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Greatest One Liners in Movie History
Movie history shares with us its magic, its emotion, its drama, its laughter and most of all its one liners………….
For me, the most memorable one liner comes from the most talked about movie, Casablanca in 1942….”Play it again, Sam”. Problem is, neither Humphrey, nor Ingrid Bergman said that. Ingrid said, “Play it Sam for old times.” Bogey said, “You played it for her, you can play it for me. If she can stand it, I can. Play it.”
Then, there is the first curse word ever said in film when Clark Gable said to Vivien Leigh in 1939’s Gone With the Wind, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” as he turned in the doorway to get in the last word.
Charles Boyer was quoted for years as saying, “Come with me to the Casbah” from the film, Algiers in 1938. Problem is, Boyer never said that. He grew to detest that line being associated with him.
One of the old and still memorable quotes from Mae West in 1933’s She Done Him Wrong with Cary Grant is “Come up and see me sometime.” She didn’t actually say those words, but, similarly said, “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?”
My favorite that I use all the time in jest is, “Umm, you dirty rat!” This was supposedly said by James Cagney in one of his many gangster films in the 30’s. However, he never said it. Cagney himself said in his acceptance speech to the American Film Institute in 1974, “I never said, “Umm, you dirty rat!”
A line from my favorite film of all time is “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” The line was spoken by Marlon Brando in 1972’s The Godfather. I imagine a lot of businessmen are using that line still today.
Casablanca steals the show with famous one liners. Another is, “Here’s looking at you, kid” which Bogart says several times in the film.
Some one liners always give you an image that simply will not go away. After sixty-two years, I can still see Gloria Swanson walking toward the camera in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard as she says, “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”
I tend to quote the following line pretty often when facing an obstacle; “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” This was Bette Davis standing on the stairway and looking down at her guests in All About Eve in 1950. Guests included Marilyn Monroe.
Another line I use when someone says something to me that seems out of line, or, they make a euphemism that does not fit the situation is, “You talking to me?” Robert De Niro made this question a much used gesture from the film, Taxi Driver in 1976.
My personal favorite one liner is from one of my favorite movies of all-time, Cool Hand Luke in 1967 when Strother Martin says, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” It is often misquoted as, “What we have here is failure to communicate.”
Probably, the most quoted one liner from romantic movies is from 1970’s Love Story when Ali MacGraw says to Ryan O’Neal, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” That movie is one of the all-time tear jerkers.
Here is one that James Cagney actually did say….”Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” This was taken from maybe his greatest role as Cody Jarrett in White Heat in 1949. He makes this statement seconds before firing his weapon into an oil refinery storage tank and Cagney goes up in flames. A very dramatic ending that stays with you.
Back to Casablanca, again. “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Bogart says that to one of the all-time great supporting characters, Claude Rains in the last line in the film.
Maybe the most famous line from a sports film is, “Tell ‘em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper.” This line came from the 1940 film, Knute Rockne as Pat O’Brien spoke to his team in the locker room.
Do you find yourself saying, “Bond, James Bond.” I do. That very popular answer is spoken by Sean Connery in Dr. No which was the very first Bond film in 1962.
Another that I say quite often is “Show me the money!” which is spoken by Cuba Gooding, Jr. in 1996’s Jerry Maguire.
“You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Great line in broken English from a terrific scene that takes place in the backseat of a car between Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger in 1954’s On the Waterfront.
In one of the greatest performances in movie history, Dustin Hoffman in 1969’s Midnight Cowboy says to a cab driver as Dustin boldly walks in front of his cab, “I’m walking here! I’m walking here!”
Probably the funniest one liner in movie history is when Rob Reiner’s real life mom says to the waiter in 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Meg Ryan was sitting across from her boyfriend, Billy Crystal and was pretending to have an orgasm. Rob Reiner says that Crystal came up with the line for the film.
In the top 100 quotes in 100 years of movie history, the American Film Institute lists nine film quotes from films that starred Humphrey Bogart. This is the record. Here is another one from 1944’s To Have and Have Not. "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." Lauren Bacall speaking to Bogart.
Unless you saw the film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in 1948, you probably will not be familiar with this one, but, it is truly one of my very favorite lines spoken by a widely used supporting actor, Alfonso Bedoya to Bogart. “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” Bedoya would make over 175 films.
Okay, you are saying about now, “Where is the one from Clint?” Okay, in 1983’s Sudden Impact, Clint Eastwood makes this very persuasive statement to the bad guy, “Go ahead, make my day.” This was one of Eastwood’s Dirty Harry Callahan films.
“I’ll be back.” I don’t have to tell you that came from Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator in 1984. Widely used by imitators everywhere. Texas governor, Rick Perry is probably quoting it right now.
In a powerful performance by the legendary Gary Cooper in The Pride of the Yankees in 1942, Cooper says in a farewell speech in Yankee Stadium, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." This was the story of one of baseball’s greatest players, Lou Gehrig.
You ever find yourself yelling, “Stella! Hey, Stella!” Those unforgettable words were spoken by Marlon Brando in 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire.
In a line that I see used pretty often in personal conversations, Renee Zellweger, in Jerry Maguire in 1996 said to Tom Cruise, “You had me at hello.”
Probably the most imitated line is “Say hello to my little friend!” quoted by Al Pacino in Scarface in 1983. Everyone, including me, tries to give a personal rendition to this much abused line.
Another widely imitated line is “Here’s Johnny!” spoken by Jack Nicholson in The Shining in 1980.
And, finally, “Shane. Shane. Come back!” I do this one all the time. It is spoken by child actor, Brandon De Wilde in Shane in 1953.
Well, there are many, many more, but, I don't want to bore you. Maybe I will add on to this in the future. Meanwhile, let's all go to the movies!