What's a Great Film Scene?

What is a 'Great Film Scene' or 'A Great and Defining Film Moment'?

Greatest Film Scenes: In the history of cinema, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of fabled, Memorable Moments and Scenes from a wide range of films (composed of either a few seconds long, a short sequence, or a long extended scene). They are our memories of segments of films that have achieved a life of their own. They compel us to remember and 'relive' the moment, either with fondness or with fear. However, the defining film moments and iconic images don't always appear in the 'greatest films' of all time.

(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

Greatest Film Scenes
Tribute to the 100 Greatest Film Scenes (illustrated)
With detailed descriptions of the 100 selected scenes

Examples of Greatest Film Scenes: Do you Remember, Visualize, or Recall...?

  • Marilyn Monroe standing above a subway grating with her white dress blowing up in The Seven Year Itch
  • Charlie Chaplin tramping along
  • Clint Eastwoood's retort to a bank robber "...you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?" in Dirty Harry
  • the line: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" from Gone With the Wind
  • the fog-shrouded airport scene at the conclusion of Casablanca
  • the bloody beach landing in the opening half-hour of Saving Private Ryan
  • the screeching of violins before Marion Crane was stabbed to death in the shower scene in Psycho
  • Popeye Doyle in his car chasing a Manhattan subway in The French Connection
  • the underwater attack in the opening of Jaws
  • Humphrey Bogart taking leeches off his body after dragging The African Queen through the muck
  • Judy Garland singing "Over the Rainbow" in The Wizard of Oz
  • Charlton Heston's sighting of the Statue of Liberty at the conclusion of Planet of the Apes
  • the bloody bursting of the alien creature from John Hurt's stomach in Alien
  • James Stewart's one-man filibuster on the floor of Congress in the finale of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

These are memorable, defining film moments and some of the all-time best scenes or images in motion pictures - a tribute to the stars and scenarios that have made an indelible imprint upon our memories - and can't be forgotten.

Additionally Recommended:

Defining or Great Film Moments/Scenes
Key Ingredients
Film Examples
a striking, cinematically-beautiful image

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Ethan Edwards (John Wayne)
outside the doorway in
The Searchers (1956)
a spectacular action (with large crowd) sequence

See Greatest Crowd Film Scenes
Greatest Chase Film Scenes

Ben-Hur (1959)
the SF car chase in Bullitt (1968)

a well-designed, innovative opening (or title) sequence

See also Greatest Opening Film Lines
Greatest Film Entrances of All-Time

Vertigo (1958)
the underwater attack on skinny-dipping
Chrissie in Jaws (1975)

a plot twist

See Best Plot Twists, Surprise Endings, Spoilers

The Sixth Sense (1999)
the crop-dusting plane scene in
North by Northwest (1959)

a memorable death scene

See Best Film Deaths Scenes

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Col. Kurtz' sacrificial death in
Apocalypse Now (1979)
a tear-inducing, emotional ending
See Greatest Tearjerker Films, Moments and Scenes

Casablanca (1942)

Laura's goodbye to Alec in
Brief Encounter (1945)
a brilliant special-effects technique

See Film Milestones in Visual and Special Effects

Jurassic Park (1993)
the destruction of the Death Star battle station in
Star Wars (1977)
a surprising revelation, or unexpected shock

See Best Plot Twists, Surprise Endings, Spoilers

The Usual Suspects (1995)
the revelation of Dil's true gender to Fergus in
The Crying Game (1992)
a memorable song or dance

See Musical Films Genre
Greatest Musical Song/Dance Movie Moments and Scenes

Singin' in the Rain (1952)
"The Hills are Alive" in
The Sound of Music (1965)

a dramatic entrance, appearance or introduction

See Greatest Movie Entrances of All-Time

Stagecoach (1939)
Sherif Ali's entrance in
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
a romantic scene

See Romance Films Genre
Best and Most Memorable Film Kisses of All Time
in Cinematic History

Ghost (1990)

the compilation of filmed
love scenes and kisses in
Cinema Paradiso (1988, It./Fr.)
a sexually-charged, or infamous sex/nudity scene

See this site's extensive sections on:
Sexual/Erotic Films Sub-Genre
Sex in Cinema: Greatest and Most Influential
Erotic / Sexual Films and Scenes

The Most Controversial Films of All-Time

Swordfish (2001)

the steamy seduction sequence between
Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke in
9 1/2 Weeks (1986)
a memorable scene from a major box-office disaster or flop
See also Greatest Box-Office Bombs, Disasters and Flops:
The Most Notable Examples

Howard the Duck (1986)

the opening waltz scene
in Heaven's Gate (1980)

an extended opening or closing sequence

See also Greatest Opening Film Lines and Quotes
Greatest Last Words and Film Lines

The Godfather, Part II (1974)

the opening of Manhattan (1979)
a unique characterization

The Star Wars Trilogy (1977-1983)

the title character in Edward Scissorhands (1990)
a transcendental moment

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

the appearance of the Mothership in
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
an unforgettable soliloquy/monologue
See Best Film Speeches and Monologues

25th Hour (2002)
"You're talkin' to me?..." in
Taxi Driver (1976)

an indelible quote, or choice lines of dialogue

See Greatest Movie Quotes

Wav file
"Here's lookin' at you, kid."
Casablanca (1942)
"I coulda been a contender" speech in
On the Waterfront (1954)

a shocking, heart-stopping, terrifying, horrific moment

See Scariest Moments and Scenes

Planet of the Apes (1968)
the shock ending of Carrie (1976)

a comic scene

See Funniest Moments and Scenes

Some Like It Hot (1959)
the Oscar Peterson album scene in
Play It Again, Sam (1972)

a slow-building, tense sequence

See Scariest Moments and Scenes

The Birds (1963)
the 12-noon shootout in
High Noon (1952)
a truly scary moment, revelation or sequence

See Scariest Moments and Scenes

Alien (1979)

the shock ending of
Fatal Attraction (1987)

a spectacular, exhilarating disaster scene

See Greatest Disaster Film Scenes

The Good Earth (1937)
the sinking of the luxury liner
in Titanic (1997)

a memorable screen kiss

See Best and Most Memorable Film Kisses of All Time
in Cinematic History

Cold Mountain (2003)
the many kisses in Vertigo (1958)

a controversial, shocking, or horrific scene

See The Most Controversial Films of All-Time

Last Tango in Paris (1972)
the rape sequence
in A Clockwork Orange (1971)

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