Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1938-1939


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

Carefree (1938)
Screenwriter(s): Allan Scott, Ernest Pagano

Psychoanalysis Is "The One Way" of Finding Out What We Want and Why!

Psychiatrist Dr. Tony Flagg (Fred Astaire) recommended that his drunken friend Stephen Arden's (Ralph Bellamy) fiancee Amanda Cooper (Ginger Rogers) seek psychoanalysis like he did for the positive and life-changing experience. Amanda had just broken her engagement with him for the third time, and Steve wanted her to change her mind, although Tony advised about straightening her out: "Sorry, Steve, I'm no marriage broker...to me, she's just another maladjusted woman":

Perhaps she's merely trying to escape reality...In this case, you!...We all try to escape reality. We all wanna be something entirely different than we really are. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a fireman...Do you remember in college how stage-struck I was? I wanted to be a dancer. Psychoanalysis showed me I was wrong. It's the one way of finding out what we really want and why we want it.

Holiday (1938)
Screenwriter(s): Donald Ogden Stewart, Sidney Buchman

Why Be a Drunk

Sweet-tempered Edward 'Ned' Seton (Lew Ayres) explained to his eccentric sister Linda (Katharine Hepburn) about why he was a drunk alcoholic:

...Well, to begin with, it brings you to life. And after a while, you begin to know all about it. You feel...I don't know...important. (Linda: "That must be good.") It is. And then pretty soon, the game starts...A swell game. A terribly exciting game. You see, you think clear and crystal, but every move, every sentence is a problem. That gets pretty interesting. (Linda: "You get beaten though, don't you?") Sure, but that's good, too. Then you don't mind anything, not anything at all. Then you sleep. A long while, as long as you last... (Linda: "Where do you end up?") Where does anybody end up? You die. And that's all right, too...

Dark Victory (1939)
Screenwriter(s): Casey Robinson

Last Dying Words

Dying Judith Traherne (Bette Davis) comforted her best friend Ann King (Geraldine Fitzgerald):

Don't, Ann. I'm happy, really I am. Now let me see, is there anything else? Oh yes, one more thing. When Michael runs Challenger in the National, oh, and he'll win - I'm sure he'll win - have a party and invite all our friends. Now let me see, silly old Alec, if he's back from Europe, Colonel Mantle and old Carrie and, oh yes, and don't forget dear old Dr. Parsons. Give them champagne and be gay. Be very very gay. I must go in now. Ann, please understand, no one must be here, no one - I must show him I can do it alone. Perhaps it will help him over some bad moments to remember it. Ann, be my best friend. Go now. Please.

She then told her maid Martha to leave her to die in peace alone - with dignity, as she went upstairs to her death:

Is that you, Martha? I don't want to be disturbed.

Gone With the Wind (1939)
Screenwriter(s): Sidney Howard

"I Love You - Because We're Alike...Kiss Me Once"

Play clip (excerpt): Gone With the Wind

After fleeing a burned down Atlanta, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) proposed that he would desert Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) and leave her abandoned in the open country at the road which turned toward Tara. He appeared amused when suggesting that he would leave her and enlist in the beaten and broken Confederate Army. Scarlett didn't take him seriously, thinking only of her own predicament. Rhett knew her nature: "Selfish to the end, aren't you? Thinking only of your own precious hide with never a thought for the noble Cause..." He insisted that as a southerner, he had a weakness for lost causes: "I've always had a weakness for lost causes once they're really lost." In total disbelief, she didn't think that he could leave her in a helpless state: "You should die of shame to leave me here alone and helpless," but he laughed: "You helpless? Heaven help the Yankees if they capture you."

With his arms around her, long-time suitor Rhett wanted to give her a proper goodbye. She begged that he stay: "Oh Rhett, please don't go. You can't leave me, please! I'll never forgive you." Re-enacting the scene of a sweetheart kissing a soldier goodbye as he returned to the war, he realistically proposed that if she yielded to his love, he'd stay with her - but she returned his vow of love with a violent slap:

I’m not asking you to forgive me. I’ll never understand or forgive myself. And if a bullet gets me, so help me, I’ll laugh at myself for being an idiot. There's one thing I do know, and that is that I love you, Scarlett. In spite of you and me and the whole silly world going to pieces around us, I love you. Because we're alike - bad lots both of us, selfish and shrewd, but able to look things in the eyes and call them by their right names...

Scarlett, look at me. I've loved you more than I've ever loved any woman. I've waited longer for you than I've ever waited for any woman....Here's a soldier of the South who loves you, Scarlett, wants to feel your arms around him, wants to carry the memory of your kisses into battle with him. Never mind about loving me. You're a woman sending a soldier to his death with a beautiful memory. Scarlett, kiss me. Kiss me, once.



Gone With the Wind (1939)
Screenwriter(s): Sidney Howard

"I'll Never Be Hungry Again!"

Play clip (excerpt): Gone With the Wind

In one of the most famous, iconic speeches in film history, Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) made her defiant vow to survive, silhouetted against a sunset:

As God is my witness, as God is my witness, they're not going to lick me! I'm going to live through this, and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again - no, nor any of my folks! If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill, as God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.

Gone With the Wind (1939)
Screenwriter(s): Sidney Howard

"Tomorrow Is Another Day!"

In the film's concluding monologue, Scarlett reacted to Rhett Butler's (Clark Gable) dismissive departure: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

After she begged him to stay, she was reminded by voices of Tara's power:

I can't let him go. I can't. There must be some way to bring him back. Oh I can't think about this now! I'll go crazy if I do! I'll think about it tomorrow. But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters?... Tara!...Home. I'll go home, and I'll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Screenwriter(s): Sidney Buchman

Senate Filibuster Speech (part 1)

Top Pick

Play clip (excerpt): Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Idealistic Senator Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) began his lengthy filibuster speech, including home-spun insight on democratic ideals after reading from the Declaration of Independence (partially to stall for time):

'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights - that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness....that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish......'

I always get a great kick outta that part of the Declaration of Independence. Now, you're not gonna have a country that can make these kind of rules work, if you haven't got men that have learned to tell human rights from a punch in the nose. (The Gallery applauded)

It's a funny thing about men, you know. They all start life being boys. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if some of these Senators were boys once. And that's why it seemed like a pretty good idea to me to get boys out of crowded cities and stuffy basements for a couple of months out of the year and build their bodies and minds for a man-sized job, because those boys are gonna be behind these desks some of these days. And it seemed like a pretty good idea, getting boys from all over the country, boys of all nationalities and ways of living -- getting them together. Let them find out what makes different people tick the way they do. Because I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn't have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little lookin' out for the other fella, too. (Applause)

That's pretty important, all that. It's just the blood and bone and sinew of this democracy that some great men handed down to the human race, that's all! But of course, if you've got to build a dam where that boys' camp oughta be, to get some graft to pay off some political army or something, well that's a different thing. Aw no! If you think I'm going back there and tell those boys in my state and say: 'Look, now fellas, forget about it. Forget all this stuff I've been tellin' you about this land you live in -- it's a lot of hooey. This isn't your country. It belongs to a lot of James Taylors.' Aw no! Not me! And anybody here that thinks I'm gonna do that, they've got another thing comin'.

He whistled loudly with his fingers in his mouth, startling Senators who were dozing or reading other materials.

That's all right. I just wanted to find out whether you still had faces. I'm sorry, gentlemen. I-I know I'm being disrespectful to this honorable body, I know that. I- A guy like me should never be allowed to get in here in the first place. I know that! And I hate to stand here and try your patience like this, but EITHER I'M DEAD RIGHT OR I'M CRAZY.





Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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Introduction
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