- Laureen Hobbs, a representative of the Communist Party, going on a rant that undoubtedly had Karl Marx turning over in his grave.Lauren: Don't fuck with my distribution costs! I'm making a lousy two-fifteen per segment and I'm already deficiting twenty-five grand a week with Metro! I'm paying William Morris 10% off the top, and I'm giving this turkey ten thou per segment, and another five to this fruitcake! And Helen, don't start no shit about a piece again! I'm paying Metro twenty thousand for all foreign and Canadian distribution, and that's after recoupment! The Communist Party's not gonna see a nickel of this goddamn show until we go into syndication!
- This gets even better when the group's Patty Hearst expy calls her out for being a capitalist sellout and the leader of the ultra-leftist terrorists fires off a shot into the ceiling to get everyone to shut up...and then asks the assembled suits to draw their attention back to Page 22 so they can discuss subsidiary rights.Great Ahmed Kahn: [fires off his gun through the ceiling] Man, give her the FUCKING overhead clause. Let's get back to page twenty-two, number 5, small 'a'. Subsidiary rights.
- During Howard's "life is bullshit" speech, Max is speaking on the phone and provides this great line:Max: He's saying that life is bullshit, and it is, so what are you screaming about?!
- At the end of Beale's passionate speech about the power of the media, he collapses. No one checks on him...the camera closes in on him while the Studio Audience applauds and the music kicks in.
- Mr. Jensen interrupting his bombastic speech to calmly and reasonably ask, "Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?"
- Bonus points for the reaction shot of Beale's face, looking like he's this close to wetting himself.
- Diana blathering on about her career in the middle of sex.
- The penultimate scene, the UBS executive confab discussing Beale's declining ratings, is a masterpiece of Black Comedy. Realizing that Jensen has painted them into a corner because he won't let them fire Beale, Frank casually says "I suppose we'll have to kill him," then Diana takes the ball and runs with it, conceiving a whole scenario where Beale gets killed on the air as a publicity stunt. With no one in the room willing to acknowledge the Moral Event Horizon they've just crossed—Chaney sheepishly mentions that they're plotting a capital crime, but frames it in terms of covering it up to protect the network—they start talking about the contractual obligations they'd be responsible for after Beale dies. Then Frank, possibly having a Heel Realization, tries to calm things down by suggesting that he's open to other options besides murder, as though this shows how pragmatic and level-headed he is. But Diana has already concluded there's no turning back, and says "Let's kill the son of a bitch." What takes it Up to Eleven is that everyone maintains a casual, business-like demeanor during all this, like they're just discussing ordering new drapes for the offices or something.
- The perfect punch line to the whole movie: When Beale gets whacked, cut to a four-way split-screen showing all the networks reacting to it...cutting to commercials at different times. The commercials are all happy-go-lucky. And then The Comically Serious narrator sums it all up for you:"This was the story of Howard Beale. The first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings."
Funny / Network