Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

Home Alone (1990)
Screenwriter(s): John Hughes

"I'm In Good Shape"

Play clip (excerpt): Home Alone

8-year old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) - accidentally abandoned in his home when his parents flew to France for Christmas, spoke to his mirror image about personal grooming - without his parents to assist. He combed his hair, applied Right Guard deodorant under his armpits, and put aftershave lotion on his face - causing him to scream:

I took a shower washing every body part with actual soap, including all my major crevices, including in between my toes and in my belly button which I never did before but sort of enjoyed. I washed my hair with adult formula shampoo and used cream rinse for that just-washed shine. I can't seem to find my toothbrush, so I'll pick one up when I go out today. Other than that, I'm in good shape.

Jacob's Ladder (1990)
Screenwriter(s): Bruce Joel Rubin

Guardian Angel Advice about Dying

Angelic and kindly chiropractor Louis' (Danny Aiello) calming and soothing speech to troubled soul and Vietnam vet Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) to relieve him from devils and his fear of dying during a treatment session when he repeatedly cracked Singer's spine:

You ever read Meister Eckart?...How'd you get your doctorate without reading Eckart? Relax...You're a regular basket case, you know that? Eckart saw Hell, too. You know what he said? He said: 'The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life. Your memories, your attachments. They burn 'em all away. But they're not punishing you,' he said. 'They're freeing your soul.' Relax. Good. So the way he sees it, if you're frightened of dyin' and you're holdin' on, you'll see devils tearin' your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freein' you from the earth. It's just a matter of how you look at it, that's all. So don't worry, okay? 'K? (laughing) Relax, relax. Relax.

Joe Versus The Volcano (1990)
Screenwriter(s): John Patrick Shanley

"I Can Feel Them Sucking the Juice Out of My Eyeballs"

After a terminal illness diagnosis with only six months to live, downtrodden medical supply firm office worker Joe Banks (Tom Hanks) expressed his real detestable feelings about his job to unpleasant boss Mr. Frank Waturi (Dan Hedaya) after returning from a three hour lunch to his desk area, covered in the greenish-light of flourescent lights. He blamed his condition on a "brain cloud" before announcing that he was quitting. He packed up his desk (with a Classics Illustrated copy of Robinson Crusoe, and the books Romeo and Juliet and The Odyssey; also taking his ukulele and lamp), and bequeathed his lamp to co-worker secretary DeDe (Meg Ryan).

Mr. Waturi, Frank. I quit....I've been working here four and a half years. The work I did I probably could have done in six months. That leaves four years left over. Four years. If I had them now - like gold in my hand. (he presented his lamp to DeDe) Here, this is for you. Goodbye, DeDe.

He then turned around to confront Mr. Waturi:

This life. Life, what a joke! This situation, this room...You look terrible, Mr. Waturi. You look like a bag of s--t stuffed in a cheap suit. Not that anybody could look good under these zombie lights. I, I, I can feel them sucking the juice out of my eyeballs. Suck suck suck suck suck. (sucking noise) $300 bucks a week. That's the news. For $300 bucks a week, I've lived in this sink, this used rubber (Frank: "Watch it, mister. There's a woman here") Don't you think I know that, Frank? Don't you think I'm aware that there is a woman here? I can smell her, like, like a flower. I can taste her like sugar on my tongue. When I'm 20 feet away, I can hear the fabric of her dress when she moves in her chair! Not that I've done anything about it.

I've gone all day, every day, not doing, not saying, not taking the chance, for $300 dollars a week. And Frank, the coffee, it stinks. It tastes like arsenic. These lights give me a headache. If they don't give you a headache, you must be dead, so let's arrange the funeral....You're not tellin' me nothin'....Why, I ask myself, why have I put up with you, I can't imagine. But I know. It's fear. Yellow freakin' fear. I've been too chicken-s--t afraid to live my life, so I sold it to you for $300 freakin' dollars a week! (He grabbed Waturi by the collar) You are lucky I don't kill you! You're lucky I don't rip your freakin' throat out! But I'm not going to! And maybe you're not so lucky at that. 'Cause I'm gonna leave you here, Mr. Wahoo Waturi. And what could be worse than that? (Joe left, but then the door re-opened and he came back in) DeDe?... How about dinner tonight?

Joe Versus The Volcano (1990)
Screenwriter(s): John Patrick Shanley

During a Moon Rise - "Thank You For My Life"

While floating on a raft, Joe experienced an astonishing fever-dream when he hallucinated a gigantic full moon rising on the horizon, bowing before it and praying, before slowly and physically crumbling from thirst, fever and exhaustion:

Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how big... Thank you. Thank you for my life.

Patricia Graynamore (Meg Ryan) told Joe about her love for him as he was about to heroically jump into the Big Woo volcano as a human sacrifice for the Waponis (led by the Waponi Chief (Abe Vigoda)), to appease their gods (once every century):

Wait! Stop! Wait! Stop right there! I love you! I've fallen in love with you! I've never loved anybody! I don't know how it happened? I never even slept with him or anything. And now you're gonna kill yourself! (Joe: "Can you give us a minute?" (to Patricia) "You love me?")

Yes, I love you! I can feel my heart! I feel like I'm going crazy! You just can't die and leave me here on this stinking earth without you!

He famously responded:

I've got to do it...'Cause I have wasted my entire life and I'm gonna die. Now, I have a chance to die like a man and I'm gonna take it! I've gotta take it! (Patricia: "I love you") I love you, too! I've never been in love with anybody before, either! It's great! I am glad! But the timing stinks. I gotta go.

He kissed her and walked up the steps to the edge of the volcano. Patricia bolted after him and proposed: "Marry me...Marry me and then jump in the volcano." The Chief was asked to perform the ceremony for them - although Joe showed some hesitation. Patricia encouraged him:

What is the problem? You're afraid of the commitment? You're gonna have to love and honor me for about 30 seconds. You can't handle that?

After being married in a very short ceremony, she again told him: "Don't jump in." He replied: "Patricia, listen to me. These are my last words. I gotta be brave. I gotta jump in. Good-bye." Patricia proposed that they leap together: "We'll take this leap and we'll see. We'll jump and we'll see. That's life." He agreed that they should go together, hand in hand, and both hope for a miracle:

Joe: I've been miserable so long. Years of my life, wasted I'm afraid. It's been a long time coming here to meet you. A long time, on a crooked road. Did I ever tell you the first time I saw you, I felt like I'd seen you before?
Patricia: You're not going anywhere without me (they passionately kissed)
Joe: So what are we hoping for here?
Patricia: A miracle.
Joe: A miracle. OK. I love you.
Patricia: You do?...OK.
Joe: Uh, this is it.
Patricia: OK.
Joe: Ooh, this is it...Give me your hand.
Patricia: OK, I love you, too.
Joe: OK.

The volcano spit them back out during an eruption and they were miraculously saved...and they lived happily ever after.

Presumed Innocent (1990)
Screenwriter(s): Frank Pierson, Alan J. Pakula

Opening and Closing Voice-Overs

Play clip (excerpt): Presumed Innocent

The film told about how Kindle County prosecutor, Rozat "Rusty" Sabich (Harrison Ford), married to Barbara (Bonnie Bedelia) with one young son, took the case of the rape-murder of his own female colleague/mistress Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi), a conflict of interest, and then became the prime suspect.

Although the case was ultimately dismissed, Sabich discovered evidence (a bloody hatchet) that proved his jealous wife was the killer of Polhemus, but he could not turn her in ("I couldn't take his mother from my son"). The case was left unsolved, although he continued to punish himself -

I am a prosecutor. I am a part of the business of accusing, judging and punishing. I explore the evidence of a crime and determine who is charged, who is brought to this room to be tried before his peers. I present my evidence to the jury and they deliberate upon it. They must determine what really happened. If they cannot, we will not know if the accused deserves to be freed or should be punished. If they cannot find the truth, what is our hope of justice?

The murder of Carolyn Polhemus remains unsolved. It is a practical impossibility to try two people for the same crime. Even if it wasn't, I couldn't take his mother from my son. I am a prosecutor. I have spent my life in the assignment of blame. With all deliberation and intent, I reached for Carolyn. I cannot pretend it was an accident. I reached for Carolyn, and set off that insane mix of rage and lunacy that led one human being to kill another. There was a crime. There was a victim. And there is punishment.



Presumed Innocent (1990)
Screenwriter(s): Frank Pierson, Alan J. Pakula

A Scorned Woman's Murder Confession

Barbara (Bonnie Bedelia), the wife of Assistant DA Rusty Sabich (Harrison Ford) confessed in a lengthy scene at their dining room table, about how she murdered Caroline Polhemus (Greta Scacchi) because of her affair with Rusty:

You understand what happened had to happen. It couldn't have turned out any other way. A woman's depressed - with herself, with life. With her husband, who had made life possible for her, until he was bewitched by another woman. A destroyer. Abandoned. Like someone left for dead. She plans her suicide, until the dream begins. In the dream, the destroyer is destroyed. That's a dream worth living for. Now, with such simplicity, such clarity, everything falls into place. It must be a crime that her husband can declare unsolved and be believed by all the world. She must make it look like a rape, but she must leave her husband the clues. Once he discovers who it was, he'll put the case into the file of unsolved murders. Another break-in by some sex-crazed man. But all his life, he'll know that it was her. She remembers a set of glasses she bought for the woman some time before - a housewarming gift from her husband and his office. She buys another set. Her husband has a beer one night - doesn't even comment on the glass. Now she has his fingerprints. Then on a few mornings, she saves the fluid that comes out when she removes her diaphragm. Puts it in a plastic bag. Puts the bag in the basement freezer, and waits. She calls the woman and asks to see her. Stops first at the U and logs into the computer. Now she has her alibi.

She goes to the woman. The woman lets her in. When her head is turned, she removes the instrument from her bag and strikes. The destroyer is destroyed. She takes a cord out that she brought along, and ties her body in ways her husband described that perverts do. She feels power, control. A sense that she's guided by a force beyond herself. She takes a syringe and injects the contents of the Ziploc bag. Leaves the glass on the bar. Unlocks the door and windows. And goes home. And life begins again. Until a trial, when she sees her husband suffer the way she never intended. She was prepared to tell the truth, right up to the very end. But magically, the charges were dismissed. The suffering was over. And they were saved!

Rusty blurted out and sobbed the response: "Saved?!"

The Two Jakes (1990)
Screenwriter(s): Robert Towne

"You Can't Forget the Past..."

Play clip (excerpt): The Two Jakes

Infidelity/divorce private investigator J.J. "Jake" Gittes (actor/director Jack Nicholson) mused (in voice-over) about the past, in a post-war late 40s Los Angeles setting, the sequel to Chinatown (1974), as he drove to B&B Homes subdivision in the San Fernando Valley:

Time changes things like the fruit stand that turns into a filling station. But the footprints and signs from the past are everywhere. They've been fighting over this land ever since the first Spanish missionaries showed the Indians the benefits of religion, horses, and a few years of forced labor. The Indians had it right all along. They respected ghosts. You can't forget the past any more than you can change it.

Hearing Katherine Mulwray's name started me thinking about old secrets, family, property, and a guy doin' his partner dirt. Memories are like that - as unpredictable as nitro, and you never know what's gonna set one off.

Like the clues that keep you on the right track are never where you look for 'em. They fall out of the pocket of somebody else's suit you pick up at the cleaners. They're in the tune you can't stop humming, that you never heard in your life. They're at the other end of the wrong number you dial in the middle of the night. The signs are in all those old familiar places you only think you've never been before. But you get used to seeing them out of the corner of your eye, and you end up tripping over the ones that are right in front of you. I should have been wise to Berman's hand-wringing act from the very beginning. It was as plain as the shoes on his feet.

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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