Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

In John Sturges' masterpiece about racial prejudice:

  • the credits sequence with the Streamliner diesel train racing across the arid desert
  • the arrival of well-dressed Macreedy (Spencer Tracy) as a one-armed unwelcome stranger in a hostile, claustrophobic Western town
  • the sequence of Macreedy's visit to Adobe Flat (the home of a Japanese farmer/war hero named Komoko)
  • thug Coley's (Ernest Borgnine) daredevil pursuit of Macreedy's Jeep in the desert
  • the fight scene in Sam's Bar and Grill, a greasy-spoon restaurant when a taunted and fed-up Macreedy, who was called "a yellow-bellied Jap lover" retorted back: ("You're not only wrong, you're wrong at the top of your voice") and then subdued Coley with one swift karate-chop across the neck, and further chops
Sam's Bar and Grill - Karate-Chop for Coley
  • after fighting Coley, Macreedy took the downed man's knife and confronted ringleader Reno Smith (Robert Ryan): ("You killed Komoko, Smith, and sooner or later you're gonna go up for it. Not because you killed him, because I think in a town like this, you can get away with it. But because you didn't have guts enough to do it alone. You put your trust in guys like this - and Hector here - not the most dependable of God's creatures. And one of these days, they're gonna catch on that you're playin' 'em for a sap. And then what are ya gonna do? Peel 'em off, one by one? And in the meantime, one of 'em's gonna crack and when they do, you're gonna go down - but hard. 'Cause they got somethin' on ya, Smith. Something to use when the goin' gets tough. (he tossed the switchblade at Smith) And it's gettin' tougher every minute")
  • the night-time deadly struggle between Macreedy and Reno Smith and Macreedy's inventive making of a Molotov cocktail, thrown at Reno and setting him on fire

The Arrival of Streamliner Train

One-Armed Stranger: Macreedy (Spencer Tracy)

Coley's Pursuit of Macreedy in Jeep

Fiery Molotov Cocktail Confrontation With Reno Smith


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