Here live my ongoing greatest/favourite movie moments – in no particular order. These aren't intended to be a snapshot of the most famous movie scenes of all time - some may be pivotal plot points, others simple scenes, but they all became scorched in the movie theatre in my head for many different reasons...
THE DARK KNIGHT
Following on from the iconic 'truck flip', The Joker (Heath Ledger) lurches through the street, gun firing as he urges Batman (Christian Bale) to run him down.
The rising tension built by the performances and the great use of music/effects make this scene hit hard, as does the gangster feel and the large scale of downtown Gotham.
Aliens bursts into life with the sound of the motion tracker setting the tone as an army of aliens descend on the troops from all sides…
Simple and very effective use of sound to ramp up the uneasy feeling
Having been forced to suffer a living hell at the hands of a group of unknowns, the vacant and expiring look in Anna's (Morjana Alaoui) eyes as she has accepted the fate which she has been chosen for is haunting
Thinking that the insurance claim goldmine is secured, Walter (Fred MacMurray) returns home satisfied. His partner in crime and lover Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck) calls to say she’s on her way round. Then the door knocks - it can’t be her? It’s Keyes (Edward G. Robinson)– the very suspicious Claim Manager, who senses a murder conspiracy.
As Phyllis arrives shortly after, a brilliant game of hide and seek occurs…
DUMB AND DUMBER
“Hey…wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?” Lloyd (Jim Carrey) casually asks - and with that comes one of the great improv’d comedy scenes in film!
The very moment where Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) sees just how lonely he really is. Power and money can’t buy you everything as he is left with no one.
The clatter of noise is all that needed to be heard as this moment of self-realisation surfaces, with everything in sight being hurled and kicked, except for Susan’s (Dorothy Comingore) snowglobe…
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN
As Guy (Farley Granger) waits for his tennis game to start, hoping to take his mind off his current predicament, he looks up into the sea of rotating heads in the crowd to see one fixed face staring back at him – the reason for his troubles, Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker)
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
Following the suicide of Billy (Brad Dourif), R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) finally gets his hands on the malevolent Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) in an oddly satisfying scene of realised retribution, mainly due to the brilliant performance of Fletcher as the conceited, detached nurse throughout the movie
THE LION KING
Simba and Nala (with Zazu) foolishly enter the Elephants Graveyard – despite being warned not to by Mufasa. Unfortunately, the three hyenas are waiting and are hungry. The cubs are cornered in a cave, with no hope, until Mufasa arrives and beats some serious hyena arse. Dad to the rescue, and makes later scenes even more poignant
Bohemian Rhapsody. The Mirth Mobile. Wayne (Mike Myers), Garth (Dana Carvey), Terry (Lee Tergesen), Phil (Sean Sullivan) and Neil (Dan Bell) re-enact the Queen classic, leading to the glorious headbanging moment as Brian May lets fly.
THE EXORCIST III
A nurse makes her night time rounds at the asylum. After an early misdirection scare, there’s a wonderful lingering shot of the hallway where she busies herself at her desk, interacts with a guard, then heads to a door. She enters a patient's room to the left, comes out again and seemingly locks up - only instantaneously behind her is someone in a white robe, carrying large shears, ready to slice.
Surrounded by daffodils, Ed Bloom’s (Ewan McGregor) attempts to woo Sandra (Alison Lohman) are interrupted by her fiancé Don (David Denman) who proceeds to give him a beat down. The shot of a bloodied Ed grinning as Sandra calls off the engagement, just before another punch, show perfectly the charm, charisma and humour of the character.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
Gandalf (Ian McKellen) vs the Balrog. In a movie filled with iconic images, this stands out above all for me. Set in the dark Mines of Moria, the demon Balrog is stopped by Gandalf, and is told “you shall not pass!” before the gruelling fight to the death ensues. Epic. Grand.
As the squad reconvene in a bar, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) launches into them all about how normal isn’t for them. Boomerang (Jai Courtney) retorts she’s “amazing on the outside, ugly on the inside” – she replies they all are, before pointing to Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) saying “except him, he’s ugly on the outside too” – a great line effortlessly delivered.
As the unsinkable beast Titanic is slowly succumbing to her watery grave, the band keep playing. The lifeboats are gone, the water is rising but the band kept playing –“Gentleman, it has been a pleasure playing with you tonight” William Hartley tells his colleagues. The attempt to calm the passengers didn’t particularly work, but they were brave, heroic souls who went down with the ship.
Pushed to the brink and ready to explode, Nina (Natalie Portman) finally lets loose at her dominating mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) – “I am the Swan Queen!” she roars before slamming the door behind her, snarling as she lets her know who’s boss before giving the performance of a lifetime
As the four crew members fret about oxygen reserves and getting home successfully, Capa (Cillian Murphy) asks the ship’s mainframe CPU to calculate the oxygen levels and probability of getting back to Earth. The CPU responds that there is not enough oxygen for five people, as Capa is eerily informed an unknown passenger is on board the ship.
Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) gives some last minute, pretty handy advice as he instructs his colleagues not to cross the streams when firing their proton packs. Venkman (Bill Murray) doesn’t quite get it, until Ray (Dan Aykroyd) explains it as “total protonic reversal”. That’s bad? Yeah. It was nice of Spengler to let them know though.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
When Dufresne (Tim Robbins) doesn’t appear at count, and Red (Morgan Freeman) swears to Norton (Bob Gunton) he has no idea where he is, Norton angrily launches a rock at Dufresne’s poster of Raquel Welch, only for the crushing realisation that the massive hole in the wall behind the poster is where Dufresne went.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VI - RETURN OF THE JEDI
After Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) disable the shield generators on Endor, with Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) piloting the Millennium Falcon and destroying the Death Star II, plus Luke Skywalker defeating the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) with Darth Vader’s help, the galaxy was in a better place, and for a moment everyone was happy.
GOOD WILL HUNTING
On a Boston park bench watching the water, therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) delivers a mesmerising and incredible speech to Will Hunting (Matt Damon) about the struggle and reality of life and not reverting to defense mechanisms and intellectual retorts. An iconic scene nailed by Williams.
Detectives Mills (Brad Pitt) and Somerset (Morgan Freeman) escort John Doe (Kevin Spacey) to the location of his final crime. Whilst there, a package is speedily delivered - a deadly package for Mills. Somerset investigates and frantically informs Mills to drop the gun…now. “What’s in the box?!” screams Mills as Doe spills the grisly secret.
Denied access to the funeral of their mother, the Cash children sit despondently in their bus, with dad Ben (Viggo Mortensen) explaining that the powerful control the powerless, and that’s the way it is, and that’s why they can’t go. “Well, fuck that!” he shouts and the bus erupts as they make their way across country to the service.
LA LA LAND
Bickering their way through a cool evening’s after party walk, Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) take a break from talking and decide to let dancing describe their feelings, overlooking Los Angeles under a purple night sky
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
The Death Star plans have been beamed to the Rebels following the Battle of Scarif, but delivery is interrupted as from the shadows comes that ominous breathing, the red lightsaber lights up the hallway – that means one thing…no one is getting out (except the plans)
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Coming face-to-face with each other and their past, Randi (Michelle Williams) finally breaks down and opens up to Lee (Casey Affleck). “You can’t just die!” she begs as she attempts an emotional reconciliation, “There’s nothing there” he replies – shaken and disturbed. It’s a powerful moment.
Confused and scared, the residents of the quarantined Barcelona apartment block converge at the bottom of the stairs, but their discussions are abruptly halted by the body crashing down from the top floor and splatting between them.
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
HMS Surprise, disguised as a whaling ship, drifts next to the mighty Acheron, and the ruse pays off. Surprise devastates its rival with close action cannon fire and the fighting turns personal as the crew storm ships and let their swords do the talking.
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
Harry (Colin Firth) annihilates everyone within the confines of the church he is in. Mind controlled by sim cards created by the evil Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), those present turn on each other and set to ‘Freebird’, Firth fury is unleashed and it’s marvellous to watch.
The poor crew member who inhaled spores from the silent (yet very inhabited) planet soon takes a turn for the worst when he gets more than just an itchy back. With Maggie (Amy Seimetz) and Karine (Carmen Ejogo) watching in utter fear and horror, a baby Neomorph rips through the man’s back and the terror begins.
It’s New Year’s Eve. At his club in New York, Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) stares into the distance, face full of sadness and regret as the countdown to midnight begins. Little does he know that the-one-that-got-away, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) is doing exactly the same over in Hollywood. Poignant.
POWER RANGERS (2017)
The Power Rangers have learned to harness their collective power and finally don the iconic suits to stop Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) from seizing the world. As their Zords charge through the desert, the classic theme blasts through the speakers and its back to the mid-nineties. Fist pump!
Seven days is up for Skye (Aimee Teegarden) and it’s time for Samara to do her business. Contorting through the TV screen, the well-dweller stands tall in front of her victim (including a cool camera pan) and the horror icon returns once more.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
As the revolt begins, Caesar (Andy Serkis) makes his way to confront the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), but he doesn’t find a defiant soldier, he finds an infected drunk. The standoff that follows ramps the tension right up and is mighty to watch as the gun is put to the forlorn Colonel’s forehead.
TRICK 'R TREAT
Flaming pumpkins on a stool, “trick or treat, give me something to eat” on the wall, with a knife to the leg from under the bed, evil Kreeg (Brian Cox) meets the guardian of All Hallows Eve, Sam.
THE LOVED ONES
After being crowned “Queen of the Dance”, Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy) decides to do away with her stricken, and now surplus to requirements, victim Brent (Xavier Samuel) by drilling into his skull to lobotomise him. The slow build-up and sound of drill on bone is unsettling alongside the macabre glee of the captors.
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Attending the May Ball together, Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) coyly discuss anything but romance until a late night stroll over an exquisitely lit bridge gives the two a chance to dance under the stars, and finally seal their relationship with a kiss.
KONG: SKULL ISLAND
The King arises. Set against the blood red sun and with advancing helicopters gunning for him, Kong rises and his unmistakable, formidable frame steals the skyline and wreaks havoc on everything around him.
Before the rain, Noah (Ryan Gosling) takes Allie (Rachel McAdams) for a romantic boat trip across the nearby river and are surrounded by swans gracefully gliding by and in formation around them. A gorgeous start to a wonderful scene.
THE DAM BUSTERS
Having finally had a successful test of the bouncing bombs required to breach German dams, the RAF 617 Squadron launches their attack against three dams. Despite losing eight Lancaster bombers and their crew, two dams are successfully breached by the heroes in the sky.
After another day of driving the #23 bus, Paterson (Adam Driver) returns home to another bizarre meal with his wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). This time its Brussels sprout and cheddar cheese pie and Paterson’s strain to hide his dislike of the meal is subtly brilliant.