Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1976-1977


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

Rocky (1976)
Screenwriter(s): Sylvester Stallone

A Fighter and a Boxing Trainer

Trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) attempted to woo Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) to be his manager for his unlikely title fight:

Well, what ya need is a manager. A manager, listen to me. I know, because I've been in this racket for fifty years...I've seen it all, all of it. Ya know what I've done?...I have done it all...

Rocky responded with a yelled tirade at a departing Mickey as he descended the stairs:

What about my prime, Mick? At least you had a prime? I had no prime, I've had nothin'....

Then, Rocky had a change of heart, reconciled, and accepted Mick as his trainer.

Taxi Driver (1976)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Schrader

"All the Animals Come Out at Night"

Cab driver Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro) wrote in his diary as the camera panned across the interior of his squalid, welfare-style, studio apartment. He made a rambling, vitriolic opening monologue (delivered in voice-over) as he read (or hallucinated) from his diary about his disgust at the city:

May 10th. Thank God for the rain which has helped wash away the garbage and the trash off the sidewalks. I'm workin' long hours now. 6:00 in the afternoon to 6:00 in the morning, sometimes even 8:00 in the morning. Six days a week, sometimes seven days a week. It's a long hustle, but it keeps me real busy. I can take in 300, 350 a week, sometimes even more when I do it off the meter.

All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies. Sick, venal. Someday a real rain'll come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take 'em to Harlem. I don't care. Don't make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won't even take spooks. Don't make no difference to me.




Taxi Driver (1976)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Schrader

A Sick Taxi Passenger's Revenge ("You Think I'm Sick?")

A taxi passenger (Martin Scorsese) made chilling, shocking threats about killing his unfaithful wife:

You see the woman in the window? Do you see the woman in the window?...I want you to see that woman, because that's my wife. That's not my apartment. That's not my apartment. You know who lives there? Huh? I mean, you wouldn't know who lives there - I'm just sayin', but you know who lives there? Huh? A nigger lives there. How do ya like that? And I'm gonna, I'm gonna kill him...What do you think of that? Hmm? I said, 'What do you think of that?' Don't answer. You don't have to answer everything.

I'm gonna kill her. I'm gonna kill her with a .44 Magnum pistol. A .44 Magnum pistol, I'm gonna kill her with that gun. Did you ever see, did you ever see what a .44 Magnum pistol can do to a woman's face? I mean it will f---in' destroy it. Just blow her right apart. That's what it will do to her face. Now, did you ever see what it can do to a woman's pussy? That you should see. That you should see what a .44 Magnum's gonna do to a woman's pussy you should see. I know, I know you must think that I'm, you know, you must think I'm pretty sick or somethin', you know, you must think I'm pretty sick. Right? You must think I'm pretty sick? Hmm? Right? I'll betcha, I'll betcha you really think I'm sick, right? You think I'm sick? You think I'm sick? You don't have to answer that. I'm payin' for the ride. You don't have to answer that.


Taxi Driver (1976)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Schrader

"You Talkin' To Me?" Monologue

Top Pick

Play clip (excerpt): Taxi Driver

In his squalid walk-up apartment in front of a mirror, taxi driver Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro) belligerently delivered (to the camera and an invisible make-believe adversary or enemy) an indelible, much-imitated "You talkin' to me?..." scene as he practiced quick-drawing with his guns, ending with the conclusion: "You're dead!":

Yeah. Huh? Huh? Huh? (I'm) faster than you, you f--kin' son of a...I saw you comin', you f--k, s--t-heel. I'm standin' here. You make the move. You make the move. It's your move. (He drew his gun from his concealed forearm holster.) Don't try it, you f--ker. You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? (He turned around to look behind him.) Well, who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who the f--k do you think you're talkin' to? Oh yeah? Huh? OK.

He whipped out his gun again.

Huh? Listen you f--kers, you screwheads. Here's a man who would not take it anymore. Who would not let...Listen you f--kers, you screwheads. Here's a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the c--ts, the dogs, the filth, the s--t, here is someone who stood up.

A close-up of his diary entry, "Here is," was followed by three erratic dots.

HERE IS ---

He drew his gun.

You're dead.



Annie Hall (1977)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman

"How I Feel About Life" - An Opening Monologue

Comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) delivered the film's opening monologue (composed of jokes about his relationships with women and his mid-life crisis) told directly into the camera. He mused about his breakup with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) after a year's relationship, before launching into a narrated autobiography about his early childhood:

There's an old joke. Uhm, two elderly women are at a Catskill Mountain resort. And one of 'em says: 'Boy, the food in this place is really terrible.' The other one says: 'Yeah, I know. And such small portions.' Well, that's essentially how I feel about life. Full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly. The other important joke for me is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx, but I think it appears originally in Freud's Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious - and it goes like this. I'm paraphrasing. Uhm, I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member. That's the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.

You know, lately, the strangest things have been going through my mind, 'cause I turn 40, and I guess I'm going through a life crisis or something. I don't know. And I'm not worried about aging, I'm not one of those characters. You know, although I'm balding slightly on top. That's about the worst you can say about me. I, uhm, I think I'm gonna get better as I get older. You know, I think I'm gonna be the, the balding virile type, you know, as opposed to, say, the uhm, distinguished gray, for instance, you know, unless I'm neither of those two. Unless I'm one of those guys with saliva dribbling out of his mouth who wanders into a cafeteria with a shopping bag screaming about socialism.

Annie and I broke up. And I-I still can't get my mind around that. You know, I keep sifting the pieces of the relationship through my mind, and, and examining my life and trying to figure out where did the screw-up come, you know. And, a year ago, we were in love, you know. And, and, and it's funny, I'm not a morose type. I'm not a depressive character. I-I, uh, you know, I was a reasonably happy kid, I guess, I was brought up in Brooklyn during World War Two.



Annie Hall (1977)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman

A "Cultural Stereotype" Assessment

Backstage at an Adlai Stevenson political rally/fund-raiser for the 1960 presidential candidate, seen in a flashback, aspiring stand-up comedian Alvy (Woody Allen) provided a "cultural stereotype" assessment of first wife-to-be Allison Portchnik (Carol Kane). He insensitively classified and stereotyped Allison, much like a bigot:

You're like a New York Jewish, Left-Wing, Liberal Intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps, and the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right? Really, you know, strike-oriented, kind of Red - Stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself!

She responded: "No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype." Alvy confessed his leftist bigotry: "Right, I'm a bigot, you know, but for the left."


Annie Hall (1977)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman

Closing Thoughts About Relationships

After their break-up, Annie (Diane Keaton) and Alvy (Woody Allen) happened to meet after she had moved back to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and was living with another guy in SoHo. Alvy presented a closing monologue, reminiscing (with a montage of their happy times together) about his relationship with her, and then on a street-corner (at West 63rd St.) (filmed with a stationary camera), they said goodbye, shaking hands, kissing, and parting in different directions. Alvy, after a very long glance after her departing figure, turned away toward solitude, his head bent down toward a lost future, as he delivered a voice-over:

After that, it got pretty late and we both had to go. But it was great seeing Annie again. And I realize what a terrific person she was and how much fun it was just knowing her. And I thought of that old joke. You know, the, this, this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, uh, my brother's crazy. He thinks he's a chicken.' And uh, the doctor says, 'Well, why don't you turn him in?' And the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.'

Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. You know, they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd and - But uh, I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.


MacArthur (1977)
Screenwriter(s): Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins

"Duty, Honor, Country"

Play clip (excerpt): MacArthur

General Douglas MacArthur (Gregory Peck) presented his acceptance speech to West Point cadets on May 12, 1962 on the occasion of his receiving the Sylvanus Thayer Award:

Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be. They are your rallying points. They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. In this way, they will teach you to be an officer and a gentlemen. From your ranks come the great captains who will hold the nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words: 'Duty, Honor, Country.' This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our minds ring the ominous words of Plato: 'Only the dead have seen the end of war.' ....The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished in tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But, in the evening of my memory, always I return to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: 'Duty, Honor, Country.' Today marks my final roll call with you. I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps. I bid you farewell.


MacArthur (1977)
Screenwriter(s): Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins

"I Now Close My Military Career and Just Fade Away" Farewell

Play clip (excerpt): MacArthur

Famed WWII US Army General Douglas MacArthur (Gregory Peck) delivered his final farewell speech to a joint session of Congress on April 19, 1951, often interrupted by applause:

...But, once war has been forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war, there can be no substitute for victory. For history teaches us with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war. Like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and increasingly greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only alternative. 'Why?' 'Why,' my soldiers asked of me, 'surrender military advantages to an enemy in the field?' I could not answer. The magnificence of the courage and fortitude of the Korean people defies description. They have chosen to risk death rather than slavery. Their last words to me were: 'Don't scuttle the Pacific.' I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished. But I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that 'old soldiers never die, they just fade away.' Like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye.

Star Wars (1977)
Screenwriter(s): George Lucas

"Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; You're My Only Hope"

When young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) was cleaning, polishing and repairing the R2-D2 droid, he accidentally tripped one of its switches, and the mechanical robot projected a three-dimensional hologram into the middle of the room. It was a miniature image of a beautiful girl, Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). In a recording that played over and over, she pleaded for help ("Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope") from wise and noble Jedi warrior/mentor Ben "Obi-Wan" Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness). However, it wasn't until later when Ben was located that her entire holographic message could be played.

She told about how the stored secret Death Star plans inside R2-D2 had to be delivered to her father on Alderaan, in order for the Rebellion to survive against the evil Empire:

General Kenobi: Years ago, you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father's request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack and I'm afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. I've placed information vital to the survival of the rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.



Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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