Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

About Schmidt (2002)
Screenwriter(s): Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

"I'm An Extremely Sexual Person"

While serving chicken noodle soup, aging hippie Roberta Hertzel (Kathy Bates), the mother of fiancee husband Randall Hertzel (Dermot Mulroney), told widower and retired insurance executive Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson), the father of the bride-to-be Jeannie Schmidt (Hope Davis), about the key to successful marriages - sex!:

You already know how famously they get along as friends, but did you know that their sex life is positively white hot? The main reason both of my marriages failed was sexual. I'm an extremely sexual person, I can't help it, it just how I'm wired, you know, even when I was a little girl. I had my first orgasm when I was 6 in ballet class. Anyway, the point is that I have been always very easily aroused and very orgasmic, Jeannie and I have a lot in common that way. Clifford and Larry, they were nice guys, but they just could not keep up with me. Anyway, I don't want to betray Jeannie's confidence, but let me just assure you that whatever problems those two kids may run into along the way, they will always be able to count on what happens between the sheets to keep them together. More soup?

About Schmidt (2002)
Screenwriter(s): Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

"Today is a Special Day... I Am Very Pleased"

The wedding reception speech, a conciliatory self-healing and consoling about-face reflection, by the father of the bride - 66 year-old Warren Schmidt (Oscar-nominated Jack Nicholson), a recently-retired Omaha, Nebraska insurance actuary; he was asked to give a few words following the wedding of his only daughter Jeannine (Hope Davis) to a "nincompoop" waterbed salesman named Randall (Dermot Mulroney):

I didn't get much sleep last night, so forgive me if I'm a little foggy. But you know, today is a special day. We're here to mark a crossroads in the lives of two people. A crossroads where they come together and now walk along a new road. It's not the same road that they were on before. It's a new road. A road that, uhm (pause) - As many of you know, I lost my wife recently. And Jeannie lost her mother. Helen and I were married 42 years. She died very suddenly. I know we all wish she could be with us today, and I think it would be appropriate to acknowledge just how pleased she was that Jeannie had found someone to share her life with. A companion. A partner....That brings me to what I really want to say. What I want to say, what I really want to say is, uh...

Then after a very long pause, Warren continued - seemingly ready to cathartically release his disdain, disgust and anger, and lash out at his hated new in-laws, but instead, he decided to swallow his pride:

Thank you, to you, Randall, for taking such good care of my daughter especially recently with our loss. Ever since I arrived here a couple of days ago, I have so enjoyed getting to know Jeannie's new family...Everybody else, terrific people. Terrific. And in conclusion, I just want to say on this special day, this very special day, that I am very pleased.

Adaptation. (2002)
Screenwriter(s): Charlie Kaufman, Donald Kaufman

"Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life"

The opening voice-over monologue by self-loathing screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage), heard over the credits - presented as small white typewriter text at the bottom of a black screen:

Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier my hair wouldn't be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat, I would be happier. I wouldn't have to wear these shirts with the tails out all the time, like that's fooling anyone. Fat ass. I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing.

I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more and prove myself. What if I learned Russian or something, or took up an instrument. I could speak Chinese. I would be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese and plays the oboe. That would be cool. I should get my hair cut short. Stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that? Just be real. Confident. Isn't that what women are attracted to? Men don't have to be attractive. But that's not true. Especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days.

Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it's my brain chemistry. Maybe that's what's wrong with me. Bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that. But I'll still be ugly though. Nothing's gonna change that.

Adaptation. (2002)
Screenwriter(s): Charlie Kaufman, Donald Kaufman

Wasting My Two Precious Hours

The answer given to struggling screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) during a 3-day NYC writing seminar given by lecturer Robert McKee (Brian Cox), when Charlie asked about how to "write a story where nothing much happens...more a reflection of the real world":

The real world?...The real f--king world. First of all, you write a screenplay without conflict or crisis, you'll bore your audience to tears. Secondly, nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your f--king mind? People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, corruption. Every f--king day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save somebody else. Every f--king day, someone, somewhere takes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ's sake, a child watches a mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman.

If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know crap about life. And why the f--k are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it.

Adaptation. (2002)
Screenwriter(s): Charlie Kaufman, Donald Kaufman

The Ending: "I Like This. This is Good"

In the last lines of the film, long-suffering scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman finally realized how to finish his script for The Orchid Thief, after honestly expressing his love for pretty ex-dating partner Amelia Kavan (Cara Seymour) and for once being filled with hope - with the upbeat playing of The Turtles' song "Happy Together." The film concluded with a sped-up time lapse photograph of flowers and an LA street over a period of several days:

I have to go right home. I know how to finish the script now. It ends with Kaufman driving home after his lunch with Amelia, thinking he knows how to finish the script. S--t, that's voice-over. McKee would not approve. How else can I show his thoughts? I don't know. Oh, who cares what McKee says? It feels right. Conclusive. I wonder who's gonna play me. Someone not too fat. I liked that Gerard Depardieu, but can he not do the accent?

Anyway, it's done. And that's something. So: 'Kaufman drives off from his encounter with Amelia, filled for the first time with hope.' I like this. This is good.

Gangs of New York (2002)
Screenwriter(s): Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan

Knife-Fighting and Killing

The chilling scene in which Bill "The Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) showed young Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) how to knife-fight, using a butchered pig as a proxy for a man, before stabbing the pig repeatedly in demonstration:

You get to know a lot butchering meat. We're made up of the same things - flesh and blood, tissue, organs. I love to work with pigs. The nearest thing in nature to the flesh of a man is the flesh of a pig...This is the liver. The kidneys. The heart. This is a wound -- the stomach will bleed and bleed. This is a kill. This is a kill. Main artery. This is a kill.

Gangs of New York (2002)
Screenwriter(s): Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan

"That's What Preserves the Order of Things - Fear"

WASP gang leader Bill "The Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) delivered a wizened, weary speech at the foot of Amsterdam Vallon's (Leonardo DiCaprio) bed after he'd saved him from an assassination attempt, not knowing Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson) was Amsterdam's immigrant father:

No, I don't never sleep too much. I have to sleep with one eye open, and I only got one eye, right?... I'm forty-seven. Forty-seven years old. You know how I stayed alive this long? All these years? Fear. The spectacle of fearsome acts. Somebody steals from me, I cut off his hands. He offends me, I cut out his tongue. He rises against me, I cut off his head, stick it on a pike, raise it high up so all on the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear.

That one tonight, who was he? A nobody. A coward. What an ignominious end that would have been. I killed the last honorable man fifteen years ago. Since then, it's... You seen his portrait downstairs? (pause) Is your mouth all glued up with cunny juice? I asked you a question... Oh, you got a murderous rage in you, and I like it. It's life, boiling up inside of you. It's good. The Priest and me, we lived by the same principles. It was only faith divided us.

He gave me this, you know. That was the finest beating I ever took. My face was pulp, my guts was pierced, and my ribs was all mashed up. And when he came to finish me, I couldn't look him in the eye. He spared me because he wanted me to live in shame. This was a great man. A great man. So I cut out the eye that looked away. Sent it to him wrapped in blue paper. I would have cut 'em both out if I could have fought him blind. Then I rose back up again with a full heart and buried him in his own blood... He was the only man I ever killed worth remembering. I never had a son. Civilization is crumbling.

He kissed his own hand, and placed it on Amsterdam's forehead as a blessing.

God bless you.

Gangs of New York (2002)
Screenwriter(s): Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan

Eulogy for the Fallen Dead in New York

In the film's closing monologue, Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) eulogized the dead and fallen of New York after major riots in 1863, narrating that New York would be rebuilt, but that they wouldn't be remembered:

In the end, they put candles on the bodies, so's their friends -- if they had any -- could know them in the dark. The city did this free of charge. It was four days and nights before the worst of the mob was finally put down. We never knew how many New Yorkers died that week before the city was finally delivered. My father once told me we was all born of blood and tribulation. So then, too, was our great city. But for those of us who had lived and died in them furious days... it was like everything we knew was mightily swept away. And no matter what they did to build this city back up again -- for the rest of time -- it would be like nobody even knew we was ever here.

It was followed by the astonishing "time passage" sequence which showed the development of Lower Manhattan from 1863 through to pre-9/11 while U2's Hands That Built America played.

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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