Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

(National Lampoon's) Animal House (1978)
Screenwriter(s): Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller

"Nothing Is Over Until We Decide It Is!"

Play clip (excerpt): (National Lampoon's) Animal House

A "psychotic" Bluto (John Belushi) gave a factually inaccurate motivational speech to his frat brothers after the Delta House Fraternity had been closed and they had all been kicked out of school. When he was told by D-Day (Bruce McGill): "War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one," he was incensed:

What? Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!...

It ain't over now, 'cause when the goin' gets tough, the tough get goin'. Who's with me? Let's go! Come on!...(He ran to the front door but no one followed him)

(He returned, chastising his frat brothers) What the f--k happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're gonna let it be the worst. 'Ooh, we're afraid to go with you, Bluto, we might get in trouble.' (shouting) Well, just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer...

Otter (Tim Matheson) agreed with Bluto: "Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now, we could fight 'em with conventional weapons. That could take years and cost millions of lives. No, in this case, I think we have to go all out. I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part."

We're just the guys to do it...LET'S DO IT!

Big Wednesday (1978)
Screenwriter: John Milius

"In the old days..."

The film's opening voice-over narration prologue (Robert Englund) extolled the exuberation over waking up in a parked car to the ocean winds and warmth, readying surfers to a "special day":

In the old days, I remember a wind that would blow down through the canyons. It was a hot wind called a Santa Ana [pronounced incorrectly as Santana], and it carried with it the smell of warm places. It blew the strongest before dawn, across the Point. My friends and I would sleep in our cars, and the smell of the offshore wind would often wake us. And each morning, we knew this would be a special day.

Coming Home (1978)
Screenwriter(s): Waldo Salt, Robert C. Jones

"There's a Choice to Be Made Here"

Disabled, wheelchair-bound, partially paralyzed Vietnam vet Luke Martin (Jon Voight) gave an impassioned, tearful "there's a choice to be made here" speech to high school students, to provide a different perspective, after they listened to a Marine recruiter. The scene was inter-cut with one of Marine Corps Captain Bob Hyde (Bruce Dern), distraught and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, swimming out naked into the ocean to commit suicide:

You know, you want to be a part of it, patriotic, go out and get your licks in for the U.S. of A. And when you get over there, it's a totally different situation. I mean, you grow up real quick. Because all you're seeing is, uhm, a lot of death. And I know some of you guys are going to look at the uniformed man and you're going to remember all the films and you're going to think about the glory of other wars and think about some vague patriotic feeling and go off and fight this turkey too. And I'm telling you it ain't like it's in the movies. That's all I want to tell you, because I didn't have a choice. When I was your age, all I got was some guy standing up like that, man, giving me a lot of bullshit, man, which I caught. I was really in good shape then, man. I was captain of the football team. And I wanted to be a war hero, man, I wanted to go out and kill for my country.

And now I'm here to tell ya that I have killed for my country, or whatever. And I don't feel good about it. Because there's not enough reason, man, to feel a person die in your hands or to see your best buddy get blown away. I'm here to tell ya it's a lousy thing, man. I don't see any reason for it. And there's a lot of s--t that I did over there that I find f--king hard to live with. And I don't want to see people like you, man, comin' back and having to face the rest of your lives with that kind of s--t. It's as simple as that. I don't feel sorry for myself. I'm a lot f--kin' smarter now than when I went. And I'm just tellin' ya, there's a choice to be made here.

Halloween (1978)
Screenwriter(s): John Carpenter, Debra Hill

A Chilling Description of the Evil Michael Myers

Play clip (excerpt): Halloween

Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) presented a chilling description of the unredeemable, unreachable, and evil mental patient, Michael Myers:

I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no, uh, conscience, no understanding and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six year-old child with this bland, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes - the Devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply evil...

Midnight Express (1978)
Screenwriter: Oliver Stone

"I Hate You, I Hate Your Nation, and I Hate Your People"

In the film's second trial scene, imprisoned drug-smuggler Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), standing in the prisoner's dock, addressed the Turkish court and argued for his release after incarceration for three and a half years; he had been notified that his original sentence was overturned, and he would now have to serve a life sentence - for both possession and smuggling of hash:

What is there for me to say? When I finish, you'll sentence me for my crime. So let me ask you now: What is the crime? What is the punishment? It seems to vary from time to time and place to place. What's legal today is suddenly illegal tomorrow because some society says it's so, and what's illegal yesterday is suddenly legal because everybody's doing it, and you can't put everybody in jail. I'm not sayin' this is right or wrong. I'm just saying that's the way it is. But I've spent three and a half years of my life in your prison, and I think I've paid for my error, and if it's your decision today to sentence me to more years, then I...My lawyer, my lawyer, that's a good one. He says, 'Just be cool, Billy. Don't get angry. Don't get upset. Be good and I'll get you a pardon, an amnesty, an appeal, or this or that or the other thing' Well, this has been going on now for three and a half years. And I have been playing it cool. I've been good. And now I'm damn tired of being good because you people gave me the belief that I had 53 days left. You, you hung 53 days in front of my face, and then you just took those 53 days away. And you, Booth! I just wish you could be standin' where I'm standin' right now and feel what that feels like, because then you would know something that you don't know, Mr. Prosecutor. Mercy! You would know that the concept of a society is based on the quality of that mercy, its sense of fair play, its sense of justice. But I guess that's like askin' a bear to s--t in a toilet.

At the end of Billy's speech about mercy, he was overcome and he angrily shrieked at the Chief Judge (Gigi Ballista) in the Turkish courtroom:

For a nation of pigs, it sure is funny you don't eat 'em. Jesus Christ forgave the bastards, but I can't. I hate. I hate you, I hate your nation, and I hate your people. And I f--k your sons and daughters because they're pigs! You're a pig. You're all pigs!

The Judge leniently reduced Billy's sentence to "a term no less than 30 years."

Superman: The Movie (1978) (aka Superman)
Screenwriter(s): Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton

Flying Over Metropolis with Superman

Reporter Lois Lane's (Margot Kidder) love-struck internal monologue as she flew over Metropolis in Superman's (Christopher Reeve) arms and next to him:

Can you read my mind? Do you know what it is that you do to me? I don't know who you are. Just a friend from another star. Here I am like a kid out of school. Holding hands with a god. I'm a fool. Will you look at me? Quivering. Like a little girl shivering. You can see right through me. Can you read my mind? Can you picture the things I'm thinking of? Wondering why you are all the wonderful things you are. You can fly! You belong in the sky. You and I could belong to each other. If you need a friend, I'm the one to fly to. If you need to be loved, here I am. Read my mind.

Watership Down (1978)
Screenwriter(s): Martin Rosen

The Rabbit Creation Myth

Play clip (excerpt): Watership Down (1978)

The opening narration (voice of Michael Hordern) - a rabbit creation myth, was delivered by the creator god Frith. In the myth, rabbits multipled and wandered everywhere with great appetites, consuming everything - thus leading to a food shortage. Frith ordered that "The Prince of Rabbits" named El-Ahrairah, control the rabbits, but was ignored and scoffed at. Therefore, Frith, decided to punish them by giving various gifts to each animal and bird, making some of the animals (such as the fox, dog, cat, hawk, and weasel) predators of the rabbits. Frith also blessed the rabbits, by giving them the gifts of speed and cunning:

Long ago, the great Frith made the world. He made all the stars, and the world lived among the stars. Frith made all the animals and birds, and, at first, made them all the same. Now, among the animals was El-ahrairah, the Prince of Rabbits. He had many friends, and they all ate grass together. But after a time, the rabbits wandered everywhere, multiplied and eating as they went. Then, Frith said to El-ahrairah: 'Prince Rabbit, if you cannot control your people, I shall find ways to control them.' But El-ahrairah would not listen and said to Frith: 'My people are the strongest in the world.'

This angered Frith, so he determined to get the better of El-ahrairah. He gave a present to every animal and bird, making each one different from the rest. When the fox came and others, like the dog and cat, hawk and weasel, to each of them, Frith gave a fierce desire to hunt and slay the children of El-ahrairah. Then, El-ahrairah knew that Frith was too clever for him, and he was frightened. He had never before seen the Black Rabbit of Death.

'My friend,' said Frith, 'Have you seen El-ahrairah? For I wish to give him a gift.' 'No, I have not seen him.' So Frith said, 'Come out, and I will bless you instead.' 'No, I cannot. I am busy. The fox and weasel are coming. If you want to bless me, you will have to bless my bottom.' 'Very well, be it so.'

And El-ahrairah's tail grew shining white, and it flashed like a star. And his back legs grew long and powerful. And he tore across the hill, faster than any creature in the world. 'All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you...digger, listener, runner. Prince with the swift warren. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people will never be destroyed.'

All That Jazz (1979)
Screenwriter(s): Robert Alan Aurthur, Bob Fosse

Introducing Joe Gideon in His Final Appearance "On the Great Stage of Life"

Director/choreographer Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) was introduced by ultimate variety show host and singer/dancer O'Connor Flood (Ben Vereen) for his final performance:

Folks! What can I tell you about my next guest? This cat allowed himself to be adored, but not loved. And his success in show business was matched by failure in his personal relationship bag, now - that's where he really bombed. And he came to believe that work, show business, love, his whole life, even himself and all that jazz, was bulls--t. He became numero uno game player - uh, to the point where he didn't know where the games ended and the reality began. Like, for this cat, the only reality - is death, man. Ladies and gentlemen, let me lay on you a so-so entertainer, not much of a humanitarian, and this cat was never nobody's friend. In his final appearance on the great stage of life - uh, you can applaud if you wanna - Mr. Joe Gideon!

...And Justice For All (1979)
Screenwriter(s): Valerie Curtin, Barry Levinson

On Prisons - "We Need Unjust Punishment"

Loathsome, unethical Judge Henry T. Fleming (John Forsythe), while swimming laps in his steamy enclosed outdoor pool, argued with defense attorney Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) that prisons were appropriate places for punishment in the justice system:

Prison should be a frightening place. Let those criminals create their own hellhole....I tell you, Arthur, the idea of punishment to fit the crime doesn't work. We need unjust punishment. Hang somebody for armed robbery. Try it! We've got nothin' to lose. Do you understand what I'm sayin' to you, for God's sake? You don't, do you? Oh! You fellas with your fancy ideas of rehabilitation. I tell you that the concept of rehabilitation is a farce. Do you honestly think that, that bringing Johnny Cash into prisons to sing railroad songs is gonna rehabilitate anyone? Most people are sick and tired of mugging and crime in the streets...(Arthur left the enclosure) Arthur? Arthur?

...And Justice For All (1979)
Screenwriter(s): Valerie Curtin, Barry Levinson

"You're Out of Order! You're Out of Order! The Whole Trial is Out of Order!" - A Riotous Opening Statement

Hot-headed, idealistic and ethical defense attorney Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) was forced into a defense case by blackmail, to represent former hateful rival Judge Henry T. Fleming (John Forsythe), who earlier had supported the wrongful imprisonment of Kirkland's innocent defendant Jeff McCullaugh (Thomas Waites) (who was subsequently killed).

Accused of rape, Fleming admitted to Kirkland, with a sleazy comment just before the proceedings, that he wanted to see the "attractive" rape victim again. During the first part of the trial, it appeared that Kirkland was properly defending his client with his opening statement, but then turned on him with tremendous rage, condemning him for abusing law and order and calling him 'guilty':

Your Honor, Mr. Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my name is Arthur Kirkland, and I am the defense counsel for the defendant, Judge Henry T. Fleming. Now, that man over there, he's the prosecuting attorney, and he couldn't be happier today. He is a happy man today, because today he's goin' after a judge, and if he gets him, if he gets him, he's gonna be a star. He's gonna have his name in this month's Law Review - Centerfold, Lawyer of the Month. Now, in order to win this case, he needs you, naturally. You're all he's got, believe me. So he's counting on tapping that emotion in you which says, 'Let's get somebody in power. Let's get a judge.' However, these proceedings are not about that. These proceedings are here to see that justice is done. And justice is, as any reasonable person will tell ya, the finding of the truth. And what is the truth today? One truth, a tragic one, is that that girl has been beaten and raped. Another truth is that the prosecution doesn't have a witness, does not have one piece of substantiating evidence other than the testimony of the victim herself. Another truth is that my client, voluntarily, and the prosecution is well aware of this fact, voluntarily took a lie detector test...and told the truth...

Sorry, Your Honor. Let's get back to justice. What is justice? What is the intention of justice? The intention of justice is to see that the guilty people are proven guilty and that the innocent are freed. Simple, isn't it? Only it's not that simple. However, it is the defense counsel's duty to protect the rights of the individual, as it is the prosecution's duty to uphold and defend the laws of the State. Justice for all. Only we have a problem here. And you know what it is? Both sides wanna win. We wanna win. We wanna win regardless of the truth. And we wanna win regardless of justice, regardless of who's guilty or innocent. Winning is everything! That man there wants a win so badly today, it means so much to him, he is so carried away with the prospect of winning, the idea, that he forgot something that's absolutely essential to today's proceedings. He forgot his case. He forgot to bring it. I don't know, I don't see it, do you? The prosecution's case. He's gotta have one. Not a witness, not one piece of substantiating evidence other than the testimony of the victim herself. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a case to end all cases. I have witnesses for my client, I have character references, testimonials that are backed up from here to Washington, DC! I got lie detector tests that are...

The one thing that bothered me, the one thing that stayed in my mind and I couldn't get rid of it, that haunted me, was 'why?' Why would she lie? What was her motive for lyin'? If my client is innocent, she's lying. Why? Was it blackmail? No. Was it jealousy? No. Yesterday, I found out why. She doesn't have a motive. You know why? Because she's not lying. And ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution is not gonna get that man today. No! Because I'm gonna get him! My client, the Honorable Henry T. Fleming, should go right to f--kin' jail! The son of a bitch is guilty!

That man is guilty! That man there, that man is a slime! He is a slime! If he's allowed to go free, then something really wrong is goin' on here!...

You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order! That man, that sick, crazy depraved man raped and beat that woman there, and he'd like to do it again! He told me so! It's just a show! It's a show! It's 'Let's Make a Deal!' Let's make a deal! (As he was dragged from the courtroom) Hey, Frank, you want to make a deal? I got an insane judge who likes to beat the s--t out of women! What do you want to give me, Frank? Three weeks probation?...

You, you son of a bitch, you! You're supposed to stand for somethin'! You're supposed to protect people! But instead you f--kin' murder them! You killed McCullaugh!! You killed him! Hold it! Hold it! I just completed my opening statement!

Apocalypse Now (1979)
Screenwriter(s): John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Herr (narration)

"I Love The Smell of Napalm in the Morning"

Top Pick

Play clip (excerpt): Apocalypse Now - 1979

Lt. Col. Kilgore (Robert Duvall) mused as he gave a beachside monologue during a Vietnamese War raid about the thrill of senseless murder, while shirtless and kneeling on the besieged beachfront:

You smell that? Do you smell that? ... Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed for twelve hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. But the smell - you know, that gasoline smell. The whole hill smelled like victory. (A bomb exploded behind him.) Someday this war's gonna end.

Apocalypse Now (1979)
Screenwriter(s): John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Herr (narration)

"I've Seen the Horrors"

Col. Kurtz' (Marlon Brando) 'horror' speech, in which he spoke of the "horrors" that he had seen in the bloody conflict, including the hacked-off arms of inoculated South Vietnamese children by Vietcong guerrillas. He also denied that Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) had any moral right to judge his actions or behavior:

I've seen the horrors -- horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me.

It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face. And you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies.

I remember when I was with Special Forces. Seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We'd left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio. And this old man came running after us, and he was crying. He couldn't say. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were, in a pile - a pile of little arms. And I remember, I...I...I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget.

And then I realized - like I was shot, like I was shot with a diamond, a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, 'My God, the genius of that. The genius.' The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure! And then I realized, they were stronger than me because they could stand it. These were not monsters. These were men -- trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts who have families, who have children, who are filled with love - that they had the strength, the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill - without feeling, without passion, without judgment - without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us.

I worry that my son might not understand what I've tried to be. And if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything. Everything I did, everything you saw. Because there's nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies. And if you understand me, Willard, you - you will do this for me.

Being There (1979)
Screenwriter(s): Jerzy Kosinski

Contempt Toward Chauncey

Black cook Louise (Ruth Attaway) was contemptuous as she watched TV and saw the adoration by society for Chance-Chauncey Gardiner (Peter Sellers):

It's for sure a white man's world in America....Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I'll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between the ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jack-ass. Look at him now! Yessir, all you've gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want. Gobbledy-gook!

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
(chronological, by film title)
1920-1931 | 1932-1935 | 1936-1937 | 1938-1939 | 1939
1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943-1944 | 1945-1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952-1954
1955 | 1956-1957 | 1958-1959 | 1960 | 1961-1962 | 1963-1964 | 1965-1967 | 1968-1969
1970 | 1971 | 1972-1973 | 1974-1975 | 1976 | 1976-1977 | 1978-1979 | 1979 | 1980
1981 | 1982 | 1982-1983 | 1984 | 1984-1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1989
1990 | 1990 | 1991 | 1991 | 1992 | 1992 | 1993 | 1993 | 1994 | 1994 | 1995 | 1995
1996 | 1996 | 1997 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 1999 | 2000 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2004
2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009-2010
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