Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

The Godfather (1972)
Screenwriter(s): Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola

Refusing to Be Intimidated - "A Man In My Position Can't Afford to Be Made to Look Ridiculous!"

In California at Woltz International Pictures' film studio, studio head Jack Woltz (John Marley) refused to grant a "small favor" to lawyer Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall). He represented Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) - the godfather of singer entertainer and godson Johnny Fontane (Al Martino), who had requested the godfather's assistance in acquiring a movie role that would revitalize his career. But Woltz refused to cast him when instructed ("Give Johnny the part in that new war film you're starting next week"), not realizing that Hagen represented Corleone:

Are you trying to muscle me?...Now, you listen to me, you smooth-talking son-of-a-bitch. Let me lay it on the line for you and your boss, whoever he is! Johnny Fontane will never get that movie. I don't care how many dago, guinea, wop greaseball goombahs come outta the woodwork...Well, let me tell you something, my kraut mick friend. I'm gonna make so much trouble for you, you won't know what hit you.

When they met again at Woltz' luxurious residence over a meal, Woltz explained his reasoning, now knowing that Hagen was representing Don Corleone:

Just tell him [Corleone] he should ask me anything else. But this is one favor I can't give him...You don't understand. Johnny Fontane never gets that movie. That part is perfect for him. It'll make him a big star. I'm gonna run him out of the business. And let me tell you why. Johnny Fontane ruined one of Woltz International's most valuable proteges. For five years we had her under training. Singing lessons, acting lessons, dancing lessons. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on her. I was gonna make her a big star.

And let me be even more frank. Just to show you that I'm not a hard-hearted man, that it's not all dollars and cents. She was beautiful. She was young, she was innocent! She was the greatest piece of ass I've ever had, and I've had 'em all over the world. And then Johnny Fontane comes along with his olive-oil voice and guinea charm. And she runs off. She threw it all away just to make me look ridiculous, and a man in my position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous! Now you get the hell outta here! And if that goombah tries any rough stuff, you tell him I ain't no band leader! Yeah. I heard that story.

Calmly eating his meal throughout the tirade, Hagen excused himself, announcing an immediate trip to the airport to return East: "Thank you for the dinner and a very pleasant evening. If your car could take me to the airport, Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news immediately."

The Godfather (1972)
Screenwriter(s): Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola

"We Are All Reasonable Men Here"

During a meeting of the heads of the Five Families and associates from the greater New York area in a downtown city boardroom, godfather Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) chaired as the head of the Sixth Family. He refused to allow drug trafficking, but he also wanted to stop the endless months of slaughter. He was reluctantly willing to compromise and allow controlled narcotics operations:

...I believe this drug business is gonna destroy us in the years to come. I mean, it's not like gambling or liquor, or even women, which is something that most people want nowadays and is forbidden to them by the pezzonovante of the church. Even the police departments that have helped us in the past with gambling and other things are gonna refuse to help us when it comes to narcotics. And I believed that then - and I believe that now...I hoped that we could come here and reason together. And as a reasonable man, I'm willing to do whatever's necessary to find a peaceful solution to these problems...

You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance gonna bring your son back to you? Or my boy to me? I forego the vengeance of my son. But I have selfish reasons.

Corleone also announced his intention to make arrangements to bring his youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) back safely, but warned:

My youngest son was forced to leave this country because of this Sollozzo business. All right. And I have to make arrangements to bring him back here safely, cleared of all these false charges. But I'm a superstitious man. And if some unlucky accident should befall him - if he should get shot in the head by a police officer, or if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he's struck by a bolt of lightning - then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room. And that I do not forgive. But that aside, let me say that I swear on the souls of my grandchildren that I will not be the one to break the peace that we've made here today.

Last Tango in Paris (1972, Fr./It.) (aka Ultimo Tango a Parigi)
Screenwriter(s): Bernardo Bertolucci, Franco Arcalli

Grieving at the Wake: "I'll Never Discover The Truth About You"

Anguished, middle-aged American widower Paul (Marlon Brando) mourned the suicidal death of his wife Rosa (Veronica Lazar), speaking to her as she laid in an open coffin next to him during her wake. He raged at her and criticized her for taking other lovers and for not revealing herself to him ("Who the hell were you?"), although he sobbed when removing her gaudy makeup:

You look ridiculous in that make-up. Like the caricature of a whore. A little touch of mommy in the night. Fake Ophelia drowned in the bathtub. I wish you could see yourself. You'd really laugh. You're your mother's masterpiece. Christ. There are too many f--king flowers in this place. I can't breathe. You know on the top of the closet? The cardboard box, I found all your, I found all your little goodies. Pens, key chains, foreign money, French ticklers, the whole shot. Even a clergyman's collar. I didn't know you collected all those little knick-knacks left behind.

Even if a husband lives 200 f--king years, he's never gonna be able to discover his wife's real nature. I mean, I, I might be able to comprehend the universe, but I'll never discover the truth about you. Never. I mean, who the hell were you? Remember that day, the first day I was there? I knew that I couldn't get into your pants unless I said, uh, uh, what did I say? Oh, yeah. 'Uh, may I have my bill, please? I have to leave.' Remember? Last night, I ripped off the lights on your mother. And the whole joint went bananas. All your guests as you used to call them.

Well, I guess that includes me, doesn't it? Huh? It does include me, doesn't it? For five years, I was more a guest in this f--king flophouse than a husband, with privileges, of course. And then, to help me understand you, you let me inherit Marcel. The husband's double, whose room was the double of ours. And you know what? I didn't even have the guts to ask him. Didn't even have the guts to ask him if the same numbers that you and I did were the same numbers you did with him.

Our marriage was nothing more than a, a foxhole for you. And all it took for you to get out was a 35-cent razor and a tub full of water. You cheap, goddamn, f--king, god-forsaken whore. I hope you rot in hell. You're worse than the dirtiest street pig that anybody could ever find anywhere, and you know why? You know why? Because you lied. You lied to me and I trusted you. You lied. You knew you were lying! Go on, tell me you didn't lie. Haven't you got anything to say about that? You can think up something, can't you? Huh? Go on, tell me something! Go on! Smile, you cunt. Go on, tell me, tell me something sweet. Smile at me and say - I just misunderstood. Go on, tell me. You pig f--ker. You goddamn, f--king, pig f--king liar.

(weeping and sobbing) Rosa, I'm sorry. I-I just can't, I can't stand it, to see these goddamn things on your face. (He peeled off her fake eyelashes) You never wore make-up. This f--king shit. I'm gonna take this off your mouth. Your hair...This lipstick. Rosa. (He wiped off her lipstick with a flower petal) Oh, God. I'm sorry. I don't know why you did it. I'd do it too, if I knew how. I just don't know how. God, I have to, I have to find a way.

Pink Flamingos (1972)
Screenwriter(s): John Waters

"Filth Is My Politics" Speech

Grotesque, self-proclaimed filthiest person alive Babs Johnson's (drag queen Divine) astonishing and stunning "filth is my politics" speech to TV reporters, when asked if blood turned her on, and then questioned about her political beliefs:

It does more than turn me on, Mr. Vader. It makes me come. And more than the sight of it, I love the taste of it. The taste of hot, freshly killed blood...Kill everyone now! Condone first degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat s--t! Filth are my politics! Filth is my life! Take whatever you like. (She posed in various lewd positions) How's this for a centerspread?

She then executed Raymond (David Lochary) and Connie (Mink Stole) Marble in front of the press.

The Ruling Class (1972)
Screenwriter(s): Peter Barnes

I'm Jack the Ripper

Paranoid schizophrenic British nobleman Jack Gurney (Peter O'Toole), the 14th Earl of Gurney, was administered electro-shock therapy, and seemed to be transformed into Jack the Ripper (who had mutilated six female victims), although he could also appear sane:

Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breeding world. I'm cured of fantasy obsessions, paranoid delusions. I master words. (He gestured, pulling words out of his mouth)

'I' - straighten up there. 'AM' - close up with 'I' - you horrible little word. 'GOD.' I AM GOD. Not the god of love, but God Almighty. I massacred the Amalekites and the Seven Nations of Canaan. I hacked Agag to pieces and blasted the barren fig tree, for the day of vengeance is in my heart! You lunar jackass, she betrayed you. Guilty, guilty, guilty. The punishment is death. I've finally been processed. They made me adjust to modern times. This is 1888, isn't it?

I'm Jack, Cunning Jack, Quiet Jack. Jack whose sword never sleeps. Hats off, I'm Jack. Not the good shepherd, not the prince of peace. I'm red Jack, spring-heeled Jack, Jack from Hell. Trade name: Jack the Ripper! (He produced a knife, flicked it open, and slashed at a bag of flour) Mary, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, Alice, Marie Kelly. (singing) 'Six little whores, glad to be alive. One sidles up to Jack, and then there are five.'

Charlotte's Web (1973)
Screenwriter(s): Earl Hamner Jr. (story), based upon E.B. White's book

Charlotte's Farewell

Spider Charlotte's (voice of Debbie Reynolds) touching farewell speech to Wilbur (voice of Henry Gibson) after his fate has been secured by earning a special prize at the fair:

I'm a little tired, perhaps, but I feel peaceful. Your success today was, to a small degree, my success. You will live now, secure and safe... You have been my friend. That, in itself, is a tremendous thing. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my own life a trifle... I will not be going back to the barn... I'm done for, Wilbur. In a while, I'll be dead. I haven't even strength enough to climb down into the crate...

The Exorcist (1973)
Screenwriter(s): William Peter Blatty

Mother's Strident Demands for an Exorcist

Chris McNeil (Ellen Burstyn) angrily insisted to Father Karras (Jason Miller) that her daughter Regan (Linda Blair) needed an exorcist:

You show me Regan's double, same face, same voice, everything. And I'd know it wasn't Regan. I'd know in my gut. I'm telling you that that thing upstairs isn't my daughter. Now, I want you to tell me that you know for a fact that there's nothing wrong with my daughter, except in her mind. YOU TELL ME YOU KNOW FOR A FACT THAT AN EXORCISM WOULDN'T DO ANY GOOD. YOU TELL ME THAT!

Soylent Green (1973)
Screenwriter(s): Stanley R. Greenberg

"Soylent Green Is People!"

After police detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) had been shot in the back by a government agent to silence him, he sought refuge in a crowded church. He was able to lethally stab his assailant Tab Fielding (Chuck Connors) in the chest with a large butcher knife.

When Police Chief Hatcher (Brock Peters) arrived, the insistent and seriously-injured Thorn divulged his discovery of the Soylent Company's secret (the reason that one of its board members named Simonson (Joseph Cotten) had been murdered); he desperately pleaded with Hatcher to tell the Exchange researchers and others, and spread the horrible truth:

"Hatcher, get to the Exchange. You've gotta tell 'em they're right...You don't understand. I've got proof. They need proof. I've seen it. I've seen it happening. They've gotta tell people...The ocean's dying. Plankton's dying. It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people."

Then, as he was put on a stretcher to be taken away to be treated, the semi-hysterical Thorn shouted out to Hatcher - while the many homeless in the church were also listening and heard his warnings:

"They're making our food out of people. Next thing, they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell 'em, you've gotta tell 'em...You tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher! You're gonna tell 'em! Soylent Green is people! We've gotta stop 'em somehow!"

The horrifying, predictable discovery was the true composition of the Soylent Corporation's new artificial food product Soylent Green - it was not composed of ocean plankton as avowed - that was ruled an impossibility by The Supreme Exchange (the group of researchers); they concluded that barren ocean conditions devoid of all life had ceased to produce plankton; instead, Soylent Green was composed of recycled human remains of the deceased inhabitants of the society's euthanasia centers - the closest protein match to plankton; it was frightening to learn that the only remaining food source on Earth was its own people, and Earth was apparently soon to experience a complete collapse of humanity and civilization.

Last Image: Thorn's Bloody Outstretched Hand

The film's final image was a brief blurred glimpse of Thorn's bloody hand outstretched into the air.

Thorn Seriously Injured, but Ready to Tell the Secret of Soylent Green to Hatcher: ("Get to the Exchange. You gotta tell them they're right")

Thorn: "I've got proof. They need proof...Soylent Green is made out of people..."

Thorn's Final Words: "You're gonna tell 'em! Soylent Green is people! We've gotta stop 'em somehow!"

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
(chronological, by film title)
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