Best Film Speeches and Monologues
||Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
Screenwriter(s): Frank Galati, Lawrence Kasdan
is Invariably More"
Play clip (excerpt):
The film's opening voice-over during the credits,
the writings/musings of fastidious, withdrawn and deadened
travel guide author Macon Leary (William Hurt) as he packed
his carry-on bag and offered advice about how to metaphorically
live one's life as a businessman, while in the midst of a mid-life
trauma of the tragic loss of his son a year earlier:
The business traveler should bring only
what fits in a carry-on bag. Checking your luggage is asking
for trouble. Add several travel-size packets of detergent
so you won't fall into the hands of unfamiliar laundries.
There are very few necessities in this world which do not
come in travel-size packets. One suit is plenty if you
take along travel-size packets of spot remover. The suit
should be medium-gray. Gray not only hides the dirt but
is handy for sudden funerals. Always bring a book as protection
against strangers. Magazines don't last and newspapers
from elsewhere remind you you don't belong. But don't take
more than one book. It is a common mistake to overestimate
one's potential free time and consequently over-pack. In
travel, as in most of life, less is invariably more. And
most importantly, never take along anything on your journey
so valuable or dear that its loss would devastate you.
Screenwriter(s): Tom Topor
Prosecuting Deputy D.A. Kathryn Murphy (Kelly
McGillis) presented a forceful court argument against the men
who encouraged the rape of her client Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster)
in mid-April 1987:
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Paulsen has told
you that the testimony of Sarah Tobias is nothing. Sarah
Tobias was raped, but that is nothing. She was cut and
bruised and terrorized but that is nothing. All of it happened
in front of a howling crowd and that is nothing. Well,
it may be nothing to Mr. Paulsen, but it is not nothing
to Sarah Tobias and I don't believe it is nothing to you.
Next, Mr. Paulsen tried to convince you that Kenneth Joyce
was the only one in that room who knew that Sarah Tobias
was being raped - the only one! Now you watched Kenneth
Joyce, how did he strike you? Did he seem especially sensitive,
especially observant? Did he seem so remarkable that you
said to yourselves, 'Of course! This man would notice things
other people wouldn't.' Do you believe that Kenneth Joyce
saw something in that room that those three men didn't
see? In all the time that Sarah was pinned down on that
Pinball machine that other people didn't know?
Kenneth Joyce confessed to you that he watched
a rape and did nothing. He told you that everyone in that
bar behaved badly - and he was right. But no matter how immoral
it may be, it is not the crime of criminal solicitation to
walk away from a rape. It is not the crime of criminal solicitation
to silently watch a rape. But it is the crime of criminal
solicitation to induce or entreat or encourage or persuade
another person to commit a rape. 'Hold her down! Stick it
to her! Make her moan!' These three men did worse than nothing.
They cheered, and they clapped, and they rooted the others
on. They made sure that Sarah Tobias was raped, and raped,
and raped. Now you tell me, is that nothing?
Screenwriter(s): Ron Shelton
Church of Baseball"
Baseball groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon)
delivered a voice-over speech during the opening credits, as
the camera panned over framed sports pictures in her house,
and then found her putting on makeup in front of a mirror at
her dresser. She described her belief in "The Church of
Baseball" as she was preparing to leave her house and
walk downtown to the local Durham Bulls ballgame:
I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've
tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones.
I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees,
mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance,
there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are
108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave
Jesus a chance. (sigh) But it just didn't work out
between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer
metaphysics to theology.
You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and
it's never borin' (giggle) - which makes it like sex.
There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't
have the best year of his career. Makin' love is like hitting
a baseball, you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides,
I'd never sleep with a player hitting under .250, unless
he had a lot of RBIs or was a great glove man up the middle.
You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom
I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when
I've got a ballplayer alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson
or Walt Whitman to him. And the guys are so sweet, they always
stay and listen. Of course, a guy'll listen to anything if
he thinks it's foreplay. I make them feel confident, and
they make me feel safe - and pretty. Of course, what I give
them lasts a lifetime. What they give me lasts 142 games.
Sometimes it seems like a bad trade, but bad trades are part
of baseball. Now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas,
for God's sake! It's a long season, and you gotta trust it.
I've tried them all, I really have. And the only church that
truly feeds the soul day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.
Screenwriter(s): Ron Shelton
Play clip (excerpt):
In sports groupie Annie Savoy's (Susan Sarandon)
living room, Durham Bulls catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner)
described what he believed in, when she proposed to "hook
up with one guy a season" after she had picked one ballplayer.
She called it "kind of my own spring training." Annie
was going to decide between Crash and up-and-coming pitcher
Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) - the two "most
promising prospects of the season so far." Crash asked
why she was the one to choose, and refused "to try out" for
Annie, telling her:
I don't believe in Quantum Physics when it
comes to matters of the heart.
As he was leaving, she asked: "What do you
believe in, then?" He rattled off his list of beliefs:
Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the
pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hangin' curveball,
high fiber, good Scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag
are self-indulgent, over-rated crap. I believe Lee Harvey
Oswald acted alone. I believe there oughta be a constitutional
amendment outlawing AstroTurf and the designated hitter.
I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening
your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve.
And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that
last three days. Good-night.
His speech was followed by Annie's classic, breathless
response: "Oh, my!"
Screenwriter(s): Ron Shelton
Was In the Show - 21 Greatest Days of My Life"
On a Bulls 5-hour team bus trip, career minor-leaguer
Crash (Kevin Costner) gave a nostalgic and pleasure-filled
recollection about his brief tenure in the major leagues (dubbed "The
Show") to his young teammates, including a sullen but
hotshot rookie pitcher 'Nuke' LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) - who had
"Hall of Fame" throwing arm:
In the Show, everybody can hit a fastball....Yeah,
I've been in the majors. Yeah, I was in the Show. I was
in the Show for 21 days once. Twenty-one greatest days
of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in
the Show. Somebody else carries your bags. It's great.
You hit white balls for batting practice. Ballparks are
like cathedrals. The hotels all have room service. The
women all have long legs and brains. (Another player:
"They're really hot, huh?") And so are the pitchers.
They throw ungodly breaking stuff in the Show. Exploding
sliders. (To LaLoosh) You could be one of those guys.
Nuke could be one of those guys. But you don't give a f--k,
Screenwriter(s): Ron Shelton
May be a Religion Full of Magic Cosmic Truth in the Fundamental
Ontological Riddles of Our time, But It's Also a Job"
After a sensual bout of love-making with "Crash"
(Kevin Costner), Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) awoke and found
that he had left her bed, with a note. He had just been released
by the Bulls and was off to see if he could play for another
team, the Asheville Tourists.
In voice-over, she pondered
the new development in their lives, as shots of Crash driving
away and beginning a new job were seen:
Crash took off at dawn. Said he heard there might
be an opening for a catcher in Asheville in the South Atlantic
League. A woman should be so strong and powerful that she's not
affected by such things. I mean it wasn't the first time I went
to bed with a guy and woke up with a note. At least the son of
a bitch left me breakfast. You have to respect a ballplayer who's
just tryin' to finish the season. At least, that's what I told
myself. Baseball may be a religion full of magic cosmic truth
in the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it's
also a job...
When Crash hit his 247th home run, I knew the
moment it happened. But I'm sure nobody else did. And The
Sporting News didn't
say anything about it. "Full many a flower is born
to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air." Thomas
Gray. Or William Cullen Bryant. I don't know, I get 'em mixed
Anyway, my attempts at housekeeping were feeble as usual. I
sometimes get easily distracted. Funny thing was, I stopped worrying
about Nuke. Somehow I knew nothing would stop him. The world
is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness. Crash
was right. Nuke had a gift.
(Nuke being interviewed by a TV reporter in a baseball stadium,
using words Crash had taught him)
I'm just happy to be here, and I, uh, hope I can help the ball
club. You know, I just wanna give it my best shot, and good Lord
willing, things will work out. You know, you got to play 'em one
day at a time though. (To the interviewer) Raye
Anne, right? That's a beautiful name. Is that Greek? That Raye
Anne. I don't know. It's a beautiful name, though. There's a great
song by Motley Crue. Do you know it? Raye Anne, she's a stayin'.
Anyway, a good friend of mine used to say, 'This
is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball.
You hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes
it rains.' Think about that for a while.
Screenwriter(s): Christopher Hampton
Became a Virtuoso of Deceit"
Over tea with Vicomte Sebastien de Valmont (John
Malkovich), the devilishly wicked Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil
(Glenn Close) gave a "virtuoso of deceit" speech
about her ability to maintain a deceptive facade about herself,
when asked the question: "I
often wonder how you manage to invent yourself":
Well, I had no choice, did I? I'm a woman.
Women are obliged to be far more skillful than men. You
can ruin our reputation and our life with a few well-chosen
words. So, of course, I had to invent not only myself,
but ways of escape no one has ever thought of before. And
I've succeeded because I've known I was always born to
dominate your sex and avenge my own... When I came out
into society, I was 15. I already knew that the role I
was condemned to, namely to keep quiet and do what I was
told, gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe.
Not to what people told me, which naturally was of no interest,
but to whatever it was they were trying to hide.
I practiced detachment. I learned how to look
cheerful while under the table I stuck a fork into the back
of my hand. I became a virtuoso of deceit. It wasn't pleasure
I was after, it was knowledge. I consulted the strictest
moralists to learn how to appear, philosophers to find out
what to think, and novelists to see what I could get away
with. And in the end, I distilled everything to one wonderfully
simple principle: win or die...If I want a man, I have him.
If he wants to tell, he finds that he can't. That's the whole
Called Wanda (1988)
Screenwriter(s): John Cleese
Curse of Being English
Conservative London barrister Archie Leach's
(John Cleese) "What it's like being English" speech
about being cursed to sexy con artist and jewel thief Wanda
Gershwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis). At first, he exclaimed his joy
at being liberated from his stifling marriage:
"You make me feel free!" before confessing:
Wanda, do you have any idea what it's like
being English? Being so correct all the time, being
so stifled by this dread of, of doing the wrong
thing, of saying to someone, 'Are you married?' and hearing,
' My wife left me this morning,' or saying, uh, ' Do you
have children?' and being told they all burned to death
on Wednesday. You see, Wanda, we're all terrified of embarrassment.
That's why we're so - dead. Most of my friends are dead,
you know, in these piles of corpses to dinner. But you're
alive, God bless you, and I want to be, I'm so fed up with
all this. I want to make love with you, Wanda. I'm a good
lover - at least, used to be, back in the early 14th century.
Can we go to bed? (She kissed him and answered 'Yeah')
Screenwriter(s): Chris Gerolmo
Explanation of Why People are Racist
In his motel room with fellow FBI agent Alan
Ward (Willem Dafoe), while investigating the racist murders
of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, Agent Rupert
Anderson (Gene Hackman) described a case of prejudice and hatred
from his own boyhood, when asked:
"Where does it come from, all this hatred?":
You know, when I was a little boy, there
was an old Negro farmer lived down the road from us, name
of Monroe. And he was, uh, - well, I guess he was just
a little luckier than my Daddy was. He bought himself a
mule. That was a big deal around that town. Now, my Daddy
hated that mule, 'cause his friends were always kiddin'
him about oh, they saw Monroe out plowin' with his new
mule, and Monroe was gonna rent another field now they
had a mule. And one morning that mule just showed up dead.
They poisoned the water.
And after that there was never any mention
about that mule around my Daddy. It just never came up. So
one time, we were drivin' down the road and we passed Monroe's
place and we saw it was empty. He'd just packed up and left,
I guess. Gone up North, or somethin'. I looked over at my
Daddy's face - and I knew he'd done it. And he saw that I
knew. He was ashamed. I guess he was ashamed. He
looked at me and he said: 'If you ain't better than a nigger,
son, who are you better than?'...He was an old man
just so full of hate that he didn't know that bein' poor
was what was killin' him.
Screenwriter(s): Chris Gerolmo
Ugliness of Bigotry - Hatred is Taught
In her home, Mrs. Pell (Frances McDormand) spoke
to FBI Agent Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman), a former Mississippi
sheriff investigating the disappearance of civil rights activists
in Mississippi in 1964, about the learned art of bigotry:
It's not good for you to be here... It's
ugly. This whole thing is so ugly. Have you any idea what
it's like to live with all this? People look at us and
only see bigots and racists. Hatred isn't something you're
born with. It gets taught. At school, they said segregation
what's said in the Bible - Genesis 9, Verse 27. At seven
years of age, you get told it enough times, you believe
it. You believe the hatred. You live it. You breathe it.
You marry it.
She then admitted what she knew about the murders,
committed with the help of her husband Clinton Pell (Brad Dourif),
the deputy sheriff:
My husband drove one of the cars that night.
That's what you want to hear, isn't it? The bodies are
buried on the Roberts farm in an earthen dam.
Rain Man (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Ronald Bass, Barry Morrow
A buddy-road trip was taken by two sibling brothers:
the elder, TV-obsessed, institutionalized adult autistic idiot
savant Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) and ambitious,
hotshot money-maker/car salesman and hustler Charlie (Tom Cruise).
As they drove along, Raymond complained about his underwear.
He definitely refused to wear the fresh underwear that Charlie
had given him that morning:
"I'm definitely not wearing
my underwear...It's not my underwear...These are too tight...These
are not boxer shorts. Mine are boxer shorts...These are Hanes
32...My boxer shorts have my name and it says Raymond...I get
my boxer shorts at K-Mart in Cincinnati."
Charlie yelled back and then exited their car:
We're not going back to Cincinnati, Ray,
so don't even start with that....We're not goin' back to
Cincinnati. You don't have to go to Cincinnati to pick
up boxer shorts...What did I say Ray?...You hear me, I
know you hear me... You don't fool me with this s--t for
a second....Ray, did you f--kin' hear what I said? Shut-up!...You
don't have to go to Cincinnati to get a pair of underwear
at K-Mart...What did I tell ya, Ray? We are not goin' to
Cincinnati and that's final...Raymond, that is final. Do
you hear me?
WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? WHAT-WHAT-WHAT
DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE WHERE YOU BUY UNDERWEAR? WHAT DIFFERENCE
DOES IT MAKE? UNDERWEAR IS UNDERWEAR! IT IS UNDERWEAR WHEREVER
YOU BUY IT! IN CINCINNATI OR WHEREVER!...You know what I
think? You know what I think, Ray? I think this autism is
a bunch of s--t! 'Cause you can't tell me that you're not
in there somewhere!
Raymond kept insisting on going to K-Mart in
Cincinnati to purchase his boxer shorts underwear.
Talk Radio (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Eric Bogosian, Oliver Stone
Talk-Show Radio Host's Rant: "The Only Thing You Believe
In Is Me"
Contemptuous talk-show radio host in Dallas Texas,
Jewish radio personality Barry Champlain (Eric Bogosian) held
all the phone calls, to tell his listening audience what he
really felt about them, as the camera circled around him:
Believe it or not, you make perfect sense
to me. I should hang. I'm a hypocrite. I ask for sincerity
and I lie. I denounce the system as I embrace it. I want
money and power and prestige. I want ratings and success.
I don't give a damn about you or the world. That's the
truth. For this I could say I'm sorry, but I won't. Why
should I? I mean, who the hell are you anyways, you - audience!
You're on me every night like a pack of wolves because
you can't stand facing what you are and what you've made!
Yes, the world is a terrible place. Yes, cancer and garbage
disposals will get you. Yes, a war is coming. Yes, the
world is shot to hell and you're all goners! Everything's
screwed up and you like it that way, don't you!
You're fascinated by the gory details! You're
mesmerized by your own fear. You revel in floods, car accidents,
unstoppable diseases. You're happiest when others are in
pain.That's where I come in, isn't it? I'm here to lead you
by the hand through the dark forest of your own hatred and
anger and humiliation!
I'm providing a public service. You're so
scared. You're like a little child under the covers. You're
afraid of the bogeyman, but you can't live without him. Your
fear, your own lives, have become your entertainment. Next
month, millions of people are gonna be listening to this
show, and you have nothing to talk about! Marvelous technology
is at our disposal. Instead of reaching up to new heights,
we're gonna see how far down we can go. How deep into the
muck we can immerse ourselves!
What do you wanna talk about, hmm? Baseball
scores? Your pet? Orgasms? You're pathetic. I despise each
and every one of you. You got nothin', absolutely nothin'.
No brains, no power, no future. No hope. No God. The only
thing you believe in is me. What are you if you don't have
I'm not afraid, see? I come in every night,
I make my case, I make my point, I say what I believe in!
I tell you what you are. I have to. I have no choice. You
frighten me. I come here every night, I tear into you, I
abuse you, I insult you, and you just keep coming back for
more. What's wrong with you? Why do you keep calling? I don't
wanna hear anymore. STOP TALKING! GO AWAY! (echo)
You're a bunch of yellow-bellied, spineless,
bigoted, quivering, drunken, insomniatic, paranoid, disgusting,
perverted, voyeuristic, little obscene phone callers. That's
what you are. Well, to hell with you. I don't need your fear
and your stupidity. You don't get it. It's wasted on you.
Pearls before swine. If one person out there had any idea
what I'm talking about, I - (He suddenly began to take
callers) Fred, you're on NightTalk!
The Man and His Dream (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Arnold Schulman, David Seidler
Day, We're Gonna Find Ourselves at the Bottom of the Heap
instead of King of the Hill"
Play clip (excerpt):
1940s maverick car designer/entrepreneur Preston
Tucker's (Jeff Bridges) closing argument, against false accusations
brought against him by his competition - the Big Three automakers:
When I was a boy, I used to, uh, used to
read all about Edison and the Wright Brothers, Mr. Ford.
They were my heroes. 'Rags to Riches' - that's not just
the name of a book. That's what this country was all about.
We invented the 'free enterprise' system, where anybody,
no matter who he was, where he came from, what class he
belonged to - if he came up with a better idea about anything,
there's no limit to how far he could go. I grew up a generation
too late, I guess, because now the way the system works,
the loner, the dreamer, the crackpot who comes up with
some crazy idea that everybody laughs at, that later turns
out to revolutionize the world - he's squashed from above
before he even gets his head out of the water because the
bureaucrats, they'd rather kill a new idea than let it
rock the boat! If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he'd
be thrown in jail for sailing a kite without a license!
We're all puffed up with ourselves now 'cause
we invented the bomb - dropped the - beat the daylights out
of the Japanese, the Nazis. But if big business closes the
door on the little guy with a new idea, we're not only closing
the door on progress, but we're sabotaging everything that
we fought for! Everything that the country stands for!! And
one day we're gonna find ourselves at the bottom of the heap
instead of king of the hill, having no idea how we got there,
buying our radios and our cars from our former enemies. (A
juror laughs) I don't believe that's gonna happen. I
can't believe it because - if I ever stop believing in the
plain 'ol common horse sense of the American people, be no
way I could get out of bed in the morning. Thank you.