Everybody has multiple favorite quotes from in my opinion the greatest art form ever that is movies. Some come from a favorite film. Others become stuck in your head for sheer cultural impact. Everyone knows what it means to “LET IT GO!”, “LIVE YOUR LIFE A QUARTER MILE AT A TIME”, or the fact that “WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE”. So many choices for every film fan. On this list I have boiled it down to a short 21 amazing quotes. Some here showcased are personal picks as every great list should include. Animated films, foreign language pictures, and movies I believe that are way overrated have been excluded. These are my Top 21 Quotes in cinematic history. Only one quote per movie is allowed.
21. “You Talking’ to Me?”. (Taxi Driver):
Robert DeNiro has done amazing work with director Martin Scorsese throughout the years. His most disturbing yet also compassionate performance would have to be that of Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver”. Moving to the 70’s drug and sex fueled world of New York City could drive anyone to the brink of insanity. Driving around the entire human gamut of society around all day fuels Bickle’s hatred for humanity. Armed and ready to seek out revenge on those he sees as not worthy of being alive, the man preps himself in the mirror of his small NYC apartment by intimidating himself asking one simple question. “You Talking’ to Me?”.
20. “I’m Too Old For This S**t”. (Lethal Weapon Series):
Age is one hell of a thing. Sgt. Murtagh, played classically by Danny Glover, is a seasoned police officer working on the tail end of his career. When the young hot shot officer Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) is assigned as his partner, Murtagh wants no part of it. Less than thirty seconds passes before the Sgt. utters “I’m Too Old For This S**t”, a phrase he continues to use throughout the famous action franchise whenever his partner goes off the rails.
19. “Life is Like a Box of Chocolates”. (Forrest Gump):
Surviving through a potential life-altering spinal condition, the civil rights movement, war in Vietnam, creating a multi-million dollar shrimp company, and watching the love of his life die from AIDS cannot stop Forrest Gump from painting his hope in life. This small minded simpleton from Alabama played by Tom Hanks lives a greater life than most could ever imagine. Every moment is an adventure. After all, “Life is Like a Box of Chocolates”.
18. “I’m Ready For My Close Up”. (Sunset Boulevard):
Experiencing great fame or success can be infectious. Something that most people have a hard time letting go. Gloria Swanson’s portrayal of Norma Desmond is the embodiment of a star that has been cast off by the Hollywood machine. Age is not often kind to actresses not named Meryl Streep. A disgusting truth of Hollywood. When Norma commits a dreadful act and the reporters are there during her arrest, instead of being embarrassed, she proclaims “I’m Ready For My Closeup”. Takes a completely different twist to the idea of bad press is good press.
17. “I’m the King of the World!”. (Titanic):
Everyone in Hollywood thought James Cameron’s monumental 200 million dollar epic starring two yet to be superstars that was “Titanic” was destined to be a massive flop. After 15 weeks in a row at the number one spot at the box office, a record bested only by “E.T.”, Cameron was on top of Hollywood. DiCaprio shouting “I’m The King on the World”, at the front of the doomed ship created an icon as well as a movie classic.
16. “I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning”. (Apocalypse Now):
Possibly the most chaotic film production in cinema history, “Apocalypse Now” was almost as insane to film as the Vietnam war itself. From tragedies on set to actors claiming minor insanity after production, the film embodied a war that made zero sense from the start. Robert Duvall’s Lt. Kilgore summed up the senseless destruction taking place with a simple message of being in proverbial hell. With a village burning behind and his soldiers preparing to go surfing, Kilgore reflects simply, telling his fellow soldiers “I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning”.
15. “What’s in the BOX!”. (Seven):
Twist endings are almost always garbage and full of plot holes. Short of Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliant “Psycho”, “Seven” has perhaps the greatest twist ending in film history. Why, because it makes absolute sense both plot wise as well as perfectly capturing shock value. Over the course of several days Brad Pitt’s Dt. Mills is on the hunt for a sadistic serial killer whose victims are defiled based on the seven deadly sins. With the killer in his grasps, it turns out Mills has lost this vicious cat and mouse game once he finds out “What’s in the Box!”
14. “Show Me the Money”. (Jerry Maguire):
Before committing 100% to hanging off of planes and jumping out of skyscrapers for a living, Tom Cruise made a plethora of great comedic and dramatic films. One of his best is undoubtedly “Jerry Maguire”. This movie is full of great lines, including “You Complete Me” and “Help me Help You”. But it was Cuba Gooding Jr. uttering over the phone “Show me the Money” that stands the test of time and even earned him an Oscar. A line that sums up this classic sports dramady.
13. “ADRIAN!”. (Rocky):
Star and writer Sylvester Stallone created arguably the greatest everyman fighter in history. “Rocky” strikes hard on the heartstrings with an unintelligent boxer getting one shot to face off against the heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed. After surviving the most grueling physical fight of his life, Rocky is not concerned with the fight results or talking to reporters. Instead he simply wants to see his soulmate, prompting him to yell “ADRIAN!” to the in ring announcer. The cameras and microphones disintegrate once the two lovers embrace in an ending far better than winning a match.
12. “I’ll Be Back”. (The Terminator):
An honest question. Who else could have pulled off the role of a cybernetic killing machine perfectly other than Arnold Schwarzennegger? The beefed-up body builder found one of the best niche places in Hollywood history as the robot from the future looking to solve the machines coming war by killing the mother of mankind’s only hope. Once the robot tracks down the mother Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) at a police station, the creation surveys the front desk before uttering “I’ll Be Back” as he plans to level the entire LAPD building. Three word have never sounded so ominous.
11. “Here’s Johnny”. (The Shining):
“The Shining” is one of the most foreboding stories of terror in cinema history. The story of a crazed Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) being slowly coerced to try and kill his family in a haunted hotel makes one think twice when checking into a local Holiday Inn. Unable to hold his drunken and insanity driven rage back, Torrance bursts into the bathroom his wife and child are hiding. Armed with an axe and before breaking through he utters a classic phrase. To quote the original great late night talk show host, “Here’s Johnny!”
10. “I Drink Your Milkshake”. (There Will be Blood):
Possibly the most dominating actor of all-time performance wise it would half to be Daniel Day-Lewis. Many other greats can take over a scene. None bring the weight of the world like Day-Lewis does. While his Oscar winning performance as the famous painter with cerebral palsy Christy Brown in “My Left Foot” was certainly more challenging physically, his role as Daniel Plainview on his journey towards becoming an oil baron in the brilliant “There Will Be Blood” has got to be his most haunting. The film culminates in a thunderous climax as Plainview destroys both mentally and physically his ultimate nemesis Paul Sunday. To give the preacher a clear look at exactly how he has destroyed the man he screams out “I Drink Your Milkshake!”
9. “How Do You Like Them Apples”. (Good Will Hunting):
What a miracle of a movie “Good Will Hunting” was. In 1997 Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were nowhere close to household names. They were just two young friends that happened to write a great script. How they got the legend Robin Williams to sign on for the low budget Boston drama was somehow a match made in heaven. The film may have also been completely different as Damon won a coin toss with Affleck to get the main role as Will. Damon’s brilliance mixed with swagger was perfect. After destroying a fake as hell college student trying to impress a girl in a bar by embarrassing his best friend, Will and his crew run into the pretentious a-holes at a diner. After agreeing with Will that he likes apples, will shows him that he got her number, saying “How Do You Like Them Apples?”
8. “Bond, James Bond”. (1960-present):
The longest running live action series in movie history, not including reboots, is the greatest spy in film history. Everybody has their favorite (and least favorite) Bond. Old schoolers like my self will always say the O.G. portrayal by Sean Connery will never be topped. Late 70’s-80’s kids may have an affection for Roger Moore. There is also a section of fans that loved Pierce Brosnan with his debonaire smile. And of course Daniel Craig had a strong run in a grittier take on the character in the 2000’s. Timothy Dalton was meh and we can forget about George Lazenby in the role. Despite who was playing the character, every villain and Bond girl knew who they were dealing with as soon as they heard him tell them his name “Bond, James Bond”.
7. “I Gave Her My Heart and She Gave Me a Pen”. (Say Anything…):
My personal pick here. “Say Anything…” is easily the biggest cult teenage romance movies of all time. The story of Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) is undeniably one that any audience can root for. Dobler is a poor kid at an upper class school. He is living with his sister and helping her raise her young boy. The guy doesn’t have many options heading towards the future other than to get into the art of kickboxing. But everyone agrees, Lloyd is one of the best human beings you could know. After graduation Lloyd is determined to, despite everyone telling him he is crazy, go out with Diane Court, the valedictorian of the class. Court has a bright future and her social class considers themselves above Dobler. It doesn’t matter because he is not using cheesy lines as his number one focus is to take care of Diane. The romance is bumpy and at one point when Lloyd has lost what he views as everything, he utters to his sister in the rain “I Gave Her My Heart and She Gave Me a Pen”, words anybody in a relationship can relate to.
6. “I Am Your Father”. (The Empire Strikes Back):
Talk about shock value. I cannot imagine a twist like this in a franchise so huge being able to stay under wraps in todays social media climate. Ask your parents who were old enough to see this opening weekend and how mind-blowing it was. Even at the premiere Harrison Ford famously leaned over to Mark Hammil saying “You didn’t tell me that sh**t kid” in the audience. Perhaps there is no better or worse way to find out the truth from a half robotic super villain that just cut your hand off than thousands of feet above your possible death. But hey, Darth Vader keeps it simple by saying “I Am Your Father”.
5. “Yippie-Ki-Aye Mother F****r”. (Die Hard series):
The greatest pure action movie of all-time, “Die Hard” is one of those classics that it is almost sacrilegious to turn off when you find it while flipping through the channels. Plus it is also one of the greatest Christmas movies ever and you can argue that is a false sentiment all day, and you will be wrong. John McClane making his way through Hans Gruber and his group of European terrorists is chock full of perfectly coordinated action pieces and great jokes. One surprise is McClane sending down a terrorist he killed in the elevator to Hans’s level wearing a sweater that states “Now I have a machine gun. HO-HO-HO”. But nothing beats the moment when Hans tries to intimidate McClane by calling him cowboy, in which he responds “Yippie-Ki-Aye Mother F****r!”
4. “Mrs. Robinson You’re Trying to Seduce Me”. (The Graduate):
“The Graduate” is one of the quirkiest, hilarious, and ultimately brilliant movies about a multitude of counter-culture topics from the 1960’s. It explores sexual needs for young college students, married couples, and unhappy older women. It also somehow goes from a wrongful affair the main character Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) is having with his parents best friend full circle to falling in love with the older woman’s daughter, a romance Mrs. Robinson is anything but happy about. The film is a complex farce about what goes on with the things we don’t always talk about. That theme is personified perfectly when the protagonist is being coerced to sex as he innocently says “Mrs. Robinson You’re Trying to Seduce Me”.
3. “Here’s Looking at You Kid”. (Casablanca):
The all-time juggernaut of so-close-yet-so-far romantic love story tragedies is of course the story of Rick and Ilsa. Bogart and Bergman are unbelievable in “Casablanca”. The two have an amazing romance, the kind of which fairytales are told. Then WWII hits Paris and the two are tragically ripped apart. Rick goes to Casablanca and starts a bar frequented by soldiers fighting on the side he does not agree with. Ilsa is fighting in secret to support the underground French resistance. When the two come together perhaps there could be a second chance. So many amazing quotes that half of this list could feature this movie. Such greats as “Play it Sam, Play ‘As Time Goes By'”, “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, “Of all the gin joints in all the world, she walked into mine”, and “We’ll always have Paris”. All great choices. But for my money it is the finality that their love can never be win Bogart utters the words outside of the plain, telling a crying Bergman “Here’s Looking At You Kid”.
2. “Get Away From Her You BITCH!”. (Aliens):
John McClane might be arguably the greatest male action hero. The greatest female badass is undeniably Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in “Alien” and the sequel “Aliens”. The two other sequels can gladly be forgotten. The first “Alien” was more of a horror film and initially the Ripley character was supposed to be a male character. Nobody going to see the film knew Weaver would be the sole survivor. The terrorizing experience fighting off a Xenomorph made her harder than all of the marines she was traveling with to take on a battalion of creatures with acid for blood in the second go around. With the soldiers dropping like flies, Ripley never stops fighting. Her main goal is to protect a young girl named Newt and soul survivor of the overrun planet. Escaping the planet, it is discovered that the queen Alien has managed to sneak onto the ship out for revenge. To protect Newt Ripley gears up in a giant futuristic machine with zero fear, telling the menacing queen to “Get Away Form Her You BITCH!”
1. “I’m Gonna Make Him an Offer He Can’t Refuse”. (The Godfather):
Hard to argue the number one quote on a list such as this would not come from one of “The Godfather” movies. The original is still, in my opinion, the most classic film ever made if you are combining critics, filmmakers, and filmgoers. Personal preferences aside, who doesn’t know so many various moments from these movies. A severed horse head under the sheets. The classic Nino Rota score. Al Pacino’s amazing restaurant performance where you see the beginnings of the next generation of the mafia. All of those elements do not even include all of the great quotes. There is one that even the younger generation who for some reason haven’t even seen the film will know. Marlon Brando uttering that famous line “I’m Gonna Make Him An Offer He Can’t Refuse”. The ultimate summation of crime was born.
We’ve missed several of the G.O.A.T. of best lines here. Arnold has “GET TO DA CHOPPER” to “HASTA LA VISTA BABY” to “THERE IS NO BATHROOM!” The “Star Wars” franchise is full of other great quotes, highlighted by Yoda uttering “DO OR DO NOT, THERE IS NO TRY“. What person that spent time in prison could not relate to “Cool Hand Luke”‘s “WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE” or “The Shawshank Redemption”‘s “GET BUSY LIVING OR GET BUSY DYING”. You even have bad movies with iconic quotes. “I FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED”, “I SEE DEAD PEOPLE”, “I HAVE A PARTICULAR SET OF SKILLS”, “THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC”. So many quotes for any film fan to soak in.