These are my current Top Ten movie moments.
10. Steve Martin's Navin Johnson in The Jerk leaving his wife and listing an ever increasing number of things he needs. Like the ashtray. And the paddle game. And this. Hilarious. Watch it here.
9. The scene in Kurosawa's Seven Samurai when Kambei shaves his head to impersonate a priest and enter a home to rescue a child held hostage. Awesome. And it had to have inspired countless action movie openings where the star performs some initial heroics unrelated to the subsequent story.
8. The elevator scene in The Departed. I can't recall any other movie moment making me jump out of my chair and yell, "No!" (You can watch it here, but WARNING: It involves very harsh language, heavy violence, and contains a HUGE SPOILER. The effect is better if you see the movie first.)
7. Dignan, Anthony, and Bob plan their heist and argue over who carries the gun in Bottle Rocket. So funny. I wish it was available online so I could show you. There's a sliver of it in the trailer for the movie.
6. The opening of Orson Welles's Touch of Evil, the best B-movie ever made. It's one long sustained complex shot, a ticking timebomb of a scene. "Do you realize I haven't kissed you in over an hour?" Boom! Brilliant. And groundbreaking. Watch it here.
5. The Seven Samurai scene when some moron is sparring with Kyuzo, gets cocky, and challenges Kyuzo to a duel with real blades. Another iconic moment that inspired countless cinematic imitations. This guy did a YouTube homage to the final moments in the scene, but it lacks the context leading up to it and gets ruined by some Imogen Heap song.
4. The moment in The Truman Show when Jim Carrey's Truman crashes into the end of the world, ascends the staircase, and makes his final bow. A great scene in one of my favorite movies ever. (I found several tributes to this scene on YouTube but not just the scene itself.)
3. The opening of Woody Allen's Manhattan. The combination of New York in glorious black and white, the whimsy and majesty of George Gershwin, and the frustrated novelizing of Allen's character just kills me. I love this scene. Watch it here.
2. At the end of Sense and Sensibility when Emma Thompson's Elinor learns Hugh Grant's Edward isn't married. Oh man. I'm such a ladyboy for this scene; it makes me cry every time I see it. It's so danged eschatological, actually. Watch it here.
1. Casablanca. Nazis have commandeered Rick's Cafe Americain, and he orders the band to drown their singing out with "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem. It gives me goosebumps every. single. time. A beautiful scene in the greatest film ever made. Watch it here.