1. In Thieves’ Highway, Valentina Cortese plays tic-tac-toe on Richard Conte’s bare chest with her fingernails.
2. A heartbreaking four-minute montage through the entirety of a marriage at the beginning of Up.
3. A soldier finds himself staring at the shelves in a stateside supermarket, utterly adrift, in The Hurt Locker.
4. “What is time? Swiss manufacture it. French hoard it. Italians squander it. Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. Do you know what I say? I say time is a crook.” Peter Lorre in Beat the Devil.
5. Roy Scheider driving a truckload of nitroglycerine across a rickety bridge, teetering wildly as he goes, in Sorcerer.
6. The climactic shootout in the hall of mirrors, in Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai.
7. Bruce Lee stalks the film’s villain, and is stalked by him, through his mirror-lined lair in Enter the Dragon.
8. The fight in the bamboo forest in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, with the characters leaping through the treetops.
9. Audrey Hepburn swooning over Cary Grant in Charade: “Do you know what’s wrong with you? Nothing.”
10. Jake and Elwood being chased through downtown Chicago by several hundred cops in The Blues Brothers.
11. In Buffalo ’66, Vincent Gallo goes to a strip club to shoot a guy, and the scene begins in slow motion, scored with a Yes song, then dissolves into a series of silent tableaux as the shooting starts.
12. Serial killer Terry O’Quinn, in The Stepfather, who keeps trying to form the perfect family, and kills wives and children who disappoint him, is having trouble keeping his identities straight during an argument with his latest wife, and says, “Who am I here?”
13. The massive, intricately choreographed set piece in the USO in 1941, in which one beef between two guys explodes into an utter melee encompassing everyone in the building.
14. The over-the-top Japanese gangster film Dead or Alive grows increasingly more ridiculous until, at the very end, the dueling cop and criminal literally destroy the world.
15. The opening of A Clockwork Orange, which begins with Malcolm McDowell staring creepily from under a lowered brow at the camera, which tracks back to reveal him and his “droogs” in a futuristic milk bar.
16. In Children of Men, a long, unbroken shot follows the main characters first as they have an uneventful car ride, then continues after the car is attacked by gunmen.
17. Conan the Barbarian’s opinion of what is best in life: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.”
18. The largely wordless montage in The Hudsucker Proxy which tracks the invention, development, production, initial failure and eventual success of the hula hoop (“You know, for kids!”).
19. Eli the 12-year-old vampire enters a home uninvited and soon begins to bleed from all over her body in Let the Right One In.
20. “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Dean Wormer to Flounder in Animal House.
21. Gabriel Byrne leads John Turturro into the woods to kill him in Miller’s Crossing, while Turturro frantically pleads for his life. “Look in your heart!”
22. In The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin dances with a large, inflatable globe (“My world!”), batting it up in the air and gingerly catching it.
23. In Pillow Talk, Doris Day asks Rock Hudson, “Is that all it is with us, friendship?” He replies, “That’s a direct question. I think it deserves a direct answer,” and kisses her.
24. A mass of birds in The Birds, silently lighting on the jungle gym in a playground behind an unsuspecting Tippi Hedren.
25. In The Sweet Hereafter, a movie haunted by dead children, a lawyer takes a call from his junkie daughter while going through a car wash, and is deluged literally and figuratively.
26. Rutger Hauer lamenting his unique experiences that, after he dies, will be “lost in time, like tears in rain,” in Blade Runner.
27. Dennis Hopper’s chainsaw battle with Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
28. In The King of Comedy, Jerry Lewis sees stalker Sandra Bernhard walking behind him on the street. He gradually increases his speed, and she follows, until they are both sprinting down the sidewalk.
29. The opening of GoodFellas finds mobsters Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro driving at night, when they hear a thumping coming from the trunk. They pull over to find a not-quite-dead guy in the trunk, whom they proceed to kill savagely. On the voiceover, Liotta says, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”
30. Dozens of couples waltzing in unison on Harvard Yard in Heaven’s Gate.
31. Barbara Stanwyck tousles Henry Fonda’s hair in The Lady Eve, while he gazes ahead, looking almost dumbfounded or ecstatic.
32. In The Conversation, surveillance expert Gene Hackman, paranoid he’s being bugged, destroys his apartment looking for listening devices, until he’s even pulled up the floorboards.
33. Lee Marvin throws a pot of scalding coffee into Gloria Grahame’s face in The Big Heat.
34. In Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, a woman is grabbed by a zombie, and her eye is very slowly pulled ever closer to a large shard of wood, until finally the inevitable happens.
35. A cow’s eyeball is sliced with a razor in Luis Buñuel’s film Un Chien Andalou.
36. The image of a chalk body outline on a flight of steps wavers in the rain in the Korean crime film Nowhere to Hide.
37. In Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets into a fight in a hallway in a dream world, brawling up and down the walls and ceiling as the hallway rotates around him.
38. During a battle scene in the Marx Brothers’ war satire Duck Soup, the brothers are wearing different military uniforms in every shot in which we see them.
39. In Amadeus, the emperor suggests that a composition of Mozart’s has “too many notes,” suggesting he just cut a few. “Which few did you have in mind?” Mozart asks.
40. In Blood Simple, a man fruitlessly tries to mop up a growing pool of blood with his plastic windbreaker.
41. Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg wading through the Trevi Fountain in La Dolce Vita.
42. Buster Keaton stands perfectly still as the wall of a house falls on him in Steamboat Bill, Jr., but is saved by standing exactly in the location of an open window.
43. The main character in A Serious Man goes to a rabbi, seeking answers to his many problems, and the rabbi tells him a story about a dentist who found a plea for help engraved into the back of a patient’s teeth, but never found out why. Some questions don’t have answers, says the rabbi.
Carey Norris writes about film for Birmingham Weekly. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.