Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1987


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

Broadcast News (1987)
Screenwriter(s): James L. Brooks

"It Was Like Great Sex"

Play clip (excerpt): Broadcast News

Handsome but underqualified news reporter Tom Grunick (William Hurt) expressed delighted thanks to quick-thinking, network news producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) for talking him through a crucial live news report and feeding him information about Libyan jets attacking an American military base in Sicily:

You're an amazing woman. What a feeling having you inside my head....It's like indescribable - you knew just when to feed me the next line. You knew the second before I needed it. There was like a rhythm we got into. It was like great sex!


Broadcast News (1987)
Screenwriter(s): James L. Brooks

Sour-Grapes Prediction of the Future Between Friends

After he quit his job, insecure network TV reporter Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks) had a short discussion with his unrequited love interest, network news producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter), including a bitter and sour-grapes prediction of her future when she asked what would happen to them:

Maybe the best part of your life is over and you don't want to get up and start the bad part...What will happen? OK, that's very easy. Five, six years from now, I'll be back in town to collect an award representing the surge in foreign coverage by local stations...Anyway, I'll be walking along with my wife and my two lovely children and we'll bump into you. And my youngest son will say something, and I will tell him it's not nice to make fun of single, fat ladies.

Aaron was embittered by how they were only friends throughout their entire close relationship:

I'll miss you, we'll talk. We'll always be friends. We'll get hot for each other every few years at dinner, and we'll never act on it, OK?


Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Screenwriter(s): Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford

Drill Sergeant's Boot Camp Taunting of Recruits - "Here You Are All Equally Worthless!"

Top Pick

Play clip 1 (excerpt): Full Metal Jacket
Play clip 2 (excerpt): Full Metal Jacket
Play clip 3 (excerpt): Full Metal Jacket
Play clip 4 (excerpt): Full Metal Jacket
Play clip 5 (excerpt): Full Metal Jacket
Play clip 6 (excerpt): Full Metal Jacket

Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermy) made an introductory speech - a degrading taunting of all the newly-inducted boot camp recruits at Parris Island, including Private Joker (Matthew Modine), Private Cowboy (Arliss Howard) and Private Pyle (Vincent D'Onofrio):

(To Everyone) I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your Senior Drill Instructor. From now on, you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be: "Sir!" Do you maggots understand that?...Bulls--t, I can't hear you. Sound off like you gotta pair...If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon, you will be a minister of death, praying for war. But until that day, you are pukes! You're the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human f--kin' beings! You are nothing but unorganized grab-asstic pieces of amphibian s--t! Because I am hard, you will not like me. But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard, but I am fair! There is no racial bigotry here! I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless! And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps! Do you maggots understand that?...Bulls--t, I can't hear you...Who said that? Who the f--k said that? Who's the slimy little Communist s--t twinkle-toed cocksucker down here, who just signed his own death warrant? Nobody, huh?! The fairy f--king godmother said it! Out-f--king-standing! I will P.T. you all until you f--king die! I'll P.T. you until your assholes are sucking buttermilk. Was it you, you scroungy little f--k, huh?!...

(Joker: "Sir, I said it, Sir.")
(To Private Joker) Well, no s--t. What have we got here, a f--king comedian? Private Joker? I admire your honesty. Hell, I like you. You can come over to my house and f--k my sister. (Sergeant Hartman punched Joker in the stomach) You little scumbag! I got your name! I got your ass! You will not laugh! You will not cry! You will learn by the numbers I will teach you! Now get up! Get on your feet! You had best unf--k yourself or I will unscrew your head and s--t down your neck!"...

(To Private Cowboy) What's your excuse?...I'm asking the f--kin' questions here, Private. Do you understand?...Well, thank you very much. Can I be in charge for a while?...Are you shook up? Are you nervous?...Were you about to call me an asshole?...How tall are you, Private?...Five foot, nine. I didn't know they stacked s--t that high. You tryin' to squeeze an inch in on me somewhere, huh?...Bulls--t, it looks to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your Mama's ass and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress. I think you been cheated....Holy dog s--t. Texas? Only steers and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy. And you don't much look like a steer to me, so that kinda narrows it down. Do you suck dicks?...Are you a peter pumper?...I'll bet you're the kinda guy that would f--k a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I'll be watching you.

(To Private Pyle) Did your parents have any children that lived?...I bet they regret that. You're so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece! What's your name, fat body?...Lawrence? Lawrence what, of Arabia?...That name sounds like royalty. Are you royalty?...Do you suck dicks?...Bulls--t. I'll bet you could suck a golf ball through a garden hose... I don't like the name Lawrence. Only faggots and sailors are called Lawrence. From now on, you're Gomer Pyle....Do you think I'm cute, Private Pyle? Do you think I'm funny?... Then wipe that disgusting grin off your face... Well, any f--king time, sweetheart!... Private Pyle, I'm gonna give you three seconds, exactly three-f--king seconds to wipe that stupid-lookin' grin off your face or I will gouge out your eyeballs and skull-f--k you! ONE! TWO! THREE!...Bulls--t, get on your knees, scumbag. Now choke yourself. Goddamn it, with MY hand, numb-nuts! Don't pull my f--kin' hand over there! I said choke yourself. Now lean forward and choke yourself. Are you through grinning?...Bulls--t, I can't hear you...Bulls--t, I still can't hear you. Sound off like you've got a pair...That's enough. Get on your feet! Private Pyle, you had best square your ass away and start s--tting me Tiffany cufflinks or I will definitely f--k you up.




The Glass Menagerie (1987)
Screenwriter(s): Tennessee Williams (play)

"For Nowadays, The World Is Lit By Lightning"

Aspiring writer son Tom Wingfield (John Malkovich) gave tearful closing monologue before leaving his home behind for good, after he tried to find a "proper gentleman caller" for his painfully shy, fragile, crippled sister Laura (Karen Allen), who spent her time with her collection of a glass menagerie - animal figurines. He pondered his strong feelings for her, and how he deserted her:

I didn't go to the moon. I went much further, for time is the longest distance between two places. Not long after that, I left St. Louis. I descended the steps of our fire escape for the last time and from then on, I followed in my father's footsteps attempting to find in motion what was lost in space. I traveled around a great deal. The city swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something that always came upon me unawares taking me all together by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass. Perhaps I'm walking along the street at night in some strange city before I have found companions.

And I pass a lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. Windows filled with pieces of colored glass. Tiny transparent bottles and delicate colors like bits of a shattered rainbow. Then, all at once, my sister touches my shoulder, and I turn around and look into her eyes. (pause) Laura. Laura. I tried so hard to leave you behind me but I am more faithful than I intended to be. I reach for a cigarette, I cross a street, I run to the movies or a bar. I buy a drink. I speak to the nearest stranger. Anything that will blow your candles out. For nowadays, the world is lit by lightning. Blow out your candles, Laura. And so, goodbye.


Moonstruck (1987)
Screenwriter(s): John Patrick Shanley

The Reality of Love - Love Ruins Everything

Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage) expressed a passionate, cynical view of love to Loretta Castorini (Cher), as they walked to Ronny's apartment after an Opera date. The deal was that if she came with him to the Opera, then he would leave her alone forever, and she would marry his brother Johnny (Danny Aiello). When they arrived there, he pleaded for her to come upstairs and make love to him, while she repeatedly resisted and told him: "Let me go home" - until acquiesing:

Ronny: ...And what do you know? OK. You tell me my life? I'll tell you yours. I'm a wolf? You run to the wolf in me, that don't make you no lamb! You're gonna marry my brother? Why you wanna sell your life short? Playing it safe is just about the most dangerous thing a woman like you could do. I mean, you waited for the right man the first time. Why didn't you wait for the right man again?...I'm here...

Loretta: You know, we had a deal. You told me if I came with you to the Opera, then, then you'd leave me alone forever. And I came with you. Now I'm gonna marry your brother and you're gonna leave me alone forever, right? A person can see where they've messed up in their life, and they can change the way they do things, and they can even change their Luck. So maybe, maybe my nature does draw me to you, that don't mean I have to go with it. I can take hold of myself and I can say yes to some things and no to other things that are gonna ruin everything! I can do that. Otherwise, you know, what, what good is this stupid life that God gave us, I mean, for what? Are you listening to me?

Ronny: Yeah. Everything seems like nothing to me now against I want you in my bed. I don't care if I burn in hell. I don't care if you burn in hell. The Past and the Future is a joke to me now. I see that they're nothin'. I see they ain't here. The only thing that's here is you - and me...Come upstairs. I don't care why you come. No, that's not what I mean. Loretta, I love you. Not, not like they told you love is and I didn't know this either. But love don't make things nice, it ruins everything! It breaks your heart, it makes things a mess. We, we aren't here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect, stars are perfect. Not us! Not US! We are here to ruin ourselves and, and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and, and DIE! I mean that the storybooks are bulls--t. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and, and GET in my bed. Come on, come on, come on.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
Screenwriter(s): John Hughes

"I've Been With Del Griffith. I Can Take Anything"

Neal Page (Steve Martin) delivered a furious unleashing of criticism and rage at his undesired traveling companion Del Griffith (John Candy) in their motel room, after Del fought back, calling Neal "hostile and intolerant" and an "ungrateful jackass":

You're no saint. You got a free cab, you got a free room and someone who will listen to your boring stories. I mean, didn't you notice on the plane when you started talking, eventually I started reading the vomit bag? Didn't that give you some sort of clue, like hey, maybe this guy is not enjoying it? You know, everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that, that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You're a miracle. Your stories have none of that! They're not even amusing accidentally. Honey, I'd like you to meet Del Griffith. He's got some amusing anecdotes for ya. Oh, and here's a gun so you can blow your brains out. You'll thank me for it. I-I could tolerate any, any insurance seminar, for days. I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They'd say, "How can ya stand it?" And I'd say, "'Cause I've been with Del Griffith. I can take anything." You know what they'd say? They'd say, "I know what you mean. The shower curtain ring guy." It's like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest. You know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except that I wouldn't pull it out and snap it back, you would. And by the way, you know, when, when you're telling these little stories, here's a good idea. Have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.

Neal responded simply and plainly before retiring to bed:

You want to hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right. I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you, but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. Well, you think what you want about me. I'm not changing. I like--I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get.


Prince of Darkness (1987)
Screenwriter(s): John Carpenter

The Nature of Reality

Theoretical quantum physicist Prof. Howard Birack (Victor Wong) gave a philosophical lecture to a class on the nature of reality, in the opening credits:

Let's talk about our beliefs and what we can learn about them. We believe nature is solid, and time a constant. Matter has substance and time a direction. There is truth in flesh and the solid ground. The wind may be invisible, but it's real. Smoke, fire, water, light -- they're different! Not as to stone or steel, but they're tangible. And we assume time is narrow because it is as a clock -- one second is one second for everyone! Cause precedes effect -- fruit rots, water flows downstream. We're born, we age, we die. The reverse NEVER happens. None of this is true! Say goodbye to classical reality because our logic collapses on the subatomic level into ghosts and shadows.


The Princess Bride (1987)
Screenwriter(s): William Goldman

'To the Pain' Speech

Partially-paralyzed Westley's (Cary Elwes) brave "To the pain!" speech while lying helpless in bed. It was his daring and bluffing response to the nefarious Prince Humperdinck's (Chris Sarandon) "To the death!" challenge with his sword drawn:

Prince: (drawing his sword) To the death!
Westley: No! 'To the pain'!
Prince: I don't think I'm quite familiar with that phrase.
Westley: I'll explain and I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you warthog-faced buffoon.
Prince: That may be the first time in my life a man has dared insult me.
Westley: It won't be the last. 'To the pain' means the first thing you lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists. Next your nose.
Prince: And then my tongue, I suppose. I killed you too quickly the last time. A mistake I don't mean to duplicate tonight.
Westley: I WASN'T FINISHED! The next thing you lose will be your left eye followed by your right.
Prince: And then my ears, I understand, let's get on with it.
Westley: WRONG! Your ears you keep and I'll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out: 'Dear God! What is that thing?!' will echo in your perfect ears. That is what 'to the pain' means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.
Prince: I think you're bluffing.
Westley: It's possible, Pig, I might be bluffing. It's conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass. I'm only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. Then again, perhaps I have the strength after all. (He stood slowly and uneasily) DROP... YOUR... SWORD!


Radio Days (1987)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen

A Sports Legend ("He Had Heart") Speech

The narrator (Woody Allen) recollected radio sports columnist Bill Kern whom his Uncle Abe (Josh Mostel) loved, and the tall tale he told about an accident-prone pitcher named Kern:

Hello, sports fans and welcome to today's edition of Bill Kern's 'Favorite Sports Legends.' Now, in my family, each person had his own favorite show. For instance, my Uncle Abe was a great sports fan and he always listened to Bill Kern. (Radio) Today's story is about a baseball player. His name was Kirby Kyle, a lean southpaw from Tennessee. He played for the old St. Louis Cardinals. He threw fast, and he had a good curve ball and all the hitters knew it. He was a kid with a great future. But one day, he went hunting. He loved to hunt, just like his father and his father's father. Chasing a rabbit, he stumbled, and his rifle went off. (Gunshot) The bullet entered his leg. Two days later, it was amputated. They said he would never pitch again. But the next season, he was back. He had one leg but he had something more important. He had heart. The following winter, another accident cost Kirby Kyle an arm. Fortunately, not his pitching arm. He had one leg and one arm, but more than that, he had heart. The next winter, going after duck, his gun misfired. (Gunshot) He was blind but he had instinct as to where to throw the baseball. Instinct...and heart. The following year, Kirby Kyle was run over by a truck and killed. The following season, he won 18 games in the Big League in the sky. This has been Bill Kern with another 'favorite sports legend.'


Radio Days (1987)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen

"Those Voices Do Seem to Grow Dimmer and Dimmer" Speech

The narrator's achingly poignant closing monologue (in voice-over from a nightclub rooftop in Times Square), as he remembered New Year's Eve of 1943, and how his childhood memories of the Golden Age of Radio, and his Rockaway family were fading as time passed:

I never forgot that New Year's Eve when Aunt Bea awakened me to watch 1944 come in. And I've never forgotten any of those people or any of the voices we used to hear on the radio. Although the truth is... with the passing of each New Year's Eve, those voices do seem to grow dimmer and dimmer.


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