I like to think about my favourite films. Sometimes I’ll even try to rank them. But there are some moments in certain films that you just want to watch…even if the rest of the film isn’t enjoyable. I know it’s kind of sacrilegious to only watch certain portions of a film, but I sometimes have cravings…where I just want to watch my favourite scene. What scenes are important to you? I’ll list three:
1. The closing scene from “8 1/2”. I don’t know of an ending that is more beautiful. Aesthetically, it’s exactly what I wanted when I first watched the film, and it’s still what I want everytime I watch the film.
2. The first 4 minutes of “Manhattan”. black & white New York City in 1979…and Gershwin. Also, Woody Allen’s narration of the book he’s trying to write is wonderful.
3. The last ten minutes of “M”. Watching Peter Lorre as he pleads for his life is so emotionally moving. He gives a spectacular performance.
I liked the opening scene from 8 1/2, with the traffic jam.
But I will submit the single greatest moment of film history:
In “The Spy Who Loved Me” James Bond causes the villain “Jaws” to fall into the shark tank. But instead of being devoured by the sharks, Jaws eats them! Classic.
1. The beginning and end scenes of Angels With Dirty Faces – the beginning, where Hell’s Kitchen is introduced in a beautiful crane shot, and the end, where Cagney…well, I won’t give it away.
2. The opening shot/opening credits of Wings, dir. Larisa Shepitko. Zoom out from the crowd to reveal there’s a window….brilliant.
I’m sure I can think of more, these came off the top of my head.
The entire dinner scene of Fanny and Alexander.
The French taunters scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
There’s a scene near the end of Smoke where Auggie is telling his Christmas story and the camera is slowly pulling back from his face that I think is just great. Fantastic, even.
Other than that I love Victor Sjostrom’s first dream in Wild Strawberries.
Plus Toshiro Mifune getting shot at by real arrows at the end of Throne of Blood.
The Return of the Living Dead
The ending. Clu calls the number on the side of the tank and and is put on hold.
Spider: What’re they doin’, man?
Burt Wilson: [over the telephone to the Military Intelligence] Hang on a second, will ya?
Burt Wilson: It’s weird. These people seem to say they’ve been waiting for this to happen. Apparently, they’ve got some sort of contingency plan to deal with it.
Casey: That’s great!
Spider: [suspiciously] What is this plan?
Burt Wilson: [as a missile heads towards Louisville] Hey, listen! You hear something?
[cuts to Freddy breaking through to Tina and Ernie]
[word echoes as it pauses, cuts to zombies staring at the missile, the missile explodes]
The chase scene with two submersibles which culminates in Bud and Lindsay being stranded in a leaking submersible with only one aqualung, the subsequent drowning of Lindsey, and Bud’s frantic resuscitation scene (“Goddamn it, you bitch, you never backed away from anything in your life! Now fight!”),
I am crazy about My two favorite scenes that I have conveniently broken down and will now shamelessly plug.
1. The scene at the bar in Out of Sight. The cinematography is very well done. And George Clooney is as charming as ever. Jennifer Lopez also gives her best performance in this film (which I realize isn’t saying much).
“It’s like seeing someone for the first time, and you look at each other for a few seconds, and there’s this kind of recognition like you both know something. Next moment the person’s gone, and it’s too late to do anything about it.”
2. The scene at the beach near the end of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It makes me cry every time.
Clementine: “This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.”
Joel: “I know.”
Clementine: “What do we do?”
Joel: “Enjoy it.”
1. “The Royal Tenenbaums” When Richie kills himself and Needle in the Hay by Elliot Smith is played. By far one of the most intense (albeit depressing) scenes of any movie I’ve ever seen.
2. The beginning of fucking Lion king.
Henry and Karen entering the club through the back door in “Goodfellas”.
The beginning of “The Player”
Nicholson and the butler in the men’s room in “The Shining”
This is fun!
The highway montage in the middle of Fellini’s “Roma”
This is an easy one but Walken and Hopper in True Romance. A scene for the ages, “you’re an eggplant”:)
Michael at the end of the Godfather II: the flashback to the birthday party, his remembrance of what he was once and isn’t any longer, and could not be now even if he wanted to; then with his father on the train, his father guiding his hand, as always, then the return to Michael’s face—sunken, haunted. It’s flawless.
I’m with Marko re. the ending of 8 1/2: it’s so perfect and touching, and exactly right.
On Everyone Says I Love You, when all the Grouchos are singing and dancing…and also the dance scene with Woody Allen and Goldie Hawn by the bridge. fun
Any wide side-scrolling. I’m a sucker for those..
The scene from The Shining where Jack Nicholson is walking down the hallway to The Gold Room after Wendy had accused him of hurting Danny. (aka Kubrick telling him to look like on of those guys walking down the street by themselves in New York City)
Michael Pitt’s performance of Death to Birth in in Gus Van Sant’s ‘Last Days’. Very powerful.
The scene in 8 1/2, with all of the people drinking water. I love that scene. Also, the ending of Blade Runner.
this is a great topic. whole movies don’t give me a chill up my spine. brilliant sequences or scenes in brilliant movies give me a chill up my spine.
“pulp fiction”. the final scene. “i’m tryin, ringo. i’m tryin REAL hard to be the shepard.” then he walks out of the restaurant carrying hope with him.
“the breakfast club”. the final scene. when they all split up, the music plays, and you hear their letter to the principal in voice-over. “sincerely yours, the breakfast club.”
“rear window”. when grace kelly is trying to talk her way out of raymond burr’s apartment, secretly signals she’s got the wedding ring on her finger, jimmy stewart sees it at the same time burr does, and burr looks out at jimmy and sees him. how many emotions, themes, and narrative information can a director pack into one compressed moment?? my friends, this is the definition of brilliance in directing.
Great call on REAR WINDOW
When Jake runs down the hill to save the girl he has been watching and as he is attacked by the dog, we see the drill coming through the ceiling with blood splewing from it. I still get amped on that one.
The opening of “Touch of Evil;” the Indianapolis scene in “Jaws;” gin rummy in “Born Yesterday;” the dusty and victorious “Lawence of Arabia” returns to the Officers’ Club (“He likes your lemonade”); David Byrne’s big, white suit in “Stop Making Sense;” Alec Baldwin in “Glengarry Glen Ross;” DePalma’s homage to/ripoff of Eisenstein in “The Untouchables;” Nicholson’s “Chinatown” gumshoe with a ruler in the Hall of Records; and the last 15 minutes of “Nashville.”
In no particular order:
-The opening titles sequence of Douglas Sirk’s “Written on the Wind” with the drunk sports car wildly racing through storm-swept oil fields. Total melodrama.
-The party in Godard’s “Pierrot le Fou”, with each room lit in a different bright color (red and blue) and the guests speaking like commercials to each other. Incredibly funny and beautiful.
-In Jerry Lewis’ “The Nutty Professor”, the sequence tracking shot of bystanders in the street staring at the camera. The outrageous early 60’s colors and set design and the statuesque look of the extras are worth the entrance ticket. I adore that scene.
-The opening sequence of Preston Sturges’ “Sullivan’s Travels” with non stop wall-to-wall action in the dark. We have no idea what’s going on or who is who, and it goes on forever. Hillarious.
-The dancing scene in Resnais’ “Last Year in Marienbad”. Totally mysterious and glamorous.
Two I can think of from “Y Tu Mama Tambien”:
1) Towards the end, there’s a long take of the three in a restaurant/bar/cafe drinking, talking then dancing. Beautiful scene.
2) The very last scene. “They never met again.” Heartbreaking, but it’s the most reasonable conclusion. Perfect ending.
“sunset boulevard”. the closing scene. when norma gives her heartfelt speech on the movies, says “alright mr. demille, i’’m ready for my close-up”, then literally walks out of the movie screen and into immortality.
Another vote for the arrow scene in Throne Of Blood
The long Bardot-on-couch scene in Contempt
Jerry Orbach & Martin Landau’s meeting (specifically, the “some of us can’t afford to be so…aloof” scene) in Crimes & Misdemeanors
The final scene in Tsai Ming-liang’s Vive L’Amour
Of the 1,090 omissions in my earlier post, I need to put one more on the record: The creaking, squeaking windmill and the drip-drip-drip of rainwater onto Woody Strode’s hat and Jack Elam’s buzzing gun-barrel friend while we wait for a train in the priceless start to “Once Upon a Time in the West.”
the extended opening sequence of “the good, the bad, and the ugly”, where we are slowly introduced to each character, with a freeze frame and their title appearing on screen. i think this is one of the earliest films to use that technique. its brilliant, and it’s been quoted times innumerable.
1. The ball in “Il Gattopardo”, by Visconti.
2. The finale of “Queen Christina”, by Mamoulian.
3. The beninging of “Belle de Jour”, by Buñuel.
4. Fellini and Mastroianni visiting Anita Ekberg in “Intervista”, by Fellini.
Great thread and way to get started here…
There are many great films that would be too spoilerific (love that internet slang) so here are some general ones;
“Planting the Tree” from THE PROFESSIONAL
“Wall-E tries to wake up Eve” from WALL-E
“A knock on the door” from CEMETARY MAN
“Whats that…a mall” from DAWN OF THE DEAD
“Needles to an End” from AUDITION
“Color Change Dress” from SLEEPING BEAUTY
“The Return” from BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED
-The extremely long traffic jam in Godard’s “Week End”. I did not know what to think when I saw it. Annoyed at first and then laughed out loud.
-I give a second to the opening scene of “Manhattan”. The only other scene that has made me feel that way about a city is the scene in “Breathless” with Belmondo and Seberg walking together down the Champs-Elysees as she is selling the New York Herald Tribune.
-The dwarf scene of Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now” really creeps me out, but in a good way. Seriously, who saw that coming?
-Ty Webb’s first scene in “Caddyshack” is also a fave. “This isn’t Russia. This is isn’t Russia is it, Danny?”
The Holden/Banky argument scene in Chasing Amy
The last scene in There Will Be Blood