What makes a great movie? Does it start with the script? Does it take A-list actors or actress'? Or does it begin and end with the director? Henry Miller wrote in Sexus that a great work of art, if it accomplishes anything, serves to remind us, or let us say to set us dreaming, of all that is fluid and intangible.
We all know that it takes the combination of a good script, good acting, and good directing to make a film worth watching. But the one thing that makes a good film great is those movie moments that stir our emotions and go on to last for as long as our minds will allow us to remember. Those moments that set us dreaming of all that is fluid and intangible.
There are certain scenes that are iconic. For example Marilyn Monroe's subway breeze scene will forever be remembered and imprinted into the minds of movie buffs for all eternity. But if one were to ask five random people what the name of the movie was that that scene was part of maybe one out of five would say "Seven Year Itch".
A great and iconic scene no doubt but by no means does it bring the viewers emotions to the surface the same way as the taking of Omaha Beach in Saving Private Ryan.
Listed in the following pages are fifty of the absolute best moments in film. I also have tried to stay faithful to the iconic scenes like the one talked about above because after all they are memorable.
The Pianist: Szpilman Plays for German SoldierI personally think this scene is the most powerful few minutes that I've ever witnessed watching a film. This scene is nearly impossible for me to put into words because of the shear magnitude of what all is taking place. Szpilman playing what he thinks is the last song he'll ever play. The German officer overcome with emotion as he witnesses this beautiful human being that sits before him and the guilt and pain that he feels down into his very soul over all the horror the German's have inflicted upon the Jewish people. This is film making at it's absolute best!!
Saving Private Ryan: Storming Omaha BeachThe most realistic 10 or 15 minutes in cinema. Retired military men testified that the way the Omaha Beach landing was portrayed in Saving Private Ryan was exactly the way things went down that fateful June morning in 1944. Saving Private Ryan should be mandatory viewing material in all school curriculum from grades 5 thru 12.
The Shawshank Redemption: Red's journey to meet Andy on the PacificThere has never, in the history of cinema, been a film that has positively afftected the masses quite like The Shawshank Redemption. Here we see what is the culmination of Red's journey from institutionalized, hopeless prisoner to a Free-man full of hope and possibility.
Moments such as these is the reason Shawshank is the greatest movie ever made.
The Shawshank Redemption: Tarring the License Plate FactoryThis scene set the tone for the entire movie. It gives the audience a clear picture of who Andy is and who Red is. But at the same time leading us to believe that Captain Hadley might have some small, speck of human decency. Needless to say, we find out later on that he has none.