Screenwriters have been providing movie-goers with memorable quotes for a long time. Many of these have fallen into common usage, often misquoted but much loved. Here are some of the best movie quotes of all time.
‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ (Gone With the Wind, 1939)
Most of us have experienced a moment when we should have used this line. In 2005 the American Film Institute chose it as the number one movie quote of all time and there is something about Rhett Butler’s rejection of the spoilt Scarlett O’Hara that makes us sympathise with both characters. Censors almost removed the word, ‘damn’ as a profanity, we are glad they didn’t.
‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.’ (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)
Originally spoken by Judy Garland’s Dorothy just after she had blown into the Land of Oz, this quote has become a byword for anything unusual or unnerving. Writers have paid homage to it ever since and it was referred to in the much more recent film Avatar when Colonel Quaritch said, “You’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re on Pandora.”
‘Here’s lookin’ at you kid.’ (Casablanca, 1942)
Humphrey Bogart’s character Rick Blaine utters this unforgettable line as he says goodbye to Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa Lund. He has to persuade her to leave and the quote is part of one of the best film farewells of all time. Bogart had already used this line in a previous film, Midnight, and it features more than once in Casablanca.
‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.’ (Jaws, 1975)
The phrase, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat,’ was actually in common use by the production crew at the time Jaws was filmed. It referred to a boat that proved to be too small for the barge it was intended to control. Roy Scheider who played Police Chief Martin Brody had ad-libbed the line to comic effect throughout filming but it was his use of it during the scene when Brody first sees the gigantic shark that it made it through the cut. The phrase is now sometimes used to reflect apparently impossible situations.
‘May the force be with you.’ (Star Wars, 1977)
Almost a spiritual blessing and certainly a message of good luck, this phrase has been used so many times throughout the Star Wars films that it has almost become their strapline. It was first heard in the original Star Wars when General Dodonna used it as Luke Skywalker prepared to face battle against the Empire. The quote is popular and sounds so much like the date May the fourth that it has prompted unofficial celebrations on that day, now also known to the popular press as ‘Star Wars Day’.
‘They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!’ (Braveheart, 1995)
This one has to be near the top of the film quote inspiration scale. Mel Gibson’s character William Wallace uses the line at the end of a motivational speech, which persuades his followers to go into battle against a much larger English army. The battle was won and Scotland did eventually win freedom from the English, although not before William Wallace was executed.
‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry.’ (Love Story, 1970)
Love Story is a moving tale of rich boy meets poor girl that ends in tragedy. This quote is used twice and becomes a theme for the film. It is said first by the heroine Jennifer (Ali MacGraw) after her lover Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) loses his temper, and then later by Oliver to his father after Jennifer has died. The phrase has been criticised for appearing to suggest that apologies are not necessary in a relationship. It has often been parodied, once by Ryan O’Neal himself in the 1972 film, ‘What’s Up Doc?’ when he responds, ‘That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard,’ after Barabara Streisand’s character utters the famous words.
‘I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.’ (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991)
No collection of movie quotes would be complete without something to really chill your bones and this one from Anthony Hopkins’ brilliant but sinister character Hannibal Lecter is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. This quote however, wasn’t just penned to be horrifying; it also gives a hidden message about Lecter’s state of mind. Liver, beans and red wine are all ingredients that he should have been avoiding if he was taking his personality disorder medication; the suggestion here is that he quite deliberately wasn’t.
‘Somebody tell the fat lady she’s on in five.’ (Batman Forever, 1995)
Maybe not the best known but one of our favourite quotes, this is a version of a popular colloquialism, ‘It ain’t over till the fat lady sings,’ which refers to the climax of many operas and their often buxom sopranos. The phrase suggests the error of trying to prematurely predict a conclusion to an event. In Batman Forever, the evil Riddler is attempting to destroy Batman’s Batcave and is convinced it will be over for Batman when he does so.
‘To infinity and beyond.’ (Toy Story, 1995)
And to finish, something childlike and innocent; or is it? Ever since that hapless space toy Buzz Lightyear uttered his immortal words as he jumped of the bedpost to prove that he could fly, philosophers and mathematicians have been arguing about what he meant and whether or not it is possible to travel beyond infinity. They clearly didn’t get the point; Buzz was convinced that he was a real space ranger out to save the world. To him, being brave was like eating cornflakes, every day and expected. As it turned out Buzz Lightyear did eventually make it into space, and maybe to infinity, in 2008 when NASA astronauts on the International Space Station used him to undertake research and create educational resources around the subject of microgravity.
We hope you have enjoyed our selection of famous movie quotes. There are many more out there and we had an interesting time making our choice. A fun challenge might be to try and put a movie quote into your next piece of writing. Go ahead, make our day!
Image sources: http://lastminute.com https://www.nasa.gov http://www.fanpop.com http:/chronopause.com
Give me more!
If you have enjoyed this collection of famous movie quotes, you might also be interested in our famous literary quotes.
Reading classical English literature is a great way to boost your vocabulary. We have some recommendations for you.