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  #1  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:02 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Best Movie Scenes With No Dialogue (or almost no dialogue)

It always bugs me when filmmakers forget that film is a visual medium, and wind up making movies that could just as easily be stage plays.

Conversely, I really love it when a filmmaker is able to tell a story, or part of a story, using no words at all (or at least very few words).

A couple of my favorites:

The revenge sequence from Rushmore. (Yeah, there are a few words of dialogue at the very end.) (And yeah, maybe this is more of a montage than a "scene." Quit bustin' my chops, OK?)

The record listening scene from Before Sunrise. This scene captures, maybe more perfectly than any on film, that singular moment of falling for someone new.

Any others? (And let's leave silent films out of this, shall we?)
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:05 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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The beginning of There Will Be Blood was amazing.
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:05 PM
Idle Thoughts Idle Thoughts is offline
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I always thought that this eight minute fight scene from The Miracle Worker was amazing (and the best part of the whole movie).
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:12 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoke View Post
It always bugs me when filmmakers forget that film is a visual medium, and wind up making movies that could just as easily be stage plays.
It took the comic book industry some time to figure this out as well. Find some Batman or Superman comic book from the 1940s, and you'll find the panels loaded with captions describing the action that the artwork is already depicting perfectly clearly. They feel like illustrated transcriptions of radio dramas. Come to think of it, it also took television a while to realize they didn't need a narrator describing everything.
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:23 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is offline
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On the funny side, I have to mention the blind man's encounter with the dinosaur in Caveman (1981), in fact, as the whole movie dialogue was just grunts and pseudo language one can say that there was no dialogue in the whole movie.

On a serious take on early man, it is hard to find a better scene than the discovery of the first weapon in 2001: A space odyssey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd3-1...eature=related
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:39 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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The robbery scene in Rififi is a classic.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 04-28-2012 at 11:40 PM..
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  #7  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:41 PM
madsircool madsircool is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoke View Post
It always bugs me when filmmakers forget that film is a visual medium, and wind up making movies that could just as easily be stage plays.
Film is also an aural medium. On the other hand the stage is also a visual medium. Some of the greatest films ever are filled with dialog.
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:43 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madsircool View Post
Film is also an aural medium. On the other hand the stage is also a visual medium. Some of the greatest films ever are filled with dialog.
Your quibble is noted. Now can we get on with the best no-dialogue scenes?
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:45 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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The heist scene in Rififi.
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:52 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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The baptism scene in The Godfather, which isn't technically a silent scene (there's a baptism going on).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sokkp...eature=related
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:52 PM
Hazle Weatherfield Hazle Weatherfield is offline
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwYj...feature=relmfu

The first 25 seconds of this scene. Gatsby and Daisy are reunited at Nick's cottage.
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:54 PM
shijinn shijinn is offline
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Cast Away. i have little patience for over-indulgent slow moving movies but this one is extremely compelling, especially for what is basically a one-man show.
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  #13  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:55 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
The baptism scene in The Godfather, which isn't technically a silent scene (there's a baptism going on).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sokkp...eature=related
Yeah, that counts. The baptism is analogous to background music.
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2012, 12:14 AM
grude grude is offline
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The Warriors - That silent scene on the subway where our heroes are beaten and bruised after their ordeal and another group of young people their age with obviously very different lives get on. What a perfect scene, perfect.

One Million Years BC - The whole movie has not one word of dialogue, yet it is one of the most compelling movies I've ever seen. Everyone is skeptical about the movie but when they actually watch it their eyes are glued to the screen.
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  #15  
Old 04-29-2012, 12:21 AM
EddyTeddyFreddy EddyTeddyFreddy is offline
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The Black Stallion, the tremendous extended sequence when the shipwrecked kid finds himself washed up on the island, finds the horse, finds a bond growing between the two of them. The rest of the movie was meh, but that part was magic.
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  #16  
Old 04-29-2012, 12:23 AM
etv78 etv78 is offline
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The re-entry scene in Apollo 13. A tense scene that speaks for itself.
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  #17  
Old 04-29-2012, 01:56 AM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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A favorite scene. The first two minutes of this clip features Jim Broadbent as W. S. Gilbert conceiving the plot of The Mikado. No words, other than some gibberish noises, and it is one of the few movie scenes I know of where you really see the character thinking.
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  #18  
Old 04-29-2012, 01:59 AM
Tangent Tangent is offline
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The scene in Jaws when Chief Brody's son is mimicking him at the dinner table.
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  #19  
Old 04-29-2012, 02:16 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Almost every film by Michael Mann has at least one long, terrific scene with no dialog (but often distinctive music). The cliff scene from the Last of the Mohicans (dialog stops at about 1 minute in) is probably the most famous, but there's also the Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida scene from Manhunter, the bank robbery from Heat, and the jogging scene from Ali.
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  #20  
Old 04-29-2012, 02:47 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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The seamless passage of a year in Notting Hill as Will Thacker (Hugh Grant) walks through the markets.
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  #21  
Old 04-29-2012, 03:16 AM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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The scene in Boogie Nights where Dirk and pals are getting ready to rip off (and accidentally kill) a drug dealer. Dirk smiles through the drug-addled haze slowly as the enormity of the line he is about to cross weighs down on him. I think "Sister Christian" might be playing in the background. It isn't long.

Same film: Burt Reynolds turns off the sound to the Colonel's phone and walks away, as the Colonel desperately tries to get him to come back. There is dialogue, but none of us can hear it.

Last edited by Horatio Hellpop; 04-29-2012 at 03:18 AM..
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  #22  
Old 04-29-2012, 03:19 AM
Rich Mann Rich Mann is offline
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I would have to watch it again, but Children Of Men has a few good ones if I remember right.
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  #23  
Old 04-29-2012, 03:20 AM
GreedySmurf GreedySmurf is offline
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Before Lucas messed with it, and it's not an entire scene, but in Return of the Jedi, where Luke is all but helpless under the Emperor's force lightning assault and Vader is just standing there looking between Luke and the Emperor.
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  #24  
Old 04-29-2012, 04:49 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Quite a lot of Wall-E
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  #25  
Old 04-29-2012, 06:32 AM
Icerigger Icerigger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreedySmurf View Post
Before Lucas messed with it, and it's not an entire scene, but in Return of the Jedi, where Luke is all but helpless under the Emperor's force lightning assault and Vader is just standing there looking between Luke and the Emperor.
Indeed. On a related note this simple scene from SW has all heart ans emotion that all the CGI in the world can't match.

Binary Sunset

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hcuLVOF__I

Last edited by Icerigger; 04-29-2012 at 06:32 AM..
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  #26  
Old 04-29-2012, 07:42 AM
shantih shantih is offline
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The first 8 minutes of Up have almost no dialogue, but tell the entire story of a life from childhood to old age, with love, marriage, heartbreaking sadness and simple, lovely pleasures. I was moved to tears at least twice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yjAFMNkCDo
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  #27  
Old 04-29-2012, 07:44 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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The attempted hit from Miller's Crossing.
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  #28  
Old 04-29-2012, 07:47 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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The whole film Jeremiah Johnson has very little dialogue and tells the story well without it. Also, one of the greatest (IMHO) films of all time, Lawrence of Arabia, has long stretches with no dialogue.
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  #29  
Old 04-29-2012, 08:04 AM
mack mack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
The baptism scene in The Godfather, which isn't technically a silent scene (there's a baptism going on).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sokkp...eature=related
Another Godfather dialogue-less (except for the screaming) scene I like is the horsehead in the bed scene and then it cuts back to Don Corleone's sitting room and Marlon Brando arches his eyebrows perfectly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoke
Conversely, I really love it when a filmmaker is able to tell a story, or part of a story, using no words at all (or at least very few words).
At one time I watched a bunch of silent movies and initially I thought I was going to be reading placard after placard but in reality there weren't that many. It was astonishing how little the story relied on them and how much was conveyed by the acting.
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  #30  
Old 04-29-2012, 08:43 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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The first three minutes of Touch of Evil is one long shot and dialogue free, and it's still remembered as a classic piece of cinema:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg8MqjoFvy4
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  #31  
Old 04-29-2012, 08:54 AM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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The mirror scene in Duck Soup with Groucho and Harpo Marx. It's hilarious.
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  #32  
Old 04-29-2012, 08:56 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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The scene in The Piano when Helen Hunt and Anna Paquin are on the beach, and Hunt opens the piano crate just enough to play (the them song) and Paquin dances on the beach. It's obvious that the piano is their only outlet and their best way of communicating, and it's as if they are really just one person.

I was also going to mention the scene The Black Stallion, but was beaten to it.

Last edited by John Mace; 04-29-2012 at 08:56 AM..
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  #33  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:02 AM
mbh mbh is offline
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Toward the end of the climactic fight scene in Way of the Dragon (U.S. title Return of the Dragon), there is a brief moment when Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris pause and just exchange glances. Neither actor says a word, but you can tell what both characters are thinking.
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  #34  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:26 AM
Zeldar Zeldar is offline
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Just for trivia's sake, mention should be made of The Thief (1952) where
Quote:
Interesting, but sometimes slow film about a nuclear physicist working in Washington DC who also spies for some unnamed foreign country. It does have a rather funny, patriotic/propagandist ending. It's most interesting aspect is that it is filmed entirely without dialogue.
When I saw this film back in the 50's or early 60's, I kept waiting for the first words to be spoken -- in vain. Plenty of sound effects, including a ringing phone that you knew just had to be answered but which quit ringing just before it was picked up.

Unless you're into gimmicks like "no dialog" you could safely skip this one!
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  #35  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:37 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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In Mario Bava's Black Sunday there is a scene with a coach pulled by black horses goes thundering past, and it is done pretty much soundlessly so it comes off as extremely haunting. Here at about 7 minutes. It is very short, a minute or so only, but very strong.

The one scene that actually stuck with me from watching it as a young kid back in about 1968 or so was the scene used in a compilation show 100 Scariest Moments or some such title as that - which is about the first whole set of scenes where they are executing her.
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  #36  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:47 AM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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This diving scene from The Deep is good. (This is the Spanish-dubbed version of the movie, but for the wordless scene, I guess it doesn't matter.)
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  #37  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:52 AM
Prelude to Fascination Prelude to Fascination is offline
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I don't think anyone's mentioned 2001. Pick a scene, almost any scene (although my first thought was the EVA to replace the AE35 unit, but the first 20+minutes have no dialogue, as well as much of the entire second half...).
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  #38  
Old 04-29-2012, 10:28 AM
drastic_quench drastic_quench is offline
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Originally Posted by Krokodil View Post
The scene in Boogie Nights where Dirk and pals are getting ready to rip off (and accidentally kill) a drug dealer. Dirk smiles through the drug-addled haze slowly as the enormity of the line he is about to cross weighs down on him. I think "Sister Christian" might be playing in the background. It isn't long.

Same film: Burt Reynolds turns off the sound to the Colonel's phone and walks away, as the Colonel desperately tries to get him to come back. There is dialogue, but none of us can hear it.
Yeah, if this was a contest, you won.

Goodfellas, which inspired Boogie Nights, has a few too.
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  #39  
Old 04-29-2012, 11:21 AM
Tangent Tangent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
The scene in The Piano when Helen Hunt and Anna Paquin are on the beach, and Hunt opens the piano crate just enough to play (the them song) and Paquin dances on the beach. It's obvious that the piano is their only outlet and their best way of communicating, and it's as if they are really just one person.
Holly Hunter
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  #40  
Old 04-29-2012, 11:42 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
The baptism scene in The Godfather, which isn't technically a silent scene (there's a baptism going on).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sokkp...eature=related

Quote:
Originally Posted by mack View Post
Another Godfather dialogue-less (except for the screaming) scene I like is the horsehead in the bed scene and then it cuts back to Don Corleone's sitting room and Marlon Brando arches his eyebrows perfectly.
In fact, the best dialog-free scene from the Godfather films is the assassination of Don Tessio, from Part 2.
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  #41  
Old 04-29-2012, 11:46 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Tangent View Post
Holly Hunter
Thanks. Something about that didn't look right when I wrote it.
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  #42  
Old 04-29-2012, 01:53 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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I just remembered a great scene - the fight between Jet Li and Donnie Yen in Hero:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTsKEgUJyUQ

Jet Li speaks a few brief lines in the middle, but otherwise the visuals tell the whole thing. And actually, that movie is full of scenes like this (though they're not all fight scenes).
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  #43  
Old 04-29-2012, 02:02 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Thought of another one: the museum/seduction/surprise scene from Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill.

Unfortunately, I can't find a clean clip of the scene on YouTube.
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  #44  
Old 04-29-2012, 02:06 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
The seamless passage of a year in Notting Hill as Will Thacker (Hugh Grant) walks through the markets.
Man, Notting Hill was way better than it had any right to be.
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  #45  
Old 04-29-2012, 02:12 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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I would have to watch it again, but Children Of Men has a few good ones if I remember right.
The scene when all the soldiers realize there's a baby among them and everything just stops.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBzWTIexszQ
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  #46  
Old 04-29-2012, 02:16 PM
Tangent Tangent is offline
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The intercut scenes near the end of The Right Stuff with the Mercury astronauts at the BBQ in the Astrodome all exchanging looks while Clair de Lune plays and everyone is watching the fan dancer, and Yeager pushing a plane to its limits and then trying to recover from a flat spin.

(RIP Levon Helm)
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  #47  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:07 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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The final scene in Big Night with Primo and Secondo cooking breakfast after the failed dinner.
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  #48  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:25 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krokodil View Post
The scene in Boogie Nights where Dirk and pals are getting ready to rip off (and accidentally kill) a drug dealer. Dirk smiles through the drug-addled haze slowly as the enormity of the line he is about to cross weighs down on him. I think "Sister Christian" might be playing in the background. It isn't long.

Same film: Burt Reynolds turns off the sound to the Colonel's phone and walks away, as the Colonel desperately tries to get him to come back. There is dialogue, but none of us can hear it.
Great choice. My friends think I'm a perv for thinking this was the best picture the year it came out.

My contribution will be the very recent ending montage of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
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  #49  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:39 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Several scenes in Fred Zinneman's Day of the Jackal, but especially the scene where the assassin The Jackal field-tests his now concealable rifle, sets the sight, and fires an explosive bullet at the target. If you're watching the scene in a theater, there is an audible reaction from the crowd, of the sort I rarely hear. They're sucked in by the Jackal's preparations and awed by the payoff


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enBM3SQwryE
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  #50  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:44 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Who Framed Roger Rabbit -- near the beginning



Here, from 6:30 onwards: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enBM3SQwryE


Eddie Valiant returns to his office, looks through pictures of himself and his brother, and the camera pans around the office, telling his life story without words.
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