100 Great Movie Moments by Roger Ebert

For the centennial of cinema, Roger Ebert published a list of his 100 great moments from the movies on April 23rd, 1995. The list is in no particular order but if I had to choose Orson Welle’s memorable appearance in The Third Man wouldn’t be far from the top and it’s great to see Fassbinder’s brilliant Fear Eats The Soul get a mention. The descriptions come from Ebert’s website.

  • Clark Gable in “Gone With the Wind”: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
  • Buster Keaton standing perfectly still while the wall of a house falls over upon him; he is saved by standing exactly in the location of an open window, in “Steamboat Bill, Jr.”
  • Charlie Chaplin being recognised by the blind girl in “City Lights.”
  • The computer Hal 9000 reading lips, in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
  • The singing of “La Marseillaise” in “Casablanca.”
  • Snow White kissing Bashful & Dopey on the head in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
  • John Wayne putting the reins in his mouth in “True Grit” and galloping across the mountain meadow, weapons in both hands.
  • Jimmy Stewart in “Vertigo,” approaching Kim Novak across the room, realizing she embodies all of his obsessions – better than he knows.
  • The early film experiment [by Eadweard Muybridge] proving that horses do sometimes have all four hoofs off the ground.
  • Gene Kelly singin’ in the rain in “Singin’ in the Rain.”
  • Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta discuss what they call Quarter Pounders in France, in “Pulp Fiction.”
  • The Man in the Moon getting a cannon shell in his eye, in the Georges Melies film “A Voyage to the Moon.”
  • Pauline (Pearl White) in peril, tied to the railroad tracks, from the 1914 serial, “The Perils of Pauline.”
  • A boy running joyously to greet his returning father, in “Sounder.”
  • Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock face in “Safety Last.”
  • Orson Welles smiling enigmatically in the doorway in “The Third Man.”
  • An angel looking down sadly over Berlin, in Wim Wenders’ “Wings of Desire.”
  • The Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination: Over and over again, a moment frozen in time.
  • A homesick North African (Moroccan) man named Ali, sadly telling a barmaid Barbara (posing in a doorway) that what he really wants is not sex but couscous, in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.”
  • The Road Runner, suspended in air.
  • Zero Mostel throwing a cup of cold coffee at the hysterical Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” and Wilder screaming: “I’m still hysterical! Plus, now I’m wet!”
  • An old man all alone in his home, faced with the death of his wife and the indifference of his children, in Yasujiro Ozu’s “Tokyo Story.”
  • “Smoking.” Robert Mitchum’s response, holding up his cigarette, when Kirk Douglas offers him a smoke in “Out of the Past.”
  • Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg wading in the fountain in “La Dolce Vita.”
  • The moment in Akira Kurosawa’s “High and Low” (aka Heaven and Hell, or Tengoku to jigoku) when millionaire Mr. Gondo discovers that it is not his son Jun who has been kidnapped, but his chauffeur Mr. Aiko’s son Shinichi – and then the eyes of the two fathers meet.
  • The distant sight of people appearing over the horizon at the end of “Schindler’s List.”
  • R2D2 and C3PO in “Star Wars.”
  • E.T. and friend riding their bicycle across the face of the moon, in “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.”
  • Marlon Brando’s screaming “Stella!” in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
  • Hannibal Lecter smiling at Clarice in “The Silence of the Lambs.”
  • “Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” The first words heard in the first talkie, “The Jazz Singer,” said by Al Jolson.
  • Jack Nicholson trying to order a chicken salad sandwich in “Five Easy Pieces.”
  • “Nobody’s perfect”: Joe E. Brown’s last line in “Some Like It Hot,” explaining why he plans to marry Jack Lemmon even though he is a man.
  • “Rosebud” in “Citizen Kane.”
  • The shooting party in Renoir’s “Rules of the Game.”
  • The haunted eyes of Antoine Doinel, Truffaut’s autobiographical hero, in the freeze frame that ends “The 400 Blows.”
  • Jean-Paul Belmondo flipping a cigarette into his mouth in Godard’s “Breathless.”
  • The casting (and installation) of the great bell in Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev.”
  • “What have you done to its eyes?” Dialogue by Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby.”
  • Moses parting the Red Sea in “The Ten Commandments.”
  • An old man found dead in a child’s swing, his mission completed, at the end of Kurosawa’s “Ikiru.”
  • The haunted eyes of the actress Maria Falconetti in Dreyer’s “The Passion of Joan of Arc.”
  • The children watching the train pass by in Ray’s “Pather Panchali.”
  • The baby carriage bouncing down the steps in Eisenstein’s “Battleship Potemkin.”
  • “Are you lookin’ at me?” Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver.”
  • “My father made them an offer they couldn’t refuse”: Al Pacino in “The Godfather.”
  • The mysterious body in the photographs in Antonioni’s “Blow-Up.”
  • “One word, Benjamin: plastics.” From “The Graduate.”
  • A man dying in the desert in von Stroheim’s “Greed.”
  • Eva Marie Saint clinging to Cary Grant’s hand on Mount Rushmore in “North by Northwest.”

  • Astaire and Rogers dancing. [“Swing Time”, or “Top Hat”]
  • “There ain’t no sanity clause!” Chico to Groucho in “A Night at the Opera.”
  • “They call me Mr. Tibbs.” Sidney Poitier in Norman Jewison’s “In the Heat of the Night.”
  • The sadness of the separated newly-wed lovers (including the vision of the distraught husband Jean imagining his wife Juliette in her bridal gown reflected in the water), in Jean Vigo’s “L’Atalante.
  • The vast expanse of desert, and then tiny figures appearing, in “Lawrence of Arabia.”
  • Jack Nicholson on the back of the motorcycle, wearing a football helmet, in “Easy Rider.”
  • The geometrical choreography of the Busby Berkeley girls. [“Golddiggers of 1933”, “Footlight Parade”]
  • The peacock spreading its tail feathers in the snow, in Fellini’s “Amarcord.”
  • Robert Mitchum in “The Night of the Hunter,” with “LOVE” tattooed on the knuckles of one hand, and “HATE” on the other.
  • Joan Baez singing “Joe Hill” in “Woodstock.”
  • Robert De Niro’s transformation from sleek boxer to paunchy nightclub owner in “Raging Bull.”
  • Bette Davis: “Fasten your seat belts; it’s gonna be a bumpy night!” in “All About Eve.”
  • “There’s a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick!” Woody Allen in “Annie Hall.”
  • The chariot race in “Ben-Hur.”
  • Barbara Harris singing “It Don’t Worry Me” to calm a panicked crowd in Robert Altman’s “Nashville.”
  • The game of Russian roulette in “The Deer Hunter.”
  • Chase scenes:”The French Connection”
    “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
  • The shadow of the bottle hidden in the light fixture, in “The Lost Weekend.”
  • “I coulda been a contender.” Brando in “On the Waterfront.”
  • George C. Scott’s speech about the enemy in “Patton”: “We’re gonna go through him like crap through a goose.”
  • Rocky Balboa running up the steps and throwing his hands into the air, with all of Philadelphia at his feet, in “Rocky.”
  • Debra Winger saying goodbye to her children in “Terms of Endearment.”
  • The montage of the kissing scenes in “Cinema Paradiso.”
  • The dinner guests who find they somehow cannot leave, in Bunuel’s “The Exterminating Angel.”
  • A knight plays chess with Death, in Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.”
  • The savage zeal of the Klansmen in Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation.”
  • The problem of Hulot forgetting to close the seaside hotel’s front door, allowing a tornadic wind to create havoc with a series of small but amusing annoyances, in Jacques Tati’s “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.”
  • “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small!” Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard.”
  • “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!” Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz.”
  • An overhead shot beginning with an entrance hall, and ending with a closeup of a key in Ingrid Bergman’s hand, in Hitchcock’s “Notorious.”
  • “Nicely packed that kid…There’s not much meat on ‘er, but what’s there is cherce.” Spencer Tracy about Katharine Hepburn in “Pat and Mike.”
  • The day’s outing of the mental patients in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
  • “I always look well when I’m near death.” Greta Garbo to Parisian friend in “Camille.”
  • “It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.” Marlene Dietrich in “Shanghai Express.”
  • “I’m walkin’ here!” Dustin Hoffman in “Midnight Cowboy.”
  • W. C. Fields flinching as a prop man hurls handfuls of fake snow into his face (after he utters the running gag line: “It ain’t a fit night out for man or beast!”) and opens the door, in “The Fatal Glass of Beer.”
  • “Any time you got nothin’ to do and lots of time to do it, come up.” Mae West in “My Little Chickadee.”
  • “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” James Cagney in “White Heat.”
  • Richard Burton reacting when Elizabeth Taylor reveals their “secret” in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
  • Henry Fonda getting his hair cut in “My Darling Clementine.”
  • “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!” Alfonso Bedoya to Humphrey Bogart in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”
  • “There’s your dog. Your dog’s dead. But where’s the thing that made it move? It had to be something, didn’t it?” Line from Errol Morris’ “Gates of Heaven.”
  • “Don’t touch the suit!” Burt Lancaster in “Atlantic City.”
  • Gena Rowlands arrives at John Cassavetes’ house with a taxicab full of adopted animals, in “Love Streams.”
  • “I want to live again. I want to live again. I want to live again. Please God, let me live again.” Jimmy Stewart to the angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
  • Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr embrace on the beach in “From Here to Eternity.”
  • Mookie throws the trash can through the window of Sal’s Pizzeria, in “Do the Right Thing.”
  • “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” dialogue by Robert Duvall, in “Apocalypse Now.”
  • “Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.” Katharine Hepburn to Humphrey Bogart in “The African Queen.”
  • “Mother of mercy. Is this the end of Rico?” Edward G. Robinson in “Little Caesar.”

The Great Movies (book, kindle)
The Great Movies II (book, kindle)
The Great Movies III (book, kindle)
The Great Movies IV (book)
Roger Ebert’s Four-Star Reviews 1967-2007 (book, kindle)
Life Itself: A Memoir (book, kindle, audiobook, audio CD)
Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert: Second Edition (book)




AFI’s 100 Years…100 Cheers

In 2006 the AFI unveiled its 100 Years…100 Cheers: America’s Most Inspiring Movies list of the most inspiring films. Some interesting choices here. Nice to see the quirky and inventively shot Breaking Away on the list and the classic of American cinema The Right Stuff which I might well have placed at no. 1! Buy – Afi’s 100 Years 100 Cheers (DVD)

1 It’s a Wonderful Life Frank Capra 1946
2 To Kill a Mockingbird Robert Mulligan 1962
3 Schindler’s List Steven Spielberg 1993
4 Rocky John G. Avildsen 1976
5 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Frank Capra 1939
6 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Steven Spielberg 1982
7 The Grapes of Wrath John Ford 1940
8 Breaking Away Peter Yates 1979
9 Miracle on 34th Street George Seaton 1947
10 Saving Private Ryan Steven Spielberg 1998
11 The Best Years of Our Lives William Wyler 1946
12 Apollo 13 Ron Howard 1995
13 Hoosiers David Anspaugh 1986
14 The Bridge on the River Kwai David Lean 1957
15 The Miracle Worker Arthur Penn 1962
16 Norma Rae Martin Ritt 1979
17 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Miloš Forman 1975
18 The Diary of Anne Frank George Stevens 1959
19 The Right Stuff Philip Kaufman 1983
20 Philadelphia Jonathan Demme 1993
21 In the Heat of the Night Norman Jewison 1967
22 The Pride of the Yankees Sam Wood 1942
23 The Shawshank Redemption Frank Darabont 1994
24 National Velvet Clarence Brown 1944
25 Sullivan’s Travels Preston Sturges 1941
26 The Wizard of Oz Victor Fleming 1939
27 High Noon Fred Zinnemann 1952
28 Field of Dreams Phil Alden Robinson 1989
29 Gandhi Richard Attenborough 1982
30 Lawrence of Arabia David Lean 1962
31 Glory Edward Zwick 1989
32 Casablanca Michael Curtiz 1942
33 City Lights Charlie Chaplin 1931
34 All the President’s Men Alan J. Pakula 1976
35 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Stanley Kramer 1967
36 On the Waterfront Elia Kazan 1954
37 Forrest Gump Robert Zemeckis 1994
38 Pinocchio Ben Sharpsteen
Hamilton Luske
39 Star Wars George Lucas 1977
40 Mrs. Miniver William Wyler 1942
41 The Sound of Music Robert Wise 1965
42 12 Angry Men Sidney Lumet 1957
43 Gone with the Wind Victor Fleming 1939
44 Spartacus Stanley Kubrick 1960
45 On Golden Pond Mark Rydell 1981
46 Lilies of the Field Ralph Nelson 1963
47 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick 1968
48 The African Queen John Huston 1951
49 Meet John Doe Frank Capra 1941
50 Seabiscuit Gary Ross 2003

51 The Color Purple Steven Spielberg 1985
52 Dead Poets Society Peter Weir 1989
53 Shane George Stevens 1953
54 Rudy David Anspaugh 1993
55 The Defiant Ones Stanley Kramer 1958
56 Ben-Hur William Wyler 1959
57 Sergeant York Howard Hawks 1941
58 Close Encounters of the Third Kind Steven Spielberg 1977
59 Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner 1990
60 The Killing Fields Roland Joffé 1984
61 Sounder Martin Ritt 1972
62 Braveheart Mel Gibson 1995
63 Rain Man Barry Levinson 1988
64 The Black Stallion Carroll Ballard 1979
65 A Raisin in the Sun Daniel Petrie 1961
66 Silkwood Mike Nichols 1983
67 The Day the Earth Stood Still Robert Wise 1951
68 An Officer and a Gentleman Taylor Hackford 1982
69 The Spirit of St. Louis Billy Wilder 1957
70 Coal Miner’s Daughter Michael Apted 1980
71 Cool Hand Luke Stuart Rosenberg 1967
72 Dark Victory Edmund Goulding 1939
73 Erin Brockovich Steven Soderbergh 2000
74 Gunga Din George Stevens 1939
75 The Verdict Sidney Lumet 1982
76 Birdman of Alcatraz John Frankenheimer 1962
77 Driving Miss Daisy Bruce Beresford 1989
78 Thelma & Louise Ridley Scott 1991
79 The Ten Commandments Cecil B. DeMille 1956
80 Babe Chris Noonan 1995
81 Boys Town Norman Taurog 1938
82 Fiddler on the Roof Norman Jewison 1971
83 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Frank Capra 1936
84 Serpico Sidney Lumet 1973
85 What’s Love Got to Do with It Brian Gibson 1993
86 Stand and Deliver Ramón Menéndez 1988
87 Working Girl Mike Nichols 1988
88 Yankee Doodle Dandy Michael Curtiz 1942
89 Harold and Maude Hal Ashby 1971
90 Hotel Rwanda Terry George 2004
91 The Paper Chase James Bridges 1973
92 Fame Alan Parker 1980
93 A Beautiful Mind Ron Howard 2001
94 Captains Courageous Victor Fleming 1937
95 Places in the Heart Robert Benton 1984
96 Searching for Bobby Fischer Steven Zaillian 1993
97 Madame Curie Mervyn LeRoy 1943
98 The Karate Kid John G. Avildsen 1984
99 Ray Taylor Hackford 2004
100 Chariots of Fire Hugh Hudson 1981

Becoming AFI: 50 Years Inside the American Film Institute (book)
AFI’s 100 Years – 100 Movies (CBS Television Special) (DVD)
AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Stars: American Film Institute (CBS Television Special) (DVD)
[(AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Songs: America’s Greatest Music in Movies)] [Author: Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation] published on (March, 2007) (book)
AFI-100 Years of Movies POSTER (27″ x 40″)

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