Best Film Speeches and Monologues
|Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Screenwriter(s): John Hughes
to Fake Out Parents and Avoid School
After the credits, during which smug and confident
bed-ridden Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) told his parents
that his stomach hurt and he was seeing spots, and his hands
were clammy, he then directed instructions to the camera about
how to successfully avoid school:
They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst
performances of my career and they never doubted it for
a second. How could I possibly be expected to handle school
on a day like this? This is my ninth sick day this semester.
It's getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses.
If I go for ten, I'm probably gonna have to barf up a lung,
so I'd better make this one count. The key to faking out
the parents is the clammy hands. It's a good non-specific
symptom. I'm a big believer in it. A lot of people will
tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh,
you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor's
office. That's worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp,
and when you're bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick
your palms. It's a little childish and stupid, but then,
so is high school.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and
look around once in awhile, you could miss it. I do have
a test today, that wasn't bull-s--t. It's on European socialism.
I mean really, what's the point. I'm not European. I don't
plan on being European, so who gives a crap if they're socialists.
They could be fascist anarchists and it still wouldn't change
the fact that I don't own a car. (Singing in shower)
It's not that I condone fascism or any 'ism' for that matter.
Ism's, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe
in an 'ism,' he should believe in himself. I quote John Lesson:
'I don't believe in Beatles. I just believe in me.' A good
point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the
walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people.
Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Screenwriter(s): John Hughes
The droning and dry Economics teacher's (Ben
Stein) lecture to bored students, prompting often with 'Anyone?':
In 1930, the Republican-controlled House
of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects
of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed
the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot
Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... Raised
tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal
government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects?
It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into
the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over
this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone?
Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know
what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue
curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue
as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone
know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone?
Something-d-o-o economics. 'Voodoo' Economics.
Screenwriter(s): Charles Edward Pogue, David Cronenberg
"insect politics" speech made by a decaying -- both
physically and mentally -- Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) to girlfriend/lover
and reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis), who came to see him
one last time:
You have to leave now, and never come back
here. Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have
I. Insects don't have politics. They're very brutal.
No compassion, no compromise. We can't trust the insect.
I'd like to become the first insect politician. You see,
I'd like to, but, oh, I'm afraid, uh... I'm saying, I'm
saying, I-I'm an insect who dreamt he was a man but he loved
it. But now the dream is over and the insect is awake....I'm
saying: 'I'll hurt you if you stay.'
and Her Sisters (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen
Elliot's (Michael Caine) "God, she's beautiful" voice-over
monologue in the film's opening, in which he lusted after his
married sister-in-law Lee (Barbara Hershey) at a Thanksgiving
God, she's beautiful. She's got the prettiest
eyes, and she looks so sexy in that sweater. I just want
to be alone with her and hold her and kiss her and tell
her how much I love her and take care of her. Stop it,
you idiot. She's your wife's sister. But I can't help it!
I'm consumed by her. It's been months now. I dream about
her. I, I, I think about her at the office. Oh, Lee. (sighing)
What am I gonna do? I hear myself mooning over you, and
it's disgusting. Before, when she squeezed past me in the doorway,
and I smelled that perfume on the back of her neck... Jesus,
I, I thought I was gonna swoon! Easy. You're a dignified
financial advisor. It doesn't look good for you to swoon.
and Her Sisters (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen
at American Society and Culture
Bitter, anti-social and reclusive artist Frederick's
(Max Von Sydow) dismissal of contemporary American culture
to his younger lover Lee (Barbara Hershey) - who was having
an affair with her sister's husband Elliot (Michael Caine)
and would soon announce that she was moving out. She had returned
home late, finding him reading a newspaper and biting into
a sandwich in the kitchen area:
You missed a very dull TV show about Auschwitz.
More gruesome film clips, and more puzzled intellectuals
declaring their mystification over the systematic murder
of millions. The reason why they could never answer the
question, 'How could it possibly happen?' is that it's
the wrong question. Given what people are, the question
is 'Why doesn't it happen more often?' Of course it does,
in subtler form... It's been ages since I sat in front
of the TV, just changing channels to find something. You
see the whole culture - Nazis, deodorant salesman, wrestlers,
beauty contests, the talk show. Can you imagine the
level of a mind that watches wrestling, hmm?
But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers, third-rate
con men, telling the poor suckers that watch them that
they speak for Jesus and to please send in money.
Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what's
going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.
and Her Sisters (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen
Affirmation After Watching a Marx Brothers Comedy
In the film's conclusion was suicidal Mickey
Sach's (Woody Allen) life-affirming, flashbacked monologue
told to Holly (Dianne Wiest). He thought back (in voice-over)
to when he almost killed himself with a shotgun blast, and
then explained how he had found refuge in a movie theatre that
was playing Duck
Soup (1933) where he experienced a climactic epiphany:
One day about a month ago, I really hit
bottom. You know, I just felt that in a Godless universe,
I didn't want to go on living. Now I happen to own this
rifle, which I loaded, believe it or not, and pressed it
to my forehead. And I remember thinking, at the time, I'm
gonna kill myself. Then I thought, what if I'm wrong? What
if there is a God? I mean, after all, nobody really knows
that. But then I thought, no, you know, maybe is not good
enough. I want certainty or nothing. And I remember very
clearly, the clock was ticking, and I was sitting there
frozen with the gun to my head, debating whether to shoot.
gun went off accidentally, shattering a mirror) All
of a sudden, the gun went off. I had been so tense my finger
had squeezed the trigger inadvertently. But I was perspiring
so much the gun had slid off my forehead and missed me. And
suddenly neighbors were, were pounding on the door, and,
and I don't know, the whole scene was just pandemonium. And,
uh, you know, I-I-I ran to the door, I-I didn't know what
to say. You know, I was-I was embarrassed and confused and
my-my-my mind was r-r-racing a mile a minute. And I-I just
knew one thing.
I-I-I had to get out of that house, I had
to just get out in the fresh air and-and clear my head. And
I remember very clearly, I walked the streets. I walked
and I walked. I-I didn't know what was going through my
mind. It all seemed so violent and un-unreal to me. And
I wandered for a long time on the Upper West Side, you
know, and-and it must have been hours. You know, my-my
feet hurt, my head was-was pounding, and-and I had to
sit down. I went into a movie house. I-I didn't know what
was playing or anything.
I just, I just needed a moment
to gather my thoughts and, and be logical and put the world
back into rational perspective. [Marx Brothers film] And
I went upstairs to the balcony, and I sat down, and, you
know, the movie was a-a-a film that I'd seen many times
in my life since I was a kid, and-and I always, uh, loved
it. And, you know, I'm-I'm watching these people up on
the screen and I started getting hooked on the film, you
know. And I started to feel, how can you even think of
killing yourself. I mean isn't it so stupid? I mean, l-look
at all the people up there on the screen. You know, they're
real funny, and-and what if the worst is true.
What if there's no God, and you only
go around once and that's it. Well, you know, don't you
want to be part of the experience? You know, what the hell,
it's-it's not all a drag. And I'm thinkin' to myself, geez,
I should stop ruining my life - searching for answers I'm
never gonna get, and just enjoy it while it lasts. And, you
know, after, who knows? I mean, you know, maybe there is
something. Nobody really knows. I know, I know maybe is a
very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that's the
best we have. And then, I started to sit back, and I actually
began to enjoy myself.
Screenwriter(s): Angelo Pizzo
Gonna Be Winners!"
Play clip (excerpt):
Coach Norman Dale's (Gene Hackman) stirring motivational
speech to the 1952 Hickory High School Huskers basketball team
before their regional Indiana state championship game:
There's a, uhm, tradition in tournament
play to not talk about the next step until you've climbed
the one in front of you. I'm sure going to the State finals
is beyond your wildest dreams, so let's just keep it right
there. Forget about the crowds, the size of the school,
their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here. Focus
on the fundamentals that we've gone over time and time
again. And most important, don't get caught up thinking
about winning or losing this game. If you put your effort
and concentration into playing to your potential, to be
the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard
says at the end of the game. In my book, we're gonna be winners!
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone
to Home: Grunts - "They're Fighting For Our Society
and Our Freedom. It's Weird, Isn't It?"
While serving combat duty in Vietnam in the late
1960s, Private Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) narrated in voice-over
to his Grandma about how he had given up college to volunteer
for military service in Bravo Company (25th Infantry Division)
somewhere near the Cambodian border. He talked about how he
was a new recruit and his life wasn't worth much, and how he
had made a big mistake. Slightly later, during a rainy night
ambush patrol, he admired other "grunts"
as the "heart and soul" of the war effort:
Somebody once wrote: 'Hell is the impossibility
of reason.' That's what this place feels like. Hell. I
hate it already and it's only been a week. Some god-damn
week, Grandma. The hardest thing I think I've ever done
is go on point three times this week - I don't even know
what I'm doing. A gook could be standing three feet in
front of me and I wouldn't know it, I'm so tired. We get
up at 5 am, hump all day, camp around four or five, dig
a foxhole, eat, then put out an all-night ambush or a three-man
listening post in the jungle. It's scary, 'cause nobody
tells me how to do anything 'cause I'm new and nobody cares
about the new guys. They don't even want to know your name.
The unwritten rule is a new guy's life isn't worth as much
'cause he hasn't put his time in yet - and they say, if
you're gonna get killed in the Nam, it's better to get
it in the first few weeks, the logic being you don't suffer
that much. If you're lucky, you get to stay in the perimeter
at night and then you pull a three-hour guard shift, so
maybe you sleep 3, 4 hours a night, but you don't really
sleep. I don't think I can keep this up for a year, Grandma.
I think I've made a big mistake comin' here...
Of course, Mom and Dad didn't want me to come
here. They wanted me to be just like them. Respectable, hardworking,
a little house, a family. They drove me crazy with their
goddamn world, Grandma. You know Mom. I guess I've always
been sheltered and special. I just wanna be anonymous like
everybody else. Do my share for my country. Live up to what
Grandpa did in the first war and Dad did in the second.
Well, here I am, anonymous all right, with
guys nobody really cares about. They come from the end of
the line, most of 'em. Small towns you never heard of: Pulaski,
Tennessee. Brandon, Mississippi. Pork Bend, Utah. Wampum,
Pennsylvania. Two years' high school's about it. Maybe if
they're lucky, a job waiting for 'em back in a factory. But
most of 'em got nothin'. They're poor. They're the unwanted.
Yet they're fighting for our society and our freedom. It's
weird, isn't it? At the bottom of the barrel, and they know
it. Maybe that's why they call themselves 'grunts', cause
a grunt can take it, can take anything. They're the best
I've ever seen, Grandma. The heart and soul...
Maybe I found it way down here in the mud.
Maybe from down here I can start up again and be something
I can be proud of, without having to fake it, be a fake human
being. Maybe I can see something I don't yet see, or learn
something I don't yet know. I miss you. I miss you very much.
Tell Mom I miss her too. Chris.
Screenwriter(s): David Byrne, Beth Henley, Stephen Tobolowsky
No Concept of Weekends Anymore"
VariCorps Corporation's founder Earl Culver (Spalding
Gray) made an astonishing, magical speech on business and changing
lifestyles (explaining the disappearance of weekends due to
a new work ethic), told over his family's dinner table, consisting
of a meal of lobster, asparagus, peppers and pigs in blankets.
He explained about how scientists and engineers in Virgil,
Texas had fled from corporations (like computer manufacturer
VariCorps) and government jobs to start their own businesses,
creating confusion and chaos. He visually demonstrated his
ideas with the food set on the table:
Now, most middle-class people have worked
for large corporations like VariCorps, or for the government
itself. But now, all that started to change. Scientists
and engineers are moving off from those large corporations
like VariCorps and they're beginning to start their own
companies, marketing their new inventions.
("Excuse me, Mr. Culver. I forget what those peppers
Ah, ha. It all spins back to the middle. Here we are right
here, inverted. Our way of doing business has been based
on the past. That's why we have to keep these guys in Virgil,
even though they do leave VariCorps. For the time being,
it's created confusion and chaos. They don't work for money
anymore, but to earn a place in heaven, which was a big motivating
factor once upon a time, believe you me. They are working
and inventing because they like it! Economics has become
a spiritual thing. I must admit it frightens me a little
bit. They don't seem to see the difference between working and not
working. It's all become a part of one's life. Linda!
Larry! There's no concept of weekends anymore!
Screenwriter(s): David Byrne, Beth Henley,
Woman's Tall-Tale Claims
The Lying Woman (Jo Harvey Allen) made funny,
bizarre, increasingly outrageous claims (about having amazing
psychic powers due to the presence of a tail) that she told
to her date - an incredulous, lonely, and shy panda bear-shaped
bachelor and country-western singer Louis Fyne (John Goodman)
who had a "Wife Wanted" sign on his front lawn. Among
her fabricated claims was that she wrote "Billie Jean" and
knew the real Rambo:
Yeah, I'm in the construction business.
Got work goin' on at five sites right now. Bought me a
condo last week! Shoot, real close to here, as a matter
of fact. And next week, I just think I might buy me another
house. Darlin', I'll tell you what now, I just have a feel
for it, do you know what I mean? Of course, bein' overly
psychic sure doesn't hurt anything. It's paid off for me!
Listen, Mr. Fry ... Fine, ... Louis, darlin', listen, I'll
tell you somethin' if you promise not to tell another livin'
soul. Now, I'd never tell this to anybody else, but I believe
that part of my extra-psychic ability's connected up with
the fact that I was born with a tail. Little ol' bitty
hairy thing about that long - had it surgically removed
when I was just five years old. My Momma kept it in a fruit
jar, up in the medicine cabinet, right between the 4-Way
Cold Tablets and the monkey blood. I'd get up every morning
- first thing I'd go in there in the bathroom brush my
teeth and stare at my own tail at the same time. Now, somethin'
like that can give you power - and that's the truth. Then
Momma got a wild hair one Sunday and she decided to go
make a lot of money off of it, you know. Took it out to
a big ol' swap meet and sold it to Lyndon Johnson's top
Secret Service agent. And he told a good personal friend
of mine that he was gonna sell it for even more money to
the Smithsonian Institute. Shoot, he might as well, it
wouldn't do him any good. It wasn't HIS tail! Gee, I tell
you, I could write a book. That thing would be a best seller...
Songs are easy. I wrote "Billie Jean" and half
of Elvis' songs...Hell, yes! You know, they pay me and
I keep quiet. Somebody's got to do it!