22nd Sep2017

Ten Best: Phone Scenes in Movies

by Kat Wheat

To celebrate today’s release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – available in stores from today – here’s a list of the Ten Best phone scenes in movies, showcasing some of the most famous telephone calls ever made.

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Pillow Talk (1959)

A man and woman share a telephone line and despise each other, but when he sees the woman for the first time and immediately falls for her, he has fun by romancing her with his voice disguised. Pillow Talk was the first of three movies in which Doris Day and Rock Hudson starred together and was named by the National Film Registry for being ‘culturally, historically and aesthetically’ significant.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

The 1989 American romantic comedy starring Billy Crystal (Harry) and Meg Ryan (Sally) raised the question: ‘Can men and women ever just be friends’? Grossing a total of $92.2 million at the box office, the film’s plot focuses on the pair’s developing friendship, and features memorable telephone calls between Harry and Sally who discuss everything from Casablanca to their dating experiences. In one classic scene, Sally reveals on the phone that her ex is marrying his legal secretary which leads to Harry rushing to her apartment to comfort her, showing their growing affection for one another. The film won numerous awards and demonstrated the differences in attitudes between men and woman regarding sex and relationships.

Sleepless in Seattle (1983)

Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) is recently widowed so his son persuades him to call up a radio show to discuss how he misses his wife. A local woman called Annie (Meg Ryan) writes in and what eventually follows is a romantic meeting on the Empire State Building. Inspired by the 1957 film, An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle’s most famous telephone scene showed a sweet and endearing side to Sam as he discussed his sadness over losing his wife. The film won numerous awards and is considered one of the most romantic of all time.

Mean Girls (2004)

Written by Tina Fey, Mean Girls looks at the unwritten social rules that teenage girls face as Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) leaves home schooling to join The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school. One of the most famous scenes from the film sees The Plastics in a four way split screen conversation demonstrating the bitchy relationships within the clique and how easy it is to listen in on someone else’s phone call.

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

A director, an actress, and a writer- each receive transatlantic calls from one Jonathan Shields, asking them to help him revive his Hollywood studio career. However, all three are reluctant because they have all been used and betrayed by him in the past. A famous scene sees Jonathan Shields call a mutual friend after the actress declares her love for him. He then calls a mutual friend and says “I know just how to handle her now.” The Bad and the Beautiful holds the record for most Oscars won by a movie that was not nominated for Best Picture and deemed ‘culturally significant’ in 2002 by the United States Library of Congress.

The Apartment (1960)

A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue. Bud has discovered that he can advance his career by lending his nearby apartment so it can be used for “hospitality” (extramarital activities) with some of the firm’s female secretaries or telephone operators. The Apartment won five major Academy Awards including Best Picture and featured a famous telephone call between Bud and an office associate who mentions a promotion might be offered if he can borrow the apartment for forty-five minutes to entertain a blonde ‘who looks like Marilyn Monroe’.

Down with Love (2003)

Down with Love follows Barbara (Zellweger), a bestselling female advice author’s growing relationship with Catcher (McGregor), a sly journalist playboy. The film pays homage to the early 1960s sex comedies like Pillow Talk, as the film uses split screen telephone calls to show Barbara and Catcher’s conversations.

The Parent Trap (1961)

Nominated for two Academy Awards, The Parent Trap sees two identical twins who were separated at birth when their parents divorced meet at summer camp and plot to reunite their estranged parents. An elaborate plan follows to switch the twins when they get home, which leads to hilarious phone conversations between the two discussing the differences in their new lives.

Conversations with Other Women (2005)

Starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart, a man and woman who both have partners, flirt with each other at a wedding reception which leads to a night filled with passion and remorse. The film follows the phone conversations between the pair as they try to avoid the spark between them as they learn more about each other’s connecting pasts.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

The film tells the story of George who suffers from financial woes after his family’s business loses a bank deposit. Realising he may face jail and thinking of his wife and his young children, George contemplates suicide before a gentle angel comes to earth to show him what life would have been like if he never existed. The film features a classic scene where George and his wife Mary, declare their love for one another on the telephone. The American Film Institute recognized it as one of the 100 best American films ever made.
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What do you think of our list? What other phone scenes in movies do you think should have made the list?

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