This video essay makes a compelling argument.
Every great movie – whether it’s about a hero’s journey, a task to be fulfilled, a goal to be attained, or just a series of events in a certain temporal period – has at least one thing in common: a great plot point. This point can be a set-up, like the opening scene of The Social Network; or the point at which the main conflict begins, as in the “choose-a-pill” scene in The Matrix; a major setback like when Marty McFly realizes in Back to the Future that running into his parents in the past is erasing his and his siblings’ present; or the point at which the story turns to the final showdown, like in Casablanca when Ilsa confronts Rick with a gun; or it can be the infamous third-act twist, as in Silence of the Lambs when we realize the FBI isn’t raiding Buffalo Bill’s house, Clarice is there alone.
But whatever their purpose, each of these points propels the story, and when done well – as the above mentioned points in particular are – they also propel the entire film into a realm reserved for the great.
CineFix has collected the five scenes I mentioned into a video that explains just why these plot points are the best in movie history, starting with a blanket explanation of the purposes they serve then delving into the details.