Friday Favorites: Favorite Montage – The Great Movie Ride

Welcome to “Friday Favorites” which highlight some of my favorite movie-related things.

I haven’t done a Friday Favorite in a while, mostly because no one read them, but I was in the mood to revive it for at least today.  Whenever the Oscars roll around, I always find myself thinking back to go the great films throughout 100 years of movie history.  And whenever I find myself contemplating the power and history of film, I always turn to one, 3 minute montage that completely embodies film for me.  Take a look:

This montage comes from the end of The Great Movie Ride, an attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) at Walt Disney World in Florida.  The ride, which is located inside a recreation of The Chinese Theatre, takes guests on “a spectacular journey into the movies,” through a series of animatronic recreations of famous movie scenes and characters.  The ride itself is full of highlights for the film buff.  It begins with a salute to Busby Berkley’s Footlight Parade, before giving us a glimpse of Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain and Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins.  The ride heads into gangster movies including Jimmy Cagney in The Public Enemy before going on to westerns with Clint Eastwood’s Blondie and John Wayne from The Searchers.  There’s a detour through the Nostromo from Alien and an encounter both with Sigourney Weaver and a Xenomorph.  We see Harrison Ford and John Rhys-Davies in the Well of the Souls from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan and Cheeta from Tarzan the Ape Man, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman from the end of Casablanca and Mickey from Fantasia.  The ride stops in Munchkinland for a close encounter with Margaret Hamilton (and one of the most advanced audio-animatronics in the park) from The Wizard of Oz before ending with this montage.

Interestingly, the montage is my favorite part of the ride and it wasn’t even the ending originally planned for the attraction.  Instead it would have featured another Wizard of Oz scene involving Oz himself and the man behind the curtain, but that was scrapped in favor of the montage.  Obviously I think this was a good decision, as the Montage is a perfect way to salute many more films than the ride itself includes, and with its updates throughout the years the montage has been able to stay more current than the rest of the ride which is understandably focused more on the “classics”.

As for the montage itself, it’s practically perfect in my eyes.  While it’s not what I would craft if I were to start from scratch to make my own salute to the movies (which would probably be at least several days long and would be insufferable to anyone who isn’t me), it’s hard to argue with what it includes.  We get many of the most iconic lines in movie history, from “You ain’t heard nothing yet!”, the first words ever spoken on the big screen, to “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” to “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night,” to “We didn’t need dialogue, we had faces,” and more.  So many of the biggest moments in movies are included, like the destruction of the bridge in The Bridge on the River Kwai, the chariot race in Ben-Hur, the parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments, the boulder chase from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the cropduster from North by Northwest, as well as smaller moments.  Even some of my all time favorite shots are included, like the crane shot from High Noon.

The music chosen is fantastic too, each representing the various aspects of film.  The silent segment at the beginning, featuring everything from Charlie Chaplin to Wings, is set to Joplin’s “The Entertainer”, before Al Jolson’s line sets off a segment focused on musicals set to music from Show Boat (also the first shot of that segment).  Next up is a comedy section with the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers and Blazing Saddles, before a crime/action sequence set to “Axel F” from Beverly Hills Cop.  A fanfare brings us to science fiction, fantasy and epics, all set to “Dance of the Hours” by Ponchielli before the grand score from Gone with the Wind sweeps us to a place of romance and drama.  We see famous faces and moments, with classics like Casablanca, From Here to Eternity, and A Streetcar Named Desire.  Robin Williams ushers in the final segment, set to the theme from Star Wars, with his famous “Good morning, Vietnam!” radio welcome, as the clips almost fly to the screen, capturing the epic shots and most famous moments from some of the biggest films.

Of course, all of that description was a little silly, as you can just watch the montage and see it yourself, but the expert craftsmanship that went into making it needed to be pointed out.  In the days of Youtube, when anyone and everyone can rip segments of DVDs and make their own movie highlight reels, the finale of The Great Movie Ride still stands tall above the rest.  I realize that a good part of it for me is simply nostalgia, as I remember experiencing this long before I had any idea what these clips, shots and quotes were even from, but there’s more to it than that.  While it may not use every one of my favorite movies, it hits some of the best of all types of films, from grand epics to small comedies, from award winners to popular favorites, from silent black-and-white films to modern blockbusters and everything in between.  When someone asks me what movies mean to me my mind will immediately jump to this 3 minute montage, and it will be the standard by which all other movie tributes are measured.

What do you think?  Have you experienced The Great Movie Ride?  What is your favorite tribute to the movies?  If you could make your own movie montage, what films would you include, what shots would you use, what dialogue, and what music?  With the Oscars this weekend, what’s been your favorite Oscar’s tribute?  (I’m partial to the “Salute to binoculars and periscopes” from when Jon Stewart hosted, for pure ridiculousness.)  Are you excited that Oscar weekend has finally arrived?  Let me know in the comments.


As a post script, I’m including a video of the entire ride, as well as a list of all of the films included in the ending montage.

List of all movies included in the montage finale of The Great Movie Ride:

  • The Cure
  • The Rink
  • Behind the Screen
  • The Great Train Robbery
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Kiss
  • Wings
  • The Jazz Singer
  • Show Boat
  • 42nd Street
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Grease
  • Jailhouse Rock
  • Sister Act
  • Chicago
  • Babes in Arms
  • Cabin in the Sky
  • Mary Poppins
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • Airplane!
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Cops
  • Take the Money and Run
  • Down and Out in Beverly Hills
  • A Plumbing We Will Go
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Arthur
  • Bright Eyes
  • A Night at the Opera
  • Three Men and a Baby
  • Broadcast News
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Beverly Hills Cop
  • Trading Places
  • The Godfather
  • The Godfather Part II
  • Taxi Driver
  • Shanghai Knights
  • True Grit
  • The French Connection
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • North by Northwest
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • San Francisco
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Never Say Never Again
  • The Terminator
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II
  • Alien
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • King Kong
  • Young Frankenstein
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • Fantasia
  • Top Gun
  • The Absent-Minded Professor
  • Platoon
  • The Karate Kid
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • Amadeus
  • Citizen Kane
  • Chariots of Fire
  • 10
  • Tootsie
  • Funny Girl
  • Giant
  • Pal Joey
  • The Public Enemy
  • Adam’s Rib
  • Gone with the Wind
  • From Here to Eternity
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Notorious
  • The Way We Were
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  • Grand Hotel
  • Queen Christina
  • A Place in the Sun
  • Stagecoach
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Casablanca
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Klute
  • Roman Holiday
  • Gilda
  • Hud
  • Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Apocalypse Now
  • All About Eve
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Armageddon
  • Finding Nemo
  • Thelma and Louise
  • High Noon
  • Unforgiven
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  • Lassie Come Home
  • Malcolm X
  • Forrest Gump
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Ten Commandments
  • Ben-Hur
  • Star Wars

1 thought on “Friday Favorites: Favorite Montage – The Great Movie Ride

  1. Pingback: 2014 Oscars Recap | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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