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J.A.A. Purves

Top Conversation Scenes In Film

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I just finished watching Dogville for the first time. And I've gotta say I don't know if I've ever seen one single entrancing conversation completely change the entire way I've viewed a whole film. An entire book could probably be written just on that end scene conversation between Grace and "The Big Man." Thinking about this some more, some of my favorite moments in film have often been ... simply, two people sitting together and talking. Since everyone here seems to like lists, let's make another one. What are the best (or just your favorite) and most insightful conversation scenes you can think of?

I'll think about this some more, but I'll start out with my easy top two:

#1 - Pulp Fiction - The conversation between Samuel L. Jackson (Jules) and Tim Roth (Ringo) at the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMRi-gFeK-M&feature=related

#2 - Dogville - The conversation between Nicole Kidman (Grace) and James Caan (The Big Man) at the end.

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I don't know how to embed video clips, but the conversation between priest and Bobby Sands in Hunger is epic.

My thoughts, recorded the night I watched the scene, are here.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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True Romance

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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My Dinner with Andre ;)

If we want specific scenes, I can think of a couple:

The Ferris Wheel scene in The Third Man

The talk between Plainview and his long-lost "brother" on the beach in There will be Blood

For that matter, the conversation that closes out No Country for Old Men

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I don't know how to embed video clips, but the conversation between priest and Bobby Sands in Hunger is epic.

That's the first one that came to my mind.

There's one between Ryan Gosling and Emily Mortimer about halfway through Lars and the Real girl that I love.

Ponette has several good ones, besides the obvious one.

Emile Hirsch and Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild.

Veronique and the puppeteer in The Double Life of Veronique.

Secrets and Lies.

Richard Farnsworth and the runaway girl in The Straight Story.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I don't know how to embed video clips, but the conversation between priest and Bobby Sands in Hunger is epic.

My thoughts, recorded the night I watched the scene, are here.

Good one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq0SETWIO8U, and then ...

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Oh, there is a great one between George (Richard Burton) and Nick (George Segal) in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? beneath a tree on the front lawn. There is a YouTube clip of it, but it's lousy quality, and, anyway, out of context, the scene loses a little weight. But that film also features this wonderful conversation opener with George and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), discussing the origin of a movie quote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQeJr65CBVE

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I will always remember the conversation in In America in which we are essentially introduced to the African character with a huge secret. The way this secret is revealed is subtle and smashing at the same time.

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Some good ones listed here so far. I wouldn't have immediately thought of that scene in Hunger, but yeah, wow, what a conversation. Good thoughts too on how Dogville's final conversation just changes the entire perspective of the film.

Is it too early to count a film like The Social Network? I've now watched that opening conversation five or six times. It is the perfect launching point to the rest of the story, and the rest of the film has somre pretty good dialogue, too.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I've given up on trying to answer this question several times already because I love great conversation scenes so much it's impossible for me to narrow down a list.

To start: among contemporary filmmakers, no one writes and shoots better conversations than Richard Linklater. Pretty much any scene in Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise/Sunset, and Waking Life would go on my list.

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The dinner table conversation in Crimes and Misdemeanors. I show it in about every class I teach.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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What's cool about some of these suggestions that all of you are making is sometimes just one good conversation alone is enough to get me to go see a film.

A few more -

Cromwell - A conversation between Oliver Cromwell (Richard Harris) and a couple members of British Parliament. I don't know why this one conversation has always stuck with me, but there is something astonishing about a group of men getting to together to ask you to be their king. It illustrated conflicting political philosophy on the nature of government power for me when I was younger better than anything else I can think of. (Note: the conversation only starts on this clip at about the 6:30 mark.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn6J26mPUIE&feature=related

Whistle Down the Wind - A conversation between Kathy (Hayley Mills) and the Vicar. Another one that's always stuck with me, partly because it reminded me of some of the answers to my questions that I received in church when I was little. She's asking her pastor why Jesus allows pain and death in the world, mostly for the benefit of her little brother who's intently interested in the same question. (The conversation is only for the first 3 minutes on this clip.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ckSNaENwg4&feature=related

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Stef mentioned in another thread that he's planning to watch Paris, Texas soon, which reminded me of this scene.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5eL2oeT1qM

That conversation makes a good film great, I think.

Haven't made it back to the film yet but there are quite a few anti-conversation scenes earlier in Paris, Texas.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Also, it's driving my crazy that none of my favorite scenes from Buffalo '66 are on YouTube.

Agreed. Also not cool is my inability to find a clip of my favorite conversation from Joe Versus the Volcano.

Joe: I couldn't have imagined any of this ... Are you used to this?

Patricia: What?

Joe: The ocean, the stars?

Patricia: You never get used to it. Why do you think I want this boat? All I want to do is sail away.

Joe: Where would you go?

Patricia: Away from the things of man.

Joe: Do you believe in God?

Patricia: I believe in myself.

Joe: What's that mean?

Patricia: I have confidence in myself.

Joe: I've done a lot of soul searching lately. I've been asking myself some tough questions. You know what I've found out?

Patricia: What?

Joe: I have no interest in myself. I think about myself, I get bored out of my mind.

Patricia: What does interest you?

Joe: I don't know. Courage. Courage interests me.

Patricia: You're going to spend the rest of your life on a tiny island in the South Pacific?

Joe: Well, up till now I've lived on a tiny island called Staten Island, and I've commuted to a job in a shut up room with pumped in air, no sunshine, despicable people ... and now that I've got some distance from that situation, that seems pretty unbelievable. Your life seems unbelievable to me. All this life seems unbelievable to me. Somewhat. At this moment.

Patricia: My father says almost the whole world's asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says only a few people are awake. And they live in a state of constant total amazement.

Joe: I have less than six months to live. The Waponis believe they need a human sacrifice or their island's going to sink into the ocean. They have a mineral your father wants. He's hired me to jump in their volcano.

Patricia: What?

Joe: You're not going to make me say that again, are you?

Patricia: No.

Joe: Aren't you going to say anything?

Patricia: I don't know what to say. You tell me you're dying. You tell me you're jumping into a volcano. My mind is a blank.

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I don't know how to embed video clips, but the conversation between priest and Bobby Sands in Hunger is epic.

My thoughts, recorded the night I watched the scene, are here.

Thank you! First thing that came to mind when I saw the title of the thread. An absolutely captivating conversation.

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