Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

In director Mike Nichols' searing and visceral four-person drama - his debut film:

  • the bawdy and saucy performance of Oscar-winning Elizabeth Taylor as Martha - probably her greatest role ever
  • her spouting of "What a dump!" to invoke Bette Davis
  • the scenes of social games including Humiliate the Host, Get the Guests, Hump the Hostess, and Bringing Up Baby with young colleagues from the university
  • the dramatic sequence in which history professor George (Oscar-nominated Richard Burton) found a gun and pointed it at the back of Martha's head as she told the guests an embarrassing incident from his past
  • Nick's (Oscar-nominated George Segal) and George's drunken banter in the yard revealing Honey's (Oscar-winning Sandy Dennis) false pregnancy
  • the emotionally-charged scene in the road house culminating in George's physical assault of Martha
  • the scene in which George realized how he could ultimately triumph over Martha
  • the final climactic sequence in which George purged and exorcised their son-myth by revealing their "secret"

The Wicker Man (1973, UK)

In Robin Hardy's suspenseful and erotic horror cult film:

  • the missing-girl investigation of repressed and devoutly religious Scottish policeman Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) on the remote island of Summerisle inhabited by openly-sexual pagan worshippers
  • his discovery of a potential virgin sacrifice of a missing young schoolgirl named Rowan (Geraldine Cowper) - and his encounter with the sexy inkeeper's daughter Willow (Britt Ekland) as she performed a nude dance in her room
  • the atheistic beliefs of the people's leader Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee)
  • the May Day finale in which Howe was burned alive ("Oh, my God!") as the perfect sacrifice in the massive hollow 'wicker man' statue (created of wicker materials designed to be used for fire sacrifices)

The Wild Angels (1966)

In producer/director Roger Corman's and American International Pictures' (AIP's) action thriller (a production studio known for films that appealed to teenaged, drive-in audiences) - a highly-successful, almost plotless, cheaply-made exploitational B-movie; the anti-establishment outlaw biker film jump-started the careers of Peter Bogdanovich (an uncredited writer, cinematographer and actor, and assistant to the director) and Bruce Dern (actor) - it was one of the very first 'biker' films, and a precursor to Easy Rider (1969) and other counter-cultural, permissive, sexually-liberated biker movies at the time, such as Anthony Lanza's The Glory Stompers (1967) and Richard Rush's Hells Angels on Wheels (1967); it was controversial for its violence, anti-social nihilism, and a presentation of a negative stereotypical view of bikers in the mid-1960s:

  • the Nazi swastika symbol in the opening title screen, accompanied by a guitar soundtrack
  • Peter Fonda as Heavenly Blues, the alienated leader ("Mr. President") of a violent, hedonistic, devil-may-care leather-clad biker gang of Wild Angels (modeled after the Hell's Angels) from the San Pedro chapter (Venice Beach, California) mounted on Harleys, and his girlfriend or 'old lady' Mike aka 'Monkey' (Nancy Sinatra); Blues' iconic appearance included a black leather jacket, a black turtleneck, a Nazi Iron Cross pendant around his neck, dark shades, and moppish brown hair
  • the sequence of the gang's search for the missing stolen chopper of Blues' buddy Joe Kearns, aka Loser (Bruce Dern) - with his girlfriend Gaysh (Diane Ladd, Dern's real-life wife); Loser was recently fired from his oil-rigging job; the bike was rumored to be in the desert town of Mecca, California (in the 'Inland Empire' desert, in the Coachella Valley in the southern Palm Springs area) where some of the gang taunted Mexican bikers in a chopper repair shop with ethnic slurs ("taco benders") and then engaged in a fist-fight brawl with them
  • during the melee, Loser stole a cop's Electra Glide in Blue parked motorcycle; in pursuit, a second Highway Patrol cop on a bike - "The Man" - shot Loser in the back, although the officer lost control and crashed down a cliffside; Loser suffered serious injuries and was arrested at a roadblock
  • the Mecca group returned to the rest of the gang - engaged in rowdy dancing and drinking at a desert oasis (they were watched over by the Highway Patrol from the road above), where some of the females (in their bras) used their discarded tops for a game of motorcycle 'bullfighting,' rabbits were chased in the scrub-brush, and some bikers jousted with long palm fronds
  • the scene of the gang's attempt to rescue Loser from an emergency ward/hospital after surgery was performed; Mike posed as Loser’s distraught, 'straight' middle-class sister from Los Angeles to fool the hospital police guard (Frank Gerstle); during the misguided escape plan, hot-headed gang member Joint (Lou Procopio) molested innocent black Nurse (Kim Hamilton) on duty
  • during transport, Loser's IV and bottle drip were removed, and he slowly died; he was able to express to Gaysh and the gang his final request to smoke a joint ("I just wanna get high"), and then exclaimed: "You all really busted me out" before expiring
  • the lengthy ending sequence of Loser's chaotic and depraved funeral in a small-town church, where his casket was draped with a swastika flag; Blues interrupted the religious eulogy from the sanctimonious Bible-quoting Preacher (Frank Maxwell), and delivered his own famous rambling and inarticulate statement of life principles and the desire for freedom - "We don't want nobody tellin' us what to do. We don't want nobody pushin' us around...We wanna be free. We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by the Man! And we wanna get loaded! And we want to have a good time! And that’s what we’re gonna do! We're gonna have a good time. We're gonna have a party!"
  • the funeral degenerated into blasphemous anarchy when the gang became violent - it destroyed the church and its pews, and Blues knocked out the Preacher trying to flee; gang members began to party to the beat of bongos, fueling their violent orgy with alcohol and drugs; Dear John (Buck Taylor) and Frankenstein (Mark Cavell) assaulted Loser's 'widowed' Gaysh, forced her to inhale cocaine, and then gang-raped her behind the organ; one person carved a swastika into a broken wooden pew
  • two gang members pulled Loser's corpse from its coffin and propped it upright against a wall with a joint in its mouth ("I think the Loser looks better than the Preacher") and then placed the tied-up preacher into the casket; Blues cast aside Mike and took Momma Monahan (Joan Shawlee) behind the coffin for sex, but then punched out a fellow gang member for dancing with Mike
Loser's Debauched Funeral Service
Rape of Gaysh
Desecrating Loser's Corpse
Sex Behind the Coffin
  • further disturbances broke out after a processional of bikes to the nearby local Sequoia Grove Memorial Cemetery for the coffin's burial in the ground, when one of the townsfolk (Peter Bogdanovich was in the crowd) threw a rock at the pallbearers and ignited a scuffle
  • the final image of Blues at his friend Loser's open gravesite, as police sirens blared; Blues delivered his final words to Mike as he abandoned his gang and stayed behind in the cemetery to take the blame: "There's nowhere to go"; he grabbed a shovel and began filling in the gravesite with dirt as the film ended

Wild at Heart (1990)

In director David Lynch's Wizard of Oz-related, lovers-on-the-run cult arthouse romance film:

  • the two lovers: violent 23 year-old ex-con and snakeskin-wearing, Elvis-obsessed Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) and horny goodtime 20 year-old Lula Pace Fortune (Laura Dern): ("This whole world is wild at heart and weird on top")
  • the scene of Sailor recalling and describing to Lula (in order to excite her) an especially memorable sexual encounter he once had with Irma (Charlie Spradling) when he was visiting his cousin, Junior Train, in Savannah: "When she got almost to the top step, I stuck my hand between her legs from behind...Man, I had a boner with a capital O. Anyway, I found her lyin' in her room filled with assault weapons and 'Spankhouse' magazines, so I slid my hand between her legs again and she closed her thighs on it....Well, her face was half-pushed into the pillow, and I remember she looked back over her shoulder at me and said, 'I won't suck you. Don't ask me to suck you.'...Anyway, dig this. She turns over, peels off them orange pants, spreads her legs real wide and says to me: 'Take a bite of Peach'." In response, Lula urged him: "Jesus, honey! You more than sort of got what you come for. Uh, oh. Baby, you'd better run me back to the hotel. You got me hotter than Georgia asphalt"; he responded: "Say no more, but go easy on me, sweetheart. Tomorrow we got a lot of drivin' to do"
  • the character of Lula's monstrous and vindictive homicidal mother Marietta (Oscar-nominated Diane Ladd, Dern's real mother)
  • their encounter with a dying and bloody car wreck victim (Sherilyn Fenn), who complained about "sticky stuff in my hair"
  • the startling death scene of psychotic hitman Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) who knelt down and blew off his own head with a shotgun, during an aborted robbery of a feedstore
  • the final scene of Ripley being visited by the Good Witch (Sheryl Lee)

Wild Boys of the Road (1933)

In William Wellman's neglected, but representative social-issue film/morality tale of its time from Warner Bros:

  • the startling docu-style sight of multitudes of wandering (not wild) young boys (and one disguised girl Sally (Dorothy Coonan Wellman, the director's young wife)) forced to 'hit the road' (by freight train) during the Depression to look for work
  • the constant threat of railroad dicks policing the freight yards and tracks and sending some of the transients to juvenile hall
  • the excruciating scene of homeless Tommy (Edwin Phillips) losing his leg to an oncoming train

The Wild Bunch (1969)

In Sam Peckinpah's violent and controversial western, one of the masterpieces of cinema:

  • the extraordinary opening sequence (including an impressive presentation of the credits) set in a Southwestern Texas border town (filled with parading Temperance Union rally participants) when to the sound of snare drums and cymbals, the Wild Bunch (five of them) was masquerading in the disguise of tan-colored, regulation khaki outfits as U.S. Cavalry soldiers; they appeared heroically-positioned, riding stiffly and formally into a dusty town (San Rafael, also called Starbuck) along railroad tracks; the frame froze into a black and white chiaroscuro image when each of the credits appeared, unfreezing to continue with the colorful action
  • the symbolic parallel view of innocent village children watching as scorpions were senselessly tortured and eaten by a blanket of red ants
  • leader Pike's (William Holden) chilling command in the bank office during the robbery: "If they move, kill 'em"
  • the ambush of the Wild Bunch outlaws in the dusty town by bounty hunters with slow-motion, fast-edited, carnage and slaughter
  • the sight of a rider plunging through a storefront window on his horse
  • the shocking discovery by Wild Bunch brothers Lyle Gorch (Warren Oates) and Tector Gorch (Ben Johnson) that the money bags they had stolen were filled with worthless silver rings, with right hand man Dutch Engstrom's (Ernest Borgnine) condemnation: ("Silver rings, your butt! Them's washers. Damn!")
  • Pike's wise words about how the end of the Wild Bunch's days was fast approaching: "We've got to start thinkin' beyond our guns. Those days are closin' fast"
  • the dilemma of Wild Bunch pursuer Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan), a former gang member who was wounded, captured by the law and subsequently put in Yuma Prison (where he was seen being whipped in flashback); in exchange for freedom from a life-sentence, he agreed to hunt down his former gang, although he despised the bounty-hunters: "And what do I have? Nothin' but you egg-suckin', chicken-stealing gutter trash, with not even sixty rounds between you. We're after men, and I wish to God I was with them"
  • the exciting action sequence of the train robbery (and the shot of a smiling Dutch emerging from behind a gun barrel)
  • the explosion of a bridge after Pike's magnificent hat salute, to catch Deke Thornton and his posse in the collapsing structure
  • the courageous, heroic march of the four remaining gang members to face ruthless General Mapache (Emilio Fernandez) and his army for a showdown
  • the brutal full-frontal view of the slitting of young Mexican gang member Angel's (Jaime Sanchez) throat
  • the spectacular, climactic bloodbath in the open courtyard (the Battle of the Bloody Porch) as the gang took on an entire Mexican soldier regiment to avenge Angel's death and found itself outmanned and outgunned, but for awhile, they commandeered the big gun before being slaughtered
  • the final farewell scene when victorious Deke Thornton, Pike's friend-turned-nemesis, who was sitting propped against a wall, mentioned that his plan was to "drift around down here, try to stay out of jail"; then he was given an offer to join Freddie Sykes' (Edmond O'Brien) posse of bounty hunters: "Well, me and the boys here, we got some work to do. You wanna come along? It ain't like it used to be, but, uh, it'll do" - and Thornton reluctantly rose from the dust, mounted his horse, and rode off toward the horizon with them, to join in the Mexican Revolution, thereby forming a 'new' Wild Bunch with Sykes, one of its original members
  • the dissolve (in/out) montage of images of the 'reincarnated' members of the old Wild Bunch (earlier views when they would sit around together and engage in laughter and when they rode away from Angel's village (linking them to Sykes and Thornton), flashing momentarily onto the screen - over the view of the departing posse, as the end credits rolled up (accompanied by a reprised chorus of La Golondrina)

A Wild Hare (1940) (cartoon animation)

In director Tex Avery's Merrie Melodies and WB's cartoon short - the first "official" or "true" appearance of the mischievous Bugs Bunny (although unnamed until his next cartoon, Elmer's Pet Rabbit (1941)), with his signature ears and tail, and tricky, devilish personality:

  • the plot: while stalking his prey, inept rabbit hunter Elmer Fudd - wielding a double-barreled shotgun, shussed the audience: "Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbits"
  • Bugs Bunny's first utterance of his most classic line when he was on his knees, pointing down into a rabbit hole, and asking: "What's up, Doc?"
  • Elmer's description of what a rabbit looked like, as Bugs acted out each characteristic: "big long ears," "a little white fluffy tail," "hops around and around" - and Elmer's first inkling that Bugs was a hopping rabbit: "You know, I believe this fella is a R-A-B-B-I-T"; Elmer then asked if Bugs was a rabbit, and received Bugs' whispered and then yelled-secret in his ear: "Listen, Doc. Now, don't spread this around, but uh, confidentially, I AM A RABBIT!"
  • the clueless Elmer's game of "Guess-who?" as he made guesses of various contemporary female screen stars, while Bugs covered his eyes from behind: "Hedy Lamarr?", "Carole Lombard?", "Rosemary Lane?", "Olivia de Havilland?" - and then Elmer's final guess: "Say, you wouldn't be that screwy wabbit, would ya?"
  • while faking death after Bugs offered to be a target, Bugs' take-off of many classic death scenes: ("Oh, ya got me, pal!...This looks like the end. Oh, I can't hold out much longer, I'm all washed up. Oh, everything's gettin' dark. I can't see! Don't leave me. It's gettin' dark. Dark! Goodbye, pal. Goodbye")
  • in the conclusion, Bugs kicked Elmer (who was suffering remorse) in the behind, stuffed a cigar in his mouth, then exited the screen himself on tip-toe like a ballerina; Elmer was frustrated and stomped on his hat: "Aw, wabbits, wabbits, guns, wabbits traps, carrots, wabbits, wabbits...", while Bugs was noting: "I think the poor guy's screwy"; as Bugs took his leave, he played his carrot like a flute (the Irish folk tune The Girl I Left Behind) and marched into his rabbit hole behind him

The Wild One (1953)

In director Laslo Benedek's sub-genre-defining motorcycle gang film:

  • the opening credits sequence and the image of leather-jacketed, anti-hero Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando), leader of the motorcycle group "The Black Rebels" approaching on the highway
  • the scene of the bikers dragging on the street for beers
  • the memorable scene in which Johnny responds to the question: "What are you rebelling against?" with "What've you got?"
  • the scene of a group of rival cyclists circling sheriff's daughter Kathie (Mary Murphy) and terrorizing her
  • Kathie's rescue and moonlit motorcycle ride on the back of Johnny's motorcycle and their scene in the park

Wild Strawberries (1957, Swe.) (aka Smultronstället)

In Ingmar Bergman's allegorical, deeply-emotional road film:

  • the main character: Isak Borg (legendary silent film actor and Scandinavian director Victor Sjostrom), a 78 year-old widowed, wealthy, retired medical professor and doctor, who in the opening pre-credits lines - while sitting at his desk - described his lonely life (in voice-over): "In all our relations with other people, we mainly discuss and evaluate their character and behavior. That is why I have withdrawn from nearly all so-called relations. This has made my old age rather lonely. My life has been full of hard work and I am grateful. It began as toil for bread and butter and ended in a love for science. I have a son, also a doctor, who lives in Lund. He has been married for many years. They have no children. My old mother is still alive and is very active, despite her age. My wife Karin has been dead for many years"
  • Isak's opening, expressionistic dream sequence (also in voice-over) on a deserted city street ("In the early hours of June 1st, I had a weird and very unpleasant dream. I dreamt that during my morning walk, I lost my way among empty streets with ruined houses") where he looked up at a clock without hands (his own pocketwatch was also without hands), encountered a faceless figure who collapsed on the pavement with blood streaming out, and saw a driverless hearse pulled by horses with a coffin inside holding his own corpse
  • the lonely, melancholic professor's reassessment of his heartless, constrained and cold life while on a one-day, 300-mile car trip from Stockholm to his former university in Lund to receive an honorary degree in the Cathedral, while traveling with his pregnant daughter-in-law Marianne (Ingrid Thulin), unhappily married and estranged to his physician son Evald (Gunnar Björnstrand); during the trip, he told her about his own unhappiness: "I was an unwanted child in a hellish marriage"
  • the sequences of his revisiting (both in his flashbacked imagination and literally) many of the landmarks of his past (his summer home where a patch of wild strawberries grew) that brought up long-lost memories and was a sentimental reminder of his onetime, long-departed sweetheart cousin Sara (Bibi Andersson) (through a young hitchhiker also named Sara), who married Isak's irresponsible, good-for-nothing brother Sigfrid (Per Sjöstrand); and at a gas station, the husband-wife owners Henrik and Eva Åkerman (Max von Sydow and Ann-Marie Wiman) recalled Isak's generosity to them years earlier
  • enroute, they stopped at the home of Isak's elderly mother (Naima Wifstrand) who showed Isak a box of mementos, including old toys and a pocket watch with no hands (the same one seen in his opening dream sequence); after the visit, Marianne reacted to Isak's mother with fears for her own pregnancy and later life: "I thought: That's his mother. An old woman, cold as ice, more forbidding than death. And this is her son, and there are light years between them. He himself says he's a living corpse. And Evald is growing just as lonely, cold and dead. And I thought of the baby inside me. All along the line, there's nothing but cold and death and loneliness. It must end somewhere"
  • after the ceremony awarding Isak a degree, the satisfying, well-deserved and peaceful conclusion when he appeared to come closer to his daughter-in-law and her husband Evald - he cancelled Evald's long-standing enormous debt, and helped to bring them together and reconcile their marriage; his dreams would no longer torment him

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

In writer/director Frank Tashlin's CinemaScopic media satire about the excesses of 50s American pop-culture, including its consumerism, morals, movies, celebrity, Marilyn Monroe, Freudian analysis, advertising, sex, and the growing power of television:

  • the opening title credits - a satire on TV commercials that were demonstrated by ad pitch statements for defective products --- a refrigerator with slip-easy, pop-up, finger-touch ice trays ("No matter how many lushes you know, with the slip-easy, pop-up, finger-touch ice trays, you have enough ice cubes for all"), non-foaming head-free, heavenly-brewed Shelton's Beer ("Brewed crystal clear from the streams deep in the forest swamps. You'll be way ahead with Shelton's Beer. There is no head on Shelton's Beer. No foam, just beer"), destructive yet magical Tres Chic hair shampoo ("Do you want to say goodbye to dull, drab hair?...You'll see what Tres Chic can do to your hair!"), the Handy Dandy Dandy electric shaver that couldn't handle a thick beard (but could "shave the fungus off an overripe peach"), the energy of Crunchie Crispies breakfast food ("Each little Crunchie contains energy, contains pep for your growing youngsters, builds strong legs so that when they're older, they can stand the long waits in the unemployment lines. Listen to the energy. It snaps, it crunches"), Jolly Jess' promotion of Frank's Vacuum-Packed Peanut Butter (that stuck his mouth together), Wow washing detergent made of fallout (an "exclusive patented ingredient - Wow is gentle to your hands. It may be a little rough on your fingernails, but with a clean kitchen you won't have to scratch yourself"), a Rambunctious Rupert car salesman selling bargain automobiles ("Take the car away and drive it off the lot. No money down, no collateral. Just leave your wife with Rambunctious Rupert"), and an Easy Clean washing machine that wouldn't release the clothes for a housewife ("...with six dirty children and a big, filthy can imagine how important an Easy Clean washing machine can be. It not only Easy Cleans those dirty, filthy clothes, but it's so gentle on each garment, so gentle that it makes wash day a day to remember - You won't forget wash day...")
  • the character of Madison Ave. ad-commercial copy writer Rockwell P. Hunter (Tony Randall) for the La Salle Jr. Raskin, Pooley & Crocket ad agency, who found success after recruiting buxom Hollywood movie starlet Rita Marlowe (Jayne Mansfield) (a parody on Marilyn Monroe) to endorse his company's product: Stay-Put lipstick ("For those oh-so-kissable lips!")
  • Rockwell's publicity-stunt pretension that he was Rita's lover - dubbed Lover Doll, even though he alienated his office secretary-fiancee Jenny Wells (Betsy Drake), and was chased by hordes of hysterical teenaged fan club girls
  • the musical performance of the film's mantra - the song: "You've Got it Made"; as Rockwell wildly gyrated with Rita, he told her: "This music brings out the Belafonte in me, Miss Marlowe" and then reassured her: "I'm the same Lover Doll I've always been, honest"
  • the many sexual innuendos and double entendres - such as popcorn popping in the pocket of Lover Doll when Rita (draped in a pink bathrobe) hugged him as he spoke on the phone and noted: "Miss Marlowe is the titular head of the company"
  • ex-company president Irving La Salle Jr.'s (John Williams) warning about success: "Success will fit you like a shroud"
  • the abrupt intermission break in the film (breaking the fourth wall), when Hunter emerged from behind a curtain and announced: "Ladies and gentlemen. This break in our motion picture is made out of respect for the TV fans in our audience who are accustomed to constant interruptions in their programs for messages from sponsors. We want all you TV fans to feel at home, and not forget the thrill you get watching television on your big, 21-inch screens. I have a 21 inch screen myself, and it's loads of fun" - suddenly, the image shrank to the standard small, black and white TV view (that was malfunctioning with blipping, skewing, blurring, bad reception snow, etc.): "TV is a remarkable invention. Where did you go? Oh, there you are! Hi, as I was saying, TV is a remarkable invention. You can sit there in your easy chair with your shoes off and a can of beer watching that wonderful, clear picture coming into your home bringing culture and entertainment to you and your family. Of course, the great thing about TV is that you see things live at the moment they're happening, like old movies made 30 years ago" - and as abruptly, the view transformed back into CinemaScopic color
  • the ending cameo appearance of Rita's long lost love George Schmidlap (an uncredited Groucho Marx), and the earlier wise advice given to Rita (while lounging in her bubble bath reading Peyton Place) by her secretary Vivian "Vi" (Joan Blondell) about the first real love of her life: ("You've got to stop going overboard for every man who makes you tingle. First there was that English actor who wore the sunglass monocle, and then the Academy Award winner who had you polishing his Oscar. Can't think of the others. And there was Bobo and then Rocky. And all because you can't forget George Schmidlap. What you need is a psychiatrist or a do-it-yourself couch... I've been quiet enough. His name is George Schmidlap - he's the actor who awarded you first prize in the Miss Florida Grapefruit contest, and he's the one you can't forget and never will, so why do you keep pickin' up with these schnooks - always tryin' to turn them into unreasonable facsimiles of George? Don't you realize you can never fall in love again like you did with George?")

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

In director Mel Stuart's unlikely scary children's film adaptation of Roald Dahl's bizarre fairy tale - remade by Tim Burton as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), starring Johnny Depp as the famed chocolatier:

  • the memorable rendition of "The Candy Man" by Aubrey Woods ("Who can take a sunrise? Sprinkle it with dew. Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two. The Candy Man! The Candy Man can!")
  • the thrilling moment when poor boy Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum in his only film role) found money in a gutter, bought two candy bars, and discovered the last remaining Golden Ticket inside one of them; he celebrated with Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) in the triumphant and spritely song/dance "I've Got a Golden Ticket"
  • the introduction of the character of the sweet but slightly wicked, reclusive candy man Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder in a definitive role) and his chocolate factory in a fanciful land populated by orange-skinned, green-haired Oompa-Loompas workers who often sang moralistic songs
  • the factory tour given for the lucky, mostly bratty children (and the musical number "Pure Imagination" performed by Willy) with Willy's insight: "Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation and 2% butterscotch ripple"
  • the sight of all the sweets - marshmallow mushrooms, candy umbrellas, and other sweets
  • the scene in which tormenting, purple-clad Willy offered a boat ride down the Chocolate River to the kids and their parents - while hallucinatory, colorful, hellish and surreal images (a kaleidoscope of insects, a beheading of a chicken, a slimy worm on a face, etc.) were back-projected behind them while Willy provided strange commentary and sang the darkly morbid, strange, foreboding song Wondrous Boat Ride (pictured) on the chocolate river
  • the fates of the "naughty" children - highlighted by Violet (Denise Nickerson) being transformed into a giant blueberry (!)
  • the crowd-pleasing finale in which Willy Wonka made Charlie his heir ("Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted...He lived happily ever after!")

Winchester '73 (1950)

In director Anthony Mann's serious 'psychological' western (the first of eight films with James Stewart, including five westerns):

  • the many close-ups of the revered, prized, and rare Winchester '73 lever-action rifle, coveted by many of the characters, and leaving a trail of deaths
  • the exciting, evenly-matched, July 4th, 1876 (Centennial) marksmanship shooting contest in Dodge City, Kansas presided over by Marshal Wyatt Earp (Will Geer)
  • the character of slightly mad, obsessed and vengeful frontiersman Lin McAdam (James Stewart) in a relentless pursuit of villainous 'black sheep' outlaw 'Dutch' Henry Brown (Stephen McNally) who stole and possessed McAdam's prized, one-of-a-kind and rare Winchester '73 rifle that he had won in the film's long opening sequence
  • the character of psychotic, sneering killer dandy 'Waco' Johnny Dean (Dan Duryea), who acted lasciviously toward saloon girl-singer Lola Manners (Shelley Winters) and provoked her cowardly fiancee Steve (Charles Drake) into a deadly gunfight
  • the scene in Jenkins Bar (across the street from a Wells Fargo Bank in the process of being robbed in Tascosa, Texas) when McAdam grabbed Waco's left arm, twisted it behind his back and disarmed him, and pounded his face into the bar, before defending himself and shooting 'Waco' to death in the dusty street
  • the film's climactic chase and deadly shoot-out near Tascosa, Texas between McAdam and 'Dutch' on a hilly rock cliffside - and the revelation that they were estranged brothers (and 'Dutch' - actually Matthew McAdam - had murdered their father by shooting him in the back in cold-blood)

The Wind (1928)

In legendary Swedish director Victor Sjostrom's (billed as "Victor Seastrom") masterpiece, and one of the last great silent films:

  • the stark realism of scenes of lengthy gusty, howling and gritty wind/sand storms pounding the cabin
  • the wedding night scene that conveyed naive bride Letty's (Lillian Gish) paralyzing fear with her new husband Lige (Lars Hanson) - by contrasting shots of her feet and his cowboy boots
  • the nightmarish scene of Letty's petrified fears of being left alone with the raging sandstorm outdoors - symbolized by the brief dreamy, ghostly sight of a powerful bucking white stallion (against a black background)
  • Letty's near-rape by Wirt Roddy (Montagu Love) and his accidental point-blank shooting
  • her attempt to bury Roddy's body during the fierce wind and sandstorm
  • her half-crazed reactions at the window as she saw the body unearthed by the sandstorm's raging wind
  • the studio's distorting tacked-on, upbeat and hopeful ending, including her vow to Lige who had returned to her rescue: "I'm not afraid of the wind - I'm not afraid of anything now -- because I'm your wife - to work with you - to love you -!"; they stood at the open door facing the wind, strongly embracing each other, before the scene faded to black

Winged Migration (2001, Fr.) (aka Le Peuple Migrateur)

In Jacques Perrin's incredible documentary:

  • one of the most beautifully shot documentaries ever made (almost completely without the use of visual effects), that followed the migration patterns of dozens of bird species
  • one flying tern that traveled thousands of miles over oceans and continents during its migration
  • memorable scenes included ducks flying past the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty in New York City, birds fleeing an avalanche, and an old woman feeding cranes on her farm
  • the disturbing imagery, such as birds abruptly being shot down by hunters in mid-flight, an injured wader bird being stalked and then fed upon by dozens of hermit crabs, and a poacher's boat holding various parrots and toucans as well as a spider monkey

Wings (1927)

In the first Academy Award Best Picture winner by director William Wellman:

  • the spectacular aerial photography and dogfight scenes (shot in the air and not in a studio) - including a sequence in which a German pilot was hit (blood spurted from his mouth) and his plane went into a fiery tailspin
  • the final battle sequence (a full-scale reconstruction of the Battle of St. Mihiel)
  • the first on-screen male-male kiss on the lips when a handsome young soldier John "Jack" Powell (Charles "Buddy" Rogers) placed a lingering kiss on the mouth of his dying friend David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) in the aftermath of the battle

Wings of Desire (1987, W.Germ./Fr.) (aka Der Himmel über Berlin)

In director and co-writer Wim Wenders' visually-affecting, moody and soaring film (remade as City of Angels (1998) starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan):

  • the plot regarding two earthbound, heavy flannel coat-wearing angels - sad-faced Damiel and Cassiel (Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander) who watched over Berlin (both modern-day and war-time) - with the accompanying image (drained of color because of their isolation from earthly life) of Damiel surveying Berlin from the wings of the Victory statue atop its column in the Konigsplatz
  • the early scene of the two angels conversing in an open automobile about what it would be like to be human (to crave weight and pain)
  • the many scenes of the angels who observed and listened in without judgment to the thoughts of commuting subway passengers and library patrons of differing nationalities - and to other's random thoughts and voices
  • the two scenes of the angel accompanying a motorcycle accident victim and a suicidal man
  • also the transcendent scene of Damiel lovingly observing trapeze artist Marion (Solveig Dommartin) in her trailer
  • the way in which American movie star (Peter Falk) tempted Damiel with tactile and sensory sensations (drawing, coffee, cigarettes, the feel of cold on one's hands, etc.)
  • the moment that Cassiel saw that Damiel (after declaring his intention to join the earthly world) had left his footsteps in the sand on the East German side of the wall

Winter Light (1963, Swe.) (aka Nattvardsgästerna)

In director Ingmar Bergman's bleak and stark middle film in his so-called "Absence of God" trilogy, including Through a Glass Darkly (1961, Swe.) (aka Såsom i en spegel) and The Silence (1963, Swe.) (aka Tystnaden) - an exploration and questioning of religious faith and the problem of God's silence:

  • the opening ritualistic scene in a small-town Lutheran church in Mittsunda, Sweden during a soulless, wintry gray, mid-day Sunday service conducted by the grim, widowed pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Bjornstrand); the poorly-attended Holy Communion service had only a total of five participants to receive the sacraments, including the pastor's own romantic admirer and ex-mistress - eczema-afflicted spinster and substitute school teacher Marta Lundberg (Ingrid Thulin), the troubled, suicidal apocalypse-fearing fisherman Jonas Persson (Max von Sydow) and his vulnerable, concerned pregnant wife Karin (Gunnel Lindblom), the pastor's devout hunchbacked sexton Algot Frövik (Allan Edwall), the church's clock-watching, impatient organist Fredrik Blom (Olof Thunberg), and a few others
  • the short scene, following the service, of disbelieving, cold, grim, faithless and empty-souled, still-grieving pastor Tomas, whose wife died four years earlier, not able to comfort and dissuade the paranoid fears and dread of one of his parishioners - the suicidal Jonas, who believed there would be a nuclear holocaust caused by an atom bomb set off by Chinese Communists; he told the couple: "It's so overwhelming, and God seems so very remote...I feel so helpless. I don't know what to say. I understand your anguish, but life must go on..."
  • the visually-stark depiction of the anguished, tested, detached and passionless pastor's crisis of faith, symbolically presented when he looked up at the altar's sculpture of the Crucifixion and thought to himself: "What a ridiculous image"
  • the scene of the oft-rejected, unstable Marta attempting to comfort the sickly, unloving pastor, and asking if he had read the letter she had recently written to him - it had arrived the day before; she spoke about her day and unrequited love for him: "Another Sunday in the vale of tears...You should marry me...Then I wouldn't have to leave this place...You can't marry me because you don't love me"; she also affirmed her atheistic beliefs to him: "God has never spoken because God doesn't exist. It's as simple as that"
  • after she left, the intense, lengthy letter-reading scene when Tomas read Marta's letter outloud to himself; the scene included a single static close-up shot of her face as the letter was read, implying how cruelly she had been treated by Tomas - mostly for her skin rash affliction: ("We find it difficult to talk to each other. We're both rather shy, and I tend to retreat into sarcasm. That's why I'm writing. I have something important to say. Do you remember last summer, when that awful rash broke out on my hands? One evening, we were in church arranging flowers on the altar, preparing for a confirmation. Do you recall what bad shape I was in? My hands all bandaged, and itching so much I couldn't sleep? The skin had flaked off, and my palms were like open sores. We busied ourselves with daisies and cornflowers, or whatever they were, and I was feeling irritable. Suddenly, I got mad at you and challenged you angrily, asking if you actually believed in the power of prayer. You replied that you did. In a nasty tone, I asked if you had prayed for my hands, but it hadn't occurred to you to do so. I melodramatically demanded that you do it then and there. Oddly enough, you agreed. Your compliance enraged me, and I tore off the bandages. You remember the rest. The sight of those open sores affected you greatly. You couldn't pray. The entire situation disgusted you. I came to understand you later, but you never understood me. We had lived together for some time at that point. Almost two years, which at least represented some capital in the face of our emotional poverty. Our caresses, and our clumsy attempts to evade the lack of love between us. When the rash spread to my forehead and scalp, I soon noticed how you avoided me. You found me repugnant though you tried to spare my feelings. Then the rash spread to my hands and feet. And our relationship ended. That came as a shock to me. I had to face the fact that we didn't love each other. There was no way to hide from that fact or turn a blind eye to it. Tomas, I have never believed in your faith, mainly because I've never been tortured by religious tribulations. My non-Christian family was characterized by warmth, togetherness and joy. God and Jesus existed only as vague notions. To me, your faith seems obscure and neurotic, somehow cruelly overwrought with emotion, primitive. One thing in particular I've never been able to fathom: your peculiar indifference to Jesus Christ. And now I'm going to tell you about answered prayers. Laugh if you feel like it. Personally, I don't believe the two are connected. Life is messy enough without taking the supernatural into account. You were going to pray for my weeping hands, but the rash left you dumbstruck with repulsion, something you later denied. I went beserk and tried to provoke you (she tore off her bandages and prayed: 'God, why have you created me so eternally dissatisfied, so frightened, so bitter? Why must I realize how wretched I am? Why must I suffer so hellishly for my insignificance? If there is a purpose to my suffering, then tell me so I can bear my pain without complaint. I'm strong. You made me so very strong in both body and soul, but you never give me a task worthy of my strength. Give my life meaning and I'll be your obedient slave.' This autumn, I realized that my prayers had been answered. I prayed for clarity of mind and I got it. I realized that I love you. I prayed for a task to apply my strength to, and I received one. That task is you. This is what the thoughts of a schoolmarm might run to when the phone refuses to ring, when it's dark and lonely. What I lack entirely is the capacity to show you my love. I haven't a clue how to do that. I've been so miserable, I've even considered praying some more. But I still have a shred of self-respect left in spite of it all. My dearest Tomas - this turned out to be a long letter, but now I've put down in writing what I never dared say when you were in my arms. I love you. And I live for you. Take me and use me. Beneath all my false pride and independent airs, I have only one wish: to be allowed to live for someone else. It's so terribly difficult. When I think about it, I can't see how I will be able to pull it off. Maybe it's all just a mistake. Tell me I'm not wrong, darling")
  • the second private session shortly later between Tomas and Jonas in the afternoon, when the pastor asked only a few superficial questions, and then spoke mostly about his own confusions, spiritual failures and despair, and growing disbelief in God, especially after his wife's death: ("I'm no good as a clergyman. I put my faith in an improbable and private image of a fatherly God, one who loved mankind, of course, but me most of all. Do you see, Jonas, what a monstrous mistake I made? An ignorant, spoiled, and anxious wretch makes a rotten clergyman. Picture my prayers to an echo-God who gave benign answers and reassuring blessings. Every time I confronted God with the realities I witnessed, he turned into something ugly and revolting. A spider-God, a monster...If there is no God, would it really make any difference? Life would become understandable. What a relief. And thus death would be a snuffing out of life. The dissolution of body and soul...There is no creator, no sustainer of life. No design"); even more depressed and uncomfortable by the discussion, Jonas left without any reassurances, and subsequently, it was reported that he had driven to the nearby river and shot himself in the head with his rifle
  • the scene of Tomas' cruel, tough, stern, berating and pitiless criticisms of the self-deprecating Marta to her face, triggered when she said to him in her apartment/schoolhouse building: "You sound so unfriendly. Sometimes you sound as if you hated me" - he bitterly described everything he detested about her: the humiliating gossip generated by their relationship, the damage to his reputation, her pitiful pleadings, her incessant talking, hysterical crying and her constant attention to him, and most importantly: "The real reason is that I don't want you...I'm tired of your loving care, your fussing, your good advice...I'm fed up with your shortsightedness, your clumsy hands, your anxiousness, your timid displays of affection. You force me to occupy myself with your physical condition...I'm sick and tired of it all, of everything to do with you"; he also said she was an ugly parody and mimic of his deceased wife - the only woman he had ever loved; he ended the conversation by grabbing her: "Can't you be quiet? Can't you leave me alone? Can't you just shut up?!"
  • in the last major scene, the thoughtful and enlightened conversation of the crippled, handicapped church sexton with Pastor Tomas about the meaning of the Passion and Christ's suffering when he was abandoned on the Cross - "Wouldn't you say the focus on his suffering is all wrong?...This emphasis on physical pain. It couldn't have been all that bad. It may sound presumptuous of me - but in my humble way, I've suffered as much physical pain as Jesus. And his torments were rather brief. Lasting some four hours, I gather? I feel that he was tormented far worse on another level. Maybe I've got it all wrong, but just think of Gethsemane, Pastor. Christ's disciples fell asleep. They hadn't understood the meaning of the Last Supper, or anything. And when the servants of the law appeared, they ran away. And Peter denied him. Christ had known his disciples for three years. They'd lived together day in and day out, but they never grasped what he meant. They abandoned him, down to the last man. He was left all alone. That must have been painful. To realize that no one understands. To be abandoned when you need someone to rely on. That must be excruciatingly painful. But the worse was yet to come. When Jesus was nailed to the cross - and hung there in torment - he cried out - 'God, my God! Why hast thou forsaken me?' He cried out as loud as he could. He thought that his heavenly father had abandoned him. He believed everything he'd ever preached was a lie. In the moments before he died, Christ was seized by doubt. Surely that must have been his greatest hardship? God's silence"; Tomas - who had been listening, simply answered in agreement: "Yes, yes"
  • Tomas' final words spoken from the Frostnas church altar toward a silent and empty church - delivered during another perfunctory and meaningless vespers service that afternoon with no outside attendees except Marta: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory"

Witness (1985)

In director Peter Weir's love story and meditation on violence and culture clash:

  • the film's opening scene of a brutal murder in a Philadelphia train station restroom witnessed by young Amish boy Samuel Lapp (Lukas Haas)
  • the Amish community's barn-raising scene
  • the scene of young recently-widowed Amish woman Rachel Lapp's (Kelly McGillis) treatment of homicide detective John Book's (Oscar-nominated Harrison Ford) gunshot wound
  • the smoldering, forbidden love relationship between Book and Rachel displayed in their informal, awkward serenade in the farm's barn (to the tune of a car radio playing Sam Cooke's "(What A) Wonderful World") - and lit by the car's headlights
  • the scene in which an unembarrassed Rachel gave herself a sponge-bath and boldly turned to reveal her bare-breasted self to John, soon followed by their strongly passionate kiss in the twilight

(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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