Best Film Speeches and Monologues
|Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
Air Force One (1997)
Screenwriter(s): Andrew W. Marlowe
Anti-Terrorism Speech to Russians
Play clip (excerpt):
US President James Marshall (Harrison Ford)
delivered a surprise, stirring anti-terrorism speech (to the
dismay of his advisors) at a podium in front of the Russian
Senate at a state dinner. He first spoke in Russian (translated),
and then continued in English:
The dead remember our indifference. The
dead remember our silence. I came here tonight to be congratulated.
But today when I visited the Red Cross camps, overwhelmed
by the flood of refugees fleeing from the horror of Kazakhstan,
I realized I don't deserve to be congratulated. None of
us do. Let's speak the truth. And the truth is, we acted
too late. Only when our own national security was threatened
did we act. Radek's regime murdered over 200,000 men, women
and children and we watched it on TV. We let it happen.
People were being slaughtered for over a year and we issued
economical sanctions and hid behind a rhetoric of diplomacy.
How dare we? The dead remember. Real peace is not just
the absence of conflict, it's the presence of justice.
And tonight, I come to you with a pledge to change America's
policy. Never again will I allow our political self-interest
to deter us from doing what we know to be morally right.
Atrocity and terror are not political weapons and to those
who would use them - Your day is over. We will never negotiate.
We will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid.
It's your turn to be afraid.
Screenwriter(s): David Franzoni
the Independence of Slaves
Play clip (excerpt):
Former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins)
provided a defense of the Amistad African captives,
including Joseph Cinque (Djimon Hounsou). His passionate defense,
to free the slaves who had mutinied against their ship in 1839,
was brought before the US Supreme Court, composed of Southern
slave-owning judges. The 1841 case included a demonstration
of the truths of the Declaration of Independence, an invocation
of the spirit of the Founding Fathers, and Adams' suggestion
that the decision might provoke a civil war ("the last
battle of the American Revolution"):
Your Honors, I derive much consolation from
the fact that my colleague, Mr. Baldwin, here, has argued
the case in so able and so complete a manner as to leave
me scarcely anything to say. However, why are we here?
How is it that a simple, plain property issue should now
find itself so enobled as to be argued before the Supreme
Court of the United States of America? I mean, do we fear
the lower courts, which found for us easily, somehow missed
the truth? Is that it? Or is it, rather, our great and
consuming fear of civil war that has allowed us to heap
symbolism upon a simple case that never asked for it and
now would have us disregard truth, even as it stands before
us, tall and proud as a mountain? The truth, in truth,
has been driven from this case like a slave, flogged from
court to court, wretched and destitute. And not by any
great legal acumen on the part of the opposition, I might
add, but through the long, powerful arm of the Executive
Office. Yea, this is no mere property case, gentlemen.
I put it to you thus: This is the most important case ever
to come before this court. Because what it, in fact, concerns
is the very nature of man...
And this is a publication of the Office of
the President. And it's called the Executive Review, and
I'm sure you all read it. At least I'm sure the President hopes you
all read it. This is a recent issue, and there's an article
in here written by a 'keen mind of the South,' who is my
former Vice President, John Calhoun, perhaps, could it be?
- who asserts that: 'There has never existed a civilized
society in which one segment did not thrive upon the labor
of another. As far back as one chooses to look - to ancient
times, to Biblical times - history bears this out. In Eden,
where only two were created, even there, one was pronounced
subordinate to the other. Slavery has always been with us
and is neither sinful nor immoral. Rather, as war and antagonism
are the natural states of man, so too, slavery, as natural
as it is inevitable.'
Now, gentlemen, I must say I differ with the
keen minds of the South, and with our President, who apparently
shares their views, offering that the natural state of mankind
is, instead - and I know this is a controversial idea - is
freedom, is freedom. And the proof is the length to which
a man, woman, or child will go to regain it, once taken.
He will break loose his chains. He will decimate
his enemies. He will try and try and try against all odds,
against all prejudices, to get home. Cinque, would you stand
up, if you would, so everyone can see you.
This man is black. We can all see that. But
can we also see as easily that which is equally true -- that
he is the only true hero in this room. Now, if he were white,
he wouldn't be standing before this court fighting for his
life. If he were white and his enslavers were British, he
wouldn't be able to stand, so heavy the weight of the medals
and honors we would bestow upon him. Songs would be written
about him. The great authors of our times would fill books
about him. His story would be told and retold in our classrooms.
Our children, because we would make sure of it, would know
his name as well as they know Patrick Henry's. Yet, if the
South is right, what are we to do with that embarrassing,
annoying document, The Declaration of Independence? What
of its conceits? 'All men...created equal,' 'inalienable
rights,' 'life,' 'liberty,' and so on and so forth? What
on earth are we to do with this? I have a modest suggestion.
Then, he tore in half a copy of the Declaration.
The other night I was talking with my friend,
Cinque. He was over at my place, and uh, we were out in
the greenhouse together. And he was explaining to me how
when a member of the Mende - that's his people - how when
a member of the Mende encounters a situation where there
appears no hope at all, he invokes his ancestors. It's
a tradition. See, the Mende believe that if one can summon
the spirits of one's ancestors, then they have never left,
and the wisdom and strength they fathered and inspired
will come to his aid.
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin
Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams.
We have long resisted asking you for guidance. Perhaps we
have feared in doing so we might acknowledge that our individuality
which we so, so revere is not entirely our own. Perhaps we've
feared an appeal to you might be taken for weakness. But,
we've come to understand, finally, that this is not so. We
understand now, we've been made to understand, and to embrace
the understanding that who we are is who we were.
We desperately need your strength and wisdom
to triumph over our fears, our prejudices, ourselves. Give
us the courage to do what is right. And if it means civil
war, then let it come. And when it does, may it be, finally,
the last battle of the American Revolution. That's all I
have to say.
As Good As It Gets
Screenwriter(s): Mark Andrus, James L. Brooks
Never Interrupt Me"
Play clip (excerpt):
Obsessive-compulsive writer Melvin Udall (Jack
Nicholson) offered an angry rant against his gay NYC artist
neighbor Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear) for interrupting him at
his Manhattan apartment building door:
Do you realize that I work at home?...Do
you like to be interrupted when you are dancing around
in your little garden?...Well, I work all the time. So
never, never, interrupt me, okay? Not if there's a fire,
not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and
one week later, there's a smell coming from there that
can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold
a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that
you think you're gonna faint. Even then, don't come knocking.
Or, if it's election night, and you're excited
and you want to celebrate because some fudgepacker that you
date has been elected the first queer president of the United
States and he's going to have you down to Camp David, and
you want someone to share the moment with. Even then, don't
knock. Not on this door. Not for any reason. Do you
get me, sweetheart?
As Good As It Gets
Screenwriter(s): Mark Andrus, James L. Brooks
Greatest Woman on Earth"
Misanthropic author Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson)
finally professed his love for single mother/waitress Carol
Connelly (Helen Hunt):
I might be the only person on the face of
the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on earth.
I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you
are in every single thing that you do, and how you are
with Spencer - 'Spence' - and in every single thought that
you have, and how you say what you mean, and how you almost
always mean something that's all about being straight and
good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watch
them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food,
and clear their tables and never get that they just met
the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes
me feel good, about me.
Is that something that's, uh, bad for you
to be around, for you?
Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
Screenwriter(s): Mike Myers
Details of My Childhood
Play clip (excerpt):
In a family counseling group therapy session
led by a therapist (uncredited Carrie Fisher), Dr. Evil (Mike
Myers) described his upbringing -- with inappropriate details:
The details of my life are quite inconsequential....
Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly
self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low
grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother
was a fifteen year-old French prostitute named Chloe with
webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink.
He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question
mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy.
The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess
and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers
in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring, we'd make meat
helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap
bag and beaten with reeds - pretty standard, really. At
the age of twelve, I received my first scribe. At the age
of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically
shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn
scrotum... it's breathtaking - I suggest you try it.
Boogie Nights (1997)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Thomas Anderson
A Star, I'm A Star, I'm A Star"
In the film's last lines, well-endowed, drug-addicted
porn star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) practiced his lines
before a mirror:
I've been around this block twice now looking
for something - a clue. Been looking for clues and something
led me back here, yeah, so here I am. Could've been me
who was at Ringo's place when the s--t went down. Hey,
I know how it is, I've been there. We've all done bad things.
We've all had those guilty feelings in our hearts. You
wanna take your brain out of your head and wash it and
scrub it and make it clean. Well, no, but I'm gonna help
you settle this. First we're gonna check for holes and
see what we can find. Then, we're gonna get nice and wet,
so you're gonna spread your legs. Oh, that's good, so you
know me, you know my reputation. Thirteen inches is a tough
load, I don't treat you gently. That's right. I'm Brock
Landers. So I'm gonna be nice, and I'm gonna ask you one
more time. Where the f--k is Ringo?
He stood up, unzipped his pants, and pulled out
his 13 inch-long penis, and added:
I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm
a star. I am a big, bright, shining star. That's right.
Chasing Amy (1997)
Screenwriter(s): Kevin Smith
Am Forever Changed Because of Who You Are" - A Confession
No longer able to hold back his feelings, Holden
McNeil (Ben Affleck) confessed his love for his best friend
Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams), a fellow comic book artist
- and a lesbian. He stopped his car, turned to her, and blurted
I love you....I love you. And not, not in
a friendly way, although I think we're great friends. And
not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I'm
sure that's what you'll call it. I love you. Very, very
simple, very truly. You are the-the epitome of everything
I have ever looked for in another human being. And I know
that you think of me as just a friend, and crossing that
line is-is-is the furthest thing from an option you would
ever consider. But - I had to say it. I just, I can't take
this anymore. I can't stand next to you without wanting
to hold you. I can't-I can't look into your eyes without
feeling that-that longing you only read about in trashy
romance novels. I can't talk to you without wanting to
express my love for everything you are.
And I know, this will probably queer our friendship
- no pun intended - but I had to say it, 'cause I've never
felt this way before, and I-I don't care. I like who I am
because of it. And if bringing this to light means we can't
hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But God, I just, I
couldn't allow another day to go by without just getting
it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look
on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And, you
know, I'll accept that. But I know, I know that some part
of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there's a moment
of hesitation, then that means you feel something too. And
all I ask, please, is that you just - you just not dismiss
that, and try to dwell in it for just ten seconds.
Alyssa, there isn't another soul on this f--king
planet who has ever made me half the person I am when I'm
with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance
to take it to the next plateau. Because it is there between
you and me. You can't deny that. Even if, you know, even
if we never talk again after tonight, please know that I
am forever changed because of who you are and what you've
meant to me, which - while I do appreciate it - I'd never
need a painting of birds bought at a diner to remind me of.