Best Film Speeches and Monologues
|Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar
Only Chance Is to Come Up With a Case"
During a secret rendezvous in Washington DC, "X"
(Donald Sutherland) delivered a spellbinding, 15-minute long
paranoic monologue about a massive conspiracy to murder the
President. He described how he was deliberately detoured
to the South Pole as a military escort during November 1963,
when he should have been in Washington preparing additional
security in Texas for President Kennedy's visit - one of
his routine duties. "X"
claimed if he had been there, "you would have felt an Army
presence in the streets that day, but none of this happened."
He asserted there was a "massive plot in Dallas" performed
by black ops to kill the President - "Nothing was left to
chance. He could not be allowed to escape alive." His words
about Kennedy's threat to the establishment and its desire to
maintain war powers and to instigate the Vietnam War were intercut
with photographs, footage, reconstructed behind closed doors
meetings, etc. as he spoke. He considered Kennedy's killing a "coup
"X" encouraged New Orleans D.A. Jim
Garrison (Kevin Costner) to continue to pursue his investigation
into Kennedy's assassination:
(Garrison: "I never realized Kennedy
was so dangerous to the Establishment. Is that why?")
Well, that's the real question, isn't it? Why? The 'How'
and the 'Who' is just scenery for the public. Oswald, Ruby,
Cuba, the Mafia, keeps 'em guessing like some kind of parlor
game. Prevents 'em from asking the most important question:
Why? Why was Kennedy killed? Who benefited? Who has the power
to cover it up? Who?...
The organizing principle of any society, Mr.
Garrison, is for war. The authority of the state over its
people resides in its war powers. And Kennedy wanted to end
the Cold War in his second term. He wanted to call off the
moon race in favor of cooperation with the Soviets. He signed
a treaty with the Soviets to ban nuclear testing. He refused
to invade Cuba in 1962 and he set out to withdraw from Vietnam.
But all of that ended on the 22nd of November, 1963. As early
as 1961, they knew Kennedy was not going to war in Southeast
Asia. Like Caesar, he is surrounded by enemies and something's
underway, but it has no face. Yet everybody in the loop knows...
Everything is cellularized. No one has said,
'He must die.' There's been no vote. Nothing's on paper.
There's no one to blame. It's as old as the crucifixion.
A military firing squad: five bullets, one blank. No one's
guilty, because everyone in the power structure who knows
anything has a plausible deniability. There are no compromising
connections except at the most secret point. But what's paramount
is that it must succeed. No matter how many die, no matter
how much it costs, the perpetrators must be on the winning
side and never subject to prosecution for anything by anyone.
That is a coup d'état....
(Garrison: "I don't, I can't - I can't
believe they killed him because he wanted to change things.
In our time. In our country.")
Well, they've been doing it all through history. Kings are
killed, Mr. Garrison. Politics is power, nothing more! Oh,
don't take my word for it, don't believe me. Do your own work,
your own thinkin'....
(Garrison: "The size of this is beyond me. Testify...Testify.")
No chance in hell. No, I'd be arrested and gagged, maybe sent
to an institution, maybe worse, you too. I can give you the
background, but you have to find the foreground, the little
things. Keep digging. Remember, you're the only person to bring
a trial in the murder of John Kennedy. That's important, it's
"I haven't yet. I don't have much of a case.")
You don't have a choice anymore. You've become a significant
threat to the national security structure. They would have
killed you already but you got a lot of light on you. Instead,
they're trying to destroy your credibility. They already have
in many circles in this town. Be honest. Your only chance is
to come up with a case. Something. Anything. Make
arrests. Stir the s--t storm. Hope to reach a point of critical
mass that'll start a chain reaction of people coming forward.
Then the government'll crack. Remember, fundamentally, people
are suckers for the truth, and the truth is on your side, Bubba.
I just hope you get a break.
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar
of the Magic Bullet Theory - "There Had to Be A Conspiracy"
The scene of Garrison's address to the courtroom
when he scornfully dismissed the "Magic Bullet Theory" after
viewing the Zapruder film and doing a walk-through - with diagrams
of the highly-unlikely zig-zag path of the bullet - and discussing
the improbability of the Warren Commission's official report
and their open and shut case of "three bullets, one assassin":
A picture speaks a thousand words, doesn't
it? The Warren Commission thought they had an open-and-shut
case. Three bullets, one assassin. But two unpredictable
things happened that day that made it virtually impossible.
One, the eight-millimeter home movie taken by Abraham Zapruder
while standing near the grassy knoll. And two, the third
wounded man, James Tague, who was knicked by a fragment
while standing near the triple underpass. The time frame,
5.6 seconds, established by the Zapruder film, left no
possibility of a fourth shot. So the shot or fragment that
left a superficial wound on Tague's cheek had to come from
one of the three bullets fired from the sixth floor of
the Depository. That leaves just two bullets. And we know
one of them was the fatal head shot that killed Kennedy.
So now a single bullet remains. A single bullet now has
to account for the remaining seven wounds in Kennedy and
But rather than admit to a conspiracy or investigate
further, the Warren Commission chose to endorse the theory
put forth by an ambitious junior counselor, Arlen Spector,
one of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people.
We've come to know it as the 'Magic Bullet Theory.' The magic
bullet enters the President's back, headed downward at an
angle of 17 degrees. It then moves upwards in order to leave
Kennedy's body from the front of his neck -- wound number
two -- where it waits 1.6 seconds, presumably in mid-air,
where it turns right, then left, right, then left, and continues
into Connally's body at the rear of his right armpit -- wound
number three. The bullet then heads downward at an angle
of 27 degrees, shattering Connally's fifth rib and exiting
from the right side of his chest -- wound number four. The
bullet then turns right and re-enters Connally's body at
his right wrist -- wound number five. Shattering the radius
bone, the bullet then exits Connally's wrist -- wound number
six -- makes a dramatic U-turn and buries itself into Connally's
left thigh -- wound number seven -- from which it later falls
out and is found in almost 'pristine' condition on a stretcher
in a corridor of Parkland Hospital. (He held up a bullet)
That's some bullet. Anyone who's been in combat will tell
you never in the history of gunfire has there been a bullet
this ridiculous. Yet the government says it can prove it,
with some fancy physics in a nuclear laboratory. Of course
they can't. Theoretical physics can prove that an elephant
can hang from a cliff with its tail tied to a daisy (laughter)
but use your eyes -- your common sense. The Army Wound Ballistics
experts at Edgewood Arsenal fired some comparison bullets
and not one of them looked anything like this. Take a look
at CE 856, an identical bullet fired through the wrist of
a human cadaver. Just one of the bones smashed by the magic
bullet. Seven wounds, gentlemen. Tough skin, dense bones.
This single bullet explanation is the foundation of
the Warren Commission's claim of a lone assassin. And once
you conclude the magic bullet could not create all seven
of those wounds, you have to conclude that there was
a fourth shot and a second rifleman. And if there was
a second rifleman, then by definition, there had to be a
conspiracy, which we believe involves the accused Clay Shaw.
Fifty-one witnesses, gentlemen of the jury, thought they
heard shots coming from the Grassy Knoll, which is to the
right and front of the President...
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar
Gonna Be A Turkey Shoot"
New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner)
speculated about what actually transpired, with dramatic shots
recreating the day's events:
So, what really happened that day? Let's
just for a moment speculate, shall we? We have the epileptic
seizure around 12:15, p.m. distracting the police, making
it easier for the shooters to move into their places. The
epileptic later vanished, never checking into the hospital.
The A-Team gets on the 6th floor of the Depository. Now
they were refurbishing the floors in the Depository that
week, which allowed unknown workmen in and out of the building.
They move quickly into position just minutes before the
shooting. The second spotter on the radio talking to the
other two teams has the best overall view -- the 'God spot.'
B-Team, one rifleman and one spotter with a head-set, with
access to the building, moves into the low floor of the
Dal-Tex Building. The third team, the C-Team moves in behind
the picket fence above the Grassy Knoll, where the shooter
and the spotter are first seen by the late Lee Bowers in
the watchtower of the rail yard. They have the best position
of all. Kennedy is close and on a flat low trajectory.
Part of this team is a coordinator who's flashed security
credentials at several people chasing them out of the parking
lot area. Probably two to three more men are down in the
crowd on Elm. Ten to twelve men - three teams, three shooters.
The triangulation of fire that Clay Shaw and David Ferrie
discussed two months before. They have walked the plaza.
They know every inch. They have calibrated their sights.
They have practiced on moving targets. They are ready.
Kennedy's motorcade makes a turn from Main
onto Houston. It's gonna be a turkey shoot. They don't shoot
him coming up Houston, which is the easiest shot for a single
shooter in the Book Depository. They wait. They wait 'til
he gets to the killing zone between three rifles. Kennedy
makes the final turn from Houston onto Elm, slowing down
to some 11 miles an hour. The shooters across Dealy Plaza
tighten, taking their aim, waiting for the radio to say 'Green!
Green!' or 'Abort! Abort!'. The first shot rings out, sounding
like a backfire. It misses the car completely. Frame 161:
Kennedy stops waving as he hears something. Connally's head
turns slightly to the right. Frame 193: the second shot hits
Kennedy in the throat from the front. Frame 225: the President
emerging from behind the road sign. You can see that he's
obviously been hit, raising his arms to his throat. The third
shot, Frame 232, hits Kennedy in the back pulling him downward
and forward. Connally, you will notice, shows no signs at
all of being hit. He is visibly holding his Stetson, which
is impossible if his wrist has been shattered. Connally is
turning here now. Frame 238: the fourth shot. It misses Kennedy
and takes Connally in the back. This is the shot that proves
there were two rifles. Connally yells out: 'My God!
They're going to kill us all.' Somewhere around this time
now, another shot that misses the car completely, strikes
James Tague down by the underpass. The car brakes. The sixth
and fatal shot, Frame 313, takes Kennedy in the head from
the front. This is the key shot. The President going back
and to his left. Shot from the front and right. Totally inconsistent
with the shot from the Depository. Again, back and to the
left. Back and to the left. Back and to the left. Back and
to the left. So what happens then? Pandemonium.
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar
Summary Statement Against the Military-Industrial Complex
and Clay Shaw - "Do Not Forget Your Dying King"
Garrison gave a tearful closing summary statement
against the American military-industrial complex and alleged
conspirator Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones):
...'Treason doth never prosper,' wrote an
English poet, 'What's the reason? For if it prosper, none
dare call it treason.' The American public has yet to see
the Zapruder film. Why? The American public has yet to
see the real X-rays and photographs of the autopsy. Why?
There are hundreds of documents that could help prove this
conspiracy. Why are they being withheld or burned by the
government? Each time my office or you the people have
asked those questions, demanded crucial evidence, the answer
from on high has always been 'national security.' What
kind of national security do we have when we've been robbed
of our leaders? What national security permits the removal
of fundamental power from the hands of the American people
and validates the ascendancy of an invisible government
in the United States? That kind of national security, gentlemen
of the jury, is when it smells like it, feels like it,
and looks like it, you call it what it is: Fascism! I submit
to you that what took place on November 22, 1963 was a coup
d'etat. Its most direct and tragic result was a reversal
of President Kennedy's commitment to withdraw from Vietnam.
The war is the biggest business in America worth $80 billion
a year. President Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy
that was planned in advance at the highest levels of our
government and it was carried out by fanatical and disciplined
cold warriors in the Pentagon and CIA's covert-operation
apparatus. Among them, Clay Shaw, here before you. It was
a public execution and it was covered up by like-minded
individuals in the Dallas Police Department, the Secret
Service, the FBI, and the White House - all the way up
to and including J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson, whom
I consider accomplices after the fact.
The assassination reduced the President to
a transient official. His job, his assignment is to speak
as often as possible of this nation's desire for peace, while
he acts as a business agent in the Congress for the military
and their hardware manufacturers. Now some people say I'm
crazy, (laughter) a southern caricature seeking higher
office. Well, there is a simple way to determine if I am
paranoid. Let's ask the two men who have profited the most
from the assassination - your former President Lyndon Baines
Johnson and your new President, Richard Nixon - to release
the 51 CIA documents pertaining to Lee Harvey Oswald and
Jack Ruby, or the secret CIA memo on Oswald's activities
in Russia that was 'destroyed' while being photocopied. All
these documents are yours - the people's property - you pay
for it, but because the government considers you children
who might be too disturbed or distressed to face this reality,
or because you might possibly lynch those involved, you cannot
see these documents for another 75 years. I'm in my early
40's, so I'll have shuffled off this mortal coil by then,
but I'm already telling my 8 year-old son to keep himself
physically fit so that one glorious September morning in
the year 2038, he can walk into the National Archives and
find out what the CIA and the FBI knew. They may even push
it back then. Hell it may become a generational affair, with
questions passed down from father to son, mother to daughter.
But someday, somewhere, someone may find out the damned Truth.
We better. We better or we might just as well build ourselves
another government like the Declaration of Independence says
to when the old one ain't working - just - just a little
farther out West.
An American naturalist wrote, 'A patriot must
always be ready to defend his country against its government.'
I'd hate to be in your shoes today. You have a lot to think
about. You've seen much hidden evidence the American public
has never seen. You know, going back to when we were children,
I think that most of us in this courtroom thought that justice
came into being automatically, that virtue was its own reward,
that good would triumph over evil. But as we get older we
know that this just isn't true. Individual human beings have
to create justice and this is not easy, because the truth
often poses a threat to power and one often has to fight
power at great risk to themselves. People like S.M. Holland,
Lee Bowers, Jean Hill, Willie O'Keefe. They've all taken
that risk. They've all come forward. I have here some $8,000
in these letters sent to my office from all over the country
- quarters, dimes, dollar bills from housewives, plumbers,
car salesmen, teachers, invalids. These are people who cannot
afford to send money but do. These are the ones who drive
the cabs, who nurse in the hospitals, who see their kids
go to Vietnam. Why? Because they care, because they want
to know the truth, because they want their country back,
because it still belongs to us, as long as the people have
the guts to fight for what they believe in! The truth is
the most important value we have because if the truth does
not endure, if the government murders truth, if we cannot
respect the hearts of these people, then this is not the
country in which I was born and this is certainly not the
country I want to die in.
Tennyson wrote, 'Authority forgets a dying
king'. This was never more true than for John F. Kennedy,
whose murder was probably one the most terrible moments in
the history of our country. We, the people, the jury system
sitting in judgment on Clay Shaw, represent the hope of humanity
against government power. In discharging your duty, in bringing
the first conviction in this house of cards against Clay
Shaw, 'ask not what your country can do for you, but what
you can do for your country.' Do not forget your dying
king. Show this world that this is still a government
'of the people, for the people, and by the people'. Nothing
as long as you live will ever be more important.
Then he stared directly into the camera, the
jury -- and at the movie audience -- and issued a challenge:
It's up to you.
Other People's Money
Screenwriter(s): Alvin Sargent
Warning About Corporate Destruction
Play clip (excerpt):
Andrew Jorgensen's (Gregory Peck) scathing address
to the stockholders of New England Wire & Cable Co. denounced
corporate raider Lawrence (aka Larry the Liquidator) Garfield
(Danny De Vito):
Well, it's good to see so many familiar faces,
so many old friends. Some of ya I haven't seen in years.
Well, thank you for coming. Now, Bill Coles, our able President,
in the annual report, has told you of our year, of what
we accomplished, of the need for further improvements,
our business goals for next year and the years beyond.
I'd like to talk to you about something else. I wanna share
with you some of my thoughts concerning the vote that you're
going to make in the company that you own. This proud company,
which has survived the death of its founder, numerous recessions,
one major depression, and two world wars, is in imminent
danger of self-destructing - on this day, in the town of
its birth. There is the instrument of our destruction.
I want you to look at him in all of his glory, Larry 'The
Liquidator,' the entrepreneur of post-industrial America,
playing God with other people's money. The Robber Barons
of old at least left something tangible in their wake -
a coal mine, a railroad, banks. This man leaves nothing.
He creates nothing. He builds nothing. He runs nothing.
And in his wake lies nothing but a blizzard of paper to
cover the pain. Oh, if he said, 'I know how to run your
business better than you', that would be something worth
talking about. But he's not saying that. He's saying, 'I'm
gonna kill you because at this particular moment in time,
you're worth more dead than alive.' Well, maybe that's
true, but it is also true that one day, this industry will
turn. One day when the yen is weaker, the dollar is stronger,
or, when we finally begin to rebuild our roads,
our bridges, the infrastructure of our country, demand
will skyrocket. And when those things happen, we will still
be here, stronger because of our ordeal, stronger
because we have survived. And the price of our stock will
make his offer pale by comparison. God save us if we vote
to take his paltry few dollars and run. God save this country
if that is truly the wave of the future. We will then have
become a nation that makes nothing but hamburgers, creates
nothing but lawyers, and sells nothing but tax shelters.
And if we are at that point in this country, where we kill
something because at the moment it's worth more dead than
alive - well, take a look around. Look at your neighbor.
Look at your neighbor. You won't kill him, will you? No.
It's called murder and it's illegal. Well, this too is
murder - on a mass scale. Only on Wall Street, they call
it 'maximizing share-holder value' and they call it 'legal.'
And they substitute dollar bills where a conscience should
be. Damn it! A business is worth more than the price of
its stock. It's the place where we earn our living, where
we meet our friends, dream our dreams. It is, in every
sense, the very fabric that binds our society together.
So let us now, at this meeting, say to every Garfield in
the land, 'Here, we build things. We don't destroy them.
Here, we care about more than the price of our stock! Here,
we care about people.'
Other People's Money
Screenwriter(s): Alvin Sargent
Play clip (excerpt):
President and Chairman of the Board of Garfield
Investments' Larry the Liquidator (Danny De Vito) responded
to Andrew's attack:
Amen, and amen, and amen. You'll have to
forgive me, I'm not familiar with the local custom. Where
I come from, you always say 'Amen' after you hear a prayer.
Because that's what you just heard - a prayer. Where I
come from, that particular prayer is called 'The Prayer
for the Dead.' You just heard The Prayer for the Dead,
my fellow stockholders, and you didn't say, 'Amen.' This
company is dead. I didn't kill it. Don't blame
me. It was dead when I got here. It's too late for prayers.
For even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred,
and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the
infrastructure did the other thing, we would still be dead!
You know why? Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence.
We're dead, alright. We're just not broke. And do you know
the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing
share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow, but
You know, at one time, there must've been dozens
of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last
company around was the one that made the best god-damn
buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to
have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in
a business and this business is dead. Let's have the intelligence,
let's have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect
the insurance, and invest in something with a future. 'Ah,
but we can't,' goes the prayer. 'We can't because we have
responsibility, a responsibility to our employees, to our
community. What will happen to them?' I got two words for
that - 'Who cares?' Care about them? Why? They didn't care
about you. They sucked you dry. You have no responsibility
to them. For the last ten years, this company bled your
money. Did this community ever say, 'We know times are
tough. We'll lower taxes, reduce water and sewer.' Check
it out: You're paying twice what you did ten years ago.
And our devoted employees, who have taken no increases
for the past three years, are still making twice what they
made ten years ago. And our stock - one-sixth of what it
was ten years ago. 'Who cares?' I'll tell ya -- Me.
not your best friend. I'm your only friend. I
don't make anything. I'm makin' you money. And lest we
forget, that's the only reason any of you became stockholders
in the first place. You wanna make money! You don't care
if they manufacture wire and cable, fried chicken, or grow
tangerines! You wanna make money! I'm the only friend you've
got. I'm makin' you money. Take the money. Invest it somewhere
else. Maybe, maybe you'll get lucky and it'll be used productively.
And if it is, you'll create new jobs and provide a service
for the economy and, God forbid, even make a few bucks
for yourselves. And if anybody asks, tell 'em ya gave at
the plant. And by the way, it pleases me that I'm called
'Larry the Liquidator.' You know why, fellow stockholders?
Because at my funeral, you'll leave with a smile on your
face and a few bucks in your pocket. Now that's
a funeral worth having!
Point Break (1991)
Screenwriter(s): W. Peter Iliff
Obsession with Meatball Sandwiches - "Get Me Two!"
With his rookie partner Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves),
FBI agent Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) sat in a car at 10:30
am during a stakeout of the Assured Trust Savings & Loan
across the street, while reading the comics section of the L.A.
Life Weekly. After being distracted by an orange-selling
vendor, Pappas had his partner leave the car to go purchase
two meatball sandwiches at a nearby sandwich shop. During their
discussion, they didn't see the criminals, named the Ex-Presidents,
pull up to the bank:
Huaahahahaha! This Calvin and Hobbes is funny!...
You want some oranges?... No. No. We got a lot. We got
a lot. No thanks. Good luck....God. Huhuhahahaha! For his
turkey cemetery! Ho! It's time for lunch...Right around
that corner, there is a sandwich shop. They sell meatball
sandwiches. Best I've ever tasted. Would you go get me
two? C'mon partner. Two...Thank you...(He called out
from his car window, with two outstretched fingers)
Utah! Get me two!
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Ted Tally
Look Like a Rube"
Serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins)
made a mocking assessment of Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster),
after she gave him a questionnaire to answer:
You're so-o ambitious, aren't you? You know
what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap
shoes? You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling
rube, with a little taste. Good nutrition's given you some
length of bone, but you're not more than one generation
from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that
accent you've tried so desperately to shed - pure West
Virginia. What does your father do? Is he a coal miner?
Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys
found you. All those tedious, sticky fumblings in the back
seats of cars, while you could only dream of getting out.
Getting anywhere, getting all the way to the F...B...I.
Then after Clarice retorted, he added his famous
line of dialogue:
A census taker once tried to test me. I
ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chi-an-ti.
You fly back to school now, little Starling. Fly, fly,
fly. Fly, fly, fly.