Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

Almost Famous (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Cameron Crowe

Advice About Being a True Rock Journalist - Be Honest and Unmerciful

Legendary writer and editor of Creem Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) congratulated his 15 year-old idol, aspiring rock journalist William Miller (Patrick Fugit), on his "damn good" writing, although he felt rock 'n' roll was in its "death rattle...last gasp" in the early 1970s. After speaking briefly on the street, they continued talking in a small cafe. Bangs tried to discourage the idealistic and eagerly ambitious young William, but then gave him an "assignment" to write about a Black Sabbath concert, urging him not to get too cozy with the bands he's writing about:

You know, because once you go to L.A., you're gonna have friends like crazy. But they're gonna be fake friends. You know, they're gonna try to corrupt you. You got an honest face, and they're gonna tell you everything. But you cannot make friends with the rock stars...If you're gonna be a true journalist -- you know, a rock journalist -- first, you never get paid much. But you will get free records from the record company. Jesus. F--king nothing about you that is controversial, man. God, it's gonna get ugly, man. They're gonna buy you drinks. You're gonna meet girls, they're gonna try to fly you places for free, offer you drugs. I know it sounds great, but these people are not your friends. You know, these are people who want you to write sanctimonious stories about the genius of rock stars. And they will ruin rock 'n' roll, and strangle everything we love about it, right? You know, because they're trying to buy respectability for a form that is gloriously and righteously dumb. Now, you're smart enough to know that. And the day it ceases to be dumb is the day that it ceases to be real, right? And then it just becomes an industry of cool.

I'm-I'm telling ya, you're comin' along at a very dangerous time for rock 'n' roll. I mean, the war is over. They won. And 99% of what passes for rock 'n' roll these days, silence is more compelling. That's why I think you should just turn around and go back, you know, and be a lawyer or somethin'. But I can tell from your face that you won't. I can give you 35 bucks. Give me a thousand words on Black Sabbath...Hey, you have to make your reputation on being honest and, uh, you know, unmerciful...If you get into a jam, you can call me. I stay up late.

Then, later in the film, Lester spoke on the phone to William, dismayed that he seemed to have sold himself out, and reiterating that he should be "honest and unmerciful":

Oh, man, you made friends with ‘em. See, friendship is the booze they feed ya 'cause they want ya to get drunk on feeling like you belong....Because they make you feel cool, and hey, I met you. You are not cool....Because we are uncool. You know, while women will always be a problem for guys like us. Most of the great art in the world is about that very problem. Good-looking people - they got no spine, their art never lasts. And they get the girls, but we’re smarter....'cause great art is about guilt and longing, and, you know, love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love, and hey, let’s face it, you've got a big head start... I’m always home, I’m uncool....You're doin' great. The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool. My advice to you, I know you think these guys are your friends, if you wanna be a true friend to ‘em, be honest and unmerciful.

American Psycho (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Mary Harron, Guinevere Turner

"This is Sussudio, a Great, Great Song, a Personal Favorite"

Play clip (excerpt): American Psycho

As a prelude to sex with two hookers: blonde Christie (Cara Seymour) and red-haired Sabrina (Krista Sutton), delusional New York stock executive Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) babbled on about his love of the music of Genesis and Phil Collins as foreplay to grisly violence.

As they retreated from the living room to the bedroom for a menage a trois, Bateman rambled on about the lyrics of various songs, as he interrupted himself often to have the two hookers strip and perform oral sex on each other ("Don't just stare at it, eat it"), before they had sex (as he videotaped himself) to the tune of Collins' Sussudio:

Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where, uh, Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch is the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums.

Christie, take off the robe.

Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument.

Sabrina, remove your dress.

In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism.

Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little.

Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative, as, uh, anything I've heard in rock.

Christie, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your asshole.

Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and, uh, Against All Odds.

Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it.

But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group than as a solo artist, and I stress the word 'artist'. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.

American Psycho (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Mary Harron, Guinevere Turner

"There Is No Catharsis"

Play clip (excerpt): American Psycho

In the film's twisting ending, wealthy New York stock executive Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a delusional, loathsome, 27 year-old narrator/yuppie and serial killer, blatantly delivered a self-confession during a monologue, as the camera slowly panned toward his face. Whether he had committed the many bloody murders during the film was called into question (he had already admitted his crimes to his disbelieving lawyer) - were the killings only in his warped imagination? He surrendered to the insanity around him, as he mused to himself (in detached voice-over):

There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this, there is no catharsis. My punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.

Boiler Room (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Ben Younger

"I'm a F--king Millionaire"

Play clip (excerpt): Boiler Room

27 year-old, arrogant suburban brokerage investment firm Jim Young (Ben Affleck) spoke to new recruits on how to become a fast-track millionaire:

Okay, here's the deal, I'm not here to waste your time. Okay, I certainly hope you're not here to waste mine, so I'm gonna keep this short. You become an employee of this firm, you will make your first million within three years. OK? I'm gonna repeat that - you will make a million dollars within three years of your first day of employment at JT Marlin. There is no question as to whether or not you will become a millionaire working here, the only question is how many times over. Do you think I'm joking? I am not joking. I am a millionaire. It's a weird thing to hear, right? I'll tell ya, it's a weird thing to say. I am a f--king millionaire. And guess how old I am? Twenty-seven. You know what that makes me here? A f--king senior citizen. This firm is entirely comprised of people your age, not mine. Lucky for me, I happen to be very f--king good at my job or I'd be out of one.

You guys are the new blood. You're gonna go home with the kesef. You are the future Big-Swinging-Dicks of this firm. Now you all look money hungry and that's good. Anybody tells you money is the root of all evil doesn't f--kin' have any! They say 'Money can't buy happiness'? Look at the f--kin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby. You want details? Fine. I drive a Ferrari, 355 Cabriolet... (He threw his car keys on the desk) I have a ridiculous house on the South Fork. I have every toy you could possibly imagine. And best of all, kids, I am liquid.

So, now you know what's possible, let me tell you what's required. You are required to work your f--king ass off at this firm. We want winners here, not pikers. A piker walks at the bell. A piker asks how much vacation time you get in the first year. Vacation time? People come and work at this firm for one reason, to become filthy rich, that's it. We're not here to make friends, we're not saving the f--kin' manatees here, guys. You want vacation time, go teach third grade public school.

Okay, first three months at the firm are as a trainee. You make $150 dollars a week. After you're done training, you take the series seven, you pass that, you become a junior broker and you're opening accounts for your team leader. You open forty accounts, you start workin' for yourself, the sky's the limit. A word or two about being a trainee. Friends, parents, the other brokers, whoever, they're gonna give you s--t about it. It's true, $150 dollars a week, not a lot of money. Pay them no mind. You need to learn this business and this is the time to do it. Once you pass the test, none of that's gonna matter. Your friends are s--t. You tell 'em you made 25 grand last month, they're not gonna f--kin' believe you. F--k them! F--k 'em! Parents don't like the life you lead? F--k you mom and dad! See how it feels when you're makin' their f--kin' Lexus payments.

Now go home and think about it. Think about whether or not this is really for you. If you decide it isn't, listen, it's nothin' to be embarrassed about. It's not for everyone, thanks. But if you really want this, you call me on Monday and we'll talk. Just don't waste my f--kin' time. Okay, that's it.

The Contender (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Rod Lurie

What I Stand For

Play clip (excerpt): The Contender

Vice Presidential nominee, Ohio Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) delivered an uncompromising address before the House Judiciary Committee about her firm principles and beliefs. When it was alleged that she was involved in a scandalous sexual incident during her college years, she refused to have her reputation dirtied, especially by the Chairman of the committee, conservative Republican congressman Shelley Runyon (Gary Oldman). She steered the conversation back to more pertinent political issues:

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the committee. Remarkably enough, it seems that I have some explaining to do. So, let me be absolutely clear. I stand for a woman's right to choose. I stand for the elimination of the death penalty. I stand for a strong and growing armed forces because we must stomp out genocide on this planet, and I believe that that is a cause worth dying for. I stand for seeing every gun taken out of every home, period. I stand for making the selling of cigarettes to our youth a federal offense. I stand for term limits and campaign reform. And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of church and state, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government, but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism. I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves, that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.

The Contender (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Rod Lurie

"A Woman Will Serve in the Highest Level of the Executive"

Play clip (excerpt): The Contender

Second-term Democratic President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) addressed Congress to gather support for his Vice Presidential nominee, Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen), whom Rep. Runyon (Gary Oldman) attempted to attack in unscrupulous ways during the confirmation process:

Thank you. Napoleon once said when asked to explain the lack of great statesmen in the world, that 'to get power, you need to display absolute pettiness. To exercise power, you need to show true greatness.' Such pettiness and such greatness are rarely found in one person. I look upon the events of the past weeks and I've never come so to grips with that quotation. So, ladies and gentlemen of this Congress, it pains my soul to tell you that you have brought blood and shame under this great dome. Your leadership has raised the stakes of hate to a level where we can no longer separate the demagogue from the truly inspired. And believe this, there are traitors among us. And I'm not talking about those of you who sided against your party leadership. I'm talking about those of you who were patriots to your party but traitors to the necessary end result: That of righteousness, the truth, the concept of making the American dream blind to gender.

And you know, I am not free of blame. Right from the start, I should've come down here, pointed a finger your way - pointed a finger your way (pointing at Runyon), and asked you, 'Have you no decency, sir?' Yesterday, I met (he noticed Runyon exiting) - Mr. Runyon, you may walk out on me, you may walk out on this body, but you cannot walk out on the will of the American people. Americans are a good people. They're a just people, Mr. Runyon, and they will forgive you, but they will not forget. Hate and ego have no place residing in what my good friend Laine Hanson calls the chapel of democracy.

So, let me make one thing clear. You come at us with whatever weapons that you have in your arsenal, but there is no weapon as powerful as that of an idea whose time has come. A woman will serve in the highest level of the Executive. Simple as that! Yesterday, I spoke with Laine Hanson. I told her that she could decide her own destiny. If she wanted to continue her fight for confirmation that I would stand beside her. She has asked me to allow her to step aside. She told me that she wanted my administration to end on a note of triumph and not controversy. Understand, those of you who worked to bring Laine Hanson down, that she asked to have her name withdrawn from consideration, not because she isn't great, but because she isn't petty. Because those two conflicting leadership traits could not live as one within her body or her soul. Greatness. It comes in many forms. Sometimes, it comes in the form of sacrifice. That's the loneliest form.

Now, it turns out that Laine Hanson is a woman, an American of devout principle and she has inspired me to act alike, and I cannot accept Senator Hanson's withdrawal. And I'm now calling for an immediate vote of confirmation of Laine Hanson. And, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make this a live roll call. I want to see the faces of those of you who would eliminate the possibility of greatness in American leadership because of half-truths, lies, and innuendoes. I will not be deterred by partisanship. I will not be deterred by misogyny. I will not be deterred by hate. You have now come face-to-face with my will. Confirm my nominee, heal this nation, and let the American people explode into this new millennium with the exhilaration of being true to the glory of this democracy. Thank you.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, US/HK/China/Taiwan) (aka Wo Hu Cang Long)
Screenwriter(s): Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus, Kuo Jung Tsai

A Mystical Legend

Outlaw horde leader Lo "Dark Cloud" (Chen Chang) responded to lover Jen Yu (Ziyi Zhang), when she pleaded not to be sent back to her family: "Don't send me back!" He told her a mystical legend about a man who jumped from a mountain cliff to make his wish come true. He was saved, and did not die because his heart was faithful and pure:

You must decide. You might get tired of this life. You might begin to miss your family. If it were our daughter, we'd look for her too. She would miss us. Jen. I want you to be mine forever. I will make my mark on the world. I will earn your parents' respect. We have a legend. Anyone who dares to jump from the mountain, God will grant his wish. Long ago, a young man's parents were ill, so he jumped. He didn't die. He wasn't even hurt. He floated away, far away, never to return. He knew his wish had come true. If you believe, it will happen. The elders say, 'A faithful heart makes wishes come true.'

At the end of the film, after spending one last night with Lo, Jen reminded him, "Do you remember the legend of the young man?" He responded: "A faithful heart makes wishes come true." Jen then asked: "Make a wish, Lo." He replied: "To be back in the desert, together again." Afterwards, she lept over the side of the balcony and floated away into the sky.

Erin Brockovich (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Susannah Grant

"A Lame Ass Offer"

Play clip (excerpt): Erin Brockovich

During a meeting with lawyers from the Pacific, Gas & Electric (PG&E) energy company about a settlement regarding contamination of the water supply of the town of Hinkley, California, legal assistant, environmental activist, and single mother Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) spoke harshly. She was reacting to a statement by Ms. Sanchez (Gina Gallego), one of the lawyers, that $20 million was more than any of the defendants had ever dreamed of:

See, now that pisses me off. First of all, since the demurrer, we have more than 400 plaintiffs. And let's be honest, we all know there are more out there. They may not be the most sophisticated people, but they do know how to divide and $20,000,000 dollars isn't s--t when you split it between them. Second of all, these people don't dream about being rich. They dream about being able to watch their kids swim in a pool without worrying that they'll have to have a hysterectomy at the age of 20. Like Rosa Diaz, a client of ours. Or have their spine deteriorate, like Stan Bloom, another client of ours.

So before you come back here with another lame-ass offer, l want you to think real hard about what your spine is worth, Mr. Walker. Or what you might expect someone to pay you for your uterus, Ms. Sanchez. Then you take out your calculator and you multiply that number by 100. Anything less than that is a waste of our time"

By the way, we had that water brought in special for you folks. It came from a well in Hinkley.

Gladiator (2000)
Screenwriter(s): David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson

"What We Do In Life Echoes in Eternity" - Address to His Troops of the Roman Cavalry

Top Pick

Play clip (excerpt): Gladiator (short) Gladiator (long)

Roman army General Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) addressed his troops before battling Germanic barbarians:

Fratres! Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled, for you are in Elysium, and you're already dead! Brothers: What we do in life echoes in Eternity.

Gladiator (2000)
Screenwriter(s): David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson

The Spaniard Gladiator's Introduction in the Colosseum to Commodus

Play clip (excerpt): Gladiator

In the Roman Colosseum, Spaniard gladiator (Russell Crowe), former loyal General Meridius, gave a short introduction to treacherous Caesar Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) when ordered to remove his helmet and reveal his true identity - he declared vengeance for the assassination of the elderly Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) and the brutal murder of his family:

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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