Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Are Your Favorite Movie Quotes?

I was watching the 1981 suspense film Eyewitness the other day. In one scene, Steven Hill and Morgan Freeman play a couple of police detectives trailing a loser named Aldo (James Woods), who may be a murderer. As they sit in their car, Hill's cop muses to his partner: "When he was a kid, Aldo must've wanted to be a suspect when he grew up."

"They call me MISTER Tibbs!"
What a great line of dialogue! It got me thinking about other memorable lines of dialogue. In 2005, the American Film Institute (AFI) compiled a list of its top movie quotes of all time (click here to peruse it). I always thought that was one of AFI's better lists; it was certainly entertaining. Of course, my favorite quote, spoken by Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night, only managed to claim the 16th spot. And somehow, Michael Rennie's classic "Klaatu barada nikto" was omitted altogether (perhaps AFI didn't count foreign language include those foreign to Earthlings).

Aside from the obviously famous film quotes, my personal faves include:

Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), as a laser inches toward James Bond's private parts: "I don't want you to talk, Mr. Bond. I want you to die!"

As they duel with swords, Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) tells Robin Hood (Errol Flynn) that he's come to Nottingham once too often. Robin's retort: "After this, there'll be no need to come again."

In Jean Renoir's classic The Rules of the Game, after several people make extremely questionable decisions, one character explains at the conclusion: "Everyone has their reasons."

Sometimes, a single word can make a memorable quote, such as Marlon Brando crying out: "Stella!"

Other times, the dialogue is part of a routine, such as Abbott & Costello's "Who's on first?" bit (which originated offscreen, but also was used in The Gay Nineties). My favorite big screen comedy routine is from The Court Jester and features Danny Kaye trying to remember if poison is in the chalice from the palace, the flagon with dragon, or the vessel with the pestle.

What I'd like to know is:  What are some of your favorite movie quotes?


  1. Mine is from The Lady Eve: I need him like the axe needs the turkey. Only Babs Stanwyck could make this work.

  2. I have lots. But these get quoted by me fairly regularly. :)

    From Tootsie--

    Dorothy Michaels: In fact, she was so terrified that she would, uh, that, uh, that, that, that the baby daughter would bear the stigma of illegitimacy that she, she - she decided to change her name and she contracted a disfiguring disease... after moving to Tangiers.

    From Licence to Kill--

    A note pinned to the body of Felix Leiter after being fed to a shark by a villain: "He disagreed with something that ate him." (also from the Fleming novel, LIVE AND LET DIE)

    From Dave--

    Ellen Mitchell: [after Dave reveals his true identity to Ellen] What do you do for a living?
    Dave: You mean, when I'm not running the country?

    From Places in the Heart--

    Possum Spalding: Right on my biscuit!

  3. From HIGH ANXIETY: "Dinner is served promptly at eight in the private dining room. Those who are tardy do not get fruit cup."

    From THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (the Hammer version): "Couldn't you see I was being purposefully rude?"

    From A CHRISTMAS STORY: "Over the years, I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. Though my personal preference was for Lux, I found that Palmolive had a nice piquant after-dinner flavor -- heavy, but with a touch of mellow smoothness. Lifebuoy, on the other hand..."

  4. I love that scene from The Court Jester! My family's favorite quote from that movie is the "Get it?" "Got it." "Good." exchange.

    Half the dialog in The Flight of the Phoenix is wonderfully quotable. I think my favorite quote is a toss-up between "You behave as if stupidity were a virtue" and "Is that meters or yards, Mr. Dorfmann?"

    But the movie most quoted in my house is The Dirty Dozen. I think my sister and I have 90% of that movie memorized, and we're always quoting one part or another. Nearly impossible to pick a favorite quote from it without launching into whole scenes.

  5. Greatest quote that I have heard is from the Dirty Harry movies, "Go ahead, make my Day!!
    That one is just about the greatest.
    Pam G. Wisconsin

  6. From All About Eve, I love when Margo says, "I wish someone would explain me to me."

  7. oooh! so many good lines. One I use often is Wicked Witch of the West: "These things must be done delicately." (Say it like Margaret Hamilton did, of course.)

  8. The quotes in these comments are delightful! A quote I use when preparing employees to take one for the team comes from STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, where Kirk finishes the apparently dying Spock's sentence: "The needs of the many outweigh...the needs of the few." As for silly memorable quotes, I can't believe terryleebrown doesn't list Donald Sutherland's classic from FELLINI'S CASANOVA: "I want my macaroni!"

  9. Star Wars IV: The New Hope has some of the most famous movie quotes in history, and most everyone in the world knows them. Princess Leia recording a message for Obi-Wan in R2D2.."Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope." Hey, who doesn't know that one, right? Then when Han Solo tells C-3PO to that it is best not to make a Wookie mad over a game. C-3PO wants to know why not? Solo reminds him that Wookies have been known to pull people's arms off. C-3PO suggest to R2D2, "let the Wookie win." Obi-Wan to Luke, "The Force will be with You, always." Han who is tired of Princess Leia bossing him says, "Look, Your Worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me!" "It's a wonder you're still alive," Leia quips back. Stormtrooper to Obi-Wan, "Let me see your identification papers." Obi-Wan with a slight wave of his hand replies, "You don't need to see his identification." The Stormtrooper, says after the wave of the hand using the Force, "We don't need to see his identification." I have always wanted to use the Force that way!! Star Wars IV: The New Hope is full of famous movie quotes. Rick, I enjoyed the movie quotes, and May the Force be with you.

  10. And Aki, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (the best of all SW films) had the series-changing quote: "Luke...I am your father."

  11. Oops, I did miss a famous quote from one my favorite movies. It is a shame but that quote won't be so famous in the future. The kids today will watch the Star Wars movies in order. They will know that Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader is Luke's and Leia's father in STAR WARS EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH. The latter is an awesome movie especially the lightsaber battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan!! May the Force be you...again, Rick.

  12. What a great idea for a post, Rick!

    Gilby mentioned All About Eve already, but it's worth mentioning again....that particular movie has SO many great lines!!

    My absolute favorite line actually made #9 on the AFI list:

    Margo Channing: "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night."

    Here are a few more choice quips from that movie that I just love!

    Karen Richards to her husband, Lloyd: "That cynicism you refer to I acquired the day I discovered I was different from little boys!"

    Miss Casswell to Eve Harrington, referring to Addison De Witt: "You won't bore him, honey. You won't even get a chance to talk."

    Margo Channing to Lloyd Richards: "All playwrights should be dead for three hundred years!"

    Birdie Coonan to Margo, referring to Eve: "I'll tell ya how, like, like she's studyin' you, like you was a play or a book or a set of blueprints. How you walk, talk, eat, think, sleep."

    Bill Sampson to Eve: "Don't cry. Just score it as an incomplete forward pass."

  13. Don't forget these:

    Eddie (To Have and Have Not): "Was you ever bit by a dead bee?"

    Rick (Casablanca): "Are my eyes really brown?"

    Rick(Casablanca): I stick my neck out for nobody!

    Sascha (Casablanca): "Yvonne, I love you, but he pays me."

    More great stuff from Casablanca:

    Major Strasser: "What is your nationality?"
    Rick: "I'm a drunkard."
    Captain Renault: "That makes Rick a citizen of the world."

    Captain Renault: "And what in Heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?"
    Rick: "My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters."
    Renault: "The waters? What waters? We're in the desert."
    Rick: "I was misinformed."

  14. Oops! should have included:

    Captain Renault (Casablanca): "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

  15. Paul and JoAnn, thanks for joining in and providing those classic quotes. Earlier today, I thought of some Bette Davis favorites. In OF HUMAN BONDAGE, she tells nice Leslie Howard: "Every time I kissed you, I wiped my mouth!" In CABIN IN THE COTTON, she flirts with this line: "I'd like to kiss you, but I just washed my hair." (Bugs Bunny repeats this quote, complete with Bette Davis lips in a WB cartoon).

  16. Rick, for some reason AT&T hasn't turned off my internet yet! Good, because this is a GREAT post. My favorite quote from one you all have mentioned, All About Eve, is when the writer turns to Margot and says "It's about time the piano realizes it has not written the concerto." Love it.
    And of course, one from Mr. Flynn in Robin Hood: Sheriff: Your majesty, he speaks treason!" Flynn: "Fluently."
    I'll be turned off anytime now, but I'll still come and visit when I can!

  17. Rick, I think the movie Tombstone has so many great lines. One on the top of my head:

    Billy Clanton: Why, it's the drunk piano player. You're so drunk, you can't hit nothin'. In fact, you're probably seeing double.
    Doc Holliday: [takes out a second gun] I have two guns, one for each of ya.