Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Linda Woolverton

"Who Could Ever Learn to Love A Beast?"

The Narrator's (voice of David Ogden Stiers) voice-over introduction to the fairy tale in the film's opening, explaining how the Prince became a Beast and how he could remove the enchantress' spell:

Once upon a time in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. But then, one winter's night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away, but she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. And when he dismissed her again, the old woman's ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress. The prince tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart. And as punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast and placed a powerful spell on the castle and all who lived there.

Ashamed of his monstrous form, the beast concealed himself inside his castle, with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world. The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose which would bloom until his 21st year. If he could learn to love another and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope for who could ever learn to love a beast?

Bugsy (1991)
Screenwriter(s): James Toback

"Just Leap Ahead With Something on Faith"

Psychopathic, larger-than-life, flamboyant, and visionary East Coast 40s Jewish gangster Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel (Oscar-nominated Warren Beatty), wearing a ridiculous white chef's hat, attempting to convince his East Coast mobster associates, including long-time confidant Meyer Lansky (Ben Kingsley), of the wisdom of building The Flamingo resort/casino in the Nevada desert with $1 million of their financing, during his daughter Millicent's birthday party:

It's like another state but it's not another state. A foreign country, Meyer, can always throw you out. Nevada is another state and it's open. If we do this thing right, if we follow the hotel with schools and churches and synagogues, and build all the things that give a city backbone, we'll be in charge before you know it...If you got a state, the whole country is within your reach...Why be bogged down by petty limitations? Open your eyes to the horizons...Since I'm going to be doin' all the work and the partners will be sharing in the success, I think the money should come from them...The Flamingo will make all of our gambling interests legitimate. Meyer, listen, we've known each other since we were too young to f---k. When did I ever ask you to just close your eyes, shut off the thinking, and just leap ahead with something on faith? Never. But I'm asking you now. Do this!

Cape Fear (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Wesley Strick

"Counselor. Could You Be There?"

Convicted rapist and ex-con Max Cady (Robert DeNiro) sought revenge against Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte), the lawyer ("Counselor") who put him away 14 years earlier. Reaching the end of his patience, Bowden eventually hired three thugs from his PI Claude Kersek (Joe Don Baker) to attack Cady one night to intimidate him with clubs and knives, but the vengeful and brutish Cady turned the tables on his attackers.

He then heard Bowden observing and hiding behind a car to witness the brutality, and as Cady approached toward him, he psychotically boasted of his prowess, greatness and determination:

Counselor? Counselor, is that you? Counselor, come out, come out, wherever you are! I ain't no white trash piece of s--t. I'm better than you all! I can out-learn you. I can out-reach you. I can out-think you. And I can out-philosophize you. And I'm gonna outlast you. You think a couple whacks to my good ol' boy guts is gonna get me down? It's gonna take a hell of a lot more than that, Counselor, to prove you're better than me! I am like God, and God like me. I am as large as God. He is as small as I. He cannot above me, nor I beneath Him be. Silesius, 17th Century. Counselor? Counselor, could you be there? Could you be there? (He whistled) Counselor. I wonder if you're here. Ah, f--k it.

City Slickers (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel

Career Day - What is Life?

Play clip (excerpt): City Slickers

During career day at his child's elementary school, Mitch Robbins' (Billy Crystal) morose forecast of a bleak future of aging for everyone:

Value this time in your life, kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so fast. When you're a teenager, you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Thirties - you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself: 'What happened to my twenties?' Forties - you grow a little pot belly, you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Fifties - you have a minor surgery. You'll call it a 'procedure', but it's a surgery. Sixties - you'll have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it doesn't matter because you can't hear it anyway. Seventies - you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale. You start eating dinner at two o'clock in the afternoon, you have lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. You spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate soft yogurt and muttering: 'How come the kids don't call?' 'How come the kids don't call?' The eighties, you'll have a major stroke. You end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can't stand but who you call mama. Any questions?

Defending Your Life (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Albert Brooks

"You're Great People to Work With"

In this witty satire, the humorous opening speech (before the title credits) in which divorced yuppie LA advertising executive Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) thanked his co-workers during his office birthday party celebration - shortly later, he died in a car accident (while driving his convertible and reaching for falling CDs and running head-on into a city bus) and was sent to the afterlife:

I was driving to work this morning thinking I will be here, in two months, it'll be ten years. And, you're like my real family. Isn't that tragic? (laughter) I got a call from my mother this morning to wish me a Happy Birthday, and hinted around the fact that I wasn't making enough money, if you can call, 'Are you still making that same salary, honey?' a hint. (laughter) And my ex-wife used to say the same thing, although she never used the word 'honey'. (laughter) So, maybe in three years I can double my income?... Four years? Okay. So, you're great people to work with, and this is a great present, and I wish I could squeeze all of you into one pretty woman. (laughter) And if you'd like to go to my office, I'll try. (laughter) Thanks a lot.

The Fisher King (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Richard LaGravenese

The Story of the Fool and the Fisher King, Told in Central Park

Disillusioned, half-insane ex-medieval history professor at Hunter College, now homeless vagrant Parry's (Robin Williams) telling of the legendary story of the simple-minded Fool and the Fisher King involving the quest for the Holy Grail (the cup from the Last Supper). He was lying naked on his back on the grass in Central Park at night (doing what he called "cloud-busting"), next to despairing, guilt-ridden, suicidally-despondent radio DJ shock-jock Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges):

Did you ever hear the story of the Fisher King? It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king. Now while he's spending the night alone, he's visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the Holy Grail, symbol of God's divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, 'You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.' But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement, he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so he reached in the fire to take the grail, and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded. Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its reason. He had no faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn't love or feel loved. He was sick with experience. He began to die.

One day, a Fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. Now being a Fool, he was simple-minded, he didn't see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king: 'What ails you, friend?' The king replied: 'I'm thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat.' So the Fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water, and handed it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked at his hands, and there was the Holy Grail - that which he sought all of his life! He turned to the Fool and said with amazement: 'How could you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?' And the Fool replied: 'I don't know. I only knew that you were thirsty.' It's very beautiful, isn't it?

I think I heard that at a lecture once. I don't know. It was, uhm, a professor at Hunter.

The Fisher King (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Richard LaGravenese

The Whole Point of Life

DJ Jack Lucas' (Jeff Bridges) tough, strong-willed but devoted girlfriend Anne Napolitano (Oscar-winning Mercedes Ruehl) responded to Jack's question ("Do you still believe in God?"). She first said that she used to be a Catholic:

Oh! You gotta believe in God! But I don't believe that God created Man in His image. 'Cause most of the s--t that happens is because of men. Naw, I think men was made in the Devil's image, and women were created outta God. 'Cause, after all, women can have babies, which is kinda like creating. And which also accounts for the fact that women are so attracted to men. 'Cause let's face it, the Devil is a helluva lot more interesting. I've slept with some saints in my day, and believe me, I know what I'm talking about. Egh-boy! So, the whole point of life, the whole point of life, I think, is for men and women to get married so that God and the Devil can get together -- and work it out. Not that we have to get married or anything. God forbid.

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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