Author Topic: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why  (Read 8792 times)

An tSaoi

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Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« on: April 06, 2010, 05:01:07 PM »
For some people there's one sequence that stands out, not only from a particular film, but indeed all films. A scene you believe showcases mastery of the craft; be it acting, directing, music, special effects, etc. I'd like you to share your favourite scene, as well as an explanation of why you think it's great. A clip might be helpful, but if you can't find one don't worry.

I thought long and hard about this, and initially narrowed it down to two. It's a close one, but for me the winner is the Esctacy of Gold sequence from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. For both you who are unfamiliar with the film, it's essentially about a bandit (Tuco) and a bounty killer (Blondie) who have to team up to find $200,000 of gold. One knows the cemetery in which the money is buried, the other knows the name of the grave. They must keep each other alive to get their hands on the treasure, and get into all sort of scrapes along the way.

The scene in question occurs at about two and a half hours into the film. We've followed the characters through thick and thin; they've nearly died on a wearying trek through the desert, escaped a brutal prisoner of war camp, ended up in the middle of a Civil War battle and generally avoided death at every turn. After all that there's really no-one else you want to see get the gold; they've earned it. Just when it looks like they'll never get there, Tuco finally stumbles across the cemetery. At this point in the film, you share his elation (I love the moment when he double-checks his map then throws it away). However there's still the daunting challenge of actually finding the correct grave - and there's bloody thousands of them, stretching in all directions.

What follows next is a fantastic piece of filmmaking; all the elements work together perfectly. The direction is powerful, the cinematography dizzying (literally), but it's the music which really elevates the scene into something special - it's ecstatic. A lesser director would have just filmed a man running around the cemetery for a few moments and cut to the grave; Leone stretches it out to four minutes, past the point where there's really any sense in doing so. It's wonderfully indulgent and over-the-top. The result is fantastic, particularly on a big screen with a good sound system. According to legend, the music was recorded beforehand, and played on loudspeakers during filming, although I can't verify that.

The Ecstasy Of Gold - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly [HD 16/9]

The YouTube video doesn't do it justice, not only because of the poor quality, but because you're watching the scene in isolation. To really appreciate the joy of it, you need to feel like you've endured a long journey to get there, something you can only accomplish by watching the whole film.

But enough of my amateurish rambling, what's your favourite scene?

PS. The other scene I considered was [noembed]the final duel from Once Upon A Time In the West[/noembed], which is great for similar reasons. No one can really stop time and stretch out the moment like Leone could.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 07:08:33 PM by An tSaoi »

Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2010, 05:16:21 PM »
The first one that springs to mind for me is this scene from Chaplin's The Great Dictator. Ignore the subtitles, obviously

Hynkel

Not only is it a fanstastic, funny interpretation of Hitler, it is so incredibly brave. This film was made when Hitler was at the height of his power, when the rest of Europe was cowering at his machine and yet Chaplin had the chops to ridicule him, which is of course one of the most powerful weapons against these fuckheads - to demystify and strip them bare. Show them for the - admittedly dangerous - fools they are. It is the film I reference when I talk about Four Lions to people who know nothing of Morris, his ability to mock those that are feared.

I think it's crucial to watch this film through that prism, to be aware of the circumstances that surrounded it. And apart from anything else, it's very funny.


An tSaoi

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2010, 05:19:51 PM »
Ah yes, that's a fantastic scene. Today complain about jokes being too recent (according to that Offensive Joke documentary last night Princess Diana is still out of bounds), and how you should wait until the feeling has died down. There was Chaplin while World War II was actually happening. Brave indeed.

My favourite bit is "His Excellency has just referred to the Jewish people" after his clearly anti-Semitic rant.

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2010, 05:29:37 PM »
It's a daring piece of film making, but I think you're overstating how dangerous it was 2000 miles away in California. And taking the piss out of Hitler was hardly a novel thing at the time.

Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2010, 05:33:44 PM »
Well, I'm not suggesting it was physically brave. Hitler was hardly going to knock on his door and duff him up. 16 December 1940 is the date Imdb has as the release date. Hence America was nowhere near entering the war and there was plenty of discussion about which side they should be on in the first place. Meanwhile, Europe was being overrun and Britain was being bombed to shit. It's pretty brave to make a comedy out of that.


An tSaoi

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2010, 05:39:08 PM »
Plus Chaplin was a suspected Commie at the time. One wrong move and he could have been blacklisted.

What's your favourite scene biggy?

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2010, 05:42:03 PM »
watched Raising Arizona for the first time in years the other day, and the ending scene had me wobbling, lip-wise. The dream of hopes and the future, with some ideal situations chucked in, all narrated goofily by Nicolas Cage's Hi, mixed with the haunting instrumental... this following on from the previous scene of the couple returning Nathan jr to the Arizona household, the couple nearly splitting and Nathan telling them to sleep on it.

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2010, 05:58:57 PM »
I immediately thought of The Great Dictator when I say this thread title. Good choice, hoverdonkey.

It's a daring piece of film making, but I think you're overstating how dangerous it was 2000 miles away in California. And taking the piss out of Hitler was hardly a novel thing at the time.

Considering Chaplin's popularity, and as other people have mentioned, suspected political views etc. then it's clear to see. Chaplin had a huge audience and could just as easily knocked together another film, a film that didn't say anything, or question or make people think.

Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2010, 06:21:10 PM »
Off the top of my head...

Not Economicly viable ( falling down)

The 'not economically viable' scene from Falling Down. I love the fleeting connection between the two luckless characters. It's like a rare moment of empathy in the middle of a harsh fast-paced bustling city environment. Don't forget me.

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2010, 06:44:56 PM »
Nice one An tSaoi, I enjoyed reading that.

I have quite a number of favourite scenes. The opening scene from Once Upon a Time in the West is a masterwork of tension building and the use of diegetic sound. However, for it is the final scene with the [spoiler]identity of Bronson's character revealed via backstory and the hanging of Fonda[/spoiler] that really sets my balls alight. This was Leone at the peak of his powers. The cutting and the music make it extraordinary.

To this I would also add the full reveal scene in Festen when the[spoiler] son tells everyone what his father did[/spoiler]. However, as with the above, for me it is a scene towards the end that makes it special. It is the one where they are [spoiler]playing piano and it all goes a bit odd, with blackness, a whiff of a ghost, and the candle being lit.[/spoiler] I don't think Vinterberg will ever direct a better scene in his career. Add to this the final [spoiler]suicide scene[/spoiler] in The Piano Teacher. Huppert [spoiler]stabs herself in such a shocking, solemn and sad way. It comes out of nowhere and leaves you reeling.[/spoiler]

In terms of comedy, well the scene in Stir Crazy when they all go to the bar and Hall's character starts talking like an old blues musician kills me, as does the scene when Pryor and Wilder go into prison in Stir Crazy. I cry every time I see it. Also, the first meeting with Monty in Withnail (as well as the Elphick pub scene, burglary scene, tea-room scene and more...).

I have to add the first meeting with Nicholson's character and Grady in the toilet in The Shining. Eerie, confusing, superbly shot and very funny.

However, I think these three would make joint first place for my favourite scene(s). As usual I struggle to find the right language to convey my love of Tarkovsky. Sorry if these seem like unpleasantly pretentious choices.
Actually no, I'm not sorry. Fuck you. The Solaris one in particular blew me away when I saw it on a cinema screen. Had me rooted to the chair better than any thriller or horror.

Stalker
Stalker-Final Scene

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Best sequence shot ever - Tarkovsky

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solaris by tarkovsky (solyaris) - ascension

An tSaoi

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2010, 07:09:41 PM »
Nice one An tSaoi, I enjoyed reading that.
Thank you. Some great choices there in your post (and everyone else's I should add).

And I'm stealing the phrase 'sets my balls alight'.

biggytitbo

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2010, 07:40:51 PM »
I don't have one favourite scene but here's a few I like:

Car attack scene from Children of Men
One of the most stunning pieces of camera work ever commited to film, its a close run thing between this and the later warzone scene but this just wins for its brutal, unexpected horror:
Children of Men tracking shot

Edward Woodward burnt alive in The Wicker Man
An obvious one but someone has to say it.
The opening 5 minutes of Suspiria is one of the great set pieces in film history, dripping with atmpsphere, dread, tension and capped by that glorious final shot.

Ratty's trip to the moon in Ratcatcher
A gritty, kitchen sink drama crossed with lyrical, magical realism this is my favourite scene from the excellent ratcatcher
Ratcatcher - Snowball's Flight to the Moon

The aliens appear and attack in War of the Worlds (2005)
Spielberg takes the hoary old sci fi staple of aliens invading and turns into into one of the most terrifyingly visceral and real sequences ever shot. He films the appearance of the aliens and then the massacre as if he was filming Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan and its immensely powerful because of it. This isn't fun, its horrifying. He continues the WW2 analogies throughout the film to great effect, but kind of spoils it at the very end with one of the worst scenes in film history.

The End of When the Wind Blows
When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 8
Two naive  old people, confused and half dead because of a nuclear war, still cling onto the hope that the powers that be will rescue them and everything will be OK. powerful and quite hard to watch, made all the more gut-wrenching because its filmed in the same cartoon style as the Snowman. Like the Chaplin one, if you put it into the context of the mid 80s it must have been terrifying to watch.

Catalogue Trousers

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2010, 08:19:39 PM »
Okay -  a great (and sadly-underrated) film, and one hell of a set-piece.

The Rocketeer versus Nazi agents

There have been so many other pulp hero films, but this single sequence outdoes all of them. Yes, including Indiana bloody Jones.

Soaring score from an on-form James Horner, great acting from all concerned from leads to bit-parts, vastly-quotable dialogue, marvellous effects, the constant back-and-forth shift of the balance of power, that great double-take about four minutes in, and bloody hell - ZEPPELIN!!!!

"Maybe not, look!..."

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2010, 08:21:24 PM »
Sweet, simple and adds little plotwise, yet simultaneously filled with wonder and tells us all we need to know about the seven dwarves (and especially Dopey):

snow white and the seven dwarfs: heigh-ho

Plus:  Tune!

The Dwarfs' Yodelling Song runs it a close second:

Dwarfs' Yodel Song - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

biggytitbo

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2010, 08:33:22 PM »
Okay -  a great (and sadly-underrated) film, and one hell of a set-piece.

The Rocketeer versus Nazi agents

There have been so many other pulp hero films, but this single sequence outdoes all of them. Yes, including Indiana bloody Jones.
Its good, but it doesn't match the dizzying, exhilarating, kinetic masterpiece that is the extended opening sequence of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But then what does?

Serge

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2010, 09:02:26 PM »
Although 'Red' is my favourite of the trilogy (and my favourite film of all time), my favourite actual scene from a film has to be from 'Three Colours: White', of the main character Karol Karol, and his new best friend Mikolaj skating on an icy lake, and it comes at 6:52 in this clip:
Scene from Trois Couleurs: Blanc (Three Colors: White)
That clip usefully contains the sequence leading up to the scene on the ice, explaining why the two characters are so elated and feel that anything is possible. Though if you haven't seen 'white', then stop reading now and go and see it immediately! Essentially, [spoiler]Mikolaj has been feeling suicidal, but doesn't have the courage to kill himself, so gets Karol to shoot him in return for smuggling Karol back into Poland. Karol is only told that he is to kill a friend of Mikolaj's, but guesses the truth of the situation, so when he goes to shoot Mikolaj, he fires a blank first and asks him if he still feels like he wants to die, as the next bullet will be a real one. Mikolaj is forced to realise that he doesn't want to die, which leads to the scene on the ice with the two men feeling happy and more alive than ever.[/spoiler] It makes me smile every time I see it.

Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2010, 09:46:26 PM »
Film: Back To The Future.
Scene: Marty performs 'Johnny B. Goode' at the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance.
Why: Well beyond the fact that the film would be too mathematically balanced without it, this scene is just a brilliantly joyous and hilarious depiction of relief and celebration, a let-loose moment well-earned by both the character and the viewer, like an amazing Friday night after a stressful week at work. It's fucking great.

Although 'Red' is my favourite of the trilogy (and my favourite film of all time), my favourite actual scene from a film has to be from 'Three Colours: White', of the main character Karol Karol, and his new best friend Mikolaj skating on an icy lake [...]
Great choice.

Okay -  a great (and sadly-underrated) film, and one hell of a set-piece.

The Rocketeer versus Nazi agents
I really like the earlier scene too, where he's attempting to rescue that guy from the plane. If I remember correctly there's a lovely moment where he falls away from the plane and through a cloud, then restarts the engine and heads back up to the plane, again with the music absolutely pitch-perfect. As a matter of fact, if you watch the making-of documentary for 'Iron Man' you can witness Jon Favreau talking about how he wants the flying stuff in that film to be exhilarating and even emotional (I think) and yet I don't think he pulls this off anywhere near as good as is achieved in 'Rocketeer'. The sequence immediately post-rescue, where Secord is flying through fields and so on is genuinely exhilarating. Obviously the film was in trouble before a single frame was shot but it's still one of my favourites.

An tSaoi

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2010, 10:04:27 PM »
Well beyond the fact that the film would be too mathematically balanced without it, this scene is just a brilliantly joyous and hilarious depiction of relief and celebration, a let-loose moment well-earned by both the character and the viewer, like an amazing Friday night after a stressful week at work. It's fucking great.

And to think they almost cut it out of the film because it 'stopped the plot for a few minutes'.

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2010, 10:26:08 PM »
There are quite a few which I can't find links for, but one of the scenes I love is;

Oldboy long sequence shot; Oldboy Best Fight Scene : HD 720p Widescreen

The end scene of Inglorious Basterds, when the film does what you hope it will do.

The end scene of L'Avventura, the way the surroundings are used like some Escher drawing is just great.

Stalker opening sequence in the bar. The amount of detail in this shot is just overwhelmingly beautiful. I can't wait till this comes on Blu-Ray




Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2010, 11:03:51 PM »
The Truman Show

The scene where Truman realises he's at the centre of something. It starts with him breaking the pattern of his daily routine by making a complete revolution in the revolving doors to work until he ends up back in the street again. Then he walks into the road and holds up his hands to stop the oncoming traffic. It's the turning point of the movie. The music - anthem 2 from powaqqatsi - absolutely makes the scene.

actwithoutwords

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2010, 11:46:11 PM »
Lecter's escape from custody in the Silence of the Lambs. Brilliantly tense, building up to the magnificently horrifying reveal of the room with the open cage, followed by the real reveal of how he gets out shortly afterwards. The way his physical danger is set up so beautifully in the first part of the film, the realisation that he is free is really quite terrifying.

Oh and to pick a recent but obvious one, the 'married life' montage from Up. Absolutely masterful filmmaking.

non capisco

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2010, 12:20:41 AM »
Its good, but it doesn't match the dizzying, exhilarating, kinetic masterpiece that is the extended opening sequence of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But then what does?

The desert convoy chase in 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'! Man, I love 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'.

neveragain

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2010, 12:27:45 AM »
The Truman Show

The scene where Truman realises he's at the centre of something. It starts with him breaking the pattern of his daily routine by making a complete revolution in the revolving doors to work until he ends up back in the street again. Then he walks into the road and holds up his hands to stop the oncoming traffic. It's the turning point of the movie. The music - anthem 2 from powaqqatsi - absolutely makes the scene.

But how about the sailing sequence, and its conclusion? Beautifully existential, the music's great and Carrey's performance (mostly seen from behind, importantly) could carry anyone along with him as he literally reaches the end of the world.

Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2010, 01:29:05 AM »
Can I name a few? Don't want to spoil so descriptions are vague.

- The Mighty Mouse scene in Man On The Moon.

- The funeral scene in Man On The Moon

- The behind the log scene in Adaptation.

All these reduce me to tears every time!!

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2010, 02:41:00 AM »
There's thousands I could list, and I'll have to revisit this thread soon, but the one that immediately sprang to mind was this scene from Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me.

Never Fuck With The One-Armed Man! (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me).mpg

It might seem an odd choice given Lynch's famed weirdness here and elsewhere, but for me it's the tension he creates in the scene that makes it so memorable. It's all but unbarable, as it builds and builds, until the one armed man finally reveals that [spoiler]"It's him, It's Your Father" - but it's a truth that both can't bare to hear, and their screams are tragically chilling at this point, if for very different reasons.[/spoiler].

phes

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2010, 03:25:27 AM »
Sweet, simple and adds little plotwise, yet simultaneously filled with wonder and tells us all we need to know about the seven dwarves (and especially Dopey):

snow white and the seven dwarfs: heigh-ho

Plus:  Tune!


Well that answers my question...

Mine's an animation also and similarly, it's not especially important plotwise. It's light relief from what can be fairly heavy going stuff. I remember that as a child, each and every time I watched the film, I eagerly anticipated this scene in much the same way that now as a hairy 31 year old child, I eagerly anticipate going to the pub. I just love this film to pieces and so my favourite scene is as much to do with the context around it as the scene itself. Just the perfect family film and produced by accident really, to recoup money from other losses.

an elephant drying its backside with a lightning bolt...

2.50 in: Dumbo (1941) HD Part 5

through to

30 seconds in: Dumbo (1941) HD Part 6

Phil_A

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2010, 03:33:22 AM »
Singing In The Rain - Make 'Em Laugh!

Make them laugh

Youtube can't possibly do this justice. Absolutely one of the greatest physical comedy performances in the whole of cinema, from the tragically overlooked Donald O'Connor. Even more incredible when you realise O'Connor did the whole thing in a single take, and was subsequently bedridden for three days as he'd bashed himself around so much on the hard concrete floor. And then the film got damaged so he had to it all over again! What a guy.

phes

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2010, 03:40:32 AM »
Was lucky enough to see that on the big screen a couple of months back and it's mind blowing.

Santa's Boyfriend

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2010, 09:11:08 AM »
The scene in Leon where Mathilda is standing at Leon's door, begging him to open it - both of them knowing that if he doesn't, she'll be killed.  When he finally opens it, the frame is oversaturated with light, referencing a heavenly deliverance.  A truly brilliant scene.  Can't find it on youtube, there's just a load of shitty music compilation videosl

Johnny Textface

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Re: Your Favourite Scene From a Film -- and why
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2010, 10:12:32 AM »
A couple spring to mind but I'm sure I could come up with a load more..

The combined music and visuals just create an atmosphere of pure movie magic to me.

The Map Room scene in Raiders:-
 (best clip I could find but get general idea)

Raiders Of The Lost Ark - The Map Room (Dawn)

and
The Cinema scene with Frank in Donnie Darko:-

Donnie Darko - with Frank in the cinema

oh and this:-

Freddy Got Fingered - We can live like kings!