Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001, Mex.)

In director Alfonso Cuaron's road movie:

  • the unrated tale of sexual discovery in the coming-of-age, sensual journey film about a road trip with two 17 year-old Mexican boys: Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and sexy and wise 28 year-old Spanish beauty Luisa Cortes (Maribel Verdu) to find an unspoiled mythical beach
  • her teaching of the two vulgar lads lessons about life, including having sex with both of them separately and together - and also the boys having sex with each other
  • the scene in which they actually came upon a beach named Heaven's Mouth - and learned of Luisa's terminal illness (divulged in a flashforward scene one year later in a coffee shop)

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

In director Michael Curtiz' classic musical biopic:

  • the sentimental legend of super-patriot and cocky Irishman-songwriter George M. Cohan (Oscar-winning James Cagney), with his trademark singing, strutting and wall-climbing as a 'Yankee Doodle Boy' during "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy"
  • his tap-dancing sequence in a spotlight in the large production number "Give My Regards to Broadway"
  • his trademark curtain call line: "Ladies and gentlemen, my mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you"
  • the scene of Cohan and his wife Mary (Joan Leslie) singing "Mary" at the piano together
  • his energetic dancing style in "You're a Grand Old Flag"
  • George's 'final curtain call' death scene with father Jerry (Walter Huston) at his deathbed
  • his amazing, jaunty dance down the White House stairs after visiting with President Roosevelt (Jack Young) with a spontaneous, impromptu buck-wings tap dance midway
  • his joining a parade to march in step with troops and civilians down Pennsylvania Avenue to "Over There" in the stirring finale






The Yearling (1946)

In director Clarence Brown's family drama:

  • the exciting scene, set in the late 1800s, of 11 year-old Florida farm boy Jody (Claude Jarman, Jr.) hunting "Old Slew Foot" bear with his father Ory Baxter (Gregory Peck)
  • and later, the scene in which Jody realizes he must shoot his beloved, but crop-devouring orphaned pet fawn, named Flag, that he had earlier rescued - to put it out of its misery after being mortally wounded by his mother (Jane Wyman) - as Pa Baxter comments on the boy's growing up after he has run off and returned: ("He ain’t a yearling no more")
  • the film's final fantasy scene in which Jody cavorts off with the deer

Yellow Submarine (1968)

In the landmark animated film directed by George Dunning:

  • the colorful, inventive animations, especially the psychedelic count of numbers to demonstrate the length of a 60-second minute in "When I'm 64"
  • the character of the Nowhere Man muttering to himself: "Ad hoc, ad hoc, and quid pro quo, So little time, so much to know"
  • the ultimate defeat of the invasive Blue Meanies with the song "All You Need Is Love" and the return of color to Pepperland
  • the live-action finale featuring the actual Beatles singing the coda "All Together Now"




Young Frankenstein (1974)

In Mel Brooks' horror spoof:

  • the scene in the medical classroom when Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) ("It's pronounced Fronk-en-Steeeen") must answer touchy questions from an inquisitive student about his legendary grandfather Dr. Victor Frankenstein - and he jabs a scalpel into his leg
  • the character of bug-eyed Igor (Marty Feldman) with a shifting humpback who ignorantly has chosen the brain of "Abby Normal" rather than the one of Hans Delbruck
  • the scene of Frankenstein marvelling at large iron door knockers on the Transylvania castle door: "What knockers!", with busty assistant Inga's (Teri Garr) quick response as he lifts her out of the carriage: "Oh, Thank you, doctor!"
  • the hilarious scene of Frankenstein (being choked) acting out with the game charades the word "Sed-a-tive" ("Sedagive?!") to calm the violent Monster (Peter Boyle)
  • the classic scene of the Monster with the blind hermit (Gene Hackman) - a tribute to a similar scene in The Bride of Frankenstein in which he taps on the Monster to find out his name, pours boiling soup on the Monster's lap, and lights the Monster's thumb, thinking it's a cigar
  • the scenes of a horse neighing whenever Frau Blucher's (Cloris Leachman) name is mentioned
  • the revolving bookcase sequence with a secret passageway ("Put the candle back")
  • Dr. Frankenstein's introduction of the Monster to an audience as a "man about town" and their top-hat and cane, tap-dancing duet of Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz" - with the Monster's slurred, squeaky, and high-pitched singing of "Punnondariiiiiiiizz!"
  • the scene of Elizabeth's (Madeline Kahn) discovery of the 'Sweet Mystery of Life' with the Monster as she barked: "Woof!", warbled the tune and her hair turned white



Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

In director John Ford's first collaboration with actor Henry Fonda:

  • the scene of a young Abraham Lincoln (Henry Fonda) deciding what career to follow with his life at the snowy grave of his beloved Ann Rutledge (Pauline Moore)
  • with country-store logic, Lincoln's dissuasion of a lynch mob at Sangamon County jail door from killing two Clay boys (Richard Cromwell, Eddie Quillan) accused of murdering a deputy by stabbing ("...We seem to lose our heads in times like this. We do things together that we'd be mighty ashamed to do by ourselves...")
  • the scene in which Lincoln plays "Dixie" on a mouth harp
  • the scene in which Lincoln empathetically compares his Kentucky upbringing with the Clay family homesteaders before reading a letter from the jailed boys
  • the courtroom scene in which defense lawyer Lincoln confronts fellow lawman John Palmer Cass (Ward Bond): ("I’ll just call you Jack Cass") - and tricks him with page 12 of the Farmer's Almanac ("So, ya see, it couldn't-a been moon bright, could it?") - into confessing to the crime himself
  • the final celebrated scene when stove-pipe hatted Lincoln walks off toward a hill in a gathering rainstorm after saying: "No, I think I might go on a piece. Maybe to the top of that hill"
  • the film conclusion with a dissolve into a shot of the statue in the Lincoln Memorial to a chorus singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic"



Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

In director Barry Levinson's mystery adventure:

  • the unauthorized premise of how young Sherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe) and partner John Watson (Alex Cox) came together at an English boarding school and became involved in an investigation of a long buried secret and deadly Egyptian cult
  • the startling, breathtaking CGI character of the fighting medieval knight in a stained-glass window who jumps to life - a pioneering moment in visual effects -- the first all-digital animated character
  • the other Oscar-nominated segments in which other elements come to life (a roasted bird, skeletons, pastries, gargoyles, wall decor, and an amusing sequence in which pastries attempt to force themselves into Watson's mouth)
  • the Egyptian Rame-Tep sacrifice scene recalling the similar scenes from the previous year's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) (directed by executive producer Steven Spielberg)
  • the scene in which Sherlock's love interest Elizabeth Hardy (Sophie Ward) blocks a bullet intended for him and dies in his arms
  • also the back-story acquisitions of Holmes' trademarks: his practice of the violin, his inheritance of a deerstalker cap from beloved, deceased mentor Waxflatter (Nigel Stock), his receipt of a pipe as a gift from Watson, and his overcoat from the villainous Professor Rathe (Anthony Higgins) (aka Eh Tar - who seemingly perished by drowning in the icy Thames River)
  • the end credits sequence in which Professor Rathe surprisingly signs his name in a guestbook as "Moriarty", closing on his devilish raised eyebrow


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Z (1969, Fr.)

In Costa-Gavras' political thriller masterpiece (based on the real-life 1963 murder of popular Greek liberal Gregorios Lambrakis, a professor medicine at the Univ. of Athens) - the Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Language Film (and Best Film Editing):

  • the skillfully-planned conspiratorial assassination-murder scene of the pacifistic husband of Helene (Irene Papas) - he was a liberal-minded Deputy (Yves Montand) of the opposition party in Greece
  • after he delivers a political speech and is in a stand-off surrounded by demonstrators and the police, he fell to his knees grabbing his lethally-wounded skull after a blue truck passes and strikes him
  • the scene in a hospital conference room where concerned and worried Helene was led while her husband was undergoing a third operation - a white-coated doctor reports and views a lighted wall of skull X-rays diagnosing a concussion that occurred during the "stupid accident" ("the fall broke the dome of the skull and no doubt the brain has been affected") - the diagnosis was later radically re-evaluated - the skull fracture was NOT due to his fall or to the impact of the truck but to "a blow struck on the head" by a club wielded by a man in the back of the truck
  • the poignant final scene in which widowed wife Helene learns from one of her husband's followers that the right-wing assassins (military men including the general and the police chief who sanctioned the murder) have been exposed and arrested ("It's a real revolution, the government'll fall and extremists'll be wiped out") - she turns and looks out to sea, without triumph, but only with sadness and despondency



Zabriskie Point (1970)

In Michelangelo Antonioni's simplistic and failed view of America:

  • the characters of white rebellious youth Mark (Mark Frechette), a student radical wanted as a suspect for killing a policeman during a student strike-riot and for hijacking a small airplane, and Daria (Daria Halprin), the pot-smoking secretary/mistress of LA real estate tycoon/attorney Mr. Lee Allen (Rod Taylor), who was helping to build the Sunnydunes development in the desert
  • the controversial, hallucinatory, symbolic, dust-swirling orgy scene filmed in the "no-man's land" of Death Valley (at Zabriskie Point) - a lovemaking sequence filmed at the lowest point in the United States - Zabriskie Point) - as the two started to make love on the desert sand dunes, several dozen other couples magically appeared, creating a massive 'love-in'
  • afterwards, Mark remarked: "I always knew it'd be like this." Daria asked: "Us?" But he replied: "The desert"
  • in the explosion-filled finale (another wish-fulfillment hallucination of Daria's?), a luxurious, ultra-modern desert dwelling was blown up (seen exploding from almost a dozen angles) as well as various materialistic consumer items which were seen being destroyed in extreme close-up (pool furniture, racks of clothes, a refrigerator with a cascading and disintegrating loaf of WONDER bread, a TV, and shelves of books)




Zelig (1983)

In Woody Allen's brilliant pre-Forrest Gump mock-documentary:

  • Gordon Willis' cinematography that painstakingly matched authentic early 20th century newsreels and archival photographs with the look of this Depression-era period film
  • chameleon-like Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen) - a man who was a celebrity of his time - appearing between President Coolidge and presidential candidate Herbert Hoover, and alongside others such as baseball player Babe Ruth, boxer Jack Dempsey, tycoon publisher William Randolph Hearst, movie star Charles Chaplin, the pope, the Fuhrer himself, and the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • the scenes of real-life writer personages Susan Sontag and Saul Bellows providing commentary on Zelig's cultural influence
  • Patrick Horgan's authentic BBC documentary-style narration

Zorba the Greek (1964) (aka Alexis Zorba)

In triple-nominated (for writing, directing and producing) Michael Cacoyannis' Best Picture-nominated inspirational drama:

  • Anthony Quinn's brilliant Oscar-nominated hammy trademark role as boisterous, lusty, lively, flamboyant itinerant Greek laborer and bon vivant Alexis Zorba
  • his relationship with writer's-blocked British-raised Basil (Alan Bates) who travels to the island of Crete to reopen his father's closed mine
  • Zorba's romance with the hotel's manager - lonely ex-prostitute and porn actress Madame Hortense (Oscar-winning Lila Kedrova)
  • the memorable, joyous scene in which Zorba teaches Basil to dance the sirtiki on a beach
  • Zorba's admonition to Basil about the "greatest sin": "If a woman calls a man to her bed and he will NOT go!"
  • Basil's yearning for a beautiful Widow (Irene Pappas)
  • the tragic, disturbing scene in which she is stoned by a mob after the village idiot commits suicide
  • Hortense's moving death in Zorba's arms from an unnamed illness




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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