What are your favorite movie character entrances and exits? Check out today's Ask the Critic question and post your own

By Owen Gleiberman
Updated May 16, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
The Wizard of Oz: Photofest

What are your favorite movie character entrances and exits?

What are your favorite movie character entrances and exits? —Harold

Since those terms carry a whiff of the theater, the definition of a great movie ”entrance” or ”exit” is, by necessity, a little loose. You know it when you see one, though. An entrance I could watch forever is Robert De Niro’s in Mean Streets. As Johnny Boy, he slips a homemade bomb into a mailbox, shambles down the street, and grabs his porkpie hat as the box explodes — his entire sociopathic character nailed by those few feral gestures, and in a single telephoto shot. As far as exits go, no one could leave the screen quite like Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp — his every waddle into the horizon was sublime — but Richard Dreyfuss, boarding the mother ship at the end of Close Encounters, comes close. One character, however, has what may be the greatest entrance and exit in movie history: Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West, whose emergence from a clog of red smoke is as nightmarishly indelible as the moment she moans and melts away.

(Got a movie-related question for Lisa or Owen? Post it here.)

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