Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1988


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

The Accidental Tourist (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Frank Galati, Lawrence Kasdan

"Less is Invariably More"

The film's opening voice-over during the credits, the writings/musings of fastidious, withdrawn and deadened travel guide author Macon Leary (William Hurt) as he packed his carry-on bag and offered advice about how to metaphorically live one's life as a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.


The Accused (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Tom Topor

"Is That Nothing?"

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?

 

Bull Durham (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Ron Shelton

"The 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.





Bull Durham (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Ron Shelton

"I Believe..."

Play clip (excerpt): Bull Durham

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!"




Bull Durham (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Ron Shelton

"I 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 a "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, Meat.


Bull Durham (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Ron Shelton

"Baseball 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 up.

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.





Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Christopher Hampton

"I 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 story.


A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Screenwriter(s): John Cleese

The 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')


Mississippi Burning (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Chris Gerolmo

An 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.


Mississippi Burning (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Chris Gerolmo

The 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

"Underwear is Underwear!"

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"). Exasperated, 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

A 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 me?

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!

Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
Screenwriter(s): Arnold Schulman, David Seidler

"One Day, We're Gonna Find Ourselves at the Bottom of the Heap instead of King of the Hill"

Play clip (excerpt): Tucker: The Man and His Dream

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! It's true.

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 laughed) 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.



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