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Blood is a Big Expense

I'm watching The Godfather, again. I've lost count of how many times I've seen this movie. I just know the first time was in the movie theater, when my friend's mother took us to see this R rated movie when we were just ten years old. I kid you not. Every time the flick gets to the part with the gun in the bathroom, I hold my breath. Every time. Whether it was the second time I was watching it or the 500th time. I know how the scene is going to play out; I know that Michael secures the gun and does what he came to Still, I feel that nervous tension I felt as a ten year old as if I had never watched the seen at all. That was Pacino's finest moment. His fear is yours; his adrenaline is yours. When he has the gun in his hand you feel his relief. Some movie buffs point to the act after Michael finds the gun - the actual shooting in the restaurant - as one of the greatest movie scenes ever filmed. Perhaps. But as I watch the movie again today, it occurs to me that the bathroom/gun act is the most tension-filled scene in any movie, ever. Yes/No/Other?


YES! And I'm watching it right now, too. So many moments in this film qualify as Best Movie Moments. It defines, for me, what movies are supposed to do. Sweep you into another world that isn't so very farfetched, and enthrall you, stick with you.

Leave the gun, take the cannoli. Best advice ever.

I'm not gonna argue, but I would point out a few scenes in Wait Until Dark.

The incredible ferocity of Sonny's street beating of Carlo.

Spectator shoes, a trash can lid and pure fury.

Michael making his bones is definitely one of the best scenes in celluloid history. That was back when Al Pacino would actually act, instead of just scream at things.

"It's a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes."

My all time favorite line.

As far as tension-filled scenes go, Hitchcock has the best. Try "Spellbound" or "Dial 'M' for Murder". "A Simple Plan", by the master Sam Raimi is also pretty tension-filled.

I'd say the ending to "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" is the most tension-filled scene ever.

I gotta go with "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

I disagree. The sloth scene in "Seven" would be my choice.

I'd have to say that this is one scene that every time I watch it, I am sitting there going "is it going to happen?"

Good call...

The entire sequence of scenes, from when the car picks up Michael at Louis' until he drops the gun are Pacino's finest acting on film.

Nowadays Pacino is just chewing up scenery.

best Pacino --- Dog Day Afternoon. I think (also) the guy that played his partner in crime, and who deserved an Oscar, was Fredo.

I would go with "Silence of the Lambs" when Jodi Foster is in the dark and the psycho is right behind her with night vision goggles on. She does the best job of being totally freaked out and as the viewer, I wet my pants and scream when he is RIGHT BEHIND HER!!!!!!!!!!!

I think the whole movie Scarface, Tony Montana is great. Pacino was great then. Pity actors get older and jaded.

In "High Noon", the two-minute montage just before noon, climaxing with the train whistle.

My favorite dramatic scene in "Silence of The Lambs" is when Buffalo Bill opens the door of his house and instead of seeing the Hostage Rescue Team, it's Jodie Foster.

I was thinking about it and I have to agree with Mel. The 'Silence of The Lambs' is pretty much tension filled from beginning to end, but that end scene with the night vision goggles is amazing.

As for Pacino, his best performance was as Frank Serpico in 'Serpico.'

Check the most recent post for an Al Pacino poll.

One of the most tension-y movie scenes for me was at the very end of "Galipoli". Is he going to make it back in time?

When I saw it the second time I had the same emotions about it, even though deep down I knew what was going to happen. Incredible movie.

The scene in Blown Away where Jeff Bridges is deactivating the bomb on Forest Whitaker's head is pretty tense. A little too predictable though, I suppose.

And I don't know if it counts as suspenseful, but the scene in Ransom where Gary Sinise is revealed as one of the kidnappers is a deft bit of screenwriting.

I was very worried that Michael Masden's character was gonna set the cop on fire in Reservoir Dogs. Given the gore that had preceded that scene, if he had it would have been brutal.

"Is it safe?" -- Marathon Man
Seen first on a BIG screen, not just a little TV. It was torture out of a Kafka novel.

Then there's that eyeball scene in Un Chien Andalou. I was in my college dorm and wasn't watching the movie but was passing the TV lounge and STILL can't get that out of my head. That was 23 years ago and I can STILL taste my linch coming up from the day before. Eeeeeeuuuuuuuuuw!

Forgot about the Madsen scene. Duh-amm.

Not the most tense scene in Reservoir Dogs, but reminding me a bit of the restaurant shooting in the Godfather: the robbery scene, when Mr. White & Mr. Orange are making their getaway, they commandeer the car, and the moment when the woman driver shoots Orange and he shoots her back. We've just seen the back-story of him as the undercover cop -- infiltrating the gang, telling the "commode story" (my favorite scene in that flick, BTW) ... and then, at that moment when he gets shot and shoots the civilian -- just as in the Godfather when Michael commits his first murder -- at that moment, everything changes irreversibly and totally. The cop-torture scene wasn't what Res Dogs was all about; it was all about Mr. Orange.