Yvonne (Madeleine LeBeau), the French blonde who has "gone over to the enemy" and is dating a German soldier, joins the crowd at Rick's Café Américain in singing "La Marseillaise," the national anthem of France, with tears streaming down her face.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Overjoyed to be alive, George (James Stewart) runs home — bankruptcy and scandal now seem trivial next to the love he feels for his family and their drafty old house. Before he can be carted off to jail, his friends and neighbors come to the rescue with donations to rescue the Building and Loan, proving that George is truly "the richest man in town."
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
After defending a black man falsely accused of rape — and losing the case — Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) quietly leaves the courtroom. His children watched the end of the trial from a gallery upstairs with a group of African-Americans, who slowly rise to their feet in silent tribute. "Miss Jean-Louise, stand up," a black reverend says to Atticus's young daughter. "Your father's passing."
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
The bathtub scene: Deanie (Natalie Wood) is pushed over the edge when her mother asks her, while she's soaking in the tub, if the boy she's in love with (Warren Beatty) has "spoiled" her. Wood later said the prospect of portraying her character's hysteria at that moment "always frightened me." She performed it in one take.
The Godfather (1972)
"I'm with you now," Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) tells his gravely injured father (Marlon Brando) after an attempt on the Don's life. The pivotal scene comes later, in an Italian restaurant, where Michael meets with Sollozzo, the drug lord behind that shooting, and his corrupt police captain bodyguard. During the meal, Michael goes to the men's room. He returns with a pistol and kills both of them.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Chief Bromden (Will Sampson) finds that Randall McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), the spirited brawler and liberator of the mental ward, has been given a lobotomy. Rather than leaving him confined to an institution in this diminished state, he smothers McMurphy with a pillow to set him free.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
Six years after pledging their love before he went off to war, Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) and Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve) are married — to other people. By chance, on a snowy night, Geneviève pulls into Guy's Esso station in her Mercedes. Her five-year-old daughter is in the passenger seat. Inside the gas station, Geneviève mentions the girl only after Guy asks her name. "Francoise," Geneviève says sadly. "She has a lot of you in her. Do you want to see her?" Guy gently, discreetly shakes his head.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Ray (Kevin Costner) has a catch at dusk with his dead father, who has miraculously returned to the playing field as a young man. ("Is this heaven?" he asks. "It's Iowa," Ray replies. To which his father says,"Iowa. I could have sworn this was heaven.")
West Side Story (1961)
Maria (Natalie Wood) sings "Somewhere" as Tony (Richard Beymer) dies in her arms. (The song, by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, even got to Tom Waits, who recorded his own beautiful version of it in 1978.)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
"The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love…."
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
After a long and frantic search for his stolen bicycle —without it, he'll lose his job and the ability to support his family — Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani) desperately tries to steal someone else's bicycle and nearly lands in jail. In the final scene, his son Bruno tearfully takes his father's hand and they vanish into the crowd.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
We never really see the infant, nor do we need to. The horror is palpable when Rosemary (Mia Farrow) first sees her baby's demonic eyes.
Annie Hall (1977)
Annie (Diane Keaton) and Alvy (Woody Allen) tentatively connect in that awkward conversation on her balcony, as their thoughts are conveyed in subtitles. What Alvy says ("It's a new art form and a set of aesthetic criteria has not emerged yet") is juxtaposed with what he's thinking ("I wonder what she looks like naked").
City Lights (1931)
With her sight restored, the once-blind Flower Girl (Virginia Cherrill) sees the Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) for the first time. She recognizes him from the touch of his hand.
Still the best chase scene ever. Yet it starts out slowly, with the hit men in the Dodge Charger tailing Bullitt (Steve McQueen) at a deliberate pace around the hills of San Francisco. After a while, they seem to have lost him. Then, suddenly, his Mustang Fastback appears in their rearview mirror — and the real chase begins.
Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains), a Nazi expatriate living in Rio de Janiero, sets out to poison his wife, Alicia (Ingrid Bergman), after discovering she's an American agent. The trick is to do it slowly, so his unforgiving associates never learn that he married a spy. Most satisfying moment: Alicia's true love Devlin (Cary Grant) carries her out to the car and locks Alex out, leaving him to explain himself to his Nazi cohorts.
The 400 Blows (1959)
That poignant freeze-frame at the end: Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud), having escaped to the sea, simply gazes into the camera.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Travis Bickel (Robert DeNiro) shops for an arsenal of weapons, as gun salesman Easy Andy (Steven Prince) plies his trade. Selling Travis on the .38 snub nose revolver, Andy says: "Isn't that a little honey?"(Director Martin Scorsese made a documentary about Steven Prince, in which the former junkie and raconteur describes using an adrenaline shot and a Magic Marker to revive a woman after she ODed. This inspired another unforgettable movie scene — in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction.")
The Graduate (1968)
What begins as the date from hell turns into the sweetest date ever, as Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) and Elaine (Katharine Ross) share a bag of fries in his red Alfa Romeo. Never mind that he's sleeping with her mother.
The Elephant Man (1980)
John Merrick (John Hurt), the character based on a severely deformed man who was billed as "half a man, half an elephant" in a Victorian freak show, is cornered by a mob at a London train station, prompting his anguished cry: "I am not an animal! I am a human being!"
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Having sworn off men — or, more specifically, saxophone players — Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) innocently hops into the sleeping compartment occupied by "Daphne" (Jack Lemmon), unaware that he's not a woman but a man in drag. He promptly secures a bottle of bourbon ("This may even turn out to be a surprise party"), but the fantasy turns into slapstick as every other woman on the train shows up to join the party.
Director Roman Polanski's cameo as the diminutive enforcer referred to by private detective Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) as "the midget." Just before slashing Gittes' nose with a switchblade, he says, "You're a very nosy fellow, kitty cat. You know what happens to nosy fellows…." (Love that "kitty cat.")
Rear Window (1954)
Grace Kelly's stunning entrance: For a moment, all you see is an ominous shadow (this is Hitchcock, after all) on James Stewart in a wheelchair, laid up with a broken leg. A second later, there's that famous POV close-up— in a movie all about point of view — of the most radiant leading lady of 1950s Hollywood.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Failed hustler Joe Buck (Jon Voight) and his ailing sidekick Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) have finally left their squat in a condemned building in New York City and are heading via Greyhound to the promised land —Miami Beach. As Joe muses about getting a regular job, he suddenly realizes that Ratzo has died in the seat next to him. The driver stops the bus, but there's nothing to be done. He returns to his seat and resumes driving.
The Apartment (1961)
"Shut up and deal."
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