Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)

In Martin Scorsese's dramatic film, his first Hollywood studio production, about female self-actualization that ultimately became a popular TV comedy series titled Alice:

  • the surrealistic prologue - a reddish-tinged homage to The Wizard of Oz (1939), a flashback to young 8 year-old Alice Graham (Mia Bendixsen) living in Monterey, CA in 1947, singing her version of Alice Faye's You'll Never Know with aspirations to be a singer
The Musical Opening - Transitioning to the Present
  • the opening scene transitioned abruptly to 27 years later (the year 1974), in Socorro, NM, now with middle-class housewife Alice Hyatt (Oscar-winning Ellen Burstyn) in her mid-30s, unhappily married to Coca-Cola truck driver Donald (Billy Bush), and with a precocious, ill-mannered, often-bratty young son Tommy (Alfred Lutter)
  • the scene of recently-widowed, quietly-despairing Alice Hyatt in a Phoenix, AZ hotel room in transit through the Southwest toward her childhood home of Monterey, California to find work; she was accompanied by her "whining" young son Tommy; after too many complaints, she forced him to sit and demanded that he write down all of his "problems" including things that were wrong with his life ("all the bad things"); she expressed her exasperation and frustrations to him: "I'm out there, spendin' too much money on clothes, tryin' to look like maybe I'm under 30 so that somebody will hire me, and you're sittin' in here, whining like an idiot. I will get a job, all right? I will get you to Monterey before your birthday. I will get you in school by September. I swear it! Shall I open a vein and sign it in blood? I'm sorry, Tommy. I know you're upset, too. You've been taken away from your home and your friends, and everything. When we get to Monterey, things will be better"
  • Alice's job in a greasy-spoon diner in Tucson, AZ known as Mel & Ruby's Cafe; there were scenes with fellow waitresses at the diner, owned and managed by short order cook Mel Sharples (Vic Tayback): shy and neurotically-loopy Vera (Valerie Curtin) and sassy, hardened and foul-mouthed Flo (Oscar-nominated Diane Ladd)
  • the sequence of Mel asking Flo where Vera was, and she responded with the vulgar: "She went to s--t, and the hogs ate her!" - spraying ketchup all over customers and herself
  • the frequent dirty joking that Flo engaged in with Mel:
    Flo: "Mel, what you doin' back there, pulling on your puddin'? Or are you givin' it a whack with a hammer? I heard the only way you can get it up is to slam it in a door"
    Mel: "I don't want to get too close to you, honey. It will get you all bothered up early in the morning"
    Flo: "Man, I could lay under you, eat fried chicken and do a crossword puzzle at the same time. That's how much you bother me"
  • the scene of Flo and Alice sunbathing with Flo's hint: ("Honey, unbutton that top button. Yeah, if you bend over, that's how you get more tips when you're working"), and also their girl-talk in a toilet stall

Alice (Ellen Burstyn) with son Tommy (Alfred Lutter) in Arizona Hotel Room

Tommy Writing List of Problems

Alice Working at Mel & Ruby's Cafe

Flo (Diane Ladd) with Mel (Vic Tayback)

Alice Working with Flo

Flo and Alice Sunbathing

In a Toilet Stall

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

In the animated Disney classic about a madcap world known as Wonderland:

  • The White Rabbit's (voice of Bill Thompson) "I'm late" song, and his comical quip, "Don't just do something, stand there!"
  • Alice's many experiences when turning large and small

White Rabbit: "I'm Late"
Alice's Transformations
  • the Mad Hatter's (voice of Ed Wynn) Tea Party and "The Unbirthday Song"
  • all the fanciful characters (Tweedledee and Tweedledum, The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Lizard with a Ladder, The Talking Flowers, The Caterpillar, The Cheshire Cat, etc.)
  • the blustery, domineering Queen of Hearts' (voice of Verna Felton) constant bellowing of "Off with their heads!"

The Mad-Hatter Tea Party

The Queen of Hearts

Alien (1979)

In director Ridley Scott's atmospheric sci-fi thriller:

  • the early scene of Nostromo crew member Kane (John Hurt) being attacked by the 'face-hugging' alien as he explored the alien ship - and later the attempt to surgically remove the parasitic Alien from Kane's face, spilling an acid-like substance
  • the horrifying, bloody, gory sequence revealing the birth of the sharp-toothed baby alien from the bursting chest of Kane and its scurrying across the floor
Kane's Gory Death From Alien Birth
  • the life-and-death struggle with the relentless Alien
  • the scene of the bludgeoning of Ash (Ian Holm) revealing that he was an android/robot
  • the reactivation of Ash's severed head when he warned: "You still don't understand what you're dealing with"
  • the scene of crew-member Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) question to "Mother" (the ship's computer) and its harsh answer: "Insure return of organism for analysis. All other considerations secondary. Crew expendable"
  • the Alien's head-splitting murder of crew member Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) when he searched for the crew's cat named Jones
  • in an air shaft of the Nostromo, Dallas with a flame-thrower was guided with the help of a tracker to try and locate the alien - when suddenly the tracker screen showed a second dot moving ominously straight toward him: (Navigator Lambert (Veronica Cartwright): "Oh God, it's moving right towards you. Move! Get out of there!"; the Alien attacked with two hands upraised when Dallas turned and shined his light onto it - the monitor screen ended its transmission with static and a very high-pitched whine
Sole Survivor
Expelling Alien From Airlock
  • and the final scene on the shuttle craft when the sole remaining Ripley - ready for hibernation and stripped down to mini-bikini panties and T-shirt - realized the Alien was still onboard, and how she carefully donned a spacesuit and fought the creature to the death by expelling it out of the airlock and incinerating it in the ship's engine blast

Alien Egg Pods

Face-Hugging Alien

Android Ash's Head Bludgeoned Off

Brett's Murder by Alien

Dallas' Death

Aliens (1986)

In James Cameron's action/sci-fi blockbuster sequel:

  • in a reprised role (57 years after the original film), aggressive "Rambo-like" heroine Flight Officer Lt. Ellen Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) nightmare in the film's opening of 'giving birth' to an Alien, after being rescued by a deep-salvage team
  • the scene of gung-ho Marine Private Hudson's (Bill Paxton) realization when the drop-ship from the USS Sulaco crashes on LV-426 when trying to pick up the first group of Marine survivors from alien attack: "That's it, man. Game over, man! Game over!"
  • the mother-daughter bond formed between Ripley and orphaned Newt (Carrie Henn)
  • Ripley's confrontation with the egg-laying Alien Queen mother/monster when saving Newt, when she torched the entire egg chamber with her flamethrower
  • and then later, the showdown scene when Ripley wore a walking, powered forklift/loader in the Sulaco's hangar, and she provided protection for surrogate daughter Newt with her threat to the Alien Queen: ("Get away from her, you bitch!") and aggressive, fisticuffs bitch-slap of the gargantuan stowaway Alien Queen with the mechanical claw-arm of the contraption
Ripley in a Power Loader
  • in the exciting climax, the tense moment when Ripley's ankle was grabbed by the screaming beast as she held onto the rung of the outer airlocked hatch ladder before expelling it into outer space

Nightmarish Birth of Alien

Ripley with Newt

The Egg-Laying Alien Queen Mother

All About Eve (1950)

In writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz' black-and-white, Best Picture-winning masterpiece - a cautionary drama about ambition and intrigue in the world of the American theater (Broadway and New York) - with barbed, sophisticated and witty dialogue in the screen play and flawless acting and direction:

  • the opening scene at an annual awards banquet for the presentation of the Sarah Siddons Award for Distinguished Achievement - to Eve Harrington (Oscar-nominated Anne Baxter); the scene was accompanied by the voice-over on an off-camera, muted voice: "And no brighter light has ever dazzled the eye than Eve Harrington. Eve. But more of Eve later, all about Eve, in fact"; shortly later, the voice described Eve as she accepted the award: "Eve. Eve the Golden Girl, the Cover Girl, the Girl Next Door, the Girl on the Moon. Time has been good to Eve. Life goes where she goes. She's the profiled, covered, revealed, reported. What she eats and what she wears and whom she knows and where she was, and when and where she's going. Eve. You all know All About Eve. What can there be to know that you don't know?"
  • the revelation of the individual behind the voice - cynical, caustic, acid-tongued New York drama critic Addison De Witt (Oscar-winning George Sanders), who then proceeded to introduce some of the film's main characters in attendance: Karen Richards (Celeste Holm), wife of playwright Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe), Max Fabian (Gregory Ratoff), the theatrical producer of the play which had won the award for Eve, and famed Broadway actress Margo Channing (Oscar-nominated Bette Davis): "Margo Channing is a Star of the Theater. She made her first stage appearance, at the age of four, in Midsummer Night's Dream. She played a fairy and entered - quite unexpectedly - stark naked. She has been a Star ever since. Margo is a great Star. A true star. She never was or will be anything less or anything else"
  • the flashbacked plot, beginning with a backstage scene at a Broadway theatre of producer Max Fabian's play Aged in Wood, where mega-star Margo denounced her fans (autograph collectors): "Autograph fiends, they're not people. Those are little beasts that run around in packs like coyotes...They're nobody's fans. They're juvenile delinquent, they're mental defective, and nobody's audience. They never see a play or a movie even. They're never indoors long enough"
  • the scene of young adoring fan Eve in the alleyway next to the theatre ("the mousy one with the trench coat and a funny hat") being let in to be introduced to Margo (with unflattering cold cream on her face), and Margo's maid, friend and companion Birdie Coonan's (Thelma Ritter) negative reaction to Margo's put-on performance in Eve's presence: "When she gets like this - all of a sudden, she's playin' Hamlet's mother"
  • Eve's captivating hard-luck, melancholy tale of her life story to the dressing room audience, capped by Birdie's sarcastic comment: "What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end"
  • Eve's staging of a welcome home (from Los Angeles) and belated birthday party ("a night to go down in history") for Margo's lover Bill Sampson (Gary Merrill), to be attended by all the leading lights of the New York theatrical world; Margo sensed Eve's conniving, and delivered her famous threat and premonition: "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night"
"Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night"
"Miss Casswell is an actress - a graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art"
"Now go and make him happy"
  • at Margo's party, Addison De Witt's introduction of his protege/date of the moment, a bimbo date and so-called starlet-actress named Miss Casswell (Marilyn Monroe): "Miss Casswell is an actress - a graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art"; soon after, De Witt then pimped out Miss Caswell to producer Max Fabian: De Witt: "Now go and do yourself some good." Miss Casswell: "Why do they always look like unhappy rabbits?"
    De Witt: "Because that's what they are. Now go and make him happy"
  • Margo's outburst of dialogue during the party, especially directed toward Eve: "Didn't you know? We're all busy little bees, full of stings, making honey, day and night. (To Eve) Aren't we, honey?"
  • the scene of Margo's self-reflective moment about her real persona, full of weaknesses and vain insecurities about her increasing age, delivered in the back seat of a car; she described how she had been hardened and paid the price in human relationships, especially with Bill, by her successful exhibitionist career: ("The things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman")
  • just before Eve's opening performance after replacing Margo, De Witt's powerful scene of the denouncement and unmasking of her fraudulent duplicity - and the revelation of Eve's Machiavellian, cold-blooded, destructive plans to further her own ends, such as her efforts at seducing Bill, and entering into an "unholy alliance" with playwright Lloyd Richards: "To begin with, your name is not Eve Harrington. It's Gertrude Slescynski....San Francisco has no Shubert Theater. You've never been to San Francisco! That was a stupid lie, easy to expose, not worthy of you....You're an improbable person, Eve, and so am I. We have that in common. Also a contempt for humanity, an inability to love and be loved, insatiable ambition - and talent. We deserve each other...and you realize and you agree how completely you belong to me?"; when Eve protested that she couldn't go on stage after being devastated by his unmasking, De Witt thought otherwise: "Couldn't go on! You'll give the performance of your life"
  • and the final scene, following the Sarah Siddons awards banquet, of one of Eve's star-struck fans Phoebe (Barbara Bates) (another budding "Eve"), clutching Eve's award while bowing in front of a large four-mirrored cheval - she stepped forward and bowed, again and again and again, acknowledging imaginary applause from an audience during a curtain call

Eve Receiving Award at Sarah Siddons Ceremony

NY Drama Critic Addison De Witt

Margo Channing with Eve

Margo's Self-Reflection in Back Seat of Car

De Witt's Denouncement of Eve's Duplicity

Eve's Fan Phoebe (Barbara Bates) Bowing in Front of Mirror

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

In this Best Picture-winning war film from award-winning director Lewis Milestone:

  • the realistic battle sequences of World War I including rows of infantrymen instantaneously being mowed down by machine gun fire as the camera moved sideways across them and showed the remains of one unfortunate soldier (his hands grabbed barbed wire)
  • the scene of soldier Paul (Lew Ayres) stabbing a Frenchman in a panic and being trapped in the bomb crater with the slowly dying man and attempting to give him water to drink
  • the scene of Paul's return to his school to tell the students of his disillusionment with war
  • the death scene of experienced platoon leader Katczinsky (Louis Wolheim) when Paul discovered that his friend was dead
Paul's Death by Sniper When Reaching for Butterfly
  • and Paul's death to the sound of the whine of a French sniper's bullet as his hand reached out to touch a beautiful butterfly from the shell-hole trench
  • also the film's final image of ghostly soldiers marching away, while superimposed over a dark, battle-scarred hillside covered with a sea of white crosses

Hands Grabbing Barbed Wire

Slow Death of Frenchman in Trench After Stabbing

Paul's School Speech About His Disillusionment

Film's Final Image

All That Heaven Allows (1955)

In Douglas Sirk's melodramatic, glossy Technicolored soap opera about a doomed May-December relationship in the Eisenhower Era of the mid-1950s, in suburban New England:

  • the opening, symbolic, high-angle camera shot under the opening title credits - a piercing, stiff spire of a New England church rising above the town
  • the gossip-mongering, scandalizing subject among the 'ideal' Americana town's snobby and judgmental upper crust: the troubling relationship between fortyish, middle-class, affluent widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) and her handsome, younger back-to-nature, non-conformist gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson)
  • the decisive scene with Ron when Cary suggested that they suspend their love affair due to repressive community pressure and ostracizing (about her socially unacceptable choice): "Ron, we're gonna have to wait to get married. Well... to give the children a chance to get used to the idea. They'll feel differently when they know you better....I'm just asking you to be patient. It's only a question of time....Right now everybody's talking about us - we're a local sensation. And like Sara said, if the people get used to seeing us together, then maybe they'll accept us...It's only for a little while, and it would make things so much easier" - but Ron was resistant to her suggestion about having their lives ruled by others: "I'm sorry Cary, but it wouldn't work. I can't live that way. You knew that from the beginning....God knows I love you, but I won't let Ned nor Kay nor anyone else run our lives. Cary, don't you see we could never be happy if we did?... Cary, you're the one that made it a question of choosing. So you're the one that'll have to choose" - she made a quick decision: "All right. It's all over"
  • the earlier discussion by Cary's self-centered daughter Kay (Gloria Talbott) of the "old Egyptian custom" of entombing widows: "Of walling up the widow alive in the funeral chamber of her dead husband along with all of his other possessions. The theory being that she was a possession too, so she was supposed to journey into death with him. And the community saw to it that she did. Course that doesn't happen anymore" - although Cary retorted: "Doesn't it? Well, perhaps not in Egypt" - and later, the paired metaphoric shot of Cary appearing isolated, 'entombed' and trapped inside her house as she looked out of her window at Chrismas festivities
Christmas Gift of TV with Red Ribbon
  • shortly later, the scene of Cary being presented with a Christmas gift from her grown college-aged children, Ned (William Reynolds) and Kay - an ironic consolation prize and substitute for having lost the love of her life, and to keep her company: a brand new table-model TV set (adorned with red ribbons) - it was chosen to keep her company - she saw her chilling, glassy reflection framed (enclosed and trapped) on the TV screen as the salesman pointed at it and told her: "All you have to do is turn that dial and you have all the company you want right there on the screen - drama, comedy, life's parade at your fingertips"

Opening Credits

Gardener Ron Kirby

Ron with Cary
(Jane Wyman)

Cary - Trapped Inside Her House

All That Jazz (1979)

In director/co-writer Bob Fosse's kinetic musical:

  • the cleverly-edited opening sequence of New York choreographer-director Joe Gideon's (Roy Scheider) waking in the morning (with dosages of dexedrine, alka-seltzer, eyedrops, etc.) and the repetition of his rousing stock phrase in front of the mirror: "It's showtime, folks!"
  • the full-stage 'cattle-call' audition dance number set to George Benson's "On Broadway"
  • the erotic, sweaty and sensual Air-Rotica rehearsal scene with the bizarre number "Take Off With Us" featuring sexy and half-naked Sandahl Bergman ("Going all the way, Won't you climb aboard?")
  • the impromptu top hat song-and-dance act "Everything Old Is New Again" performed in Joe's apartment by his girlfriend/lover Kate Jagger (Ann Reinking, Fosse's real-life lover essentially playing herself) and pre-teen daughter Michelle Gideon (Erzsebet Foldi)
  • the heart attack scene (with an angel of Death appearance by flirtatious Angelique (Jessica Lange) while Gideon was preparing for the theatre production of Chicago)
Angel of Death - and Gideon's Fatal Heart Attack
Operating Table
Death Angelique
(Jessica Lange)
Gideon in Body Bag
  • the spectacular finale with its wild, imaginatively-surreal hallucinations that were experienced by drug-addicted Gideon as he underwent open-heart cardiac surgery with chorus girls dancing around his bed, while he and television host O'Connor Flood (Ben Vereen) sang "Bye Bye Life" to a heavenly studio audience in a dance-musical number

"It's Showtime, Folks!"

Audition Dance Number


Song-and-Dance Act

"Bye Bye Life"

All The King's Men (1949)

In director/writer Robert Rossen's Best Picture-winning political drama:

  • Willie Stark's (Oscar-winning Broderick Crawford) no-notes rousing, half-drunken campaign speech for governor at the Upton Fairgrounds barbecue: ("Now, listen to me, you hicks...")
  • his assassination scene on the steps of the state capital building when shot twice by the embittered and vengeful young Dr. Stanton, the nephew of the judge whose career Willie had ruined
  • Willie's last words: ("Could have been whole world - Willie Stark. The whole world - Willie Stark. Why does he do it to me - Willie Stark? Why?")

"Now, listen to me, you hicks..."

Willie's Last Words

All the President's Men (1976)

In Alan Pakula's Best Picture-nominated political film:

  • the opening police call ("Car 727. Car 727. Open door at the Watergate office building. Possible burglary")
  • the statement by Deep Throat - delivered in the shadows: "Just follow the money"
  • the night scene at editor Ben Bradlee's (Oscar-winning Jason Robards, Jr.) house when Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) divulged the news from Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) that "everyone is involved"
  • Bradlee's final words of advice to his reporters: "Nothing's riding on this except the, uh, First Amendment, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys f--k up again, I'm going to get mad. Goodnight" - and his go-ahead for his reporters to print their story
  • the opening and then compelling final scene in which they typed (a closeup of typewriter keys banging on paper) in their news office while in the foreground - a TV broadcast Nixon's 1972 second inauguration, 21-gun salute and oath of office - and then another teletype report of August 9, 1974 - "NIXON RESIGNS..."

Deep Throat

Ben Bradlee's Advice to Reporters

Almost Famous (2000)

In director/writer Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical film:

  • the uplifting scene of the Stillwater band (mythical) on their tour bus singing along to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" playing on the radio
  • the scene on Stillwater's chartered airplane when lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) began singing Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" when the aircraft hit heavy turbulence

Tour Bus: "Tiny Dancer"

"Peggy Sue" During Turbulence

Alphaville (1965, Fr./It.) (aka Alphaville, Une Etrange Aventure De Lemmy Caution)

In French New Wave director Jean Luc-Godard's post-apocalyptic, science-fiction film (with gangster and expressionistic film noir characteristics) - a recreation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, and also George Orwell's novel 1984, with themes of dehumanization, political and totalitarian repression and artificial intelligence, and a precursor to Logan's Run (1976) and Blade Runner (1982):

  • the plot: American, chisel-faced trench-coated gumshoe detective and secret agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) traveled inter-galactically from the Outlands (in his white Ford Galaxie - actually a Ford Mustang) to the automated city of Alphaville - the capital of a dystopic, totalitarian state on the futuristic inter-galactic planet; Caution posed as journalist Ivan Johnson from the Figaro-Pravda newspaper
  • the sign on the suburban outskirts of Alphaville as Caution drove in: "Silence. Logic. Security. Prudence"
  • Alphaville was led by an almost-human supercomputer called Alpha-60 (with a synthetic droning voice provided by director Godard with a dry, slow, gutteral or raspy sound); it was described as such by fellow Agent X21 Henry Dickson (Akim Tamirof) under a bare light bulb: "A giant computer, like they used to have in big business...Alpha-60 is one hundred and fifty light years more powerful"; the computer had a devastating effect on the dehumanized, tattoo-identified inhabitants - they were completely complacent and apathetic, due to mind-altering drugs and the outlawing of emotions, love, crying, and conscience; "Their ideal here, in Alphaville is a technocracy, like that of termites and ants...Probably one hundred and fifty light years ago... two hundred. There were artists in the ant society. Artists, novelists, musicians, painters. Today, no more"
  • Lemmy Caution's mission: to bring back and/or assassinate evil scientist Professor Von Braun (Howard Vernon) (aka Leonard Nosferatu) who was responsible for creating the fascist Alpha-60 computer that ruled the state-run technocracy
  • the often-flashing image of two equations: E = mc² and E = hf - symbols of the absolute science that served as the foundation of Alphaville, and the ever-recurring circular imagery (i.e., the staircase, Caution's hotel suite, the city of Paris itself, and Alpha-60's own quote: "Time is like a circle which turns endlessly")
  • the absurdist execution sequence - a capital punishment ceremony (designed as a sporting event) to eliminate condemned individuals because "they behaved illogically"; for the crime of expressing grief ("He wept when his wife died"), a male prisoner was executed when shot on a diving board above a large pool; afterwards, four predatory female models with knives jumped in or swam toward the body to stab it, while some performed synchronized-swimming acrobatics
The Interrogation Sequence
  • the interview sequence, when newcomer Lemmy was interrogated by Alpha-60, with rotating microphones around his head (and views of a blinking light and a rotating fan behind a metal grating); during the harsh questioning when the computer heard Lemmy respond: "In my opinion, in love there is no mystery," it accused him of lying: "You are not telling the truth...You are hiding certain things, but I do not know yet what they are"
  • the lethal female seductress (prostitute) characters, one of whom (Valérie Boisgel) introduced herself as: "I'm a seductress, third class"; when he looked behind her hair on her neck, he discovered a tattoo marking
  • the confrontation between Lemmy and the Alpha-60 computer, when he asked it to find the answer to his riddle: "Something which never changes, day or night. The past represents its future, it advances in a straight line, yet it ends by coming full circle" - the computer answered: "Several of my circuits... ...are looking for the solution to your riddle. I will find it"; Caution then responded: "If you find it, you will destroy yourself simultaneously, because you will become my kin, my brother"; he was able to destroy the computer with his poetic question
  • the use of reverse negatives in the climax of the film (symbolizing the life-changing transformation or reversal from the oppressive conditions of Alphaville)
  • the sequence of the escape of Caution and lover Natacha Von Braun (Anna Karina) from Alphaville; in the ending sequence, Lemmy and Natacha drove away to escape to freedom from Alphaville: (Lemmy's voice-over) "Not all the inhabitants died, but all were stricken. Those not asphyxiated by the absence of light circled crazily, like ants. It was 23:15, Oceanic Time when Natacha and I left Alphaville by the peripheral roads. A night drive across inter-sidereal space, and we'd be home"; he cautioned her to not look or go back (similar to the Biblical story of Lot and his wife); and he suggested that the inhabitants of Alphaville might recover and eventually "be happy"

  • Escape From Alphaville - The Film's Ending Words: "I love you"

  • Natacha's pleadings: "You're looking at me with an odd face...You're waiting for me to say something...I don't know what to say. They're words I don't know. I wasn't taught them. Help me"; he responded that she must find the words on her own: "Impossible, Princess. You must get there yourself. Then you'll be saved. If you don't, you're as lost as the dead of Alphaville"
  • the film closed with Natacha's halting, unfamiliar three saving words expressed to Lemmy: "I... you... love. I love you" - and a smile came over her face

Alphaville Sign

Lemmy Caution as Journalist Ivan Johnson

Description of Technocracy

Two Equations

Circular Imagery

Execution Sequence at Swimming Pool

Metal Grating

Blinking Light

Seductress - Marked with Tattoo On Back of Neck

Use of Reverse Negatives

Amadeus (1984)

In Oscar-winning director Milos Forman's opulent, historical epic/costume drama based on Peter Shaffer's extravagant 1980 Broadway play:

  • the opening suicide scene in which envious Austrian court composer Antonio Salieri (Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham) attempted suicide - driven by guilt - by slashing his wrists when believing that he had killed rival composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Oscar nominee Tom Hulce)
  • in flashback, Salieri's blissful memory of being awed by the child prodigy Mozart when he first examined Mozart's sheet music for Serenade for Thirteen Wind Instruments and was amazed by its genius: ("Extraordinary! On the page it looked nothing! The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse. Bassoons, basset horns - like a rusty squeezebox. And then, suddenly, high above it, an oboe. A single note, hanging there, unwavering. Until a clarinet took it over, sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was no composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I had never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing. It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God")
  • the dining room sequence of Salieri's voyeuristic watching (while hiding) of the boisterous couple: the amorous, crude and bawdy, lecherous, hyena-laughing, giggling childish musical prodigy and Constanze (Elizabeth Berridge); he saw Mozart grab Constanze and drag her under the table with him; Mozart playfully spoke with her: "Ssik, Kiss, Ym, my, ssa. Kiss my ass"; he seriously proposed marriage to her ("Em-yrram!"), but when she refused, he replied that he loved her ("Uoy-evol-I-tub"); when he then told her to eat his shit ("Tihs-ym-tae") while kissing her bounteous cleavage, she called him a "filthy fiend"; it was unnerving for Salieri to hear the supposedly 'dignified' and virtuous musician drunkenly using lewd scatological humor while chasing after Constanze; reflecting back, Salieri expressed his disgust: " So that was he! That giggling, dirty-minded creature I'd just seen crawling on the floor..."
Dining Room Scene: Salieri Spying on Mozart and Constanze
  • another flashback when Salieri jealously reacted to original samples of profligate Mozart's work, brought to him in secret by Mozart's Frau Constanze, so that he could be considered for a royal appointment: "These were first and only drafts of music. But they showed no corrections of any kind. Not one. He had simply written down music already finished in his head! Page after page of it, as if he were just taking dictation! And music, finished as no music is ever finished. Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall. It was clear to me that sound I had heard in the Archbishop's palace had been no accident. Here again was the very voice of God! I was staring through the cage of those meticulous ink-strokes at an absolute beauty"
  • Mozart's sudden transformation from boor to artistic genius at the piano (he later stated: "I am a vulgar man, but I assure you, my music is not")
  • Mozart's constant embarrassment of Salieri (i.e., improving a march that Salieri had composed, literally farting in Salieri's face, seducing Salieri's object of lust, etc.)
  • Salieri's bitter rejection of God as he growled sarcastically: "Graci, maestro" to a crucifix -- out of jealousy at Mozart (because God had given a "creature" such talent and left him only as a self-proclaimed "mediocrity"), and his plan to kill Mozart by discrediting him
  • the characters of flippant, tone-deaf Emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones) (and his frequent utterance: "Well, there it is"), and Mozart's somber, critical father Leopold (Roy Dotrice) - and his stranglehold on Mozart's emotions and sanity even after his death (inspiring Mozart to compose Don Giovanni)
  • Salieri's appropriation of Leopold's identity (appearing with a chilling black, frowning mask that Leopold had worn during a costume party)
  • Mozart's lingering death in bed of liver disease while Salieri took down musical dictation as Mozart composed his final Requiem Mass
Mozart's Death
Salieri's Black Mask
Mozart's Death
Mozart's Pauper's Coffin and Gravesite
  • Mozart's unceremonious corpse-dumping in a mass pauper's grave
  • the final, downbeat ending in which a half-insane Salieri proclaimed himself as the King of Mediocrities and "absolves" his fellow asylum patients: ("Mediocrities everywhere... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you all...!")

Flashback of Envious Antonio Salieri

Mozart Playing For Emperor Joseph II of Austria

Jealous Reaction to Mozart's Original First and Only Drafts

Salieri: "Mediocrities"

Amélie (2001, Fr.) (aka Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain)

In the whimsical charming French film from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet about a shy and lonely Montmartre waitress who decided to bring joy and happiness to others:

  • the film's dizzying, hilarious, fast-paced, quick-cut introduction surveying the title character Amelie's (Audrey Tautou) life from actual conception, through her mother's growing pregnancy (in time-lapse), to adulthood
Introduction to Amelie's Life
  • the scene of Amelie's cherubic-faced discovery of an old tin box, hidden in her apartment bathroom's wall behind a dislodged tile, that was filled with a schoolboy's long-forgotten toys, treasures, and mementos from 40 years earlier: ("Only the discoverer of Tutankhamen's tomb would know how she felt upon finding this treasure hidden by a little boy 40 years earlier")
  • Amelie's epiphany ("a dazzling idea") while lying in bed that she would return the box to its owner, do good deeds, help others find true happiness, and straighten out their lives: ("Wherever he was, she would find the box's owner and give him back his treasure. If he was touched, she'd become a regular do-gooder. If not, too bad") - in her first effort, she successfully located Dominique Bretodeau (Maurice Bénichou), the box's owner
  • the moment that an embarrassed Amelie literally melted off the screen onto the floor
Amelie's Three Kisses - A Kissing Game
  • the first sighting of Nino Quincampoix (Mathieu Kassovitz) when Amelie saw him collecting strangers' discarded photographs from passport photo booths
  • the scene of Amelie's tender greeting of quirky true love Nino in her apartment, first kissing him on one cheek and then the other, and on his left eye - after they stared awkwardly at each other for a few moments; then, she pointed to her lips and he gave her reciprocal kisses on her face - finally discovering happiness and romance for herself

Amelie's Discovery of Tin Box

Amelie's Epiphany

Melting Off Screen

Amelie's First Sighting of Nino

American Beauty (1999)

In Sam Mendes' Academy Award-winning Best Picture:

  • Lester Burnham's (Oscar-winning Kevin Spacey) opening voice-over as he awoke and then masturbated in the shower, described his unhappy life - and foreshadowed his own death: "My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neighborhood. This is my street. This is my life. I am 42 years old. In less than a year, I will be dead. Of course, I don't know that yet, and in a way, I'm dead already. Look at me, jerking off in the shower. This will be the high point of my day. It's all downhill from here. That's my wife Carolyn. See the way the handle on those pruning shears match her gardening clogs? That's not an accident. That's our neighbor, Jim, and that's his lover, Jim...Man, I get exhausted just watching her. She wasn't always like this. She used to be happy. We used to be happy. My daughter, Jane. Only child. Janie's a pretty typical teenager - angry, insecure, confused. I wish I could tell her that's all going to pass, but I don't want to lie to her...Both my wife and daughter think I'm this gigantic loser. And they're right. I have lost something. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I know I didn't always feel this -- sedated. But you know what? It's never too late to get it back"
  • the stark dinner table scene in which Lester non-chalantly told his family he had quit his job: ("...and then I told my boss to go f--k himself, and then I blackmailed him for almost $60,000. Pass the asparagus")
  • the scene of Lester's entrancement with high school teen blonde vamp Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari); she made her dramatic entrance during a half-time Dancing Spartanette routine to the tune of "On Broadway"; the music slowed down as Lester, sitting high in the bleachers, became entranced, transfixed and focused on Angela; staring at her and sexually desirous of her in his fantasies, his jaw dropped as the spotlight fell on her and she became the only one on the gym-floor in his view - and he was the only one in the stands; she teasingly winked at him and then performed (in his projective mind) a personal, one-on-one clothed striptease for him - she gave a knowing look, then unzipped the front of her uniform, causing a torrent and profusion of red rose petals to spill forth from her bare chest
  • the digitally-created fresh rose petals - fantasies in the mind of Lester - that often covered the seductive image of Angela
The Red Rose Petals Theme
  • after meeting Angela, a friend of his 16 year-old daughter Jane (Thora Birch), Lester fantasized about her in a bathtub covered with rose petals - in reality he was caught masturbating during sleep next to his shocked, disgusted and cold-hearted wife Carolyn (Annette Bening); Lester at first denied it, then admitted: "Oh, all right. So shoot me. I was whackin' off. That's right. I was chokin' the bishop, chafin' the carrot. You know, sayin' 'hi' to my monster....Well, excuse me, but some of us still have blood pumping through our veins"
  • the videotaped image (made by next-door drug pusher Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley)) of an empty plastic bag swirling around and around in the wind in an empty parking lot and his revelation: (Do you want to see the most beautiful thing I've ever filmed? It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing, and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was just, dancing with me, like a little kid beggin' me to play with it - for fifteen minutes. And that's the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember - I need to remember. Sometimes, there's so much beauty in the world - I feel like I can't take it, like my heart is just going to cave in")
  • the scene at the fast-food burger joint: ("Smile! You're at Mr. Smiley's") when Lester served his adulterous wife Carolyn when she was driving through with her trysting partner Buddy 'The King of Real Estate' Kane (Peter Gallagher)
  • the scene in which Lester's homosexual neighbor - retired Marine Col. Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper), who had misunderstood and thought that Lester was gay, confronted him in his open garage during a rainstorm and kissed him; Lester rebuffed him: "I'm sorry. Y-You got the wrong idea"
Awkward Homosexual Kiss from Col. Fitts
Aborted Seduction Scene with Angela
  • the actual seduction scene of the vulnerable, seemingly-slutty and surprisingly virginal Angela, when Lester opened her blouse and removed her pants, but it was aborted when she confessed: "This is my first time...I'm sorry. I still want to do it"
  • the shocking ending in which Lester was shot in the back of the head by an unseen intruder (Col. Fitts); at the moment of his death, Lester spoke in voice-over: "I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn't a second at all. It stretches on forever, like an ocean of time.... I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain, and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry: you will someday"

Lester Waking Up and Showering

Stark Dinner Table Sequence

Ricky's Videotape of Plastic Bag Dancing in Wind

"Smile! You're at Mr. Smiley's"

Lester's Murder

Gay Neighbor - Marine Col. Fitts (Chris Cooper)

American Graffiti (1973)

In director George Lucas' homage to his teenage years:

  • the recreation of the feel, landscape, and sounds of the early 60s and small-town America, especially the vintage cars and dragsters, drive-ins (Mel's), an almost non-stop rock soundtrack, teenage activities (hot rod cruisin' and makin' out), and characteristic hair and clothing styles
  • the moment at a stoplight when a pretty blonde driver, a mysterious dream girl (unknown actress Suzanne Somers) in a white '56 Thunderbird mouthed the words "I Love You" behind her closed car window to enthralled Curtis Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) adjacent to her on the strip. He quickly rolled down his window and asked as she pulled away: "What did you say? Wait! What did you say? What did you say?" He then begged driver friend Steve (Ron Howard) and his girlfriend Laurie (Cindy Williams) to follow the T-Bird: ("I just saw a vision, I saw a goddess. Come on, you gotta catch up to her...Laurie, I'm tellin' you, this was the most perfect, dazzling creature I've ever seen...Come on, she spoke to me. She spoke to me right through the window. I think she said: 'I love you.' That means nothing to you people? You have no romance, no soul? She's someone wants me, someone roaming the streets wants me. Will ya turn the corner?")

The Dream Girl in a White '56 Thunderbird: "I Love You"

Curtis Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss)

(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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