The 50 most quotable films of all time

The 50 most quotable films of all time

Quotability is a fairly recent phenomenon in cinephilia. There's been no shortage of quotable films throughout film history, but the practice of sitting around and exchanging memorable lines from your favorite movies is largely specific to the advent of home video and cable. Repeat viewings allow you to absorb a film's essence, and dialogue is typically the most indelible aspect. You don't have to be paying full attention to catch a witty line or a profound exchange. And when you discuss movies with your friends, you're more likely to exchange favorite quotes than you are to marvel over mise-en-scène. We love to quote movies. In the interest of stirring up a big ol' fight, here are 50 of the most quotable movies ever made, listed by title and screenwriter(s). To bolster each entry, we've included a sampling of the most memorable lines from each film.

 
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"Goodfellas" - Written by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese, based on Pileggi’s book “Wiseguy”

"Goodfellas" - Written by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese, based on Pileggi’s book “Wiseguy”

“Goodfellas” is the cinematic gold standard for quotability. Each time you watch it, a different piece of dialogue or delightfully profane exchange will invariably catch your ear. “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” “Funny how?” “Now go home and get your f****** shinebox.” “Oh, you broke your cherry!” “I’m gonna go get the papers, get the papers.” “I like this one. One dog goes one way, and the other dog goes the other way. And this guy’s saying, ‘What do you want from me?’” “Henry, you’re a real jerk. You wasted eight f****** aprons on this guy.”

 
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"All About Eve" - Written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

"All About Eve" - Written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

The cattiest movie ever made, this 1950 Best Picture-winner is a classic showbiz yarn about an up-and-coming ingénue (Anne Baxter) threatening the career of a fading Broadway star (Bette Davis). It is a zesty collection of humdingers hurled almost nonstop for 138 minutes. It is divine. “Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.” “Lloyd, honey, be a playwright with guts. Write me one about a nice normal woman who shoots her husband.” “You're an improbable person, Eve, and so am I. We have that in common — also, our contempt for humanity and inability to love, and be loved, insatiable ambition and talent. We deserve each other.” “Bill’s 32. He looks 32. He looked it five years ago. He’ll look it 20 years from now. I hate men.”

 
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"The Godfather" - Written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, based on Puzo’s novel

"The Godfather" - Written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, based on Puzo’s novel

All “Godfather” movies are eminently quotable, but the first film of the franchise contains a multitude of lines that have wormed their way into everyday speech. “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” “Leave the gun; take the cannoli.” “It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” “We don’t discuss business at the table.” “Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news at once.” “That’s my family, Kay. That’s not me.”

 
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"Slap Shot" - Written by Nancy Dowd

"Slap Shot" - Written by Nancy Dowd

There have been some pretty decent hockey films over the years (e.g. “Miracle” and “Youngblood”), but no one before or since has nailed the sport’s debauched subculture like screenwriter Nancy Dowd — whose brother played in the minor leagues just like the Neanderthals depicted in this gloriously profane movie. “Eddie Shore?” “P*** on Eddie Shore!” “They bought their f*****’ toys with them!” “”Hey, Walt! What are you doing?” “Makin’ it look mean!” “I tried to capture the spirit of the thing.” “I’m listening to the f*****’ song!” And many other asterisk-laden beauties…

 
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"The Apartment" - Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

"The Apartment" - Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

Billy Wilder's Academy Award-winning romantic comedy is an emotional thresher. You see so much of yourself in these two cruelly used individuals (played by Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon), and he takes you right to the brink of desperation. Then suddenly, champagne. Happy New Year. "That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise." "Y'know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe. I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were." "When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara." "Some people take, some people get took — and they know they're getting took, and there's nothing they can do about it." "Shut up and deal."

 
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"Glengarry Glen Ross" - Written by David Mamet

"Glengarry Glen Ross" - Written by David Mamet

David Mamet’s play about cutthroat real estate salesmen was already a quotable classic for theater nerds in the 1980s by the time director James Foley brought it to the big screen with a killer cast of Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris and Alan Arkin. But Mamet delivered a whole new batch of memorable lines in the opening scene written expressly for the movie (which is positively owned by Alec Baldwin). “Coffee’s for closers only.” “Third prize is you’re fired.” “What’s your name?” “’F*** you’. That’s my name.” “Always Be Closing.” “You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is.” “What you’re hired for is to help us! Does that seem clear to you? To  help us, not to… f*** us up!” “You ever take a dump made you feel like you’d just slept for 12 hours?”

 
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"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" - Written by all six members of Monty Python

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" - Written by all six members of Monty Python

The greatest sketch comedy troupe of the 20th century trained its absurdist sights on the legend of Camelot, and high school AV nerds have been quoting the entire screenplay for the last 40 years. To be fair to high school AV nerds, it does happen to be one of the funniest films ever made. To wit: “I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.” “It’s just a flesh wound.” “What are you gonna do, bleed on me?” “We are the knights who say ‘Ni’!” “Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide!” “Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. “Bring up the Holy Hand Grenade?” “How do you know so much about swallows?”

 
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"Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" - Written by Mike Myers

"Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" - Written by Mike Myers

Mike Myers was crawling out from under the massive failure of “So I Married an Axe Murderer” when he basically doubled down on that film’s Peter Sellers-inspired multiple-character act with this swinging '60s superspy send-up. There’s actually little difference in the quality of the films, but the latter had a little more verve and capitalized on catch phrases and that made all the difference. “Yeah, baby!” “Do I make you horny?” “Who does No. 2 work for?” “Throw me a frickin’ bone here.” “You know, I have one simple request, and that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!” “I hate you! I hate you! I wish I was never artificially created in a lab!”

 
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"Step Brothers" - Written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay

"Step Brothers" - Written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are a pair of middle-aged fail-sons who end up living under the same roof when the single parents they’re still living with get married. They hate each other at first but eventually become best friends and business partners in a vaguely conceived entertainment venture called Prestige Worldwide. This film is a gift. “It’s the f****** Catalina Wine Mixer!” “Boats and hoes.” “I tea-bagged your drum set.” “Do you wanna do karate in the garage?” “Let’s keep it in the late '80s, and let’s keep it fun.” “Brennan, Denise called and she said she can’t spend New Year’s Eve with you because she’s not your girlfriend; she’s your therapist.” “Chewbacca masks!” “Why are you so sweaty?” “I was watching ‘Cops’.” 

 
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"Fletch" - Written by Andrew Bergman, based on Gregory Mcdonald's novel

"Fletch" - Written by Andrew Bergman, based on Gregory Mcdonald's novel

"Fletch" was less an adaptation of Mcdonald’s mystery novel than a quip-laden showcase for Chevy Chase. Fortunately it was 1985, and Chase’s glib charm was enough to carry a film. It helped that Bergman, the underrated writer of “The In-Laws” and “So Fine” (and a co-writer on “Blazing Saddles”) was feeding Chase some of his best bits. “He’s actually 6'5." With the afro, 6'9'.” “You using the whole fist, Doc?” “Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo.” “I don’t like to discuss business on the lanai. Let’s go inside.” “Do you have The Beatles’ ‘White Album’? Never mind; just get me a glass of hot fat. And bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia while you’re out there.” “I’m with the mattress police. There are no tags on these mattresses.”

 
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"The Jerk" - Written by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb and Michael Elias

"The Jerk" - Written by Steve Martin, Carl Gottlieb and Michael Elias

Steve Martin was nearing the end of his wild-and-crazy-guy days when he landed his first star vehicle in Carl Reiner’s “The Jerk." Working with veteran comedy writers Carl Gottlieb and Michael Elias, he veered into R-rated territory with the tale of Navin R. Johnson, an imbecile who stumbles into good fortune. Like many comedies of its era, it was highly quotable. “I was born a poor black child.” “He hates these cans!” “Don’t call that dog ‘Lifesaver’. Call him ‘S***head.’” “First I get my name in the phone book, and now I’m on your ass. I’ll bet more people see that than the phone book.” “Lord loves a working man; don’t trust whitey, see a doctor and get rid of it.” “I think next week I'll be able to send more money, as I may have extra work."

 
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"The Untouchables" - Written by David Mamet

"The Untouchables" - Written by David Mamet

More Mamet, this time in the service of a purely commercial rendition of Eliot Ness’ Treasury Department efforts that led to the imprisonment of Al Capone. It’s adult escapism — “Star Wars” with Tommy guns — and director Brian De Palma makes the script sing with the spot-on casting of Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro and, of course, Sean Connery. “Who would claim to be that who was not?” “What are you prepared to do?” “You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital; you send one of his to the morgue.  That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone!” “There goes the next chief of police.” “You’re nothing but a lot of talk and a badge.” “Here endeth the lesson.” “I think I’ll have a drink.”

 
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"Pulp Fiction" - Written by Quentin Tarantino, stories by Tarantino and Roger Avary

"Pulp Fiction" - Written by Quentin Tarantino, stories by Tarantino and Roger Avary

Quentin Tarantino’s first film, “Reservoir Dogs," had already spawned quote-bearing, dorm-room papering posters by the time his sophomore feature hit theaters in the fall of 1994. He had a stranglehold on the Gen-X zeitgeist, and this triptych of lurid tales was an all-killer, no-filler double LP of quotable cool. “They call it a Royale with cheese.” “Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.” “We’re gonna be like three little Fonzies here.” “That is a tasty burger!” “Check out the big brain on Brett!” “Imma get medieval on your ass.” “That’s 30 minutes away. I’ll be there in 10.” “And you will know my name is the lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

 
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"Scarface" - Written by Oliver Stone

"Scarface" - Written by Oliver Stone

Ol’ Ollie Stone says he was getting his revenge on cocaine when he wrote this sprawling screenplay inspired by Howard Hawks’ 1932 gangster classic, and Brian De Palma more than delivered with a heavily accented Al Pacino giving his histrionic all as a Cuban drug lord. It’s a paean to excess. “Say hello to my little friend!” “The world is yours!” “Chi Chi, get the yayo.” “This town is like a great big [ahem] just waiting to get [you know].” “Can’t you stop saying f*** all the time?” He couldn’t. No one could in this movie. And we’ll leave it at that.

 
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"Wet Hot American Summer" - Written by Michael Showalter and David Wain

"Wet Hot American Summer" - Written by Michael Showalter and David Wain

An unlikely comedy franchise was launched with this bizarre parody of/homage to summer camp movies like “Meatballs” and “Little Darlings." Wain’s film was dumped without much promotion in the summer of 2001 but caught on via home video and eventually spawned two Netflix series that miraculously recaptured the off-kilter nostalgia of the original. It’s hugely rewatchable and massively quotable. “Now finish up them taters. I’m gonna go fondle my sweaters.” “Have a great winter. I’m gonna go hump the fridge.” “It’s nice to go into town, even if it’s for an hour.” “I feel like I’m watching regional theater. Am I in the Cleveland Playhouse or something?” “You French great!” 

 
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"Heathers" - Written by Daniel Waters

"Heathers" - Written by Daniel Waters

The high school comedy was well overdue for a caustic overhaul in 1988, and this pitch-black satire that fearlessly engaged the topic of teen suicide more than did the trick. Waters’ screenplay was shocking for its day, but it connected with kids who were tired of being inundated with out-of-touch PSAs and teen-skewing movies written by middle-aged white dudes. Where to start? Oh yes. “F*** me gently with a chainsaw.” “Save the speeches for Malcolm X. I just want to get laid.” “Transfer to Washington. Transfer to Jefferson. No one at Westerberg is going to let you play their reindeer games.” “This isn’t just a spoke in my menstrual cycle.” “You know what I want? Cool guys like you out of my life.” 

 
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"Friday" - Written by Ice Cube and DJ Pooh

"Friday" - Written by Ice Cube and DJ Pooh

The stoner comedy came roaring back in 1995 thanks to Ice Cube and DJ Pooh. As with most stoner comedies, “Friday” overstays its welcome by a good 10 or 20 minutes, but it has several pause-the-movie belly laughs, which is more than most movies can claim. Chris Tucker was the breakout star of “Friday," but John Witherspoon is the MVP. “Bye, Felisha.” “I smelled your s**t for 22 years; now you can smell mine for five minutes.” “Don’t nobody go in the bathroom for about 35, 45 minutes. Somebody open up a window.” “Give me a little for my cataracts.” “Puff-puff, give. Puff-puff, give. You f*****’ up the rotation.” “I wish I was sleeping right now. I knock you upside your head with a left hook, make your ass wake up and take out that damn trash.” OK, most of this works better in context. When you’re really, really high.

 
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"Do the Right Thing" - Written by Spike Lee

"Do the Right Thing" - Written by Spike Lee

Spike Lee turns this Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood into a symphony of love and hate that inevitably tips to the latter because this is seemingly the way of the world. “Do the Right Thing” is a horribly tragic film, and yet for most of its runtime you’re laughing and clapping and generally vibing on the great music and sense of community. “If Mike Tyson dream of whuppin’ my ass, he better wake up and apologize.” “Hey, Sal, how come there ain’t no brothers on the wall?” “You wanna boycott someone? You oughta start with the god**** barber who f***** up your hair!” “Doctor, those that’ll tell don’t know, and those that know won’t tell.” “Why don’t you go back to Massachusetts?” “I was born in Brooklyn.”

 
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"Raising Arizona" - Written by Joel and Ethan Coen

"Raising Arizona" - Written by Joel and Ethan Coen

Every single Coen Brothers movie is quotable on some level, but their comedies are non-stop assaults of hilarity. Multiple viewings are a must because you’re often roaring over a third of the dialogue. This kidnapping yarn starring Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter is one of their best. “Well, sometimes I get them menstrual cramps real hard.” “Son, you got a panty on your head.” “Edwina’s insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.” “Gubmint do take a bite, don’t she?” “Rollie, you take that diaper off your head and you put it back on your sister!” And the simple, but ever-useful-in-everyday-conversation, “OK then.”

 
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"His Girl Friday" - Written by Charles Lederer, based on the play “The Front Page” by Ben Hecht and Morrie Ryskind

"His Girl Friday" - Written by Charles Lederer, based on the play “The Front Page” by Ben Hecht and Morrie Ryskind

The banter in classic ‘30s and ‘40s screwball comedies flew by so quickly that you didn’t have time to savor one particular bon mot. You had to stay completely alert lest you miss the next 10 mind-blowingly clever quips tossed off over the next couple of minutes. In terms of laughs per second, it’s impossible to top “His Girl Friday." “Walter, you’re wonderful…in a loathsome sort of way.” “You’re losing your eye. You used to be able to pitch better than that.” “Take Hitler and stick him on the funny page.” “He looks like that fellow in the movies: Ralph Bellamy.” “Oh, well, don’t get technical at a time like this.” “Sold American!”

 
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"Withnail and I" - Written by Bruce Robinson

"Withnail and I" - Written by Bruce Robinson

Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann are unforgettable as a pair of drunken derelicts in Bruce Robinson’s knockabout cult comedy. It’s especially popular with Brits and people of the theatrical persuasion, but it’s a tremendously wise film that has plenty to offer ordinary, well-read folks. “My thumbs have gone weird!” “We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now!” “All right, this is the plan: We get in there and get wrecked, then we’ll eat a pork pie; then we’ll drop a couple of Surmontil-50s each. That means we’ll miss out Monday but come up smiling Tuesday morning.” “Who says it’s a Camberwall carrot?” “I do. I invented it in Camberwell, and it looks like a carrot.” “I must have some booze. I demand to have some booze!”

 
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"Airplane!" - Written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker

"Airplane!" - Written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker

The ZAZ trio’s gag-a-second spoof of disaster movies was a runaway hit in the summer of 1980, and, as is true of all their movies, your favorite line may be one you hear on your third viewing when you’re not laughing at whatever joke knocked you dead the first time around. “I am serious. And don’t call me ‘Shirley’.” “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.” “Oh, stewardess! I speak jive!” “You ever seen a grown man naked?” “Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?” “Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up the court for 48 minutes.” “There’s a sale at Penney’s!” “’I don’t know where I’ll be then, Doc,’ he said, ‘but I won’t smell too good that’s for sure.’”

 
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"National Lampoon's Animal House" - Written by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller

"National Lampoon's Animal House" - Written by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller

“My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.” “Better listen to him, Flounder, he’s in pre-med.” This is one of the more innocuous exchanges from the campus comedy classic that’s outraging a whole new generation today. And the late Doug Kenney probably wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ll try to keep it clean here. “FOOD FIGHT!” “Zero…point…zero.” “Grab a brew. Don’t cost nothin’.” “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” “RAMMING SPEED!” “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” “TOGA! TOGA!” “The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me.”

 
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"A Night at the Opera" - Written by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, from a story by James Kevin McGuinness

"A Night at the Opera" - Written by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, from a story by James Kevin McGuinness

The Marx Brothers' first six movies are riddled with memorable bon mots, but their first film for MGM has probably produced the most enduring zingers. “The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part.” “You can’t fool me. There ain’t no sanity clause.” “Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck-and-a-quarter, you can get Minnie.” “When I invite a woman to dinner I expect her to look at my face. That's the price she has to pay.” 

 
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"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" - Written by Cameron Crowe

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" - Written by Cameron Crowe

The definitive 1980s teen comedy benefited immensely from journalist Cameron Crowe’s first-hand experience as an undercover student at a Southern California high school. Though all of the characters get their moments to shine, most of the money quotes are uttered by Sean Penn’s stoner sage, Jeff Spicoli. “Hey bud, let’s party.” “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” “My old man is a television repairman; he's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.” “People on ‘ludes should not drive.” “Doesn’t anyone f****** knock anymore?” “This is U.S. History. I see the globe right there.” “When it comes to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.”

 
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"Caddyshack" - Written by Brian Doyle-Murray and Harold Ramis and Douglas Kenney

"Caddyshack" - Written by Brian Doyle-Murray and Harold Ramis and Douglas Kenney

As detailed in Chris Mashawaty's immensely entertaining “Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story," the snobs-vs.-slobs country club classic was not an immediately beloved comedy when released in 1980. It wasn’t until home video and cable that it became a pop culture phenomenon, at which point the quotes flew freely on golf courses and playgrounds with impunity. “Be the ball.” “Cinderella story, out of nowhere…” “There won’t be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness. So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.” “When you buy a hat like that I bet you get a free bowl of soup.” “You’ll get nothing, and like it!” “This steak still has marks from where the jockey was hitting it.” And so on.

 
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"Blazing Saddles" - Written by Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman,Richard Pryor and Alan Uger

"Blazing Saddles" - Written by Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman,Richard Pryor and Alan Uger

The 1970s audiences that didn’t run screaming from Mel Brooks’ comedic carpet bombing of the Hollywood Western, racism and good taste in general left the theater quoting some of the most explosively funny dialogue ever written (much of which is not printable here). “Mongo only pawn in game of life.” “What in the 'Wide World of Sports' is goin’ on here?” “Well, to tell the family secret, my grandmother was Dutch.” “It’s Hedley.” “What’s a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this?” “Shut up, you Teutonic t***!” “Oh, it’s twue! It’s twue!”

 
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"Jaws" - Written by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, based on Benchley’s novel

"Jaws" - Written by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, based on Benchley’s novel

Steven Spielberg’s summer blockbuster hooked audiences by preying on their fears of what lies beneath the glassy surface of the sea. But it wouldn’t be hailed as one of the greatest movies ever made without the brilliant screenplay from Benchley and Emmy-winning comedy writer Gottlieb. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” “Y’know the thing about a shark? He’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes.” “This was no boat accident!” “Here’s to swimmin’ with bow-legged women.” “Cage goes in the water. You go in the water. Shark’s in the water. Our shark.” “That’s some bad hat, Harry.” “Smile, you son of a b****!”

 
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"Casablanca" - Written by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, based on the play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

"Casablanca" - Written by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, based on the play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

Younger viewers are often surprised when they finally get around to watching Michael Curtiz’s “Casablanca." Not only is it, gasp, remarkably entertaining for a black-and-white movie, but it also contains numerous bits of dialogue that have long been part of the American lexicon. “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” “Round up the usual suspects.” “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” “I’m shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” And then there’s the frequently misquoted “Play it again, Sam," which is actually, “You played it for her, you can play it for me!” To everyone who’s spoken the former over the years, you were misinformed.

 
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"The Big Lebowski" - Written by Joel and Ethan Coen

"The Big Lebowski" - Written by Joel and Ethan Coen

The Coens’ stoner noir was a box office disappointment in 1998, but it more than found its audience on home video. Interestingly, it’s one of the most divisive movies in the duo’s oeuvre: Some have it chiseled in at No. 1, while others consider it one of their weakest efforts. Either way, it’s a great movie for a large chunk of its runtime and quotable to the fare-thee-well. “The dude abides.” “That rug really tied the room together.” “Shut the f*** up, Donnie!” “Lord, you can imagine where it goes from here.” “He fixes the cable?” “I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, dude. At least it’s an ethos.” “This will not stand, y’know? This aggression will not stand, man.” “This is what happens when you…” you either know the rest of the quote, or you need to watch the movie ASAP.

 
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"Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" - Written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay

"Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" - Written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay

The first in a four-film string of wildly quotable comedies (including “Talladega Nights," “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys”), this absurdist spoof of local news quickly caught on to broadcasters, who were delighted to see their profession so thoroughly skewered. As a result, “Anchorman” quotes became inescapable on the news and, particularly, sporting events. “You stay classy, San Diego.” “I’m in a glass case of emotion!” “Boy, that escalated quickly.” “Where’d you get your clothes…from the toilet store?” “I love lamp.” “Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.” “I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch!”

 
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"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" - Written by John Hughes

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" - Written by John Hughes

“Sixteen Candles," “The Breakfast Club” or, for Bill Paxton’s Chet alone, “Weird Science” could occupy this slot, but Hughes’ chronicle of a dedicated truant has left the deepest impact on the popular culture. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” “Bueller? Bueller?” “Nine times.” “When Cameron was in Egypt’s land…let my Cameron go.” “You’re not dying. You just can’t think of anything good to do.” “So that’s how it is in their family.”

 
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"Aliens" - Written by James Cameron

"Aliens" - Written by James Cameron

Cameron’s action-packed sequel to Ridley Scott’s horrifying original is loaded with militaristic machismo and Sigourney Weaver’s sly puncturing of said posturing. It runs neck and neck with “True Lies” as Cameron’s funniest script. “Game over, man!” “Get away from her, you  b****!” “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” “Look into my eye.” “We’re on an express elevator to hell, going down!” “Is this gonna be a standup fight, sir, or another bug hunt?” “Why don’t you put her in charge!” And the extraordinarily relevant, “Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?”

 
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"Star Wars" - Written by George Lucas

"Star Wars" - Written by George Lucas

The summer blockbuster that forever changed the way Hollywood makes/views movies wouldn’t have been a one-of-a-kind sensation without a passel of indelible lines. Yes, “The Empire Strikes Back” features superior banter, but most of the iconic lines are in the original. “May the force be with you.” “Use the force, Luke.” “The force is strong with this one.” “Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.” “Let the wookie win.”

 
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"Ghostbusters" - Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

"Ghostbusters" - Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

Notable today for having the most aggressively awful fandom on the planet, Ivan Reitman’s original “Ghostbusters” was once thoroughly enjoyable as a lightning-in-a-bottle comedy-horror hybrid starring some of the funniest people on the planet. During the summer of 1984, it wasn’t unusual to encounter people wearing T-shirts emblazoned with some of the film’s most memorable quotes. “Who you gonna call?” “He slimed me.” “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!” “Don’t cross the streams.” “Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!” “This chick is toast!” “Back off, man, I’m a scientist.” “Listen…you smell something?” “Are you the keymaster?” 

 
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"Risky Business" - Written by Paul Brickman

"Risky Business" - Written by Paul Brickman

Writer-director Paul Brickman’s Chicago-set, coming-of-age comedy works as a predictive satire of John Hughes’ entire oeuvre. It’s about an upper-middle-class (we had that in the ‘80s) high school student who gets caught up in the business of “human fulfillment” aka pimping. The film made Tom Cruise a star and is still one of the best things he’s ever done. “Sometimes you’ve gotta say, ‘what the f***!” “Porsche. There is no substitute.” “Please, Joel, do what they say: Get off the babysitter.” “Who’s the U-boat commander?” “I’ve got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I’m being chased by Guido the killer pimp.” “Have you ever made love on a real train?” “Princeton can use a guy like Joel.”

 
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"Coming to America" - Written by David Sheffield and Barry Blaustein, from a story by Eddie Murphy

"Coming to America" - Written by David Sheffield and Barry Blaustein, from a story by Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy was the "comedy god" of the 1980s. Kids memorized his stand-up routines (much to chagrin of their parents) and snuck into his movies over and over to watch an artist performing at a creative zenith few have ever reached. When the movies were great, they were mad quotable — none more so than “Coming to America." “I got a very special treat for y’all this evening, a young man that you know as Joe the Policeman from the ‘What’s Going Down’ episode of ‘That’s My Momma.” “Sexual Chocolate!” “His mama call him Clay, Imma call him Clay.” “I want a woman that will arouse my intellect as well as my loins.” “Damn shame what they did to that dog.” “They got the Big Mac; I got the Big Mick.” “When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!”  Just let your Soul Glo!

 
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"Back to the Future" - Written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis

"Back to the Future" - Written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis

Robert Zemeckis’ time travel masterpiece was a savvy, multiquadrant smash that played to Gen X teenagers and their baby boomer parents — meaning two generations could safely quote the year’s biggest hit around the dinner table. The sequels boast clever snippets of dialogue as well, but there’s no matching the original. “Great Scott!” “Chuck, it’s Marvin! Your cousin! Marvin Berry.” “When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious s***.” “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” “So why don’t you make like a tree…and get out of here.” “So you’re my Uncle Joey. Better get used to these bars, kid.” 

 
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"Top Gun" - Written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.

"Top Gun" - Written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.

Tony Scott’s flyboy blockbuster kicked Tom Cruise’s big-screen stardom into the stratosphere and did wonders for the U.S. Navy’s recruiting efforts. Though the film is rather thin on plot, the writers (credited or otherwise) papered over this narrative indifference with a preponderance of quotable, occasionally meatheaded dialogue. “I feel the need…the need for speed!” “That’s right, Ice…man. I am dangerous.” “And if you screw up just this much…you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog s*** out of Hong Kong!” “I’m gonna hit the brakes, he’ll fly right by.” “This is what I call a target-rich environment.” “You've been busted! You lost your qualifications as section leader three times, put in hack twice by me, with a history of high speed passes over five air control towers, and one admiral's daughter!”

 
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"The Princess Bride" - Written by William Goldman

"The Princess Bride" - Written by William Goldman

We’ve reached the William Goldman section of this list. The screenwriter’s screenwriter passed away in 2018, leaving behind a trove of masterfully crafted scripts that always evinced a keen wit to go along with their structural brilliance. And he never wrote a more quotable script than this beloved adaptation of his inventive fantasy novel. “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” “Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” “No more rhymes. I mean it!” “Anybody want a peanut?” “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” “Have fun stormin’ the castle!” “As you wish.”

 
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"All the President's Men" - Written by William Goldman

"All the President's Men" - Written by William Goldman

President Richard M. Nixon was only two years out of the White House when Goldman adapted the journalistic tale of his undoing. Even though every single person in America knew the end to the story, audiences were still pinned to their seats thanks to Alan J. Pakula’s ominous staging and Goldman’s filet mignon dialogue. “Follow the money.” “The truth is these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.” “This is a family newspaper.” “I guess I don’t have the taste for the jugular you guys have.” “Nothing's riding on this except the first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys f*** up again, I'm going to get mad. Goodnight.”

 
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"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" - Written by William Goldman

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" - Written by William Goldman

While Sam Peckinpah was bloodily revising the Hollywood Western for a more cynical age with “The Wild Bunch," Goldman was spicing it up with an irreverently modern sensibility. Pretty much everyone dies at the end in both films, but Goldman’s variation won audiences over with its insouciant sense of doom. “I can’t swim!” “Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you!” “Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?” “Small price to pay for beauty.” “Is that what you call running? If I knew you were going to stroll…” “You didn’t see Lefors out there, did you?” “Lefors? No.” “Oh, good. For a moment there I thought we were in trouble.” “Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”

 
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"Broadcast News" - Written by James L. Brooks

"Broadcast News" - Written by James L. Brooks

The creator of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show," “Rhoda” and “Taxi” clearly knew from funny when he segued to movies with 1983’s spiky and heartbreaking “Terms of Endearment." But he was on absolute fire when he tapped out this dramedy about behind-the-scenes turmoil at a network news affiliate. “It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you’re the smartest person in the room.” “No. It’s awful.” “Wouldn’t this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If ‘needy” were a turn on?” “A lot of alliteration from anxious anchors placed in powerful posts!” “This is more than Nixon ever sweated.” “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” “Keep it to yourself.”

 
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"Die Hard" - Written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, based on the novel “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorp

"Die Hard" - Written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, based on the novel “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorp

New York City cop John McClane flies out to Los Angeles to hang with his recently relocated wife and family for Christmas only to get caught up in a hostage situation in the still-under-construction Nakatomi Tower. The action film that saved the genre from muscle-bound overload in 1988 is also one of the most quoted movies of the last 31 years. “Yippie-ki-yay, motherf*****!” “’Come out to the coast. We’ll get together, have a few laughs…’” “Welcome to the party, pal.” “Who’s driving this car, Stevie Wonder?” “You asked for miracles, Theo. I give you the F… B… I.” “After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you’re nothing but a common thief.” “I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane!” “We’re gonna need some more FBI guys, I guess.”

 
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"Apocalypse Now" - Written by John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola

"Apocalypse Now" - Written by John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola damn near killed himself and Martin Sheen trying to bring off this Vietnam-set riff on Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness." It’s widely hailed by critics and (especially) filmmakers as one of the greatest movies ever made, but the praise tends to linger on Coppola’s visuals. It’s also insanely quotable. “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” “Never get out of the boat absolutely god**** right. Unless you were going all the way.” “Charlie don’t surf!” “What are they going to say about him? What? Are they going to say he was a kind man? He was a wise man? He had plans? He had wisdom? Bulls***!” “Someday this war’s gonna end.”

 
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"Sweet Smell of Success" - Written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, based on Lehman’s novel

"Sweet Smell of Success" - Written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, based on Lehman’s novel

This nasty film noir set in the scuzzy world of gossip columnists and press agents features a surfeit of stiletto-sharp exchanges penned by two masters in Odets and Lehman. Stars Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis deliver the dialogue with all due malice. This one’s a scorcher. “The cat’s in the bag, and the bag’s in the river.” “I’d hate to take a bite out of you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic.” “Match me, Sidney.” “Everybody knows Manny Davis, except Mrs. Manny Davis.” “You’re an amusing boy, but you haven’t got a drop of respect for anything in human life.” “Maybe I left my sense of humor in my other suit.” “You’re dead, son. Get yourself buried.”

 
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"Dazed and Confused" - Written by Richard Linklater

"Dazed and Confused" - Written by Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s last-day-of-school reverie gets everything right about the mid-1970s, down to the clothes, the cars and, of course, the lingo. There’s never been a sweeter cinematic buzz than this, which is why it’s still quoted incessantly over 25 years later. “All right, all right, all right.” “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” “Air raid!” “Say, man, you got a joint?” “No, not on me, man.” “It’d be a lot cooler if you did.” “You just gotta keep livin’, man. L-I-V-I-N.” “What are you lookin’ at? Wipe that face off your head, b****.” “I love those redheads.”

 
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"Mean Girls" - Written by Tina Fey, based on the book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman

"Mean Girls" - Written by Tina Fey, based on the book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman

Tina Fey created two of the most quotable sitcoms of the 20th century (“30 Rock” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), so it follows that her casually acerbic sensibility would translate well to the movies. This broadly played examination of high school cliquishness is a bit like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” with the heart cut out, but it’s still enormously funny. “Gretchen, stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen.” “It’s like I have ESPN or something. My breasts can always tell when it’s going to rain.” “At your age, you're going to have a lot of urges. You're going to want to take off your clothes and touch each other. But if you do touch each other, you will get chlamydia... and die.” “I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom.” “Oh my god, Karen, you can’t just ask people why they’re white?”

 
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"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" - Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter George, based on George’s novel, “Red Alert”

"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" - Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter George, based on George’s novel, “Red Alert”

Released two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, with the threat of a full-scale nuclear war ever looming, Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” didn’t exactly amuse everyone in the country. Even the antics of Peter Sellers couldn’t take the edge off the pitch-black comedy. The film’s force was diminished after the end of the Cold War, but wouldn’t you know, it’s scary as hell again — and for those who can stomach it, quotably hilarious. “Mein Führer, I can walk!” “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!” “You’re gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company.” “Don’t say that you’re more sorry than I am, because I’m capable of being just as sorry as you are.” “Well, boys, I reckon this is it: nuclear combat toe-to-toe with the Russkies.” 

 
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"The Wizard of Oz" - Written by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, based on the novel by L. Frank Baum

"The Wizard of Oz" - Written by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, based on the novel by L. Frank Baum

A foundational film fantasy, and one of the first films most children know to quote, MGM’s calling-all-cars adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s novel still works like gangbusters today. The iconic production design is obviously key to the film’s longevity, but the script is as quotable as ever. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.” “There’s no place like home.”

Jeremy Smith is a freelance entertainment writer and the author of "George Clooney: Anatomy of an Actor". His second book, "When It Was Cool", is due out in 2021.

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