Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1965-1967


Best Film Speeches and Monologues
Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
Screenshots

Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
Screenwriter(s): Gavin Lambert

A Poolside Soliloquy by a Hollywood Studio Head About A Failed Marital Romance ("A Lost Cause") and Movie Stardom

Director Robert Mulligan's strange and satirical, rags-to-riches melodrama told about the perils of an adolescent Hollywood star seeking recognition, fame, and fortune. Natalie Wood (at age 26) starred as the tomboyish, rebellious, angry, expressive 15-year old ragamuffin-urchin, Angel Beach boardwalk/pier-dwelling Daisy Clover. She was made a teenaged star by manipulative, Svengali-like studio head Raymond Swan (Christopher Plummer), known as the "Prince of Darkness." Daisy was abandoned at a motel in Arizona on her honeymoon after marrying self-absorbed, narcissistic homosexual groom/actor Wade Lewis (Robert Redford). [Swan's wife Melora (Katharine Bard) had at one time been Wade's lover as well, and almost committed suicide over him.]

Daisy had returned to Swan's mansion, and pool-side, he found that she had been sleeping there overnight. He delivered a marvelous soliloquy/speech to her following her breakup. He confessed that he knew Wade was an unsuitable match as a closeted homosexual, but let her find out for herself (as he had once done with his wife Melora). He cradled Daisy in his arms and began his own affair with her - signaled by a passionate kiss:

All the good women and all the good men who tried to put Wade back together again. Age, sex, doesn't matter. They take him to heart, he takes them to bed. But then like any lost cause, they can't give him up. They've just got to carry on about true love, new life, deep understanding. Oh. And then one day, they wake up - alone.

She didn't stand a chance. I told Melora she didn't stand a chance. I told her what would happen, it happened. And then she cut her wrists and blamed me. It appears I lack the finer points. But Wade, oh boy, he's got them all. Thousands of girls sit watching him in dark movie houses, go home and they dream about him in dark little bedrooms. Thousands of wives wish their husbands were exactly like him. Isn't that something? I mean, you can't help admiring the man.

I just signed him for three more pictures. What are you going to do? He's in New York. He'll be back. Couple of weeks. I'll see you don't run into each - each other. You're blaming me too, aren't you? You know, if - listen, if I'd warned you. If I'd said, 'Wade isn't your true love. He's...You're just the best fun he ever had.' You'd have called it a wicked lie, and then Wade would have said, uh, 'The Prince of Darkness stops at nothing, dear heart,' and you'd have eloped immediately.

(He crouched next to her and tenderly stroked her hair.) It's over Daisy. All over. I've got you the best divorce lawyer in town -- so sleep it off. Take a long deep sleep. Sandman's orders. (She stood up and cradled her head in his chest.) At least you know all about love. Hmm? (He picked her up in his arms.) All about love. Just nothing. Lost cause. Just like your husband. Who needs it? (He kissed her. She wrapped her arms around his neck.)




The Sound of Music (1965)
Screenwriter(s): Ernest Lehman

A Prayer For Her New "Family"

Young Austrian abbey postulant Maria (Julie Andrews), after taking on the temporary job of governess to look after the seven children of widowed, strict Navy captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), prayed at her bedside - during a fierce thunderstorm, blessing the Captain and the children:

Dear Father, now I know why you've sent me here. To help these children prepare themselves for a new mother. And I pray that this will become a happy family in thy sight. God bless the captain. God bless Liesl and Friedrich. God bless Louisa, Brigitta, Marta, and little Gretl. And, oh, I forgot the other boy. What's his name? Well, God bless what's-his-name. God bless the Reverend Mother and Sister Margaretta and everybody at Nonnberg Abbey. And now, dear God, about Liesl, help her know that I'm her friend. And help her to tell me what she's been up to...Shh, help me to be understanding so that I may guide her footsteps. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.

As she finished her prayer, a rain-drenched, love-sick 16 year-old Liesl (Charmian Carr) entered through her window from her dis-allowed rendezvous with messenger boyfriend Rolf (Daniel Truhitte).


A Man For All Seasons (1966)
Screenwriter(s): Robert Bolt

More's Own Defense After Condemnation

Play clip (excerpt): A Man For All Seasons

Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) made his plea to the court after being found guilty of high treason, before he was taken to the Tower of London and executed:

Since the Court has determined to condemn me, God knoweth how, I will now discharge my mind concerning the indictment and the King's title. The indictment is grounded in an act of Parliament which is directly repugnant to the law of God, and his Holy Church, the Supreme Government of which no temporal person may by any law presume to take upon him. This was granted by the mouth of our Savior, Christ himself, to Saint Peter and the Bishops of Rome whilst He lived and was personally present here on earth. It is, therefore, insufficient in law to charge any Christian to obey it. And more to this, the immunity of the Church is promised both in Magna Carta and in the king's own coronation oath...

Not so. I am the king's true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm. I do none harm. I say none harm. I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith, I long not to live. Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!!

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Screenwriter(s): Ernest Lehman

More Mind-Games to Play

George's (Richard Burton) gleeful proposal to play more married couples' mind-games:

...OK, I know what we do. Now that we're through with Humiliate the Host...and we don't want to play Hump the Hostess yet...how about a little round of Get the Guests?

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Screenwriter(s): David Newman, Robert Benton, Robert Towne (uncredited)

Enticed Into an Exciting Life of Crime

Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) enticed Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway), a poor waitress, into a glamorous life with his own unrealistic, ignorant and childish fantasies of freedom, wealth and fame. He encouraged her to think of him as the answer to her dreams - they could make history together:

All right. All right. If all you want's a stud service, you get on back to West Dallas and you stay there the rest of your life. You're worth more than that, a lot more than that and you know it and that's why you're comin' along with me. You could find a lover boy on every damn corner in town. It don't make a damn to them whether you're waitin' on tables or pickin' cotton, but it does make a damn to me!...Why? What's you mean, 'Why?' Because you're different, that's why. You know, you're like me. You want different things. You've got somethin' better than bein' a waitress. You and me travelin' together, we could cut a path clean across this state and Kansas and Missouri and Oklahoma and everybody'd know about it. You listen to me, Miss Bonnie Parker. You listen to me. Now how would you like to go walkin' into the dining room of the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas wearin' a nice silk dress and have everybody waitin' on you? Would you like that? That seem like a lot to ask? That ain't enough for you. You've got a right to that.

He claimed that the "minute" he saw her, he figured out all that he had just told her, and then complimented her: "Because you may be the best damn girl in Texas." He took her to a restaurant and sized her up. He instinctively appealed to her wanderlust to leave the boring, dead-end cafe waitress job she had and join him for adventure and a career in crime:

You were born somewhere around East Texas, right?...Come from a big ol' family....You went to school, of course, but you didn't take to it much, because you was a lot smarter than everybody else, so you just up and quit one day. Now, when you was 16, 17, there was a guy who worked in a, in a ...right, cement plant, and you, you liked him, because he thought you were just as nice as you could be. And you almost married that guy, but then you thought no. You didn't think you would.

So then you got you your job in a cafe. And now you wake up every mornin' and you hate it. You just hate it. You get on down there and you put on your white uniform. (Bonnie: "Pink, it's pink.") And them truckdrivers come in there to eat your greasy burgers and they kid ya, and you kid 'em back. But they're stupid and dumb boys with the big ol' tattooes on 'em, and you don't like it. And they ask ya on dates, and sometimes you go, but you mostly don't because all they're ever tryin' to do is get in your pants, whether you want 'em to or not. So you go on home and you sit in your room and you think, 'Now when and how am I ever gonna get away from this?' And now you know.




Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Screenwriter(s): David Newman, Robert Benton, Robert Towne (uncredited)

Buck's Earthy Cow Story

While on the road to Joplin, older, All-American, hearty, loud-mouthed, ex-con brother Buck (Gene Hackman) related a corny joke about a cow to driver Clyde (Warren Beatty):

Hey, you wanna hear a story, about this boy, he owned a dairy farm, see. And his ol' ma, she was kinda sick, you know. And the doctor, he called him over and said, uh, 'Uhh, listen, your Ma, she's just lyin' there. She's just so sick and she's weakly. And uh, uh I want ya to try to persuade her to take a little brandy, see. Just to pick her spirits up, ya know.' And, uh, 'Ma's a teetotaler,' he says, 'she, she wouldn't touch a drop.' 'Well, I'll tell ya what ya do, uh,' that's the Doc. 'I'll tell ya what ya do, uh, you bring in a fresh quart of milk every day. And you put some brandy in it, see. And you try that.' So he did. And he doctored it all up with the brandy, fresh milk, and he gave it to his mama. And she drank a little bit of it. She didn't, you know.

So next day he brought it in again, and she drank a little more, you know. And so then, it went on that way. The third day, just a little more, and the fourth day, she was, you know, took a little bit more. And then finally, one week later, he gave her the milk and she just drank it down. Boy, she swallowed the whole, whole, whole thing, you know. And she called him over and she said, 'Son, whatever you do, don't sell that cow!'



Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Screenwriter(s): Donn Pearce, Frank Pierson

The Rules of the House

Play clip (excerpt): Cool Hand Luke

New chain-gang prisoners were given the 'rules' of the house by no-nonsense floorwalker Carr (Clifton James):

Them clothes got laundry numbers on 'em. You remember your number and always wear the ones that has your number. Any man forgets his number spends a night in the box. These here spoons, you keep with ya. Any man loses his spoon spends a night in the box. There's no playin' grab-ass or fightin' in the buildin'. You got a grudge against another man, you fight him Saturday afternoon. Any man playin' grab-ass or fightin' in the buildin' spends a night in the box. First bell is at five minutes of eight, when you will get in your bunk. Last bell is at eight. Any man not in his bunk at eight spends a night in the box. There's no smokin' in the prone position in bed. To smoke, you must have both legs over the side of your bunk. Any man caught smokin' in the prone position in bed spends a night in the box.

You get two sheets every Saturday. You put the clean sheet on the top and the top sheet on the bottom and the bottom sheet you turn into the laundry boy. Any man turns in the wrong sheet spends a night in the box. No one'll sit in the bunks with dirty pants on. Any man with dirty pants on sittin' on the bunks spends a night in the box. Any man don't bring back his empty pop bottle spends a night in the box. Any man loud-talkin' spends a night in the box.

You got questions, you come to me. I'm Carr, the floor-walker. I'm responsible for order in here. Any man don't keep order spends a night in the box. (To new prisoner Luke) I hope you ain't gonna be a hard case.




Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Screenwriter(s): Donn Pearce, Frank Pierson

"Failure to Communicate"

Play clip (excerpt): Cool Hand Luke

The authoritarian Captain (Strother Martin) delivered his famous "failure to communicate" speech when he beat recalcitrant and rebellious chain gang member Luke (Paul Newman) with a billy club:

You're gonna get used to wearin' them chains after a while, Luke, but you never stop listenin' to them clinkin'. 'Cause they're gonna remind you of what I've been sayin' - for your own good.

(Luke: "I wish you'd stop bein' so good to me, Cap'n.")

Don't you ever talk that way to me. (The Captain savagely struck him down.) Never! Never! What we've got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. And I don't like it anymore than you men.



Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Screenwriter(s): Donn Pearce, Frank Pierson

Talking to God - "I Guess I Gotta Find My Own Way"

Again a fugitive, Luke (Paul Newman) sat on one of the plain wooden pews in an abandoned country church. He delivered a rambling monologue and repeatedly talked to God and asked for guidance and an answer, occasionally looking up toward the empty rafters - his entreaties were met with silence:

Anybody here? Hey, Ol' Man, You home tonight? Can You spare a minute? It's about time we had a little talk. I know I'm a pretty evil fella. Killed people in the war and I got drunk and chewed up municipal property and the like. I know I got no call to ask for much, but even so, You've gotta admit, You ain't dealt me no cards in a long time. It's beginnin' to look like You got things fixed so I can't never win out. Inside, outside, all of 'em rules and regulations and bosses. You made me like I am. Now just where am I supposed to fit in?

Ol' Man, I gotta tell Ya. I started out pretty strong and fast. But it's beginnin' to get to me. When does it end? What do Ya got in mind for me? What do I do now? All right. All right.

(He knelt on his knees and cupped his hands in prayer)

On my knees, askin'. (pause) Yeah, that's what I thought. I guess I'm pretty tough to deal with, huh? A hard case. I guess I gotta find my own way.




Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
Screenwriter(s): William Rose

"You Don't Own Me!" - A Son to Father Talk

African-American physician Dr. John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), engaged to marry a white upper-class American woman named Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton) from a liberal San Francisco family, dared to disagree with his retired postal carrier father (Roy E. Glenn) from another generation about the upcoming nuptials and how he was to live his life:

You've said what you had to say. You listen to me. You say you don't want to tell me how to live my life? So what do you think you've been doing? You tell me what rights I've got or haven't got, and what I owe to you for what you've done for me. Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you were supposed to do because you brought me into this world and from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don't own me! You can't tell me when or where I'm out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules. You don't even know what I am, Dad. You don't know who I am. You don't know how I feel, what I think. And if I tried to explain it the rest of your life, you will never understand.

You are 30 years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it's got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the deadweight of you be off our backs! You understand? You've got to get off my back!

Dad. Dad. You're my father. I'm your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man. Hmm? Now, I've got a decision to make, hmm? And I've got to make it alone. And I gotta make it in a hurry. So, would you go out there and see after my mother?




Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
Screenwriter(s): William Rose

Remembering Loving a Woman - and Inter-Racial Marriage

Crusading publisher Matt Drayton (Spencer Tracy in his final screen appearance) blessed a future marriage by citing his love for his own wife Christina (Katharine Hepburn) - he took issue with the statement that he couldn't even remember what it was like to love a woman the way his future son-in-law John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), a black doctor, loved his daughter Joanna (Katharine Houghton):

I have a few things to say and you might just think they're important. This has been a very strange day. I don't think that's putting it too strongly. I might even say it's been an extraordinary day. I've been out there thinking about the day and the way it has gone and it seems to me that now, I need to make a few personal statements. For a variety of reasons.

The day began for me when I walked into this house and Tillie said to me -- excuse me -- ...this is Miss Matilda Binks who's been a member of this family for 22 years and who today has been making a great deal of trouble. Sit down, Tillie. Now. The minute I walked into this house this afternoon, Miss Binks said to me, 'Well, all hell's done broke loose now!' I asked her, naturally enough, to what she referred, and she said, 'You'll see.' And I did. Then after some preliminary guessing games, at which I was never very good, it was explained to me by my daughter that she intended to get married. And that her intended was a young man whom I had never met who happened to be a Negro. Well, I think it's fair to say that I responded to this, uh, news, in the same manner that any normal father would respond to it, unless, of course, his daughter happened to be a Negro, too. In a word, I was flabbergasted. And while I was still being flabbergasted, I was informed by my daughter - a very determined young woman much like her mother - that the, uh, marriage was on no matter what her mother and I might feel about it. Then the next rather startling development occurred when you walked in and said that unless we - her mother and I - approved of the marriage, there would be no marriage....(To his daughter) This may be the last chance I'll ever have to tell you to do anything. So I'm telling you, shut up.

Now, it became clear that we had one single day in which to make up our minds as to how we felt about this whole situation. So what happened? My wife, typically enough, decided to simply ignore every practical aspect of the situation, and was carried in some kind of romantic haze which made her, in my view, totally inaccessible to anything in the way of reason.

Now I have not as yet referred to His Reverence, who began by forcing his way into the situation, and then insulting my intelligence by mouthing 300 platitudes and ending just a half hour ago by coming to my room and challenging me to a wrestling match...Now, Mr. Prentice, clearly a most reasonable man, says he has no wish to offend me, but wants to know if I'm some kind of a nut. And Mrs. Prentice says that like her husband, I'm a burnt-out old shell of a man who cannot even remember what it's like to love a woman the way her son loves my daughter. And strange as it seems, that's the first statement made to me all day with which I am prepared to take issue. Because I think you're wrong. You're as wrong as you can be.

I admit that I hadn't considered it, hadn't even thought about it, but I know exactly how he feels about her. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that your son feels for my daughter that I didn't feel for Christina. Old? Yes. Burnt out? Certainly. But I can tell you the memories are still there - clear, intact, indestructible. And they'll be there if I live to be 110. Where John made his mistake, I think, was attaching so much importance to what her mother and I might think. Because in the final analysis, it doesn't matter a damn what we think. The only thing that matters is what they feel, and how much they feel for each other. And if it's half of what we felt, that's everything. (He gave a loving look toward Christina)

(To the young couple) As for you two and the problems you're going to have, they seem almost unimaginable. But you'll have no problem with me. (To John) And I think that uh, when Christina and I and your mother have some time to work on him, you'll have no problem with your father, John. But you do know - I'm sure you know - what you're up against. There'll be a hundred million people right here in this country who'll be shocked and offended and appalled at the two of you. And the two of you will just have to ride that out. Maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You can try to ignore those people or you can feel sorry for them and for their prejudices and their bigotry and their blind hatreds and stupid fears. But where necessary, you'll just have to cling tight to each other and say screw all those people! Anybody could make a case, and a hell of a good case, against your getting married. The arguments are so obvious that nobody has to make them. But you're two wonderful people who happened to fall in love and happen to have a pigmentation problem. And I think that now no matter what kind of a case some bastard could make against your getting married, there would be only one thing worse. And that would be if - knowing what you two are, knowing what you two have, and knowing what you two feel - you didn't get married. Well, Tillie, when the hell are we gonna get some dinner?





Up the Down Staircase (1967)
Screenwriter(s): Tad Mosel

Go Beyond What You Know

Witty English teacher and unpublished writer, Paul Barringer (Patrick Bedford), in NY's inner-city Calvin Coolidge HS, entered the classroom of astonished, idealistic fellow teacher Miss Sylvia Barrett (Sandy Dennis), and drunkenly told the students:

They say a writer should stick to what he knows. What nonsense. What did Dickens know about the French Revolution? What did Shakespeare know about Moors in Venice? If he'd stuck to what he knew, we'd have no Othello. We'd have no Alice in Wonderland. We'd have no Treasure Island. You brats think that I and Miss Barrett stand up there day after day, talking about books, and the writing of books, just for the hell of it? You think it's got nothing to do with YOU?

A writer creates a book, an individual creates a life! For a writer to create a masterpiece, he's got to think beyond what he knows! For an individual to create a life, even a half-way decent one, he's gotta go beyond what he knows. Go beyond the poverty, the dope, the disease, the degeneracy. Go beyond the oceans to the Alps (he pointed to a map), a magnificent replica of which the Board of Education has generously donated. Stick with what you think, and that's what you're gonna be stuck with! You may as well get out. Now! All of you... Miss Barrett's class dismissed. All of you dismissed for the rest of your crummy lives. Some of you prefer to leave by the window. I prefer to leave by the door. Punch me out. Will ya, Teach?


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