Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Screenwriter(s): John Hughes

How to Fake Out Parents and Avoid School

After the credits, during which smug and confident bed-ridden Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) told his parents that his stomach hurt and he was seeing spots, and his hands were clammy, he then directed instructions to the camera about how to successfully avoid school:

They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second. How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this? This is my ninth sick day this semester. It's getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I'm probably gonna have to barf up a lung, so I'd better make this one count. The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It's a good non-specific symptom. I'm a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh, you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor's office. That's worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you're bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It's a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it. I do have a test today, that wasn't bull-s--t. It's on European socialism. I mean really, what's the point. I'm not European. I don't plan on being European, so who gives a crap if they're socialists. They could be fascist anarchists and it still wouldn't change the fact that I don't own a car. (Singing in shower) It's not that I condone fascism or any 'ism' for that matter. Ism's, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an 'ism,' he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: 'I don't believe in Beatles. I just believe in me.' A good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Screenwriter(s): John Hughes

"Anyone? Anyone?"

The droning and dry Economics teacher's (Ben Stein) lecture to bored students, prompting often with 'Anyone?':

In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... Raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. 'Voodoo' Economics.

The Fly (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Charles Edward Pogue, David Cronenberg

"Insect Politics"

The infamous "insect politics" speech made by a decaying -- both physically and mentally -- Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) to girlfriend/lover and reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis), who came to see him one last time:

You have to leave now, and never come back here. Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects don't have politics. They're very brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first insect politician. You see, I'd like to, but, oh, I'm afraid, uh... I'm saying, I'm saying, I-I'm an insect who dreamt he was a man but he loved it. But now the dream is over and the insect is awake....I'm saying: 'I'll hurt you if you stay.'

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen

"God, She's Beautiful"

Play clip (excerpt): Hannah and Her Sisters

Elliot's (Michael Caine) "God, she's beautiful" voice-over monologue in the film's opening, in which he lusted after his married sister-in-law Lee (Barbara Hershey) at a Thanksgiving party:

God, she's beautiful. She's got the prettiest eyes, and she looks so sexy in that sweater. I just want to be alone with her and hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her and take care of her. Stop it, you idiot. She's your wife's sister. But I can't help it! I'm consumed by her. It's been months now. I dream about her. I, I, I think about her at the office. Ah, Lee. (sighing) What am I gonna do? I hear myself mooning over you, and it's disgusting. Before, when she squeezed past me in the doorway, and I smelled that perfume on the back of her neck... Jesus, I, I thought I was gonna swoon! Easy. You're a dignified financial advisor. It doesn't look good for you to swoon.

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen

Disgust at American Society and Culture

Play clip (excerpt): Hannah and Her Sisters

Bitter, anti-social and reclusive artist Frederick's (Max Von Sydow) dismissal of contemporary American culture to his younger lover Lee (Barbara Hershey) - who was having an affair with her sister's husband Elliot (Michael Caine) and would soon announce that she was moving out. She had returned home late, finding him reading a newspaper and biting into a sandwich in the kitchen area:

You missed a very dull TV show about Auschwitz. More gruesome film clips, and more puzzled intellectuals declaring their mystification over the systematic murder of millions. The reason why they could never answer the question, 'How could it possibly happen?' is that it's the wrong question. Given what people are, the question is 'Why doesn't it happen more often?' Of course it does, in subtler form... It's been ages since I sat in front of the TV, just changing channels to find something.

You see the whole culture - Nazis, deodorant salesman, wrestlers, beauty contests, the talk show. Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling, hmm? But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers, third-rate con men, telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak for Jesus and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Woody Allen

Life Affirmation After Watching a Marx Brothers Comedy

In the film's conclusion was suicidal Mickey Sach's (Woody Allen) life-affirming, flashbacked monologue told to Holly (Dianne Wiest). He thought back (in voice-over) to when he almost killed himself with a shotgun blast, and then explained how he had found refuge in a movie theatre that was playing Duck Soup (1933) where he experienced a climactic epiphany:

One day about a month ago, I really hit bottom. You know, I just felt that in a Godless universe, I didn't want to go on living. Now I happen to own this rifle, which I loaded, believe it or not, and pressed it to my forehead. And I remember thinking, at the time, I'm gonna kill myself. Then I thought, what if I'm wrong? What if there is a God? I mean, after all, nobody really knows that. But then I thought, no, you know, maybe is not good enough. I want certainty or nothing. And I remember very clearly, the clock was ticking, and I was sitting there frozen with the gun to my head, debating whether to shoot.

(The gun went off accidentally, shattering a mirror) All of a sudden, the gun went off. I had been so tense my finger had squeezed the trigger inadvertently. But I was perspiring so much the gun had slid off my forehead and missed me. And suddenly neighbors were, were pounding on the door, and, and I don't know, the whole scene was just pandemonium. And, uh, you know, I-I-I ran to the door, I-I didn't know what to say. You know, I was-I was embarrassed and confused and my-my-my mind was r-r-racing a mile a minute. And I-I just knew one thing.

I-I-I had to get out of that house, I had to just get out in the fresh air and-and clear my head. And I remember very clearly, I walked the streets. I walked and I walked. I-I didn't know what was going through my mind. It all seemed so violent and un-unreal to me. And I wandered for a long time on the Upper West Side, you know, and-and it must have been hours. You know, my-my feet hurt, my head was-was pounding, and-and I had to sit down. I went into a movie house. I-I didn't know what was playing or anything.

I just, I just needed a moment to gather my thoughts and, and be logical and put the world back into rational perspective. [Marx Brothers film] And I went upstairs to the balcony, and I sat down, and, you know, the movie was a-a-a film that I'd seen many times in my life since I was a kid, and-and I always, uh, loved it. And, you know, I'm-I'm watching these people up on the screen and I started getting hooked on the film, you know. And I started to feel, how can you even think of killing yourself. I mean isn't it so stupid? I mean, l-look at all the people up there on the screen. You know, they're real funny, and-and what if the worst is true.

What if there's no God, and you only go around once and that's it. Well, you know, don't you want to be part of the experience? You know, what the hell, it's-it's not all a drag. And I'm thinkin' to myself, geez, I should stop ruining my life - searching for answers I'm never gonna get, and just enjoy it while it lasts. And, you know, after, who knows? I mean, you know, maybe there is something. Nobody really knows. I know, I know maybe is a very slim reed to hang your whole life on, but that's the best we have. And then, I started to sit back, and I actually began to enjoy myself.

Hoosiers (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Angelo Pizzo

"We're Gonna Be Winners!"

Play clip (excerpt): Hoosiers

Coach Norman Dale's (Gene Hackman) stirring motivational speech to the 1952 Hickory High School Huskers basketball team before their regional Indiana state championship game:

There's a, uhm, tradition in tournament play to not talk about the next step until you've climbed the one in front of you. I'm sure going to the State finals is beyond your wildest dreams, so let's just keep it right there. Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here. Focus on the fundamentals that we've gone over time and time again. And most important, don't get caught up thinking about winning or losing this game. If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game. In my book, we're gonna be winners! OK?!

Platoon (1986)
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone

Letter to Home: Grunts - "They're Fighting For Our Society and Our Freedom. It's Weird, Isn't It?"

While serving combat duty in Vietnam in the late 1960s, Private Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) narrated in voice-over to his Grandma about how he had given up college to volunteer for military service in Bravo Company (25th Infantry Division) somewhere near the Cambodian border. He talked about how he was a new recruit and his life wasn't worth much, and how he had made a big mistake.

Somebody once wrote: 'Hell is the impossibility of reason.' That's what this place feels like. Hell. I hate it already and it's only been a week. Some god-damn week, Grandma. The hardest thing I think I've ever done is go on point three times this week - I don't even know what I'm doing. A gook could be standing three feet in front of me and I wouldn't know it. I'm so tired. We get up at 5 am, hump all day, camp around four or five, dig a foxhole, eat, then put out an all-night ambush or a three-man listening post in the jungle. It's scary, 'cause nobody tells me how to do anything 'cause I'm new, and nobody cares about the new guys. They don't even want to know your name.

The unwritten rule is a new guy's life isn't worth as much 'cause he hasn't put his time in yet - and they say, if you're gonna get killed in the Nam, it's better to get it in the first few weeks, the logic being you don't suffer that much. If you're lucky, you get to stay in the perimeter at night and then you pull a three-hour guard shift, so maybe you sleep three, four hours a night, but you don't really sleep. I don't think I can keep this up for a year, Grandma. I think I made a big mistake comin' here...

Slightly later, during a rainy night ambush patrol, he admired other "grunts" as the "heart and soul" of the war effort:

Of course, Mom and Dad didn't want me to come here. They wanted me to be just like them. Respectable, hardworking, a little house, a family. They drove me crazy with their goddamn world, Grandma. You know Mom. I guess I've always been sheltered and special. I just wanna be anonymous like everybody else. Do my share for my country. Live up to what Grandpa did in the first war and Dad did in the second.

Well, here I am, anonymous, all right, with guys nobody really cares about. They come from the end of the line, most of 'em. Small towns you never heard of: Pulaski, Tennessee. Brandon, Mississippi. Pork Bend, Utah. Wampum, Pennsylvania. Two years' high school's about it. Maybe if they're lucky, a job waiting for 'em back in a factory. But most of 'em got nothin'. They're poor. They're the unwanted. Yet they're fighting for our society and our freedom. It's weird, isn't it? At the bottom of the barrel, and they know it. Maybe that's why they call themselves 'grunts', 'cause a grunt can take it, can take anything. They're the best I've ever seen, Grandma. The heart and soul...

Maybe I finally found it way down here in the mud. Maybe from down here I can start up again and be something I can be proud of, without having to fake it, be a fake human being. Maybe I can see something I don't yet see, or learn something I don't yet know. I miss you. I miss you very much. Tell Mom I miss her too. Chris.

True Stories (1986)
Screenwriter(s): David Byrne, Beth Henley, Stephen Tobolowsky

Lying Woman's Tall-Tale Claims

Play clip (excerpt): True Stories

At Brownie's Restaurant in Virgil Texas, the Lying Woman (Jo Harvey Allen) made funny, bizarre, increasingly outrageous claims (about having amazing psychic powers due to the presence of a tail) that she told to her date - an incredulous, lonely, and shy panda bear-shaped bachelor and country-western singer Louis Fyne (John Goodman) who had a "Wife Wanted" sign on his front lawn. Among her fabricated claims was that she wrote "Billie Jean" and half of Elvis' songs:

Yeah, I'm in the construction business. Got work goin' on at five sites right now. Bought me a condo last week! Shoot, real close to here, as a matter of fact. And next week, I just think I might buy me another house. Darlin', I'll tell you what now, I just have a feel for it, do you know what I mean? Of course, bein' overly psychic sure doesn't hurt anything. It's paid off for me! Listen, Mr. Fry ... Fine, ... Louis, darlin', listen, I'll tell you somethin' if you promise not to tell another livin' soul. Now, I'd never tell this to anybody else, but I believe that part of my extra-psychic ability's connected up with the fact that I was born with a tail. Little ol' bitty hairy thing about that long - had it surgically removed when I was just five years old. My Momma kept it in a fruit jar, up in the medicine cabinet, right between the 4-Way Cold Tablets and the monkey blood. I'd get up every morning - first thing I'd go in there in the bathroom brush my teeth and stare at my own tail at the same time.

Now, somethin' like that can give you power - and that's the truth. Then Momma got a wild hair one Sunday and she decided to go make a lot of money off of it, you know. Took it out to a big ol' swap meet and sold it to Lyndon Johnson's top Secret Service agent. And he told a good personal friend of mine that he was gonna sell it for even more money to the Smithsonian Institute. Shoot, he might as well, it wouldn't do him any good. It wasn't HIS tail!

Gee, I'll tell you, I could write a book. That thing would be a best seller... Oh, don't be nervous. Songs are easy. I wrote "Billie Jean" and half of Elvis' songs...Hell, yes! You know, they pay me and I keep quiet. You know, somebody's got to do it! Excuse me just a minute, Pumpkin, I'll be right back, OK?

True Stories (1986)
Screenwriter(s): David Byrne, Beth Henley, Stephen Tobolowsky

"There's No Concept of Weekends Anymore"

Play clip (excerpt): True Stories

After the title card, the subtitle of the film was: "A Film About a Bunch of People in Virgil Texas." VariCorps Corporation's founder Earl Culver (Spalding Gray) made an astonishing, magical speech on business and changing lifestyles (explaining the disappearance of weekends due to a new work ethic). His monologue was delivered over his family's dinner table, consisting of a meal of lobster, asparagus, peppers and pigs in blankets.

He explained about how scientists and engineers in Virgil, Texas had fled from corporations (like computer manufacturer VariCorps) and government jobs to start their own businesses, creating confusion and chaos. He visually demonstrated his ideas with the food set on the table:

Now, if this is the town, and here is the workplace with its goods, and distribution network. Now, most middle-class people have worked for large corporations like VariCorps, or for the government itself. But now, all that started to change. Scientists and engineers are moving off from those large corporations like VariCorps and they're beginning to start their own companies, marketing new inventions.

("Excuse me, Mr. Culver. I forget what these peppers represent.")

Ah, ha. It all spins back to the middle. Here we are right here, inverted. Our way of doing business has been based on the past. That's why we have to keep these guys in Virgil, even though they do leave VariCorps. For the time being, it's created confusion and chaos. They don't work for money anymore, but to earn a place in heaven, which was a big motivating factor once upon a time, believe you me, they are working and inventing because they like it! Economics has become a spiritual thing. I must admit it frightens me a little bit. They don't seem to see the difference between working and not working. It's all become a part of one's life. Linda! Larry! There's no concept of weekends anymore!

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