Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Memorable Movie Moments

Oscar season may be over for another year, but here's a thought: at awards ceremonies prizes are presented for entire films or entire ingredients of, and contributions to, a film. Whatever the overall quality of a movie, of its ingredients and contributors as a whole, there's usually one scene, one moment even, that stands out in memorable excellence, even in movies never nominated for awards. I decided to make a list of the top half dozen scenes/moments which stand out, for me, as classic, from the hundreds or thousands of films I've seen during my life. These scenes needed no struggle at all to remember, even though the movies come from decades past.

My nominations for best moments (in no particular order):


Ben Hur - Out of all the drama and dozens of memorable scenes, the one I always recall first is a quiet moment, when Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) takes his leave of Esther (Haya Harareet)-
"If you were not a bride, I would kiss you goodbye." She responds with:"If I were not a bride, there would be no goodbyes to be said". What makes the scene so extra special is Miklós Rózsa's wonderful
Love Theme playing in the background....
this is it

The Victors - The scene nobody who ever saw this movie will ever forget: Christmastime, snow on the ground, no dialogue - it's described by Wikipedia like this"
" ...the detour of one truckload of GIs out of a convoy, for the express purpose of supplying witnesses to the execution by firing squad of a GI deserter (a scene inspired by the real-life 1945 execution of Pvt. Eddie Slovik). Depicted in a huge, otherwise empty, snow-covered field near a chateau at Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines on Christmas Eve, while the film audience first hears Frank Sinatra singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and then a chorus of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", after the fatal shots are fired. This scene is remarkable for its stark, visually extreme imagery, and the non-combat stress and anguish foisted on GIs during a lull in combat.... The whole film is shot in black and white, and so the black regimented figures of the firing squad and witnesses face the lone man bound to a stake in the midst of a snow-covered plain."

Bridges of Madison County - The scene with Francesca (Meryl Streep) and her husband in their truck, it's raining; they are stopped at traffic lights, Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) is in the vehicle ahead of them. Francesca is struggling with the temptation to leap out of the truck and go with Kincaid as he leaves.

Prince of Tides - The scene towards the end of the film where Tom (Nick Nolte) is driving home. He approaches a long bridge; we hear him narrate as follows:
"At the end of every day, I drive through the city of Charleston and I cross the bridge that will take me home. I feel the words building inside me, I can't stop them, or tell you why I say them, but as I reach the top of the bridge, these words come to me in a whisper.
I say these words as a prayer, as regret, as praise, I say: Lowenstein, Lowenstein"

Cool Hand Luke - Not the famous "failure to communicate" scene, but the scene where Luke (Paul Newman) sings "Get Yourself a Plastic Jesus."

From Here to Eternity - Not that famous beach scene, but the scene where Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) plays "Taps" after the death of Maggio (Frank Sinatra).

Any especially memorable movie moments for readers passing by?


mike said...

I've never been much of a movie aficionado and the ones I've seen, I tend to absorb as a whole. Much the same with books. I am able to recall various fragments, but in alignment and relating to something significant occurring in front of me in my self-reflections or conversations that rattle my memory banks at that moment. I'm good with evidentiary facts and figures of the physical world, but not the fine arts, to which I'm a generalist.

Many years ago while a student, I had two English major friends that could each quote verbatim from literature, movies, real life, whatever. I was always in awe by these two. Another friend has seen just about every movie ever released and is able to compare-contrast every day, real life events into similes and metaphors of his movie catalog...almost as if the movies were more solid than real life, or contained all the information required to understand daily existence...LOL.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - My friend having knee surgery this week always complains of memory difficulties, yet can recall melodies and lyrics to just about any song he has ever heard. He will hear the first several notes of a song and knows the song. There used to be a program on TV, "Name That Tune", and occasionally "Jeopardy" gives the first notes of a song for the contestant to identify.

Twilight said...

mike ~ You've almost certainly read many more books than I have. Of those I've read and remember well, it's similar to your experience with films - I remember the whole - to identify any special moments I'd have to read the book again.

Whenever the six movies in the post are mentioned those are the scenes that immediately come into my mind, no struggle at all. I've been wondering why that is since preparing the post. I guess it's the poignancy of those moments that stamped itself on my grey matter.
Poignancy. Yes, that's it!

Re your (again) - Oh yes - I recognise that ability ! Anyjazz can identify a recording of a piece of great jazz within a couple of bars or less - and tell me who's playing each instrument. I'm always gobsmacked! He's been mad keen on jazz since his schooldays, so has had plenty of listening time to fill his memory banks. Mind you, on the other hand, he can't remember what day it is or what he had for breakfast most days. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I carry twenty-three great wounds, all got in battle.
Seventy-five men have I killed with my own hands in battle.
I scatter, I burn my enemies' tents. I take away their flocks and herds.
The Turks pay me a golden treasure, yet I am poor!
Because *I* am a river to my people!

My lady, the house is stirring. It is a new day.
- It is a new WORLD.

Well, no, sir...
Umm, I think it's a joke, sir ...
like, uh, 'Sillius Soddus' or ... 'Biggus Dickus', sir.
- What's so funny about "Biggus Dickus? "

Mommy, doesn't that man have a funny nose?
- You mustn't make fun of the gentleman, Clifford.
- You'd like to have a nose like that full of nickels, wouldn't you?

"Haphazard, morally neutral and unimaginably violent"

". for you . for you . for you"


LB said...

Twilight ~ I can think of a bunch.

One of the first that came to mind was from the movie, "Grand Canyon". Mary McDonnell's character, a woman who's already raised and let go of her own grown children, is struggling over what to do about an abandoned baby she's recently found and wants to keep. If my memory is correct, she's out jogging when she happens to pass a mentally ill homeless man and hears him utter the words (to no one in particular), "Keep the baby. You need her as much as she needs you."

I loved the movie. There were a lot of great lines in it. It's all about synchronicity.:)

Another happened at the very end of "The Poseidon Adventure" when the pastor (played by Gene Hackman) who's been leading a small, dwindling group of survivors, realizes the only way for them to live is for him to sacrifice himself. I tried to find the exact quote but couldn't ~ I think it came in the form of an angry rant directed at God, when he pleads, "What more will you ask of me?"

I was a kid when I saw it, but it left a powerful impression about what it means to walk the talk.

And last but not least, there's the scene from "Cloud Atlas" in which Somni speaks these pearls of wisdom as she witnesses the passing away of those willing to sacrifice everything for the freedom of others:

"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future."

It was an imperfect movie with some great messages.

LB said...

Anonymous ~ Love the clip from "Penny Serenade".:)

Twilight said...

Anon/Kidd ~ Hello Kidd - nice to see you!

Thanks for your selection - I Googled the ones I didn't recognise. :-)

Let's see -
Lawrence of Arabia
Shakespeare in Love
The Life of Brian
The Bank Dick
Penny Serenade.

I've seen only the first and third of those. Hmmm - I shall be searching Netflix later to educate myself!

The Life of Brian quote you included brought to mind another moment (or several) online rather than cinematic, in the early days of having a home computer back in the UK - around 2001/2.
AOL reigned then, and I used to contribute and read a forum where one of the members used to write frequent daft pieces using those "Biggus Dickus"
type jokey themes -based on an old Frankie Howerd TV show "Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Forum" - or maybe "Up Pompeii".
LOL! I laughed at those pieces more than anything I've read online since!
Sadly the writer (a retired journalist I think) fell ill and died.

Sonny G said...

I only have 2 strong favorites..
GWTW when scarletts says Tommorrow is Another Day and when out in a field at night she raises her fist to the sky and proclaim, If I have to cheat, steal or kill- neither me nor mine will every go hungry again.. Just typing it These words resonate in my soul..

Fav 2 is ;the Godfather original-- Micheal says " Its the price we pay, for the life we chose~!" YEP thats a fact. we can blame- say our planets have abandon us- we're going through a bad transit-- some great ooogily boogily has cast a spell upon us-- God has forsaken me-- the list goes ON and ON... I prefer what Micheal says we pay for OUR choices and by taking that personnal responcibility we can then choose differently in the future and hold on to the hope that we will wlk out from under the dark cloud and into a time of light.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Oooh !- Thanks for your contributions - more grist for my Netflix mill! Grand Canyon sounds interesting!

I saw The Poseidon Adventure a long time ago - probably should see it again, as can't recall much about it.

I saw Cloud Atlas not too long ago, it's another I must watch again complex! I do recall the scene you mention though.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Thanks for those - both great classic movies, never go out of style! Two important memorable scenes and messages you've chosen too! :-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ It's only fair I come up with at least a few movie suggestions, since you've led my husband and I to so many good ones!

Speaking of which, now that we've finished watching, "Cranford", "Return To Cranford", "Bleak House" and "Wives and Daughters" (all series), we've decided to compare as many versions of "Pride and Prejudice" as are available. So far, I think I've found 6 or 7.

There are so many memorable movie scenes floating around in my head, I had to stop myself at 3.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I enjoy comparing different versions of films too - even though I grumble about so many re-makes hitting the screens. :-/

I've been trying to think of a memorable moment from something more recent than my picks but so far I've come up empty. Maybe the films have to mature in my brain for years, in the manner of good wines. :-)

Oh, wait - yes...the scene in Interstellar where Matthew Mc. is in that multi-dimensional world, able to peek in to any time wave he wishes to see.
I'll remember that for a long time.

Oh - another moment I remember well - in Prometheus- right at the beginning when a vaguely humanoid creature disseminated to, I guess - this one:

LB said...

You'd think I'd remember that scene from Prometheus . . . but I don't! Maybe I wanted to block it out. The movie was kind of dark, I think(???), not what I expected.:0

Anonymous said...

A person could get lost in remembrance ...

Some of my best screen adventures come through listening to DVD Commentary tracks.

Michael Clayton (2007) - listen to George Clooney talk about his craft (as it happens).
Harry Brown (2009) - listen to Michael Caine complain re his title credits (haha).

... etc


... (much easier capcha's now)

Twilight said...

Anon/Kidd ~ Indeed, one could! I remembered most of those, and could even recall the voice and tone speaking them!

I've never listened to a commentary track - you mean those that usually come as "special extras" after the film on a DVD - film is watchable with the commentary going along with it?

Yes they re-jigged catchpa, I have to do it too now but just one click.

Anonymous said...

Oui, Madame ...

You can watch the movie while you listen to the commentary.
You can also sometimes use captioning so you don't miss anything.

There also seem to be fan-based commentaries on the web ...
They could be rather funny, but I have never listened to them.


Twilight said...

Anon/Kidd ~ Thanks - I shall give one a whirl - next time I find a memorable movie. :-)