I was having a debate with some friends the other day about the difference between a good movie and a movie with a few good scenes. Sometimes a great scene will make a movie memorable, even if the rest of it wasn't so hot. My favorite example is A Few Good Men, which I personally think is an average and highly overrated movie with one absolutely riveting scene. "You can't handle the truth!"
That's not to say great scenes and great movies are mutually exclusive. It's no coincidence that the best movies often have the best scenes. But for every "I know it was you, Fredo" or ripple of water in a plastic cup, there's a corresponding scene in Harley Davidson & the Marlboro Man or Billy Madison that elevates the surrounding material. Think of John Belushi on the ladder in Animal House, or the crop duster scene in North by Northwest, or Bill Duke emptying his mini-gun into the jungle in Predator, moments which stick in your mind that you always wait for if you happen to catch it on HBO.
Anyway, it got me thinking, and I decided I'd throw together a list of my 25 favorite movie scenes ('cause the last time I did a list of 100 it took me all summer). They are in no particular order, in no way reflect my all-time favorite movies (which I won't bore you with) and are hardly a comprehensive or permanent list.
- "Adios, Sapito." - The theft of the idol at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark
- "I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?" - Jules and Vincent interrogate Brett and friends in Pulp Fiction
- "Head! Move!" - Charlie's father explains the Pentavirate and mocks a boys head-size in So I Married an Axe Murderer
- "I am not left-handed." - The sword fight in The Princess Bride
- "You got him?" "Yeah, I got him" - Showdown in the train station in The Untouchables
- "Hi, it's Mike..." - The most painful phone call in history from Swingers
- "I'll be takin' the Huggies and whatever cash you got." - The chase scene from Raising Arizona
- "Time's Up" - Everything blows up real good in Independence Day
- "Cuz you're gay, and you can tell who other gay people are?" - The "you know how I know you're gay" scene from The 40 Year-Old Virgin
- "Your skill is extraordinary" - Bruce Lee beats up about a thousand lackeys in Enter the Dragon
- "Stay away from the cans!" - Navin R. Johnson gets shot at in The Jerk
- "Oh, he was a little guy. Kinda funny lookin'" - A random interview with a bar owner in Fargo
- "Redrum. Redrum" - 'Tony' scares the bejesus out of me in The Shining
- "Oh man, how'd you get the beans above the franks?" - The worst prom night ever from There's Something About Mary
- "Yak dung!... hope tastes good - like a cigarette should!" - The brainwashing of the soldiers in the original Manchurian Candidate
- "You can come and play now!" - Danny invites some visitors to play in Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- "My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons" - Dr. Evil's support group from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
- "I think that the problem *may* have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being *crushed* by a *dwarf*." - The band plays Stonehenge in This is Spinal Tap
- "You're gonna need a bigger boat" - Jaws. Duh.
- "Any men don't wanna get killed better clear on out the back" - Bill Munny seeks vengeance at the end of Unforgiven
- "How would he know where we're going?" - Going the wrong way on the highway in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
- "Fly you fools!" - The fellowship flees the Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring
- "Hey Dad? You wanna have a catch" - the scene that always always always makes me cry in Field of Dreams
And my three all time favorites:
- "What I want - what's most important to me - is that I have a guarantee: No more attempts on my father's life." - McCluskey & the Turk meet their end in The Godfather
- "'Domus'? Nominative? 'Go home' is motion towards, isn't it?" - A centurion corrects Brian's Latin grammar in Monty Python's Life of Brian
- "I am your father" - Vader? Skywalker? No. Way!
Like I said, this is a highly subjective and incomplete list. Consider this a mini-meme...what are your favorite scenes?