Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1981


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

Clash of the Titans (1981)
Screenwriter(s): Beverley Cross

Immortalized as Constellations of Stars

One of the legendary Laurence Olivier's last great monologues, as Zeus decreeing that the characters from the story be immortalized as constellations of stars:

Perseus and Andromeda will be happy together. Have fine sons...rule wisely...And to perpetuate the story of his courage, I command that from henceforth, he will be set among the stars and constellations. He, Perseus, the lovely Andromeda, the noble Pegasus, and even the vain Cassiopeia. Let the stars be named after them forever. As long as man shall walk the Earth and search the night sky in wonder, they will remember the courage of Perseus forever. Even if we, the gods, are abandoned or forgotten, the stars will never fade. Never. They will burn till the end of the time.

Mad Max 2 (1981) (aka The Road Warrior)
Screenwriter(s): Terry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant

"All That Remains Are Memories" Opening Voice-Over

The opening voice-over by the Narrator (Harold Baigent) (Australian version):

My life fades, my vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land. Most of all, I remember the man we called Max, the road warrior. To understand who he was we have to go back to the other time. When the world was powered by the black fuel, and the desert sprung great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They'd built a house of straw. Suddenly their machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked, but nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. Cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting and a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men.

On the roads it was a white-line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, waging war for a tank of juice. Good brave men were battered and smashed. Men like Max, who ruled the highways in the name of the law. Who became a lover, husband, father. And with the roar of an engine, he lost everything, his woman, his child, his world. He wandered out into the wasteland, and here he would learn, amid the dark wreckage, that the fire which burns in the heart of man, will endure. Hope survives.


Mommie Dearest (1981)
Screenwriter(s): Robert Getchell, Tracy Hotchner, Frank Perry, Frank Yablans, Christina Crawford (book)

"No Wire Hangers!" Outburst

Top Pick

Play clip (excerpt): Mommie Dearest

Physically-abusive mother and star actress Joan Crawford's (Faye Dunaway) famous, unintentionally funny but violent rant to cowering daughter Christina (Mara Hobel) in her bed, in this cult film classic:

NO...MORE.. WIRE... HANGERS! What's wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you: no wire hangers EVER?! I work and work 'till I'm half-dead, and I hear people saying, 'She's getting old.' And what do I get? A daughter... who cares as much about the beautiful dresses I give her... as she cares about me! What's wire hangers doing in this closet? Answer me! I buy you beautiful dresses, and you treat them like they were some dishrag. You threw a three hundred dollar dress on a wire hanger! We'll see how many you've got if they're hidden somewhere. We'll see... we'll see. Get out of that bed. All of this is coming out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. You've got any more? We're gonna see how many wire hangers you've got in your closet. Wire hangers, why? Why? Christina, get out of that bed. Get out of that bed. You live in the most beautiful house in Brentwood and you don't care if your clothes are stretched out from wire hangers. And your room looks like some two-dollar-a-week furnished room in some two-bit back street town in Oklahoma. Get up. Get up. Clean up this mess.

My Dinner With Andre (1981)
Screenwriter(s): Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory

"Now I'm 36, and All I Think About is Money"

As struggling actor/playwright Wally (Wallace Shawn as Himself) walked down a NYC street, his voice-over described:

The life of a playwright is tough. It's not easy as some people seem to think. You work hard writing plays and nobody puts them on. You take up other lines of work to try to make a living. I became an actor, and people don't hire you. So you just spend your days doing the errands of your trade. Today I had to be up by ten in the morning to make some important phone calls. Then I'd gone to the stationery store to buy envelopes. Then to the xerox shop. There were dozens of things to do. By five o'clock, I'd finally made it to the post office and mailed off several copies of my plays, meanwhile checking constantly with my answering service to see if my agent had called with any acting work. In the morning, the mailbox had just been stuffed with bills! What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to pay them? After all, I was already doing my best! I've lived in this city all my life. I grew up on the Upper East Side, and when I was 10 years old, I was rich! I was an aristocrat. Riding around in taxis, surrounded by comfort, and all I thought about was art and music. Now I'm 36, and all I think about is money!

Then at the conclusion of the long dinner scene and its philosophical discussion at a five-star restaurant between Wally and stage director Andre (Andre Gregory as Himself), Wally rode home in a taxi, as the film ended:

All the other customers seemed to have left hours ago. We got the bill, and André paid for our dinner! I treated myself to a taxi. I rode home through the city streets. There wasn't a street, there wasn't a building, that wasn't connected to some memory in my mind. There, I was buying a suit with my father. There, I was having an ice cream soda after school. When I finally came in, Debbie was home from work, and I told her everything about my dinner with Andre.





Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Screenwriter(s): Lawrence Kasdan

"Any Of You Guys Ever Go to Sunday School?"

Multi-talented Professor of Archaeology, "expert on the occult," adventurer and "obtainer of rare antiquities" Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) spoke to two Army Intelligence officers: Colonel Musgrove (Don Fellows) and Major Eaton (William Hootkins) in his college classroom. He explained the significance of a Nazi Germany digging occurring on the desert outskirts of Cairo, Egypt in the ancient city of Tanis, the possible resting place of the Ark of the Covenant - a biblical chest containing fragments of the 10 Commandments:

The Nazis have discovered Tanis!...The city of Tanis is one of the possible resting places of the Lost Ark...Yeah, the Ark of the Covenant. The chest the Hebrews used to carry around the Ten Commandments...Yes, the actual Ten Commandments. The original stone tablets that Moses brought down out of Mount Horeb and smashed, if you believe in that sort of thing. Any of you guys ever go to Sunday School?...Oh, look. The Hebrews took the broken pieces and put 'em in the Ark. And when they settled in Canaan, they put the Ark in a place called The Temple of Solomon...Where it stayed for many years. Until, all of a sudden, whoosh, it's gone...Well, nobody knows where or when.

Later that evening as Indy prepared for his journey for a lost 3,000 year old object, museum curator Dr. Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) warned about the Ark: "Not something to be taken lightly. No one knows its secrets. It's like nothing you've ever gone after before." Indy replied:

Oh, Marcus. What are you tryin' to do, scare me? I mean, you sound like my mother. We've known each other for a long time. I don't believe in magic, a lot of superstitious hocus-pocus. I'm goin' after a find of incredible historical significance. You're talkin' about the bogeyman. Besides, you know what a cautious fellow I am. (He threw a firearm into his suitcase)



Stripes (1981)
Screenwriter(s): Len Blum, Daniel Goldberg, Harold Ramis

"We're All Very Different People...We're Americans...We're Mutants!"

Under Captain Stillman's (John Larroquette) threat to repeat basic training, quick-witted misfit recruit John Winger (Bill Murray) delivered a rousing speech to motivate his platoon:

Cut it out! Cut it out! Cut it out! (What) The hell's the matter with you? Stupid! We're all very different people. We're not Watusi. We're not Spartans. We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? Do you know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts! Here's proof: his nose is cold! But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt. Who saw 'Old Yeller?' Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? Nobody cried when Old Yeller got shot? I'm sure. I cried my eyes out.

So we're all dogfaces. We're all very, very different, but there is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to enlist in the Army. We're mutants. There's something wrong with us, something very, very wrong with us. Something seriously wrong with us! We're soldiers, but we're American soldiers! We've been kickin' ass for 200 years! We're 10 and 1! Now we don't have to worry about whether or not we practiced. We don't have to worry about whether Captain Stillman wants to have us hung. All we have to do is to be the great American fighting soldier that is inside each one of us. Now do what I do, and say what I say. And make me proud. Fall in!




Time Bandits (1981)
Screenwriter(s): Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam

Recreating the World as a Technocracy

Evil (David Warner) bragged about how he would recreate the world as a nightmarish technocracy, if he was given the chance:

When I have the Map, I will be free, and the world will be different, because I have understanding... of digital watches. And soon I shall have understanding of videocassette recorders and car telephones. And when I have understanding of them, I shall have understanding of computers. And when I have understanding of computers, I shall be the Supreme Being! God isn't interested in technology. He knows nothing of the potential of the microchip or the silicon revolution. Look how he spends his time! Forty-three species of parrots! Nipples for men!... Slugs! He created slugs. They can't hear! They can't speak! They can't operate machinery! I mean, are we not in the hands of a lunatic?... If I were creating a world, I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o'clock, day one!


Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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