“Are you talking to me?”
Movies have the power to draw viewer in, to bring the audience’s wildest imagination to life. In order to successfully suspend disbelief and transport the viewers to a world they’d never want to leave, a talented scribe is needed.
“Houston, we have a problem.”
Writers craft something special, something endearing, shocking and entertaining that stays with the audience long after the credits have rolled. Above all, a writer succeeds when he pens a scripted moment that posterity will remember.
“I see dead people.”
It’s not easy to create memorable characters that fit perfectly into a quality film, but with a few good quotes and amazing deliveries, movie magic can be made. Threats, jokes, revelations; the sense of wonder and an emotional punch. The following movie quotes are some of the best the cinematic world has to offer. They’re engraved in popular culture, passed on from generation to generation, preserving a film’s legacy and historical impact in the world of cinema.
12 “I'll have what she's having.” – Older Woman Customer in When Harry Met Sally, 1989
Would sex ruin a platonic relationship between a man and a woman? That’s the driving theme of Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally”.
Two good friends who have known each other for years, Harry and Sally both fail at finding love. They bump into each other time and time again, ranting over their love life and previous relationships.
In the most memorable scene of the movie, Harry and Sally grab a bite to eat at a diner. Their usual talk of relationships comes up, with Harry proclaiming that he fulfills the sexual needs of every woman he’s been with. Sally highly doubts the ludicrous statement, suggesting that many women fake orgasms. When Harry dismisses her, Sally begins to fake an orgasm on the spot, making the whole diner stop in its tracks.
When Sally’s done her display, an older lady customer, who just so happened to be director Rob Reiner’s mom, delivers the classic line. When placing her order with the waiter, she quips; “I'll have what she's having.”
While sex may or may not ruin a friendship between a man and a woman, this scene shows the audience how easily a woman can fake an orgasm... and how.
11 "If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you." – Bryan Mills in Taken, 2008
The Taken franchise arguably owes its entire success to this one famous quote.
Bryan Mills, played by the charismatic badass Liam Neeson, is a retired and divorced CIA agent living in California to be with his 17-year old daughter Kim. Although reluctant at first, Mills eventually succumbs to his daughter’s wish of going on a trip to France with her friend Amanda.
Once there, the girls grab a cab with a stranger and accidentally let slip that they are alone in the foreign country. This leads to an Armenian gang of human traffickers kidnapping the girls. Just before his daughter is taken – pun intended – Kim manages to get her father on the phone, letting him know what was happening. One of the kidnappers just so happens to pick up the phone, and is addressed with one of the most terrifying threats imaginable: “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
Following the call, Mills does everything in his power to find his daughter. He does indeed look for, find and kill the kidnapper, fulfilling his promise and rescuing his daughter.
10 “To infinity, and beyond!” – Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story, 1995
The often repeated catchphrase of a certain space ranger is next on this list of best movie quotes. In Toy Story, Andy enjoys playing in his room with his toys, his favorite being the cowboy doll Woody. Unbeknownst to Andy is the fact that the toys come alive when he leaves his room, going on all sorts of adventures.
Andy receives a present on is birthday. Enter Buzz Lightyear, a toy that truly believes he is a space ranger. This creates conflict with Woody, who is jealous of Andy’s new favorite buddy.
Mischief ensues as Buzz and Woody team up in order to save other toys from the evil neighbour kid Sid, as well as getting everyone ready to move into a new home. One line permeates throughout the film: “To infinity, and beyond!” Buzz’s catchphrase is repeated multiple times throughout the movie by different characters, adding to the sense of wonder and marvel that the Toy Story franchise represents.
Literally meaning without limits, Pixar’s imagination can be perfectly summed up with this famous quote.
9 “Say hello to my little friend!” – Tony Montana in Scarface, 1983
Tony Montana’s enemies should know not to mess with him, lest they suffer the wrath of his “little friend”.
In Brian De Palma’s crime drama “Scarface”, Cuban refugee Tony Montana arrives in Miami in the ‘80s and slowly rises to power as a drug kingpin. Over-the-top violence and graphic drug use complement Al Pacino’s scene-chewing portrayal of the drug lord, making Tony Montana one of the most iconic characters in movie history.
His untimely downfall arrived as greed had taken over. His enemies staged an attack on Montana, surrounding him in a flurry of bullets. In his cocaine-fueled rage, Tony pulls out an M-16 rifle with a grenade launcher attached and screams the infamous line: “Say hello to my little friend!”
The world was no longer his, however, as Tony Montana was shot in the back, falling into a fountain below, effectively ending the reign of Scarface.
8 "Why so serious?" – The Joker in The Dark Knight, 2008
In The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne must don Batman’s cowl again in order to bring down the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker. Stealing every scene he was in, Heath Ledger’s Joker was a marvel to behold: a spastic sociopath whose only goal in life is creating chaos.
The Joker interrupts a meeting of the mob bosses, explaining to them how he can kill Batman if they offer up half their fortune. They refuse, with one mob boss in particular, Gambol, taking offense to such a ludicrous offer: he puts a bounty on the Joker’s head, dead or alive.
Outsmarting Gambol by faking his death, the Joker gets his hands on the mob boss and starts talking about his scars. “Why so serious?” is repeated as he relates his horrifying tale of child abuse. Accompanied by the equally famous “Let’s put on smile on that face”, the Joker leaves his mark – literally.
This was such a big line that it became a pop culture phenomenon, spawning memes and merchandise. It even had an important role in the film’s marketing campaign.
7 “You're gonna need a bigger boat.” – Sheriff Martin Brody in Jaws, 1975
Steven Spielberg sure knows how to deliver a summer blockbuster. In Jaws, Sheriff Martin Brody is confronted by a Great White shark terrorizing the small beach community of Amity Island. He discovers the remains of a shark attack victim and proclaims the beach closed. The community’s economy, however, is based on the booming beach, and so the mayor and local businessmen force the sheriff’s hand in keeping the beach open.
Much to Sheriff Brody’s regret, another shark attack occurs, this time killing a young boy. The sheriff decides to team up with the grizzled fisherman Quint and the marine biologist Matt Hooper in order to hunt down the Great White in Quint’s boat.
After multiple teases and little glimpses of the shark, the creature makes its massive presence known as the sheriff throws bait in the water. With a cigarette still in his mouth, Sheriff Brody backs away slowly, turning to Quint and proclaiming: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”.
Funny enough, that classic line was improvised by actor Roy Scheider, making the first encounter with the shark all the more memorable.
6 “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.” – Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump, 1994
You never quite know what you’re gonna get out of life: that very same theme echoes throughout Robert Zemecki’s Forrest Gump.
Mixing romance with drama and a dash of comedy, Forrest Gump relates the life story of the titular character from his humble beginnings of wearing leg braces to receiving the Medal of Honor and everything in between.
Forrest Gump was the man responsible for many important events in American history, from the entertainment world such as inspiring John Lennon’s “Imagine” to politics, where he inadvertently exposed the Watergate scandal.
This sort of randomness and absurdity reflects the life of the simple-minded Forrest, and the opening lines of the movie notify the audience of the kind of surprises awaiting them not only in this film, but maybe in their own life as well.
5 “My precious” – Gollum in The Lord of the Rings Film Series, 2001-2003
The One Ring to Rule Them All - AKA, Precious. The driving force of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is the mission to destroy the One Ring led by Frodo Baggins and his Fellowship of the Ring.
Yielding infinite power to its holder, the One Ring corrupts the mind of its owner, leading them down the path to insanity. This is evident in Gollum, a one-time Hobbit that stumbled upon the ring and lost his humanity because of the item’s perverse powers.
Hating it and loving it all the same, Gollum refers to the ring as “My precious” throughout the films. Gollum’s struggle results from his lust for the ring and his wish to be free from its menacing grasp.
At the end, the One Ring’s influence is too much for poor Gollum, as he jumps to his death in order to try and save the ring from its own doom. He would be with his precious forever…
4 “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” – Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, 1939
Voted as the number one movie quote of all time by the American Film Institute, Rhett Butler’s final words to Scarlet O’Hara have echoed across movie generations.
Gone with the Wind is the epic tale of Scarlet’s life, from her youth living on a plantation to the American Civil War. It relates the hardships of this difficult period as well as the heartbreaks and marriages she’s lived through. Rhett Butler, a blockade runner, was the one true love for Mrs. O’Hara, but alas, after years of trying to win her heart, he loses his own feelings for her.
When Scarlett asks “Where shall I go? What shall I do?” when Rhett decides that enough is enough, he responds with the line every person who has felt betrayed has wanted to say: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.
To add to its infamy, the line uses profanity that shocked the world back in the day, as it was very uncommon for an American film to include swearing – even for a little “damn”.
3 “I am your father” – Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, 1980
The original Star Wars trilogy offers some fantastic space opera action as the righteous Rebel Alliance and the evil Galactic Federation face off for control of the universe. Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of the series, is an orphaned boy that is a key figure in bringing about the Empire’s end. Standing in his way is Darth Vader, the Emperor’s right hand man and cyborg general.
Following Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’s epic destruction of the Death Star battle station, Darth Vader takes his revenge by capturing Luke’s allies and using them as bait to draw him in. His plan works as Luke and Darth Vader engage in a lightsaber duel.
In one of the greatest moments and swerves in cinematic history, Darth Vader revealed to Luke Skywalker that he was his father, blowing the minds of millions of cinemagoers: villain and hero were father and son.
2 “I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse.” – Vito Corleone in The Godfather, 1972
The Godfather is the story of a mob family whose patriarch attempts to transfer his position of power to his son. Filled with violence, murder and revenge, this epic crime drama is widely considered the greatest film of all time.
Johnny Fontane, the godson of the titular Godfather Don Vito Corleone, is a singer who missed his big break in Hollywood because the studio head refused to give him the part he auditioned for. Don Corleone tells him that he can get Johnny the part by making the studio head an offer he can’t refuse.
What was this offer exactly? Well, no one can be sure, but the studio head, Jack Woltz, changed his mind about Johnny when he woke up in his bed… covered in blood from the severed head of his prized horse.
This one line demonstrates the power and influence of the greatest don boss in movie history.
1 “Bond. James Bond.” – James Bond in the 007 Franchise, 1962-2012
The James Bond film franchise has become synonymous with the movie industry, and it’s only fitting that the most used and recognised quote from the movie franchise serves as the number one movie quote of all time.
“Bond. James Bond.”
The delivery. The suaveness. The calm, cool and collected demeanour. Everything about the famous phrase defines the character and his movies. Sure, “Dry martini. Shaken, not stirred” has its claim for one of the best Bond quotes ever, but there’s something about this incomparable introduction followed by some witty remark that is larger than life and unforgettable - something all movies should strive for.
Whether he’s introducing himself to the villains or to some sexy Bond girl bombshell, fans eagerly anticipate this one line in every new entry to this historic movie franchise.