Best-Ever Lines or Phrases from Movies

by Dom Nozzi

The following is my personal ranking of the best ever lines or phrases used in songs. They are comments that have become commonly used in our culture – often to express important ideas – or are otherwise memorable or entertaining.

Each of these have become an important part of our cultural lexicon. They are therefore endlessly repeated by others.

Note that some of the sources I cite are not original sources. If you know of the original source, I would appreciate your letting me know.

I acknowledge that there are many wonderful lines or phrases that are not on this list. This is because only those lines or phrases that are important to me, personally, are found on this list.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” (Wizard of Oz)

“I DO believe in spooks!! I DO believe in spooks!! I DO I DO IDO believe in spooks!!” (Wizard of Oz)

“I’ll get you, my pretty! AND YOUR LITTLE DOG, TOO!!!” (Wizard of Oz)

“Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!” (Wizard of Oz)

“Mongo only pawn in game of life.” (Blazing Saddles)

“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges.” (Blazing Saddles. Original source: Alfonso Bedoya, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre)

“Go ahead, make my day.” (Clint Eastwood, Sudden Impact)

“Who ARE those guys?” (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)

“Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” (James Cagney, White Heat)

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” (Marlon Brando, The Godfather)

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” (Judy Garland, Wizard of Oz)

“Bond. James Bond.” (Sean Connery, Dr. No)

“I’ll have what she’s having.” (Estelle Reiner, When Harry Met Sally)

“Round up the usual suspects.” (Claude Rains, Casablanca)

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” (Roy Scheider, Jaws)

“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into her side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We’d just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water, Chief? You can tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know, was that our bomb mission was so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin’ by, so we formed ourselves into tight groups. It was sorta like you see in the calendars, you know the infantry squares in the old calendars like the Battle of Waterloo and the idea was the shark come to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin’ and hollerin’ and sometimes that shark he go away… but sometimes he wouldn’t go away. Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces…I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water, he was like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist.…I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.” (Robert Shaw, Jaws)

So, you wanna go to a real party? (Titanic)

[as the Carpathia is arriving in New York] Carpathia Steward: “Can I take your name, please love?” Rose: “Dawson, Rose Dawson.” (Titanic) (this scene always makes me sob like a baby)

“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking…Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking…Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.” (Airplane!)

Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it? Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious. Rumack: I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley. (Airplane!)

“Don’t fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating.” (Brazil)

“I assure you, Mrs. Buttle, the Ministry is very scrupulous about following up and eradicating any error. If you have any complaints which you’d like to make, I’d be more than happy to send you the appropriate forms.” (Brazil)

“This is information retrieval not information dispersal.” (Brazil)

Jill Layton: Doesn’t it bother you, the sort of things you do at Information Retrieval? Sam Lowry: What? I suppose you’d rather have terrorists. Jill Layton: How many terrorists have you met, Sam? Actual terrorists? Sam Lowry: Actual terrorists? Jill Layton: Yeah. Sam Lowry:… Well… It’s only my first day. (Brazil)

“Care for a little necrophilia? Hmmm?” (Brazil)

Nigel Tufnel: What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven. Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder. (Spinal Tap)

Angela Hayes: Yeah? Well, at least I’m not ugly! Ricky Fitts: Yes, you are. And you’re boring, and you’re totally ordinary, and you know it. (American Beauty)

“If people I don’t even know look at me and want to fuck me, it means I really have a shot at being a model.” (American Beauty)

“That’s my wife, Carolyn. See the way the handle on her pruning shears matches her gardening clogs? That’s not an accident.” (American Beauty)

Colonel Frank Fitts: Your wife is with another man and you don’t care? Lester Burnham: Nope. Our marriage is just for show. A commercial for how normal we are when we’re anything but. (American Beauty)

“I- I- I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall – looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.” (Halloween)

“In one week, I can put a bug so far up her ass, she don’t know whether to shit or wind her wristwatch.” (Jack Nicolson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

“And now my friend, the first-a rule of Italian driving. [Franco rips off his rear-view mirror and throws it out of the car] What’s-a behind me is not important.” (Raul Julia, The Gumball Rally)

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It’s the smell of victory.” (Apocalypse Now)

“I’ve seen horrors… horrors that you’ve seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that… but you have no right to judge me. It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror… Horror has a face… and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies! I remember when I was with Special Forces… seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember… I… I… I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn’t know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it… I never want to forget. And then I realized… like I was shot… like I was shot with a diamond… a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God… the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men… trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love… but they had the strength… the strength… to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling… without passion… without judgment… without judgment! Because it’s judgment that defeats us.” (Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now)

“The horror..the horror…” (Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now)

“WE MARCH TONIGHT!!!” (Kirk Douglas, Spartacus)

“When a free man dies, he loses the pleasure of life. A slave loses his pain. Death is the only freedom a slave knows. That’s why he’s not afraid of it. That’s why we’ll win.” (Kirk Douglas, Spartacus)

Marcus Licinius Crassus: “And what do you remember when you think of Spartacus? Varinia: “I remember that he started out all alone. And yet, on the day he died, thousands and thousands would have died in his place.” (Spartacus)

“I’M SPARTACUS!!!!” (In this climactic scene, recaptured slaves are asked to identify Spartacus in exchange for leniency; instead, each slave proclaims himself to be Spartacus, thus sharing his fate. The documentary Trumbo suggests that this scene was meant to dramatize the solidarity of those accused of being Communist sympathizers during the McCarthy Era who refused to implicate others, and thus were blacklisted.)


I urge you to email me ( or leave a comment if you have a suggested addition or subtraction from this list. Or if you have any other thoughts about this list.


Each list in this blog contains my own personal opinions based on my personal experiences. I acknowledge that there may be a need to add or subtract from these lists (or to create a new subject list), and I welcome such suggestions. The lists are not ordered from higher to lower quality. Each list is a work in progress.

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About Dom Nozzi

Urban designer, Complete Streets instructor, smart growth specialist, town planner, walkable & bikeable streets & trails specialist, writer, editor, speaker, world adventurer, skier, kayaker, SCUBA diver, bicyclist, hiker, dancer, book reader, urbanist. Make my own beer, wine, pasta, bread. Live by the motto that it is the things we do NOT do that we later regret. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest.
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One Response to Best-Ever Lines or Phrases from Movies

  1. RENGACORP says:

    Great work! Love the choices in the BRAZIL quotes. Brazil really is that rare blend of epic story and biting social commentary.

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