Out of a plethora of options, here are just a few of my most memorable movie moments

An American friend of mine is composing a book capturing memorable scenes from movies and has asked me to contribute a few. I could have given him hundreds, but these were my initial offerings:

  • Gone With The Wind” – the scene at the railway depot where Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) walks between the bodies of wounded soldiers and the camera pulls back and back and back revealing the true scale of the casualties of the American Civil War
  • “The Untouchables” – the scene where the Chicago cop played by Sean Connery drags his bloodied body along the floor while Al Capone (played by Robert de Niro) sheds tears as he watches the opera “Pagliacci”
  • “El Cid” – the final scene where the dead Rodrigo de Bivar (Charleston Heston) is strapped to a white horse and unleashed on the waiting Muslim forces, so turning the tide of battle
  • “Spartacus” – the scene towards the end where Spartacus is hanging crucified on a cross and his wife holds up his baby to him, nobody knowing that, along this endless line of crucified men, this is the leader of the slave revolt
  • “Star Wars” – the opening scene where a racing spaceship is seen as being pushed by an Empire battleship which is slowly revealed to be larger and larger and larger
  • “Lawrence Of Arabia” – master director David Lean has Lawrence (newcomer Peter O’Toole) doing his ‘trick’ of putting out a lit match by slowly closing fingers around the flame and then the scene dramatically switches to the desert as the sun starts to rise over the sand
  • “Ryan’s Daughter” – David Lean reverses the technique he used in “Lawrence Of Arabia” by showing the ‘broken’ soldier (Christopher Jones) watching the sun descend into the sea and then suddenly switches to a scene of a match being loudly lit
  • “2001: A Space Odyssey” – the brilliant device used by director Stanley Kubrick to switch from the time of the ape men to the time of the space men is to transform a bone thrown twisting into the air into a rotating space station
  • “The Matrix” – in the opening fight sequence, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) – clad in tight black leather – suddenly starts to perform unexpected and amazing acrobatic feats involving running up walls and along the ceiling while disposing of her enemies: wow!
  • “Gladiator” – Russell Crowe, as the Roman general Maximus, reviews his troops and announces: “On my command, unleash hell”, fireballs are launched, the music of Hans Zimmer blasts out, and at that moment we know that we are witnessing a classic movie
  • “Queen Christina” – one of Greta Garbo’s greatest films which includes the scene where, as Queen Christina of Sweden, she moves slowly around feeling every corner of the inn room so that she can remember where she fell in love with the Spanish Ambassador (John Gilbert, her former lover in real life)
  • “Midnight Express” – the scene where, in this terrible Turkish prison, the brutalised young American Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) shares a shower with a fellow male prisoner and they gently indulge in an act of lovemaking, a tender interlude in a cruel and violent world

What are some of your most memorable movie moments?


  • Albert Baily

    One of my favourite film scenes is from the 1957 movie ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’. It is the scene of Col. Nicholson’s monologue’ stadning on the just completed bridge and it is the night before the inauguration of the bridge by the Japanese military.The Japanese Col. Saito joins him when Nicholson (acted so eminently by Sir Alec Guiness)utters these words. This monologue is available on google.It starts with the words “I’ve been thinking,tomorrow it will be 28 years to the day that I’ve been in the service.Twenty eight years in peace and war…!!

    The monologue lasts just under 3 minutes which essenatially reflects philosophically the meaning of life, and ones contribution if any to the humanities struggle! It is a deeply touching, self reflection on one’s life. Please watch it as the words are still relevant to all of us who pauce and wonder about the meaning of life. Some may think it is a sick and pessimistic piece of monologue.To me though it synthesizes the meaning (or lack of it) of our existence on this earth and our role- no matter how great or small it is. The sheer philosophical truth is so touchng because it is so true (to me at least)

    Albert Baily

  • Roger Darlington

    Interesting choice, Albert. David Lean is my all-time favourite film director, so I have seen all his work including this one.

    You can see the relevant clip here:


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>