Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Halloween (1978)

In John Carpenter's low-budget, quintessential slasher film, set in 1963 in the town of Haddonfield, IL:

  • the opening sequence of six year-old Halloween-masked killer Michael Myers (Will Sandin as boy) stabbing his 17 year-old sister Judith (Sandy Johnson) after she had sex with her boyfriend Tommy (David Kyle); the clown-costumed, insane boy stood there motionless on the front lawn, surrounded by shocked adults (his parents)
Murder of Judith
  • the subjective point-of-view camera angles in the stalking of 17 year-old teenaged babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) by 21 year-old escaped insane asylum inmate Michael Myers (Tony Moran), especially the ones in which the psycho-killer appeared and then disappeared
  • the scene of the impaling of Lynda Van Der Klok's (P. J. Soles) boyfriend Bob (John Michael Graham) against a wall with a large butcher knife and then - while wearing a white sheet draped over himself and with Bob's glasses perched on his face - strangling Lynda with a phone cord while she was on the phone, making her death screams sound like she was having an orgasm
  • the innumerable times that maniacal white-masked Shape/Michael Myers (Nick Castle) came alive again
  • the sequences of Laurie's fighting back throughout the Doyle house: downstairs with a knitting needle (plunged into his neck), and in an upstairs closet with a metal coat hanger (stuck into his eye), and with his own dropped knife (thrust into his torso) - but the white-masked Shape seemed indestructible, especially in the startling, scary moment when the seemingly-dead Michael Myers sat up in the background behind a sobbing Laurie after she had left the closet. After he approached and assaulted her again, as he grabbed Laurie's neck and strangled her, she brushed the mask from Michael's face. Michael let go of her neck to put his mask back on to restore his masked facade
  • shrink Dr. Sam Loomis' (Donald Pleasence) horrifying discovery that the killer ("boogeyman"), who was stabbed three times and shot six times, had vanished from the ground below after a fall from the two-story balcony - and hadn't succumbed
Doyle House: The Closet Attack on Laurie
Laurie's Further Stalking

Dr. Sam Loomis
Firing on Myers
Myers Propelled Backwards Off Balcony
Myers Dead on Ground?
  • the final dialogue: bloodied and in near-shock, Laurie quizzically stated: "[it]...was the boogey-man," while Dr. Loomis confirmed: "As a matter of fact, it was..."

Killer: Young Michael Myers

Stalked Teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis)

Bob Impaled

Myers' Strangulation of Lynda

Michael Unmasked for a Moment

Laurie: "[it]...was the boogey-man"

Dr. Sam Loomis: "As a matter of fact, it was...."

Hamlet (1948, UK)

In actor/director/producer Laurence Olivier's Best Picture-winning Shakespearean tragi-drama:

  • the famous soliloquy of Prince of Denmark Hamlet (Oscar-winning Laurence Olivier): ("To be, or not to be: that is the question; Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them. To die, to sleep; No more; And by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to - 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; to sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub. For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come....")
  • the gravedigger scene in which Hamlet came upon the skull of an old jester Yorick, someone he knew as a child: ("Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, but now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your songs, your gambols, your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? Quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come; make her laugh at that")
  • Hamlet's death after a swordfight and slash from a poisoned blade

"To Be Or Not to Be" Speech

Grave Digger Scene

Hamlet's Death

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

In director/writer Woody Allen's ensemble masterpiece about three sisters - Hannah, Holly, and Lee:

  • the early scene of successful stage actress Hannah's (Mia Farrow) financial advisor husband Elliot's (Michael Caine) opening monologue about his lustful infatuation with Hannah's sexy sister Lee (Barbara Hershey): ("God, she's beautiful. She's got the prettiest eyes, and she looks so sexy in that sweater. I just want to be alone with her and hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her and take care of her. Stop it, you idiot. She's your wife's sister. But I can't help it! I'm consumed by her. It's been months now. I dream about her. I, I, I think about her at the office. Ah, Lee. (sighing) What am I gonna do? I hear myself mooning over you, and it's disgusting. Before, when she squeezed past me in the doorway, and I smelled that perfume on the back of her neck... Jesus, I, I thought I was gonna swoon! Easy. You're a dignified financial advisor. It doesn't look good for you to swoon")
  • the moment that Elliot grabbed Lee and kissed her - and her shocked reaction; and then later, his wide-eyed, childlike delight at discovering she was attracted to him as well: ("I have my answer! I have my answer! I'm walking on air!")
  • hypochondriacal TV producer and comedy show writer Mickey Sachs' (Woody Allen) (Hannah's ex-husband) obsession about death: ("Look at all these people, trying to stave off the inevitable decay of their bodies") and the scenes of his doctor's visits when he fancifully believed he had a brain tumor
  • the bitter and reclusive artist Frederick's (Max Von Sydow) dismissal of contemporary American culture to his younger lover Lee: ("You see the whole culture - Nazis, deodorant salesman, wrestlers, beauty contests, the talk show. Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling, hmm? But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers, third-rate con men, telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak for Jesus and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up")
  • and the stark, aching breakup scene of Frederick with Lee for having an affair - (when he asserted: "You are, you are my only connection to the world") - shot with a continuous single, eight minute shot
  • the disastrous dates of neurotic, flighty, coke-head, struggling actress-caterer sister Holly (Diane Weist) with Mickey: ("Don't you just love songs about extra-terrestrials?" "Not when they're sung by extra-terrestrials!")
  • the restaurant lunch scene with the three sisters: (1) Hannah's discussion with Lee about how she feared that her husband Elliot might be having an affair, and (2) Holly's discovery that her catering partner April had taken away her architect boyfriend, and (3) Holly's explanation of her goal to be a screenwriter - and after listening to Hannah's discouraging advice to be realistic and more productive, lambasted her with: ("You never have any faith in my plans. You always undercut my enthusiasm")
  • Mickey's later epiphany about life and death, when he thought back (in voice-over) to a time when he almost killed himself with a shotgun blast, and then explained how he had found refuge in a movie theatre that was playing the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933) where he experienced a climactic epiphany: ("...And I went upstairs to the balcony, and I sat down, and, you know, the movie was a-a-a film that I'd seen many times in my life since I was a kid, and-and I always, uh, loved it. And, you know, I'm-I'm watching these people up on the screen and I started getting hooked on the film, you know. And I started to feel, how can you even think of killing yourself. I mean isn't it so stupid? I mean, l-look at all the people up there on the screen. You know, they're real funny, and-and what if the worst is true. What if there's no God, and you only go around once and that's it. Well, you know, don't you want to be part of the experience? You know, what the hell, it's-it's not all a drag. And I'm thinkin' to myself, geez, I should stop ruining my life - searching for answers I'm never gonna get, and just enjoy it while it lasts. And, you know, after, who knows? I mean, you know, maybe there is something. Nobody really knows. I know, I know maybe is a very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that's the best we have. And then, I started to sit back, and I actually began to enjoy myself.")
Mickey's Near-Suicide
Mickey Watching Duck Soup
  • the film's last line - newly-married Holly's revelation to husband Mickey: "I'm pregnant"

(Mia Farrow)

(Barbara Hershey)

Elliot's (Michael Caine) Lust for Lee

Elliot: "I have my answer"

Frederick's Speech About American Culture

Holly: "I'm pregnant"

Hannibal (2001)

In Ridley Scott's follow-up sequel to the original The Silence of the Lambs (1991):

  • the sequence in which horribly disfigured, paralyzed, wheelchair-bound and wealthy Mason Verger (an uncredited and unrecognizable Gary Oldman), one of Lecter's many former victims, met with FBI agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) in his secluded estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and told her (in flashback) how he had pervertedly engaged in a S&M session, including sexual asphyxiation (by hanging), drug use (under the influence of amyl nitrite), and after Lecter's suggestion - peeled the skin off his own face with a mirror shard ("It seemed like a good idea at the time") after which Lecter fed the pieces of flesh to the dogs
  • the scene of Clarice Starling's calm viewing of a security camera videotape of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) escaping after assaulting an attendant at the Baltimore State Forensic Hospital - with bloody face-eating
  • the horrifying scene of the chloroforming capture and murder of Florence Italy's Chief Police Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) who was on Hannibal's trail (Lecter had disguised himself as Dr. Fell) - Pazzi was gagged and pushed out of a palace window while being hanged, after which Lecter cut his "bowels out" and his entrails were visible hanging down and splashing onto the cobblestone square
  • the scene of Dr. Lecter rescuing Clarice from wild ravenous boars that savagely attacked Verger's own men - and then consumed the disfigured Verger himself after he was pushed into the pit by Verger's own physician Dr. Cordell Doemling (Zeljko Ivanek), where he suffered a gruesome, grisly bloody death by carnivorous boars he had vengefully planned for Lecter (Verger told Lecter how he planned to have Lecter slowly consumed by wild pigs with "three pairs of incisors, one pair of elongated canines, three pairs of molars, four pairs of pre-molars, upper and lower, for a total of forty-four teeth")
  • the excruciating gourmet meal 4th of July dinner scene in which Justice Department representative Paul Krendler's (Ray Liotta) brain was neatly sliced open and exposed - and served as sauteed meat by sadistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal for the meal; Lecter assured Clarice: "The brain itself feels no pain." Krendler noted: "That smells great" and then ate his last meal -- a piece of his own brain when offered: ("It is good")
The Open Brain of Paul Krendler
(Ray Liotta)
  • after the meal, Clarice's handcuffing of Dr. Lecter's left wrist to hers, as he threatened: "I'm really pressed for time, so where's the key?" When she wouldn't answer, he reached for a meat cleaver, raised it in the air, and said as he grabbed her: "Above or below the wrist, Clarice. This is really gonna hurt." She appeared to scream in agony as he hacked with the cleaver, and the scene turned to black - in the next scene, it was revealed that Lecter had hacked off his own hand!

The Reason for Mason Verger's Disfiguration

Dr. Lecter's Cannibalism

Lecter's Murder of Chief Police Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi

Lecter's Rescue of Clarice and Verger's Consumption by Wild Pigs

Clarice Handcuffed to Dr. Lecter

Happiness (1998)

In controversial film-maker Todd Solondz's infamous and subversive unrated film about pedophilia - a black satire on middle-class suburban dysfunctionality:

  • the character of unlikeable suburban dad and psychiatrist - Dr. Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker), a predatory pedophile, whose aberrant behavior was exhibited in the scene at his adolescent son Billy's (Rufus Read) little league baseball game, in the backseat of his car (where he masturbated to a teen magazine), and during sleepovers when he molested (off-camera) his son's schoolpal and teammate (drugged with a tuna sandwich)
Pedophile Dr. Bill Maplewood
(Dylan Baker)
  • the scene of the honest conversation between father and son, about the father being a molester (a "serial rapist" and a "pervert"): Son: "Would you ever f--k me?" Father: "No, I'd jerk off instead."
  • the famous ending scene of Billy proudly admitting to his stunned family at the dining table: "I came" (he had masturbated while spying on a buxom sunbather from his balcony)

Awkward Conversation Between Father and Son

Billy: "I came"

Happy Feet (2006)

In director George Miller's rollicking, poignant song-and-dance CGI animated musical:

  • the many song-and-dance numbers, including the opening courting duet songs between two Emperor Penguins in Antarctica: Elvis Presley-like Memphis (voice of Hugh Jackman) to Heartbreak Hotel and breathy Marilyn Monroe-like Norma Jean (voice of Nicole Kidman) to Prince's Kiss
  • the birth of emperor penguin chick Mambo (voice of Elijah Wood) - a young fuzzball; the blue-eyed, golden-beaked baby penguin chick, dubbed Mambo by father Memphis, immediately began to soft-shoe dance on the snow, explaining that he was "F-f-f-freezing!" but that his feet were "happy"; later, Mambo would be named Mumble by his peers due to his inability to sing, and 'Happyfeet' by the disgusted elders who exiled him for his forbidden dancing ("It's just not penguin")
  • the scene of Mumble's teacher Miss Viola (voice of Magda Szubanski) discovering that he did not have a heartsong: ("A penguin without a heartsong is hardly a penguin at all") - a romantic song that would attract a soulmate - but he had a unique talent as a tap dancer (noted dancer Savion Glover motion-captured to supply the dancing movements)
  • the brilliant Spanish-lingo version of Frank Sinatra's My Way by rambunctious Latino penguin Ramon (voice of Robin Williams) who supplied funny commentary, including his reaction to Mumble's screeching singing: ("I heard an animal do that once, but then they rolled him over and he was dead")
  • the sequence of Mumble's successful courting of Gloria (voice of Brittany Murphy) by tap dancing to her singing of a fully orchestrated rendition of Boogie Wonderland
  • the two exciting deadly chase sequences: (1) a hungry leopard seal's jaws almost caught Mumble, but he was able to thwart the seal when both ended up on the surface of the ice, and (2) later in the film a chase by two killer whales who tossed Mumble and penguin holy man-charlatan Lovelace (also voice of Robin Williams) into the air several times
  • the scene of Mumble arguing with the elders led by Noah the Elder (Hugo Weaving), when they wanted him to be ostracized - they feared that his 'happy feet' were responsible for famine; Mumble counter-argued: ("Wait a minute, happy feet can't cause a famine"), with the elder's retort: ("If thy kind of pagan display didn't cause it, what did?...He drove the fish away, and now he's ranting this rubbish!..And so it follows. Dissent leads to division and division leads us to doom. You, Mumble Happy Feet, must go")
  • the brave trek of the exiled Mumble to discover the "aliens" who were responsible for a severe fish shortage, as he fought through blizzards and finally dove off a high cliff to pursue an "alien" fishing ship - as Lovelace called after him: "I'm gonna be telling your story, Happy Feet, long after you're dead and gone!"
  • the heart-wrenching scene when a captured Mumble, now living a nightmarish life in a big-city aquarium, performed a soft-shoe routine for a little girl (a biped "alien") on the other side of the display glass, drew a crowd's attention and was set free
Mumble Captured and Held in Aquarium
  • the joyous finale-conclusion in which the human scientist aliens followed Mumble back to his habitat where they witnessed the penguins' mass dancing - Mumble had convinced the other penguins to join in a communal dance to communicate with the arriving 'aliens' (humans), resulting in the creatures being saved from starvation and hunting by a United Nations decree

Penguin Chick Mambo ("Mumble") Without a Heartsong

Escaping the Jaws of a Hungry Leopard Seal

Killer Whale Pursuit

Mumble Ostracized by the Elders

Scientists Watching Communal Dance of Penguins

Hard-Boiled (1992, HK) (aka Lat Sau San Taam)

In director John Woo's influential, star-making action film, the ultimate shoot-out 'gun-fu' flick of all time with two major shoot-out set-pieces:

  • the fierce gun battle set in a Hong Kong restaurant-tea house between officers and criminals (a group of gun smugglers led by criminal mobster Johnny Wong (Anthony Wong)) during a police raid, including hot-headed Inspector "Tequila" Yuen (Chow Yun-fat) and his partner Benny (Bowie Lam), when the Inspector slid down a stairway railing on his back, with pistols blasting in both hands
  • the gun-pointing standoff sequence during a warehouse shootout between Tequila and undercover cop Alan (Tony Leung) (posing as an assassin) who held guns to each other's heads - Tequila's .357 Ruger GP100 revolver was out of ammunition when he pulled the trigger; Alan could have then shot and killed Tequila, but he slowly lowered his gun and walked away, after which Tequila opened his revolver and dumped all its blank shells
  • the climactic and very lengthy shootout scene in the corridors, lobby, maternity ward, and offices of the burning Maple Group Hospital and ending outside (notable for its single, continuous take of two minutes and forty seconds in the enemy-infested hallways)

Shootout in HK Restaurant-Tea House

Gun-Pointing Standoff

Shootout in Hospital

A Hard Day's Night (1964, UK)

In Richard Lester's kinetic and influential, cinema verite music-video documentary about Beatlemania - the first Beatle film about a "day in the life":

  • the opening montage scene of the Beatles being besieged by a stampede of frenzied schoolgirl fans on their travels from their hometown of Liverpool to London to perform in a TV broadcast, and their retreat to a train station
  • Paul's meeting and encounter with an unimpressed, middle-aged gentleman (his fictional "Grandfather" John McCartney) (Wilfred Brambell), who was on their London-bound train in the first-class cabin; Paul told John: "He's very clean" (an oft-repeated line) and described him as "a villain, a real mixer"
  • the scene in the train compartment when proper, commuting city business-man Johnson (Richard Vernon) complained about their loud radio - with John's coo-ed line to him as he leaned over: "Give us a kiss!"; Johnson asserted: "I fought the war for your sort" - John impudently joked back: "I'll bet you're sorry you won"
  • the group's dry, dismissive one-liners when interviewed by the press with nonsensical questions: John Lennon's answer about how he found America: ("Turned left at Greenland"); Ringo's answers to questions: "Are you a mod or a rocker?" "Uh, no, I'm a mocker"; and "What do you call that collar?" "A collar"; and George's answers: "Has success changed your life?" "Yes" and "What would you call that hairstyle you're wearing?" "Arthur"
  • Ringo's solitary misadventures, and "walkabout" wanderings around London as he snapped pictures - into a clothing store, strolling alongside a canal, in a pub; and along the way, the comic scene of Ringo offering his coat to cover muddy puddles for a lady to cross over, only to discover that the third puddle was a deep hole; he was apprehended by police for "wandering abroad, malicious intent, acting in a suspicious manner, conduct liable to cause a breach of the peace - you name it, he's done it"
Ringo's Wanderings Around London
  • the hit songs played in various locations - such as an open field ("Can't Buy Me Love"), with the Beatles creatively filmed partly from a helicopter and with hand-held cameras - a precursor to modern, quick-cutting music videos with images matching the beat of the music
  • the climactic scene of the TV broadcast before an audience of screaming young teenagers, mostly girls, and afterwards backstage, Norm (Norman Rossington) (the group's manager) repeating the recurring insult to John: ("You're a swine") - and the group's run to an awaiting helicopter (to fly to another concert), with the hand-cuffed Grandfather inside shouting: "Come on, you're hanging up the parade!" - while Paul yelled back (the film's last line) about a stack of personally autographed photographs of the band on his lap: "Get rid of those things" - and as they ascended, the pictures floated downward

Escaping from Fans

Paul's Very-Clean "Grandfather" on Train

John to Businessman: "Give us a kiss!"

John: "Turned left at Greenland"

TV Broadcast Before Screaming Fans

Harold and Maude (1971)

In Hal Ashby's cult classic black comedy/romance, with a memorable Cat Stevens' musical score (especially "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out") :

  • the dark humor of many elaborately-faked or staged suicides (hanging by a noose, cut wrists and throat, immolation, shooting, stabbing, drowning, etc.) by wealthy, 20 year old introvert Harold (Bud Cort) to shock and seek attention from his domineering mother Mrs. Chasen (Vivian Pickles)
Harold's Many Faked and Staged Suicides
  • Harold's unlikely love affair with 79 year old funeral-loving, free-spirited Maude (Ruth Gordon) - a concentration-camp survivor that he first met at a stranger's funeral service -- Harold drove a hearse
  • the funny scene in which Harold's over-bearing, match-making mother filled out his computer dating service questionnaire for him: ("Here is the first question. 'Are you uncomfortable meeting new people?' Well, I think that's a yes, don't you agree, Harold? 'Should sex education be taught outside the home?' Oh, I would say no, wouldn't you, Harold? Yeah, we'll give a D there. Three: 'Should women run for president of the United States?' I don't see why not. Absolutely yes. 'Do you remember jokes and take pleasure in relating them to others?' Well, you don't do that, do you, Harold? No. Absolutely not. 'Do you often get the feeling that perhaps life isn't worth living?' Hmm, what is it, Harold? A? B? Oh, we'll put C - not sure. 'Is the subject of sex being overexploited by our mass media?' Well, that would have to be yes, wouldn't it? 'Is it difficult for you to accept criticism?' No. We'll mark D. 'Do you sometimes have headaches or backaches after a difficult day?' Yes, I do indeed. 'Do you go to sleep easily?' I'd say so. 'Do you believe in capital punishment for murder?' Oh, yes, I do indeed. 'In your opinion, are social affairs usually a waste of time?' Heavens, no! 'Can God influence our lives?' Oh, yes, absolutely yes. 'Does your personal religion or philosophy include a life after death?' (Harold pointed his gun at his mother) Oh, yes, indeed. That's absolutely. 'Did you enjoy life when you were a child?' Oh, yes, you were a wonderful baby, Harold. 'Do you think the sexual revolution has gone too far?' It certainly has. 'Do you find the idea of wife-swapping distasteful?' I even find the question distasteful. 'Do you...' (gunshot) Harold, please! 'Do you have ups and downs without obvious reason?' Oh, that's you, Harold!"), while he prepared to commit fake suicide with a gun
The Computer Dating Questionnaire
  • the seagull, daisy field, and white gravestone-cemetery scenes
  • the scenes of his mother's continual efforts to set up Harold on blind dates after "bride interviews"
  • the scenes of Maude stealing a car and evading a motorcycle cop
  • Harold's talk with hawkish, crazed, one-armed Uncle Victor (Charles Tyner), "General MacArthur's right-hand man," who recommended that he sign up for Army boot camp immediately, to "take on a man's job": "Now, that's what this country needs - more Nathan Hales. (He saluted a picture of Nathan Hale) And, Harold, I think I can see a little Nathan Hale in you."
  • the incredible scene when Harold performed harakiri in front of his drama student date Sunshine Doré (Ellen Geer) who also unwittingly acted out the tragic scene from Romeo and Juliet with her dagger finding its sheath in her chest
  • the hilarious scene of Harold's priest (Eric Christmas) impassioned warning him about having sex with an elderly person: "I would be remiss in my duty if I did not tell you that the idea of intercourse: and the fact of your firm, young body co-mingling with the withered flesh, sagging breasts and flabby buttocks, makes me want to vomit"
  • the scene of Maude's 80th birthday, when she happily revealed to Harold that she had taken a deadly overdose of pills
  • Maude's dying advice to Harold: "Go and love some more" - the film's last line
  • Harold's reaction to Maude's death at the hospital -- driving his hearse off a cliff (but surviving atop the cliff playing a banjo)

Maude (Ruth Gordon)

Harold With Maude

Harold's Priest - A Warning

Harold's Pep Talk with One-Armed Uncle Victor (Charles Tyner)

Harold's Date Stabbing Herself

Harold and Maude in Bed Together

The Haunting (1963, US/UK)

In Robert Wise's effective, low-key haunted-house film with low-key suggestive horror, about paranormal research conducted in New England's 90 year-old Hill House mansion, with many disturbing scenes ("The dead are not quiet in Hill House"):

  • the spooky opening narration (pre- and post-title credits) about the haunted history of Hill House, in voice-over, by paranormal researcher Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson): "An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there walked alone. Scandal, murder, insanity, suicide. The history of Hill House was ideal. It had everything I wanted. It was built 90-odd, very odd, years ago by a man named Hugh Crain (Howard Lang), as a home for his wife and daughter in the most remote part of New England he could find. It was an evil house from the beginning, a house that was born bad. Hugh Crain's young wife (Pamela Buckley) died seconds before she was to set eyes on the house. She was killed when for no apparent reason, the horses bolted, crashing her carriage against a big tree. Mrs. Crain was carried, uh, lifeless is the word I think, into the home her husband had built for her. Hugh Crain was left an embittered man, with a small daughter Abigail (Janet Mansell), to bring up. Fortunately, for me that is, Hugh Crain did not leave Hill House. He married again. The second Mrs. Crain's (Frieda Knorr) death was even more interesting than her predecessors. I've been unable to find out how or why she fell, although I have my suspicions. Hugh Crain left Abigail with a nurse and went to England where he died in a drowning accident. Marvelous, I mean, the way the history of Hill House follows a classic path. For some reason, Abigail always kept that same nursery room in Hill House where she grew up - and grew old. In later years, she became a bed-ridden invalid (Amy Dalby). She took a girl from the village to live with her as a paid companion (Rosemary Dorken). It's with this young companion the evil reputation of Hill House really begins. The story goes that the old lady died calling for help in the nursery upstairs, while her companion fooled around with a farm-hand on the veranda. The companion inherited Hill House and occupied it for many years. The local people believe that, one way or another, she had murdered her benefactor. She lived a life of complete solitude in the empty house, though some say that the house was not empty and never has been since the night old Miss Abby died. They say that whatever there was and still is in the house, eventually drove the companion mad. We do know she hanged herself. After her death, the house passed legally into the hands of a distant relative in Boston, an old lady Mrs. Sanderson (Fay Compton), who I very much wanted to see"
Voice-Over Prologue: The Haunted History of Hill House
Mrs. Crain's Death
2nd Mrs. Crain's Death
Young Abigail Crain
Old Bedridden Abigail
Evil Companion
  • the frightening scenes of terror in the New England Hill House during a weekend research study conducted by Dr. Markway - with three participants: Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn), a skeptical and brash American - and a nephew of the house's owners, and the next in line to inherit the house; Eleanor "Nell" Lance (Julie Harris), an unstable, timid, insecure, unloved, psychically-gifted woman; and Theodora "Theo" (Claire Bloom), a modern-day 'witch' with clairvoyance and ESP skills
  • the scenes of the discovery of the house's supernatural nature, with loud poundings, high-pitched laughter, bangings, opening and closing doors, cold spots and drafts, a 'breathing' doorway, sounds of glass breaking, and other spooky noises
  • the scene when Eleanor "Nell" Lance had the mistaken belief that she was holding the hand of roommate Theodora "Theo" in the adjacent bed for comfort from mysterious and strange sounds surrounding their dark room (unintelligible mumblings of a man, and a little girl sobbing); she asked Theodora to stop squeezing her hand, and then realized their beds were separated and that Theo wasn't anywhere near her. She exclaimed: "God, oh God! Whose hand was I holding?" It became clear that the unseen and invisible presence had squeezed her hand and wanted to claim Eleanor - that the 'haunting' horror had selected her and that she had finally found a "home"
"Nell" Awakening in Fright
Looking Down at Hand
"God, oh God! Whose hand was I holding?"
  • in the climactic scary ending, Grace Markway (Lois Maxwell), John's wife, inexplicably disappeared while sleeping in the much-feared, most-haunted room - the dreaded nursery; Eleanor ascended the rickety spiral staircase in the library. Dr. Markway followed her up to its top platform to rescue her, and when they both reached the platform at the top of the nearly-collapsed structure, Eleanor saw Grace's face peering down at her from a trap-door in the ceiling, and she fainted. Dr. Markway feared for Eleanor's safety and ordered her to leave Hill House immediately, although Eleanor was resistant
  • the ending-conclusion when Eleanor felt that the house was haunted, wanted to possess her, was speaking to her, and that she belonged to it; she sped away in a car in the driveway toward the gate. Taking an erratic course as the car became possessed, she saw Grace racing across her path. Struggling with the steering wheel, Eleanor crashed her car into an old tree - and instantly died in exactly the same spot that the first Mrs. Crain did; Dr. Markway declared that Hill House was definitely haunted. Eleanor's soul was claimed and now condemned (or invited) to join the other ghostly forces roaming the dark corridors of Hill House; her voice-over ended the film, similar to the film's prologue: "Hill House has stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Within, walls continue upright, bricks meet, floors are firm, and doors are sensibly shut. Silence lies steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House. And we who walk here...walk alone."

Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson)

Markway's Invitation of Guests

Hill House

Hill House's Winding, Spiral Staircase

Eleanor "Nell" Lance
(Julie Harris)

Theodora "Theo"
(Claire Bloom)

Luke Sanderson
(Russ Tamblyn)

(l to r): "Theo" and "Nell"

Grace's Sudden Appearance in Trap-Door

Eleanor's Jump-Scare Reaction to Grace's Face

Eleanor's Crash into Tree

The Heartbreak Kid (1972)

In writer/director Elaine May's romantic 'black' comedy - similar to Mike Nichols' classic The Graduate (1967), about marital uncertainty; it was followed by the Farrelly Brothers' R-rated remake 35 years later The Heartbreak Kid (2007), with Ben Stiller:

  • the opening NYC traditional marriage sequence (after a brief courtship) between Jewish, egotistical, self-serving sporting-goods salesman Lenny Cantrow (Charles Grodin) and gawky, 22 year-old virginal Lila Kolodny (Jeannie Berlin)
The Marriage of Lenny to Lila
  • the vulgar quirks of Lila that irritated Lenny on the drive to their honeymoon in Miami Beach: her talk about being together for decades and having to listen to her off-key singing voice: ("You're just gonna have to get used to it for the next 40 or 50 years"), her drawing of circles on his hairy chest with her finger, her habit of eating Milky Way chocolate bars after intimacy, her messy and slobbish eating habits with a double egg salad sandwich in a House of Pancakes restaurant: ("I'm an egg salad nut - that's another thing that you're gonna have to get used to"); her neediness, sexual insecurities and yapping during sex ("It's wonderful, isn't it wonderful? Tell me. Tell me it's wonderful, Lenny. Say it, say it again, I didn't hear you"), and her endless efforts to comb her unruly hair
  • while Lila was confined to her Doral Hotel room with a severe sunburn (and covered in cream), Lenny met and became infatuated on the beach and later in a bar with flirtatious, Midwestern blonde college coed Kelly Corcoran (Cybill Shepherd) - an ultimate fantasy dream figure vacationing on her winter break with her family, while telling Lila a running excuse that he was meeting with an "old army buddy"
Dream Girl: Kelly Corcoran
  • the awkward dinner sequence at the Jockey Club when Lenny met Kelly's over-protective, wealthy, contemptuous, disapproving WASP banker-father Duane Corcoran (Eddie Albert) and her mother (Audra Lindley) for the first time; later after a yacht excursion with the family, they shared a drink, when Duane asked if he would be "laying (his) your cards on the table" - and Lenny mumbled a profession of love with a bald-faced statement of his major issue - he had been married for five days: "I'm just kinda shuffling. Uh, this is actually my deal now. Well, you know, in just plain, old-fashioned, corny lingo, sir, uh, I have fallen head over heels with your Kelly here. It didn't take me long to make up my mind. One good look did it, actually, if you wanna know the truth. I'm the kind of crazy hairpin that doesn't need much more than that. And then, that's it for life with me. Now, there is a slight complication, uh, I happen to be a newlywed. Uhm, I-uh-I made the big mistake about five days ago in New York. When I say big, sir, I mean Radio-City-Music-Hall big. You may have seen her around the pool. She's a nice girl. But just, uh, not, not really my type. I married her because I thought it was the decent thing to do. And I've learned that, uh, decency doesn't always pay off. Uh, so I'm going to get out. It'll be difficult, but not impossible. Not, not when you're as determined as I am. Sitting opposite you, Mr. Corcoran, is probably - the most determined young man that you have ever seen. (nervous laughter) Now, I know that you are going back to Minneapolis tomorrow and it's my plan, just as soon as I work out this messy business here, to follow you out to Minnesota, to get myself set up there, and to lay claim to your lovely daughter here. Those are my cards, and, uh, Mr. Corcoran, there's, there's not a joker in the bunch"
  • the simple, understated responses of Mr. Corcoran to Lenny - as he steadfastly refused to consider the preposterous offer: "Not if they tied me to a horse and pulled me forty miles by my tongue"; when Lenny responded: "Well, that's an honest answer, sir," Corcoran doubled-down with another frank answer: "Not if they hung me from a tree and put a lit bomb in my mouth...I don't like one god-damn thing about you...You come hanging around my daughter on your honeymoon? Hang around your wife! Don't hang around my daughter!...Five days, he's married! For God-- five days!...Where's respect for the institution of marriage?...Get him out before I take him into the men's room and break all the respect in his body...You stay away from her. I don't hand out my daughter to newlyweds! Why didn't you go to Niagara Falls like everybody else...You stay the hell out of Minnesota, you god-damn newlywed!"
  • the lengthy sequence of an expensive lobster dinner between Lenny and Lila in a crowded seafood restaurant, when he became unhinged after the waiter apologized for running out of pecan pie: "Pardon me, sir. I'm afraid we're a little late with the pecan pie. Chef tells me we ran out about ten minutes ago. Would you like to order something else?" - Lenny went into an irate projected tirade and made a scene in front of other restaurant patrons: "No pecan pie!...The main reason we came here was for the pecan pie... They should've said that to us at the door. They should've warned us that there was a danger of running out of pecan pie....I mean, we drove all the way from New York!"
  • and then Lenny's beating-around-the-bush discussion with Lila about being free and having their whole lives in front of them: "I mean, the people you could meet, the places you could go, the things that you could do...We only pass through once, right? I mean, we can't squander it, no matter what happens. We're just passing this way but one time. We can't squander it... That's why we have to use and learn from anything that happens. We have to learn from the good, from the bad, from the happiness, from the tragic. We have to learn. We have to use it all. To use it all...We have to prepare ourselves for anything, you know?"
  • Lenny's dropping of a bombshell on the humiliated and pathetic Lila that he wanted to terminate their marriage: "I mean, everything could be terrific. The world could be singing. And then suddenly, suddenly, for no reason at all, it's over. It's over, Lila" - but she interpreted his message of doom that he was suffering from a terminal illness, until he corrected her: "I'm not dying! Who said anything about dying? I want out of the marriage! I want out of the god-damn marriage...We're not right for each other. It didn't work out"
  • as she tearfully tried to flee to the bathroom to throw up, he promised her a generous divorce settlement: "I'm gonna make a terrific settlement, a generous settlement. I'm gonna give you everything. I'm gonna give you the car. I'm gonna give you all the luggage. I'm gonna give you all the wedding presents"; as she cried on his shoulder, he added: 'It's not the end of the world! It's just a crummy annulment"
  • Lenny's final words of appeasement: "You know what I would like? I would like that we should have dinner sometime. You know? And I think that then, we could look back on all of this and we could see all the good, all the good that's come out of this. That's the way, that's, that's the way I would like this to end. Wouldn't you?"
  • after making hasty arrangements for a quickie divorce in about two to three weeks, Lenny's trip to Minnesota to meet with Kelly, where he yelled out: "I'm free and clear" after discovering her on her frigid, wintry college campus surrounded by her jock boyfriends; the empty-headed blonde gave a shocked reaction to his inopportune arrival: "I'm really very flattered" - he ironically asserted his seriousness: "This is no game. This is my life. I don't play games with my life"
  • his secret rendezvous with Kelly in the Corcoran's summer cabin in the mountains, where in front of a roaring fire, she proposed an erotic sexless game: "Have you got the nerve to try something very dangerous?... Remember, I'm not gonna sleep with you...We take off everything and get as close as we possibly can without touching. It's a lot harder than it sounds" - after she stripped naked in front of him, he prayed: "Thank you, God. I'm just seeing your masterpiece, and I thank you for it" - then, after he stripped too, they slowly approached each other - without touching; after the game ended, she promised him: "I'll sleep with you tomorrow night" - and she fulfilled her promise; in bed with her after having sex, Lenny assured himself: "I knew it could be like this. Never was like this. I knew it was possible...I knew I wasn't crazy. A lot of people might've thought I was crazy"
  • over a formal dinner at the Corcoran's house, the scene of Lenny's inane positive praise to Mrs. Corcoran about the meal's "honest," "real," and humble Midwestern ingredients: ("I don't mind saying this is one of the finest meals that I've ever had...There's no lying in that beef. There's no, uh, insincerity in those potatoes. There's no deceit in the cauliflower. This is a totally honest meal"); afterwards, in a private conversation in his study with Lenny, Mr. Corcoran stated: "Nobody wise-guys away my little baby" and upped the ante on an original bribe of $5,000 to $25,000 to keep Lenny away from Kelly ("Cold, hard American currency, $25,000 goddamn dollars!"), but Lenny steadfastly refused: "I want Kelly!"
  • the concluding bleak sequence of Kelly's and Lenny's Christian wedding (bookending the opening sequence) and their subsequent reception (with lots of rounds of small-talk chit-chat), where Kelly and other conservative guests soon ignored him, and he was left alone on a couch with two bored children who soon wandered off

Awkward Dinner Scene Between Newlywed Lenny and Kelly's Disapproving Parents

The Lobster Dinner Breakup Scene Between Lenny and His Newlywed Wife

Lenny's Trip to Minnesota to Meet Kelly on Her College Campus

Lenny - Sex with Kelly

Meeting with Kelly's Parents Again

Lenny and Kelly's Nuptials

Lenny Bored on Couch After Wedding to Kelly

Heat (1995)

In Michael Mann's cop thriller, featuring DeNiro's and Pacino's first appearance together on-screen:

  • the exciting opening sequence of a deadly heist by criminal mastermind Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) and a gang, taking possession of a Gage armored-van in Los Angeles, with the criminal bank robbers posing as paramedics wearing hockey-goalie masks, to steal $1.6 million in bearer bonds
  • the first wary, face-off meeting between aging professionals: LAPD top cop LAPD Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and Neil McCauley over a cup of coffee in a coffee-shop/diner when they talked - "like a couple of regular fellows" - about their respective lives and duties
LAPD Lt. Vincent Hanna
(Al Pacino)
Neil McCauley
(Robert DeNiro)
  • the climactic final botched heist of the downtown LA branch of the Far East National Bank, and the subsequent shootout on city streets, when two of the bank robbers, McCauley and his partner, wounded Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), were able to hold off and escape from the authorities with expert gun-handling and duck-and-cover tactics
  • the conclusion, on an LAX airport tarmac, when Hanna single-handedly pursued McCauley and mortally wounded him, after which he took McCauley's hand as he died
LAX Airport Tarmac Concluding Shoot-Out

Opening Robbery of Armored Van in Los Angeles

Climactic Bank Heist and Shootout with LAPD

Heavenly Creatures (1994, NZ/Germ.)

In director Peter Jackson's R-rated, coming-of-age crime story, a true-life tale and psychological thriller about a friendship that became a homicidal partnership, set in 1950s Christchurch in NZ:

  • the film's opening sequence: a narrator was calmly describing the city of Christchurch ("New Zealand's city of the plains"), when interrupted by the sight of two girls - unidentified - disturbingly running through a wooded area, and emerging covered in blood, screaming for help as they ran toward a house, calling out: ("It's Mummy, she's terribly hurt, please help us!") - before a caption card told about the film's story - the friendship of two girls, Pauline and Juliet, in 1953-54 - it made a statement about Pauline's diary account - ("All diary entries are in Pauline's own words") before a flashback
  • in flashback, the film's development of the close and increasingly dark friendship of two emotionally unstable, giddy, obsessed, lesbian and murderous schoolgirls: quiet and brooding 14-year-old working class Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey in her screen debut) (aka 'Yvonne') and wealthy class, histrionic 15-year-old Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet in her screen debut)
The Schoolgirls' Imaginary World of Borovnia
  • the scenes of the deluded and "unwholesome" and inseparable girls retreating - with stunning visual-digital effects - to their imaginary, fantastical, make-believe world named Borovnia (with unicorns, dream castles, and life-size versions of green Plasticene clay models they sculpted, as well as favorite stars, such as Mario Lanza and James Mason but without Orson Welles (regarded as "the most hideous man alive"))
  • also, the girls' belief in another beautiful, magical fantasy realm known as the "Fourth World" - a heavenly place (without Christians) in the after-life of art and music
  • their frenzied dancing together to the tune of their favorite, idolized tenor Mario Lanza's "Be My Love" who they imagined was singing to them
  • the scenes of the two often bathing together in a large bath tub, sitting at the opposite ends
  • the striking scene in Dr. Bennett's (Gilbert Goldie) office, who believed that Pauline was exhibiting an "unwholesome attachment" to her female friend; when he suggested to Pauline that she might spend more time with boys, Pauline scowled at him and imagined him being impaled by one of her life-sized fantasy Plasticene figures; the doctor then spoke privately to ('Yvonne's' or Pauline's) mother Honora Parker Reiper (Sarah Peirse), who was told a shocking diagnosis for the 1950s, in extreme close-up of his mouth - and with great emphasis about her problem: ("Ho-mo-sex-uality...I agree, Mrs. Rieper. It's not a pleasant word. But let us not panic unduly. This condition is often a passing phase with girls of Yvonne's age....Oh, it can strike at any time, and adolescents are particularly vulnerable...Physically, I can find nothing wrong. I've checked for TB, and she's clear. I- I can only attribute her weight loss to her mental disorder. Look, Mrs. Rieper, try not to worry too much. Yvonne's young and strong, and she's got a loving family behind her. Chances are she'll grow out of it. If not, well, medical science is progressing in leaps and bounds. There, there could be a breakthrough at any time")
  • the horrible final pre-meditated murder scene of the two girls scheming against Honora who threatened to separate them; the setting was a walking path in Victoria Park, where they smashed in her skull (from behind) with a brick in a stocking, after planting a round clear pinkish colored stone on the ground so that she would stoop down to pick it up, intercut with black/white-toned images of the two of them screaming and reaching out to each other after being found guilty of murder at their trial and separated for life ("It was a condition of their release that they never meet again")
The Flashback to the Pre-Meditated Murder of Pauline's Mother Honora
And The Girls' Separation After Being Found Guilty of Murder

Bloody Opening Sequence Before Flashback

The Girls' Love of Mario Lanza

Lesbian Relationship

"Unwholesome" Relationship Between Two Girls

Close-Up of Dr. Bennett's Mouth As He Discussed Diagnosis of Pauline's Homosexuality to Her Mother

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

In John Huston's action-adventure drama set during WWII about two characters marooned on an island, similar to Huston's earlier film The African Queen (1951):

  • the film's intriguing and lengthy opening under the credits without dialogue - the view of a drifting raft on a blue ocean, that finally revealed its occupant: an unconscious Marine
  • the contrasting personalities of the two major lead characters, both shipwrecked on the Pacific island of Tuasiva during WWII and finding survival in a cave, when the island was occupied by the Japanese:
    - US Marine Corporal Allison (Robert Mitchum), rough and poorly-educated
    - Roman Catholic novice nun Sister Angela (Deborah Kerr), Irish heritage, only a month away from taking her final novitiate vows
  • the scene of Mr. Allison's questioning of her devotion to her religious vows, and her explanation of her dedication: (Corp. Allison: "Ma'am, suppose a nun changed her mind, you know, she didn't want to be a nun anymore. What could she do about it?" Sister: "Our vows are not taken lightly, Mr. Allison." Allison: "You mean no nun ever got out?" Sister: "Well, it has happened, but rarely. If the reasons are truly grave, his Holiness in Rome sometimes grants a special dispensation... permission from the Pope"); he was shocked when she told him she would take her final vows in a month: ("You mean, uhm, you still, uh, if you wanted to, that is, you still, could like, uh, pull out?"); she responded that she could change her mind: ("I could, if my mind and my heart were not made up")
  • the moment of smitten Corp. Allison's awkward and nervous proposal of marriage to Sister Angela one night: ("Ma'am, there's something I'd like to say to you...Don't take those vows, those, those final ones. Don't do it, huh, Ma'am. I, uhm, I never loved anything or anybody before. I never even lived before. Not really lived - inside. So uh, that's why I wanna ask you to marry me. I want to look after ya, not only while we're here but, uh, for the rest of our lives. I couldn't keep from sayin' it, Ma'am. So, uh, tell me if there's a chance, huh? I-I don't mean to give offense, Ma'am, but, uh, is there?"); she politely declined by responding that she had already become married (or committed) to God: ("No, Mr. Allison. You see, I've already given my heart to Christ, our Lord"); he asked: ("You mean like you was engaged, or somethin'?"); she showed him her silver ring - and told him: ("And when I make my final vows, I'll wear a gold one, a marriage ring")
  • and then the next day, his apology to her for asking for her hand in marriage: ("I must've been off my rocker last night. A Marine oughtn't to get married. That ain't fair to his family or the Corps. One of 'em's gotta get the short end. Like just before an attack, he asks himself: 'Which is better? A bad husband, or a bad Marine.' He ends up both. Even a peacetime marriage ain't no good. Marines get sent all over the world. And I mean, there's all kinds of temptations. So, uh, it's better that he ain't tied down, like - You do me a favor, huh, ma'am? Just, uh, forget I opened my big mouth")
  • his drunken feelings of ironically being stuck on an island with an attractive nun: ("Whatcha wanna be a nun for?...Just my luck. That's ol' Allison's luck. If ya hafta be a nun, why ain't ya old and ugly? Huh?...Why do ya hafta have big blue eyes and a beautiful smile and freckles?") and his lamentable, frustrated feelings about being there with her - maybe for years: ("Let me tell ya somethin', Ma'am. We're gonna be on this island for years and years, 'till the war's over, anyway. If our guys were comin', they would have been here by now. What I mean is, we've been bypassed...Just you and me, see? Now, what's the point of you bein' a nun if we're all alone? Answer me that. Can't, can ya, 'cause there ain't no point. No more than my bein' a Marine. What would ya do all day - pray? And I, uh, I'd drill, I guess, huh? I can see that. You telling those beads, and me doin' the manual of arms on different ends of the island. We don't belong to nothin' beyond this island. All we got is it and each other -- like Adam and Eve. Like, uh, like we was the first two people on Earth, and this is the Garden of Eden!") - causing her to sob and then flee into a torrential downpour and afterwards, she became deathly sick and he took care of her
  • the final bittersweet sequence of wounded Corp. Allison bidding farewell to Sister Angela, knowing she would soon be rescued by the Marines: ("Ma’am, we're coming to the end of our time together. Oh, we'll be seeing each other on and off for the next couple of days maybe, but, it won't ever be just the two of us again, so I’d like to say this now. Very pleased to have met you, Ma'am. It was a privilege to know you. I wish you ev-every happiness. Goodbye"), and her promise to always be his close friend and dear companion: ("Goodbye, Mr. Allison. No matter how many miles apart we are, or whether I ever get to see your face again, you will be my dear companion always. Always.")
  • the film's last lines - a Marine asking his Captain about why the Japanese hadn't fired on them: ("I don't get it, Cap'n. Four howitzers, plenty of ammo, no breechblocks. They haven't fired a round"), and the Captain's response ("Beats me") - not knowing that Allison had disabled and sabotaged the four Japanese guns (by removing their breechblocks) to prevent them from firing
  • the final scene - as Allison was carried down a charred hill on a stretcher to a rescue boat, the Sister steadfastly walked by his side, assisting him - and they exited together
Wounded Mr. Allison's Farewell: "It was a privilege to know you"
Steadfast by His Side

US Marine Corporal Allison (Robert Mitchum)

RC Sister Angela
(Deborah Kerr)

Conversation In Cave - Allison Asked: "Suppose a Nun Changed Her Mind..."

Allison's Proposal of Marriage

Her Explanation of Her Dedication to Christ - and Her Silver Ring

Allison's Apology for Asking Her to Marry Him

Drunken Feelings: "..Like we was the first two people on Earth, and this is the Garden of Eden"

Why Hadn't the Japanese Fired?

Heaven's Gate (1980)

In Michael Cimino's expensive 'boondoggle' film and revisionistic western that bankrupted United Artists studio - it told about the Johnson County Wars between starving Eastern European immigrant farmers and mercenaries hired by the cattlemen in the 1890s:

  • the opening set-piece of the swirling couples dancing Strauss' Blue Danube waltz on the Harvard College lawn following graduation in 1870 - especially the couple of Jim Averill (Kris Kristofferson) and a beautiful admirer (Roseanne Vela)
  • the gorgeous cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond of the panoramic Wyoming frontier landscapes - including the scene of the train bringing Eastern European immigrants to the West
  • the scene in which poor immigrant Michael Kovach (Aivars Smits) was brutally killed as a suspected rustler and illegal butcherer of cattle - leaving a round shotgun blast hole in a sheet - with the first view of bounty-hunter/killer Nathan Champion (Christopher Walken)
  • the roller-skating dance scene in the Heaven's Gate dance hall with a young skating fiddler boy stirring up the audience
The Love Triangle
Nathan Champion
with Ella
Ella Watson
(Isabelle Huppert)
Sheriff Jim Averill
  • the tension in the love triangle between young bordello madam Ella Watson (Isabelle Huppert) from Quebec, Harvard-educated Sheriff Jim Averill (now the marshall of Johnson County), and her other deadly lover Nathan Champion; Averill first found romance on the Western frontier of Wyoming with Ella after he arrived and she served him pie for breakfast while stripping down at the table; she tempted him to hungrily follow her as she ran naked to the bedroom; he gave her a birthday present of a horse and rig; shortly after she received the gift, they rode to a beautiful mountain stream where she went skinny-dipping in the refreshing water before they picnicked together and she talked about their future
Sheriff Averill with Bordello Madam Ella Watson
  • the hunting of immigrants (the names of 125 small farmers on a death list) by a posse of hired mercenaries of the Association led by black-garbed and evil Frank Canton (Sam Waterston), including the shocking scene of the rape of Ella (she was on the 'death list' because she would ask for "cash or cattle" as payment for her prostitutes)
  • the sequence of the final two-day bloody showdown between the immigrants and the mercenaries hired by the cattlemen's Association (including the use of a Roman offense) - interrupted by the arrival of the US Army after the slaughter was over
  • the fiery death scene of Champion who was killed in a barrage of gunfire and suffered death outside his wall-papered frontier cabin (on fire) by the hired killers of evil cattlemen association leader Frank Canton; Champion had hastily written a farewell note to his friends knowing that he would die
  • and the surprising shock ambush killings at Ella's cabin of both Ella and John L. Bridges (Jeff Bridges), a local entrepreneur who had built the roller skating rink known as "Heaven's Gate"; Sheriff Jim Averill's lost love Ella died in his arms, after he had retaliated by killing Canton and his men
Death for Nathan Champion Outside His Torched Cabin
Ambush of Ella, Who Died in Sheriff Averill's Arms
  • the final almost wordless, despairing coda or epilogue scene of Averill - now appearing miserable and unemotional about ten years later, quietly lost and adrift in his recollections as a rich yacht captain off Newport, Rhode Island in 1903 with his wife (his waltz partner in the opening scene, and the woman in the framed picture he kept with him)

The Harvard College Lawn Whirling Waltz - 1870

Immigrant Train

Killing of Immigrant by Nathan Champion

Roller-Skating Dance Scene in Heaven's Gate

The Johnson County Wars

The Rape of Ella

Epilogue: Sheriff Averill With Waltz Partner in 1903

(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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