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Monologue: Christopher Walken x 2

Happy birthday to one of cinema's all time greatest nutjobs, Christopher Walken. The Oscar-winner is 71 today. Do you forget he was in Annie Hall (1977) ? I always do until I'm watching it and he shows up in that utterly classic passage when Alvy Singer goes to meet Annie's family.

Alvy, this is my room. Can I confess something?

I tell you this because, as an artist, I think you'll understand. Sometimes when I'm driving on the road at night I see two headlights coming toward me fast, I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly head on into the oncoming car.

I can anticipate the explosion, the sound of shattering glass, the flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.

LOL. And back out of the room quickly!

Of course that's hardly Walken's only classic movie speech. I'm sure they're numerous but the other one I forget about for the same reason as Annie Hall, in that the movie is so rich that who can remember every passage, is Pulp Fiction (1994). Quentin Tarantino's breakthrough turns 20 this year and I often forget about that Gold Watch sequence. My memories of Pulp Fiction tend to revolve around Pumpkin and Honeybunny (my college roommate and I were obsessed with them) and Vincent Vega & Mia Wallace because I loved the Oscar nominated performances by Uma & Travolta so much.

Though Pulp Fiction's narrative is famously circular rather than linear, Walken's segment exists outside of even that loop in a flashback to Butch's (Bruce Willis) youth halfway through. He literally monologues for 3 minutes (which is a lot for a movie, trust) - a highly appropriate speech for a little boy who's in the middle of watching cartoons.

...so he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something. His ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. 

What's your favorite Christopher Walken moment in a movie? 

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Reader Comments (18)

A View to a Kill. Not Chris' best anything but he's acting opposite Grace Jones and it's my earliest movie memory.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

It's either the seduction of Bernadette Peters in Pennies From Heaven, Russian Roulette in The Deer Hunter or any of his scenes in The Anderson Tapes.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

The DANCE in Pennies from Heaven.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

This is an impossible question. What an awful question to ask! I refuse to answer because I am physically unable to.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonnny

My fave moment--his face radiating pure bliss at the end of Brainstorm.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Deer Hunter. Every time he appears on screen in any capacity or medium or when I see him in person, I have a flash of his Russian Roulette entrance.

I also love Mousehunt. He was the perfect punchline after all the chaos and managed to take it ever further. We were laughing so hard the children were telling us to be quiet. Catzilla! LOL

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

His best moment on film is not from a movie, it's the Spike Jonze-directed Weapon of Choice video! I could watch it all day long.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Oh boy, Suzanne. That Christopher Walken dance mash-up video to "Everybody Dance Now" that was circulating around last week (which included some of the Weapon of Choice) was so freaking funny. It's seems to have been removed by the HuffPo/LATimes websites though.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

One of my favorite Walken performances is from Catch Me If You Can. When he has dinner with DiCaprio, it's fantastic. So happy to see his son, but he knows something isn't right. The perfect tone. Just great

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Happy birthday Christopher Walken. I just love you. So talented, great actor and dancer. One of my favourite performances from Chris is the scenes between Chris and Dennis Hopper in True Romance. Love those scenes. Hope you have a great birthday. Love You.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterML

There is no beating the Russian Roulette scene in The Deer Hunter. A brilliant movie, and he's the best part of it.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I agree with Suzanne. "Weapon of Choice" is great fun. 2nd place: the terrific dance in Pennies From Heaven.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRC

It's a pretty lightweight stuff, but he's delightfully weird in Wedding Crashers.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGabby

He was terrific in the Deerhunter but his career went downhill from there ...

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Walken is really one of my favorite actors. I'm glad he won for The Deer Hunter and I think he should have won for Catch Me If You Can too. His bits with the jewelry are so clever.

Since everyone is picking the Russian Roulette scenes from Deer Hunter, I'll go with his work in The Dead Zone. This is my favorite Stephen King book and it's a really great adaptation. Walken is the perfect creepy protagonist. His hair and facial expressions from the movie are burned into my brain. He's such a great choice for that role. Happy Birthday, Mr. Walken!

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean Troutman

Wow I had completely forgotten he was in "Annie Hall"! Need to revisit it. And yeah, to echo the others, "The Deer Hunter" is his finest moment. Especially his last scene. Always found him and Meryl to be an odd couple in the movie though. Also loved him in "Sarah, Plain and Tall" with Glenn Close.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Ok I just caught Hairspray on teli the other night and I still get a kick out of Christopher Walkan and John Travolta singing and dancing together in "Timeless to Me". I know it's not his best but it's memorable!

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

Of course it's easy forget he was in Annie Hall. He wasn't even credited as himself but instead as Christopher Wlaken.

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterajnrules

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