) was 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 was 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 staggered 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 professed their eternal love to each other
  • Cathy's realization: "I am Heathcliff"
  • the tragically romantic death scene in Cathy's bedroom as Heathcliff was reunited with her and carried her to the window for one last look at the moors in the distance as she died in his arms
  • the final memorable scene of the ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff reunited on Peniston Crag on the moorlands

(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

Previous Page Next Page