Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

The Deep (1977)

In director Peter Yates' deep sea adventure, based on Jaws author Peter Benchley's best-selling book, about a couple who journeyed to Bermuda to dive at the wreckage sites of sunken ships:

  • the beautiful cinematography of underwater diving, including the memorable opening title sequence - scuba diving images of sunken treasure divers David Sanders (Nick Nolte) and British girlfriend Gail Berke (Jacqueline Bisset) in a revealing white, clingy see-through T-shirt - during the dive, most audiences ignored Gail's discovery of an ampoule of an amber-colored liquid (medicinal morphine)
  • their visit to crusty treasure hunter-expert Romer Treece (Robert Shaw) who asked about the ampoule: "Where'd you get this exactly?" - and the realization that there were more - over 90,000 ampoules of morphine in a sunken WWII freighter known as ‘The Goliath’ - sitting atop another sunken early 18th century Spanish ship
  • the repeated full-screen, jump-scare appearances of a moray eel
Gail's Topless Strip in Front of 'Cloche' (Louis Gossett, Jr.)
  • the threatening character of ruthless Haitian drug lord-dealer Henri 'Cloche' Bondurant (Louis Gossett Jr.), who ordered his thugs to search both Gail and Nick; Gail removed her bikini-top to bare herself before the drug lord to prove she wasn't hiding anything; he then threatened the two: "Be Off the Island By Tomorrow!"
  • the scary and lengthy shark attack sequence
  • the horrific voodoo ritualistic rape scene in which Gail was confronted by a Haitian practitioners in her hotel room who smeared rooster blood all over her naked mid-section

Gail (Jacqueline Bisset) and David (Nick Nolte)

Romer Treece
(Robert Shaw)

Sunken Treasure - Ampoules of Morphine

Giant Moray Eel

Shark Attack

Voodoo-Rooster Blood Assault/Rape

The Deer Hunter (1978)

In Michael Cimino's Best Picture-winning Vietnam-era film:

  • the opening scenes of the bonding friendship between the three major Russian-American characters in the steel-town of Clairton, Pennsylvania, all of whom were about to join the military:

    - Steven (John Savage), marrying Angela (Rutanya Alda)
    - Nick (Christopher Walken), with girlfriend Linda (Meryl Streep)
    - Michael Vronsky (Robert De Niro), a deer-hunter

  • the traditional Russian Orthodox wedding sequence of Steven to already-pregnant Angela, a rite-of-passage
  • their pre-Vietnam deer hunting trip scene with Michael's philosophical discussion about his "one-shot" ideal when shooting deer, and his "This is this" speech toward an unprepared Stan (John Cazale)
  • the tranquil scene at Welsh's Lounge, where the returning hunters listened somberly (on their last night) as friend John (George Dzundza) softly played a Chopin piece on the piano
"Russian Roulette" Sequence With VietCong
  • the controversial and horrifying Russian Roulette sequence when the three captive prisoners of the Vietnam War were forced to provide deadly entertainment for their sadistic captors, but Michael was able to persuade the Vietcong leader to load the gun with three bullets - allowing them to shoot back and escape
  • an additional round of Russian roulette for money in a Saigon gambling den when Michael spoke to his nihilistic, drug-addled buddy Nick about "one shot" - and he played a round to attempt a rescue, but it was Nick's last fateful game
Nick's Russian Roulette in a Saigon Gambling Den
  • the image of a grief-stricken Michael cradling his dying friend's bloodied head
  • and the final poignant scene at the breakfast wake when the young men sang "God Bless America" after Nick's death when his body was brought home - and they reverentially (freeze-framed) raised their beer mugs to Nick, as Michael toasted: "Here's to Nick"

The Wedding:
Steven with Angela

Deer-Hunting Sequence: "This is this!"

Final Scene: Raised Beer Mugs

The Defiant Ones (1958)

In Stanley Kramer's social-conscience film:

  • the scene of escaped, shackled-together convicts Johnny "Joker" Jackson (Tony Curtis) and Noah Cullen (Sidney Poitier) talking together while fugitives, with Poitier bringing poignancy to his strident role (Jackson: "I'm just tellin' you the facts of life" Cullen: "I don't wanna hear it. I've been listenin' to that stuff all my life. From my wife: 'Be nice.' They throwed me in solitary confinement and she said: 'Be nice.' A man shortweight'd me when I turned in my crops. She'd say: 'Be nice, or you get in trouble.' She'd teach my kid that same damn thing")
  • the classic image of the clapsed white and black hands of the two desperately trying to help each other board a speeding train - Cullen reached back to pull Jackson up, but couldn't save him and sacrificed his own freedom by jumping off
Race for the Train
  • in the conclusion, Noah's singing of the blues song "Long Gone" - with the wounded Jackson lying in his arms, before the two were apprehended by Sheriff Max Muller (Theodore Bikel)

Johnny Jackson (Tony Curtis) and Noah Cullen (Sidney Poitier)

Singing "Long Gone"

Sheriff Max Muller (Theodore Bikel)

Delicatessen (1991, Fr.)

In Jean- Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's black comedy set in a post-apocalyptic 1950s France (of the future):

  • the montage set-piece, called the "Squeaky Bedsprings" scene (the cannibalistic butcher/landlord Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) was making love to his mistress Mme. Plusse (Karin Viard) on a squeaky bed) that took place in various rooms of the tenants in an apartment building above a ground floor butcher's shop-delicatessen:
Ceiling Painting
("roll roll")
Cello Playing with Metronome
("tick tock, tick tock")
Dusty Rug Beating ("pound pound")
Bike Tire Pumping ("whoosh whoosh")
("click click")
Toy Testing
("moo moo")

- newly-hired handyman and circus clown Louison (Dominique Pinon) was painting the ceiling with a roller
- the butcher's bespectacled near-sighted daughter Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac) was playing a cello with a metronome
- a woman was beating a dusty rug
- a boy was pumping a bike tire
- an old woman was knitting
- the toy-making Kube brothers were testing out a noise-making novelty toy that mooed, etc.

  • the tenants all kept synchronized in symphonic rhythm ("squeak squeak", "pound pound", "tick tock", "click click") to the squeaking springs in increasingly sped-up tempo until the butcher climaxed (when the bike tire exploded, a cello string broke, the painter fell to the floor, etc.)
  • also the numerous instances of suicidal psychotic Aurore Interligator (Sylvie Laguna) attempting to kill herself with Rube-Goldberg setups, including her climactic bizarre attempt with an overdose of pills, a shotgun, a noose hanging, a Molotov cocktail, and gas inhalation -- all unsuccessful
  • and the outrageous scene at film's end in which Louison and Julie purposely flooded a bathroom to escape her murderous father - resulting in a torrent of water filling the entire tenement building and cleansing the filth - leading to the butcher's death by a sharp Australian boomerang
  • the final image of Julie and Louison on the roof playing the cello and a musical saw while the sky turned blue

Squeaky Bed Love-Making

The Climax

Aurore Interligator

Flooded Bathroom

Butcher's Death

Cello-Playing on the Roof

Deliverance (1972)

In John Boorman's tense action-adventure film about four suburban Atlanta businessmen friends who encountered disaster in a summer weekend's river-canoeing trip:

  • the scene of Lewis' (Burt Reynolds) speech to his three city-slicker friends, Bobby (Ned Beatty), Drew (Ronny Cox) and Ed (Jon Voight), about the need to take a ride down the Cahulawassee River before construction of a dam that would create a man-made lake and forever flood it: "They're gonna flood a whole valley, Bobby, that's why. Dammit, they're drownin' the river...Just about the last wild, untamed, unpolluted, unf--ked up river in the South. Don't you understand what I'm sayin'?...They're gonna stop the river up. There ain't gonna be no more river. There's just gonna be a big, dead lake...You just push a little more power into Atlanta, a little more air-conditioners for your smug little suburb, and you know what's gonna happen? We're gonna rape this whole god-damned landscape. We're gonna rape it."
  • the rousing "Dueling Banjos" sequence - a banjo challenge between Drew (Ronny Cox) and a demented boy
  • the thrilling whitewater canoe trip down the rapids with numerous point-of-view shots of the river and rapids
  • during the trip, the expression of Lewis' point of view to Bobby, Drew and Ed about how only the strong would survive in the civilized world: "The first explorers saw this country, saw it just like us...You don't beat it. You don't beat this river...Machines are gonna fail and the system's gonna fail...then, survival. Who has the ability to survive? That's the game - survive."
  • the grisly and shocking sexual molestation (sodomy) scene as a degenerate, redneck backwoods Mountain Man (Bill McKinney) raped a pig-squealing and anguished Bobby in his underwear
Pig-Squealing Molestation-Rape by Mountain Rednecks
  • after Lewis had killed the Mountain Man (Bobby's attacker, with Ed about to be next) with a bow and arrow, the intense discussion scene about what to do with the body - and the sequence of the rafters burying the body of the Mountain Man, by digging furiously with their bare hands in the dirt, with Ed's glance at the stiff outstretched hand of the corpse
  • Drew's mysterious murder (?) - when without his life-jacket, he rose, shook his dazed head, lost his balance, toppled and pitched (or fell) forward into the rough water in some noisy, churned-up rapids and disappeared under the surface - he didn't resurface; this was followed by Lewis' serious leg injury - a compound fracture with viscera (bone and flesh) hanging out of his pant's leg
  • Ed's scaling of a sheer bluff at night to kill an armed man perched on the rocks (was it the mountain man's toothless buddy (Herbert Coward)?); his arrow released and struck the hunter (who descended and threatened to shoot him but then fell dead), but Ed had painfully fallen on his own arrows and wounded himself
  • in the concluding scene, suspicious Aintry County Sheriff Ed Bullard (James Dickey), who knew of a reported missing hunter, told survivors Ed and Bobby: "Don't ever do nothin' like this again. Don't come back up here...I'd kinda like to see this town die peaceful"
  • and the final nightmarish view of a white, bony hand (of the murdered Mountain Man) rising from the river (in Ed's dream) - as predicted earlier by the Sheriff: "Let's just wait and see what comes out of the river"

Dueling Banjos

Lewis: "Machines are gonna fail..."

Mountain Man Shot With Lewis' Arrow Through the Chest From Behind

Digging in Dirt to Bury Mountain Man

Ed's Killing of Mountain Hunter

Sheriff: "Don't ever do nothin' like this again. Don't come back here!"

Hand Rising From River

The Descendants (2011)

In Alexander Payne's Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar-winning, heart-wrenching drama set in Hawaii:

  • the character of an indifferent husband and beleaguered father, mildly-disheveled Honolulu lawyer Matt King (George Clooney), inept while dealing with the tragedy of his wife Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie) suffering a waterskiing accident off of Waikiki, and in a terminal coma (surviving only with life-support equipment)
  • Matt's opening disenchanted voice-over narration about Hawaii: "My friends on the mainland think just because I live in Hawaii, I live in paradise. Like a permanent vacation - we're all just out here sipping Mai Tais, shaking our hips and catching waves. Are they insane? Do they think we're immune to life? How can they possibly think our families are less screwed-up, our cancers less fatal, our heartaches less painful? Hell, I haven't been on a surfboard in 15 years. For the last 23 days, I've been living in a paradise of IVs and urine bags and tracheal tubes. Paradise? Paradise can go f--k itself"
  • the scenes with his two daughters while serving as a hands-off "backup parent": sassy, resentful and reckless 17-year-old Alexandra (Shailene Woodley), and forlorn 10-year-old Scotty (Amara Miller) in open rebellion against his parental authority
  • Alexandra's devastating revelation to her clueless, workaholic father that her love-neglected mother was involved in domestic betrayal and planned to divorce him: "You really don't have a clue, do you?...Dad, Dad. Mom was cheating on you!"
  • Matt's comic, sweaty duck-legged dash (in inappropriate plastic flip-flops) to his nearby neighbors' house to hopefully learn the name of his wife's lover
  • Matt's two solo scenes at his wife's bedside, first expressing his anger: "The only thing I know for sure is you're a goddamn liar," and then in the second instance when he kissed her and sobbingly said "Goodbye, my love, my friend, my pain, my joy, Goodbye"
  • the long search, stalking and ultimate confrontation with the cheating real estate agent, Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard), who was married to cheated-upon, unaware wife Julie Speer (Judy Greer), and vacationing in a cottage on Kauai
Matt Stalking Real Estate Agent Brian Speer
Who Had Been Cheating With His Wife
  • Matt's final decision not to sell out an immense land trust he managed for his extended haole family, 25,000 acres of unspoiled land on the island of Kauai - the last untouched paradisical inheritance of Hawaiian royalty to be developed, to reap an enormous payoff - to spite his avaricious, affable and dissolute cousin Hugh (Beau Bridges), and possibly to deprive Speer of a rich commission
  • the ending scene (under the credits), in silence, as the reconciled family sat together on the sofa, under their mother's quilt, eating ice cream and watching March of the Penguins (2005) (narrated by Morgan Freeman)

Matt King
(George Clooney)

17-year-old Alexandra King (Shailene Woodley)

Matt's Race to Neighbor's House

Bedside Scenes With Dying Comatose Wife Elizabeth

King with Cousin Hugh (Beau Bridges)

Ending Scene

The Desperate Hours (1955)

In William Wyler's crime thriller:

  • the two strong characters: cold-blooded escaped con Glenn Griffin (Humphrey Bogart) and his crafty hostage and family head Dan Hillard (Fredric March), along with his family held in their suburban Indiana home

Destry Rides Again (1939)

In George Marshall's western comedy set in the small wild frontier town of Bottleneck, and mostly centered around the Last Chance Saloon:

  • the opening scene of dishonest saloon singer "Frenchy" (Marlene Dietrich) helping to rig a crooked poker game (on the saloon's second floor) by causing a distraction (to allow a card substitution) and preventing rancher/farmer Lem Claggett (Tom Fadden) from winning a game against Bottleneck's corrupt boss and saloon owner Kent (Brian Donlevy); (later Claggett complained: "Why that low-down skunk sucked me into betting my ranch and cattle and then switched cards on me")
  • the sight of Frenchy being congratulated by Kent for helping him win - she placedf gold coins down her cleavage (prompting a censored line of dialogue voiced by Gyp Watson (Warren Hymer)): "There's gold in them thar hills" - the line that was heard was Frenchy telling Kent: "I'd rather have cash in the bank"
  • the scenes of the bawdy saloon singer belting out songs, such as You've Got That Look (That Leaves Me Weak) while wearing a feather boa, and the rousing See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have while wearing a cowboy/bolero outfit (during the finale, she strutted down the length of the bar)
Bawdy Last Chance Saloon Singer "Frenchy"
You've Got That Look (That Leaves Me Weak)
See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have
  • the stagecoach arrival of soft-spoken, mild-mannered, and gawky Tom Destry Jr. (James Stewart), the son of the ex-Sheriff who was gunned down in the back, now invited to town as the deputy Sheriff, but carrying a birdcage and parasol (to help another female passenger), and explaining that he didn't carry a gun
  • the two-minute, hair-pulling female wrestling brawl (the roughest in film history) between Frenchy and Lily Belle Callahan (Una Merkel) - the wife of Russian emigre Boris Callahan (Mischa Auer) that Frenchy had cheated during a poker game (to win his pair of trousers); and the fight's breakup when Destry poured water over them
  • in the final scene, Destry militantly strapped on his guns to avenge the death of the newly-appointed Sheriff - the town's drunk Washington or "Wash" Dimsdale (Charles Winninger), killed during a jail breakout; in a shootout in the saloon, heroine Frenchy sacrificed herself for Destry by blocking a bullet (to warn him of an ambush by Kent on the second floor), and she died in his arms

Frenchy with Cheating Kent (Brian Donlevy) After Rigged Poker Game

Tom Destry Jr.'s Arrival - With Birdcage and Parasol

Catfight Between Frenchy and Lily Belle Callahan

The Death of Sheriff Dimsdale

Kent Killed After Shooting at Destry and Hitting Frenchy

Frenchy Expiring in Destry's Arms

Detour (1945)

In Edgar Ulmer's great B-film noir - a gritty, cheaply-made ("Poverty Row"), fatalistic, cultish crime film:

  • the almost non-stop, voice-over narration in the nightmarish flashbacks of the main protagonist, fatalistic, self-pitying, down-and-out, impoverished Al Roberts (Tom Neal)
  • the opening scene of Roberts seated in a tawdry diner in Reno, Nevada, and his statements about fate and destiny catching up with him: ("Did you ever want to forget anything? Did you ever want to cut away a piece of your memory or blot it out. You can't, you know, no matter how hard you try. You can change the scenery, but sooner or later, you'll get a whiff of perfume or somebody will say a certain phrase, or maybe hum something. Then you're licked again... Yes, fate or some mysterious force can put the finger on you or me for no good reason at all")
  • the foggy NY scene of Roberts, a piano player, walking with girlfriend/night-club singer Sue Harvey (Claudia Drake) and discussing their impossible future together - she would venture to Hollywood to pursue a career before he joined her
  • during his thumbing trek from NY to Los Angeles/Hollywood to join Sue, in Arizona, Roberts was picked up by ex-bookie turned businessman Charles Haskell (Edmund MacDonald) - with suspicious deep scratches on his right hand; Haskell described them: "Beauties, aren't they? They're gonna be scars someday. What an animal!...I was tusslin' with the Most Dangerous Animal in the World - a woman!...You know, there oughta be a law against dames with claws! I tossed her out of the car on her ear. Was I wrong? You give a lift to a tomato, you expect her to be nice, don't ya? After all, what kind of a dame thumbs rides? Sunday School teachers? The little witch. She must have thought she was ridin' with some kinda fall guy...I've known a million dames like her, two million" - a prophetic and fateful comment about the perpetrator
  • the scene of Haskell's ambiguous death - who passed out or suffered a heart attack and also fell out of the car (and his head struck a rock, when Roberts was putting up the convertible top in the rain); fearing that he would be blamed, Roberts hid the body, stole Haskell's car and adopted his identity
  • Roberts' fateful pick up of vulturous and despicable hitchhiker Vera (Ann Savage) - he described her: "She was facing straight ahead, so I couldn't see her eyes. But she was young, not more than 24. Man, she looked as if she'd just been thrown off the crummiest freight train in the world. Yet in spite of this, I got the impression of beauty. Not the beauty of a movie actress, mind you, or the beauty you dream about when you're with your wife, but a natural beauty. A beauty that's almost homely because it's so real"
  • Vera suddenly sat up and began to suspiciously question his true identity ("Where did you leave his body? Where did you leave the owner of this car? You're not fooling anyone. This buggy belongs to a guy named Haskell. That's not you, Mister!") - she was the one who had hitchhiked with Haskell, all the way from Shreveport, Louisiana, had tussled with him and left her mark; Roberts expressed his fateful feelings about the blackmailing, castrating and exploitative femme fatale con Vera: "That's life - which ever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you up"
  • after accusing him of 'killing' Haskell ("What'd you do? Kiss him with a wrench?... You're a cheap crook and you killed him"), she held Roberts hostage to her wishes -- Vera's unrealistic, greedy plan was to sell the car and also to claim a substantial inheritance from Haskell's dying father (from bronchial pneumonia with only three weeks to live, described in a newspaper article), by having them pretend to be Mr. and Mrs. Haskell
  • the scene of their vicious argument in their cheap rented Hollywood apartment when the drunken Vera threatened to phone-call the police and turn him in: "You won't be dreamin' when the law taps you on the shoulder. There's a cute little gas chamber waitin' for you, Roberts, and I hear extradition to Arizona's a cinch...I'm gonna get even with you"
  • the sequence of her accidental strangulation with the telephone cord (wrapped around her neck) as he tugged on the cord through the closed bedroom door; when he burst through the door, he found her sprawled (in a mirror image) on her back and hanging off the bed. His voice-over continued: "The world is full of skeptics. I know. I'm one myself"
  • this was a second disastrous twist of fate for Roberts - signified by the in-and-out of focus shots from his deranged mental state and POV as he looked around the incriminating bedroom; he realized he could be identified by many witnesses: the landlady, the car dealer, the waitress in the drive-in, the girl in the dress shop, the guy in the liquor store: "I was cooked, done for. I had to get out of there...I was like a guy suffering from shock. Things were whirling around in my head. I couldn't make myself think right"
Final Sequence
Returning to The Present:
Back in the Diner
Al Imagining His Arrest by Highway Patrol Outside Diner
  • in the final sequence, as he left the diner, the voice-over continued with the film's final lines of dialogue: "I was in Bakersfield before I read that Vera's body was discovered, and that the police were looking for Haskell in connection with his wife's murder. Isn't that a laugh? Haskell got me into this mess, and Haskell was getting me out of it. The police were searching for a dead man. I keep trying to forget what happened, and wonder what my life might have been if that car of Haskell's hadn't stopped. But one thing I don't have to wonder about. I know, someday a car will stop to pick me up that I never thumbed. Yes, fate or some mysterious force can put the finger on you or me for no good reason at all" -- he imagined his arrest by the Highway Patrol outside the diner (to appease the Hays Code censors of the time)

Al Roberts (Tom Neal) - Flashbacked Story Told in Reno Diner

Al Picked Up by Charles Haskell - With Scars on Hand

Vicious Hitchhiker Vera (Ann Savage)

Vera's Greedy Plan to Pretend to be Mr. and Mrs. Haskell

Drunken Argument and Vera Threatening to Call Police - Behind Locked Bedroom Door

Lethal Accident - Vera's Strangulation in Bedroom (Behind Locked Door) with Phone Cord

Devi (1960, India) (aka The Goddess)

In Satyajit Ray's drama with stunning black and white cinematography, set in mid-19th century rural Bengal - a critique of religious fanaticism, superstition, and obsessive and ignorantly-blind, devoted beliefs in miracles and false idols:

  • the opening symbolic montage of a morphing stone statue head (under the title credits and after) - first with only blank contours, and then ornamented and bejewelled, transformed and overly-decorated; the face represented the Hindu diety of Kali after a slow camera zoom-out - the feared ten-armed 'mother goddess' of creation and destruction (and the consort of Lord Shiva), bedecked and worshipped during the annual religious festival of Durga Puja by frenzied, celebrating subjects as they paraded the statue in a procession towards a river (with fireworks) - where the inexpressive statue was submerged in the water and floated back to its source in the Himalayas
  • the character of beautiful and shy teenaged Doyamoyee or "Doya" (Sharmila Tagore), who was married to intellectual husband Umaprasad or "Uma" (Soumitra Chatterjee), who was planning to study at the university in Calcutta before raising a family with his young wife; after their marriage, "Doya" moved in with his family
  • "Doya" cared for her aging, rich land-owner (zaminder), widowed father-in-law Kalikinkar Roy (Chhabi Biswas) (who called her "mother"), a follower of Devi (Durga)
  • the scene of Kalikinkar's feverish, visionary divine dream - he imagined the matching third-eye on the statue of the goddess of Kali merging and superimposed onto his daughter-in-law Doya's face and forehead (and her decorative bindi), symbolizing divine insight; he awoke with absolute certainty that Doya was blessed - as an incarnation of the mother goddess deity Kali
  • Kalikinkar's manipulative conviction and insistence that everyone worship Doya, and that she had spiritual powers; at first reluctant, the naive and trusting Doya felt dutiful, submissive and compelled to obey his wishes - and eventually came to believe in her own transformation as a healing goddess (after she miraculously cured one man's dying young grandson); she was placed on a shrine-platform to sit confined and immobile for hours to receive supplicants, homage and prayers from priests and the sickly
  • the striking scene when Uma returned home from his exams, and became visibly upset by the sight of his wife when he came upon her with throngs around her - she had been transformed into an object of worship with worshippers standing in line to see her (with subtle movements, she noticed his arrival wth a momentary look up at him, a slight movement of her head horizontally (signifying no) with a tear in her right eye, and a half-smile followed by a flash of fear in her eyes, and then a look down); as he looked away and departed, her eyes followed him
Husband "Uma" Upset at Sight of Wife "Doya" as an
Object of Worship as Healing Goddess Kali
  • the tragic conclusion when she failed to cure her young nephew Khoka (Arpan Chowdhury), and she went insane
Unable to Cure Nephew
Doya's Flight
  • in the final image - shot as an apparition, she fled across a meadow of flowers and disappeared into a mist near the river

Stone Statue Head

Morphed into Hindu god Kali

The 10-Armed Mother Goddess

Teenaged "Doya" with Husband "Uma"

Kalikinkar's Fever Dream about Doya Being an Incarnation of Kali


The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) (aka All That Money Can Buy)

In William Dieterle's classic fantasy tale:

  • the dramatic courtroom scene in which silver-tongued orator/lawyer Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold) argued to save Jabez Stone's (James Craig) soul from the devil "Mr. Scratch" (Walter Huston) in front of a jury of damned souls
  • the last fade-out image of the defeated but never down Scratch on the fence looking at the camera/audience for his next 'victim' - breaking the fourth wall

Devil in the Flesh (1947, Fr.) (aka Le Diable au Corps)

In Claude Autant-Lara's star-crossed, tragic romance drama:

  • the passionate love scenes between:

- Francois Jaubert (Gerard Philipe), an underaged 17 year-old high-schoolboy
- Marthe Graingier (Micheline Presle), an older woman, a WWI French military nurse, who was married and in a loveless relationship with a soldier at the front

The Devil's Advocate (1997)

In director Taylor Hackford's occult horror drama - a young defense attorney during a particularly difficult trial in Florida sold his soul to the devil - it was part of an elaborate daydream or fantasy when he realized he was about to compromise his integrity by representing a guilty client in the case of a child-molester schoolteacher - and he was about to acquit the suspect by discrediting the victim during cross-examination; in his fantastic daydream, the lawyer found himself entering into the perversely seductive tutelage and service of diabolical John Milton (deliberately named to imply his "Paradise Lost") at a law firm in Manhattan - to be corrupted by a life of sex, money, and power:

  • the high-above New York rooftop negotiation sequence in which John Milton (Al Pacino) offered aspiring Florida defense attorney Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) fame and fortune, with Milton's perversely-seductive performance as the head of a multi-national law firm
  • Lomax's descent into hell fantasy, imagining that his distressed and troubled wife Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) had been raped and then committed suicide, and that Milton was his father; she was in a church in the nude, confessing that Milton "made me do it"
  • the startling scene of Mary Ann, in a mental institution, slitting her throat as Kevin tried to break into her room to prevent her from hurting herself
  • the dipping of Milton's finger into baptismal holy water to make it boil and his hysterical laugh in curtains of flames
  • the sequence of Milton's climactic, fiery monologue in which he called God an "absentee landlord" and revealed himself as the charismatic, evil Satan himself: ("...Well, I tell ya, let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do? I swear, for His own amusement, His own private cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look, but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Aha ha ha. And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is He doin'? He's laughin' His sick, f--kin' ass off. He's a tight-ass. He's a sadist. He's an absentee landlord. Worship that? Never!")
Lomax Tempted by Milton's Half-Sister Christabella
  • the scene of the wall sculpture mural with naked figures that came to life, when Milton tempted Lomax with nude, redheaded co-worker and half-sister Christabella Adrioli (Connie Nielsen) in his office: ("It's time to step up and take what's yours"), to have sex with her and to father the Anti-Christ; while referring to his own 'free will,' Lomax voluntarily committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. In reaction, Milton cried "No!" and he and the wall mural burst into raging flames (and was converted into angelic form), while a naked Christabella age-withered and died
Attorney Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) Committing Suicide
Satanic John Milton
Bursting into Flames
Converted Into Angelic Form
  • Lomax was brought back to reality, and returned to the Gettys case courtroom during a recess period - where he announced in the courtroom (as part of doing "the right thing") that he would no longer represent his guilty client - thus threatening his own disbarment
  • the final curtain-closing meeting between Lomax and press newsman Larry (Neal Jones), who summed up his offer of a sensational media story about Lomax's turn-about: "A lawyer with a crisis of conscience?...It's huge!...You've gotta give me an exclusive. This is wire service. This is 60 Minutes! This is a story that needs to be told. It's you! You're a star!"
"Vanity - definitely my favorite sin!"
  • and then after acquiring acceptance, the press-man morphed into Milton, and gloated with a devilish grin: "Vanity - definitely my favorite sin!" - insinuating that the Devil still had plans to intervene in the Lomax's lives, and then dissolving into flames as The Rolling Stones' Paint It, Black played

John Milton
(Al Pacino)

Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) Nude in Church

Mary's Ann's Suicide

Milton's Fingers Made Baptismal Water Boil

Milton In Front of Wall Sculpture Mural

Milton's Over-the-Top Rant and Denunciation of God

The Devils (1971, UK)

In Ken Russell's blasphemous, shocking, repulsive and flamboyant film about the repressive 17th century when sexuality was equated with Satanism (an adaptation of Aldous Huxley's "The Devils of Loudon"):

  • the demented, overwrought and offending excesses: sexual debauchery, a hunchbacked, sexually-tormented and possessed Mother Superior Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave)
  • Mother Jeanne's unfulfilled, warped sexual desires (and vivid fantasies) for the town's womanizing, vain, rebellious liberal-activist priest Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed)
Crazed and Sexually-Tormented Mother Superior Jeanne
  • the so-called "Rape of Christ" sequence (heavily censored), when naked nuns engaged in orgies and self-flagellating masturbation with a large-scale effigy of Jesus
  • the torture, hideous exorcistic practices, and the killing of Huguenots
Father Grandier Burned at Stake
  • the brutally-realistic execution of Father Urbain Grandier by burning at the stake after he faced questioning and persecution for his 'diabolic possession' of the local repressed Ursuline nuns

Jeanne's Fantasy of Sex with Father Grandier

"The Rape of Christ"

Sexually-Crazed Nuns

Les Diaboliques (1955, Fr.) (aka Diabolique)

In French director Henri-Georges Clouzot's psychological horror-thriller - one of the earliest films to feature a shocking plot twist in its conclusion; it was adapted for the screen from Pierre Boileau's and Thomas Narceja's 1951 novel Celle Qui N'était Plus (She Who Was No More) [Note: the scary bathtub scene was imitated in The Shining (1980), Fatal Attraction (1987), and What Lies Beneath (2000).]:

  • the film's main characters: Michel Delassalle (Paul Meurisse), a despicable and abusive schoolmaster, Christina (Véra Clouzot, director Georges Clouzot's real-life wife) - Michel's mistreated, downtrodden, humiliated, frail and ailing wife/headmistress and the owner of the school, and Nicole Horner (Simone Signoret), a brassy schoolteacher, Michel's mistress
  • the deadly love triangle in the curving plotline and the famous shocking twist ending - the two females plotted to drug the miserly Michel and drown him in a bathtub in Nicole's country house (closeby to the school, in an isolated village), and then dump his body in the school's swimming pool; but then Michel's body went missing from the pool, and there were several possible sightings; however, Michel was never killed by them - he had faked his own death - with collaborative help by Nicole - so Christina could be murdered
  • in the sequence, when Christina unexpectedly saw Michel's corpse in the bathtub, it caused her (and the audience) to have a fright-induced heart attack, when he rose zombie-like out of a bathtub with half-opened, all-white eyes; she clutched her chest in the vicinity of her heart, fell back against the wall and slid to the floor where she collapsed and slumped over dead
Christina's Heart Attack
  • afterwards, he popped the fake eye lenses from his eyes, exited the tub, and checked Christina's arm for a pulse; after unlocking the apartment door, Nicole rushed into his arms for embraces and kisses; their plan was to become rich by selling the "fire-trap" school that he would inherit from his deceased wife
  • in the denouement, the two conspirators were immediately arrested by retired private detective Alfred Fichet (Charles Vanel), who predicted that they would be imprisoned for 15-20 years
  • in the film's resolution the next day as the school was closing, there was another possible twist regarding the fate of Christina; confused, truth-telling or lying (?) schoolboy Moinet (Yves-Marie Maurin) declared that Christina had just given him back his confiscated slingshot (which he used to break a window) that morning - the film's last line as he walked away: "I did see her. I know I saw her." (translated)
  • the film's unique, one of the first of its kind, end-credits 'anti-spoilers' director's statement that advised viewers to keep the film's ending a secret: "Don't be devils. Don't ruin the interest your friends could take in this film. Don't tell them what you saw. Thank you for them." (another translation): "Don't be diabolical yourself. Don't spoil the ending for your friends by telling them what you have just seen. On their behalf - Thank you!"

Michel's Zombie-Like Emergence From Bathtub

Removing Fake Eye Lenses

Schoolboy Moinet Claiming to Have Seen Christina After the Bathtub Incident

Director's Anti-Spoiler Statement

Dial M for Murder (1954)

In Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller, remade as A Perfect Murder (1998):

  • the story: charming and sophisticated husband and ex-tennis champion Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) blackmailed contract killer Captain Swann/Lesgate (Anthony Dawson), a former classmate with a criminal record, to commit the "perfect murder" for 1,000 pounds cash - the killing of his wealthy wife Margot Wendice (Grace Kelly) in order to inherit her fortune; she was engaged in an affair with mystery writer Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings)
  • director Hitchcock's cameo: in a class reunion photograph, including both Capt. Swann and Tony seated across the table from him
  • the scene of Tony on the phone and dialing M to reach his wife (although tension was intensified and the plan was botched when his watch stopped and his call at 11:00 pm - by dialing M - was later than expected by about 8 minutes)
  • the murder set-up - and the 3-D effect of Margot while being strangled reaching back - into the audience from the screen - searching for a weapon (a pair of scissors) to defend herself and kill hired assassin Captain Swann/Lesgate by stabbing him in the back; when he theatrically fell to the floor onto his back, the blades of the scissors were pushed more deeply into his body
  • the concluding scene in which the guilty Tony opened the door with the crucial duplicate key (Margot's front-door key stolen from her handbag by Tony, and planted for Swann's use) that he had retrieved from under the rug on the stairs outside the apartment; earlier, no key had been found on the dead assassin Swann (and there was no forced entry either, because he didn't have mud on his shoes) - Swann had entered using the planted key and immediately replaced it under the stairs' rug; when Tony entered, turned and realized he had been found out: ("Once he opens that door, we shall know everything")

Hitchcock's Cameo

Captain Swann/Lesgate Awaiting Call

Magnified Phone During Phone Dialing

3-D Stabbing Sequence

After Entering, Tony Realized He Had Been Found Out

Diamonds of the Night (1964, Czech.) (Démanty Noci)

In Czechoslovakian New Wave director Jan Nemec's uncompromising, stark, and expressionistic, nightmarish war drama with very little dialogue - his feature film debut - an hour-long, minimalist, compelling experimental work (with many hand-held camera shots) about the Holocaust:

  • the opening B/W sequence of the tense and desperate escape from a train by two exhausted, teenaged Jewish-Czech boys: thin, tall and injured 1st Boy (Ladislav Jansky), and younger, dark-haired 2nd Boy (Antonin Kumbera) while being transported in Dachau from one concentration death camp to another; with extreme close-ups of their faces and hands as they breathed heavily, scrambled and struggled to run up a hill in one lengthy, continuous and uninterrupted shot, with the sounds of Nazi-Germans behind them crying out: "Halt!", with gunfire and screeching train brakes
  • their fugitive status for a few days in the woods (they wore jackets emblazoned with KL (Konzentration Lager/Concentration Camp)), where they faced severe conditions of survival (overcoming starvation, the elements, lack of shelter, injuries, complete fatigue)
  • the frequent interruptions by a series of elliptical, non-linear, baffling and surreal flash-cuts or flashbacks, dream-fantasies and fragmented memories, including an image of ants swarming on a hand and in one of the boy’s eye sockets (in homage to Luis Bunuel's sequences in Un Chien Andalou (1929))
  • the depiction of one of the boy's internal streams of consciousness -- the struggles in his mind when confronting a stern-looking, wary village woman in her farmhouse - he experienced delusional fantasies of violence and sex (should he assault the woman, knock her out to silence her, rape her, and steal food - or trust her and accept an offer of food?); in the end, the two boys accepted pieces of dried bread and milk, but it caused their sore gums and mouths to bleed
Delusional Fantasies of Violence and Sex With Village Woman
  • their recapture by a group of senile, elderly, motley group of armed German peasant-hunters or local militia, and their sentencing by a village official to be shot by a firing squad for stealing bread, while the old men - the boys' captors - celebrated by noisily drinking, carousing, eating and dancing
  • and the film's ambiguous, open-ended double-conclusion - were the boys shot in the back as they walked away from the firing squad, or did they escape back into the black forest? (Didn't the audience hear the shots that killed them, and see their corpses lying in the dirt?)
Shot in the Back? or Did The Boys Escape?

Escaping From a Concentration Camp Train

Struggling to Survive

Swarming Ants

KL Jackets

The Boys Recaptured by Local Militia

Die Hard (1988)

In director John McTiernan's action-thriller blockbuster about the robbery of the 40 story high-rise Plaza Towers of Nakatomi's corporate headquarters in Los Angeles (Century City) - a group of heavily-armed terrorists invaded the company's Christmas Eve Party, and attempted to steal $640 million in negotiable bearer bank bonds inside the building's vault:

  • the breathtaking, tense, nail-biting action sequences on the 30th floor of the 40-story high-rise corporate headquarters building
  • the pitting of off-duty, New York City cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) against villainous internationalist terrorist Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman); the clever scene of McClane's alert or warning to the terrorists that he was armed with the machine gun taken from Tony (Andreas Wisinewski) - McClane sent Tony's corpse (with a Santa hat) in an elevator to the 30th floor with an X-mas message from McClane scrawled on his sweatshirt: "Now I Have a Machine Gun - Ho-Ho-Ho".
  • McClane's crawling through a narrow ventilation shaft and his quip: "Now I know what a TV dinner feels like"
  • McClane's famous line: "Yippee-kai-yay, motherf--ker!"
  • the scene of his walking barefoot on shattered glass when he fled through the EXIT door
  • after saving the hostages, McClane's daring jump and dangling from the rooftop via a firehose, in order to escape and avoid the building's detonation, and his nerve-biting effort to disattach himself from the hose that was pulling him downward
  • the final tense showdown in which Gruber was holding bloodied McClane's estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedalia) hostage; by getting into a laughing fit with Gruber (and his thug assistant Eddie (Dennis Hayden)), he was able to distract the men - and suddenly reached for a concealed gun taped onto his back; he shot and killed Eddie in the forehead and wounded Gruber in the shoulder - the bullet also broke the window behind Gruber
Gruber's Plummet to His Death
  • McClane blew on the barrel of his pistol, and joked: "Happy trails, Hans!", as Gruber stumbled backwards through the broken window pane; Gruber grabbed for Holly's arm and metal wristwatch-band, but McClane released or unclasped the band, and watched as Gruber, still threatening with a gun in his right hand, unforgettably fell backwards to his death 30 stories below

McClane's Warning: "Now I Have a Machine Gun Ho-Ho-Ho"

McClane's Bloodied Bare Feet

TV Dinner Quip


McClane Jumping to Escape High-Rise's Explosion, Attached to Firehose

Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)

In this sequel of the famed action picture by director Renny Harlin:

  • the scene of John McClane (Bruce Willis) trapped in the cockpit of the plane holding South American dictator and drug lord General Esperanza (Franco Nero), with terrorists firing their guns at him; when grenades were thrown into the cockpit through smashed windows, McClane ejected himself and parachuted to safety, just minutes before the grenades exploded and destroyed the plane
  • the scene of McClane's discovery, accidentally, that enemy mercenaries' guns were firing blank ammunition - he later proved his findings to inept airport security chief Capt. Carmine Lorenzo (Dennis Franz) by firing a machine gun - with blanks - at him
Igniting Fuel Trail to 747 With Expletive
  • the reprise of John McClane's famous line: "Yippie-kai-yay, motherf--ker!" in the film's conclusion, when he ignited - with his cigarette lighter - the fuel trail of a 747 airplane filled with mercenaries and terrorists during take-off and the plane exploded in a ball of fire, providing light for other planes circling above to land

McClane Ejecting Himself From Getaway Plane

McClane Proving to Security Captain That There Were Blanks in the Terrorists' Guns

(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

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