Best Film Speeches and Monologues
|Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
Family Values (1993)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Rudnick
Hypocrisy of Thanksgiving
Steely-glaring, contemptuous Wednesday Addams
(Christina Ricci), participating in a summer camp play at Camp
Chippewa about the "First Thanksgiving"
feast as the lead Native American Pocahontas, lambasted the lead
white Pilgrim character with this ad-libbed monologue to the
stunned reactions of everyone:
Wait!.. We cannot break bread with you...You
have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from
now, my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on
reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink
highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the roadsides.
You will play golf, and enjoy hot h'ors d'oeuvres. My people
will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick
shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said:
'Do not trust the pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller'...And
for all these reasons, I have decided to scalp you and
burn your village to the ground.
Screenwriter(s): Ebbe Roe Smith
Frustrated, divorced, recently unemployed defense
agency worker William 'D-Fens' Foster (Michael Douglas) demanded
to have breakfast at 11:33 am in a Whammy-Burger fast-food
restaurant from a patronizing manager named Rick (Brent Hinkley)
and clerk Sheila (Dedee Pfeiffer), during his volatile trek
across Los Angeles on foot:
I'd like a ham and cheese Whamlette, an order
of Wham fries...
(Sheila: "I'm sorry, we stopped serving breakfast, but
we are on lunch menu now.")
I want breakfast.
(Sheila: "Well, you can't have it. We're not serving
So you said. Is that the manager?...Could I speak to him
please?...Hi, I'd like some breakfast.
(Rick: "We stopped serving breakfast.")
I know you stopped serving breakfast, Rick. Sheila told me
you stopped serving breakfast. Why am I calling you by your
first names? I don't even know who you are. I still call
my boss 'Mister,' and I worked for him for seven and a half
years. But I walk in here, all of a sudden, a total stranger,
I'm calling you Rick and Sheila like we're in some kind of
AA meeting. I don't want to be your buddy, Rick. I just want
a little breakfast.
(Sheila: "You can call me Miss Folsom if you want." Rick: "Sheila!
We stopped serving breakfast at 11:30.")
Rick, have you ever heard the expression, 'The customer is
always right'?...Yeah, well here I am. The customer.
(Rick: "That's not our policy. You have to order something
from the lunch menu.")
I don't want lunch. I want breakfast.
(Rick: "Yeah, well hey, I'm really sorry.")
Yeah, well hey, I'm really sorry too. (He pulled out a
semi-automatic weapon from his bag)
When he finally agreed to being served lunch
(a double Whammyburger with cheese and an order of Whammy fries
and a Choco-Wham shake) after accidentally shooting a hole
in the restaurant's ceiling, he further complained about the
size of the burger that he had been served, when compared to
the marketing poster behind the counter:
(He opened the burger container with
disgust) See, this is what I'm talkin' about. Turn
around. Look at that. Do you see what I mean. It's, it's
plump, it's juicy, it's three inches thick. Now, look
at this sorry, miserable, squashed thing. Can anybody
tell me what's wrong with this picture? Anybody? Anybody
Screenwriter(s): Jeb Stuart, David Twohy
Fugitive's Name is Dr. Richard Kimble"
Single-minded US Marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy
Lee Jones) instructed his men on how to look for escaped
fugitive Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford):
Listen up, ladies and gentlemen. Our fugitive
has been on the run for 90 minutes. Average foot speed
over uneven ground, barring injuries, is 4 miles-an-hour.
That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want out of
each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every
gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse,
outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at
fifteen miles. Your fugitive's name is Dr. Richard Kimble.
Go get him.
Screenwriter(s): Ronald F. Maxwell
We're Fighting For!"
Play clip (excerpt):
The address of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
(Jeff Daniels) to the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment
about freedom, and his need for them to fight with him at the
Battle of Gettysburg:
...You know who we are and what we're doing
here, but if you want to fight along side us, there's some
things I want you to know. This regiment was formed last
summer in Maine. There were a thousand of us then. There
are less than three hundred of us now. All of us volunteered
to fight for the Union, just as you did. Some came mainly
because we were bored at home, thought this looked like
it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not
to. Many of us came because it was the right thing to do.
All of us have seen men die. This is a different kind of
army. If you look back through history, you will see men
fighting for pay, for women, for some other kind of loot.
They fight for land, power, because a king leads them or,
or just because they like killing. But we are here for
something new. This has not happened much in the history
of the world. We are an army out to set other men free.
America should be free ground - all of it.
Not divided by a line between slave state and free, all the
way from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow. No
man born to royalty. Here, we judge you by what you do, not
by who your father was. Here, you can be something. Here,
is the place to build a home. But it's not the land. There's
always more land. It's the idea that we all have value -
you and me. What we're fighting for, in the end, we're fighting
for each other. Sorry, I, uh, didn't mean to preach. You,
uh, you go ahead. You talk for awhile. Uh, if you, uh, if
you choose to join us, you want your muskets back, you can
have 'em. Nothing more will be said by anybody anywhere.
If you, uh, choose not to join us, well you can come along
under guard, and when this is all over I will do what I can
to see you get a fair treatment. But for now, we're moving
out. Gentlemen, I think if we lose this fight, we lose the
war. So if you choose to join us, I'll be personally very
In the Line of Fire (1993)
Screenwriter(s): Jeff Maguire
Guilt-ridden and haunted Secret Service agent
Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) recalled to fellow agent Lilly
Raines (Rene Russo) how he couldn't save President Kennedy
on the fateful day of November 22, 1963, when he failed to
act quickly enough after the first shot:
For years, I've been listenin' to all these
idiots on barstools with all their pet theories on Dallas.
How it was the Cubans, or the CIA, or the white supremacists,
or the Mob. Whether there was one weapon, or whether there
was five. None of that's meant too much to me. But Leary,
he questioned whether I had the guts to take that fatal
God, that was a beautiful day. The sun was
out, been raining all morning, the air was... First shot,
sounded like a firecracker. I looked over, I saw him, I could
tell he was hit. I don't know why I didn't react. I shoulda
reacted. I shoulda been running flat out. I just couldn't
believe it. If only I reacted, I coulda taken that shot.
That woulda been alright with me.
Screenwriter(s): Amy Holden Jones
Girl That Got Away
Businessman billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford),
when asking for "just one dance" from financially-strapped
married female Diana Murphy (Demi Moore), recalled a "beautiful" girl
he had fleetingly seen on the subway - borrowing a scene of
a recollection by Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane) from Citizen
I remember once when I was young, and I was
coming back from some place, a movie or something. I was
on the subway. And there was a girl sitting across from
me, and she was wearing this dress that was buttoned clear
up right to here. She was the most beautiful thing I'd
ever seen. And I was shy then, so when she would look at
me, I would look away. Then afterwards, when I would look
back, she would look away. Then I got to where I was gonna
get off, and got off. The doors closed. And as the train
was pulling away, she looked right at me and gave me the
most incredible smile.
It was awful. I wanted to tear the doors open.
I went back every night, same time, for two weeks, but she
never showed up. That was 30 years ago, and I don't think
that there's a day that goes by that I don't think about
her. I don't want that to happen again. Just one dance?
Screenwriter(s): Aaron Sorkin, Scott Frank
I Have a God Complex?"
Play clip (excerpt):
Sued for malpractice, pompous and narcissistic
St. Agnes Hospital surgeon Dr. Jed Hill (Alec Baldwin) responded
(off-the-record) to the question of whether he had a "God
Complex" or not:
The question is, 'Do I have a 'God Complex'?...which
makes me wonder if this lawyer has any idea as to the kind
of grades one has to receive in college to be accepted
at a top medical school. Or if you have the vaguest clue
as to how talented someone has to be to lead a surgical
team. I have an M.D. from Harvard. I am board certified
in cardio-thoracic medicine and trauma surgery. I have
been awarded citations from seven different medical boards
in New England. And I am never, ever sick at sea. So I
ask you, when someone goes into that chapel and they fall
on their knees and they pray to God that their wife doesn't
miscarry, or that their daughter doesn't bleed to death,
or that their mother doesn't suffer acute neural trauma
from post-operative shock, who do you think they're praying
to? Now, go ahead and read your Bible, Dennis, and you
go to your church - and with any luck you might win the
annual raffle. But if you're looking for God, he was in
operating room number two on November 17th, and he doesn't
like to be second-guessed. You ask me if I have a God complex?
Let me tell you something: I Am God - and this side show
Screenwriter(s): Ron Nyswaner
Statement to Jury
Homophobic attorney Joe Miller (Denzel Washington)
made an opening statement to the jury to defend his AIDS-afflicted
client Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) - allegedly fired from his
prestigious Philadelphia law firm for having AIDS, but protected
by the Americans with Disabilities Act:
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Forget
everything you've seen on television and in the movies.
There's not gonna be any last minute surprise witnesses.
Nobody's gonna break down on the stand with a tearful confession.
You're gonna be presented with a simple fact: Andrew Beckett
was fired. You'll hear two explanations for why he was
fired: ours and theirs. It is up to you to sift through
layer upon layer of truth until you determine for yourselves
which version sounds the most true. There are certain points
that I must prove to you.
Point number one, Andrew Beckett was - is a
brilliant lawyer, great lawyer. Point number two, Andrew
Beckett, afflicted with a debilitating disease, made the
understandable, the personal, the legal choice to keep the
fact of his illness to himself. Point number three, his employers
discovered his illness, and ladies and gentlemen, the illness
I am referring to is AIDS. Point number four, they panicked.
And in their panic, they did what most of us would like to
do with AIDS, which is just get it, and everybody who has
it, as far away from the rest of us as possible.
Now, the behavior of Andrew Beckett's employers
may seem reasonable to you. It does to me. After all, AIDS
is a deadly, incurable disease. But no matter how you come
to judge Charles Wheeler and his partners in ethical, moral,
and inhuman terms, the fact of the matter is, when they fired
Andrew Beckett because he had AIDS, they broke the law.
Screenwriter(s): Ron Nyswaner
Dying AIDS patient Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks)
gave a powerfully transcendental, impassioned interpretation/translation
of a Maria Callas opera to his lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington),
while speaking over the music and pulling his IV with him as
he accepted his own impending death:
Do you mind this music? Do you like opera?...
This is my favorite aria. It's Maria Callas. It's Andrea
Chenier, Umberto Giordano. This is Madeleine. She's
saying how, during the French Revolution, a mob set fire
to her house. And her mother died, saving her. 'Look, the
place that cradled me is burning!' Do you hear the heartache
in her voice? Can you feel it, Joe? Now, in come the strings,
and it changes everything. The music - it fills with a
hope, and it'll change again, listen. Listen. 'I bring
sorrow to those who love me.' Oh, that single cello! 'It
was during this sorrow that Love came to me.' A voice filled
with harmony, that said: 'Live still, I am Life! Heaven
is in your eyes. Is everything around you just the blood
and the mud? I am Divine. I am Oblivion. I am the God that
comes down from the heavens to the Earth and makes of the
Earth a Heaven. I am Love! I am Love!'
Screenwriter(s): Angelo Pizzo
Don't Have to Prove Nothin' to Nobody - Except Yourself" - The
Importance of Perspective
Mentor, former Notre Dame football player, and
hard-working groundskeeper manager Fortune
(Charles S. Dutton) encouraged small and unathletic football
player Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger (Sean Astin) to remain on the
team and persevere, after Rudy claimed he quit the
Notre Dame football team (after already overcoming many adversities)
because he wouldn't be able to prove to his father that he
was "somebody" by running out of the tunnel at game time:
Since when are you the quitting kind?...So you
didn't make the dress list. There are greater tragedies in
the world...Oh, you are so full of crap. You're 5 feet nothin',
a 100 and nothin', and you got hardly a speck of athletic
ability. And you hung in with the best college football
team in the land for two years. And you're also gonna walk
outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame.
In this lifetime, you don't have to prove nothin' to nobody
- except yourself. And after what you've gone through, if you
haven't done that by now, it ain't gonna never happen. Now
go on back...
Hell, I've seen too many games in this stadium...I've
never seen a game from the stands...I rode the bench for two
years. Thought I wasn't bein' played because of my color. I
got filled up with a lotta attitude. So I quit. Still not a
week goes by I don't regret it. And I guarantee a week won't
go by in your life you won't regret walkin' out, letting them
get the best of ya. You hear me clear enough?