Only now does it occur to me... that the nearly nine-minute knock-down drag-out brawl between Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller (as the former attempts to pierce the abyss and teach the latter table manners) is probably the most brutal, drawn-out skirmish between stubborn personalities... until the spectacular six-minute fistfight from THEY LIVE.
The scenes are both so brilliantly blocked, staged, and acted (in THE MIRACLE WORKER, Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke directed by Arthur Penn; in THEY LIVE, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Keith David directed by John Carpenter) that they really stick out in one's mind as special, a beautiful fusion of stage and screen sensibilities.
The actors are permitted to reach into a deeply primal well as the scene is simplified and streamlined into two visceral, battling motivations: "Eat with a utensil" & "I refuse!", and "Put on the glasses!" & "No!," respectively.
In each case, words take a back seat to action, and the result is raw, powerful, and riveting. The scenes' length plays a role, too: as the characters clash beyond the point of reason and into pure obstinance/force of will, a dark humor emerges that somehow only intensifies the scene. I think any director or actor should find a lot to learn here.