Best Film Speeches and Monologues
|Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
The Ox-Bow Incident
Screenwriter(s): Lamar Trotti
Man's Dying Letter
The heart-breaking reading, posthumously by Gil
Carter (Henry Fonda), of a letter written by a lynched man,
Donald Martin (Dana Andrews) to his wife:
...A man just naturally can't take the law
into his own hands and hang people without hurtin' everybody
in the world, 'cause then he's just not breakin' one law,
but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a
book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry
it out. It's everything people ever have found out about
justice and what's right and wrong. It's the very conscience
of humanity. There can't be any such thing as civilization
unless people have a conscience, because if people touch
God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience?
And what is anybody's conscience except a little piece
of the conscience of all men that ever lived? I guess that's
all I've got to say except - kiss the babies for me and
God bless you...
The Curse of the Cat People
Screenwriter(s): DeWitt Bodeen
Headless Horseman Legend
Aging reclusive actress Mrs. Julia Farren (Julia
Dean) enacted her version of the 'Headless Horseman' tale,
to young blonde Amy Reed (Ann Carter):
I'll tell you a story. A lovely story...Do
you know the story of the Headless Horseman?...You live
right here in Tarrytown and you don't know the legend of
Sleepy Hollow? Then you must hear it. I shall tell it to
you. There, now, you sit there. Now, we'll pretend this
is the stage. (She emerged from behind a curtain)
The Headless Horseman...It was shot off long ago in the
great battles that were fought here. With the British on
one side and the Americans on the other....
On the dark nights, on the stormy nights, you
can hear him. He passes like the wind, and the flapping and
fluttering of his great cloak, beating like gaunt wings.
And the thunder of his horses' hooves is loud, and loud,
and louder! At the midnight hour, down the road that leads
to Sleepy Hollow, across the bridge, he goes galloping, galloping,
galloping. Always searching, always seeking. And if you stand
on the bridge at the wrong hour, the hour when he rides by,
his great cloak sweeps around you! He swings you to his saddlebow.
And then forever you must ride. And always his cold arms
around you, clasping you into the cavity of his bony chest.
And then, forever, you must ride, and ride, and ride - with
the Headless Horseman.
Screenwriter(s): Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler
Insurance agent Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson)
contemplated the suicide angle, and explained to Insurance
Company President Edward S. Norton (Richard Gaines) how unlikely it
was for someone to commit suicide by jumping off a slow-moving
train. He reeled off an unforgettable, statistical speech about
different kinds of suicidal deaths (each with subdivisions)
to illustrate how the Dietrichson claim was probably a legitimate accident
You know, you, uh, ought to take a look
at the statistics on suicide sometime. You might learn
a little something about the insurance business...Come
now, you've never read an actuarial table in your life,
have you? Why, they've got 10 volumes on suicide alone.
Suicide by race, by color, by occupation, by sex, by seasons
of the year, by time of day. Suicide, how committed: by
poisons, by firearms, by drowning, by leaps. Suicide by
poison, subdivided by types of poison, such as corrosive,
irritant, systemic, gaseous, narcotic, alkaloid, protein,
and so forth. Suicide by leaps, subdivided by leaps from
high places, under the wheels of trains, under the wheels
of trucks, under the feet of horses, from steamboats. But
Mr. Norton, of all the cases on record, there's not one
single case of suicide by leap from the rear end of a moving
And do you know how fast that train was going
at the point where the body was found? 15 miles an hour.
Now, how can anybody jump off a slow-moving train like that
with any kind of expectation that he would kill himself?
No, no soap, Mr. Norton. We're sunk and we'll have to pay
through the nose, and you know it.
Screenwriter(s): Billy Wilder, Raymond
a One-Way Trip and the Last Stop is the Cemetery"
Insurance agent Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson)
pressed further with suspicions, telling fellow insurance worker
Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) his hunch: "This Dietrichson
business. It's murder, and murders don't come any neater. As
fancy a piece of homicide as anybody ever ran into. Smart,
tricky, almost perfect - but...I think Papa has it all
He explained his new theory, exactly similar
to the real murder scheme, a conspiratorial scheme. He felt
that the "perfect" murder was already coming apart
at the seams as he spoke about the two homicidal conspirators
who were on a deadly, one-way trolley "ride together...all
the way to the end of the line":
It's beginning to come apart at the seams
already. Murder is never perfect. It always comes apart
sooner or later. When two people are involved, it's usually
sooner. Now we know the Dietrichson dame is in it and the
somebody else. Pretty soon, we'll know who that somebody
else is. He'll show. He's got to show. Sometime, somewhere,
they've got to meet. Their emotions are all kicked up.
Whether it's love or hate, it doesn't matter. They can't
keep away from each other. They may think it's twice as
safe because there are two of them. But it isn't twice
as safe. It's ten times twice as dangerous. They've committed
a murder. And it's not like taking a trolley ride together
where they can get off at different stops. They're stuck
with each other and they've got to ride all the way to
the end of the line and it's a one-way trip and the last
stop is the cemetery.
Henry V (1944)
Screenwriter(s): Based upon William Shakespeare's play
Crispin's Day Address to the Troops - See also Henry V
Henry V (Laurence Olivier) made a stirring St.
Crispin's Day address to his weary troops as they went into
battle at Agincourt, while garbed in gleaming armor and astride
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;
Be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here.
Screenwriter(s): Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Elizabeth Reinhardt
Shall Never Forget" Speech
In voice-over narration, cynical and prickly
society columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) opened the
film as the camera tracked from left to right across glass
cabinets with beautifully-displayed shelves of priceless objets
d'art - in the alcove of his elegantly-expensive, New York
City apartment/penthouse. It was the hottest day of the summer
of 1944, and it was revealed that the story took place in the
recent past, at the time of 'Laura's' (Gene Tierney) death:
I shall never forget the weekend Laura died.
A silver sun burned through the sky like a huge magnifying
glass. It was the hottest Sunday in my recollection. I
felt as if I were the only human being left in New York.
For Laura's horrible death, I was alone. I, Waldo Lydecker,
was the only one who really knew her. And I had just begun
to write Laura's story when - another of those detectives
came to see me. I had him wait. I could watch him through
the half-open door. I noted that his attention was fixed
upon my clock. There was only one other in existence, and
that was in Laura's apartment in the very room where she
To Have and
Have Not (1944)
Screenwriter(s): Jules Furthman, William Faulkner
Put Your Lips Together and Blow" Invitation
The incredibly sensuous scene between Steve /
Harry Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) and Slim / Marie Browning (Lauren
Bacall), who was trying to seduce him:
Who was the girl, Steve?... The one that
left you with such a high opinion of women? She must have
been quite a gal. You think I lied to you about this, don't
you? Well, it just happens there's thirty-odd dollars here.
Not enough for boat fare, or any other kind of fare. Just
enough for me to say 'no' if I feel like it, and you can
have it if you want it... You wouldn't take anything from
anybody would you?... You know Steve, you're not very hard
to figure. Only at times. Sometimes I know exactly what
you're going to say. Most of the time. The other times,
the other times you're just a stinker.
After kissing him a second time after he had
become more receptive, she cooed as she left his room:
It's even better when you help.... Uh, sure
you won't change your mind about this?... This belongs
to me, and so do my lips, I don't see any difference...
Okay, you know you don't have act with me, Steve. You don't
have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything.
Not with me. Oh, maybe just whistle. You remember how to
whistle, don't you? Just put your lips together... and