Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1984


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

Amadeus (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Peter Shaffer

Amazement at Mozart's Genius

In flashback, aging Austrian court composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) blissfully remembered when he first examined Mozart's sheet music for Serenade for Thirteen Wind Instruments and was amazed by its genius:

Extraordinary! On the page it looked nothing! The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse. Bassoons, basset horns - like a rusty squeezebox. And then, suddenly, high above it, an oboe. A single note, hanging there, unwavering. Until a clarinet took it over, sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was no composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I had never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing. It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God.



Amadeus (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Peter Shaffer

"Here Again Was The Very Voice of God"

Play clips (excerpt): Amadeus Amadeus

Again in flashback, Italian court composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) had an astonished and jealous reaction to original samples of profligate Mozart's (Tom Hulce) work, brought to him in secret by Mozart's Frau Constanze (Elizabeth Berridge), so that he could be considered for a royal appointment:

Astounding! It was actually, it was beyond belief. These were first and only drafts of music. But they showed no corrections of any kind. Not one. He had simply written down music already finished in his head! Page after page of it, as if he were just taking dictation! And music, finished as no music is ever finished. Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall. It was clear to me that sound I had heard in the Archbishop's palace had been no accident. Here again was the very voice of God! I was staring through the cage of those meticulous ink-strokes at an absolute beauty.

When he dropped the sheaf of papers in amazement, Constanze cried out: "Is it not good?"

Salieri replied:

It is miraculous!




Amadeus (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Peter Shaffer

"How Does One Kill A Man?"

Jealously plotting Mozart's death, Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) spoke to Father Vogler (Richard Frank), imagining himself at Mozart's (Tom Hulce) funeral, during which Mozart's Requiem Death Mass (attributed to Salieri's composition) would be performed. Salieri anticipated being admired by his peers and the court, but worried if his plot to kill Mozart would be successful:

My plan was so simple that it terrified me. First, I must get the death mass and then I must achieve his death....His funeral! Imagine it! The cathedral, all Vienna sitting there. His coffin, Mozart's little coffin in the middle. And then, in that silence, music! A divine music bursts out over them all. A great mass of death! Requiem mass for Wolfgang Mozart. Composed by his devoted friend, Antonio Salieri! Oh what sublimity! What depth! What passion in the music! Salieri has been touched by God at last. And God forced to listen! Powerless, powerless to stop it! I, for once, in the end, laughing at him! The only thing that worried me was the actual killing. How does one do that? Hmmm? How does one kill a man? It's one thing to dream about it. Very different when, when you, when you have to do it with your own hands.


Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Daniel Petrie, Jr.

Axel Foley's Method of Getting a Room Reservation in a Beverly Hills Hotel

Hot-shot Detroit detective-cop Axel Foley's (Eddie Murphy) words to a reluctant reservation clerk at the Beverly Palm Hotel in California, where he had traveled (on vacation) to solve the criminal murder of his friend. In order to acquire a room and bypass the racist policy of the hotel, he raised his voice and claimed he was a Rolling Stone Magazine reporter there to interview Michael Jackson:

Do you have a reservation for an Axel Foley?...Ah, check Rolling Stone Magazine's Axel Foley, that's what it is...You guys probably just made some kind of mistake in reservations. What don't you just give me another room and I'll go up and go to sleep...Don't you think I realize what's going on here, miss? Who do you think I am, huh? Don't you think I know that if I was some hotshot from out of town that pulled inside here and you guys made a reservation mistake, I'd be the first one to get a room and I'd be upstairs relaxing right now. But I'm not some hotshot from out of town, I'm a small reporter from Rolling Stone magazine that's in town to do an exclusive interview with Michael Jackson that's gonna be picked up by every major magazine in the country. I was gonna call the article 'Michael Jackson Is Sitting On Top of the World,' but now I think I might as well just call it 'Michael Jackson Can Sit On Top of the World Just As Long As He Doesn't Sit in the Beverly Palm Hotel 'Cause There's No Niggers Allowed in There!'

Suddenly, a "last-minute cancellation" provided Axel with a room - it was a suite, charged at the single-room rate of $235 dollars a night!

The Company of Wolves (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Angela Carter, Neil Jordan

Warning About Wolves

The cautionary warning Granny (Angela Lansbury) gave the innocent Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson), after earlier advising her:

You've got a lot to learn, child. Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet!

She told her a story:

A wolf may be more than he seems. He may come in many disguises. The wolf that ate your sister was hairy on the outside, but when she died she went straight to Heaven. The worst kind of wolves are hairy on the inside, and when they bite you, they drag you with them to Hell!

Footloose (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Dean Pitchford

"This is Our Time To Dance"

Leading a rebellion of teens against the town's fathers, Chicago-born rocker/dancer Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) addressed the ultra-conservative City Council in the small town of Bomont, reading several passages from the Bible scriptures, to justify and defend the right of the teens in the small town to dance to rock music (during their upcoming prom):

From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons. They danced in prayer or so that their crops would be plentiful, or so their hunt would be good. And they danced to stay physically fit and show their community spirit. And they danced to celebrate. And that, that is the dancing that we're talking about. Aren't we told in Psalm 149: 'Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song. Let them praise His name in the dance'?...It was King David - King David, who we read about in Samuel - and, and what did David do? What did David do? What did David do? (laughter) 'David danced before the Lord with all his might, leaping, leaping and dancing before the Lord.'

(He pounded on the table) Leaping and dancing! Ecclesiastes assures us that there is a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh and a time to weep. A time to mourn and there is a time to dance. And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of, of celebrating life. It's the way it was in the beginning. It's the way it's always been. It's the way it should be now.




Gremlins (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Chris Columbus

The Death of Santa Claus

The tragic, black-comedy story that Kate Beringer (Phoebe Cates) told her boyfriend bank clerk Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) about how she found out that there was no Santa Claus - another reason to hate Christmas:

The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple of hours went by. Dad wasn't home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. And that's when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney on Christmas Eve, his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.

[The speech was parodied in the sequel Gremlins II: The New Batch (1990) when Kate began a similar tale about how she hated Lincoln's birthday (due to encountering a strange man dressed as Lincoln)]

Please!...Don't mention Lincoln! Something terrible happened to me once on Lincoln's birthday! I was six or seven. I had the day off from school. Mama let me go to the park. She made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich... This man with a beard and a hat just like Abe Lincoln....I remember, Oh, God!...

Irreconcilable Differences (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer

"Don't Treat Your Kid Like Your Dog"

Neglected nine year-old Casey Brodsky's (Drew Barrymore) "Don't treat your kid like your dog" speech with a lawyer - about why she wanted to sue her parents Albert and Lucy (Ryan O'Neal and Shelley Long), a bickering Hollywood couple - for divorce:

I'm just a kid, and I don't know what I'm doing sometimes. But I think you should know better when you're all grown up. I think you should know how to act, and how to treat people. And I think if you once loved someone enough to marry them, you should at least be nice to them, even if you don't love 'em any more. And I think if you have a child, you should treat that child like a human being and not like a pet. Not like you treat your dog or somethin'. You know, when you have a dog sometimes you forget he's there, and then when you get lonely suddenly you remember him, and you remember how cute he is and stuff, and you kiss him a lot, but then the next day when you're busy again you don't notice him. That's how I've been treated for the past four years, and you don't treat your kid like your dog. It's not right.


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