Are there certain TV and Movie moments that are stuck in your mind because of the emotional impact? Here are 25 memorable movie and TV moments that I’m sure you remember well. If you haven’t seen them yet, these are ones to check out as soon as possible.
On my Facebook page JEFF MARSHALL, MOVIE BLOGGER, I reguarly post memorable movie and TV scenes. These are highlight moments from movies and television over the years that have been particularly memorable for many viewers.
Just for funsies, I thought I’d compile some of my favorites and share with you.
Remembering your top movie moments is a walk down memory lane as you think back on the movie scenes and television episodes that left some kind of impact on your mind and heart. Some made you laugh, some made you cry, others made you wince in terror or shriek with delight, and a rare few accomplished all of the above and then some.
Often, you may remember where you were when you first saw the scene and with whom you were watching the movie.
So sit back, grab a drink, and join me at a look back over the last few decades of MEMORABLE MOVIE AND TELEVISION MOMENTS.
1) THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (June 20, 1980) – Episode 5 of the STAR WARS franchise remains for me the best of the lot, and it seems like most fans tend to agree with me. Being a fan but not necessarily a fanatic of the series, I found it the most compelling, the most involving, and the battle of Hoth remains my favorite set piece in the franchise. The memorable moment I want to highlight is when Han Solo is sent to the carbon freezing chamber. I like this moment because it contains true emotion, something I feel lacking in the other episodes. Solo’s goodbye with Princess Leia is truly touching, and it’s a perfect cliff hanger moment.
2) THE HONEYMOONERS
THE HONEYMOONERS “The Deciding Vote” (December 10, 1955) – Honestly, haas there ever been a better physical comedian than Jackie “The Great One” Gleason? Whenever I think of this show, I always remember the scene in which Gleason’s Ralph Kramden goes mano a mano with a vacuum cleaner. My sides ache after watching this scene, a reminder of how truly unique and special a talented Gleason was.
3) THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS
THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS (October 13, 1989) – What do I miss about today’s movies as opposed to those from the 30s and 40s? Easy – good old-fashioned Hollywood glamour. In 1989 we got a glimmer that it’s still alive and well when Michelle Pfeiffer all but violated a grand piano while singing “Makin’ Whoopee”. Both tastefully done and crazy hot, it was a phenomenal moment from a movie that deserves to be re-discovered. I would have easily given her the Oscar that year, but there was no way the Academy wasn’t going to reward Jessica Tandy for DRIVING MISS DAISY. Alas!
4) GILLIGAN’S ISLAND
GILLIGAN’S ISLAND “Don’t Bug the Mosquitoes” (December 9, 1965) – Gilligan and pals may show up again down the road, but no list of memorable TV moments could possibly omit the appearance of They Honeybees. Trying to impress a famous rock band that has landed on the island, the three girls join forces with a song called “You Need Me”. This may be Mrs. Howell’s finest moment of the series – she is absolutely hilarious. It’s a moment I pull up on YouTube quite often when I’m needing a little boost.
5) A CRY IN THE DARK
A CRY IN THE DARK (November 11, 1988) – I’m trying to limit the number of Meryl Streep moments I highlight in this series, but you have to let me do a few. There’s a moment in this film when Lindy Chamberlain is convicted of murdering her daughter and shares one last moment with her pastor husband before being taken to jail. The acting by Streep and Sam Neill in this scene is so raw and real, it literally gives me chills every time I see it. This will become an increasingly important and relevant film as the role of media and social networking continues to impact our lives in every conceivable way.
6) THE JEFFERSONS
THE JEFFERSONS “Me and Billy Dee ” (November 4, 1978) – This memorable TV moment is very special for me personally as this was one of my mom’s favorite TV episodes of all time. We watched it many times when I was growing up and the house filled with laughter. Through a series of circumstances that only happen in the world of TV, Billy Dee Williams pays a visit to the Jeffersons. Florence the maid, has number one fan, believes him to be a celebrity look alike. Hilarity ensues!
7) SERIAL MOM
SERIAL MOM (April 13, 1994) – This movie is admittedly in bad taste – director John Waters is famous for his lack of taste – but I can’t deny it is one of the most rewatchable, consistently funny movies in my library. My favorite moment is when seemingly ideal housewife Beverly Sutphin goes ballistic on pain-in-the-butt neighbor Dottie Hinkle during an obscenity-laden prank call. Like I said, not for the kiddies, but Beverly’s joy in her naughtiness is irresistible.
8) THE COMEBACK
THE COMEBACK “Valerie Shines Under Stress” (August 28, 2005) – Viewers really screwed up as far as this show is concerned. It could have been a classic if only it had been given the time to find its niche audience. Valerie Cherish is one of the great TV characters in recent memory, and Lisa Kudrow shines like the brightest star on the clearest of nights. When she sings “I Will Survive” as her theme song, acting as though it’s the most original, underused song in the universe, you realize she really does live in her own unique world, oblivious to anything going on around her.
9) MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS
MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS (December 29, 1995) – Movies about the power of music have always spoken to me very strongly, and this 1995 Richard Dreyfuss vehicle, while occasionally maudlin and melodramatic, is no exception. As a composer, I could very much relate to the joys and struggles of conveying your thoughts and feelings in musical form. At the end of this film, when students from this reluctant school teacher join together to perform his masterwork, there isn’t a dry eye in the house.
10) THE LATE, LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN
THE LATE, LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN (January 13, 2016) – The carpool karaoke segments of James Corden’s late night talk show have been highly enjoyable and popular, the highlight for me thus far being when he welcomed singer extraordinaire Adele at the beginning of 2016. Not only was it a joy to hear them do some rather impressive harmonies, but many were introduced to Adele’s really awesome sense of humor and self-deprecation. And her rendition of Nicki Minaj’s rap “Anaconda” is pure gold.
AIRPLANE! (July 2, 1980) – In a movie filled with enough memorable moments to last through the end of the year and beyond, the top of the heap has to be Barbara “June Cleaver” Billingsley coming forward during a crisis with the immortal line “Oh, stewardess – I speak jive.” Whatever genius came up with this idea has earned my undying respect and gratitude for eternity!
12) DIFF’RENT STROKES
DIFF’RENT STROKES “The Bicycle Man” (February 5 and 12, 1983) – I distinctly remember a feeling of unease when Conrad Bain introduced this “very special episode” before it started. I was only 9 years old when this aired and don’t recall hearing that much about child molestation. I salute the makers of this show for having the bravery to discuss such a sensitive subject. Watching it again recently, it still holds quite a bit of impact. I would encourage families to watch this together and discuss afterwards.
FARGO (March 8, 1996) – This is one of the most undeniably brilliant movies I’ve ever seen in my life, with Frances McDormand and the criminally underrated William H. Macy giving iconic, once in a lifetime performances. My favorite moment comes at the end as McDormand’s pregnant police chief is escorting someone to jail. The realization that she is about to bring a new life into a corrupt world full of people like the ruthless criminal she is transporting results in a haunting monologue that nevertheless ends with a ray of hope in the very last scene. This is the Coen Brothers finest moment – so far.
14) CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES
CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES (November 2, 2016) – As a Cardinal fan who was watching the CMA Awards instead, I still feel obliged to consider this as a memorable TV moment. I thought immediately of my grandpa, the biggest Cubs fan I ever knew. He passed away many years ago, but I could picture the biggest smile on his face and probably a tear or two as well.
15) THE FIRST WIVES CLUB
THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (September 20, 1996) – When the teaming of Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler was first announced, I remember being truly excited and hoping beyond hope that the vehicle would be worthy of this monumental trio. And while certainly not a perfect movie, I think it was. Certainly a textbook example of an audience pleaser, I think it was virtually impossible for anyone to walk out of the theater without a smile on his face and a spring in his step after the musical number at the end in which the ladies triumphantly join together in a rousing rendition of “You Don’t Own Me”.
16) WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE!
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE! (October 13, 2014) – Most of you out there may have never seen this, but it’s one of the funnier moments in recent live television. Host Andy Cohen asked guest Carol Burnett to do her infamous Tarzan yell. She cordially obliged and did such a good job that she was “attacked” by Cohen’s dog Wacha. Both host and guest collapsed in laughter. Look it up on YouTube if you haven’t seen it!
17) BLACK SWAN
BLACK SWAN (December 17, 2010) – I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve audibly gasped during a movie – whether it be due to shock or surprise or a general feeling of being overwhelmed. At the end of Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece, featuring Natalie Portman’s Oscar-winning performance, I did just that. This is on my list of top ten films of all time, and the last half hour is just one big memorable movie moment. Just writing about it makes me want to put in the Blu-Ray and live it all over again.
18) A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (December 9, 1965) – There’s not much to say about this one! The Christmas classic to end all Christmas classics. And nothing gets me in the holiday mood better than watching the Peanuts gang jive to the groovy sounds of Vince Guaraldi. One day before I die, I want to gather a group together and mimic this very scene – it’s the small things in life that make me happy!
19) PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED
PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED (October 10, 1986) – One of my favorite films of the 80s, Francis Coppola’s film about a middle-aged woman transported back to her teenage years is the best film of its kind I’ve ever seen – yes, better than BACK TO THE FUTURE. In the film’s most touching moment, the young Peggy Sue picks up a phone call to find her grandmother on the other end. The older Peggy Sue knows that the grandmother has died many years ago, so the juxtaposition of answering a phone call from a loved one you know has died is all sorts of heartbreaking. Kathleen Turner is phenomenal in this movie – we see the differences in the older vs. the younger character not by make-up or special effects but by the looks on her face, the register of her voice, and the power of her performance.
20) THE POSITIVELY TRUE ADVENTURES OF THE ALLEGED TEXAS CHEERLEADER-MURDERING MOM
THE POSITIVELY TRUE ADVENTURES OF THE ALLEGED TEXAS CHEERLEADER-MURDERING MOM (April 10, 1993) – I am somewhat infatuated with this HBO movie, and Holly Hunter’s performance is one of the great pleasures of my television/movie existence. My memorable moment is a small scene, with Hunter on the phone with her ex-husband, but she nails every moment, totally manic, almost comical, but never over the top. Hunter, more than any other actor I can think of, has a knack for creating moments that seem totally genuine and spontaneous.
21) CHANCES ARE
CHANCES ARE (March 10, 1989) – Ever come across a movie that looks absolutely horrendous and then you actually watch it and it blows your socks off? Pre-IRON MAN Robert Downey Jr. is a young man who finds he is possessed by the spirit of the late husband of post-Moonlighting Cybil Shepherd. The scene where she realizes the truth, as Downey plays a forgotten song on the piano, is one of the highlights of this movie. Check it out – you might be pleasantly surprised.
ROSEANNE “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home” (February 9, 1993) – The great Laurie Metcalf won multiple Emmys for her role as Roseanne’s sister Jackie, and no moment in the show displayed her brilliance better than her attempt to call hearing impaired Auntie Barbara to let her know of her dad’s passing. Talk about laughter through tears! I urge you to find this clip on YouTube – it’s a stunner!
23) TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (December 25, 1962) – I don’t think young Mary Badham gets enough credit for her performance as Scout – I think it may be the best child performance I’ve seen. I don’t know why, but every time I see the scene in which she meets the infamous Boo Radley, I get chills up and down my spine. Surprise, bemusement, excitement, discovery – it all registers on her face. And then when she finally exclaims “Hey, Boo”, backed up by Elmer Bernstein’s memorable score, it’s a wonderful movie moment.
24) SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (September 13, 2008) – Tina Fey’s impersonation of Sarah Palin is one of the most important TV moments ever. I wholeheartedly believe that this brief skit played an integral part in the results of the 2008 election. And let’s face it, Fey was born to do this. It goes beyond mimicry into something otherworldly and beyond reproach. It may very well be the greatest celebrity impersonation ever.
25) HANNAH AND HER SISTERS
HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (March 14, 1986) – When asked to name my favorite movie of all time, there are consistently three or four titles that fight for the title – this is one of them. In a movie filled with perfect moments, the highlight for me is the unexpected reunion between Woody Allen and Dianne Wiest at the record shop toward the end of the movie. Seeing the two most neurotic characters in film history find a connection after their earlier date from hell is a true joy. Wiest is one of the unsung heroines of cinema, and her Oscar-winning performance here is one of the great performances of the 1980s.
And I’m sure down the road there will be some more memorable moments to share!
What are some of the movie and television moments that have resonated for you over the years? Share in the comments section.
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