Movies & TV / News

A Look At the Most Quotable Movies of All Time

January 25, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
The Dude Big Lebowski

Some people judge a movie by its content while others measure it by its box office. Others go a little further and weigh it by its quotability. This is where bad movies can shine and stand next to classics. 

You might forget some scenes from the movie but line upon line of entertainment is on the tip of your tongue. That ability to get us to say a piece of dialogue over and over just hits differently.

Let’s take a look at some of them. 

Comedies stand out as easy targets. A good one can be elevated with a catchy zinger or two but several go far beyond that and get the label of CLASSIC status with lines that will echo in eternity. 

Take Dodgeball. Just off the top of my head…”You can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” “Nobody makes me bleed my own blood. Nobody!””I think we should mate.””We’re better than you, and we know it!””That’s a bold strategy Cotton. I wonder if it will pay off.”

Or Zoolander. “It’s that damn Hansel. He’s so hot right now!” Or “What is this? A center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read… if they can’t even fit inside the building?”

Along the comedy line is The Big Lebowski, with a Coen Brothers script that’s filled with gems from Jeff Bridges like “That rug really tied the room together” and “The Dude abides.” Although I’ll say that John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana shines like no other in that movie. “You said it man.”

Eddie Murphy has provided plenty of laughs in his movies and Coming to America is up there as his most quotable best. “I got a very special treat for y’all this evening, a young man that you know as Joe the Policeman from the ‘What’s Going Down’ episode of ‘That’s My Momma.” Or “Sexual Chocolate! Sexual Chocolate!” Or a number of others. 

Napoleon Dynamite is one of those movies that creeps up on you on just how quotable it is. Napoleon and his brother bring the goods but Uncle Rico is pure gold. “How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?… Yeah… Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would’ve been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.”

On the flip is Friday with Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. Like any movie he’s in, John Witherspoon stands out…“Don’t nobody go in the bathroom for about 35, 45 minutes. Somebody open up a window.” And still in use just as much today…”Bye, Felisha.”

Fast Times and Ridgemont High still conjures up repeatable lines thanks to Cameron Crowe’s guiding hand. Sean Penn’s Jeff Spicoli gains icon status with lines such as:
“Hey bud, let’s party.” 
“All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” 
“My old man is a television repairman; he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.” 
“This is U.S. History. I see the globe right there.” 

Before anyone goes off on me in the comments, of course Monty Python & The Holy Grail gets mentioned. The movie that has King Arthur and his knights in search of The Holy Grail could fill a book of famous quotes. 
“I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.” 
“Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!”
And who could forget…”It’s just a flesh wound.”

When it comes to pairings, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly may stand tall when it comes to Step Brothers. Practically every line is memorable for one reason or another. Is it any surprise that a movie about middle-aged step-brothers that hate each other at first but soon become best friends  gives us such entertainment? Prestige Worldwide was an idea before it’s time and I still can’t wait to hit up the Catalina Wine Mixer. To throw some out there we got
“Boats and hoes.” 
“I tea-bagged your drum set.” 
“Do you wanna do karate in the garage?” 
“Chewbacca masks!” 
“Why are you so sweaty?” “I was watching ‘Cops’.” 

And then we have Ferrell’s Anchorman. Instant quotability and gave us the legendary Ron Burgundy, who will tell you, “I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” Or “Oh Audrey – I look like hell! I got bags under my eyes. What’s that? Well if you were a man, I’d punch you. Punch you right in the mouth. That’s bush. Bush league. YOU HEAR ME? AUDREY! LOOK AT ME! I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Alright?” Who is wise beyond years with such knowledge as “Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale’s vagina.”

Turning the page to the more serious side, Goodfellas sets the standard for quotability. From the start, you’re drawn in by the dialogue and will be quoting it for years. 
“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” 
“Funny how?” 
“Now go home and get your f****** shinebox.” 
“I’m gonna go get the papers, get the papers.” 
“I like this one. One dog goes one way, and the other dog goes the other way. And this guy’s saying, ‘What do you want from me?’” 

We have to mention Quentin Tarantino when it comes to scripts. Everyone one of his movies is a mosaic of intricate speak from Reservoir Dogs to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. No where is this more on display than Pulp Fiction
“They call it a Royale with cheese.” 
“Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.” 
“We’re gonna be like three little Fonzies here.” 
“That is a tasty burger!” 
“Check out the big brain on Brett!” 
“That’s 30 minutes away. I’ll be there in 10.” 
“And you will know my name is the lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

When was the last time you quoted Al Pacino in Scarface? “Say hello to my little friend!”

Plenty of classic movies still pack a punch with Casablanca giving us plenty to remember like “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” and “Round up the usual suspects.” Then we have, “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” and “I’m shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” I’ll even give the “Play it again, Sam,” which might be the most misquoted line ever as it’s actually, “You played it for her, you can play it for me!” 

Then you have Wizard of Oz that remind us to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” and “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” You have to mention “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” and “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” and “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.” and “There’s no place like home.” Wow!

Thanks to Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future we have a beloved time travel classic that still gets plenty of mileage. “Great Scott!” “Chuck, it’s Marvin! Your cousin! Marvin Berry.” “When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious s***.” “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” “So why don’t you make like a tree…and get out of here.” 

If I had to do a personal Top 5, I’m pretty sure these would be the 5 that make it…

Star Wars
How could it not be? The lines still get regular use today and it speaks to the enduring magic George Lucas created. Sure the lines aren’t Shakespeare but they didn’t need to be. Star Wars inspires generations and it’s because of the simple message behind the simple dialogue. 
“May the force be with you.” 
“Use the force, Luke.” 
“The force is strong with this one.” 
“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” 
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” 
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” 
“It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.” 
And remember to…“Let the wookie win.”  

Dazed and Confused
Richard Linklater’s classic about the last-day-of-school nails it and gave us a peek at a number of future stars. One of the reasons for that is they had a chance to give us a reason to remember them thanks to the script. Matthew McConaughey alone gives us…“All right, all right, all right.” 
“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” 
“Say, man, you got a joint?” “No, not on me, man.” “It’d be a lot cooler if you did.” 

The first two could be here but I’ll focus on the first, which gives the audience enough life advice to ponder for years to come. I mean, with lines like “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”, “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”, “Leave the gun; take the cannoli.”, “It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”, “We don’t discuss business at the table.”, “Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news at once.”, and “That’s my family, Kay. That’s not me.” how could this not be Top 5?

Glengarry Glen RossThis should be required viewing for anyone in sales. Actually, required viewing for anyone period. Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris and Alan Arkin deliver across the board but Alec Baldwin absolutely owns the short screen time he has.
“Coffee’s for closers only.” 
“Third prize is you’re fired.” 
“What’s your name?” “’F*** you’. That’s my name.” 
“A. B. C. Always Be Closing.” 
Words to live by. 

If I had to pick ONE, just one, movie that I believe is the most quotable of all time, it would have to be this one…

The Princess BrideYou may remember that I consider this a perfect movie and it’s brilliant script is a reason why. 
“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” 
“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” 
“No more rhymes. I mean it!” “Anybody want a peanut?” 
“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…”
“Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” 
“Have fun stormin’ the castle!” 
“As you wish.”

What makes your list?