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BWW Exclusive: THE 101 GREATEST MOVIE SCENES of All Time - from CITIZEN KANE to PINK FLAMINGOS, from THE SOUND OF MUSIC to PARASITE

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BWW Exclusive: THE 101 GREATEST MOVIE SCENES of All Time - from CITIZEN KANE to PINK FLAMINGOS, from THE SOUND OF MUSIC to PARASITE

Get ready to debate. Nothing outside of politics or religion turns our argument mode to the "ON" button more than discussions of music, theater and the movies (which, to many of us, are our politics and religion). And this list may be the most controversial yet, where I choose lesser known scenes over knock-you-over-the-head ones, like the CGI fights in the Marvel Universe that makes you feel like you're watching someone else play a video game. Yes, the iconic scenes are all here, but so are underrated ones. I oftentimes choose the "off" choice over the obvious. For instance, I don't pick the wood chipper sequence from Fargo; instead, I choose an odd encounter between Police Chief Marge and an old high school friend at a Radisson Inn.

I know you can't help but list all of the missing movie scenes on a chart like this (and trust me, there are many): The ending of Old Yeller; Forrest on the park bench in Forrest Gump; pick any scene from The Social Network; the "choice" in Sophie's Choice; Endgame; Inception; Toy Story; The Matrix; the "king of the world" moment in Titanic; "America'" in West Side Story; Oogie Boogie in A Nightmare Before Christmas; the exciting chase in Terminator 2: Judgment Day; the opening scene of Inglorious Basterds; beach romance in From Here to Eternity; the twists in Sorry to Bother You and The Sixth Sense; Harry Lime's intro in The Third Man; the endings of A Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Call Me By Your Name; the "you're a funny guy" scene from Goodfellas; "I am Spartacus" from Spartacus; "Red, Hot & Blane" from Waiting for Guffman; Scarface; Sweet Transvestite" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show; the cheek-to-cheek sequence from Requiem for a Dream (thankfully it's not included); the escape in The Shawshank Redemption; the pie tins as space ships in the lovably inept Plan Nine from Outer Space; or whatever favorite film sequence floats your boat. Sometimes the movie works as a whole without a standout scene, which is the case with most of the above films that I just listed.

I try to spread the wealth with a list like this, so I chose only one scene per movie. I also didn't want too many of the same directors monopolizing the 101. Still, three directors can boast having four movie sequences that made the list--Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg.

If anything, hopefully more than one of the titles in the 101 will pique your interest. If there is a film that seems interesting on this list, but you have not seen it, then by all means seek it out. Most of these can be found on Netflix, Hulu or YouTube.

The earliest filmic scene on the list is from 1901; the most recent from 2019. We're going to count 'em down, from #100 to #1. See if your favorites made the grade! Enjoy!

THE 101 GREATEST MOVIE SCENES OF ALL TIME

101: THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY: Justus D. Barnes points his gun at the audience. [1901]

It's THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY'S final shot: The bandit played by Justus Barnes points his pistol point blank at us--and pow! It has been said that audiences were shocked by the "realism" of this moment, so much so that some actually ducked behind chairs, covered their eyes. Film as an effective medium starts here, with a literal bang, and it also begins our journey into the 101 greatest cinematic scenes.

100. STEEL MAGNOLIAS: M'Lynn's emotional breakdown at her daughter's funeral. [1989]

There's a lot to dislike in STEEL MAGNOLIAS--it plays like a stagey Southern chick flick/soap opera/sit-com. But the scene at the funeral, where M'Lynn (Sally Field) has an emotional breakdown, is not only some of Ms. Fields' finest work, but it elevates the whole sentimental claptrap of a movie. "I'm fine!" M'Lynn cries out. "I can jog all the way to Texas and back, but my daughter can't! She never could! Oh God! I am so mad I don't know what to do! I wanna know why! I wanna know why Shelby's life is over! I wanna know how that baby will ever know how wonderful his mother was! Will he ever know what she went through for him! Oh God I wanna know why? WHY???!!" If only the film ended at the funeral scene, with M'Lynn pushing her grandson on a swing, and saying, "Life goes on." But no, the saccharine swill goes on for another ten unnecessary minutes with some overproduced Easter egg hunt. But thankfully Fields' performance in a scene guaranteed to make you cry saves the whole thing from being a total failure.

99. PINK FLAMINGOS: Divine flashes a sh*t-eating grin. [1972]

PINK FLAMINGOS is the real deal, a war of escalating gross-outs between the Marbles (with matching pubic hair color) and Babs (Divine) and her gang . At the end, a dog defecates and Divine, recently triumphant, scoops it up, plops it into the mouth, and smiles, all to the tune of "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window." Divine displays a literal "sh*t-eating grin," as director John Waters calls it, and of all the crazy bad taste in the film, it's the one that made the grade.

98. SIDEWAYS: Miles and Maya discuss wine on Stephanie's porch. [2004]

Not all the entries on this list are showstoppers, sequences filled with sound and fury and pyrotechnics (or in the case of PINK FLAMINGOS, fecal devouring). Sometimes the quiet scenes need to be championed, such as this one, where Maya and Miles connect over wine. Miles (Paul Giamatti) tells why he loves pinot noir, but it's Maya (Virginia Masden) whose whispered words resonate: "I like to think about the life of wine...How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline...And it tastes so f**king good." And on that, she gently places her hand on Miles' hand. Exquisite.

97. HEREDITARY: The dinner table scene. [2018]

HEREDITARY is one of the few horror films that got under my skin, and this scene--beautifully acted by a screaming Toni Collette as a mother melting down and going off on her son--still haunts my nightmares.

96. CARRIE: Carrie White lends Sue Snell a hand from the grave. [1976]

My mother could not watch horror films (she was even scared of Ghostbusters), and CARRIE was certainly no exception. When I was young, Brian De Palma's CARRIE was on TV and I called my mom into the room at the exact moment of one of the most surprising endings in all of cinema; if you've seen CARRIE, then you know the exact scene I'm talking about. Well, good son that I was, I grabbed my mother at the exact "shock" moment of the scene, the pop you out of your seat instance, and she was so startled that she fell over the coffee table and screamed twice. It took a while to settle her down. "Why did you scream twice?" I asked her. "I screamed first because of the horrible scene in that movie, and I screamed again because you grabbed me at that exact moment! What kind of son would do such a thing???" I couldn't answer her.

95. WALL STREET: Gordon Gecko makes no apology for being greedy. [1987]

Ruthless billionaire Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) tells the stockholders of a company that "Greed...for lack of a better word...is good. Greed is right, greed works." It's such an American line (often misquoted), and Douglas, so cold and yet so charismatic, earned his Oscar in that scene alone.

94. GIMME SHELTER: Death during "Under My Thumb." [1970]

In GIMME SHELTER, we see one of the Hell's Angels, hired as bodyguards, stabbing Meredith Hunter in the head right as the Rolling Stones' sing "Under My Thumb." It's nauseating and riveting to witness an actual murder on the screen (played over and over, back and forth), but it's not really art; it's like the Zapruder film set to Keith Richards' guitar.

93. PAN'S LABYRINTH: The Pale Man. [2006]

This child-eating monster, portrayed by Doug Jones, only appears in one scene in Del Toro's masterwork, but what a scene! Who knew devouring a couple of grapes could cause so much horror?

92. BEETLEJUICE: "Day-O." [1988]

The outlandish use of "The Banana Boat Song" in this Tim Burton ingenious ghost story cannot be beat. The moment you saw "Day-O" in the heading, I bet you were singing the song in your head, weren't you: "Day-o, day-o/Daylight come and me wan' go home..."

91. GOLDFINGER: "No, Mr. Bond...I expect you to die!" [1964]

An industrial laser is pointed at...well, let's just say it's the one area that James Bond, Agent 007 (Sean Connery) does not want damaged. And it is here that Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) utters his famous line--"No, Mr. Bond...I expect you to die!" A moment copied but never equaled.

90. BOOGIE NIGHTS: Dirk Diggler's big reveal. [1997]

Certainly no shrinkage there; obviously he'll never need to carry a big gun to a Michigan anti-lockdown demonstration.

89. TOOTSIE: Meet Edward Kimberly. [1982]

In TOOTSIE, Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) can only get work when he's in drag as Dorothy Michaels. Dorothy lands a soap, "Southwest General," playing a hospital administrator named Emily Kimberly, and ends up being a big little-screen hit. But Michael loves Julie (Jessica Lange) and it's time for him to end his charade...live on TV. The reveal scene has Dorothy-as-Emily taking off her fake eyelashes and wig to reveal she's a man, Emily's twin, Edward Kimberly. It's a laugh out loud hilarious climax, one of the great moments in motion picture comedy.

88. CHARIOTS OF FIRE: Running to Vangelis. [1981]

Answer this question: Whenever you hear the Vangelis CHARIOTS OF FIRE title music, you mime running in slow motion, don't you? Thought so.

87. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT: The slap. [1967]

Mr. Endicott (Larry Gates) is a racist who owns a plantation. When Virgil Gibbs (Sidney Poitier) talks to him about a recent murder, Endicott becomes offended and slaps the black detective from Philly. And Gibbs' response? He slaps him right back. "There was a time," Endicott, stunned, says, "when I could have had you shot." Make sure to watch the black servant's reaction to the Gibbs' slap in the background...he's shocked and yet holding back a smile. The times were definitely a-changin'.

86. STAND BY ME: The Barf-o-Rama. [1986]

85. THE EXORCIST: Did Regan have Campbell's soup for lunch? [1973]

With these two, regurgitation is in the spotlight. In STAND BY ME, Lardass Hogan wins a blueberry pie eating contest that winds up with a veritable chain-reaction Barf-o-Rama. And in THE EXORCIST, Regan projectile vomits pea soup into a priest's face. It's horrendously unappetizing, not comedic except for the very ill of mind, and certainly memorable enough to make this list.

84. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST: The imaginary World Series. [1975]

Randall McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) doesn't take "no" for an answer from Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). When she refuses to let him turn on the TV to watch a baseball game, a power play on her part, he takes matters into his own hands. Without turning on the set, he pretends that he's watching the game...and his fellow patients gather around him, cheering along with him. ""Koufax... Koufax kicks," McMurphy exclaims. "He delivers. It's up the middle! It's a base hit! Davis cuts the ball off! Here comes the throw. He throws it to second! He slides! He's in there! He's safe!" And there was much rejoicing, the human spirit overcoming McMurphy's least favorite word in the English language: "No."

83. SAFETY LAST: Harold Lloyd scales a building. [1923]

82. THE GOLD RUSH: The Little Tramp eats a shoe. [1925]

Two of the funniest segments in silent movie history. When I show students the scene of Lloyd scaling the building (when teaching pantomime) in SAFETY LAST, my middle school students scream out; they don't think it's a comedy. Hanging on the side of the building, when he grabs hold of a giant clock and it almost falls on him, the kids cover their eyes and scream out. I wonder if they are as passionately vocal and horrified when they watch horror films, something like Hereditary or Midsommar. Lloyd's building climb is an amazing feat to view (and I recommend you do that right now; it's on YouTube). My students laugh at the Charlie Chaplin routines--the boxing match from City Lights or the "eating machine" in Modern Times. But I chose THE GOLD RUSH shoe scene--another must-watch on YouTube--a guaranteed howler that even gets titters of laughter from young teens 95 years after it was made.

81. MULHOLLAND DRIVE: Club Silencio. [2001]

This is the game-changing moment in David Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE with the crooning of a Roy Orbison classic, "Crying," called "Llorando" here. (The "In Dreams" scene from Blue Velvet, another Orbison-influenced moment, almost made the cut.) Spellbinding.

80. LADY AND THE TRAMP: A spaghetti kiss. [1955]

All right, be honest: How many of you have tried to recreate Disney's memorable canine moment of amour? And if so, was marinara involved and how sloppy did it get in reality?

79. THE BLUES BROTHERS: "Think." [1980]

Aretha Franklin tears up the screen in this marvelous musical number. It's a shame the soul-stirring Franklin didn't do more movies. As Pauline Kael observed, "She smashes [THE BLUES BROTHERS] to smithereens. Her presence is so strong she seems to be looking at us while we're looking at her."

78. ALL THAT JAZZ: "On Broadway." [1979]

The movie version of A Chorus Line tanked, both artistically and financially, because it had already been done on screen and better in ALL THAT JAZZ. This Bob Fosse autobiographical death wish opens with an audition sequence to the tune of George Benson's "On Broadway." Brilliantly cut (it won the Best Editing Oscar), it showcases the highs, the lows, the euphoria, the heartbreak of auditioning. All young theatre students should see this, to prepare them for a life on the stage. It's like acting coach Michael Shurtleff's book, Audition, sprung to existence.

77. PARASITE: Happy birthday! [2019]

Is this the worst birthday party ever depicted on film, up there with the scary slasher lows of 1981's HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME?

76. THE SHINING: Jack Torrance imitates Ed McMahon. [1980]

"Heeeeeeere's Johnny!!!"

75. THE SOUND OF MUSIC: Maria on the hill. [1965]

74. TOUCH OF EVIL: The opening shot. [1958]

Two of the most famous opening scenes in history. In THE SOUND OF MUSIC, it's Maria (Julie Andrews) on the Austrian hills singing the title song. In Orson Welles' TOUCH OF EVIL, it's the planting of a bomb in a car trunk--a car we track in and out of the frame for over six minutes, unedited, before it explodes.

73. Annie Hall: Marshall McLuhan at the movies. [1977]

Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) shuts up an obnoxious pseudo-intellectual who pontificates about Federico Fellini and Marshall McLuhan in a line to see THE SORROW AND THE PITY. And out of the blue, Alvy produces the actual McLuhan, who puts the pontificator in his place. As Alvy says, "Boy, if life were only like this..."

72. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: Moses parts the Red Sea. [1956]

The only reason to see this overlong Biblical epic.

71. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING: Smeagol becomes Gollum. [2003]

Gollum is by far the most interesting character in the Tolkien trilogy, and it's fascinating watching how he became the slithering villain of Middle Earth. While fishing, Deagol finds the One Ring, but Smeagol is so obsessed with it that he kills his friend, with eventual horrifying ramifications. He turns into Gollum, a hissing snake-like creature with a face like John Carradine drawn on a balloon, and perhaps the finest character in the entire Fantasy genre.

70. FARGO: Marge meets Mike at the Radisson Inn. [1996]

69. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: A quarter for your thoughts. [2007]

The Coen Brothers two best scenes ever. In FARGO, most people would choose the wood chipper sequence, which is certainly the most famous. But the best belongs to the scene where Police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) meets her old high school friend, Mike Yanagita (Steve Park), at the Radisson. This is one of the best written scenes in the past 25 years, a moment that seems to have nothing to do with the story. But after Marge figures out that Mike has lied to her on some major events (the leukemia death of his wife, all fabricated), she realizes that one of the key figures in the murder she's investigating has lied to her as well. So, a brilliantly scribed but random scene actually leads the protagonist to solve a murder. In NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, the Coen's have created a villain for all time in Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). And the gas station scene where he flips a quarter for the rightfully nervous store owner is edge-of-your-seat intense. There's nothing like the quirky dread of the Coen Brothers, and this is their very best.

68. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET: This is your brain on drugs. [2013]

How long does it take Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) to get from his car to the house while on a "Lemmon" Lude high? Whether or not you have ever experienced Quaaludes, this remains one of the most unbearably uncomfortable-to-watch hilarious scenes of all time.

67. MOMMIE DEAREST: The night raid scene. [1981]

It's like a horror movie, only scarier...and funnier. I once watched MOMMIE DEAREST with members of my family, and they did not find it giggly fun at all; they were appalled and horrified. I understand: We as a society should not find child abuse funny. But c'mon, have you seen Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, her face suddenly clown-white with cold cream? We must be given a pass to laugh at the un-laughable with this movie. In this moment, its most famous scene, Joan wakes up her daughter, screaming about wire hangers, and bellowing those famous lines: "No wire hangers....EVER!" (Not as the usually misunderstood "No more wire hangers," which she does not state.) It ends with her in the bathroom, hitting her daughter on the back with a container of cleaner, a baptism by Comet-powder abuse. Yes, Joan is crazy, but who is really to blame in this instance? Somebody must have brought those wire hangers in the house...someone other than young Christina. I blame Carol Ann, Joan's assistant (played by Rutanya Alda) who witnessed the abuse over the years and did nothing. Carol Ann must have allowed the wire hangers into the Crawford household, so why didn't Joan wake her up instead? This allows for even more sympathy for Christina, yelled at for something that was not even her fault to begin with. No wonder she ends the scene, helpless and rightfully confused, exclaiming "Jesus Christ!" Still, we laugh, don't we? I'm sorry, but in this instance, we shove all realities of abuse aside in order to get our guffaws.

66. LADY BIRD: Marion McPherson drives around the airport. [2017]

Lady Bird's mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), has dropped her college-bound daughter off at the airport, and drives around. In this scene, driving alone in a car, just driving, Laurie Metcalf conveys the sadness, loss, fear the unknown, sorrow, anxiety, aloneness, and regret, all at once, all without a single line of dialogue. There's so much she didn't tell her daughter, so much love she has for her even though she usually would wind up chiding the girl at home, but she wanted to say a proper goodbye but couldn't; this empty moment is why she sacrificed so much for her family with little in return, not even a "thank you." The hollowness, the loneliness, the caring, all come out in her tears. Her daughter is off for good, going to school in New York, and the mother's loss is devastating. All conveyed without words. (Compare this scene with Patricia Arquette's tirade to her college-bound son in Boyhood, and good and Oscar-winning as Arquette is, she doesn't come close to what Metcalf accomplishes here.) This scene should be a performance master class, one every aspiring actor needs to see: How to own the screen, steal a movie, without saying a word.

65. SPIDER-MAN II: Spidey versus Doc Ock. [2004]

In the best scene in the very best of the Sam Raimi SPIDER-MAN movies, Spiderman (Tobey Maguire) battles evil Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina, who should have been in Oscar contention for his work here) on an elevated train. Superhero movies have so much blurred action that they tend to bleed into each other, becoming forgettable the moment you leave the theater. Not here. My adrenaline is pumping just recalling it.

64. BONNIE AND CLYDE: It's raining bullets. [1967]

Bonnie's poem says it all: "One day they'll go down together/they'll bury them side by side/To few it'll be grief/to the law a relief/but it's death for Bonnie and Clyde." And what a death! The machine guns riddle them with bullets, seemingly thousands of them, as Bonnie and Clyde are shot to smithereens. The bullet fire is so extreme that it literally holds Bonnie up so she can't even slump.

63. THE SEVENTH SEAL: A game of chess. [1957]

The knight (Max Van Sydow, RIP) and Death, dressed in black, play chess on the beach, an iconic image that found a new home in the Bill and Ted movies (they play Twister with Death; how many of that film's fans knew it was an homage to Ingmar Bergman's most famous work?) When vying for who goes first, Death chooses the black pieces. Naturally.

62. LA DOLCE VITA: The Umbrian Angel calls out for Marcello. [1960]

It's one of the most powerful endings of any motion picture. After a night of debauchery, Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni) and his partying pals, including drag queens and starlets, venture to a nearby beach. It's dawn, where the truth is always on display in Federico Fellini Land. A sea monster has washed ashore, and it seems to look at Marcello and his decadent gang with a scolding judgment. At the same time, an innocent blonde girl who Marcello had met earlier in Umbria--Paola--calls out to him. The sound of the sea is so loud that he cannot hear her. He watches her--an angel of purity in a world of sordidness and horror, as symbolized by the monstrous sea creature--but he can't hear her. He's gone too far. He acknowledges her, then walks away from her, joining his shallow friends. And then in that final moment, Paola the Umbrian Angel looks at us, the audience, as the sound of the waves deafen. Can we hear her? Or have we fallen too far, like Marcello? It's a moment of beauty that cannot be measured in a film that, by the way, is also my favorite of all time.

61. DR. STRANGELOVE: "We'll Meet Again Some Sunny Day." [1964]

In Stanley Kubrick's brilliant dark comedy, the world ends in mushroom-clouded rapture as Vera Lynne sings, "We'll Meet Again." Never before or since have music and image come together so chillingly funny.

60. THE GRADUATE: "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me...aren't you?" [1967]

Although "plastics" is the most famous quote from THE GRADUATE, the scene where Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) seduces young, helpless and hapless Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) is our pick for the list. There's so much iconography here: The shot of Benjamin as seen from beneath Mrs. Robinson's leg; his famous line ("Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me...aren't you?") which is often misquoted; and her sly laughter, the world's ultimate cougar on the prowl.

59. Mr. Smith GOES TO WASHINGTON: Jefferson Smith's filibuster. [1939]

"I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine," senator Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) says during this scene, his famous filibuster. "All you people don't know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for. And he fought for them once, for the only reason that any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule: 'Love thy neighbor.' And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust." If only all the politicians in Washington, D.C. would listen to the words of Mr. Smith. But we live in a world of lesser devils, not better angels; thankfully, Mr. Smith and this speech reminds us of a time when those better angels walked among us.

58. DELIVERANCE: "Squeal like a pig." [1972]

It's a tough scene to sit through. Two members of a four-man canoe trip veer off-track and are confronted by two really scary mountain men, who rape one as the other one is tied to a tree at gun point. It's as horrifying as any scene in THE EXORCIST, perhaps more so because we can place ourselves in this situation (where the exorcizing of the devil is something we may believe, but we haven't experienced, or seriously can't imagine happening to us). And Bobby, played by newcomer Ned Beatty, is forcibly molested in the mud, forced to squeal like a sow. I remember forty years ago when this used to be joked about, people on our high school football team imitating it full-squeal. So much laughter from my teammates. But it's not funny and wasn't even then; it's as cringy and horrifying as anything in the cinema.

57. BLAZING SADDLES: Beans at the campfire. [1974]

It's incredible when you think about it. Before 1974, rarely had the fart ever been exploited in the movies...until this Mel Brooks campfire moment where each cowboy gets to enjoy his bean-fueled gas attack.

56: SE7EN: What's in the box? [1995]

55. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: What kind of lotion does Catherine Martin use? [1991]

The two greatest serial killer flicks of the 1990's, both bathed in dread and darkness, have two incredible scenes. In SE7EN, one of David Fincher's best, various murdered corpses litter an unnamed rainy city, all modeled after one of the Seven Deadly Sins. But Mr. Doe, the killer, is saving his best for last. The scene where a main character's (unseen) severed head is delivered in a box has got to be one of the most twisted endings to any mainstream film. In THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins) and Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), have some of the best scenes. But the most horrifically iconic belongs to the serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) who holds his dog, Precious, in his arms and wants his captured prey, Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith), to rub lotion on herself. "It rubs the lotion on its skin," Buffalo Bill instructs Catherine, who he wants to later skin. "It does this whenever it's told....It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again." Don't miss the Greenskeepers' song that uses this line, aptly titled "It Rubs the Lotion on Its Skin." You can find it on YouTube.

54. TAXI DRIVER: Travis looks in the mirror. [1976]

New York City cabbie Travis Bickle is off his rocker. And in TAXI DRIVER we see his slow steady decline to some terrifying end. And if he's not going to shoot a politician, he's going to wage war against a bunch of pimps and Johns in order to save a teenage prostitute. He's a psychopath turned heroic avenger. And it's this scene of him in the mirror that best showcases how far he has fallen in his psychosis: "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Well, then who the Hell else are you talking--You talking to me? Well, I'm the only one here." Look on the bright side: At least he admits that he's alone.

53. ALL ABOUT EVE: Bill's birthday party. [1950]

Perhaps the greatest party showcased on the screen, so well-written that we wish we were there. It has Margo Channing (Bette Davis) at her most drunken vulnerable; Eve Harrington at her most annoying brown-nosey; acerbic critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) at his sauciest; and Miss Claudia Casswell (Marilyn Monroe...yes, she's in ALL ABOUT EVE) at her ditziest. It's a party with highs and lows, intrigue, in-fighting, and moments of pathos. It's like a film within the film. Margo predicted all along how rocky the party would be, in the movie's most famous line: "Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night."

52. THE SEARCHERS: The door shuts on Ethan Edwards. [1956]

John Ford's THE SEARCHERS includes John Wayne's most iconic moment. In it, he portrays Ethan Edwards, whose hatred of Native Americans verges on the psychotic; all through the film he's been looking for his niece (played by Natalie Wood), and he finally rescues her. As the music swells, she runs inside the house with her parents. The young lovers--Jeffrey Hunter, Jesus in King of Kings and the Captain before Kirk on Star Trek; and Vera Miles, whose sister got sliced up in the shower in Psycho--run into the house as well. John Wayne stands alone, silhouetted. There's nowhere for him to go, no place in the modern world, so slowly he turns his back and walks away. Music swells. The door slams shut behind him, leaving him forever on the outside. This is where he will forever be: on the outside of life. THE SEARCHERS and THE GODFATHER are two great films that end with a door shutting somebody out.

51. VERTIGO: Judy turns into Madeleine. [1958]

In VERTIGO, Scottie (James Stewart) becomes obsessed with Madeleine (Kim Novak), a woman he loved and who died due to his inability to help her. And then, months after recovering from a nervous breakdown, he runs into another woman, Judy (also Novak), who looks exactly like Madeleine. He soon takes over Judy's life--forcing her to dye her hair, buy the same clothes that Madeleine wore, wear the same jewelry. The moment Judy as Madeleine emerges from a bluish haze, as if in some sort of dream world, is breathtaking. And Scottie is smitten again. As they kiss, the world rotates around them, the past merging with the present. Hitchcock called Scottie a "necrophile"--in love with a dead woman--and here he has finally brought her back to life. But for how long?

50. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: Christine unmasks the Phantom. [1925]

One of cinema's greatest moments occurs 48 minutes into the film and lasts approximately five minutes in length: The moment when Christine (Mary Philbin) unmasks the horrifyingly scarred Phantom, Erik (Lon Chaney). Audiences were terrified, screams in the aisles, people covering their eyes, fleeing the theater in terror. I remember growing up, reading Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine as a teen (I was a nerd), and oftentimes this sequence was mentioned. Almost a hundred years old and still so very powerful.

49. E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL: The bike ride across the moon. [1982]

So iconic it would be mentioned in a song ("Heartlight' by Neil Diamond where he sings "Gonna take a ride across the moon") and used as the Amblin logo.

48. LA LA LAND: Mia and Seb in a Bizarro World. [2016]

47. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS: The balletic finale. [1951]

In AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, take Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron dancing in Paris, put them in images alluding to the great Parisian artists, add vibrant lighting that bathe the performances in painterly colors, then multiply this by the terrific Gershwin music, and you get what many consider the best ending of any movie musical, the apex of the genre. 17 minutes of pure joy. And LA LA LAND presents a similar musical ending, sort of a Lost-like alternative timeline, a quasi-Bizarro World, where Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone), who couldn't stay together in reality, get to live a life together in a fantasy world that pays more than an homage to AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. Makes you wonder how many times Damien Chazelle watched the Vincent Minnelli masterpiece.

46. MAD MAX FURY ROAD: The chase. [2015]

45. THE FRENCH CONNECTION: Popeye Doyle takes a drive. [1971]

The two greatest car chase scenes, one through scuzzy New York City, the other in a Post-Apocalyptic Australia. Neither of them are for the faint of heart.

44. JERRY MAGUIRE: Jerry interrupts Laurel's women's group. [1996]

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is on a high. His one and only client just had a big game on Monday Night Football, but Jerry needs something to complete him. So he hurries to see his wife, Dorothy (Renee Zellweger), and interrupts the women's club meeting headed by Dorothy's sister, Laurel (Bonnie Hunt). Jerry says: "Hello. I'm looking for my wife. Alright. If this is where it has to happen, then this is where it has to happen. I'm not letting you get rid of me. How about that? This used to be my specialty. I was good in a living room. Send me in there, I'll do it alone. And now I just... I don't know...but our little company had a good night tonight. A really big night. But it wasn't complete, it wasn't nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete, because I couldn't share it with you. I couldn't hear your voice, or laugh about it with you. I missed my wife. We live in a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors, I love you. You complete me. And I just--" Dorothy tells Jerry to shut up; he looks stunned. And then she utters the film's most famous line: "You had me at hello...You had me at hello." They embrace; the support group melts. One woman says, "Best talking group I've ever been in," and you know she's right.

43. CABARET: A countryside Nazi singalong. [1972]

A sweet-faced youth, a one-time model of purity and innocence, sings an anthem that is chilling to say the least. And then we see the Aryan's swastika, and then his audience joins in, except a Jewish man, obviously in discomfort, who sees his countryman joining the master race in song. And when the young man gives the Nazi salute at the end, it's frightening. The song is entitled "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," and no, it's not an official Nazi anthem; it's a Kander and Ebb creation that sounds like a Nazi hit. Strangely, outside of the movie, this same song would get the feel-good folkie treatment, sans the swastikas, by the group that had a hit with "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," the Hillside Singers.

42. FULL-METAL JACKET: Gunnery Sergeant Hartman Introduces himself. [1987]

41. WHIPLASH: Rushing or dragging? [2014]

Two of the greatest bullies in movie history--Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Lee Ermery) and Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons). Hartman isn't some namby-pamby yeller who really likes his boys, i.e. Lou Gossett, Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman. He's a monster. "If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon," he tells his men. "You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day, you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human f**king beings! You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian sh*t! Because I am hard, you will not like me! But the more you hate me, the more you will learn! I am hard, but I am fair! There is no racial bigotry here...Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved corps. Do you maggots understand that?" If it's possible, Fletcher, as played by JK Simmons, is even worse. He's a horrific, yet effective teacher who berates a student drummer in this incredible scene where the student doesn't know if he's rushing or dragging. It builds from the seemingly understanding instructor, kitten-sweet, and ending up almost decapitating the young percussionist. Not since MOMMIE DEAREST has abuse been so much fun to watch.

40.RESERVOIR DOGS: Mr. Blonde, an ear, and Steeler's Wheel. [1992]

The brilliance is in what we don't see--we never see a dancing Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) actually turning the captured cop into a Vincent Van Gogh by carving off his ear. The camera turns away at just the right moment, and all we hear are the officer's screams; what we don't see turns out to be far more disturbing (our imaginations are more graphic than the truth). And all to the tune of "Stuck in the Middle with You." Now, that's entertainment!

39. CHINATOWN: Mrs. Mulray's revelation. [1974]

J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) slaps the truth out of Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway): "She's my sister...she's my daughter..." You have to see the film to understand what that's all about.

38: BAND OF OUTSIDERS: The Madison. [1964]

37. PULP FICTION: The Jack Rabbits Slims' Dance Contest. [1994]

36. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER: Tony lights up the dance floor. [1977]

Three dance sequences, two of them involving John Travolta. In the non-Travolta sequence, Jean Luc Godard's BAND OF OUTSIDERS (a major influence on Quentin Tarantino), three youths dance to the Madison in a cafe, and the music ends, and they're still dancing. In PULP FICTION, the entire Jack Rabbit Slims sequence is extraordinary, and it ends in a perfect fashion, as the mob boss' wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), twists in a contest with mob henchman, Vincent Vega (Travolta)...a scene with more than a nod to the earlier Godard sequence. Sock-footed, Travolta does the Batusi, a Batman-influenced Watusi knock-off, to the tune of Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell." Even more iconic, in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, is Travolta's disco skills in the 2001 discotheque to the tune of The Bee Gees' "You Should Be Dancing." It belongs in a 1970's time capsule along with pet rocks, polyester and the collected works of England Dan and John Ford Coley.

35. THE GODFATHER PART 2: The kiss of death. [1974]

"I know it's you, Fredo." Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) knows that his brother, Fredo (John Cazale), is the traitor to the mafia family. While Cuba falls around them, Michael says that he knows his brother is the backstabber, and then kisses him aggressively--an almost violent act. It's the kiss of betrayal, like Judas with Jesus but with the tables turned. It's also the kiss of death; will Fredo be long for this world?

34. SCHINDLER'S LIST: The girl in red. [1993]

Some people thought the color moments in this black and white world were a mistake in Steven Spielberg's most powerful work; this is the Holocaust, not THE WIZARD OF OZ. But it has a much greater meaning. When Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) sees the young lady in red, it's the way the German citizens looked at the Nazis and their atrocities: There she is, right in front of their faces, and they do not notice. And later, when Oskar sees the corpses piled on top of one another, he sees the body of the same girl in red. But unlike his fellow citizens, he would do something about it, and he would save the lives of hundreds and hundreds--and in the end tens of thousands--of people. In Judaism, if you kill one person, you kill that person's future loved ones as well (the difference between the plural "bloods" and the singular "blood"), all those future generations that will never see the light of life. Schindler did the opposite. He saved not just this one group of Jews, but all of those generations to come.

33. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA: The stateroom scene. [1935]

In one small room we get the following: Driftwood (Groucho Marx); the stowaways Fiorello, Tomasso and Riccardo Chico Marx, Harpo Marx and Allan Jones); two chambermaids; an engineer; a manicurist; the engineer's assistant; a young woman looking for her Aunt Minnie; a cleaning woman; and four staff stewards. That's fifteen people in all. And when Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont) opens the door, they all spill out.

32. THE PRODUCERS: "Springtime for Hitler." [1968]

31. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN: The blind man scene. [1974]

The "Springtime for Hitler" musical from THE PRODUCERS is the funniest, most brazenly bad taste musical sequence of all time, with lyrics like this: "Springtime for Hitler and Germany/Goosestep's the new step today/Bombs falling from the skies again/Deutschland is on the rise again!" Mel Brooks was right when he said that it "rises below vulgarity." Even better, in Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, Gene Hackman portrays a bearded blind man who makes the Frankenstein monster's stay in his humble abode a nightmare: He pours soup in the monster's lap, breaks his wine glass, and lights his thumb on fire. As the monster (Peter Boyle) crashes through the door, escaping for his life, the blind man calls for him to come back, adding, "I was going to make espresso!" Many people consider this the funniest single sequence in any Mel Brooks film.

30. MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL: The Black Knight. [1975]

"'Tis but a scratch." That's what the Black Knight says after on of his arms has ben cut off by King Arthur. "I've had worse..." And what does he say after two arms have been severed? "Just a flesh wound." King Arthur cuts off one of his legs, and what does he utter after that? "I'm invincible!" To which Arthur claims, "You're a loony," before cutting off his last appendage. As Arthur rides away on his imaginary horse to the sound of clacking coconuts, the limbless Black Knight is still not done: "Had enough, eh? Come back and take what's coming to you, you yellow bastards!! Come back here and take what's coming to you! I'll bite your legs off!" I first saw MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL when I was twelve and it changed my life. And this scene is the highlight, perhaps my pick for funniest sequence in film history.

29. FRANKENSTEIN: "He's alive!" [1931]

The excitement when Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) sees his creation, the monster (Boris Karloff), come to life is infectious.

28. GOODBYE MR. CHIPS: Mr. Chipping on his deathbed. [1939]

27. DEAD POET'S SOCIETY: "O Captain! My Captain!" [1989]

26. THE MIRACLE WORKER: Helen spells "water." [1962]

Three of the greatest teachers in the movies. In GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, Latin teacher Mr. Chipping (Oscar winner Robert Donat) is extremely aged and about to die. When he overhears that he sadly never had any children, he says: "I thought I heard you saying it was a pity, a pity that I never had any children, but you're wrong. I have thousands of them. Thousands of them and they're all boys." His students were his children...and his life. In DEAD POET'S SOCIETY, Mr. Keating (Robin Williams, Oscar nominated here) has been ousted from teaching for ridiculous reasons, and his students stand on their desks and proudly, one by one, proclaim their love for him by repeating the phrase from Walt Whitman that he used in class: O Captain, my captain!" And the "water' moment in THE MIRACLE WORKER between Helen Keller (Patty Duke) and her teacher (Anne Bancroft, Oscar winner) is beyond thrilling, the discovery of a world and a blind-deaf girl's connection in that world. Perhaps the best teacher-student moment in the movies. As a teacher myself, I'm crying just thinking about these three scenes.

25. ON THE WATERFRONT: Terry Malloy stands up and walks. [1954]

Yes, the "I coulda been a contender" monologue is more famous, but is any scene more powerful than this, when Terry (Marlon Brando) defies the odds after a savage beating. But Father Barry (Karl Malden) sees a chance of victory in Terry's beaten state. "Do you hear that, Terry?" the Father says. "You lost a battle, but you have a chance to win the war....Can you walk?...Just finish what you started. You can!" And Terry does, struggling but triumphant, ultimately hearing those words uttered by the foreman, music to his ears: "Let's go to work!"

24. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA: Lawrence blows out a match: Welcome to the desert. [1962]

23. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY: The throwing of a bone: Welcome to 4 million years later. [1968]

There are two moments when a single edit can change the entire course of a movie, and none better than these two 1960's masterworks. In 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, during the dawn of man section, one of the apes learns how to use a bone as a weapon. He beats another with it, and then tosses it in the air...and we follow the bone...and suddenly we're in space with an orbital satellite in the future. In one blink, the toss of a bone, mankind evolved over four millions years. In LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) blows out a match and there's an instant cut to the sprawling desert. Special mention must be paid to the two editors responsible for this genius use of the medium: Ray Lovejoy (2001) and Anne V. Coates (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA).

22. PATTON: The General addresses his troops. [1970]

One of moviedom's great openings, with Ol' Blood & Guts, General Patton (George C. Scott), standing in front of a gargantuan American flag and speaking to his troops. Great stuff, satisfying the political right (he's kick-ass!) and the political left (he's a bloodthirsty jingoist!) by equal measure. "I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country," he says. "He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country."

21. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY: "I'll have what she's having." [1989]

Sally's fake orgasm becomes the hottest item on Katz's Deli's menu.

20. CITIZEN KANE: The mystery of "Rosebud" is solved. [1941]

It's interesting that the reporter never solves it, but we, the audience, get a glimpse at the very end, a gift to us. I won't tell you what it is, but if you've never seen CITIZEN KANE, then drop what you're doing and watch it now. The film itself is a revelation--there's a reason it's often cited as the best film of all time. And the ending will floor you.

19. CASABLANCA: Dueling anthems. [1942]

In CASABLANCA, there are so many scenes to choose from-Sam playing "As Time Goes By" or Rick (Humphrey Bogart) uttering his most famous line to Lisa (Ingrid Bergman): "Here's lookin' at you, kid." But this is a list of the greatest scenes, and in CASABLANCA, its top sequence involves "La Marseillaise"--the dueling anthems that the French refugees sing to drown out their German occupants, who are singing "Die Wacht am Rhein." Madeleine Lebeau, who played Yvonne, achieved movie immortality when the camera zooms in on her tear-stained face during the singing of "La Marseillaise." And her cheers of "Viva La France!" afterwards will cause you to cheer as well, Francophile or not.

18. JAWS: Alex Kintner becomes shark food. [1975]

Sheriff Brody (Roy Scheider) witnesses it in total horror--a little boy's inflatable raft is turned over, and the kid's dragged underwater by a great white shark and bloodily devoured in front of beachgoers. The best thing about the scene is Brody's reaction, mainly thanks to the dolly zoom, where the camera pulls toward Brody in a rush of adrenaline. (JAWS may be Steven Spielberg's film, but this moment--the dolly zoom--is where cinematographer Bill Butler deserves our kudos.) Although there are plenty of iconic JAWS moments that could have been included in the 101-such as the first shark attack, Quint's Indianapolis speech, the decapitated head, or Brody's "We need a bigger boat" moment--but this is the one that stays with me, the instance that scared the bejeesus out of a 12-year-old Floridian (me) 45 years ago.

17. ROCKY: Rocky climbs the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. [1976]

This scene, an early example of the Steadi-cam, wouldn't work a fourth as well without Bill Conti's driving score and the song "Gonna Fly Now." And yes, there's a victorious Rocky statue there now that you can pose near while grasping your Philly cheese steak.

16. SOME LIKE IT HOT: "Nobody's perfect." [1959]

It's such a saucy final line, laugh out loud funny and ballsy as hell. Jerry (Jack Lemmon) has been in drag to elude the mob, but Osgood has been smitten with a person whom he thinks is a woman named Daphne. Jerry/Daphne says, "Osgood, I'm gonna level with you. We can't get married at all....I'm not a natural blonde." Osgood says it doesn't matter. "I smoke!" Jerry/Daphne says. "I smoke all the time!" But Osgood says he doesn't care. Jerry/Daphne continues: "Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I've been living with a saxophone player." "I forgive you," Osgood says. Jerry/Daphne follows that up with another revelation: "I can never have children!" But that doesn't deter Osgood: "We can adopt some." Jerry/Daphne has no choice now. He removes his wig and says exasperatedly, "But you don't understand, Osgood! I'm a man!" Osgood follows that up with the greatest closing line in movie history: "Well...nobody's perfect!"

15. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Clarence gets his wings. [1946]

This moment still makes me weep. George Bailey, down and suicidal due to a financial misfortune, is visited by a bumbling angel named Clarence. George gets the best gift of all--to sees what the world would be like as if he had never been born-all the lives he had touched in a positive way--and comes home to his wife and kids. The town has gotten together to rescue him, and they circle him, his wife and one of his children, Zuzu, singing "Auld Lang Syne." George opens Tom Sawyer to see the inscription from Clarence: "Remember George: No man is a failure who has friends. PS Thanks for the wings!" Bells on the Christmas tree jingle, and Zuzu points and says, "Teacher says, every time a bell rings, and angel gets his wings." George winks to the heavens and says, "Atta boy, Clarence!" And I've been balling my eyes out by this point of the film, a moment that never fails to give me those positive-vibe goose bumps, that feel-good cry, no matter how many times I've seen it.

14. THE BIRDS: Melanie Daniels goes to school. [1963]

13. NORTH BY NORTHWEST: The crop dust scene. [1959]

"That's funny...There are no crops there." That simple line in Alfred Hitchcock's NORTH BY NORTHWEST led to one of the most intense sequences ever filmed--Mr Thornhill (Cary Grant) being chased by a crop-duster in an open field, where there's really no safe place to hide. And in Hitchcock's THE BIRDS, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) sits, smokes a cigarette, unaware that evil, eye-pecking birds are gathering on the jungle jim bars behind her as children sing from the schoolhouse. The best part of the scene is Annie Wilkes (Suzanne Pleshette) instructing the students to act like they are going to have a fire drill, and the kids groaning and shocked. But then the kids run, the birds attack, and you wonder if it would have been better if they had lockdowns back then and just stayed put.

12. BEN-HUR: The chariot race. [1959]

BEN-HUR has not aged well, but the chariot race continues to be the only reason to watch the film. I know, I know, the movie is a classic religious work with an inspiring ending. But it's also an epic, and an epically long, bore. Except for the thrilling chariot race that is sensationally filmed, tightly edited, with some of the most thrilling stunt work caught on camera. It also proves that, in the end, cheaters like Masala (Stephen Boyd) do not prosper; they die.

11. STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Luke's ancestry is revealed. [1980]

Luke screams "Noooo!" upon hearing the news that evil Darth Vader is actually his pa, and wouldn't you? It's as if we found out that Adolph Hitler spawned us (I know I broke Godwin's Law with this example, so I hope you can forgive me). By the way, the line is usually mistakenly uttered as, "Luke, I am your father." But that's not what DV speaks. Darth Vader says to Luke, "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father." Luke then yells, "He told me enough! He told me you killed him!" And that's when Darth Vader says his line, reaching out for the lad: "No. I am your father." And Luke lets go, choosing to fall to his death rather than live with the truth (I know, he doesn't die, but it is a rather long fall). So, when impersonating James Earl Jones' breathing-machine voice of doom, please stop saying, "Luke, I am your father." Show the world you know the real line.

10. SUNSET BOULEVARD: Norma gets her close-up. [1950]

"You see, this is my life! It always will be! There's nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!... All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) has gone bonkers and, believing she's on the set of Salome, treats her final moments like an Oscar speech. And then she utters her famous line about being ready for her close-up, and floats towards the camera, her eyes mad as hatters. This would be a touchstone for so various individuals, especially drag queens, many of whom would cite Ms. Desmond's campy allure as one of their chief influences.

9. NETWORK: Howard Beale is mad as hell. [1976]

It's a speech that could have been written yesterday rather than over 44 years ago. Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch, soaking wet, says: "Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the street, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it...We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad!" Howard then looks into the camera and screeches those immortal (Paddy Chayefsky-scribed) lines: "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" His words catch on with the viewers, who are so moved by his words that they open their windows across the country, and cry out those words: "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." Howard's boss, Diane Christianson (Faye Dunaway), is elated: "We struck the motherload!" Howard Beale articulated the popular rage in much the same way as we see certain politicians do today. Nothing's really changed since then; it's just gotten more extreme. Nowadays NETWORK, once called an outrageous satire, comes across as a quaint documentary.

8. GONE WITH THE WIND: Rhett leaves Scarlett. [1939]

And then he said his line and he was gone...with the wind. Yes, GWTW has plenty of scenes to choose from, mainly the burning of Atlanta, but I picked this one, featuring perhaps the most iconic line in film history (AFI ranked it as the #1 movie quote of all time): "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Scarlett realizes that she's not in love with the dour Ashley; she loves Rhett. And she confesses the truth to him. But it's too late. He says his line (the greatest variation of "I don't care" or "I don't give a shit" ever), and briskly walks away, not turning back. Scarlett cries and then, always the fighter, makes herself feel better ("After all, tomorrow is another day"). And that's that, the perfect ending.

7. ALIEN: Kane's lunch is disrupted. [1979]

"What's the matter?" Parker (Yaphet Koto) says to Kane (John Hurt). "The food ain't that bad." But, as he's devouring his lunch after being in a face-hugger-induced coma, Kane has what must be the worst case of indigestion ever seen in the movies. Alas, it's not indigestion; an alien has hatched and bloodily erupts through his stomach, much to the horror of the Nostromo crew. I remember when I first saw the movie in the theaters back in '79, a terrified teenage girl stormed out right after this scene. "I can't take it anymore!" she screamed as she ran out of the Exit door. Her loss.

6. APOCALYPSE NOW: The flight of the Valkyries. [1979]

"We use Wagner. My boys love," Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) says in his helicopter, before hitting the play button of a recording of "The Ride of he Valkyries." And then we witness one of most galvanizing scenes ever. Helicopters, explosions, all to the adrenaline-pumping sounds of Richard Wagner as the Americans bomb a Vietnamese village in order to transport a boat. It's all sound and fury, but it signifies something...the awe-inspiring hallucinatory craziness of battle. It's like being on a rollercoaster through Hades without seatbelts.

5. THE WIZARD OF OZ: Dorothy opens a black and white door and enters a color world. [1939]

"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Yes, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is moviedom's greatest song, and it's hard to believe the Powers That Be at MGM wanted to cut the song at first. But it's still not as iconic as this moment, the instance Dorothy, Toto in her arms, exits the mundane black and white world of Kansas and enters the colorful land over the rainbow. It's the ultimate take on a rural girl heading to the big city. To the LGBTQ community it's akin to opening the closet door, and the world comes alive. Whatever your take and your lot in life, you cannot deny this astonishing moment, where the blah world of Midwestern adolescence enters the vibrant world of adulthood, with talking scarecrows, crying woodsmen, cowardly lions, and horses of many colors. And yet, Dorothy wants to turn her back on this excitement and go back home to the dull old world of her childhood. Don't we all?

4. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN: D-Day. [1998]

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is far from a perfect film. I know this will upset its many diehards, but its graveyard opening and closing just do not work, mainly because the wrong old man (Private Ryan) is standing at the cemetery. (Ryan, played by Matt Damon, was not present for so much of the action of the film, and yet it is treated as a flashback, so how is this his memory? Its muddied and muddled storytelling.) That said, the long, early sequence showing us the storming of the beaches of Normandy through Tom Hanks' eyes is one of the greatest achievements in film history. Its Spielberg in true command of the medium. I wonder how many cases of PTSD festered due to just watching it. For one of the only times in all of cinema, we understand the mayhem, the blood, the horrors of true battle. And here, in all of its chaos, we witness hell...a hell these men actually lived through and died through. As shown here, given the view of so many young men's faces and so many casualties amid the mayhem, we see why they are known as "the greatest generation."

3. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN: Gene Kelly twirls around a lamppost in a downpour. [1952]

What a glorious feeling! Exuberance personified. Gene Kelly's singing and dancing in the rain will clear up even your cloudiest, most dismal of days.

2. THE GODFATHER: Michael Corleone becomes godfather to Connie's baby. [1972]

"Michael Francis Rizzi, do you renounce Satan?" And Michael Corleone's answer: "I do." He says this quietly with no emotion in a church as members of his mafia family gun down their rivals. Aside from being brilliantly effective and jaw-droppingly powerful, the scene works on a variety of levels. On the pure plot level, Michael is becoming the literal godfather to Connie's baby, but he is also now the godfather of the family, the rightful heir to Don Corleone, the newly crowned king of the mafia. On a different level, we explore the idea of ritual both religious (a baptism) and in these killings ("business, not personal" as mentioned earlier in the film). The cross editing between the serene scenes in the church (with a less-than-serene organ pumping out notes of terror) with the shooting deaths of varying mob heads is storytelling at its brilliant best. There are many scenes to choose from THE GODFATHER, including the famous horse's head in the bed sequence, but this one stands out as the best, not just in the movie, but in all 1970's cinema. And yes, that's a future Oscar winner, Sophia Coppola, as Connie's baby.

And now for the greatest scene in cinema history...

1. PSYCHO: Marion Crane takes a shower. [1960]

Is there any other choice for this coveted spot? I can't imagine being in the theaters 60 years ago to see it for the first time, with the screams, those piercing shrieks-and that's just from the audience. In ads for the film director Alfred Hitchcock pleaded with viewers not to give away the ending ("it's the only one we've got," he said). But it's sheer audacity to kill the only "named" performer (Janet Leigh) so early in the film in this 78-shot murderous montage; it's like the chaos theory that Dr. Malcolm talks about in Jurassic Park come to life (or death). In 1960, people were used to such soft cinematic show-offs as Pollyanna and Please Don't Eat the Daisies. But the tide was turning, with films like Breathless, Peeping Tom, La Dolce Vita, and L'Avventura hitting art houses (but not mainstream theaters where Psycho played). The notorious shower sequence was like a pistol blast at a race--one shot in the air and the Sixties had officially begun. Some people think JFK's assassination started off that turbulent decade in 1963, but no. It started right here, in a Bates Motel shower, with Marion Crane, naked and so vulnerable, slaughtered by knife, falling to the ground, the camera fixated on her unblinking dead eye. It's here, the moment our modern world begun (we still exist in the shadow of its nightmare), thanks to Alfred Hitchcock and his most terrifying work. All of the scenes in this 101 are memorable, worthy of greatness, but this is the only one with the savage power to carve its own place in the sands of history. After this barbaric proto-Helter Skelter in black and white, as the chocolate syrup used for Marion's blood swirls down the drain, nothing would ever be the same.


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From This Author Peter Nason