Best Film Speeches
and Monologues

1996


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

The People Vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski

'Pornography' Rights: "What Is More Obscene? Sex or War?"

Larry Flynt (Best Actor-nominated Woody Harrelson) delivered a powerful speech before a gigantic backdrop of images of sex and violence/murder - his argument was against anti-pornography activists. He asked why photographing sex and nudity was criminally pornographic, but violence and murder was not. Flynt displayed pictures of sex intercut with famous Pulitzer Prize-winning photos of extreme violence, racism, war and the Holocaust:

Judge sanely. Judge with your eyes open. What do you consider obscene? Is this obscene to you? Or perhaps that's obscene to you? Or maybe this is obscene - to you? But what is more obscene? This, or this? This, or this? You know, politicians or demagogues like to say that sexually-explicit material corrupts the youth of our country. And yet they lie, cheat and start unholy wars. Look at 'em. They call themselves men. They're sheep in a herd.

I think the real obscenity comes from raisin' our youth to believe that sex is bad and ugly and dirty and yet it is heroic to go spill guts and blood in the most ghastly manner in the name of humanity. With all the taboos attached to sex, it's no wonder we have the problems we have. It's no wonder we're angry and violent and genocidal. But ask yourself the question. What is more obscene? Sex or war?

The audience responded: "WAR!"





Phenomenon (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Gerald Di Pego

"I Sure Feel Like I'm Losin' A Son"

At the hospital bed of George Malley (John Travolta) - after he lost consciousness following a flash of light, town physician Doc Brunder (Robert Duvall) explained why George had such extraordinary telekinetic powers. He described how his brain tumor had spread out with thread-like tentacles that didn't destroy but stimulated his brain, although he was also in danger of dying:

Let's see, George. George. There's a tumor in your brain that's spread out like a hand - threads of it, you know, everywhere. But instead of dysfunction, now here's the mystery, George, instead of destroying brain function, so far, it's been stimulating it and we can't understand that. You have more area of active brain use than anybody ever tested, ever, because of those tentacles. I mean, we've seen tumors like this before. It's called Astra Setoma, and it explains the dizziness and the illusion of light. But the way, it's in there waking up areas of the brain, it's, uh, a big mystery. (George: So, and it's killing me? For sure?)

We got a call from the best brain man in the country, I mean actually, he's one of the best in the world. He's gonna study your tests and then talk to you. But, uh, the blood flow is in danger now, and you're gonna start to weaken maybe, black out. We-we really don't know, it's, it's, but it's a damn lousy scenario, see. Let me sit down. (He lost control, then recovered.)

God damn it. Somethin' happened about twenty five years ago when you broke your leg and I set it, George. I don't know what to call it, but uh, somehow you got into my heart more than most. And for a man who's never been a father, I sure feel like I'm losin' a son. Yeah. Georgie. Yeah.


Primal Fear (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman

"There Never Was an Aaron" - A Startling Plot-Twisting Confession

Ambitious, slick high-profile defense lawyer Martin Vail (Richard Gere) had defended stuttering Kentucky altar boy Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) who was accused of a vicious murder of a Catholic arch-bishop named Rushman. During cross-examination, Stampler revealed that he suffered from multiple personality disorder - and his psychotic, sociopathic alter-ego (named Roy) had taken over, erupted and attacked the Assistant District Attorney prosecutor Janet Venable (Laura Linney), Vail's ex-girlfriend, during the trial.

Stampler was cleared at the trial by reason of insanity, and then the shocking twist of the film was revealed -- as Aaron congratulated his lawyer in his jail cell, he unwittingly told him that he was only pretending to be insane and had actually premeditatively murdered the priest ("...cuttin' up that son of a bitch Rushman? That was just a f--kin' work of art!") and his girlfriend Linda (Azalea Davila). Also, he admitted that Roy was his real personality (and in charge) and that "there never was an Aaron, counselor":

Will you t-tell Miss Venable I'm sorry? Tell her I hope her neck is OK....Well, good for you, Marty. I was gonna let it go. You was lookin' so happy just now. I was thinkin' - but to tell you the truth, I'm glad you figured it, 'cause I have been dyin' to tell you. Ha-ha. I just didn't know who you'd wanna hear it from. Aaron or Roy, or Roy or Aaron. Well, I'll let you in on a little secret, a sort of a client- attorney-privilege type of a secret, do you know what I mean? It don't matter who you hear it from. It's the same story. I j-j-just had to kill Linda, Mr. Vail. That-that cunt just got what she deserved. But cuttin' up that son of a bitch Rushman? That was just a f--kin' work of art. Ha-ha-ha...Yeah, I did get caught, though, didn't I? (Marty: "So there never, there never was a Roy")

Jesus Christ, Marty. If that's what you think, I'm disappointed in you. I don't mind tellin' you. There never was an Aaron, counselor. (Marty left the cell) Come on, Marty, I thought you had it figured there at the end. The way you put me on the stand like that, that was f--kin' brilliant, Marty. And that whole thing, that 'act-like-a-man.' Jesus, I knew exactly what you wanted from me. It was like we were dancin', Marty!...Oh come on, don't be like that, Marty. We did it, man. We f--kin' did it. We're a great team, you and me. You think I could've done this without you? You're just feelin' a little anger here because you started to care about old Aaron, I can understand that, but - you know, love hurts, Marty. What can I say? Hey, I'm just kiddin', Bud! I didn't mean to hurt your feelings! What else was I supposed to do? I guess you'll thank me down the road, 'cause this'll toughen you up, Martin Vail! You hear me? That's a promise!



Sling Blade (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Billy Bob Thornton

"I Like a Big Bush" and "She Was a Georgia Peach"

In the film's opening set in an institution ("nuthouse") for the criminally insane in Arkansas, mental patient Charles Bushman (J. T. Walsh) hinted at his crimes when he described his encounter with a transvestite prostitute and a "Georgia peach." He spoke to a mildly-retarded fellow inmate - a convicted killer man-child named Karl Childers (Billy Bob Thornton):

A Mercury is a real good car. That was the car I was drivin' that day. I've had a lot of cars. Yeah, different kinds. A lot of different kinds of cars. She was standin' - this girl - on the side of the street where there was this chicken stand. Wasn't the Colonel but it was a chicken stand, nevertheless. And uh, I pulled the Mercury up right alongside and I rolled down the window, you see, by electric power. And uh, she had this leather skirt on and she had a lot of hair on her arms. I like that, I like that a lot. That means a big bush. I like a big bush...

So she says, uh, 'Are you dating?' You know, and I said, 'Sure'. So she gets in and we pull off into this, uh, in a remote location, you know, that was comfortable for both she and I. And she says to me, 'How much do you wanna spend?', and I said, 'Whatever it takes to see that bush of yours because I know it's a big one'. And she says to me, 'Twenty five dollars'. That's not chicken feed, you know, to a workin' man. So I produce the $25 dollars. And she sticks it down into her shoe, pulls up her skirt and there before me lay this thin, crooked, uncircumcised penis. (scoffing) You can imagine how bad I wanted my $25 back, huh?

Bushman's second story implied that he had abducted a young bride ("Georgia peach") by force and possibly killed her:

There was a young man named John Leggit Hunter who was in the filling station business - a good filling station business. But he was one of these young men we run across in life - I'm sure you've run across 'em - who didn't deserve what he had, you know. And one of the things he had was this, uh, beautiful young bride Sarah. She was a Georgia peach. In fact, she was more like the picture I had in my mind than any woman I had ever seen. So I took it upon myself to take her away from John Leggit Hunter who did not deserve her, you know. Oh, I don't know if I told you that he was a Frenchman who claimed to be an Englishman. It took a lot of strong nylon cord to get her away from him 'cause she was a fighter as well as bein' a Georgia peach.





Sling Blade (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Billy Bob Thornton

"Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade. I Call It a Kaiser Blade" - A Tale of Gruesome Murder

In a darkened classroom with a young HS journalist during an interview (without being allowed to ask questions), at the time of his imminent release, Karl Childers (Billy Bob Thornton) described in lengthy detail how he had killed two people - the reason for being sentenced to 25 years in a mental institution. With a sharp grass-cutting tool, he had murdered both his mother and her lover, the town bully, when he found them having rough sex and believed it was rape:

I reckon what you guys want to know is what I'm a-doing in here. I reckon the reason I'm in here is 'cause I've killed somebody. But I reckon what you guys are wantin' to know is how come I killed somebody, so I reckon I'll start at the front and tell you. I lived out back of my mother and father's place most of my life in a little old shed that my daddy'd built for me. They didn't too much want me up there in the house with the rest of 'em, so mostly I just sat around out there in the shed a-lookin' at the ground. I didn't have no floor out there but I had me a hole dug out to lay down in, a quilt or two to put down there. My father was a hard-workin' man most of his life. Not that I can say the same for myself. I mostly just sat around out there in the shed, tinkered around with a lawn mower or two, went to school off and on from time to time. But the children out there, they were very cruel to me and made quite a bit of sport of me, made fun of me quite a bit. So mostly I just sat around out there in the shed. My daddy worked down there at the sawmill, down at the planer mill for an old man named Dixon. Old man Dixon was a very cruel feller. Didn't treat his employees very well, didn't pay 'em too much of a wage. Didn't pay my daddy too much of a wage. Just barely enough to get by on, I reckon. But I reckon he got by all right. They used to come out, one or the other of 'em, usually my mother, feed me pretty regular. So I know he made enough to where I could have mustard and biscuits three or four times a week. But old man Dixon, he had a boy, name of Jesse Dixon.

Jesse was really more cruel than his daddy was. He used to make quite a bit of sport of me when I was down there at the schoolhouse. He used to take advantage of the those girls there in the neighborhood, you know. They used to say that my mother was a very pretty woman. They've said that quite a bit from time to time when I'd be down there at the schoolhouse. Well, I reckon you want me to get on with it and tell you what happened. So I reckon I'll tell you. I was settin' out there in the shed one evenin', not doing too much of nothin', just kinda staring at the wall and waitin' on my mother to come out and give me my Bible lesson. Well, I heard a commotion up there in the house, so I run up on the screened-in porch to see what was goin' on. I looked in the window there and I seen my mother layin' on the floor without any clothes on. I seen Jesse Dixon layin' on top of her. He was havin' his way with her. Well, I just seen red. I picked up a Kaiser blade that was sittin' there by the screen door. Some folks call it a sling blade. I call it a Kaiser blade. It's got a long, wood handle, kind of like an ax handle with a long blade on it shaped kinda like a bananer. Sharp on one edge and dull on the other. It's what the highway boys use to cut down weeds and what-not.

Well, I went in there in the house and I hit Jesse Dixon upside the head with it - knocked him off my mother. I reckon that didn't quite satisfy me, so I hit him again with it in the neck with the sharp edge and just plumb near cut his head off, killed him. My mother - she jumped up there and started hollering, 'Whaddya kill Jesse for?' 'Whaddya kill Jessie for?" Well, hmm, come to find out, I don't reckon my mother minded what Jesse was doin' to her. I reckon that made me madder than what Jesse'd made me, so I taken the Kaiser blade - some folks call it a sling blade, I call it a Kaiser blade - and I hit my mother upside the head with it. Killed her!

Some folks has asked me: if you had it to do over again, would you do it the same way? I reckon I would. Anyhow, they seen fit to put me in here, and here I been for a great, long while. I've learned to read some. Took me four years to read the Bible. I reckon I understand a great deal of it. Wasn't what I expected in some places. I slept in a good bed for a great long while. Now they've seen fit to put me out of here. They say they're settin' me free today. Anyhow, I reckon that's all you're needin' to know. You wanna hear about more details, I reckon I can tell 'em to you. I don't know whether that's enough for your newspaper or not...

When asked by high-school journalist Marsha Dwiggins (Sarah Boss) if he would ever kill anyone again, he replied: "I don't reckon I got no reason to kill nobody. Mmm."



Swingers (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Jon Favreau

"I'm Not Gonna Be One of Those Assholes!"

On the phone, hip swinger Trent (Vince Vaughn) tempted friend Mike (Jon Favreau), suffering from a nasty breakup, about two possible parties to attend for the evening ("One's for a modeling agency...There's gonna be beautiful babies there") - he tried to persuade him to have fun and get out of his "stuffy apartment," but Mike didn't want a repeat of a familiar party scene:

We're gonna spend half the night drivin' around the hills looking for this one party, and you're gonna say it sucks, and we're all gonna leave, and then we're gonna go look for this other party. But all the parties and all the bars, they all suck. I spend half the night talkin' to some girl who's lookin' around the room, to see if there's somebody else who's more important she should be talking to. And it's like I'm supposed to be all happy, uh, 'cause she's wearing a backpack. I... You know, and half of them are just nasty skanks who wouldn't be nothin', except they're surrounded by a bunch of drunken, horny assholes. And I'm gonna tell you something, T. Are you listening?...I'm not gonna be one of those assholes, all right? It just makes me sick. It's like, uh, some nasty skank who isn't half the woman my girlfriend is, is gonna front me? It makes me want to f--kin' puke.

After lots of discussion and coaxing by Trent, the two decided to go to Vegas instead.


Swingers (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Jon Favreau

Regarding Claws, Fangs - Be the R-Rated Movie "Bad Man"

Play clip (excerpt): Swingers

After speaking to Nikki (Brooke Langton) at a bar, Trent (Vince Vaughn) advised wannabe swinger Mike (Jon Favreau) on his timid and failed technique of picking up women and getting their phone number ("digits"), after Mike admitted he made a fool of himself:

You know what you are? You're like a big bear with, with claws and with fangs...Yeah, big f--kin' teeth on ya'. And she's just like this little bunny, who's just kinda cowering in the corner....Yeah, man just kinda, you know, you got these claws and you're starin' at these claws, man, and you're thinkin' to yourself, and with these claws you're thinkin', 'How am I supposed to kill this bunny, how am I supposed to kill this bunny?'...Yeah, you're not hurtin' it. You're just kinda gently battin' the bunny around, you know what I mean? And the bunny's scared, Mike, the bunny's scared of you, shivering....And you got these f--kin' claws and these fangs, man! And you're lookin' at your claws and you're lookin' at your fangs. And you're thinkin' to yourself, I don't know what to do, man. 'I don't know how to kill the bunny.' With this you don't know how to kill the bunny, do you know what I mean?...No I'm not f--kin' with you...Mike, I'm tellin' ya, you're money...

Come here a second, listen. Now look it. When you go up to talk to her, man, I don't want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone's really hopin' makes it happen. I want you to be like the guy in the rated R movie, you know, the guy you're not sure whether or not you like yet. You're not sure where he's coming from. Okay? You're a bad man. You're a bad man. You're a bad man. Bad man.



A Time To Kill (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Akiva Goldsman

"Now Imagine She's White"

Black man Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) was on trial for the vengeful murder of the two men who viciously raped his 10 year-old daughter Tonya, believing "They deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!" In the final summation by his young white defense attorney Jake Tyler Brigance (Matthew McConaughey), the story of the little girl's awful experience (after an attempted hanging, she was dumped in a nearby river) was slowly and vividly told as the jurors closed their eyes to listen:

I had a great summation all worked out, full of some sharp lawyering, but I'm not going to read it. I'm here to apologize. I am young, and I am inexperienced. But you cannot hold Carl Lee Hailey responsible for my shortcomings. Do you see, in all this legal maneuvering, something has gotten lost. That something is the truth. Now, it is incumbent upon us lawyers not to just talk about the truth but to actually seek it, to find it, to live it. My teacher taught me that. Let's take Dr. Bass, for example. Now obviously, I would have never knowingly put a convicted felon on the stand. I hope you can believe that. But what is the truth? That, that he's a disgraced liar? What if I told you that the woman he was accused of raping was 17, he was 23, that she later became his wife, bore his child and is still married to the man today? Does that make his testimony more or less true? What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds, or is it our hearts?

I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the South, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That's not the truth 'cause the eyes of the law are humanized, yours and mine, and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be even-handed. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices. So until that day, we have a duty under God to seek the truth - not with our eyes, and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts - but we don't know better.

I want to tell you a story. I'm going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead. Close your eyes, please. This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on. First one, then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they're done, after they've killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to bear children, to have life beyond her own, they decided to use her for target practice. They start throwin' full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones. Then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging. They have a rope. They tie a noose. Imagine the noose going tight around her neck and with a sudden blinding jerk, she's pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking. They don't find the ground. The hanging branch isn't strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge. Pitch her over the edge. And she drops some thirty feet down to the creek bottom below. Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl.

Now imagine she's white.


Trainspotting (1996, UK)
Screenwriter(s): John Hodge

"Choose Life"

Top Pick

Edinburgh, England heroin addict Mark 'Rent-Boy' Renton (Ewan McGregor) gave a "choose life" diatribe (a voice-over), in two parts. In the film's opening, he narrated as he was pursued by security guards. In the film's closing, he confidently walked through London on a sunny day, vowing to live a traditional life:

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f--king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchased in a range of f--king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f--k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sittin' on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f--king junk food into your mouth. Choose rottin' away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarassment to the selfish, f--ked-up brats that you've spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life...But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?

Now I've justified this to myself in all sorts of ways. It wasn't a big deal, just a minor betrayal. Or we'd outgrown each other, you know, that sort of thing. But let's face it, I ripped them off-- my so-called mates. But Begbie, I couldn't give a s--t about him. And Sick Boy, well he'd done the same to me, if he'd only thought of it first. And Spud, well okay, I felt sorry for Spud -- he never hurt anybody. So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers, all false. The truth is that I'm a bad person, but that's gonna change. I'm going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing, and I'm cleanin' up and I'm movin' on, going straight and choosin' life. I'm lookin' forward to it already. I'm gonna be just like you: the job, the family, the f--king big television, the washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electrical tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure-wear, luggage, three-piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing the gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.


Waiting for Guffman (1996)
Screenwriter(s): Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy

"I'm Gonna Bite My Pillow!"

Flamboyant theater director Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) reacted with upset to the flabbergasted town council of Blaine, Missouri that refused to give him $100,000 to produce his play:

So what I'm understanding here - correct me, if I'm wrong - is that you're not givin' me any money. So now I'm left basically with nothin'. I'm left with zero, in which, in which, what can I do with zero, you know? What can I - I can't do anythin' with it! I need to, this is my life here we're talking about! We're not just talkin' about, you know, somethin' else. We're talking about my life, you know? And it's forcing me to do somethin' I don't wanna do. To leave. To, to go out and just leave and go home and say, make a clean cut here and say: 'No way, Corky, you're not puttin' up with these people!' And I'll tell you why I can't put up with you people - because you're bastard people! That's what you are! You're just bastard people! And I'm goin' home and I'm gonna, I'm gonna bite my pillow, is what I'm gonna do!



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