Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The 15 Best Movie Speeches Ever!

First, let me rephrase by saying that these are not just speeches but also may be monologues. From politics and religion to Superman's weak belief in the human race, these words have entertained and inspired for years. I know I could have added the obvious ones, like Mel Gibson's speech from Braveheart, Gene Hackman's speech in Hoosiers or Charles S. Dutton's in Rudy, but I wanted to go with some that really gave me the chills when I first heard them ... and still do today. If I've forgotten any or may have skipped some that are your favorite(s), feel free to comment. (NOTE: Please be warned that some of the video clips of the speeches contain strong language.)

15. Jason Lee -- Dogma (1999)

Writer/Director Kevin Smith has always spoken freely about his opinions about others through his films. But in 1999, Smith took a big gamble when he covered the touchy subject of religion – particularly Christianity. In the film, Smith points out hypocrisies within Christians while also pointing out small bits of good. But it’s Jason Lee as former muse-turned-demon Azrael (who is actually the archangel of death) who speaks of humans’ creation of Hell and the personal suffering that they insist on inflicting upon themselves that truly takes the cake. Unfortunately, it was also cut from the film. Smith’s writing is darker in this film, but with more viewings, the film earns classic status for being one of the few good films that touches on a very taboo Hollywood topic.
 
Azrael: Human, have you ever been to Hell? I think not. Did you know that once, Hell was nothing more than the absence of God? And if you'd ever been in his presence, you'd realise that's punishment enough. But then your kind came along, and made it so much worse.
Bethany: Humans aren't capable of one hundredth of the evil a shitbag demon like you is!
Azrael: [furious] Evil...is AN ABSTRACT! It's a human construct! But true to his irresponsible nature, man won't own up to being its engineer, so he blames his dark deeds on my ilk! But it's not enough to shadow his own existence: he turned Hell into a suffering pit! And why?! Because it is beyond your ability to simply make personal recompense for the sins you commit. No, you chose rather to create a psychodrama and dwell in a false belief that God could never forgive your grievous offences! So you bring your guilt and your inner decay with you to Hell, where the hoarded imaginations of so many gluttons-for-punishment gave birth to the sickness that has infected the abyss since the first one of your kind arrived there, begging to be punished! And in doing so, they've transformed the cold and the solitude to pain and misery! I've spent eons privy to the flames, inhaling the decay, hearing the wail of the damned! I know what effect such horrors have on the delicate psyche of an ANGELIC BEING! [calms himself] I'd rather not exist than go back to that...and if everyone has to go down with me, so be it.

14. Philip Seymour Hoffman -- Almost Famous (2000) 

Portraying true-life gonzo rock critic Lester Bangs, Hoffman gives one of the best monologues for the uncool people. As an uncool guy in high school I would have loved to hear these words spoken to me by a fellow outcast. Loosely based on the real life young adventures of writer/director Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous is a love letter to music and this speech is a consolation to those who never fit in.
Lester Bangs: Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.
William Miller: Well, it was fun.
Lester Bangs: They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.
William Miller: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn't.
Lester Bangs: That's because we're uncool. And while women will always be a problem for us, most of the great art in the world is about that very same problem. Good-looking people don't have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we're smarter.
William Miller: I can really see that now.
Lester Bangs: Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love... and let's face it, you got a big head start.
William Miller: I'm glad you were home.
Lester Bangs: I'm always home. I'm uncool.
William Miller: Me too!
Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool.
Lester Bangs: My advice to you. I know you think those guys are your friends. You wanna be a true friend to them? Be honest, and unmerciful.

13. Kevin Spacey -- Swimming with Sharks (1994)

Before he was known as a producer and star of so-so indie films, Kevin Spacey was the go-to guy for riveting performances and speeches. This one was filmed before The Usual Suspects. In fact, to me, Swimming with Sharks was Spacey’s tour de force as Buddy Ackerman that got him noticed. Spacey’s evil boss paved the way for other bad bosses in cinema, eventually coming back full circle where Spacey played Davev Harken in Horrible Bosses (a PG-13 version of Buddy). He has so many great speeches in this film and this is one of the best. Here, he denounces his disgruntled assistant Guy (the underrated Frank Whaley) and his generation about moving up the corporate ladder.

12. Kevin Spacey -- The Usual Suspects (1995)

Again, we come to Spacey. In this film, his speech is merely a “ghost story.” However, it is what ties the entire plot of The Usual Suspects together. The tale of Keyser Soze seems somewhat mythological, but his badass attitude and backstory build the audience up to edge-of-your-seat jitters. Also, the reprisal of this story at the end of the film is sheer editing and storytelling brilliance.
"Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist ... And like that, poof. He's gone. Underground. Nobody has ever seen him since. He becomes a myth, a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night. ‘Rat on your pop, and Keyser Soze will get you.’ And no-one ever really believes.  … Keaton always said, ‘I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him.’ Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze.”

11. Hugo Weaving -- V for Vendetta (2006)

For a comic published in the 1980s by famed recluse comic writer Alan Moore, and a film made in 2006, no other comic book film has been as important or topical as V for Vendetta. In a dystopian future, Great Britain has been transformed into a dictatorship and civil liberties have been taken away for fear of “national security” (sound familiar?); yes, this was written back in the 1980s. V (Weaving) overtakes a government-run TV station and broadcasts to the public his condemnation of their complacency. His speech, and the film itself, is best summed up by the famous words of Ella Wheeler Wilcox: “To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men.”
“Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”

10.  Al Pacino -- Any Given Sunday (1999)

The best thing about Pacino’s famous “Inches” speech is the weariness that he effortlessly displays. His character, head coach Tony D'Amato, comes to realize that the game he once loved has become corrupted and overrun with money-hungry business people (Cameron Diaz) and vain spotlight hogs (Jamie Foxx). He is the last of an old breed of persons in the business who love the game for what it is. By the time of this speech, Tony’s team is down by few points and so the gratuitous inspirational halftime locker room speech comes out. However, the best thing about this speech is how natural Pacino makes it sound. With his usual, gravelly voice, Pacino makes the audience believe that he has felt the loss and failure spoken of in this speech. And the metaphor of life and death, trying and quitting resonate boldly.
“I don't know what to say, really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives. All comes down to today, and either, we heal as a team, or we're gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play. Until we're finished. We're in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And, we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell... one inch at a time. Now I can't do it for ya, I'm too old. I look around, I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I've made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I, uh, I've pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who's ever loved me. And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that's... that's... that's a part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin' stuff. You find out life's this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game - life or football - the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that's gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I'll tell you this, in any fight it's the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I'm gonna have any life anymore it's because I'm still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that's what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can't make you do it. You've got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That's a team, gentlemen, and either, we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That's football guys, that's all it is. Now, what are you gonna do?”

9. Henry Fonda -- The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

John Steinbeck’s novel was transformed into this wonderful film with Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, an everyman who has had to struggle in Great Depression-era America. His voice of the everyman resonates even still today as Wall Street rolls over most of the poor, with whom Joad represents. Even if Joad does not count to society, he still is out there – striving, struggling and living.

Tom Joad: I been thinking about us, too, about our people living like pigs and good rich land layin' fallow. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers starvin'. And I been wonderin' if all our folks got together and yelled...
Ma Joad: Oh, Tommy, they'd drag you out and cut you down just like they done to Casy.
Tom Joad: They'd drag me anyways. Sooner or later they'd get me for one thing if not for another. Until then...
Ma Joad: Tommy, you're not aimin' to kill nobody.
Tom Joad: No, Ma, not that. That ain't it. It's just, well as long as I'm an outlaw anyways... maybe I can do somethin'... maybe I can just find out somethin', just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that's wrong and see if they ain't somethin' that can be done about it. I ain't thought it out all clear, Ma. I can't. I don't know enough.
Ma Joad: How am I gonna know about ya, Tommy? Why they could kill ya and I'd never know. They could hurt ya. How am I gonna know?
Tom Joad: Well, maybe it's like Casy says. A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then...
Ma Joad: Then what, Tom?
Tom Joad: Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too.

8. Ed Harris (with Jim Carrey) -- The Truman Show (1998)

Screenwriter Andrew Niccol (who had only had Gattaca under his belt) took the obsession of reality TV and churned out a story that touches on Christianity and existentialism. In this scene, Truman has overcome his fear of water/drowning just so he may find the love of his life and escape the false world that has been produced for others’ entertainment. With a “what-does-it-all-mean?”-type of feel, Truman (Carrey) gets the chance to do what most others don’t get to do – he gets to confront his “creator,” Christof (Harris); that’s right a play on the name “Christ” as well as the fact that Christof’s booming voice comes from the sun-lined clouds. Harris’ speech – set to a wonderful score by Philip Glass – of why Truman was “created” and how he has unknowingly touched the lives of so many others can be applied to any religion and directly to life itself. What exactly is Truman escaping to? Heaven? Suicide? Or is he just giving up the obsession that has sadly taken over this country -- reality TV? Ultimately, it’s up to the viewer to decide. That is part of the beauty of the ending. He can go wherever he wants. 
Truman: [to an unseen Christof] Who are you?
Christof: [on a speaker] I am the Creator - of a television show that gives hope and joy and inspiration to millions.
Truman: Then who am I?
Christof: You're the star.
Truman Burbank: Was nothing real?
Christof: You were real. That's what made you so good to watch...
Christof: I know you better than you know yourself.
Truman: You never had a camera in my head!

7.  Donald Sutherland -- JFK (1991)

This isn’t so much a speech as it is a well-calculated indictment of the possibility of the government’s involvement in one of the greatest conspiracy theories of our history. Sutherland’s voice in Mr. X speaks what a majority of Americans believe, bringing up questions that must be asked. Whether thought of as serious or ridiculous, this monologue – like the film – is packed with possible scenarios as to who was responsible for President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Almost proven (to me) is the fact that there was only one shooter and not one on the grassy knoll (see National Geographic’s JFK: The Lost Bullet, although I'm not fully convinced thanks to this documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSQdnAcCbXI, nor that Oswald was not working with/for someone). Nevertheless, Sutherland’s masterful performance chills to the bone each time I view it. (Note: the text dialogue below may not be in its entirety nor in the same order as seen in the film but this is the gist of it.)
“It's standard procedure, especially in a known hostile city like Dallas to supplement the Secret Service. Even if we hadn't let him ride with the bubble-top off we would've put 100 to 200 agents on the sidewalk without question. A month before, in Dallas, UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson was spit on and hit. There had been attempts on De Gaulle's life in France. We'd have arrived days ahead, studied the route checked all the buildings. Never would've allowed open windows overlooking Dealey. Never! Our own snipers would've covered the area. If a window went up, they'd have been on the radio! We'd be watching the crowd: packages, rolled-up newspapers, coats. Never would've let a man open an umbrella. Never would've let the car slow down to ten miles an hour. Or take that unusual curve at Houston and Elm. You'd have felt an Army presence in the streets that day. But none of this happened. It violated our most basic protection codes. And it is the best indication of a massive plot in Dallas. Who could have best done this? Black Ops. People in my business.

Sound like coincidences to you? Not for one moment. The Cabinet was out of the way. Troops for riot control were in the air. Telephones were out to stop the wrong stories from spreading. Nothing was left to chance. He could not be allowed to escape alive. Things were never the same after that. Vietnam started for real. There was an air of make-believe in the Pentagon and CIA. Those of us in Secret Ops knew the Warren Commission was fiction. But there was something deeper. Uglier. I knew Allen Dulles well. I often briefed him in his house. But why was he appointed to investigate Kennedy's death? The man who fired him.

I participated in drawing up National Security Action Memos 55, 56, 57. These are documents classified top secret. In them, Kennedy told Gen. Lemnitzer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs that from here on, the Joint Chiefs would be wholly responsible for all covert paramilitary action in peacetime. This ended the reign of the CIA. Splintered it into 1,000 pieces, as JFK promised he would. And now he was ordering the military to help him do it. Unprecedented! I can't tell you the shock waves this sent along the corridors of power. This and the firing of Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, and Gen. Charles Cabell. All were sacred cows in Intell since World War II. They got some very upset people. Kennedy's directives weren't implemented because of bureaucratic resistance. But one of the results was the Cuban operation was turned over to my department as Operation Mongoose. Mongoose was pure Black Ops.

Don't underestimate the budget cuts that Kennedy called for in March of 1963. Nearly 52 military installations in 25 states. Twenty-one overseas bases. Big money. You know how many helicopters have been lost in Vietnam? Nearly 3,000 so far. Who makes them? Bell Helicopter. Who owns Bell? Bell was nearly bankrupt when First National Bank of Boston asked the CIA to use the helicopter in Indochina. How about the F-111 fighter? General Dynamics of Fort Worth, Texas. Who owns that? Find out the defense budget since the war began. $75 going on $100 billion. Nearly $200 billion will be spent before it's over. In 1949, it was $10 billion. No war...no money.

The organizing principle of any society, Mr. Garrison, is for war. The authority of the state over its people resides in its war powers. Kennedy wanted to end the Cold War in his second term. He wanted to call off the moon race in favor of cooperation with the Soviets. He signed a treaty to ban nuclear testing. He refused to invade Cuba in 1962. He set out to withdraw from Vietnam. But all that ended on the 22nd of November, 1963. Since 1961, they knew Kennedy was not going to war in Southeast Asia. Like Caesar, he is surrounded by enemies. Something's underway, but it has no face. Yet, everybody in the loop knows.

I think it started like that In the wind. Defense contractors, oil bankers. Just conversation. A call is made. No one has said, 'He must die.' No vote. Nothing's on paper. There's no one to blame. It's as old as the crucifixion. Or the military firing squad. Five bullets, one blank. No one's guilty. Everybody in the power structure has a plausible deniability. No compromising connections except at the most secret point. But it must succeed. No matter how many die or how much it costs the perpetrators must be on the winning side and never subject to prosecution for anything by anyone. That is a coup d'Ètat.”

6. The works of Quentin Tarantino: Quentin Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs (1992) & Sleep With Me (1994); Dennis Hopper – True Romance (1993); Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Fiction (1994); David Carradine – Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004); Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Say what you will about writer/director Quentin Tarantino, but the man has a way with words. From his “Madonna speech” in his 1992 breakout hit Reservoir Dogs to his self-written “Top Gun speech” cameo in Sleep With Me to his Jew-hunting allegory in Inglourious Basterds, the man knows just how to press the right buttons by taking a scene right to the edge but not overstepping his bounds into downright offensiveness. Some might say he does but the examples listed here prove that Tarantino is a master at his craft. Whether he’s talking about the geneology of Scilians through the mouth of a man who knows he's going to die to protect his son or the Bible scripture as comprehended by a hitman or Superman’s actual perception of the human race, Tarantino does it all with style in a language -- which can be offensive but is true to the times/setting of his films -- that is hip without too much pretentiousness. (NOTE: Let it be known that the beliefs and offensive words in these videos are not condoned by me.)
Mr. Brown: Let me tell you what 'Like a Virgin' is about. It's all about a girl who digs a guy with a big dick. The entire song. It's a metaphor for big dicks.
Mr. Blonde: No, no. It's about a girl who is very vulnerable. She's been fucked over a few times. Then she meets some guy who's really sensitive...
Mr. Brown: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa... Time out Greenbay. Tell that fucking bullshit to the tourists.
Joe: Toby... Who the fuck is Toby? Toby...
Mr. Brown: 'Like a Virgin' is not about this sensitive girl who meets a nice fella. That's what "True Blue" is about, now, granted, no argument about that.
Mr. Orange: Which one is 'True Blue'?
Nice Guy Eddie: 'True Blue' was a big ass hit for Madonna. I don't even follow this Tops In Pops shit, and I've at least heard of "True Blue".
Mr. Orange: Look, asshole, I didn't say I ain't heard of it. All I asked was how does it go? Excuse me for not being the world's biggest Madonna fan.
Mr. Blonde: Personally, I can do without her.
Mr. Blue: I like her early stuff. You know, 'Lucky Star', 'Borderline' - but once she got into her 'Papa Don't Preach' phase, I tuned out.
Mr. Brown: Hey, you guys are making me lose my... train of thought here. I was saying something, what was it?
Joe: Oh, Toby was this Chinese girl, what was her last name?
Mr. White: What's that?
Joe: I found this old address book in a jacket I ain't worn in a coon's age. What was that name?
Mr. Brown: What the fuck was I talking about?
Mr. Pink: You said 'True Blue' was about a nice girl, a sensitive girl who meets a nice guy, and that 'Like a Virgin' was a metaphor for big dicks.
Mr. Brown: Lemme tell you what 'Like a Virgin' is about. It's all about this cooze who's a regular fuck machine, I'm talking morning, day, night, afternoon, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.
Mr. Blue: How many dicks is that?
Mr. White: A lot.
Mr. Brown: Then one day she meets this John Holmes motherfucker and it's like, whoa baby, I mean this cat is like Charles Bronson in the 'Great Escape', he's digging tunnels. Now, she's gettin' the serious dick action and she's feeling something she ain't felt since forever. Pain. Pain.
Joe: Chew? Toby Chew?
Mr. Brown: It hurts her. It shouldn't hurt her, you know, her pussy should be Bubble Yum by now, but when this cat fucks her it hurts. It hurts just like it did the first time. You see the pain is reminding a fuck machine what it once was like to be a virgin. Hence, 'Like a Virgin'.
Sid: You want subversion on a massive level. You know what one of the greatest fucking scripts ever written in the history of Hollywood is? Top Gun.
Duane: Oh, come on.
Sid: Top Gun is fucking great. What is Top Gun? You think it's a story about a bunch of fighter pilots.
Duane: It's about a bunch of guys waving their dicks around.
Sid: It is a story about a man's struggle with his own homosexuality. It is! That is what Top Gun is about, man. You've got Maverick, all right? He's on the edge, man. He's right on the fucking line, all right? And you've got Iceman, and all his crew. They're gay, they represent the gay man, all right? And they're saying, go, go the gay way, go the gay way. He could go both ways.
Duane: What about Kelly McGillis?
Sid: Kelly McGillis, she's heterosexuality. She's saying: no, no, no, no, no, no, go the normal way, play by the rules, go the normal way. They're saying no, go the gay way, be the gay way, go for the gay way, all right? That is what's going on throughout that whole movie... He goes to her house, all right? It looks like they're going to have sex, you know, they're just kind of sitting back, he's takin' a shower and everything. They don't have sex. He gets on the motorcycle, drives away. She's like, "What the fuck, what the fuck is going on here?" Next scene, next scene you see her, she's in the elevator, she is dressed like a guy. She's got the cap on, she's got the aviator glasses, she's wearing the same jacket that the Iceman wears. She is, okay, this is how I gotta get this guy, this guy's going towards the gay way, I gotta bring him back, I gotta bring him back from the gay way, so I'll do that through subterfuge, I'm gonna dress like a man. All right? That is how she approaches it. Okay, now let me just ask you - I'm gonna digress for two seconds here. I met this girl Amy here, she's like floating around here and everything. Now, she just got divorced, right? All right, but the REAL ending of the movie is when they fight the MIGs at the end, all right? Because he has passed over into the gay way. They are this gay fighting fucking force, all right? And they're beating the Russians, the gays are beating the Russians. And it's over, and they fucking land, and Iceman's been trying to get Maverick the entire time, and finally, he's got him, all right? And what is the last fucking line that they have together? They're all hugging and kissing and happy with each other, and Ice comes up to Maverick, and he says, "Man, you can ride my tail, anytime!" And what does Maverick say? "You can ride mine!" Swordfight! Swordfight! Fuckin' A, man!

Clifford Worley: You're Sicilian, huh?
Coccotti: Yeah, Sicilian.
Clifford Worley: Ya know, I read a lot. Especially about things... about history. I find that shit fascinating. Here's a fact I don't know whether you know or not. Sicilians were spawned by niggers.
Coccotti: Come again?
Clifford Worley: It's a fact. Yeah. You see, uh, Sicilians have, uh, black blood pumpin' through their hearts. Hey, no, if eh, if eh, if you don't believe me, uh, you can look it up. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, uh, you see, uh, the Moors conquered Sicily. And the Moors are niggers.
Coccotti: Yes...
Clifford Worley: So you see, way back then, uh, Sicilians were like, uh, wops from Northern Italy. Ah, they all had blonde hair and blue eyes, but, uh, well, then the Moors moved in there, and uh, well, they changed the whole country. They did so much fuckin' with Sicilian women, huh? That they changed the whole bloodline forever. That's why blonde hair and blue eyes became black hair and dark skin. You know, it's absolutely amazing to me to think that to this day, hundreds of years later, that, uh, that Sicilians still carry that nigger gene. Now this...
[Coccotti busts out laughing]
Clifford Worley: No, I'm, no, I'm quoting... history. It's written. It's a fact, it's written.
Coccotti: [laughing] I love this guy.
Clifford Worley: Your ancestors are niggers. Uh-huh.
[Starts laughing, too]
Clifford Worley: Hey. Yeah. And, and your great-great-great-great grandmother fucked a nigger, ho, ho, yeah, and she had a half-nigger kid... now, if that's a fact, tell me, am I lying? 'Cause you, you're part eggplant.
[All laugh]
 “There's a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. 'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.' Now... I been sayin' that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, that meant your ass. You'd be dead right now. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin' made me think twice. See, now I'm thinking: maybe it means you're the evil man. And I'm the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here... he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd and it's the world that's evil and selfish. And I'd like that. But that shit ain't the truth. The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.”
Bill: As you know, l'm quite keen on comic books. Especially the ones about superheroes. I find the whole mythology surrounding superheroes fascinating. Take my favorite superhero, Superman. Not a great comic book. Not particularly well-drawn. But the mythology... The mythology is not only great, it's unique.
The Bride: [who still has a needle in her leg] How long does this shit take to go into effect?
Bill: About two minutes, just long enough for me to finish my point. Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there's the superhero and there's the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he's Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears - the glasses, the business suit - that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He's weak... he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race. Sorta like Beatrix Kiddo and Mrs. Tommy Plimpton."
Col. Hans Landa: Now if one were to determine what attribute the German people share with a beast, it would be the cunning and the predatory instinct of a hawk. But if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be that of the rat. If a rat were to walk in here right now as I'm talking, would you treat it to a saucer of your delicious milk?
Perrier LaPadite: Probably not.
Col. Hans Landa: I didn't think so. You don't like them. You don't really know why you don't like them. All you know is you find them repulsive. Consequently, a German soldier conducts a search of a house suspected of hiding Jews. Where does the hawk look? He looks in the barn, he looks in the attic, he looks in the cellar, he looks everywhere he would hide, but there's so many places it would never occur to a hawk to hide. However, the reason the Führer's brought me off my Alps in Austria and placed me in French cow country today is because it does occur to me. Because I'm aware what tremendous feats human beings are capable of once they abandon dignity.
Col. Hans Landa: What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none... And that Monsieur is what a Jew shares with a rat.

5. TIE: Sean Astin – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002); Ian McKellen – The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

In the second installment of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, The Two Towers, the ending finds our two Hobbit friends Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) on their way to Mordor with the villainous Gollum as their guide. The evil of the ring has weighed down Frodo througout the film and he’s reached his end. Just when Frodo’s about to throw in the towel, it’s his loyal friend Sam who steps up and gives the inspirational speech. In “King,” Gandalf the White (McKellen) is not only some wise old man who is merely all talk in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic tale. He kicks ass too. This is first showcased in Fellowship of the Ring when Gandalf confronts the hellish, demonic Balrog of Morgoth. By the end of the saga, he participates in the battle of Minas Tirith, where he gives this comforting speech on Middle Earth’s Heaven to scared hobbit Peregrin “Pippin” Took (Billy Boyd).
Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo ... and it's worth fighting for.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pippin: I didn't think it would end this way.
Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path... One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass... And then you see it.
Pippin: What? Gandalf?... See what?
Gandalf: White shores... and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
Pippin: [smiling] Well, that isn't so bad.
Gandalf: [softly] No... No it isn't.

4. Robert Shaw -- Jaws (1975)

Any film buff knows the history. During the production of Jaws novelist Peter Benchley and director Steven Spielberg were having difficulties with the script. Then, they made an odd move (at the time) by hiring comic screenwriter Carl Gottlieb (known for writing episodes of The Odd Couple and All in the Family), who also appeared in the film. Gottlieb’s contributions to the script greatly improved the film. But it was filmmaker John Milius who made the greatest contribution with the writing of the famous “USS Indianapolis” speech (based on the actual Indianapolis sinking) performed by Quint (Robert Shaw), who gives the audience a peek into what made him who he is and what makes him tick. Shaw, drunk during some of the shooting of this scene, also contributed to the speech and history was made.
“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte... just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that when you're in the water, Chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail fin. What we didn't know, was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin', so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named "The Battle of Waterloo" and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark will go away... but sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and they... rip you to pieces. You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand. I know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain's mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he'd been bitten in half below the waist. Noon, the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us... he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened... waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.”

3. Robin Williams -- Good Will Hunting (1997) 

Written by actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Good Will Hunting has many surprisingly emotional scenes. But it is Robin Williams' scene with Will Hunting (Damon) that knocks it out of Fenway. After having his life mocked and rated by a snotty Hunting, Williams returns with his own veiled insult to Hunting by basically telling him he’s just a kid who still hasn’t done shit with his life. So THERE, Matt Damon!!! What do you think of THOSE apples!?
Sean: Thought about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. Stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me... fell into a deep peaceful sleep, and haven't thought about you since. Do you know what occurred to me?
Will: No.
Sean: You're just a kid, you don't have the faintest idea what you're talkin' about.
Will: Why thank you.
Sean: It's all right. You've never been out of Boston.
Will: Nope.
Sean: So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You're an orphan right?
[Will nods]
Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some fuckin' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
 

2. Peter Finch -- Network (1976)

Posthumously awarded an Academy Award for his performance in Network, Peter Finch as Howard Beale is somewhat of a madman but also a genius in terms of his musings and rants. Even though the “Mad as Hell” speech graces most top speech lists, I personally think it’s this speech – the “We’re in a lot of Trouble” speech – that is so relevant even still today. Of course, the entire movie is still relevant today … especially with the emergence of so-called “news” networks and reality TV. It’s the sad reality that a vast majority are so disconnected and have the wrong priorities that our imagination and our value of life has dissipated. We are quick to believe what we see and hear on TV – whether it’s some "news" network's talking head expressing his opinion or some money-made celebrity on her own reality TV show. Beale’s condemnation of TV and celebrity is true and it makes this film a timeless classic.

“Edward George Ruddy died today! Edward George Ruddy was the Chairman of the Board of the Union Broadcasting Systems, and he died at eleven o'clock this morning of a heart condition, and woe is us! We're in a lot of trouble! So. A rich little man with white hair died. What has that got to do with the price of rice, right? And why is that woe to us? Because you people, and sixty-two million other Americans, are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books! Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers! Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers... This tube is the most awesome God-damned force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls in to the hands of the wrong people, and that's why woe is us that Edward George Ruddy died. Because this company is now in the hands of CCA - the Communication Corporation of America. There's a new Chairman of the Board, a man called Frank Hackett, sitting in Mr. Ruddy's office on the twentieth floor. And when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome God-damned propoganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network?

So, you listen to me. Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business! So if you want the truth... Go to God! Go to your gurus! Go to yourselves! Because that's the only place you're ever going to find any real truth.

But, man, you're never gonna get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear. We lie like hell. We'll tell you that Kojak always gets the killer, and that nobody ever gets cancer in Archie Bunker's house. And no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry, just look at your watch. At the end of the hour, he's going to win. We'll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there, day after day, night after night -- all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like a tube, you eat like a tube, you raise your children like a tube, you even think like a tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing! We are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off right now! Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence I'm speaking to you now! Turn them off!”

1. Charlie Chaplin -- The Great Dictator (1940)
 
Best. Movie. Speech. Ever. When The Great Dictator was released, there were mostly positive reviews although some had received it poorly. Charlie Chaplin had been known for most of his silent movies as the Little Tramp. As one of his first “talkies,” this film kept Chaplin’s usual comic storyline with mistaken identity while also containing an important underlying message. In the film, Chaplin plays a Jewish barber who is recruited into a war against a facist regime (based on World War II (WWII)). Along the way, he meets a beautiful girl Hannah (Paulette Goddard) and the two fall in love. However, circumstances have him diagnosed with amnesia and he forgets his role in the war. However, he is pulled back into action when he is mistaken for the ruling dictator (a character based on Adolf Hitler whom Chaplin also portrays). When the dictator is mistaken for him and arrested, and the barber is put into the dictator’s place, something great comes out of it. And it’s all represented in this speech given at the film’s end. Chaplin honestly talks to the people and to Hannah, telling her to stay positive and always look at the best things in life -- that people can make this world a better place. At the beginning of WWII, this film’s message of hope in times of horror and uncertainty struck a chord with audiences and nations (Great Britain used it as a propaganda tool against the Nazis). Today, its message still rings true and proves the film as timeless a classic as Chaplin’s humor and talent.
“I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite! Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hannah! The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world; a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed, and brutality. Look up, Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow! Into the light of hope, into the future! The glorious future, that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up, Hannah. Look up!”

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