Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Moulin Rouge! (2001)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Moulin Rouge! (2001, US/Australia)

In Baz Luhrmann's dazzlingly colorful, grandiose and kinetic modern musical set in 1900 Paris - the first Best Picture-nominated musical since Beauty and the Beast (1991) and first non-animated musical since Cabaret (1972). It was also the third of Luhrmann's "Red Curtain" trilogy, after Strictly Ballroom (1992) and Romeo + Juliet (1996). There were many popular rock and soul songs performed by actors and singers:

  • the opening voice-over of tearful English writer/poet Christian (Ewan McGregor) (sitting at his UNDERWOOD typewriter), living in the Montmartre district of Paris in 1900, who provided the framework for a flashback: "The Moulin Rouge. A nightclub, a dance hall and a bordello ruled over by Harold Zidler. A kingdom of nighttime pleasures where the rich and powerful came to play with the young and beautiful creatures of the underworld. The most beautiful of all these was the woman who I loved. Satine. A courtesan, she sold her love to men. They called her 'The Sparkling Diamond.' And she was the star of the Moulin Rouge. The woman I loved is dead"
  • Christian recalled the scene one year earlier in 1899 during the 'summer of love' when penniless, he first came to Paris (Montmartre District) from London and joined with a rag-tag group of musicians and friends known as the Bohemians (aka "The Children of the Revolution") (including painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) and others); he came "to write about truth, beauty, freedom and that which l believed in above all things: love....There was only one problem. I'd never been in love"
  • the poet-author was persuaded to write a modern musical production (to be titled "Spectacular Spectacular") for the Moulin Rouge and audition for the lovely performer Satine (Oscar-nominated Nicole Kidman); to celebrate ("Let's drink to the new writer of the world's first Bohemian revolutionary show!"), the group urged Christian to take a shot of the ultra-potent absinthe - causing the dizzying animation of a tempting Tinkerbell-like Green Fairy (Kylie Minogue) from the alcoholic bottle label
  • the scene of the star attraction of the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris during her opening number - red-lipped courtesan Satine known as "The Sparkling Diamond" - she was introduced - bathed in cool blue light - swinging above an audience of top-hatted gentlemen, and singing a Marilyn-to-Madonna "Sparkling Diamonds" medley ("Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" and "Material Girl") while being lowered into the mass of adoring fans
  • the character of the wealthy but psychopathic Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh) - a potential investor in the cabaret who was promised the hand of Satine for funding the musical production; he jealously coveted her love when she fell - because of mistaken identity - for the lovelorn Christian
  • during a private meeting with Satine, the lovely performance of Elton John's "Your Song" (with Placido Domingo) by Christian - to express his love for her; as the song was sung, the two emerged on a Parisian rooftop under a heavenly blue sky (in front of a model of the Eiffel Tower), where he pulled out a red umbrella; he confessed that he wasn't the wealthy Duke but only a poor writer ("I'm not a Duke...I'm a writer"); she was astonished and asked: ("You're not another of Toulouse's oh-so-talented, charmingly Bohemian, tragically-impoverished proteges?")
Christian with Satine: "Your Song"
  • the many scenes between the smitten lovers: tuberculosis-afflicted courtesan Satine and the poverty-stricken Christian in an ultimately-doomed love affair -- in a duet together, the two sang the "Elephant Love Medley" (featuring over a half-dozen love songs, including "All You Need Is Love," "Up Where We Belong," "Silly Love Songs," "Don't Leave Me This Way," and David Bowie's "Heroes"), after he vowed to woo her by singing love songs to bring them together: ("Love is like oxygen...Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love")
  • the scene of Christian reaffirming his love for Satine, when reminded by Toulouse's shouting from the rafters ("The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return"), even though Christian was threatened with being shot during the finale of the act by the Duke's bodyguard (Linal Haft) and the Duke himself; as the Duke stormed out after the failed attempt, during Satine and Christian's duet on stage - a reprise of "Come What May":

"Never knew I could feel like this, Like I've never seen the sky before. I want to vanish inside your kiss. Every day I'm loving you more and more. Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing? Telling me to give you everything. Seasons may change, winter to spring. But I love you until the end of time. Come what may, Come what may, I will love you until my dying day..."

"Come What May"
  • the sad ending in which beautiful courtesan was wheezing and then died of tuberculosis in the arms of her lover Christian, causing him to sob uncontrollably; she spoke final words to him, urging him to write their story: (Satine: "I'm sorry, Christian. I'm, I'm dying." Christian: "Shh. Shh. It's all right." Satine: "I'm so sorry." Christian: "No, you'll be all right. You'll be all right. l know you'll be all right. Satine: "I'm cold. I'm cold. Hold me. I love you. You've got to go on, Christian." Christian: "I can't go on without you." Satine: "You've got so much to give. Tell, tell our story, Christian. Yes. Promise me. Promise me. Yes. That way, I'll, I'll always be with you")
Satine's Tear-Jerking Death From Tuberculosis
  • Christian's final voice-over as he typed the ending to their story: "Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. And then, one not-so-very-special day, l went to my typewriter, I sat down and I wrote our story. A story about a time, a story about a place, a story about the people. But above all things, a story about love. A love that will live forever. The end"

Sepia-Toned Prologue

Poor Poet-Writer Christian
(Ewan McGregor)

The Green Fairy (Kylie Minogue) From the Absinthe Bottle

Moulin Rouge Star Satine

Opening Number: Satine Swinging Above Audience During "Sparkling Diamonds" Medley

Moulin Rouge Owner Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent)

Duke of Monroth
(Richard Roxburgh)

"Elephant Love Medley"

Christian - Threatened to Be Shot by the Duke and the Duke's Bodyguard

Ending: Christian Typing-Writing The End of "Our Story"


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