Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1971


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

Bananas (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen, Mickey Rose

Inappropriate Fundraising "Keynote Speech"

In Woody Allen's irreverent, and slapstick political satire, Fielding Mellish (Woody Allen), as accidental leader of the tiny (fictional) Central American island nation of San Marcos, delivered a stuttering, outrageously inappropriate keynote speech at a high society fundraiser:

Although the United States is, uh, a very rich country and San Marcos is a very poor one, there are a great many things we have to offer your country in return for aid. For instance, there, uh, there are locusts. Uh, we have more locusts than...uh, locusts of all races and creeds. These, these locusts, incidentally, are available at popular prices. And so, by the way, are most of the women of San Marcos...despite the tiny size of our nation, few people realize that we lead the world in hernias. They also fail to realize that before Columbus discovered your country, he stopped in San Marcos and contracted a disease which today can be cured with one shot of penicillin...

Brian's Song (1971)
Screenwriter(s): William Blinn

Locker Room Address

Play clip (excerpt): Brian's Song

Gale Sayer's (Billy Dee Williams) haltingly spoken locker-room address to his fellow players on Brian Piccolo's (James Caan) cancer, breaking down into uncontrollable sobs that caused him to prematurely end his speech:

Uh, you uh, all know that we hand out a game ball to the outstanding player. Well, I'd like to change that. We just got word that Brian Piccolo is - that's he's sick, very sick. And, uh, it looks, uh, like he might never play football again, or, uh, a long time. And, I think we should dedicate ourselves to, uh, give our maximum effort to win this game and give the game ball to 'Pic'. We can all sign it. And take it up. Aw, sh -- Oh, my God.

Brian's Song (1971)
Screenwriter(s): William Blinn

Award Acceptance Speech

Play clip (excerpt): Brian's Song

Gale Sayer's tear-jerking acceptance speech for the George S. Halas Award for Courage:

I'd like to say a few words about a guy I know, a friend of mine. His name is Brian Piccolo, and he has the heart of a giant and that rare form of courage which allows him to kid himself and his opponent - cancer. He has a mental attitude which makes me proud to have a friend who spells out 'courage' 24 hours a day every day of his life. Now you flatter me by giving me this award. But I say to you here and now, Brian Piccolo is the man of courage who should receive the George S. Halas award. It's mine tonight and Brian Piccolo's tomorrow. I love Brian Piccolo. And I'd like all of you to love him, too. And tonight, (when) you hit your knees - please ask God to love him.

Carnal Knowledge (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Jules Feiffer

"It's Up, in the Air!"

The reassuring speech of paid prostitute Louise (Rita Moreno in a cameo) to massage dysfunctionally-impotent Jonathan's (Jack Nicholson) ego (and more) in the film's final scene. Obsessively, he had her recite a carefully-worded script while kneeling between his legs. (he yelled at her - "God-damn it! You're doing it all wrong" - when she deviated). After accepting payment of $100, and as he reclined back on a couch, she reassured him as she stroked his thighs: "I don't think we're gonna have any trouble tonight." She called him "a real man, a kind man" and then went on:

I don't mean the weak kind the way so many men are. I mean the kindness that comes from enormous strength, from an inner power so strong that every act, no matter what, is more proof of that power. That's what all women resent. That's why they try to cut ya down, because your knowledge of yourself and them is so right, so true, that it exposes the lies by which they, every scheming one of them, live by. It takes a true woman to understand that the purest form of love is to love a man who denies himself to her - a man who inspires worship, because he has no need for any woman, because he has himself. And who is better, more beautiful, more powerful, more perfect... you're getting hard... more strong, more masculine, extraordinary, more... bust. It's rising, it's rising... more virile, domineering, more irresistible. It's up - in the air...



A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Stanley Kubrick

"There Was Me, that is Alex" Voice-Over

Smirking punker Alex de Large's (Malcolm McDowell) voice-over introductory speech in the Korova Milk Bar with his droog friends - accompanied by Walter Carlos' synthesized version of Purcell's Elegy for the Death of Queen Mary:

There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence...


A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Stanley Kubrick

Thoughts on Aversion Therapy Treatment

Alex's description of aversion therapy treatment with 'viddy films' (videos of sexual violence) with his eyes propped open during behavior modification:

And viddy films, I would. Where I was taken to, brothers, was like no sinny I ever viddied before. I was bound up in a straitjacket and my gulliver was strapped to a headrest with like wires running away from it. Then they clamped like lidlocks on my eyes so that I could not shut them no matter how hard I tried. It seemed a bit crazy to me, but I let them get on with what they wanted to get on with. If I was to be a free young malchick again in a fortnight's time, I would put up with much in the meantime, O my brothers. So far, the first film was a very good, professional piece of sinny, like it was done in Hollywood. The sounds were real horrorshow. You could slooshy the screams and moans very realistic, and you could even get the heavy breathing and panting of the tolchocking malchicks at the same time. And then, what do you know, soon our dear old friend, the red, red vino on tap, the same in all places like it's put out by the same big firm, began to flow. It was beautiful.

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen. Now all the time I was watching this, I was beginning to get very aware of like not feeling all that well, and this I put down to all the rich food and vitamins, but I tried to forget this, concentrating on the next film which jumped right away on a young devotchka who was being given the old in-out, in-out first by one malchick, then another, then another...When it came to the sixth or seventh malchick, leering and smecking and then going into it, I began to feel really sick. But I could not shut my glazzies. And even if I tried to move my glazz-balls about, I still could not get out of the line of fire of this picture.

Dirty Harry (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink, Dean Riesner, John Milius (uncredited)

Taunting a Downed Criminal

Top Pick

Play clip (excerpt): Dirty Harry

Harry Callahan's (Clint Eastwood) taunting of a wounded black criminal on the ground:

I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?
(Harry picked up the gun)
Bank robber: "Hey, I gots to know."
(He pulled the trigger toward the bank robber's head, but it clicked empty. Harry chuckled.)


Harold and Maude (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Colin Higgins

A Recommendation For Serving in the Army - "That's What This Country Needs - More Nathan Hales"

Death-obsessed young Harold (Bud Cort) was urged by his domineering mother (Vivian Pickles) to have a talk with hawkish, crazed, one-armed Uncle Victor (Charles Tyner), "General MacArthur's right-hand man," who recommended that he sign up for Army boot camp immediately, to "take on a man's job":

Well, what do you say, Harold? Ah, it's a great life. There's action, adventure, advising, and you'll get a chance to see the war first-hand. And there are plenty of slant-eyed girls. I'll make a man out of you, Harold. You'll travel the world, put on a uniform, and take on a man's job. You'll walk tall, with a glint in your eye and a spring in your step, and the knowledge in your heart that you are working for peace and are serving your country, just like Nathan Hale. Now, that's what this country needs - more Nathan Hales. (He saluted a picture of Nathan Hale) And, Harold, I think I can see a little Nathan Hale in you.



The Hospital (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Paddy Chayefsky

A Monologue on Impotence

In this dark comedy, Dr. Herbert Bock (George C. Scott), Chief of Medicine in a large Manhattan hospital, was being seduced in his office by 25 year-old, pretty hippie Barbara Drummond (Diana Rigg), daughter of one of the patients. She told him candidly that she had a "thing about middle-aged men." He ranted about his own impotence and discussed the loss of his sole purpose in life:

You're wasting your time. I've been impotent for years. (Barbara: "Rubbish") What the hell is wrong with being impotent? Kids are more hung up on sex than the Victorians. I got a son, 23 years old. I threw him out of the house last year. Pietistic little humbug. He preached universal love, and he despised everyone. Had a blanket contempt for the middle class, even its decencies. He detested my mother because she had a petit bourgeois pride in her son, the doctor. I cannot tell you how brutishly he ignored that rather good lady. When she died, he didn't even come to the funeral. He felt the chapel service was an hypocrisy.

He told me his generation didn't live with lies. I said, 'Listen, everybody lives with lies.' I-I grabbed him by his poncho and I dragged him the length of our seven-room, despicably affluent, middle-class apartment, and I flung him - out! I haven't seen him since. You know what he said to me? He's standing there on the landing, you know, on the verge of tears. He shrieked at me: 'You old fink. You can't even get it up anymore.' That was it, you see. That was his real revolution. It wasn't racism, the oppressed poor, or the war in Vietnam. No, the ultimate American societal sickness was a limp dingus.

My God. If there is a despised, misunderstood minority in this country, it is us poor, impotent bastards. Well, I'm impotent, and I'm proud of it. Impotence is beautiful, baby! POWER TO THE IMPOTENT! RIGHT ON, BABY!...You know, when I say impotent, I don't mean merely limp. Disagreeable as it may be for a woman, a man may lust for other things, something a little less transient than an erection. A sense of permanent worth. That's what medicine was to me, my reason for being.

You know, Miss Drummond, when I was 34, I presented a paper before the annual convention of the Society of Clinical Investigation that pioneered the whole goddamn field of lmmunology. A breakthrough. I'm in all the textbooks. I happen to be an eminent man, Miss Drummond. You know something else, Miss Drummond? I don't give a goddamn. When I say impotent, I mean I've lost even my desire to work. That's a hell of a lot more primal passion than sex. I've lost my reason for being. My purpose. The only thing I ever truly loved. Well, it is all rubbish, isn't it?

I mean, transplants, anti-bodies. We manufacture genes. We can produce birth ecto-genetically. We can practically clone people like carrots, and half the kids in this ghetto haven't even been inoculated for polio! We have established the most enormous, medical entity ever conceived and people are sicker than ever! WE CURE NOTHING! WE HEAL NOTHING! The whole goddamn wretched world is strangulating in front of our eyes. That's what I mean when I say impotent. You don't know what the hell I'm talking about, do you?...I'm tired. I'm very tired, Miss Drummond. And I hurt. And I've got nothing going for me anymore. Can you understand that?...And you also understand that the only admissible matter left is death.

He blew up at her when she clinically analyzed him as having a "familiar case of morbid menopause. It's hard for me to take your despair seriously, doctor. You obviously enjoy it so much." He yelled at her: "Bugger off! That's all I need now is clinical insight. Some cockamamie 25 year-old acidhead is gonna reassure me about the menopause now!"




The Last Picture Show (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Larry McMurtry, Peter Bogdanovich

Nostalgia for the Old Times

Sam the Lion's (Best Supporting Actor winner Ben Johnson) nostalgic memories at the tank dam as the clouds shed interesting shadows, about the idyllic "old times" - when he once went swimming - naked - with a girl (his one true love):

You wouldn't believe how this country's changed. First time I seen it, there wasn't a mesquite tree on it, or a prickly pear neither. I used to own this land, you know. First time I watered a horse at this tank was - more than forty years ago. I reckon the reason why I always drag you out here is probably I'm just as sentimental as the next fella when it comes to old times. Old times. I brought a young lady swimmin' out here once, more than 20 years ago. Was after my wife had lost her mind and my boys was dead. Me and this young lady was pretty wild, I guess. In pretty deep. We used to come out here on horseback and go swimmin' without no bathing suits. One day, she wanted to swim the horses across this tank. Kind of a crazy thing to do, but we done it anyway. She bet me a silver dollar she could beat me across. She did. This old horse I was ridin' didn't want to take the water. But she was always lookin' for somethin' to do like that. Somethin' wild. I'll bet she's still got that silver dollar.

The Last Picture Show (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Larry McMurtry, Peter Bogdanovich

Opposite Reactions

Ruth Popper's (Best Supporting Actress winner Cloris Leachman) explosive tirade at Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) after months of neglect:

What am I doing apologizin' to you? Why am I always apologizin' to you, ya little bastard? Three months I been apologizing to you, without you even bein' here. I haven't done anything wrong - why can't I quit apologizin'? You're the one oughta be sorry. I wouldn't still be in my bathrobe if it hadn't been for you. I'da had my clothes on hours ago. You're the one made me quit carin' if I got dressed or not. I guess just because your friend got killed you want me to forget what you did and make it all right. I'm not sorry for you. You'd've left Billy, too, just like you left me. I bet you left him plenty a nights, whenever Jacy whistled. I wouldn't treat a dog that way. I guess you thought I was so old and ugly you didn't owe me any explanation. You didn't need to be careful of me. There wasn't anythin' I could do about you and her - why should you be careful of me? You didn't love me. Look at me. Can't you even look at me? Y'see? You shouldn't have come here. I'm around that corner now. You've ruined it and it's lost completely. Just your needing me won't make it come back.

The scene ended with her forgiveness for him: "Never you mind, honey, never you mind."

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Screenwriter(s): Roald Dahl, David Seltzer (uncredited)

"You Lose! Good day, Sir!" Speech

Willy Wonka's (Gene Wilder) harsh dismissal of Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) and Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) when they asked about his lifetime's supply of chocolate prize, and he angrily told them their contest contract was voided by their careless actions and violation of the fine print and the rules:

Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37-B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if - and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy - 'I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained', et cetera, et cetera...'Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum', et cetera, et cetera...'Memo bis punitor delicatum!'' It's all there! Black and white! Clear as crystal! You stole Fizzy-Lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized. So you get NOTHING! You lose! Good day, sir!
(Grandpa Joe: "You're a crook! You're a cheat and a swindler, that's what you are. How can you do a thing like this?! Build up a little boy's hopes and then smash all his dreams to pieces? You're an inhuman monster!")
Sir, I said, 'Good day!'

When Charlie gave Wonka the candy he was instructed to steal by competitor Slugworth (Günter Meisner) (Slugworth was revealed to be Mr. Wilkinson, a Wonka employee who was used to test Charlie's honesty), Wonka reversed his decision, calling Charlie "My boy," and telling him: "You won! You did it! You did it!" because of his honesty. Charlie was awarded the "grand and glorious jackpot" -- the chocolate factory and the entire business.

But Willy further cautioned the boy, with the film's last line:

But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted... He lived happily ever after.




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