Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

In the Coen Brothers' episodic 30s Homeric odyssey:

  • the great, Grammy-winning musical soundtrack (bluegrass, old-time gospels, African-American spirituals, and country) throughout the film
  • the singing and recording of "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" on a radio station by the Soggy Bottom Boys
  • silver-tongued, escaped convict and con-man Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), who liked Dapper Dan hair pomade, and his fellow escaped Mississippi chain-gang cons Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson)
  • their encounters with:
    - a church congregation singing "Down to the River to Pray" while being baptized
    - with seductive sirens
    - with a one-eyed two-faced Bible salesman Big Dan Teague (John Goodman - representing the Cyclops)
    - and with a Ku Klux Klan rally (with the red-robed Grand Wizard singing "O Death")

The Odd Couple (1968)

In director Gene Saks' version of scriptwriter Neil Simon's comedic 1965 Broadway hit, the basis for a TV-sitcom series in 1970 (with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman) and a sequel The Odd Couple II (1998) with the original two actors:

  • the continuing contrast of two opposing, completely incompatible - and separated male friends (both having serious marital issues with wives Blanche and Frances)
  • during his weekly poker game, ultra-slobbish, unkempt sportswriter Oscar Madison's (Walter Matthau) offer to share food from his refrigerator now broken for two weeks - spoiled and rotten brown and green sandwiches: ("I got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches. Which one do you want?" "What's the green?" "It's either very new cheese or very old meat"); they were warned that Oscar's refrigerator had been out-of-order for two weeks
  • during the poker game, the compulsive, prissy, hypochondriacal, neat and tidy, know-it-all photographer Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon) arrived late (he just split with his wife) and retreated to a locked bathroom where the players wondered what he might do to himself: use poison, razor blades or poison, commit suicide by jumping out the window, cut his wrists, or "flush himself into the East River"; Oscar was speechless: "What do you say to a man who's crying in your bathroom?"; after consoling Felix about his break-up, it was decided that Felix would move into his friend Oscar's Manhattan apartment
  • the scene of Felix's "emergency" phone call to Oscar who was attending a Mets ball-game at Shea Stadium - to warn him: "Don't eat any frankfurters at the ballgame today. I decided to make franks and beans for dinner tonight"; at the same time, Oscar had turned his back to take the call and missed "a triple play" - his fellow sportscaster rubbed it in further: "The Mets did it! The greatest fielding play I ever saw, and you missed it, Oscar! You missed it!"
  • the scene of Oscar's goading of an angered Felix to hurl a coffee cup into the wall, but then wondering why he hesitated: Oscar: "You felt like throwing the cup. Why didn't you throw it?" Felix: "Because I would still be angry and I would have a broken cup"; Oscar kept urging: "Stop controlling yourself, Felix! Relax! Get drunk! Get angry! Come on! Break the lousy cup!" but when Felix tossed the cup, he injured his arm (he was suffering for bursitis)
  • the scene of compulsive and neurotic neat-freak Felix vacuuming, when Oscar deliberately entered the living room, unplugged the vacuum, and deliberately dirtied up the room - to exasperate Felix
Opposing Views on Cleanliness
Neat-Freak Felix Vacuuming the Apartment
Oscar Deliberately Messing Up the Living Room
  • the restaurant/coffee-shop scene where Felix loudly demonstrated to Oscar his honking technique to clear his habitual sinus problems; he also complained about his allergies: ("I'm allergic to foods and pillows and curtains and perfumes...I was impossible to live with"), and then described what he was doing: "I'm trying to clear up my ears. You create a pressure inside your head. It opens up the eustachian tubes"; when he had finally cleared his head and irritated all of the other restaurant customers, he added: " I think I strained my throat"
  • the classic scene of their intense fight when Oscar made explicit demands: "If you want to live here, I don't want to see ya, I don't want to hear ya, I don't want to smell your cooking, all right? Now kindly remove that spaghetti from my poker table"; Felix impertinently laughed back: "It's not spaghetti, it's linguini"; now furious, Oscar threw the linguini at the kitchen wall and made a mess: "Now it's garbage" - and challenged Felix to try cleaning it up: "You touch one strand of that linguini, and I'm going to punch you right in your sinuses"
  • in the next scene, a major confrontational sequence, Oscar was asked what made him go off "the deep end"; he presented a laundry list of problems to Felix, and his interpretation of the note he found from Felix on his pillow: ("I can tell you exactly what it is. It's the cooking, the cleaning, the crying. It's the talking in your sleep. It's those moose calls that open your ears at 2:00 o'clock in the morning. I can't take it anymore, Felix. I'm crackin' up. Everything you do irritates me, and when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. I've told you 158 times I cannot stand little notes on my pillow. 'We are all out of cornflakes. F.U.' Took me three hours to figure out that F.U. was Felix Ungar")
  • Felix had also reached his boiling point and told Oscar what he really thought; after thanking Oscar for taking him in, Felix added one additional sentence: "You are also one of the biggest slobs in the world...Totally unreliable, undependable, and irresponsible...That's it, you've been told off. How do you like that?"; Oscar retaliated with his own issues after three weeks: "For six months, I've lived alone in this apartment, all alone in eight big rooms. I was dejected, despondent, and disgusted, and then you moved in, my closest and dearest friend. And after three weeks of close personal contact, I'm about to have a nervous breakdown. (his voice began to waver) Do me a favor, will you, Felix? Move into the kitchen. Live with your pots, your pans, your ladles, your meat thermometers. When you want to come out, just ring a bell, and I'll run into the bedroom. I'm asking you nicely, Felix, as a friend. Stay out of my way"; Felix reminded Oscar not to dirty up the bathroom floor, causing Oscar to crack; he began chasing after Felix, and threatening him: "This is the day I'm gonna kill ya!"; Oscar ordered Felix to move out: "I want you to pack your things and get out!"

Poker Game: Oscar's Choice Between Brown and Green Sandwiches

Overhearing Felix Crying in the Bathroom

Oscar's Missed "Triple Play" at the Ball Game During Phone Call with Felix

Oscar: "Break the lousy cup!"

Felix Loudly Clearing His Sinuses

Staring Each Other Down After Oscar Heaved Felix's Linguini at Kitchen Wall

Oscar Going Off "the Deep End"

Major Confrontation: Oscar's "Nervous Breakdown" - And Demand That Felix Move Out

Odd Man Out (1947, UK)

In director Carol Reed's taut and suspenseful crime-chase drama:

  • the gritty black and white cinematography
  • the scene of underground leader Johnny MacQueen (James Mason) after being fatally wounded in an ill-advised robbery and being left behind by a get-away car - and his stumbling through the streets of Belfast (disguised)
  • the expressionistic chase sequences
  • Johnny's hallucinatory imaginings of faces from his past in the bubbles of his spilled beer and his delirious vision of paintings flying off a wall
  • the powerful finale at the snowy Belfast docks when girlfriend Kathleen (Kathleen Ryan) and Johnny embraced (she promised: "It's a long way, Johnny, but I'm coming with you - we're going away together") - he fired two shots at police closing in on them and they expired in each other's arms

Of Human Bondage (1934)

In director John Cromwell's romantic drama:

  • the most famous sequence in which blonde, trashy cockney waitress Mildred (Bette Davis) viciously told off club-footed medical student Philip Carey (Leslie Howard)

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

In director Taylor Hackford's crowd-pleasing romantic drama:

  • scenes of Sgt. Emil Foley's (Oscar-winning Louis Gossett, Jr.) tough drill instruction and counsel, notably of candidate trainee Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) brought up unwanted by his father in the Philippines
  • Zack's powerful determination to not quit his recruit training: (Foley: "I want your DOR...All right, then you can forget it! You're out!" Mayo: "I ain't gonna quit...Don't you do it! Don't you - I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g... I ain't got nothin' else. I got nothin' else")
  • the erotic love-making scene between Zack and one of the 'Puget Debs' -- paper factory worker-girlfriend Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger)
  • the rousing finale in which graduate-trainee Zack carried a surprised Paula away from her factory job (as her fellow employees wished her well: "Way to go, Paula! Way to go!") - to the sounds of "Up Where We Belong"

The Old Maid (1939)

In director Edmund Goulding's melodramatic tear-jerker:

  • spinster old maid Aunt Charlotte (Bette Davis) listening in horror behind a drawing-room door to the whispered love between Tina (Jane Bryan) and her young man
  • Charlotte dancing alone in an upstairs bedroom realizing she was old
  • the scene of Charlotte and Delia (Miriam Hopkins) facing each other in a quarrel on the stairs on the eve of the girl's marriage
  • the tearjerker sequences of Charlotte 'almost' telling her unknowing illegitimate daughter the truth of her parentage on the eve of her wedding day
  • the final scene of the new bride's last kiss given to her aunt

The Old Man and the Sea (1958)

In director John Sturges' adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway story:

  • the old Cuban fisherman/Narrator (Spencer Tracy) speaking to the gigantic marlin he was trying to land: ("You're feeling it now, fish...and so, God knows, am I")

Old Yeller (1957)

In Disney's live-action drama with a tragic ending:

  • the episodic scenes in which stray golden retriever dog Old Yeller gallantly and heroically protected young Travis (Tommy Kirk) and the family from a rabid wolf and many other animal incidents (wild horses, raccoons, snakes, bears, rampaging hogs, and angry mother cows)
  • Travis' realization that he must pull the trigger on his infected and dying rabid companion
  • the conclusion when he replaced Old Yeller with a new puppy

Oldboy (2003, S. Korea)

In director Chan-wook Park's mysterious, neo-noir and visceral (double) revenge thriller:

  • the circumstances of a womanizing businessman Dae-su Oh (Choi Min-sik) in the late 1980s who was kidnapped from a phone booth and imprisoned for 15 years in a strange hotel-like room, where he learned by TV during his long imprisonment that he had been framed for his wife's murder, and that his young three year-old daughter was sent to live with Swedish foster parents; he also suffered hallucinations of ants crawling on him and emerging through his skin
  • the sequence of Dae-su inexplicably freed and released by his former grade-school classmate - villainous, sadistic and insane captor-tormentor Woo-jin Lee (Yu Ji-tae), with only five days to find answers: to seek surrealistic vengeance against his captor(s) and prison officials, and discover the enigmatic reasons for what had occurred, while engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with Woo-jin
  • the scene of recently-freed Dae-su stumbling into a sushi restaurant where he became acquainted with helpful and young sushi chef Mi-do (Kang Hye-jeong); after consuming a wriggling, live octopus (eaten headfirst!) and receiving an enigmatic phone call from Woo-jin, Dae-su fainted; Mi-do took pity on him and took him in; she assisted him in following clues in order to unravel the mystery.
  • the vengeful tooth extraction scene in the control room of the prison, where Dae-su forcibly extracted (with the claw of a hammer) 15 of the teeth of the prison manager Park Cheol-woong (Dal-su Oh); Dae-su explained: "I am going to avenge myself for all 15 years. Each tooth I extract will age you by one year"
  • the scenes of Dae-su's suffering of many setbacks and punishments as he went about seeking answers, finding vengeance and locating his young daughter
  • the revelation that persecuting millionaire villain Woo-jin's diabolical vengeful plan against Dae-su was in retaliation for an incident years earlier when they were classmates at Evergreen school; Dae-su had been blamed by Woo-jin for spreading a rumor ("Your tongue got my sister pregnant") regarding an incestuous pregnancy (between young Woo-Jin and his own slutty sister Lee Soo-ah (Yoon Jin-seo) who were having sexual relations); when rumors spread the news of the incest, Woo-jin's humiliated sister allegedly committed suicide
  • the sequence of love-making between Dae-su and grown-up Mi-do, when she signaled to him that she was ready to have sex by singing a song mentioned in Dae-su's journal: "The Face I Want to See"
  • the revelation that Woo-jin's plan all along was to have Dae-su fall in love and have sex with Mi-do - Dae-su's own daughter!; Woo-Jin had raised Mi-do in secret, and had both Mi-do and Dae-su hypnotized to fall in love when she grew older - a punishment suited to fit the crime
  • the sequence of Dae-su's extremely-painful tongue self-excisement with a rusty pair of scissors - to find atonement and to prevent any further rumors or talk after realizing he had taken the virginity of his own long-lost daughter Mi-do (an act of unintended incest!)
  • the main reason for Dae-su's imprisonment, learned by the film's end, was the film's major plot twist - in a startling flashback scene set in an elevator, Woo-jin experienced a guilt-ridden memory revealing that he had murdered his own sister (by letting go of her over the side of Habchun Dam) - she had not committed suicide; as the guilty memory from years earlier came over him, he shot himself in the side of the head inside an elevator as the door opened, leaving a bloodstain on the wall
Woo-jin's Murderous Flashback - and His Own Suicide
  • the concluding hypnosis scene - Dae-su was attempting to erase his unbearable knowledge of his lover Mi-do being his daughter, by hiring a female hypnotist - who proceed to put him in a spell - she asked him to return mentally to Lee Woo-Jin’s apartment and to split up into two different people when he heard the sound of a bell she was holding; two different Oh Dae-Sus were viewed: (1) the one who had no memory, and (2) the monster who held the secret and died pacing:
    "The hypnosis may go wrong and distort your memories. Do you want to proceed? If you're ready, Iook at that tree. The tree is slowly changing into a concrete pillar. You're now inside Lee Woo-jin's penthouse. It's a dreary night. The sound of your footsteps crossing to the window fills the room. When I ring my bell, you'll split into two people. One person doesn't know your secret: Oh Dae-su. The one who knows your secret is the monster. When I ring the bell again, the monster will turn around and start walking. With each step, he will age by one year. When he reaches 70, the monster will die. There's no need to worry. It will be a very peaceful death. Now, good luck to you"
  • the film's ambiguous ending in an unidentified place, in the snowy mountains: Dae-su was embracing Mi-do who told him: "I love you... Dae-su" - but did the hypnosis work? Did he know the truth about their true identities?


Mr. Park's Tooth Extractions

Dae-su's Tongue Self-Excisement

The Hypnotist

Hypnosis to Erase Dae-su's Memory: Did it work?

Oliver! (1968, UK)

In Lionel Bart's musical version inspired by the Charles Dickens novel "Oliver Twist" - both a British production and a big Broadway hit - as well as a Best Picture-winning film (from first-time musical director Carol Reed who won Best Director).- about a poorhouse orphan Oliver's (Mark Lester) travails in early 19th century London:

  • the show-stopping Food, Glorious Food by the entire group of orphans at Mr. Bumble's Home for Paupers and Orphans; the barefooted orphan boys marched into the dining room for a ladle full of gruel broth: ("Is it worth the waiting for, If we live till eighty-four All we ever get is gruel, Every day we say our prayers Will they change the bill of fare? Still we get the same old gruel There's not a crust not a crumb. Can we find can we beg can we borrow or cadge, But there's nothing to stop us from getting a thrill, When we all close our eyes and imagine, Food glorious food...")
  • the opening line of 9 year-old orphan Oliver (Mark Lester) asking for a second helping of gruel from workhouse boss Mr. Bumble (Harry Secombe): "Please, sir, I want some more." "What?" "Please sir, I want some...more." "More?!"
  • Oliver's wistful singing of Where Is Love? at a window after the punished young boy was thrown into a dark cellar (full of empty coffins)
  • the large production number set in London where Oliver had fled and he met up with the young streetwise thief Jack Dawkins, aka The Artful Dodger (Jack Wild); Oliver was welcomed into a boy gang with Consider Yourself: "Consider yourself... at home! / Consider yourself... one of the family!"
  • other hit songs included wily, crafty and thieving Fagin's (Ron Moody) words of advice to Oliver about his group of street urchin's profession of pickpocketing - You've Got To Pick a Pocket or Two
Fagin (Ron Moody)
Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed)
  • the ensemble's performance of I'd Do Anything - ("I know that I'd go anywhere for your smile anywhere, for your smile, everywhere I'd see. Would you lace my shoe? Anything. Paint your face bright blue? Anything. Catch a kangaroo? Anything. Go to Timbuktu? And back again...")
  • the singing of the ballad As Long As He Needs Me by prostitute Nancy (Shani Wallis), the common-law wife of master burglar and brutish murderer Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed), Fagin's associate, who professed her undying love - even for the abusive Sikes who had just slapped her: ("As long as he needs me. Oh yes he does need me. In spite of what you see, I'm sure that he needs me. Who else would love him still When they been used so ill? He knows I always will as long as he needs me. I miss him so much when he is gone but when he's near me I don't let on. The way I feel inside, The love I have to hide But hell, I got my pride as long as he needs me")
  • the stunning scenes of Sikes' bludgeoning murder (off-screen) of Nancy at the London Bridge, and Sikes' own death when shot dead by a pursuing mob and police

"Food, Glorious Food"

Mr. Bumble (Harry Secombe)

"I want some more"

"Where is Love?"

The Artful Dodger: "Consider Yourself"

Fagin (and company): "I'd Do Anything"

Nancy (Shani Wallis) Singing "As Long As He Needs Me"

Los Olvidados (1950, Mex.) (aka The Young and the Damned, and The Forgotten Ones)

In Luis Buñuel's nihilistic cautionary tale - one of the greatest, and harshest films ever made, set in the slums of Mexico City with gangs of street kids:

  • the horrific, sadistic acts of murderous brutality of a juvenile delinquent gang led by amoral, violent reform school escapee Jaibo (Roberto Cobo) who committed acts of petty crime; in an early sequence, he beat rival Julian (Javier Amezcua) to death with a rock (hidden in an arm sling) in a half-constructed high-rise building's shadows
  • other such disturbing imagery as an abandoned boy called Big Eyes (Jesus Navarro) suckling from a goat
  • the homosexually-pedophilic advances on the sympathetic main character - youngest gang member Pedro (Alfonso Mejía) who prostituted himself to survive
  • the poignant image of a bloody-nosed, battered Pedro looking forlornly through a dirty window
  • the famous unsettling dream (in slow-motion) that Pedro had of his mother floating after him with a raw piece of meat and Julian's bloody dead body under the bed (he had witnessed the murder) with chicken feathers floating in the air
  • the sensous imagery of a young lady seductively pouring milk on her thighs
  • the vengeful killing of Pedro by Jaibo, for announcing that he had seen Jaibo kill Julian
  • the death of Jaibo - who was shot and killed by the police - (a stray dog running toward the camera was superimposed over his face as he died)
  • the graceless disposal of Pedro's body by being put in a sack and carried out of town on a donkey, to be dumped down a garbage-covered cliff -- while Pedro's mother passed in the street, ironically not knowing her son was dead

The Omen (1976)

In Richard Donner's original film:

  • the setup - American ambassador to England Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) substitutes orphaned Damien for his wife Katherine's (Lee Remick) still-born child
  • the scene of Damien's (the Devil's own son, the Anti-Christ, with the 666 sign on his scalp) (Harvey Stephens) 5th birthday party when his nanny (Holly Palance) went into the mansion's attic, tied a noose around her neck, stood out on the ledge of the window, and jumped and hanged herself (and shattered the second floor glass windows with her swinging body) after calling out her final words: "Damien, look at me. I'm over here. Damien, I love you. Look at me, Damien. It's all for you"
  • Damien's view shielded by his mother Katherine, but with a big smile visible on his face
  • the scene in which baboons from the zoo instinctively recognized Damien's devilish-nature and attacked the car carrying Damien and his mother
  • the scene of the impalement death of Father Brennan (Patrick G. Troughton) by a freak storm outside a church after warning Thorn that he had adopted Lucifer's son
  • and the scene of Damien maniacally pedaling his tricycle and knocking his mother over the second-floor railing to the menacing sound of ''Ave Satani''
  • the demise of hapless photographer Keith Jennings (David Warner) by decapitation when a sheet of plate glass flew off a truck that lost its brakes and sliced through his neck
  • the scene of bloodied Thorn dragging his screaming son to a church altar to sacrifice him

On Dangerous Ground (1951)

In Nicholas Ray's classic, black and white, noirish rogue-cop drama, with a memorable, bold and moody Bernard Herrmann score:

  • the portrayal of embittered, repressed, sadistic, violently-brutal and relentless veteran, urban NYC cop Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan), a lonely, hardened workaholic bachelor living in a tenement apartment
  • in a frightening scene, after bursting into a grungy apartment and threatening a thug, Wilson shouted: "Why do you make me do it? You know you're gonna talk! I'm gonna make you talk! I always make you punks talk! Why do you do it? Why?" and then viciously beat him; at one point, Police Captain Brawley (Ed Begley) chided and reprimanded Wilson as "a gangster with a badge"
  • the sexually-induced murder (rape and knifing) of a teenaged girl in the wintry, rural northern community and mountain town of Westham, and the subsequent investigation there, pairing Wilson with the victim's vengeful, vigilante father Walter Brent (Ward Bond), wielding a shotgun (Wilson's own raging mirror-image)
  • the manhunt led to the remote cabin of kind, tolerant, self-sacrificing, loving and blind Mary Malden (Ida Lupino) - and the revelation that she was protective of her mentally-ill, immature brother Danny (Sumner Williams) - the prime murder suspect, and he was hiding in the storm cellar (she entreated Wilson: "Promise me he'll be safe")
  • the concluding scene of the chase after Danny up an icy rocky cliff and his fall to his death, when Walter was aghast: "Just a kid"
  • the sentimental concluding scenes showing Wilson's growing, semi-compromising infatuation with his romantic savior Mary (who told him: "Sometimes, people who are never alone are the loneliest. Don't you think so?"), and his ultimate redemption and awakening humanization by her - symbolized by the image of them joining outstretched hands in the tacked-on ending

On Golden Pond (1981)

In director Mark Rydell's warm-hearted Best Picture nominated family drama based on screenwriter Ernest Thompson's off-Broadway stage play:

  • the opening scene in which adoring wife Ethel Thayer (Katharine Hepburn in the fourth Oscar-winning role of her career) excitedly told her cantankerous "old poop" 80-year-old husband Norman, Jr. (76 year old Henry Fonda in an Oscar-winning role and his last film), upon walking near their Golden Pond cabin: "Come here, Norman. Hurry up. The loons! The loons! They're welcoming us back!"
  • Norman's distress and fear at his failing physical and mental health when he momentarily lost his way: "You want to know why I came back so fast? I got to the end of our lane, I couldn't remember where the old town road was. I wandered a way in the woods. There was nothing familiar. Not one damn tree. Scared me half to death. That's why I came running back here to you to see your pretty face. I could feel safe. I was still me"; and Ethel's famous comforting quote: "Listen to me, mister, you're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it"
  • Norman's harsh, cutting response to estranged daughter Chelsea's (real life daughter Jane Fonda) 45-year-old lover Bill Ray's (Dabney Coleman) request if he could sleep with his daughter: "...I'd guess I'd be DELIGHTED to have you abuse my daughter under my own roof. Would you like the room where I first violated her mother? Or would you be interested in the master bedroom?..." and Bill's indignant verbal parry: "You're having a good time, aren't you?...Chelsea told me all about how you like to have a good time messing with people's heads...But I think there's one thing you should know while you're jerking me around and making me feel like an asshole. I know PRECISELY what you're up to. And I'll take just so much of it..."
  • their 13-year old son Billy's (Doug McKeon) response to Norman's question of what he did with girls he picked up: "Suck face"
  • Chelsea's complaint about dealing with her father: "I act like a big person everywhere else. I'm in charge of Los Angeles, and I come here, I feel like a little fat girl"
  • the scary Purgatory Bay scene in which Norman was catapulted into the water when the speedboat crashed into a rock in a near-fatal accident, and Ethel rescued them - diving into the cold water herself (Hepburn did the scene without a wetsuit)
  • the scene of Ethel's slapping Chelsea hard when she called Norman a "selfish son-of-a-bitch" and her angry retort: "That son-of-a-bitch happens to be my husband"
  • Billy catching the legendary trout 'Walter' with Norman
  • the heart-tugging reconciliation scene between a teary-eyed Chelsea and her father Norman: (Chelsea: "It just seems that you and me have been mad at each other for so long..." Norman: "I didn't think we were mad; I thought we just didn't like each other" - ending with "I want to be your friend") - in which she touched his knee, culminating with Chelsea eagerly doing "a real goddamned back-flip" off the diving board for an appreciative Norman
  • the final scene in which Ethel prayed when Norman collapsed due to angina ("Dear God, don't take him now. You don't want him. He's just an old poop"), and their discussion about death: ("This is the first time that I've really felt that we were gonna die....When I looked at you here on the floor, I could actually see you dead. I could see you in your blue suit and white, starched shirt in Thomas's funeral parlor on Bradshaw Street....You've been talking about death ever since we met, but this is the first time I really felt it...Oh, it feels odd. Cold, I guess. Not that bad, really. Not so frightening. Almost comforting. Not such a bad place to go. I don't know!")
  • Norman's famous proposal to Ethel, using slang he had learned from Billy: "Wanna dance or would you rather just suck face?"; then his noticing that the loons had returned in the film's final line: "The loons, they've come around to say good-bye. Just the two of them now. Their baby's all grown up and moved to Los Angeles or somewhere"

On The Town (1949)

In director Stanley Donen's musical comedy - the first major musical to be filmed on location:

  • the opening show-stopping song-and-dance number "New York, New York (It's a Wonderful Town)" by sailors on leave Gabey (Gene Kelly), Chip (Frank Sinatra) and Ozzie (Jules Munshin)
  • the featuring of all the prominent sights of New York City, and other musical numbers shot on location

On The Waterfront (1954)

In Elia Kazan's Best Picture-winning film with realistic dialogue and sets of grimy Hoboken, and featuring a prime example of Method acting from Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando:

  • the opening lines of the film: "Joey, Joey Doyle!...Hey, I got one of your birds. I recognize him by the band...He flew into my coop. You want him?" - delivered by slow-witted, illiterate waterfront bum and ex-fighter Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) who lured fellow pigeon-lover Joey Doyle, a young dockworker and informant union worker, to a rooftop where two shadowy thugs were lurking - to his deadly fate
  • the subsequent murder of Joey Doyle who was hurled from the rooftop to his death many stories below with a bloodcurdling scream - Terry owed his waterfront career and livelihood to corruption union boss Johnny Friendly (Oscar-nominated Lee J. Cobb), head of the racketeers
  • the scene in which Terry Malloy and fresh-faced aspiring teacher Edie Doyle (Oscar-winning Eva Marie Saint), the informant's sister (with a Catholic school background) became acquainted as he escorted her home through the park; as they talked and walked along and he teased her, Edie accidentally dropped one of her white gloves-mittens; Terry picked it up and cleaned it off, but instead of immediately returning it, he held it, and then put it on his left hand - as a substitute for getting close to her; eventually, she was able to remove the glove from his hand
  • the scene in a neighborhood saloon between the kind-hearted Edie and Terry during a date, when she expressed a philosophy of life totally foreign to him; he believed in a 'dog-eat-dog' world point of view ("Do it to him before he does it to you"), while Edie countered: "Shouldn't everybody care about everybody else?" - he responded: "Boy, what a fruitcake you are!"
  • in the symbolic and memorable "Sermon on the Docks" sequence, Father Barry's (Oscar-nominated Karl Malden) delivery of a sermon to commemorate the death of dockworker Kayo Dugan (Pat Henning): "Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary. They better wise up. Takin' Joey Doyle's life to stop him from testifying is a crucifixion. And dropping a sling on Kayo Dugan because he was ready to spill his guts tomorrow - that's a crucifixion. And every time the mob puts the crusher on a good man - tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen - it's a crucifixion. And anybody who sits around and lets it happen - keeps silent about something he knows has happened - shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of Our Lord to see if He was dead" - he also delivered last rites, and rode on the pallet up and out of the hatch (and heavenward) with Dugan's body on it
  • Terry's emotionally-naked and famous New York taxi-cab scene dialogue, delivered in the back seat of a taxi-cab with his mobster/lawyer older brother Charley Malloy "The Gent" (Rod Steiger) (Oscar-nominated Rod Steiger) after his brother drew a gun on him; Terry spoke about a rigged boxing match that ruined his boxing career: "It wasn't him, Charley! It was you. You remember that night in the Garden, you came down to my dressing room and said: 'Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson.' You remember that? 'This ain't your night!' My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors in the ball park - and whadda I get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville....You was my brother, Charley. You shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me - just a little bit - so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money....You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am. Let's face it (pause) ...... It was you, Charley"
  • the next sequence - Terry's smashing down the door of Edie's apartment when he told her: "Edie, you love me...I want you to say it to me," she cowered from him and responded: "I didn't say I didn't love you. I said, 'STAY AWAY FROM ME"; but he put his arms around her, and they ended up embracing in a kiss
  • the sequence of Terry's discovery of Charley's corpse hanging on a longshoreman's hook in a back alley, illuminated by a truck's headlights
  • the devastating scene when Terry found that neighborhood friend Tommy, who used to admire and idolize him, had killed his pigeons on the rooftop and tossed the body of a dead bird at him: "A pigeon for a pigeon"; for testifying against the mob, Terry was derided and ostracized as a 'canary" and all of his beloved birds had their necks wrung
  • in the finale, the challenge Terry delivered to Johnny Friendly: "You're a cheap, lousy, dirty, stinkin', mug. And I'm glad what I've done to you" - followed by their bloody confrontation and fight - although Terry was beaten unmercifully behind the waterfront shack and nearly killed in a fight to the death, the battered but triumphant, masochistic Terry broke the strangle-hold power of the union boss; the workers, forming a line on the side, rallied around their new leader as he led the loitering longshoremen back to work through the gate - in an act of defiance
  • the workers ignored the desperate screams of the soaking-wet Friendly, who tried to prevent them from following: "Where you guys going? Wait a minute? I'll remember this! I'll remember every one of ya! I'll be back, don't you forget that. I'll be back"

Once Upon A Time in the West (1968, It.) (aka C'era una Volta il West)

In Sergio Leone's western masterpiece with a great musical score (and harmonica melody) by Ennio Morricone, about the coming of the railroad and the struggle between various groups for monopolistic control - with numerous instances of homage to earlier traditional Hollywood westerns:

  • the detailed, almost wordless presentation of hired killers in the widescreen opening sequence - the Cattle Corner train station arrival scene - with ambient sounds (a dry dusty wind, a creaking rocking chair, door and windmill, the cracking of knuckles, a dripping water leak from a tower, a noisy telegraph machine, and a pesky buzzing fly) in the deliberately-slow credit sequence as a trio of hired outlaw assassins waited impatiently at a small-town's train station; the outlaws were in the employ of hired gun Frank (Henry Fonda), who was being manipulated by crippled, corrupt and ruthless railroad tycoon Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti), aka "Mr. Choo Choo"
  • the sudden reveal shot - of an unnamed, mysterious avenging gunman, known as "Harmonica" (Charles Bronson), who was in pursuit of Frank; he stepped off the train and appeared in the middle of the screen when the train pulled away, flanked by the three men who were there to kill him; the killers, sent by villainous Frank, included Snaky (Jack Elam), Stony (Woody Strode), and Knuckles (Al Mulock)
  • the classic verbal conversation (before the shoot-out) between Harmonica and Snaky, about how there were too many horses - Harmonica: "Did you bring a horse for me?" Snaky: "Well, looks like we're, looks like we're shy one horse" Harmonica: "You brought two too many"; after the brief shoot-out, Harmonica stood as the sole survivor
  • the violent scene of Frank and his four men's cold-blooded and merciless ambush and murder of Irish landowner Brett McBain (Frank Wolff) and two of his three children (elder son Patrick (Stefano Imparato), and teen daughter Maureen (Simonetta Santaniello)) at their homestead; McBain had bought the land known as Sweetwater - a key location where trains crossing the continent would have to stop for water: ("Them steam engines can't roll without water, and the only water for fifty miles west of Flagstone is right here, under this land")
The Massacre of the Entire McBain Family by Frank and His Gang
  • the first startling appearance of the long-duster-coated gang of five emerging from the brush, including their leader -- black-hatted, blue-eyed, sadistic killer Frank (portrayed uncharacteristically against type by Henry Fonda), who was first seen in a circling profile; he strode up to sole-surviving nine-year-old red-headed son Timmy (Enzo Santaniello); after one of the gang members (Michael Harvey) asked: "What are we going to do with this one, Frank?", Frank spit out a brown gob of tobacco juice into the ground and responded: "Now that you've called me by name" - then drew his gun and fired on the boy; the McBain murders were blamed on honorable yet grizzled escaped con and half-breed scoundrel Cheyenne (Jason Robards)
  • the transitional sound of a train's screeching whistle at the Flagstone station signaling the arrival in the stark Arizona desert of smoky-eyed, reformed prostitute Jill McBain (Claudia Cardinale) from New Orleans, the widowed wife of Brett McBain; she arranged for a buckboard wagon at the station, and then at the start of her journey (seen from her POV) toward Sweetwater, she passed the laid-out corpses of the entire McBain family before proceeding through Monument Valley
  • the sequence of Frank's brutal rape of Jill, when he told her while on top of her: "I'm beginning to think I might be a little sorry killin' you. You like being alive, hmm? You also like to feel a man's hands all over you. You like it? Even if they're the hands of the man who killed your husband"
  • the scene of Frank talking "business" with corrupt RR tycoon Morton about the McBain killings: Morton: "Tell me, was it necessary that you kill all of them? I only told you to scare them" - Frank: "People scare better when they're dying"
  • Jill's relationship with a very protective Cheyenne, who took a liking to her; at one point, she told him: "If you want to, you can lay me over the table and amuse yourself. And even call in your men. Well. No woman ever died from that. When you're finished, all I'll need will be a tub of boiling water, and I'll be exactly what I was before - with just another filthy memory"; he was more interested in her hot, strong, and good coffee: "You make good coffee, at least?" and was complimentary of her: "You know, Jill, you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man"
  • the classic confrontational ending - a showdown duel between Harmonica and Frank (whose faces were seen in extreme close-up as they circled each other); Frank spoke first: "The future don't matter to us. Nothing matters now - not the land, not the money, not the woman. I came here to see you. 'Cause I know that now, you'll tell me what you're after"; Harmonica replied: "Only at the point of dyin'"
  • the fateful flashback/revelatory moment when brooding loner "Harmonica" (The Man) remembered the cold-hearted, steely blue-eyed, mean badman Frank's cruel jest: "Keep your lovin' brother happy" (in the chilling flashback, Frank held up a harmonica, and stuffed it into the mouth of a young "Harmonica" (Dino Mele); the boy was forced to support his elder brother (Claudio Mancini) (with a noose around his neck) on his shoulders and to play a harmonica until he weakened and collapsed into the dust - and thereby killed his brother who was left to hang above him
The Chilling Flashback:
Young 'Harmonica' Remembered Frank's Cruelty
  • during the duel, Frank was shot and lethally wounded by Harmonica; after Frank staggered to the ground, he asked a final question: "Who are you?" - and then finally remembered about Harmonica (as a young boy) after a harmonica was placed in his mouth - he promptly fell over dead
  • in the final scene, a lethally-wounded Cheyenne urged Jill to give water to the train workers: "You know what? If I was you, I'd go down there and give those boys a drink. Can't imagine how happy it makes a man to see a woman like you. Just to look at her. And if one of them should pat your behind, just make believe it's nothing. They earned it"; Jill said goodbye to stoic-faced Harmonica (he told Jill: "It's gonna be a beautiful town, Sweetwater"; she replied: "I hope you come back some day", and he simply said: "Some day"), and she watched as he rode away with Cheyenne following
  • out of Jill's view, Cheyenne spoke his last words to Harmonica about dying (he had been shot in the abdomen earlier) - it was the film's final line of dialogue: "I ran into Mr. Choo-Choo. I didn't count on that half-man from the train. He got scared. Hey, Harmonica. When they do you in, pray it's somebody who knows where to shoot. Go away. Go away. Go away. I don't want you to see me die"; after Cheyenne expired, Harmonica continued riding away, with another tracking shot (as a second horse carried the slumped-over corpse of Cheyenne)
The Operatic Conclusion
  • in the final operatic conclusion to the epic western, with magnificent camera-work - beginning with the arrival of a train carrying railroad workers (with a crane shot, POV, pan and tracking shot), Jill confidently strode down to the Sweetwater railway station after a steam-powered train engine pulled into view, where in a zoom and tracking shot, she offered water to the laborers and track-laying crews, before the end credits began to roll

The Opening

Jill's Arrival

Frank's Rape of Jill

Harmonica vs. Frank Showdown Duel

Death of Cheyenne, Departure of Harmonica

(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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