Single greatest movie scene of all time (IYO)?

exile

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I'm curious about what people think of as the single greatest scene in the history of film. This is of course a matter of intensely personal opinion, and very few of us have seen enough movies to be really encyclop疆dic on the subject... but so what?!! :)

To get things rolling, my own personal 'greatest of all time' is the scene in Casablanca, where Victor Laszlo, the Czech freedom fighter and patriot, on the run from the Nazis and in exile in Casablanca, with his wife Ilse (played by the incomparable Ingrid Bergman) enters the bar owned and operated by Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and hears the loathsome SS unit that has in effect taken over the place loudly braying out "Die Wacht am Rhein". To see what happens next, go here...
 

MA-Caver

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Excellent choice to be sure. Always get stirred by that. Victor's defiance against the dangers before him to rally the people. The love shining in Ilsa's eyes for her husband's bravery and defiance against those who would hunt him down and kill him. Rick, showing his true colors and allegiance when he flat out claimed "I stick my neck out for nobody." Definitely one of the great scenes and great films of all time.

I'm sentimental and remembered that I cried helplessly the first time I saw the ending of this film ... still do, (no it isn't spoiling it-- hopefully it'll encourage a full viewing). City Lights, with Charlie Chaplin gloriously playing his famous Tramp in all of his humanity.
To set this up simply. (from wiki)
The plot concerns Chaplin's Tramp, broke and homeless, meeting a poor blind girl (Virginia Cherrill) selling flowers on the streets and falling in love with her. The blind girl mistakes him for a millionaire and, because he doesn't want to disappoint her, he keeps up the charade. He later saves a millionaire from committing suicide and a running gag throughout the film is when the millionaire is drunk he is the best of friends with the tramp right until he sobers up and can't remember him. Meanwhile the tramp works small jobs such as street sweeping and enters a boxing contest, all to raise money for an overdue rent bill.
The tramp encounters the drunken millionaire again, who provides a casual gift of a thousand dollars that eventually will pay for the rent, and an operation for the girl's eyes. Unfortunately like many of the tramp's efforts things go wrong and he is mistakenly accused of stealing the money when the millionaire sobers up. The tramp manages to get the money to the girl, telling her that he is going away shortly before he is arrested and sent to jail for several months. The ending is just after he's been released...

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From Wiki: However, it was one of the great financial and artistic successes of Chaplin's career, and remained his own personal favorite of all his films. He was especially fond of the last scene. He commented:
“ n City Lights just the last scene … I’m not acting …. Almost apologetic, standing outside myself and looking … It’s a beautiful scene, beautiful, and because it isn’t over-acted.[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Lights
 
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arnisador

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phoebe cates comming out of the pool in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

That really was an extremely erotic shot, and is memorable.

I don't know how to choose a single answer to this, but on purely technical grounds I have always been very impressed by the long opening shot in The Player. As to one that resonates personally with me, there are many, and I wouldn't know where to begin!
 

BrandonLucas

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It is a really hard decision, but I can give at least one of my all time favorites:

Star Wars
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

2 scenes really stand out for me....the first one is where Luke is burning the body of Darth Vader, and the camera pans out to show the celebration going on around him, while he mourns the death of his father.

The second one is the scene in the original Episode VI in which Luke looks over from the party and sees Yoda, Obi Wan, and the original Anakin standing together in the force. Makes me shiver.

I would, however, like to note that I cannot stand Hayden Christianson...and I threw up in my mouth the first time I saw the edited version where they replaced the original Anakin with him. Hayden is one of the all time worst actors, right up there with Shatner. He was no Anakin.
 

Kreth

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The death of Roy Batty in Bladerunner, "...like tears in the rain."
 

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The beach scene from Saving Private Ryan, showing the horrors of war, and that bravery and heroism is about doing your job despite the fear, not the lack of it.
 

Nolerama

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Comedy: Loads of scenes from Animal House. Particularly this one since it pertains to the way I felt at a party I recently attended.

Drama: The end of My Girl is very sad. REALLY sad...

Horror: The needle-in-the-eye scene in The Audition (Japanese version)

Sci-Fi: "KAAAAAHHHHHHN!!!!" - Capt. Kirk
 

MA-Caver

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The beach scene from Saving Private Ryan, showing the horrors of war, and that bravery and heroism is about doing your job despite the fear, not the lack of it.
That was indeed a great scene, brutality of war literally in your face and the sounds of it, the fade out/in and the confusion, the horror.
It's been said that it was so realistic that veterans that were actually there got up and left the theater... dunno if that was really true but definitely believable.
 

Tez3

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The death of Roy Batty in Bladerunner, "...like tears in the rain."

"Time...to...die"

that's my favourite too, I like the original version which I saw first not the directors cut.

The one where Luke Skywalker is watching his father's body burn scene was ruined for me as I was watching it at work the other day and the Gurkha who was working with me at the time had to tell me that the scene is not very realistic as the smell of a burning body is very strong and very very unpleasant! Thanks, Oom for that!
 

matt.m

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It would seem that I would give an answer from "Sands of Iwo Jima" or "Heartbreak Ridge", however both are false.

I would have to say the Quickening of "The Kurgan" in Highlander I. Great ending to an action movie. Really, as far as action flicks are concerned I am hard pressed to find one better. The ending was great, it more than made the movie....lt launched 4 sequals, 2 t.v. series, and an animated series.

As far as drama goes well "Chariots of Fire, Bridge Over the River Qui, Potempkin, and Schindler's List" are the greatest I can think of.
 

myusername

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A few that spring to mind for me...

The end of Rocky 1 with Rocky screaming "Adriaaaan!" whilst she is struggling to get through the crowd to be with him!

The scene in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest when Jack Nicholson takes the other patients fishing.

Also, the very end of The Graduate when after all the drama of escaping the wedding they hop on to a bus and sit in silence! You can tell that they will struggle for conversation for the rest of their lives!! LOL.
 

elder999

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"The one where Luke Skywalker is watching his father's body burn scene was ruined for me as I was watching it at work the other day and the Gurkha who was working with me at the time had to tell me that the scene is not very realistic as the smell of a burning body is very strong and very very unpleasant! Thanks, Oom for that!

Well, Oom's probably a vegetarian, and you're Jewish......
.....burning bodies, fresh ones, anyway, smell like pork.
 

Blindside

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I would have to say the Quickening of "The Kurgan" in Highlander I. Great ending to an action movie. Really, as far as action flicks are concerned I am hard pressed to find one better. The ending was great, it more than made the movie....lt launched 4 sequals, 2 t.v. series, and an animated series.

Uh Matt, anybody ever warn you that you have a bit of an obsession??? *Looks the Highlander stills from Matts photo gallery.* :D I do think it says something of the original that three of the sequals completly sucked and flopped at the box office, and yet they went back for a fourth, which unsurprisingly did exactly the same thing.
 

Tez3

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Well, Oom's probably a vegetarian, and you're Jewish......
.....burning bodies, fresh ones, anyway, smell like pork.

I think he may well be, most Gurkhas are Hindu but he didn't have to tell me with a grin on his face lol! I was sat there with tears in my eyes appreciating the moment when he just said that lol! I told him he had no feelings lol, he replied nah but he could have beaten Luke Skywalker any day, couldn't tell whether he meant it, I suspect he did ...and could lol!! Men!
 

grydth

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Four guys walk into the fortress to get their friend back.... Confident that they won't do anything given the hopeless odds, the warlord kills the man in front of them.... whereupon Pike (William Holden) draws his pistol and blows the warlord away in front of his whole army. Yup, the end of The Wild Bunch.

It isn't for the glorified and graphic violence, though that's stunningly done. It's just that after all the half assed, half measures that are the inevitable staples of the news, all the guys we've left behind or left unavenged... its good to see this.... even though, of course, it is only a movie.:shooter:
 

BrandonLucas

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I think he may well be, most Gurkhas are Hindu but he didn't have to tell me with a grin on his face lol! I was sat there with tears in my eyes appreciating the moment when he just said that lol! I told him he had no feelings lol, he replied nah but he could have beaten Luke Skywalker any day, couldn't tell whether he meant it, I suspect he did ...and could lol!! Men!

Ok...if wer're going to get technical here...

Vader's body wouldn't have smelled any worse than hot metal and burning fabric...after all, according to Obi Wan, he's "more machine than man, wretched and evil."

So, what Luke actually would have smelled was the uniform of Vader burning, along with metal...the smell of burning flesh would have been in there, but not as strong.

But, that's only if we're getting technical....
 
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