The Hollywood Reporter recently surveyed a range of their industry readers about their favourite movie quotes of all time, and all the usual suspects were included; ‘You complete me’, ‘You can’t handle the truth’, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’. All solid choices but maybe a little bit cliche.
They created this fun little video with a bunch of Hollywood types reciting their favourite movie quotes, which I found almost as enjoyable as I find celebrities doing impressions of other celebrities, such as this very entertaining video of actor Ross Marquand doing celebrity ‘nano-impressions’ for Vanity Fair:
So I started thinking about my favourite movie quotes of all time, and I usually come back to the same top five, and funnily enough, they tend to line up with my favourite movies. So, in no particular order, because it consistently changes, here are my favourites;
“Ya know, I used to live like Robin Crusoe, I mean shipwrecked among 8 million people. Then one day, I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were.” – CC Baxter, The Apartment
“Pardon my french, but Cameron is so uptight, if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you would have a diamond.” – Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
“Oh bliss! Oh bliss and heaven! It was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh.It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!” – Alex DeLarge, A Clockwork Orange
“Mine. A 1970 Pontiac Firebird. It’s the car I’ve always wanted, and now I have it. I rule!” – Lester Burnham, American Beauty
“…I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films – these things matter. Call me shallow but it’s the fuckin’ truth” – Rob Gordon, High Fidelity
What is it that makes a great movie quote?
Is it that they make you laugh, such as that great line from Ferris Buellers Day Off. Or is that they make you feel something, like CC Baxter’s casual declaration of finding comfort in another person to Fran Kubelik in the Apartment? I don’t know about you, but I’m prone to feeling intensely isolated from other people now and again, just waiting to see that footprint in the sand, so maybe that’s why I like it so much.
Maybe they’re just words that sound brilliant said aloud, like Alex DeLarge’s description of hearing a woman singing Beethoven’s 5th symphony in the Korova Milkbar, describing the effect that beautiful music has on him.
Or maybe it’s something intensely relatable, like Rob Gordon’s matter of fact statement about the nature of human relationships, and that what you like might matter more than who you are as a person when it comes to dating.
Whatever it is, the script of a film is an art form, one that’s so often executed poorly, so I take the good ones to heart.