Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

The Spiral Staircase (1945)

In director Robert Siodmak's suspenseful psychological drama:

  • the atmosphere of terror and suspense in an old dark mansion - a raging storm outside, dark shadows, a spiral staircase, the killer's menacing eyes, gusts of wind, flickering candlelights, creaking doors - tormenting a young victimized mute Helen (Dorothy McGuire)
  • the suspenseful climax of her scream at the moment of peril and speaking her first words since childhood with a phone call for a doctor ("1-8-9...Dr. Parry...Come...It's I, Helen") - the film's final line of dialogue

Spirited Away (2001, Jp./US) (aka Sen to Chihiro No Kamikakushi)

In director Hayao Miyazaki's classic, best-known anime and the highest-grossing film in Japanese box-office history at the time:

  • the characters and storyline of this Alice-in-Wonderland-like (and Wizard of Oz) coming-of-age tale for unhappy 10 year-old, pony-tailed Japanese schoolgirl Chihiro (voice of Daveigh Chase), as she entered a spirit-haunted, abandoned amusement park with her parents - when suddenly her father and mother (voices of Michael Chiklis and Lauren Holly) were turned into pigs after eating food in a deserted cafe
  • also the imaginative characters she encountered in a nocturnal bath-house/spa for spirits as she struggled to save her parents:
    - greedy, cranky, large-headed twin sister/matron Yubaba (voice of Suzanne Pleshette) who ran the bathhouse and could morph into a flying crow
    - young boy Master Haku (voice of Jason Marsden) - also seen as a flying dragon
    - "The Boiler Man" with six arms, named Kamajii (voice of David Ogden Stiers)
    - a white-masked, destructive, gluttonous spirit named "No Face" (voice of Bob Bergen) who presented everyone with gold
    - three green bouncing heads
    - stink spirits, the Radish Spirit, a giant baby (Chihiro's doppelganger), destructive paper birds, and more

Splash (1984)

In Ron Howard's romantic comedy (and Disney's first Touchstone release):

  • the scene of Manhattanite fruit/vegetable wholesaler Allen Bauer's (Tom Hanks) second rescue by a mermaid named Madison (Daryl Hannah) in the waters of Cape Cod
  • her arrest for being naked on Liberty Island (at the statue of liberty)
  • her screeching pronounciation of her name that shattered store windows
  • the sprouting of a tail while taking a bath and having to hide her flipper from Allen
  • the scene of the fish-woman's devouring of a live lobster (with its shell) in a restaurant
  • their farewell scene when she kissed him before diving back into the water -- and Allen's last-second decision to join Madison underwater forever!

Splendor in the Grass (1961)

In Elia Kazan's intensely-felt, romantic melodrama of William Inge's screenplay:

  • the many appealing scenes of two love-struck, star-crossed teenage sweethearts in Kansas in 1928 - Arthur ("Bud") Stamper (Warren Beatty in his film debut) and dark-haired Wilma Dean ("Deanie") Loomis (Oscar-nominated Natalie Wood) - both were repressed and sexually frustrated, Commerce High School senior sweethearts
  • the film's opening scene - the two teenagers were necking in Bud's yellow roadster convertible next to a raging waterfall, ending when she resisted his sexual advances: "Bud, I'm afraid. Don't, Bud...We mustn't, Bud"
  • the sequence of Deanie's interrogation by her meddling, rigid puritanical mother (Audrey Christie) after returning home from being with Bud; while in the bathroom with the door shut, Deanie was forced to listen to her mother's lecture about being a "good girl" -- "Now Wilma Dean. Bud Stamper could get you into a whole lot of trouble. And you know how I mean. Boys don't respect a girl they can go all the way with. Boys want a nice girl for a wife...Wilma Dean, you and Bud haven't gone too far already, have you?...Tell me the truth, Wilma Dean!"
  • the image of an unsatisfied "Deanie", after rebuffing having sex with Bud - she threw herself onto her bed, cast away her brown bear in disgust, grabbed her pillow, and thrust her chest into it; her sexual longings burst forth as she imagined hugging her sweetheart while glancing at Bud's many pictures plastered above her dresser
  • the scene of Deanie walking down the crowded school corridor filled with classmates, with a radiant look of love on her face toward Bud as they were hand-in-hand together - obviously Deanie was pleased to be admired and possessed by the school's handsome football hero
  • the sequence of the two of them in her empty house, when Deanie confessed her complete submission to Bud: "I-I'd do anything for you....Because I am nuts about you, and I would go down on my knees to worship you if you really wanted me to. Bud, I can't get along without you. And I would do anything you'd ask me to. I would! I would! Anything!"
  • the school classroom scene, when Deanie was called upon by her spinster-like literature teacher Miss Metcalf (Martine Bartlett) to interpret William Wordsworth's 1807 poem: "What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now forever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour, Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind"; Deanie rose and read the phrases aloud from her textbook, with tears welling up in her eyes and an uncomfortable lump in her throat, and then she interpreted the lines with great difficulty: "Well, I think it has some...Well, when we're young, we look at things very idealistically, I guess, and I think Wordsworth means that when we grow up, that we have to forget the ideals of youth and find strength..."; while explaining the poem about the termination of an eternal love affair, Deanie became devastated and overcome - she slowly walked to the front of the room with her textbook still cradled in her arms and her hand shielding and cradling the side of her face - and asked to be excused before experiencing a nervous breakdown and running from the classroom in front of all of her classmates
  • the emotionally devastating sequence of Deanie's steam bath, when her strict mother questioned her about being spoiled: "Deanie, how serious had you and Bud become? I mean, well, you know what I mean. Deanie - had he - had anything serious happened? Did he - did he spoil you?" -- Deanie reacted with both rage and uncontrollable, hysterical laughter: "Spoil??? Did he spoil me? (she turned and submerged her head under the steaming water, flailed around and then sat up again.) No. No, Mom! (hatefully) I'm not spoiled! I'm not spoiled, Mom! I'm just as fresh and I'm virginal like the day I was born, Mom!...I'm a lovely virginal creature who wouldn't think of being spoiled! (She stands up in the tub and steps out with her arms outstretched.) I've been a good little girl, Mom! I've been a good little, good little, good little girl! I've always done everything Daddy and Mommy tell me. I've obeyed every word. I hate you, I hate you, I HATE YOU!" - she ran naked down the hallway to her room
  • the sequence of Deanie's attendance at the Bon Voyage Grads dance (held in the school gym) in a red, slinky outfit, with the objective of seducing and warming up her cold-hearted ex-boyfriend Bud -- she made desperate sexual advances toward him - to consummate her feelings for the greatest love of her life, and lustfully risked everything when she begged him to make love to her - unfortunately, Bud rejected her during the failed reunion - for not being 'herself' ("a nice girl") and for denying her pride (Deanie: "My pride? MY PRIDE!!...Oh, God. I haven't any pride. I HAVEN'T ANY PRIDE!...I haven't any pride. I just want to die. I just want to die"); as a result of the rejection, Deanie's emotional frailty caused suicidal thoughts and her tortured madness to resurface
  • afterwards, the scene of her attempted drowning suicide at the waterfall when she jumped into the river while despairing over Bud - she was rescued by onlookers, and subsequently hospitalized
  • and years later, the final closing sequence of her bittersweet and awkward reunion with Bud at his ramshackle farmhouse (he had since become a local farmer and married black-haired Italian waitress Angelina (Zohra Lampert), with one child and another on the way); Deanie was driven to Bud's home by girlfriends Hazel (Crystal Field) and June (Marla Adams); she was wearing a virginal white dress outfit, white pearls, white gloves and a broad-brimmed white hat; their conversation was brief and revealing when she realized that the affection that they once had could never be recovered
  • after the visit, her girlfriends asked: "Do you think you still love him?" - she was calm and newly aware, and able to put aside youthful exuberance, grieving, and denial of love to move forward; she recalled the Wordsworth poem (in voice-over), knowing she could gain strength from what remained - the memories of her "splendor in the grass" were now more maturely realized as she was driven away - with a close-up on her face -- "Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind"

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, UK)

In director Lewis Gilbert's large-scale action film:

  • as in many James Bond films, the spectacular pre-title credits opening stunt sequence - of a chase after Agent 007 James Bond (Roger Moore) by four machine-gun wielding Russian KGB agents on skis in the Austrian Alps, and Bond's free-falling ski jump (by stunt man Rick Sylvester) off a snow-covered cliff (and the unveiling of the Union Jack parachute above him)
  • the theme song by Carly Simon "Nobody Does It Better"
  • Bond's sexy Russian KGB agent love interest Major Anya Amasova (or Agent Triple-X) (Barbara Bach) who suggested provocatively: "When necessary, shared bodily warmth"
  • the memorable character of gigantic, steel-toothed, mute henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel) whom Bond electrocuted through his teeth, during a fight on a train, with the exposed filaments from a broken lamp
  • the image of Bond's Lotus Esprit turning into an amphibious vessel after a spectacular motorcycle-car-helicopter chase
  • the famous closing exchange when the Minister of Defence Sir Frederick Gray (Geoffrey Keen) discovered Bond under silk sheets in an escape pod making love to Anya: (Gray: "Bond! What do you think you're doing?!" - Bond: "Keeping the British end up, sir")

Stage Door (1937)

In director Gregory La Cava's showbusiness-related comedy-drama:

  • the sparring scenes between roommates at the Footlights Club - the sexy, insult-slinging Joan Maitland (Ginger Rogers) and rich/refined Terry Randall (Katharine Hepburn)
  • the realistic performances of other theatrical boardinghouse roommates
  • the tearjerking scene of a depressed Kaye Hamilton (Andrea Leeds) ascending a staircase and hearing applause as she was about to commit suicide
  • Terry's memorable tearful rendition of the "calla lilies are in bloom..." and her curtain call speech

Stagecoach (1939)

In director John Ford's quintessential western:

  • charismatic Ringo Kid's (John Wayne) specially-highlighted entrance scene in which a tracking shot zoomed in as he was twirling and re-cocking his Winchester rifle in one hand
  • the great spectacular footage of Monument Valley
  • the character study of six passengers on a stagecoach and the seating of the group around a table at the Dry Fork way station - with prejudice shown toward fallen woman Dallas (Claire Trevor)
  • the delivery of Lucy's (Louise Platt) baby
  • the great shot of the stagecoach dwarfed by Monument Valley and the quick pan to the left to an awaiting group of Apache Indians
  • the lengthy ferocious Indian attack/salt flats chase on the stagecoach as Ringo jumped onto the horses to steer the out-of-control coach (with great, often-imitated stuntwork by Yakima Canutt)
  • the cavalry rescue
  • the climactic three-against-one shoot-out with the Plummers (Ringo Kid blasted his gun directly into the camera) on the dusty streets of a town

Stalag 17 (1953)

In director Billy Wilder's black comedy:

  • the scene in which suspected traitor Sergeant J.J. Sefton (William Holden) in a WWII POW camp received his first clue as to the real villain's identity while on his bunk and under the shadow of a naked hanging lightbulb (serving as a signal - with a knot or loop in the cord) - while the others marched around the barracks singing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"

Stand By Me (1986)

In director Rob Reiner's coming-of-age film - an adaptation of a Stephen King story (The Body):

  • the opening voice-over narration by the Writer (Richard Dreyfuss) - later identified as adult-aged Gordie Lachance - introducing a flashback: "I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being. It happened in the summer of 1959 - a long time ago"
  • the quartet of young boys: Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton), Chris Chambers (River Phoenix), Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman), and Vern Tessio (Jerry O'Connell) - and their adventures, including the train-dodging sequence
  • the conversation between Vern and Teddy about Mighty Mouse vs. Superman as they walked along the tracks: Vern: "Do you think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman?" with an obvious conclusion proposed by Teddy: "Mighty Mouse is a cartoon. Superman is a real guy. No way a cartoon could beat up a real guy"
  • the tall tale (told by Gordie at nighttime campfire) about a pie-eating contest when chubby competitor Davie 'Lard Ass' Hogan - who had finished off a bottle of castor oil, consumed a raw egg and five whole blueberry pies, and then sought revenge against the tormenting bullies in his life by vomiting a projectile of half-digested food onto them: "Diving into his fifth pie, Lard Ass began to imagine that he wasn't eating pies. He pretended he was eating cowflops and rat guts in blueberry sauce....Slowly, a sound started to build in Lard Ass's stomach. A strange and scary sound like a log truck coming at you at 100 miles an hour. Suddenly, Lard Ass opened his mouth and before Bill Travis knew it, he was covered with five pies worth of used blueberries"; a contagious barfing-fest soon broke out: "...when the smell hit the crowd, that's when Lard Ass's plan really started to work. Girlfriends barfed on boyfriends. Kids barfed on their parents. A fat lady barfed in her purse. The Donelley twins barfed on each other. And the Women's Auxiliary barfed all over the Benevolent Order of Antelopes. And Lard Ass just sat back and enjoyed what he'd created. A complete and total barfarama"
  • the interesting question posed between them: "Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, Pluto's a dog, so what's Goofy?"
  • the long, poignant scene between the two twelve year-old schoolboy buddies Chris and Gordie regarding how Chris was always labeled a 'low-life' due to his family's 'black-sheep' reputation: ("It's the way they think of me") in their town of Castle Rock in Oregon; he described how he had been blamed for a theft of milk money: " No one even asked me if I took the milk money that time. I just got a three-day vacation.... Yeah, I took it. You knew I took it. Teddy knew I took it. Everyone knew I took it. Even Vern knew it, I think. Maybe I was sorry, and I tried to give it back....Maybe, just maybe. And maybe I took it to Old Lady Simons and told her, and the money was all there. But I still got a three-day vacation, because it never showed up. And maybe the next week, old Lady Simons had this brand new skirt on when she came to school...So let's just say that I stole the milk money, but old Lady Simons stole it back from me. Just suppose that I told this story. Me, Chris Chambers, kid brother to Eyeball Chambers. Do you think that anyone would have believed it?...And do you think that bitch would have tried something like that if it had been one of those douche bags from The View, if they had taken the money? No way. Hell, no. But, with me, I'm sure she had her eye on that skirt for a long time. Anyway, she saw her chance and she took it. I was the stupid one for even trying to give it back. (He started crying) I just never thought, I never thought that a teacher... - Who gives a f--k anyway? I just wish that I could go someplace where nobody knows me. I guess I'm just a pussy"
  • the stand-off scene after the discovery of the body, when Gordie pulled a gun and threatened gang leader "Ace" Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland) and his three buddies who wanted to claim credit for finding the corpse: "You're not taking him. Nobody's taking him...Don't move, Ace. I'll kill you, I swear to God...Suck my fat one, you cheap dime-store hood"
  • Gordie's last hopeful words to Chris who felt trapped, as they said goodbye: "You can do anything you want, man"; followed by the Writer's voice-over summary of everyone's fate: "Chris did get out. He enrolled in the college courses with me. And although it was hard, |he gutted it out like he always did. He went on to college and eventually became a lawyer. Last week, he entered a fast-food restaurant. Just ahead of him, two men got into an argument. One of them pulled a knife. Chris, who had always made the best peace, tried to break it up. He was stabbed in the throat. He died almost instantly"
  • the film's last line (accompanied by Ben E. King's title theme song) in which The Writer lamented as he typed on his computer monitor: ("Although I hadn't seen him in more than ten years I know I'll miss him forever. I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anybody?")

A Star is Born (1954)

In director George Cukor's dramatic musical - the superior remake of the 1937 film of the same name:

  • the late-night scene of boozing, womanizing, brilliant, but fading alcoholic movie actor Norman Maine (James Mason), searching for one of the dancing performers from a gala benefit "Night of Stars" held at Hollywood's Shrine Theatre - aspiring actress Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland); haunted by her memory, he tracked her down at an empty, after-hours Sunset Strip musicians' hangout (with stacked chairs all around); he became transfixed as he watched her sing the torch song blues/ballad classic: "The Man That Got Away," accompanied by her pianist (Tommy Noonan) - a classic, three and a half-minute uninterrupted camera take
  • Esther's (now renamed Vicki Lester) debut film's lead role in the film's most extravagant production sequence: "Born in a Trunk" (including various renditions of "Swanee") - a classic, 18-minute sequence, opening and closing it with the song; it was presented as a career success story, a vaudeville performer's rise to stardom, and an exquisitely-staged musical "biography" of Vicki Lester's character; in-between the opening and closing song, she commented on being a "ten-year-overnight sensation," singing such classics as "I'll Get By," "You Took Advantage of Me," "My Melancholy Baby," and "Swanee" (in a minstrel-like performance, wearing a man's hat and suit)
  • the scene of Norman's proposal of marriage to Vicki during a recording session - she accepted his "public" proposal
  • the classic sequence at the annual Academy Awards Banquet Ceremony - and Vicki's win and acceptance speech for receiving the Best Actress Academy Award Oscar - and drunken Norman's intrusive entrance and interruption of Vicki's speech with his own self-pitying speech (while he stumbled around): "Congratulations, my dear. I made it just in time, didn't I? May I borrow the end of your speech to make a speech of my own? My method for gaining your attention may seem a little uncon-unconventional, but, uh, hard times call for harsh measures. My - I had my speech all prepared, but I - it's gone right out of my head. Let me see - why, it's silly to be so formal, isn't it? I-I know most of you sitting out there by your first names, don't I? I made a lot o' money for you gentlemen in my time through the years, didn't I? Well, I need a job now. Yeah, that's it. That-that-that-that's the speech. That's the - I need a job. That's what I wanted to say. I - I need a job. It's as simple as that. I - I need a job, that's all. My talents, I may say, are not confined to dramatic parts. I can play comedy, too" - and then the shocking moment when he flung his arm out and accidentally struck his wife while demanding recognition
  • the scene of Vicki singing the first chorus of "Lose That Long Face" followed by her confessional breakdown in the dressing room scene about her despair and concern over her alcoholic husband Norman, with studio head Oliver Niles (Charles Bickford): "What is it that makes him want to destroy himself?...You don't know what it's like to watch somebody you love just crumble away bit by bit, day by day, in front of your eyes, and stand there helpless. Love isn't enough, I thought it was. I thought I was the answer for Norman. But love isn't enough for him....Sometimes, I hate him. I hate his promises to stop, and then the watching and waiting to see it begin again. I hate to go home to him at nights and listen to his lies...I hate me cause I've failed too...All he's got left is his pride"; afterwards, she forced herself to go back on stage to sing the song again
  • the shocking, tragic but inevitable sequence of Norman's last suicidal moments, when he requested that Vicki sing a song for him: "It's a New World" - and asked for one final look: "Hey - I just wanted to look at you again"; and then Norman's sunset swim-walk into the ocean - to commit suicide by drowning himself
  • the unforgettable poignant ending and closing tribute line to her husband in front of a large audience at the Shrine Theatre, in a spotlight (as she identified herself: "This is Mrs. Norman Maine") - there was a slight pause and silence, and then the audience stood and burst into ecstatic applause - the camera pulled back slowly, ending with a long shot of Esther smiling through her tears

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

In Nicholas Meyer's superior sequel to the first installment:

  • the frightening scene of genetically-engineered superhuman Khan's (Ricardo Montalban) description of horrifying Ceti eels that he placed into the ears of crew-members Officer Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Captain Terrell (Paul Winfield): "their young enter through the ears and wrap themselves around the cerebral cortex" - to control their minds: "This has the effect of rendering the victim extremely susceptible to suggestion. Later, as they grow follows madness and death"
  • the scene of Enterprise Admiral James T. Kirk's (William Shatner) conversation with a gloating and vengeful Khan when he believed he had stranded Kirk on the barren planet of Regula: (Khan: "I've done far worse than kill you. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her -- marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet. Buried alive. Buried alive." Kirk (shouting back): "KHAAANNNN! KHAAANNNN!")
  • the revelation of the Genesis Cave - opening into a lush biosystems paradise
  • the great sacrificial death scene of pointy-eared Vulcan Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy) from radiation poisoning to save the U.S.S. Enterprise (and provide it with warp speed) after the venomous Khan decided to blow up his own spaceship with the Genesis torpedo device and thereby also destroy the Enterprise
  • Kirk's simple "No" as he watched Spock die
  • the intimate scene of Kirk's heartfelt eulogy for Spock during a funeral ("Of all the souls I have encountered, his was the most... human")
  • Spock's send-off into space to orbit a newly-birthed planet

Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)

In director George Lucas' sequel to the prequel-trilogy:

  • the crawling of the beginning credits ("A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...") into a star-studded area of space
  • the spectacle of an exciting action story with landmark special effects and fanciful, unique characters
  • the dramatic opening - first the appearance of a small rebel ship belonging to Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), which was being pursued by a gigantic, wedge-shaped imperial Star Destroyer spaceship of the evil Galactic Empire that completely covered the screen
  • the entrance (and first appearance) of black-garbed (with a swirling cape), masked, heavy breathing Dark Lord of the Sith - or Darth Vader (with the deep breaty voice of James Earl Jones), a towering, faceless, helmeted leader of the cruel and villainous forces during the assault on the crippled rebel ship; he spoke with a commanding voice - a vision of evil, signaled by the soundtrack
  • the anthropomorphic Laurel and Hardy-like robots or 'droids - the beeping R2D2 and gold-plated companion C-3PO, first seen in the corridor during the assault, and later lost in the desert
  • the scene of the robots' capture by Jawas and their imprisonment in a sandcrawler with other droids
  • the scene at Mos Eisley and its outerspace cantina featuring bizarre and intimidating space creatures and aliens ("a wretched hive of scum and villainy"), with the introduction of the hot-shot mercenary flyer Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who quickly shot bounty hunter Greedo at one of the tables
  • Han's flying of his Millennium Falcon with Wookie first-mate navigator Chewbacca or "Chewie" (Peter Mayhew) - and the moment of their light-speed blast-off
  • the iconic image of young hero Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) - gazing out at desert planet Tatooine's twin suns
  • his meeting to learn the ways of the Force (to become a Jedi knight and wield a lightsaber) from the great Jedi master Old Ben or Obi-wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness)
  • the scene in the Death Star's garbage bin crusher
  • Han's snarling words to Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher): "Look! Your Worshipfulness! Let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person. Me"
  • the intergalactic final battle between the forces of good and evil - and the planetary explosion of Alderaan after orders by the Death Star's commanding officer Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) to destroy it
  • the "laser" lightsabers duel between Vader and Kenobi, culminating in the slaying of Kenobi
  • Han's unexpected reappearance with his Millennium Falcon to save the day ("You're all clear, kid! Now let's blow this thing and go home!")
  • the bombing raids by the X-wing rebels across the surface of the Evil Empire's enormous battle station the Death Star and down into a narrow trench toward the target
  • Obi-wan Kenobi's telepathic advice to Luke to use his intuition: "Use the Force, Luke" rather than his targeting computer when firing
  • the climactic destructive explosion of the Death Star

Star Wars VII: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

In director J.J. Abrams' 7th installment of the fantasy, sci-fi action/adventure space epic:

  • the nostalgic scene of Chewbacca ("Chewie") and Han Solo (an aging Harrison Ford) entering and stepping onboard their Millennium Falcon, as Han remarked: "Chewie, we're home!"

Stardust Memories (1980)

In writer/director Woody Allen's self-indulgent, often incoherent, impressionistic and dark comedy - an homage to Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963) and Sturges' Sullivan's Travels (1941), with Gordon Willis' harsh and washed-out B/W cinematography:

  • the hysterical and nightmarish sequence on a train (the proposed ending of the protagonist's latest work, in which he was trapped) with a collection of hopeless Fellini-esque "grotesques" filmed in wide-angle closeup
  • the demanding groupies - at a reluctantly-attended weekend's retrospective film seminar held at the Stardust Hotel beach resort in New Jersey - where pretentious, successful, and much-revered comedic filmmaker Sandy Bates (Woody Allen) answered questions during a forum and was harrassed with:
    - nonsensical questions ("Why are all comedians hostile or latent homosexuals?, or "Have you ever had intercourse with any type of animal?")
    - requests for autographs or sex: ("I drove all the way from Bridgeport to make it with you...empty sex is better than no sex, right?")
    - and proposals for ridiculous films from aspiring film-makers: ("It's a comedy based on that whole Guyana mass suicide!")
  • the studio's uplifting "Jazz Heaven" altered ending to one of his Berman-esque-like dramas
  • the fantasy sequence in the countryside of Sandy hearing a Martian alien advising him to stop taking himself so seriously and to go back to making comedy films: ("And, incidentally, you're also not Superman. You're a comedian. You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes")
  • the ending twist/plot device in the Stardust Hotel projection room, where Sandy was told: "Why do all comedians turn out to be sentimental bores?"; suddenly, Sandy fainted from "nervous tension," after a disturbing hallucinatory fantasy of being shot by an ultimately-adoring, fervent fan with a .32 caliber pistol ("Sandy? You know, you're my hero") (eerily presaging the John Lennon murder by Mark David Chapman shortly thereafter)
  • the scene of Sandy recalling his favorite loving and emotional moment one spring with former bipolar, neurotic and unbalanced lover Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling) accompanied by Louis Armstrong's recording of Stardust: (""It was one of those great spring days, a Sunday, and you knew summer would be coming soon. And I remember that morning Dorrie and I had gone for a walk in the park. We came back to the apartment. We were just sort of sitting around. And I put on a record of Louis Armstrong, which was music that I grew up loving. It was very, very pretty, and I happened to glance over, and I saw Dorrie sitting there. And I remember thinking to myself how terrific she was and how much I loved her. And I don't know. I guess it was the combination of everything, the sound of that music, and the breeze, and how beautiful Dorrie looked to me. And for one brief moment, everything just seemed to come together perfectly, and I felt happy. Almost indestructible, in a way. And it's funny, that simple little moment of contact moved me in a very, very profound way.")
  • in a train compartment with Isobel, (Marie-Christine Barrault), Sandy's married French mistress, he begged her to stay with him, by claiming that he had thought of a new and better ending for his film - the film being watched - about being on a train with her and having a "good sentimental" relationship with her; she thought otherwise: "You like those dark women with all their problems...They give you a hard time and you like"; eventually, he convinced her to give him "a huge, big wet kiss" - it "would go a long way to selling this idea"; he then added: "I'm very serious. I think this is a big, big finish, you know?"; the train pulled out of the station as they hugged and kissed - and the audience clapped its approval of the film's coda
  • the plot twist -- all of the characters exited the theatre - leaving Sandy alone with an empty screen and chairs, signifying that the entire movie was a 'film-within-a-film' being screened at Bates' (or Woody Allen's?) film festival/charity event

Starman (1984)

In John Carpenter's romantic, tearjerking science fiction film:

  • the scene of alien Starman's (Oscar-nominated Jeff Bridges) creation from Jenny Hayden's (Karen Allen) dead painter-husband Scott's DNA (found in a hair strand in a photo album)
  • the scenes of the naive, robotic Starman's ' ecstatic reaction to Dutch Apple Pie and his resurrection of a deer (and later Jenny)
  • the wet sex scene in a train car with Starman pointing out his star to Jenny and telling her: "I have given you a baby tonight"
  • the eloquent speech by the dying alien to scientist Mark Shermin (Charles Martin Smith) while trapped in federal custody in a restaurant: "We are... interested in your species...You are a strange species, not like any other -- and you would be surprised how many there are. Intelligent but savage. Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst"
  • Starman's farewell to hostage-turned-lover Jenny in the middle of the Arizona crater where he was met by an alien search party: (Jenny: "I'm never going to see you again, am I?")
  • the final lingering shot of Jenny's face as Starman's ship departed to return home to the sounds of Jack Nitzsche's swelling score

Stars in My Crown (1950)

In Jacques Tourneur's dramatic, faith-affirming family picture and western - a film with its title taken from the hymn: "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?":

  • the opening credits, to the tune of the hymn "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?" - sung by a church congregation - with nostalgic remarks (and beginning of a long flashback) delivered in the opening voice-over by the narrator, adult John Kenyon (Marshall Thompson): "Do you hear that? You might say I was raised on that song. Hearin' it takes me back, back to the old times when I was young, back to Walsburg. According to the words of the song, we're promised a city of gold in the hereafter. I used to think that was a long time to have to wait. But I know now that there is a city of gold right here on earth for every one of us - the city of our youth. Walsburg's only one name for it, that's all. Walsburg not as it is now, but as it used to be. I just have to shut my eyes and I'm there. Nothing's changed. Even I haven't changed. I'm always a boy in Walsburg. And there at my side, just as he'll always be is the parson, Parson Gray. And passing before me are all the people who are part of my growing up....Walsburg people. Gone now, most of them, and yet as close to me still as people in a favorite story - a story that had its beginning before I was born, on the day the Parson arrived in our town. Of course, this wasn't much of a town in those first hard years that followed the War Between the States, but it suited the Parson right from the minute he stepped off the train and started to look around. He must have attracted plenty of attention as he walked down Main Street for the first time in his brand new black pulpit coat and faded gray cavalry breeches and his big old Bible in his hand, but he just kept on walkin' til he got to Jerry Higgins' saloon. He didn't have to call for quiet. It just followed him through that room like a hounddog"
  • the subsequent continuation of the flashback, to tell the story of John's adoptive father: small-town gospel preacher Josiah Doziah Gray (Joel McCrea) (who married Harriet (Ellen Drew)), and started serving as the Parson in 1865 in the small post-bellum Southern town of Walsburg, Tennessee; upon his arrival, Gray established himself as the new Parson - reinforced by six-shooters during his announcement and first sermon in the local saloon: "Boys, I'm your new preacher, and I aim to give my first sermon right here and now! (He drew his six-shooters in both hands) Thanks!"
  • the bullying scene when town resident Perry Lokey (Jack Lambert) whipped and tormented feeble-minded 'Chloroform' Wiggins (Arthur Hunnicutt) - until Josiah Gray grabbed the whip, tripped him by wrapping the whip around his legs, and sent him headfirst into a deep mud puddle; everyone ended up laughing, as Gray delivered a joke: "Perry puts me in mind of a colonel I had once. Never learned to protect his rear"
  • the powerful KKK lynch mob scene when freed black Uncle Famous Prill (Juano Hernandez) was threatened by torch-carrying, masked neo-Klansmen led by racist general store owner Lon Backett (Ed Begley) ("who had a finger in every pie"), after Prill refused to sell his neighboring property at 80 cents an acre (a rich mining ore vein of mica was discovered on his property); earlier, Prill's land and farm had been trashed, livestock scattered and crops destroyed by Backett's unemployed workers-miners - to try to pressure Prill
  • the scene of Prill's defense by parson Gray, who bluffed the lynch mob by pretending to read Prill's non-existent will (consisting of Prill's generous promises to cede and bequeath his possessions and land to each of the mob members upon his death) - [Note: the scene was reminiscent of a similar stand-off sequence in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).] - Gray ended the reading with the words: "You can have him now"
  • the moment after the shamed and forgiving Klan members had dispersed when it was revealed that the pages were blank by Gray's young adopted son John Kenyon (Dean Stockwell): "There's no writing on here. This ain't no will" - and Gray responded: "Yes it is, son. It's the will of God"

(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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