The title is a little misleading. These are just some of my favorite scenes I could come up with on the fly. No doubt I've overlooked many, many more. Please add any you like.
I almost always have a movie playing in the background at home, no matter what I'm doing. 80% of the time, I'm not really paying attention...I'm doing something else. These are the scenes that stop me in my tracks and no matter what I may be doing, I have to see these scenes. They aren't necessarily from my all time favorite movies, though many are, but they are some of my favorite scenes of all time.
Blade Runner: Tears in Rain
I didn't 'get' Blade Runner the first time I saw it. The plot was a little confusing, motivations weren't clear, and then came the final showdown. There was this huge build-up in tension, culminating our hero beaten on a rooftop and the villain walking over to deliver the final blow. Only he didn't. He sat down beside our hero to tell him a story, and it blew my mind. The Fifth Element: The Diva Scene
As a total package, Fifth Element is my favorite sci-fi/fantasy film of all time. Anyone who likes the movie will tell you this is one of their favorite scenes, so it's no surprise it is on my list.
Last of the Mohicans: The Final Battle
This movie holds a special place for me. I was nine when it was released and my dad took me out of school one day to go see it. It was the first R-rated movie I saw in theaters. The ending has haunted me for years - not because its traumatizing or anything. To this day it is still haunting. The images and the music that accompanies them, its beautiful but devastating. They've just stayed with me. Truly haunting.Dune: For he is the Kwisatz Haderach
I know, I know. Here we go with Dune again. There are a lot of great scenes in Dune, but the one I can't get enough of comes right after Paul kills Feyd. He screams at his opponent's lifeless body and his voice alone rips him and the floor apart. It's a total 'holy fuck' moment. When I read the book, I was very disappointed that sound played no part in the weirding way. Muad'dib is not a killing word? Well damn it all!
Patton: The Prayer Scene
When people think of great scenes from Patton, they immediately think of the opening scene with him giving his speech in front of a massive American flag. I always think of the scene where he prays for good weather. The contrast between a prayer spoken over images of battle and death is amazing to watch. It's something about seeing all this action without hearing any of it. I don't know if this is the first movie to use this technique, but its the earliest I can think of and one of the most effective.
Highlander: I have something to say...
I love Clancy Brown.
Kurosawa Films: Various
I actually had a specific scene picked out from Seven Samurai, but I couldn't find a video of it (when Mifune's Kikuchiyo sneaks up on the sniper). So I tried to find a decent video of Mifune's death from Throne of Blood. Nope. How about that scene from Hidden Fortress Mifune is riding full speed on horseback with his samurai sword lifted high above his head? Nope. The best thing I could find was this short clip from Ran - but I couldn't even find the scene with Tatsuya Nakadai walking out of the burning castle, just a brief glimpse of the castle attack. Notice, again, there is intense action with no sound from the action itself. This is actually from a much longer scene, depicting far more carnage. Once the action becomes audible again, in the form of a gunshot, it is very jarring (not depicted here).
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: Two Men Enter...
Of this scene, Roger Ebert said "[this is] the first really original movie idea about how to stage a fight since we got the first karate movies". He's right. After this, there wasn't another truly innovative fight scene until The Matrix. The scene is intense, the stakes are high, the pacing is right on, and its just fun to watch. I wonder how this scene would be done in a movie today - you know, how heavily choreographed it would be.
M*A*S*H: The Pros from Dover
I'm a huge fan of MASH. I love the book, the movie, and the show. I tried to find the scene where they mockingly sing "Onward Christian Soldier" as Robert Duvall ties to pray. Below is my second favorite scene.The Sopranos: A Foiled Plot
So I'm going to throw a TV show on here since its one of the few shows I can watch as many times as a favorite movie. I consider the first two seasons of the Sopranos to be the greatest thing to appear on television...ever. This scene comes close to the end of season one. Up until this point Tony has been in a mental downward spiral. He is delusional and numb from large doses of lithium and death starts to sound very comforting. That is until he is awakened from his stupor.