Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

Atonement (2007, UK/US)
Screenwriter(s): Christopher Hampton

"The Story Can Resume"

In voice-over, Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) spoke of his love for Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley), and promised to return after serving in the British Army during WWII. He had been sent to prison and then forced into the Army due to a misunderstanding and vicious untrue rumor spread by Cecilia's younger sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan):

Dearest Cecilia, the story can resume. The one I had been planning on that evening walk. I can become again the man who once crossed the surrey park at dusk, in my best suit, swaggering on the promise of life. The man who, with the clarity of passion, made love to you in the library. The story can resume. I will return. Find you, love you, marry you and live without shame.

Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard

Describing One's Profession: "I Find the People Who Started in the Cracks and Then Fell Through"

Play clip (excerpt): Gone Baby Gone

In the film's opening voice-over narration during the credits, private investigator Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) spoke about how his job was to find missing people because of his connections in the tough neighborhood where he grew up (in the working class area of Dorchester near Boston).

I always believed it was the things you don't choose that makes you who you are. Your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in these things, like it was somethin' they'd accomplished. The bodies around their souls, the cities wrapped around those. I lived on this block my whole life; most of these people have. When your job is to find people who are missin', it helps to know where they started. I find the people who started in the cracks and then fell through. This city can be hard.

When I was young, I asked my priest how you could get to heaven and still protect yourself from all the evil in the world. He told me what God said to His children. 'You are sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves.'

He was hired by Aunt Beatrice McCready (Amy Madigan) to find the missing and abducted 4 year-old daughter Amanda (Madeline O'Brien) of slutty, cocaine-addicted, ignorant and neglectful mother Helene McCready (Amy Ryan). He assisted other police detectives including veteran Remy Bressant (Ed Harris), and was joined by his own girlfriend/partner Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) as they entered a world of gangs, drug dealers, murderous child-molesting pedophiles, and a web of corrupt cops.

As it turned out, Amanda's kidnapping (and her murder) had been faked and she was found living happily with police Captain Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) and his wife, who reasoned that the child was better off with them (they had also suffered their own daughter being kidnapped and murdered years earlier). There were many unsettling and unresolved ramifications of Doyle's arrest and the discovery of Amanda, including Patrick's breakup with Angie, and Amanda's return to her irresponsible and negligent mother.

Michael Clayton (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Tony Gilroy

Going Mad

Attorney and "fixer" Michael Clayton's (George Clooney) associate, a leading attorney in his firm named Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), was suffering from a nervous breakdown while representing a chemical company client named U-North during a multi-million dollar class-action suit. Diagnosed with bi-polar disorder (manic-depression), he went off his medications after discovering duplicity - that the company was manufacturing a carcinogenic weed-killer.

His rambling and bizarre voice-over dialogue was heard in the film's opening lines under the credits and views of the interior of the law firm of Kenner, Bach, and Ledeen late at night, before a flashback told the story:

Michael. Dear Michael. Of course it's you, who else could they send? Who else could be trusted? I know it's a long way and you're ready to go to work. All I'm saying is wait, just wait, just-just-just... please hear me out because this is not an episode, relapse, f--k-up, it's- I'm begging you, Michael. I'm begging you. Try and make believe this is not just madness because this is not just madness.

Two weeks ago, I came out of the building, okay. I'm running across Sixth Avenue, there's a car waiting, I got exactly 38 minutes to get to the airport and I'm dictating. There's this, this panicked associate sprinting along beside me, scribbling in a notepad, and suddenly she starts screaming, and I realize we're standing in the middle of the street, the light's changed, there's this wall of traffic, serious traffic speeding towards us, and I- I-I freeze, I can't move. And I'm suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I'm covered with some sort of film. It's in my hair, my face. It's like a glaze like a- a coating, and, at first I thought, oh my God. I know what this is, this is some sort of amniotic - embryonic - fluid. I'm drenched in afterbirth, I've-I've breached the chrysalis, I've been reborn. But then the traffic, the stampede, the cars, the trucks, the horns, the screaming and I'm thinkin' no-no-no-no, reset, this is not rebirth. This is some kind of giddy illusion of renewal that happens in the final moment before death. And then I realize no-no-no, this is completely wrong because I look back at the building and I had the most stunning moment of clarity.

I- I-I- I realized Michael, that I had emerged not through the doors of Kenner, Bach, and Ledeen, not through the portals of our vast and powerful law firm, but from the asshole of an organism whose sole function is to excrete the- the-the-the poison, the ammo, the defoliant necessary for other, larger, more powerful organisms to destroy the miracle of humanity. And that I had been coated in this patina of s--t for the best part of my life. The stench of it and the stain of it would in all likelihood take the rest of my life to undo. And you know what I did? I took a deep cleansing breath and I set that notion aside. I tabled it. I said to myself as clear as this may be, as potent a feeling as this is, as true a thing as I believe that I have witnessed today, it must wait. It must stand the test of time. And Michael, the time is now.

No Country For Old Men (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Joel and Ethan Coen

"I Always Knew You Had to be Willin' to Die to Even Do This Job"

Play clip (excerpt): No Country For Old Men

Old-time Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) gave his weary observation (in voice-over) about the lack of value of human life during the opening images of the film:

I was Sheriff of this county when I was 25 years old. Hard to believe. My grandfather was a lawman, father too. Me and him was sheriffs at the same time, him up in Plano and me out here. I think he's pretty proud of that. I know I was. Some of the old time Sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lotta folks find that hard to believe. Jim Scarborough'd never carry one - that's the younger Jim. Gaston Borkins wouldn't wear one up in Comanche County.

I always liked to hear about the old-timers. Never missed a chance to do so. You can't help but compare yourself against the old-timers. Can't help but wonder how they'd have operated these times.

There was this boy I sent to the 'lectric chair at Huntsville here awhile back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a 14 year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn't any passion to it. Told me that he'd been plannin' to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out, he'd do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell: 'Be there in about fifteen minutes.' I don't know what to make of that. I surely don't.

The crime you see now, it's hard to even take its measure. It's not that I'm afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willin' to die to even do this job. But, I don't want to push my chips forward and go out and meet somethin' I don't understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He'd have to say: 'O.K., I'll be part of this world.'

No Country For Old Men (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Joel and Ethan Coen

Dream of Father Carrying Fire - a Metaphor for Mortality

Retired Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) also sorrowfully recollected his dreams about his father to his wife Loretta (Tess Harper) at the conclusion of the film.

The second dream was a metaphor for mortality in life, shortly after the brutal and senseless deaths of his Vietnam vet friend Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and Moss' innocent wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) by psycho-killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem):

Had dreams... Two of 'em. Both had my father in 'em. It's peculiar. I'm older now then he ever was by twenty years. So, in a sense, he's the younger man. Anyway, the first one I don't remember too well but, it was about meetin' him in town somewheres and he give me some money. I think I lost it.

The second one, it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin' through the mountains of a night. Goin' through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin'. Never said nothin' goin' by - just rode on past. And he had his blanket wrapped around him and his head down. When he rode past, I seen he was carryin' fire in a horn the way people used to do, and I-I could see the horn from the light inside of it - about the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin' on ahead and he was fixin' to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold. And I knew that whenever I got there, he'd be there. And then I woke up.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio

A Rallying Cry to Fight

Newly-appointed pirate captain of the Black Pearl, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), faced insurmountable odds in the upcoming sea battle between the British fleet (led by dastardly Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander)) - with support from tentacle-faced Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), and her small motley pirate crew on a few bedraggled ships.

However, she rallied her pirate forces with stirring heroic words to "hoist the colors," as she stood on the side railing of the ship:

Then, what shall we die for? You will listen to me! (shouting) Listen! The Brethren will still be looking here, to us, to the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No. No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons. They will hear the ring of our swords, and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen. Hoist the colors!

Ratatouille (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Brad Bird

Remy's Visualization of Food Tastes/Smells

French chef country rat Remy (voice of Patton Oswalt), an aspiring gourmet chef with a highly developed sense of taste and smell, watched his recently-deceased idol, chef Auguste Gusteau on TV, and then experienced food as colors, shapes, and sounds:

Gusteau: (in a black and white TV show) How can I describe it? Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only be aware to stop and savor it.

Remy: (biting into both a piece of cheese and a strawberry at the same time) Ah! Gusteau was right. Oh, mmm, yeah. Amazing. Each flavor was totally unique. But combine one flavor with another and something new was created...

Later in Paris, he spoke to his older brother Emile (voice of Peter Sohn) who was eating garbage, and attempted to get him to savor his food without gulping it down, and discover different taste combinations:

I have got to teach you about food. Close your eyes. (He handed him some cheese) Now take a bite of this...No, no, no! Don't just hork it down! Here, chew it slowly. Only think about the taste. See?... Creamy, salty sweet, an oaky nuttiness. You detect that?...Close your eyes. Now taste this! (He handed him a strawberry) A whole different thing, right? Sweet, crisp, slight tang on the finish....Now, try them together... See...That's it. Now, imagine every great taste in the world being combined into infinite combinations. Tastes that no one has tried yet! Discoveries to be made!

Ratatouille (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Brad Bird

Food Critic Anton Ego's Glowing Review

Snobbish, hard-to-please and harsh food critic Anton Ego (voice of Peter O'Toole) gave a glowing, self-actualizing review, published the following day, about restaurant Gusteau's cuisine (serving the traditional dish of ratatouille), after learning it had been prepared by blue French chef country rat Remy (voice of Patton Oswalt):

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.

Last night, I experienced something new, an extra-ordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: 'Anyone can cook.' But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.

Reign Over Me (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Mike Binder

Grieving Over the Loss of One's Family Due to 9/11

Five years after 9/11, withdrawn and grieving Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) told his old college roommate, Manhattan dentist Dr. Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) about his tragic loss of his three young daughters (Geena, Jenny, and Julie) and his wife Doreen:

I had three daughters....Geena was five. Jenny was seven, she, uh, she liked boys already. Julie was 9, she was, she was older. They all looked alike, Johnson, like Doreen. Doreen was my wife. DT. That was her nickname: Doreen Timpleman. She had a dog, Spider. Spider, the poodle. They'd wake me up all the time, Saturday mornings, you know, singin' Beatles songs to me in harmony, the four of 'em. So cute, so cute. Doreen never never judged me, ya know, never nagged like, like some wives do. Just wanted me to take my shoes off so I didn't wreck the carpet. That's it. Doreen and the girls were very female. I- I-I was the oddball, ya know. Mr. Man. They adored me, Johnson...

With the long brown hair, except little Geena. She kept her hair short, you know, to be different from everybody. She, uh, she had a birthmark, though. Looked like a burn, but it wasn't. She always said it was gonna go away, but it never did. Jenny, Jenny, this one, she wanted to be a gymnast. She was such a klutz, though. I didn't have the heart to mention it as a problem. (crying) They, uh, went to see Doreen's sister Ellen and her girls in Boston, and they took Spider because I had to work and they didn't trust me to feed her, but that was a joke, right? And then, uh, we were all goin' to DT's little cousin's wedding in Los Angeles, and I was gonna meet 'em out there. The kids wanted to go to, uh, Disneyland, but they had, uh, they all were gonna miss a couple of days of school, so we had to say no, you know.

So I'm goin' out to, uh, meet 'em in Los Angeles, and on my way to JFK, I'm in the taxicab and I hear on the radio - I get there and some man tells me the plane's from Boston... (crying) some other guy says there's two planes. (sobbing) Then I go inside the airport and I'm watchin', I'm watchin' on the television, and I-and I-I-I saw it. I saw it and I felt it at the same time. I thought about Geena's birthmark, and I-I felt them burning...Can we go? I want to go home now.

The Simpsons Movie (2007)
Screenwriter(s): James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, and more

Videotaped Good-bye to Homie

Disappointed, gravel-voiced Marge Simpson (voice of Julie Kavner) video-taped an anguished message to oafish, self-centered husband Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) about leaving with the kids and never returning to him:

Homer, I always stood up for you. When people point out your flaws, I always say: 'Well, sometimes you have to stand back to appreciate a work of art.' Lately, what's keeping us together is my ability to overlook everything you do. And I overlook these things because... Well, that's the thing. I just don't know how to finish that sentence anymore. So I'm leaving with the kids to help Springfield, and we're never coming back. And to prove to myself that this is the end, I taped this over our wedding video. Good-bye, Homie!

There Will Be Blood (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Thomas Anderson

"I Have A Competition in Me"

As he got drunk from a flask, oil prospector Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) spoke to his alleged half-brother Henry (Kevin J. O'Connor):

Are you an angry man, Henry?...Are you envious? Do you get envious?...I have a competition in me. I-I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people....

There are times when I-I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. I want to earn enough money (so) I can get away from everyone...

I see the worst in people, Henry. I don't need to look past seeing them to get all I need. I've built up my hatreds over the years, little by little. Having you here gives me a second breath. I can't keep doing this on my own with these, uhm, people. (laughter)

There Will Be Blood (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Thomas Anderson

"I Drink Your Milkshake!"

Play clip (excerpt): No CThere Will Be Blood (short)

In his California mansion's two-lane bowling alley, turn of the century oil tycoon Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) famously over-exaggerated when berating and presenting mocking humiliation toward financially-strapped, deal-making evangelist preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) of the Church of the Third Revelation. Plainview forced the preacher to repeatedly confess: "I am a false prophet. God is a superstition," before telling him he had already sucked the Bandy tract land dry of oil by drainage, with the famous phrase: "I drink your milkshake, I drink it up!"

Those areas, they've been drilled...Yes, it's called drainage, Eli. See, I own everything around it, so, of course, I get what's underneath it...Do you understand, Eli? That's more to the point. Do you understand? I drink your water. I drink it up every day. I drink the blood of Lamb from Bandy's tract...Because you're not the chosen brother, Eli. 'Twas Paul who was chosen. He found me and told me about your land. You're just a fool...I did what your brother couldn't...I broke you and beat you. It was Paul told me about you. He's the prophet. He's the smart one. He knew what was there and he found me to take it out of the ground. Know what the funny thing is? Listen, listen, listen. I paid him $10,000 cash in hand. Just like that. He has his own company now. Prosperous little business. Three wells producing, $5,000 a week. Stop crying, you sniveling ass. Stop your nonsense. You're just the afterbirth, Eli...that slithered out on your mother's filth...They should have put you in a glass jar on the mantelpiece. Where were you when Paul was suckling at his mother's teat? Where were you? Who was nursing you, poor Eli? One of Bandy's sows? That land has been had. Nothing you can do about it. It's gone. It's had. You lose....Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I'm so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's the straw, you see?
(He held his finger up) Watch it.
(He walked back a few steps) Now my straw reaches acroo-oo- oo-oss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake. I... drink... your... milkshake!
(Slurping sound) I drink it up!

When Eli responded: "Don't bully me, Daniel!", Daniel threw him down the bowling alley, while shouting after him:

Did you think your song and dance and your superstition would help you, Eli? I am the Third Revelation! I am who the Lord has chosen. Because I'm smarter than you. I'm older...I'm not a false prophet, you sniveling boy! I am the Third Revelation! I am the Third Revelation! I told you I would eat you...I told you I would eat you up!

Plainview then bloodily murdered Eli with bludgeoning blows from a bowling pin, leaving him to die on the alley, as he told his butler:

I'm finished (referring to both his life and the plate of left-overs he had been eating)

2 Days in Paris (2007)
Screenwriter(s): Julie Delpy

About Breaking Up - "Another Wasted Love Story"

Play clip (excerpt): 2 Days in Paris

French-born photographer Marion (Julie Delpy), living in NYC but traveling in Europe and staying in Paris for two days, wrestled with her feelings about love and relationships.

In voice-over in the film's conclusion, she mused about her difficult relationship with heavily-tattooed boyfriend of two years, Jack (Adam Goldberg), who was in her company. When he told her: "I don't know you" - she responded with her thoughts:

To sum up the four hours of discussion that followed, it's not easy being in a relationship much less to truly know the other one and accept them as they are with all their flaws and baggage....Jack confessed to me his fear of being rejected if I truly knew him, if he showed himself totally bare to me. Jack realized after two years of being with me that he didn't know me at all, nor did I know him. And to truly love each other, we needed to know the truth about each other, even if it's not so easy to take.

So I told him the truth, which was I'd never cheated on him and I also told him that I'd just seen Matthieu that afternoon. He did not get mad at me because nothing had happened, of course. I confessed to Jack that the toughest thing for me was to decide to be with someone for good. The idea that this is it, this is the man I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. To decide that I will make the effort to stay and work things out and not run off the minute there is a problem is very difficult for me. I told him I could not be full with just one man for the rest of my life. It was a lie but I said it anyway. He asked me if I thought I was a squirrel, collecting men like nuts to put away for cold winters. I thought it was quite funny. Then he said something that hurt my feelings. The tone changed drastically. Then I misunderstood what he was saying. I thought he meant he didn't love me anymore and that he wanted to break up with me.

It always fascinates me how people go from loving you madly to nothing at all, nothing. It hurts so much. When I feel someone is going to leave me, I have a tendency to break up first before I get to hear the whole thing.

Here it is. One more, one less. Another wasted love story. I really love this one. When I think that it's over, that I'll never see him again like this, well yes, I'll bump into him, we'll meet our new boyfriend and girlfriend, act as if we had never been together, then we'll slowly think of each other less and less until we forget each other completely. Almost. Always the same for me. Break up, break down. Drink up, fool around. Meet one guy, then another, f--k around. Forget the one and only.

Then after a few months of total emptiness start again to look for true love, desperately look everywhere. And after two years of loneliness, meet a new love and swear it is the one, until that one is gone as well. (long pause) There's a moment in life where you can't recover anymore from another break-up. And even if this person bugs you 60 percent of the time, well, you still can't live without him. And even if he wakes you up every day by sneezing right in your face, well, you love his sneezes more than anyone else's kisses.

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