Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Red Dust (1932)

In director Victor Fleming's romance drama:

  • the characters of sexy Saigon prostitute-on-the-run Vantine (Jean Harlow) and an equally sexy and unshaven Indochinese rubber plantation manager Dennis Carson (Clark Gable)
  • Vantine's infamous nude bath in a rain barrel scene (when she requested both: "Gee, can't a girl take a bath in privacy?" and "Denny, scrub my back")
  • her bawdy humor including the cleaning of a parrot's cage scene
  • the love scene of Carson's rescue of virginal (but married) upper-class adulteress Barbara "Babs" Willis (Mary Astor) in his arms during a torrential rainstorm in the jungle
  • their forbidden kiss that he took from her once they reached shelter
  • the final scene in which Vantine helped Carson recuperate from a gunshot wound (delivered by a jealous "Babs" involved in a love triangle) - she read him a newspaper story about a rabbit that went hippity-hop, hippity-hop, while he made little walking motions with his fingers up her thigh and moved his hand up her leg

The Red House (1947)

In Delmer Daves' gothic, low-budget horror noir-thriller with the chilling music of Miklos Rozsa:

  • the character of haunted, deeply-troubled and reclusive, wooden-legged farmer Pete Morgan (Edward G. Robinson) who accidentally murdered his former girlfriend and her husband in a 'red house' - and then raised their child since she was an infant - now 15 year-old adopted step-daughter Meg (Allene Roberts) without her knowing
  • the scene of him talking to her while she was swimming and derangedly calling her "Jeanie": ("This is the way it could always be, Jeanie. We don't need anybody else")
  • the scene of the scary walk in the woods in a rainstorm by her teenaged classmate Nath Storm (Lon McCallister) too close to the mysterious red house marked with a "No Trespassing" sign that held secrets of the past

Red River (1948)

In Howard Hawks' great western classic similar to the story of Mutiny on the Bounty:

  • the homosexual-tinged scene between notorious gunman Cherry Valance (John Ireland) and adopted son Matthew Garth/Dunson (Montgomery Clift in his debut film role) when they compared each other's guns and shooting abilities: (Cherry: "That's a good looking gun you were about to use back there. Can I see it? Maybe you'd like to see mine. Nice! Awful nice! You know, there are only two things more beautiful than a good gun: a Swiss watch or a woman from anywhere. You ever had a good Swiss watch?")
  • the scene of Tom Dunson's (John Wayne) tough challenge and statement of ground rules to his recalcitrant cowhands the night before a treacherous, near-suicidal cattle drive up the Chisholm Trail: ("There'll be no quitting along the way, not by me and not by you")
  • the scene on the morning of the start of the epic cattle drive in which the camera panned 360 degrees around to view the herd and the cowboys, followed by Dunson's order to Matthew to begin the trek - "Take 'em to Missouri, Matt!" - and the quick-cutting montage of each of the cowboys crying out to get the doggies movin' ("Yee-Hah!")
  • the stupendous sequences of the cattle stampede and the Red River crossing
  • the funeral sequence for one of the drovers Dan Latimer (Harry Carey, Jr.) killed during the stampede, in which a cloud passed over the sun and cast a shadow on the distant mountain while Dunson delivered a eulogy: "You brought nothing into this world and it's certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen"
  • the beginnings of mutinous talk among the cowboys, leading to the cold-blooded execution of three "quitters" - by Cherry, Dunson, and Matt, after which the tyrannical Dunson turned and defiantly asked the rest of the men: "All right. Anybody else? Say it now, 'cause I don't want ever to hear it again. I don't like quitters, especially when they're not good enough to finish what they start. Now go on! Speak up! Say it and you can join your friends here..."; although Matt assisted in the killing, he questioned his father's judgment and dictatorial rule and declared his behavior "wrong"
  • the dramatic scene on the trail when Matt finally led a mutinous attack against his mad, enraged and arrogant father and refused to hang two men for desertion when ordered to - Matt openly defied his hard, inflexible father, forcibly assumed control, and decided to reroute the herd on a different, shorter route to Abilene, Kansas; during a short farewell scene, Matt had a few final words with the cold-blooded Dunson, who verbally threatend to hunt Matt down and kill him: "Cherry was right. You're soft. You should've let him kill me, 'cause I'm gonna kill you. I'll catch up with ya! I don't know when, but I'll catch up. Every time you turn around, expect to see me. 'Cause one time you'll turn around and I'll be there. I'll kill ya, Matt"
  • the final savage confrontation between father-son, when Dunson saw Matt in the distance, and the camera tracked with him as he rode forward, dismounted and strode through the stray cows (actually plowed or waded through them like water in a river), and drew his gun on Matt; when Matt refused to draw, they got into a lengthy, fist-fight brawl after Dunson taunted: "You're soft! Won't anything make a man out of ya?...You yellow-bellied, cotton-livered.."
  • Tess Millay's (Joanne Dru) intervention into the senseless fighting, by firing a gun into the air (off-camera) to get their attention and then commanding them to end their fighting and quit destroying each other - they obeyed her by ultimately reconciling
  • in the last lines of the film, Dunson ordered one last thing, promising to add Matt's initial to the Red River D cattle brand to make him a full partner in his cattle business - he drew the new brand in the dirt - a close-up of the brand ended the film as he announced that Matt had "earned" his manhood and had become a full partner of his adoptive father; the first name initial, 'M', symmetrically balanced out the surname, 'D', on the other side of the wavy, parallel lines that represented the Red River: (Dunson: "When we get back to the ranch, I want ya to change the brand. It'll be like this, the Red River 'D' and we'll add an 'M' to it. You don't mind that do ya?...You earned it")

The Red Shoes (1948, UK)

In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's surrealistic fairytale masterpiece - the best ballet film ever made:

  • the magnificent and beautiful color cinematography
  • the film's magical highlight - the 20-minute stylized "Red Shoes" ballet (based upon Hans Christian Andersen's children's story) with young, red-headed prima ballerina Victoria (Vicky) Page's (Moira Shearer) performance as a dancer who died because of her obsessive need to dance with her shoes
  • the image of the audience becoming a roaring ocean coastline behind the conductor-composer Julian Craster (Marius Goring)
  • the Svengali-like ballet producer and impresario Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook) and his jealousy over the romance between Vicky and her young composer husband Julian
  • the painful struggle and choice between career or art (ballet) and heart-felt love
  • the melodramatic tragic death scene when the broken-hearted and conflicted Vicky ran from her dressing room in the theatre and down stairs to a terrace balcony overlook (of the Monte Carlo hotel) above the railway station, just before an encore concert presentation of The Red Shoes ballet - her controlling red ballet slippers had willfully directed her there, and forcefully pulled her off to her death (into the path of an oncoming train on the tracks below); her death was a real-life recreation of the role she was playing in the 'Red Shoes' ballet
  • the announcement by a white-faced Boris Lermontov (with a halting voice) in front of the red curtain, amidst gasps and murmuring: "Ladies and Gentlemen. I am sorry to tell you that Miss Page is unable to dance tonight, nor indeed... any other night. Nevertheless, we've decided to present The Red Shoes. It is the ballet that made her name, whose name she made. We present it because we think she would have wished it"
  • the film's final images of the ballet being performed as planned without her (with a spotlight shining on the floor where she would have been dancing)
  • the film's final words back at Vicky's death location where there was a closeup of her bloody legs (and tights) and feet wearing the shoes; she requested that Julian remove her red ballet shoes before she expired: "Julian?" "Yes, my darling?" "Take off the red shoes"

The Remains of the Day (1993, UK)

In producer Ismail Merchant's and director James Ivory's film about a proper English butler (adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro's 1988 novel):

  • the stunning scene in which rigidly polite British butler Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) was reluctant to reveal the book he was reading ("a sentimental old love story") to flirtatious housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson), with a look of rapt longing and desire on his face, after she asked: ("Are you reading a racy book?...What is it? Let me see it. Let me see your book....Why won't you show me your book?...What's in that book? Come on, let me see. Or are you protecting me? Is that what you're doing? Would I be shocked? Would it ruin my character? Let me see it"); he admitted embarrassingly: ("I read these books, any books, to develop my command and knowledge of the English language. I read to further my education, Miss Kenton.")
  • the final farewell scene of urgent, but unfulfilled and repressed longing and love between Miss Kenton (now Mrs. Benn) and Stevens in a rainstorm - he wished her well in the future: ("You must take good care of yourself, Mrs. Benn...You must try to do all you can to make these years happy ones for yourself and for your husband. We may never meet again, Mrs. Benn. That is why I am permitting myself to be so personal, if you will forgive me."); When she was about to depart on a bus, they shared a lingering handshake. Stevens tipped his hat to her as the bus pulled away.
  • Stevens finally showed an outward emotion of regret when he let himself cry afterwards in his car. The splattering raindrops on the windshield obscured his own tears.

Repo Man (1984)

In director/scriptwriter Alex Cox's debut cult film about car repossession in Los Angeles:

  • the iconic 'Holy Grail' existence of a glowing white-light thing (a weapons-grade plutonium neutron bomb or the remains of four aliens?) in the trunk of a 1964 Chevy Malibu - that caused a highway motorcycle patrol officer in the film's opening to immediately vaporize down to his semi-melted leather boots

Repulsion (1965, UK)

In director Roman Polanski's psychological thriller (his first English language film) about a woman's mad descent into schizophrenia - the first of his so-called "Apartment Trilogy", also with Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Tenant (1976) - and similar to David Lynch's later Eraserhead (1977):

  • the opening image during the title credits - the closeup of an eyeball, and the slow pull-back from the female's dead-eyed stare (paralleled at film's end with a zoom-in), followed by the symbolic cracking of an aging female's facial mask in a beauty salon (Note: also, the image of the cracking of the sidewalk pavement, and other cracking images throughout the film)
  • the main protagonist: shy, detached, and sexually-repressed London manicurist Carol (Catherine Deneuve) from Belgium, living in a claustrophobic apartment with her older sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux), and working in an all-female salon/spa
  • Carol's dependence upon her sister, and her continued unease with Helen's affair with married boyfriend Michael (Ian Hendry), including his intrusive toothbrush and razor left on the bathroom shelf
  • the night scene of Carol's extreme discomfort and frustration while listening to Helen and Michael's loud orgasmic love-making through the wall next to her bedroom
  • the progression of Carol's increasing insanity (when Helen and Michael left for a fortnight vacation to Italy), accompanied by troubling daydreams and the disquieting sounds of a ticking alarm clock and dripping kitchen faucet, and other nerve-wracking aural effects (the doorbell and ringing telephone, keys plunking musical scales on a piano, etc. )
  • the equally-startling hallucinatory image of a crack appearing in the wall (she mused: "We must get this crack mended")
  • Carol's disturbing, hallucinatory imagining of suspicious footsteps in her apartment, and the appearance of a hairy, brutish man breaking in to her bedroom, grabbing her hair, holding her down, and raping her from behind in her bed
  • the numerous shots of plates of rotting food with buzzing flies (an uncooked and skinned rabbit rapidly deteriorating), and three sprouting potatoes on the window sill
  • her brutal murder of demanding Brit suitor Colin (John Fraser) after he burst into her apartment; when he first asked: "What's the matter? I'm sorry. I just, I had to see you, that's all. Honestly, it's been so, so miserable without you. I phoned and phoned! The ringing tone nearly drove me mad. Is it uh, is it something I've done?", she responded only catatonically; when he turned to close the apartment door, she beat the threatening male multiple times on the head with a heavy candlestick and then immersed his body in a bathtub already full of water
  • the famed sequence of a set of grasping phantom hands reaching out to grope at her, and then numerous disembodied hands broke through both sides of her hallway, reminiscent of Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bete (1946)
Increased Hallucinatory Craziness
  • a second murder sequence, when Carol's middle-aged, creepy, sweaty, and lusty landlord (Patrick Wymark) entered to collect the rent, complained about the "pigstye" condition of the apartment, and then proposed a sexual bargain: ("I could be a very good friend to you, you know. You look after me and you can forget about the rent. Come on. Just a little kiss between friends, huh, come on"); when he attempted to sexually assault her, she slashed out in a retaliatory way with a straight-edged razor; she first cut him across the back of his neck, then hacked away when he fell to the floor
  • the view of Carol obsessively ironing with an unplugged iron
  • the return of Helen and Michael to discover Carol in the apartment - lifelessly lying on the floor amidst carnage; surrounded by inquisitive neighbors, Michael carried Carol away for treatment (or arrest?) - after being warned not "to touch her", and the moment of his strange glance at her as he held her in his arms
  • the ambiguous ending -- highlighted by a slow panning camera motion, and then a thematic slow zoom (a reversal of the opening zoom out) into the partially-obscured, sinister, old family photograph with a view of the same young, mad-looking Carol staring angrily away; the zoom ended with an extreme close-up of her eye; in an earlier image of the full photograph, she appeared to be glaring at her father (abusive?) seated to her left
The Enigmatic Family Photograph

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

In Darren Aronofsky's unforgettable anti-drug cautionary tale:

  • the inventive, rapid and stylistic jump cuts, split screens, extreme closeups, assaultive audio, and distorted images in the unrated (originally rated NC-17) film's tense and final 15 minutes (assembled in a montage) to illustrate how lives were utterly shattered and affected by diet pills and stronger drugs
  • the scenes of crazed, crash-dieting and addicted, lonely widow Sara (Oscar-nominated Ellen Burstyn) in her Brighton Beach apartment losing touch with reality and hallucinating that her carnivorous refrigerator had broken free from the wall and attacked her, while she starred in a TV game show wearing her favorite red dress, and suffered electro-shock therapy
  • the harrowing scene of heroin-hooked Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto) having his painfully-infected arm amputated (due to intravenous injections) while his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) prostituted herself in a decadent lesbian orgy to raise money to support her addiction

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

In writer Quentin Tarantino's debut scripted and directed film about a crime-gone-wrong:

  • the opening credits in which the jewel robbery gang (composed of five total strangers) walked toward the camera to the tune of "Little Green Bag"
  • in the opening scene, the breakfast table conversation of the group of criminals about Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and tipping
  • the final de-briefing scene (in an abandoned L.A. warehouse) before the failed jewelry heist when the robbery gang members decided to adopt anonymous pseudonyms of color-coded names (Brown, White, Blonde, Blue, Orange, and Pink)
  • the violent and menacing torture scene following the robbery in their hideout in which suspicious, psychotic gang member Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) excised the ear of cop-hostage Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz) (accompanied by the Stealer's Wheel song on the radio Stuck in the Middle With You) and then threatened to set his gasoline-doused victim on fire
  • Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) painfully bleeding to death from a bullet in the stomach
  • the Mexican stand-off and shoot-out scene

Return of the Jedi (1983) (aka Star Wars: Episode VI)

In the final episode of the Star Wars trilogy's science-fiction space adventure - by director Richard Marquand:

  • the iconic view of captured and enslaved Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), wearing a gold-plated metal bikini and held as a chained-up 'slave girl' by crime lord Jabba the Hutt in his palace on the planet of Tatooine, aboard the luxury sail barge Khetanna
  • the thrilling Speeder Bikes chase sequence through the trees with POV shots on the forested moon of Endor
  • the passionate and exciting scene of Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) climactic lightsaber duel with his own father - Darth Vader (voice by James Earl Jones) before the evil Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) - followed by the unmasking of Darth Vader (David Prowse) to reveal a pale and withered face before dying

Reversal of Fortune (1990, US/Jp./UK)

In director Barbet Schroeder's crime procedural based on Dershowitz's non-fiction book:

  • the cryptic, social-climbing, upper-class aristocrat character of Claus von Bulow (Oscar-winning Jeremy Irons), who was suspected of attempting to murder his American heiress-wife Sunny (Glenn Close) with an injection of a lethal dose of insulin
  • the lunch meeting scene at a posh restaurant when von Bulow noted how the trial ("the unpleasantness") had elevated his seating status
  • the famous, brilliantly shot exchange between Harvard defense lawyer/attorney Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) and Von Bulow - his face half-hidden in the back seat of his dark limousine: (Alan: "You're a very strange man" - Claus: "You have no idea")
  • the flashback narration by a comatose Sunny of her disintegrating marriage with Claus
  • the two versions of Sunny's lapse into a coma in her bathroom - one proving Claus innocent, the other guilty
  • the darkly comic ending when Claus asked for a bottle of insulin from a checkout girl (Constance Shulman) who recognized him from a magazine

Ride Lonesome (1959)

In another of director Budd Boetticher's collaborations with actor Randolph Scott (one of seven - and arguably their best), a B-grade western about revenge, filmed on location in the Sierra Nevada Mountains:

  • the hero: taciturn bounty hunter Ben Brigade (Randolph Scott) - the aging ex-sheriff of Santa Cruz - in the opening scene, he captured no-good drifter Billy John (James Best) among some rocks; the fugitive was wanted for shooting a man in the back in Santa Cruz, Arizona; Brigade's intention was to take captive Billy John to the Santa Cruz County jail - and meanwhile, vengefully use Billy John as bait to also capture his sadistic older outlaw brother Frank John (Lee Van Cleef) - his real motive was not the money, but revenge
  • in the back-story, Frank had kidnapped Brigade's wife years earlier when he was the Sheriff of Santa Cruz, and murdered her by hanging at the site of a hanging tree (a day's ride outside Santa Cruz) - Brigade was on an obsessive quest to avenge her murder
  • two other outlaws involved in the plot - who were interested in the bounty on Billy John's head, eventually accompanied Brigade during his journey: Sam Boone (Pernell Roberts) and his companion Whit (James Coburn in his screen debut)
  • the entrance of shapely blonde widow Mrs. Carrie Lane (Karen Steele) - first seen at a deserted stagecoach way station, where it was discovered that a marauding Mescalero Indian attack had killed her stagecoach trading post husband
  • the sequence of widowed Mrs. Lane who stood with a prominent side profile combing her hair - she became the subject of conversation between Boone and Whit who gazed at her from afar; Boone wondered about her future as a widow and predicted she wouldn't remain single for very long: "Ain't the kind. Not her. Some are. Some can get along without. Not her. She's the kind that's got a need. Deep lonely need only a man can get at....I've seen it in her eyes, Whit. (long pause) In her eyes"
  • throughout the film, the image of the 'Hang Tree' as a defining metaphor for death - when the group rode up to the dead tree, Boone spoke: "You can be glad it ain't long ago, Billy Boy. It was, like as not, Brigade here to hang you over that jury limb and have it over. Gone dead now, but in its time, more than one danced their last one there. Ain't that right, Brigade?...Come to think of it, you strung a few there yourself"
  • in the conclusion set at the hang tree, Frank challenged Brigade to give up his brother Billy John; with his guns blazing, Frank charged on his horse toward the hanging tree and at Brigade where Billy John was tied up on horseback and had a noose around his neck; Brigade shot and killed Frank, then cut down Billy John swinging by the noose before he was dead
  • unpredictably, Brigade surrendered Billy John to Boone and Whit (and the young widow Mrs. Lane): (Boone was shocked: "You mean I can have him?...Funny ain't it? How a thing can seem one way, and then turn out altogether somethin' else"); the threesome then proceeded on toward Santa Cruz for the bounty, leaving Brigade to again 'ride lonesome' - he stood alone at the hanging tree that he had set on fire, as the camera rose up with the smoke and flames

Ride the High Country (1962)

In Sam Peckinpah's classic revisionist western - his feature film directorial debut - an elegiac, end-of-an-era western always noted as the valedictory 'swan song' for iconic genre actors Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea, both veteran lawmen in many iconic westerns:

  • set in the early 20th century, in the high country of the Sierra Nevada Mountains around the mining town of Coarse Gold
  • the plot: aging, law-abiding ex-marshal Steve Judd (Joel McCrea) arrived in town (the modern era was signaled by automobiles) to take a dangerous new position, as $250,000 gold-deposit guard during transport from the mountain claims in the country to the town bank in Hornitos, California - a three day's journey; he hired old friend Gil Westrum (Randolph Scott), another former lawman, first seen looking like Buffalo Bill at a traveling carnival where he was bragging about his past as "The Oregon Kid" sharpshooter; another of the hired guards was womanizing, reckless gunslinger Heck Longtree (Ron Starr)
  • the others in the journey included rebellious farmgirl Elsa Knudsen (Mariette Hartley in her film debut), who had left her demanding, repressive and puritanical father Joshua Knudsen (R. G. Armstrong) to join up and elope with her fiancee, miner Billy Hammond (James Drury) in remote Coarse Gold
  • potential conflicts: Heck flirted with Elsa during the journey, and Elsa's fiancee had a number of drunken, no-good brothers (including menacing Henry Hammond (Warren Oates)) who also wished to share the new bride
  • on the way back, double-crossing Westrum (with Heck) plotted to steal the gold shipment, complicating matters when the group was ambushed by the Hammond brothers, and Westrum and Judd reluctantly joined forces to fight off the group
  • the film's ending: a classic shootout at Elsa's farmhouse between the group and the surviving Hammond brothers; although the Hammonds were eliminated, Judd was mortally wounded, and asked that he die in private, without Heck or Elsa (now a couple) nearby: ("I don't want them to see this. I'll go it alone"); after Westrum pledged to follow Judd's wishes and deliver the gold: ("Don't worry about anything. I'll take care of it, just like you would have"), Judd replied: ("Hell, I know that. I always did. You just forgot it for a while, that's all")
  • Judd's final words were: "So long partner" - Westrum stood and replied (off-camera): "I'll see ya later", then turned and walked off; Judd gazed at the faraway high-country mountains in the background, and then as he collapsed to his left onto the ground, he died (off-camera)

Rififi (1955, Fr.) (aka Du Rififi Chez les Hommes)

In director Jules Dassin's quintessential crime-caper heist film about the ingenious robbery of a Parisian jewelry shop:

  • the elaborate, 28-minute silent heist sequence (about a quarter of the film's running time), without dialogue or background music (and only natural sounds), by chiseling through a cement ceiling in an upstairs apartment

The Right Stuff (1983)

In director Philip Kaufman's adaptation of Tom Wolfe's best-selling non-fiction novel:

  • the scene of the seven pioneering Project Mercury astronauts walking down a tunnel toward launch
  • the many exhilarating flying sequences
  • the iconic sight of 'right stuff' test pilot Chuck Yeager (Oscar-nominated Sam Shepard) walking away from the wreckage of his plane smoldering behind him in his obsessive and ultimately successful attempts to break the sound barrier in the late 40s

(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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