Best movie quotes of all time

December 31, 2010 • 10:58 am

It’s the holidays, and attempting anything intellectual or analyticial simply isn’t on for me today.  But here’s something cool: the American Film Institute’s collection of the 100 best quotes from American movies—in order.

Before you look at the video, try to guess #1.

There are four parts on video; sadly the fifth hasn’t yet been made, so they only go up to number 80, a quote from Rocky.  (Note: there’s some repetition in parts 2-4; they’re a bit of a mess.)

You can see the complete list, and the criteria for inclusion, on Wikipedia. Looking them over, I find that I’ve seen all but six of these in the original films (the exceptions are # 8, 47, 62, 69, 83, and 88 from the list).  I don’t want to quarrel with the ranking, but the quote I actually use most often (when urging people not to battle a system with its own impenetrable rules) is #74 from Polanski’s wonderful movie: “Forget it Jake—it’s Chinatown.”

I’ll put up the first video and link to the other three.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

53 thoughts on “Best movie quotes of all time

  1. #8? If I’m reading you right are you saying you’ve never seen Star Wars? Really? Or is this some kind of original vs. special edition thing?

    1. That’s right–I’m one of the handful of Americans who haven’t seen any of the Star Wars movies. For some reason that kind of sci fi extravaganza doesn’t attract me.

      1. An adult American who hasn’t seen Star Wars! I feel like I’ve stumbled across some kind of mythical creature, like a sasquatch or a yeti.

        I won’t try to tell you to watch the first movie as I’m sure by this point you’ve heard it a million times. It is pretty great, though!

        1. I thought I was the only person in the western world not to have seen the Star Wars movies, so I am marginally disappointed to discover that I am not. However, I am English, so I may still hold the English record.

          1. Ahh at last. others who haven’t seen Star Wars. Or Star Trek.
            I have, however seen Stargate SG-1. love that.

      2. A skotche OT, but you all may marvel at me: the last person to not have a Facebook.

        If you’re going to cave in Dr. Coyne, only the original movie and its immediate sequel are worth bothering with. They go downhill fast after that, especially the prequels.

        1. I ain’t gonna cave, for I have no interest in those movies. I haven’t even seen Avatar.

          I’ll raise you one: I don’t have cable t.v. either. . .

          1. Twins! No cable for me either! However, I was coerced into seeing Avatar. You’re not missing anything.

            If you’re holding strong against Star Wars, I’ll keep resisting Facebook.

          2. No cable for me, either. And non-cable tv is bad enough that I rarely watch it, to avoid becoming dumber.

            I don’t know if there would be much of a point to seeing Avatar on a small 2-D screen. Its plot line was forgettable. In 3-D, though, it was worth watching for the plant life alone–the textures and colors (including a lot of portrayed bioluminescence) seemed so real and were a large part of the visual experience. As a 3-D newbie, I found sitting through such a loud and visually intense movie to be overwhelming at times but worthwhile.

          3. Never give in and watch Star Wars!

            But … you MUST watch Seth Green’s Robot Chicken Star Wars 1&23. It’s the funniest damn thing I’ve seen in a while.

            Before my time, but remember when everybody was reading the long and awful Lord of the Rings? Then Doug Kenney and the Harvard Lampoon wrote the very terse, perfectly targeted, and hilarious lampoon “Bored of the Rings”, which made reading the original even more of a waste of time than it already was.

            Robot Chicken Star Wars does for Star Wars what “Bored of the Rings” did to Lord of the Rings. Watch it now.

          4. No cable here since the abysmal Telecommunications Act went into effect in 1996. (when giant swaths of the public spectrum were pissed away into private hands). Never looked back.

            Still haven’t seen the later Star Wars, parts 1-3 and hope I never do. Got sucked into seeing that crappy Avatar piece of shit, though. I did see in 3D, but stupid plot devices pervaded.

            I just can’t get these lines off my fave list though:

            Lisa: Jesus and I love you.
            Joe Young: Jesus and I love you too, cupcake.


            Joe: I’m a bad, bad, bad, bad Mormon.

  2. Without checking I’m going to say #1 is either:

    “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.”


    “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”

        1. …first thing that came to my mind. I guessed correctly.

          My personal favorite line is from Orgazmo. It doesn’t feel right to repeat it here, though.

  3. I guessed right.

    But I completely object to the Love Story quote.

    “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”…excuse me? That’s total bullshit. What kind of sociopath thinks that?

  4. I don’t understand how there aren’t any quotes from *any* Tarantino movies or, one of the greatest westerns ever made, “The Searchers” (“That’ll be the day!”). Also, they start repeating movies fairly early in the list. Finally, shouldn’t there be some kind of expiration date on the movies chosen? Mae West, really? Is there anyone alive who remembers seeing a Mae West movie in the theater?

    1. Her heyday was the 30s, but I remember being a kid in the 50s and going to see a couple of her old films—like I’m no Angel, with a young Cary Grant—at the afternoon matinee. For a nickel. We watched movies all afternoon, for a nickel.

      On the Tarantino thing: I don’t get it either. Just about everything that came out of Samuel L. Jackson’s mouth in Pulp Fiction is highly quotable.

  5. I’ve probably seen about 3/4 of those. Others I recognize from the trailers (and decided it’s not something I’ll pay for).

    I found the videos on u-tube confusing though; the titling was bad and each part seems to skip here and there and replay parts from the previous videos. After part of #3 I just couldn’t watch anymore.

    I wonder if the following made it:

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    “Walk this way.”

  6. Casablanca, I believe, had a tumultuous writing process. That it is so quotable and cohesive is almost as amazing as the movie itself.

    I can’t believe, on the other hand, that out of all the great lines in Annie Hall – possibly Woody Allen’s sharpest film – they picked one that, in retrospect, I have no perceivable recollection of.

  7. Yeah, Casablanca has so many great lines no matter how many times you’ve seen the film, you still miss a few. Like:

    Peter Lorre: I get it for them for half. Is that so parasitic?

    Bogart: I don’t mind a parasite. I just object to a cut-rate one.

  8. For quote #8, the Wikipedia list says that Han Solo (Harrison Ford) says “may the force be with you”, but the video shows it being said by Yoda.

  9. Without checking, I’m going to say the #1 movie quote is “NOBODY puts Baby in the corner!”

    What? It’s not?

    What kind of dumb poll is this?

  10. Without looking, I hope these are on the list:

    “Naah, it wasn’t the planes that killed the beast, it was Beauty the killed the beast.” (My #1 choice – they may well have built the whole movie around that.)

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    With Casablanca, there are too many, but certainly if “Round up the usual suspects” isn’t on the list, there’s something wrong with the list, since that phrase and its connotations has entered the lexicon.

    And particularly since the reason that Baldomero Olivera (father of the cone snail toxin field) goes by Toto is related to “Well, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”, that one ought to be on the list.

  11. Just to pile on – one of my favourites:

    Otto: Apes don’t read philosophy.

    Wanda: Yes, they do Otto, they just don’t understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things here. Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not ‘every man for himself,’ and the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up. Now, you have just assaulted the one man who can keep you out of jail and make you rich. What are you going to do about it huh? What would an intellectual do? What would Plato do?

  12. ‘Top Gun’? Really?

    And they picked the quote immediately before the one I would’ve picked from ‘2001’
    “I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave.”

  13. They left this movie quote off the list:

    “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass … and I’m all out of bubblegum.” — spoken by the character “Nada” (played by the wrestler Roddy Piper) in “They Live”

  14. Budd: “That woman deserves her revenge. And we deserve to die. But, then again, so does she …”

    Kill Bill 2

    The BEST movie ever made. No arguments or I’ll have to come after you with my Hitori Hanzo!

  15. Part 2 is a much better production (it actually gets the quote clips and timing right). But no The Princess Bride? WTF? Aliens has a number of good ones, too, like, “They mostly come at night… mostly”, and “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure”.

  16. Two small complaints and a comment.

    The best quote from Casablanco, and the one I use on a regular basis is, “I’m shocked, shocked . . . ”

    And the best line from the Star War films, the true shocker and the one line that almost makes the movies complex is, “Luke, I am your father.”

    Story: I had a friend who had a student actually named James Bond. First day of class. Attendance: “Bond, . . . James Bond”.

  17. In 24 Hour Party People, the homeless man says:
    I’m Boethius, author of The Consolation of Philosophy. It’s my belief that history is a wheel. “Inconstancy is my very essence,” says the wheel. “Rise up on my spokes if you like, but don’t complain when you’re cast back down into the depths.” Good time pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it’s also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away.

  18. Shame that the film ‘Unforgiven’ doesn’t make an appearance in the list. My personal favourite is Little Bill’s “Innocent? Innocent of what?”, which is a great throw-away line but also neatly captures the moral atmosphere of the whole film.

    Another unforgettable film line is from Louis Malle’s “Au revoir, les enfants”, when the priest who has been sheltering a Jewish boy in his school is being lead away (to certain death) by the Nazis. He turns to the assembled boys and says “Au revoir, les enfants”, to which the boys dutifully reply “Au revoir, mon père”. Gets me every time.

  19. Now with some time to check, cool to find that all four noted in #11 above made the list! But another that I forgot yesterday didn’t. In Schindler’s List, then Schindler’s thrown in jail for kissing a Jewish girl, his cellmate asks, “Did you dick fall off?” (The perfect rejoinder to eg some of the teagbaggers hysteria.)

    Perhaps they were trying for a G rating for the list, and perhaps that the line was delivered by essentially an extra worked against it.

  20. I didn’t look (the ‘puter is acting up) but #1 should have been from Animal House: “Son, fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life.”
    The dean was wrong. It’s worked for me.

  21. Great list, great movies. But it’s disgraceful of the AFI (of all institutions) to ignore the writers of these great quotes. It wasn’t Cable, Brando, Garland or Bogart who came up with any these lines.

  22. What, no quotes from Patton? Inconceivable!

    “An entire world at war and I’m left out of it? God will not allow this to happen!”

    “No poor dumb son of a bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb son of a bitch die for his country.”

  23. One of the outlaws in “The Wild Bunch” upon being shot:
    “Well now, how’d you like to kiss my sister’s black cat’s ass?”

    Marlon Brando in “One-eyed Jacks”:
    “Git up! Git up, you scum-suckin’ pig! I want you standin’ when I open you up”

  24. Love these quotes as I have my self a website with quotes about life. Thought it would be wise to share my favorite quote: “It’s the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what’s right.” – Peter Parker

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