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The Perfect Scene


kerraig UK
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Fairly sure we've done this before but even so. There is a scene in George Romero's 'Day of the Dead', right in the middle, where a bunch of scientists argue with a bunch of military men about who needs who more.The scientists argue that the military men are outgunned by the numbers of the dead, and the military men threaten that if they stop protecting the scientists they will all die. It's a fruitless showdown because both sides know they've already lost.

 

I must have watched this scene 200 times in my life. I have seen a LOT of movies. Kubrick, Wei, Spielberg, Lee, Tarkovsky and all the rest. But I honestly think this might be my all time favourite scene in cinema. It does what good cinema does. It transcends the boundaries of the production to talk about something bigger, while also elevating its own production. It is perfectly written, intelligently directed, studiously edited and respectfully scored. It is a perfect scene.

 

What single scene has blown your mind

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Carbon Freezing chamber in ESB.  Perfect dialogue, absolute perfect delivery from Harrison Ford and the actual set is incredible. 

 

And take your pick from pretty much any scene in Local Hero.  Visually great, perfect script and acting and just the right level of comedy.

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The steadicam club entrance in Goodfells - absolutely balletic. Mesmerising even now, it perfectly captures the swagger of Henry and the giddiness Karen must have felt walking alongside him.

 

Indy shooting the swordsman in Raiders - I love scenes that show, rather than tell, character traits, and none are neater than this.

 

McMurphy acting out the ball game in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - my favourite film. This captures the cold-heartedness Nurse Ratched shows to her patients and the crowd-pleasing defiance of McMurphy. It goes along way to making sure the film's subsequent scenes pack even more of an emotional punch.

 

The box scene in Se7en - think this was the film that turned a love of film into something I wanted to study. At the time - I was 16 - I hadn't seen anything even close to the downbeat ending and loved every second of it. Since then have come to love plenty more, with the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (78 version) and Psycho personal favourites.

 

The end of Butch and Sundance - another downbeat, yet this time also heroic finale. Thelma & Louise go there too, but Butch & the Kid's end resonates more, and lingers longer.

 

 

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, Commander Jameson said:

Alec Baldwin's presentation to the sales team in Glengarry Glen Ross.

 

Yes, incredible. But then just about every scene in this is amazing. 

 

This also...

 

24 minutes ago, glb said:

The steadicam club entrance in Goodfells - absolutely balletic. Mesmerising even now, it perfectly captures the swagger of Henry and the giddiness Karen must have felt walking alongside him.

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The reveal of Welles' Harry Lime as The Third Man's titular character is one of my favorite scenes ever. Early on it's established that there must have been an unknown third man involved in the central whodunit and the intricate plot has this fantastic, meticulous build up to his introduction late into the film. It's just a brief couple of seconds but the way the scene plays out is just so perfectly realized: the zoom through the leaves showing him in the distance, unrecognizably fleeing into the shadows in the deserted streets of Vienna; the cat strolling up to his shoe, playing with the lace and looking up at him, the Dutch angles and finally a drunk Holly Martins face-to-face with him when the light reveals that beautiful grimace for a short moment without him saying a word. Together with Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia probably the best character introduction ever.

Here are both parts (the second with the wrong sound) but of course it's much more effective with the proper context leading up to it:
 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, VN1X said:

The 'interrogation' scene between the farmer and Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds.

To clarify it's the perfect culmination of impeccable acting, writing and directing.  It's basically two people talking but has you on the edge of your seat from the start and manages to create one of the most charismatic antagonists to have ever graced the silver screen. Christoph Waltz was born for that role. 

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'My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.'

 

Delivered to perfection and makes a great film a classic.:hat:

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"Luke, I am your father."

 

Surely better than the carbon freezing scene, as good as it is, and one of the best reveals in cinematic history.

 

I was a kid at the time, so I'm not sure if they managed to keep it a secret, but I was completely unaware and it blew me away.

 

Nowadays you'd probably get people rolling their eyes and exclaiming how small it makes the Star Wars universe feel, but it was pretty special back then.

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1 hour ago, Danster said:

"It's not your fault" - Good Will Hunting.

 

Yup.  Was going to mention that.

 

I've always loved this as well.  Two of the coolest and most beautiful screen presences, flirting outrageously with each other (for the time and the Hayes code).  Bits of it are clearly a bit stilted for modern tastes but hey, its 70 years old.  Cinema was different then.

 

 

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Some of mine have already been mentioned (Jaws, ESB) so I'll go with these..

 

The Battle of Hoth, specifically the first shots of the AT-AT's, showing that the Rebels are in the shit this time.

 

Bond sitting drinking shots of vodka, with his gun ready (Tomorrow Never Dies).  Product placement aside, it's a perfect Fleming book style scene.

 

'Chewie, we're home' TFA.  Brought a tear to the eye that did.  A perfectly judged way to reintroduce Han & Chewie.

 

 

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