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What is your favorite shot in film history & Why?


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What is your favorite shot in film history & Why? (+ runner up)


It's so hard to pick a favorite, even with a runner up,




-Night of the Hunter- The old man looks over the side of the row boat to see the dead mother in the old car under water. Her hair waves in the current which is so eerie, but so beautiful. Especially, being lit as perfectly as it was.


Runner up-

-The Longest Day- D- Day invasion. As the thousands of men run up the beach the camera dollies with them. Smoke blows by them and sand flies into the air with the explosions from German artillery. In the chaos so many men go missing, but you almost don't realize how many because the shot is so fluid. It's brilliant.

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Without a doubt, for me it is the final scene of The Searchers, John Ford's masterpiece from 1956.


Ethan Edwards is the tragic outsider. There he stands on the front porch of the Jorgenson's home just delivered Debbie. He stands there framed by the opening of the front door. The camera is inside looking out onto the wilderness. The scene is framed by that doorway. (Just as it had been at the opening of the film, only now it is reversed).


He can't go inside with the others, for he only belongs outside in the wilderness. Its as if he belongs in the wilderness as much as the Indian he shot his eyes out with earlier in the film. Meant to drift alone in the wilderness.


And as he stands there looking inside to the place where he does not belong, he places his left hand on his right elbow, a tribute-remembrance of silent-cowboy actor Harry Carey, Sr. and then turns away heading out into that wilderness as the door shuts closed behind him.


Terrific scene, from the greatest western of all time.

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Nine-year-old Vito Corleone looking at the Statue of Liberty from his window on Ellis Island near the beginning of The Godfather, Part II.


In a single shot, Coppola speaks volumes about a single individual's ability to have a deep impact on his adopted country, as well as the incredible potential, for good or bad, that all immigrants brought with them to this country.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Scarlett O'Hara, walking among the wounded soldiers, as the camera pulls back, back, back until you see the entire depot covered in wounded or dying men.... and the confederate flag torn and waving in the foreground.....


It's still amazing.......

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It's not Gable's first appearance in "Gone With the Wind."


It's not dollying into John Wayne in "StageCoach."


It's not Kim Novak coming towards James Stewart in "Vertigo" with her transformation complete as Madeleine.


It's not Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant kissing in "Notorious."


It's not Grace Kelly leaning in for the kiss with James Stewart in "Rear Window."


It's Jane Greer walking into the cantina in Mexico in "OUT OF THE PAST."


Message was edited by CineMaven because it IS all those other things; just didn't know how many we could pick. ;-)

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I'll piggyback on that and say that the shot of Yankee Stadium with the train snaking across (and Gershwin's music underneath) is fantastic...especially if you know New York. The whole montage that Woody put together for "Manhattan" leaves me awestruck!

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Being as there's so many eligibles out there, I'll go with the one that pops into my head right now...


Kim Novak, emerging as the 'reborn' Madeline, in Vertigo.


Now, there's a number of reasons that I like this scene.


First, I've had a fondness for Kim Novak for a very long time, ever since I first saw Bell, Book, and Candle. The lady could do amazingly sensuous stuff with her eyes and her voice. She's driven me nuts (in a good way) for quite a while.


Second, the music that Bernard Herrman did for that scene is excellent. As most of us know, music lends a lot to a flick, and Herrman was one of the best composers in the business.


Third, the facial expression Kim had was hesitant and vulnerability, but it shows a glimmer of a smile, as well. As she walked out of that green light, it gets clearer and clearer.


So, for right now, that's my favorite scene.

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Atticus Finch, in the aftermath of the guilty verdict for his client, Tom Robinson, packs up his valise and walks out of the courtroom.


The African-Americans, in the segregated balcony, all rise.


The Reverend looks down at Scout and says:


"Miss Jean Louis, stand up, your daddy's passing"


And the audience is reduced to tears.


Sam Jackson's right, it's one of the most powerful moments in American film.

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I'm a fan of opening shots that are visually compelling and set out the theme of the film (even if one doesn't know it at the time).




*Blast of Silence* (Baron, 1961) - It plays with the imagery of Life and Death to show that Life is Death.




*Citizen Kane* (Welles, 1941)

*The Steel Helmet* (Fuller, 1950)

*Forty Guns* (Fuller, 1957)

*The Naked Kiss* (Fuller, 1964)


_Honorable Mention in the Category of Not-an-Opening-Shot-But-It's-Wonderful-and-Has-a-Meaning-We-Didn't-Know-at-the-Time_


The last shot in *Love Streams* (Cassavetes, 1984) - Gena Rowlands has left Cassavetes during a violent rainstorm. The camera looks at Cassavetes, inside, from a distance, framed by the wooden panels of the window. He's drinking, trying to entertain himself, looking resigned. The camera comes closer. He waves to the camera...and turns and walks, now framed by another panel.


It was his last screen appearance.

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My favorite shot is from my all-time favorite film "The Shawshank Redemption". It is the shot of Red, Hadley and the Warden looking down the tunnel that Andy Dufresne has dug in order to escape from his cell. The look on the warden's face is PRICELESS! I've seen MANY a classic moment in movies, but this is my #1 favorite.

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This is probably a very cliched response, but for me, it has to be John Wayne's entrance in Stagecoach.


But really - while it is likely on alot of 'favorite' lists, it is probably on those lists for a reason. And that reason is that it IS a breathtaking shot. If ever there was a single star-making shot in cinema history, this was it.

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1. When Laurence Harvey shoots his mother Angela Lansbury in "The Manchurian Candidate" (62). Her fall at the bullet's impact is so realistic.


2. Also two leech episodes. One with Bogie in "The Africian Queen" and one with the boys in "Stand By Me". Their expressions are priceless.

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What came to mind for me was the shot in "East of Eden" with Raymond Massey watching the train in the distance that is taking his lettuce to market and carrying his hopes for a financially secure future with it. James Dean as his son Cal steps into the frame at the extreme left and watches his father watch the train. Probably the reason the shot struck me so much was that until recently, I'd only seen pan-and-scan prints where James Dean isn't even seen. It makes me wonder what other great images I've missed over the years, having only seen the full frame TV print.

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Perhaps not my "favorite shot" of all time, but an amazing one:

It's in the 1935 MGM movie "Woman Wanted".

About five minutes in, a car is shown crashing through a store front. Shot from inside the store. It's only a second or two. But amazing! If anyone has this movie recorded from TCM, look at that scene and slow it down to even better appreciate it.

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