Best movie monologues!

So, what are your favorite movie monologues? I could name about a dozen, but here are just two of them:

Robert Shaw tells the story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis in Jaws. “Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin’…”

Samuel L. Jackson explains Ezekiel 25:17 to Tim Roth in Pulp Fiction. “The truth is…you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.”

Billie Burke’s “The Ferncliffes have gone to FLORIDA!” aria from “Dinner at Eight.” I have seen an audience burst into applause at a revival house at that one.

Amazingly, Kevin Costner (whom I generally loathe) in Bull Durham:
Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hangin curveball, high fiber, good scotch… that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, I believe there ought to be a Constitutional ammendment outlawing astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft core pornography, opening your presents on Christmas morning rather than on Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three nights.

Also, Al Pacino’s valuable lesson to Charlie: what comes first, a Ferrari or a fine dame? :smiley:

I’ll second the Kevin Costner and Sam Jackson nominations. My additions:

  • Robert Patric in Your Friends and Neighbors. A mix of hilarity and horror that had my jaw hanging open through his entire monologue.

  • Steve Buscemi in Desperado. I don’t know if it really qualifies as a monologue, as it’s intercut with action scenes, but I absolutely love his delivery.

  • Mel Gibson (to Robert the Bruce) in Braveheart. The writers of that movie did a wonderful job writing dialogue, and for my money, Mel Gibson’s as good an actor as any in Hollywood today.

  • John Belushi in Animal House. C’mon, how can any ‘best monologue’ list be complete without this guy? “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!” “Germans?” “Forget it, he’s rolling.”

  • Christopher Walken to Sean Patrick Flannery (I think) in Suicide Kings. Chilling to the bone. God, this guy’s creepy.

  • Lawrence Fishburne to Neo in The Matrix. Not necessarily a good movie for acting’s sake, but Fishburne definitely stands out. “Take the blue pill… and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Brando in Apocalypse Now:

" I’ve seen horrors…horrors that you’ve seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that…But you have no right to judge me. It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face…And you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terrorare your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with Special Forces…Seems a thousand centuries ago…We went into a camp to innoculate the children. We left the camp after we had innoculated the children for Polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there and they had come and hacked off every innoculated arm. There they were in a pile…A pile of little arms. And I remember…I…I…I cried… I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized…like I was shot…Like I was shot with a diamond…a diamond bullet right through my forehead…And I thought: My God…the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters…These were men…trained cadres…these men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love…but they had the strength…the strength…to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral…and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordal instincts to kill without feeling…without passion…without judgement…without judgement. Because it’s judgement that defeats us. "

“I worry that my son might not understand what I’ve tried to be. And if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything. Everything I did, everything you saw… Because there is nothing I detest more than the stench of lies. And if you understand me, Willard, you’ll do this for me.”

H.I. (Nick Cage) at the opening of Raising Arizona. “Now, y’all without sin can cast the first stone…” while ‘Ode to Joy’ on the banjo is playing in the background. Come to think of it, there were a couple of good ones in that movie.

Also, the ending bit of The Shawshank Redemption, where Red (Morgan Freeman) talks about hope.

Kevin Spacey’s end speech in Swimming With Sharks. From the IMDB:

The scene where he yells at Guy in his office isn’t bad either.

Pacino: “If I was the man I was ten years ago, I’d take a FLAMETHROWER to this place!”

Nicholson: “My presence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives!” “You can’t handle the truth!”

Robert Duvall: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Ewan McGregor: “It’s shite being Scottish. We’re the lowest of the low, the scum of the fucking earth… and all the fresh air in the world won’t make any fucking difference.”

Only a portion of the 6 minute monologue that George C. Scott delivered at the beginning of “Patton,” the role for which Scott won the Academy Award for Best Actor (he refused the honor):

…Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight - wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and never will lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Now, an army is a team - it lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap… Now, we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. You know, by god, I actually pity those poor bastards we’re goin’ up against. By god, I do. We’re not just gonna shoot the bastard, we’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel. Now, some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you’ll chicken out under fire. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them, spill their blood, shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do. Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose and we’re gonna kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we’re gonna go through him like crap through a goose. Now, there’s one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank god for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you: ‘What did you do in the Great World War II?’, you won’t have to say: ‘Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ All right, now you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel and I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That’s all.

I rather like the opening monologue of Trainspotting:

OK, to the best of my recollection, this is Billie Burke’s “Dinner at Eight” aria. Delivered (in her classic Glinda the Good Witch voice) when her husband comes to tell her he’s gone bankrupt and her daughter to tell her she’s eloping on the eve of a dinner party:

“What’s that? You’re feeling rotten, are you? You have trouble? I’VE had the most ghastly day anyone ever HAD. Ricky in jail and Gustav DYING for all I know, and no aspic for dinner. And on top of everything else [dramatic pause]: THE FERNCLIFFES AREN’T COMING TO DINNER. They call up at this hour—the miserable little Cockneys—they call up to say they’re going to Florida—FLORIDA! NOBODY goes to Florida at this time of year! Now I’ve got eight people for dinner! Eight people isn’t a dinner! Who am I going to get at this hour? And you come sniveling to me with your ‘feeling rotten.’ You think YOU have troubles? You don’t know what trouble IS, EITHER of you!”

I always loved the “Drug Dealer Story” that Tim Roth (Mr. Orange) told in Reservoir Dogs.

…which reminds me of the watch story in Pulp Fiction. Not much on the carved-on-your-headstone sort of sentiments, but cool nevertheless.

Well, it’s a monologue interrupted, buy I present excerpts, to the best of my memory, of Alec Baldwin berating a bunch of poorly performing time sharing salesmen in Glengarry Glenn Ross:

The scene opens with Jack Lemmon getting a cup of coffee as Alec is winding up his pep talk:

"What is it, some woman won’t go out with you . . .you can’t get that guy to buy . . .

Put that coffee down!!!

Coffee is for closers only.

Your Levine, right?
You call yourself a salesman you sorry son of a bitch?

You think I am fucking with you? I am not fucking with you.

ED HARRIS: I don’t have to listen to this shit . .

You sure don’t pal!
Because the good news is your all fired!!! The bad news is you all have one week to get your jobs back, starting with tonight’s sit.

Oh, do I have your attention now? . .I am on a mission of mercy . . .I’ve been sent from downtown! There’s been a little something added to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a brand new Cadillac Eldorado . . .second prize? A set of steak knives! Third prize? Your all fired!

ED HARRIS: Who the hell are you anyway?

FUCK YOU!!! That’s who I am!! . . .You drive a Hyundai while I drive a BMW, that’s who I am!!! . . .I made $970,000 last year . . how much did you make?

You have leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money for them so that you can call them and close them. If you can’t close these leads you can’t close shit, YOU ARE SHIT, HIT THE BRICKS BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING OUT!!!

JACK LEMMON: The leads are weak!

The leads are weak? THE LEADS ARE WEAK??? YOUR WEAK!!! People are out there, just waiting to give you their money!!! Are you going to take it? Are you MAN enough to take it?

GET MAD, YOU SONS OF BITCHES!!! You can’t take this abuse, you cocksuckers? Then how are you going to take the abuse you receive on a sit?

(into Alan Arkin’s ear) If you don’t like it . . .leave.
ABC . . ALWAYS BE CLOSING. . . AIDA . .ATTENTION-INTEREST . . DECISION . . ACTION . . A- do I have your attention? Interest- are you interested you’d better be because it’s fuck or walk . . decision . . HAVE YOU MADE YOUR DECSION FOR CHRIST??? . . .

There is only one thing that matters in this life, get them to sign on the line that is dotted!!!
ED HARRIS: Let me ask you this, your such a hotshot, with all this money and all, then why are you doing hanging out with a bunch of losers like us?

Your Moss right? See this watch, pal? This watch cost more than that piece of shit car you drove in tonight. That’s who I am pal, and that’s who you are.

And to answer your question, I came here as a favor to Mitch and Murray. But I told Mitch and Murray they could do ME a favor and fire your ass because a loser is a loser.
I could get on that phone tonight and make myself $50,000 with those leads. I advise you to do likewise gentlemen, otherwise you’ll be shining my shoes.

These are the Glengarry leads. To you, they are gold, and you don’t get them. To give them to you would be like throwing them away. They are for closers only.

It takes one thing to sell real estate gentlemen. . (pulls brass balls out of his suitcase).

. . .a bunch of losers, sitting in a bar, going, ‘yeah I used to be in sales. It’s a tough racket.’ (imitates taking a drink)

I’d wish you luck gentlemen, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it.

Frank Sinatra’s semi-monologue from the end of The Manchurian Candidate

Kikychiyo screaming at the top of his lungs about farmers from Seven Samurai.

The aforementioned speech from Patton

Professor Quatermass explains how Martian insects influenced human evolution in the BBC serial Quatermass and the Pit (Far better than it sounds, trust me.)

Ben Afleck as Holden spilling the truth about his love in “Chasing Amy”.

George C. Scott again, in “Exorcist III.” As Legion-in-Karras has him pinned to the ceiling taunting him about his lack of belief, and he just snaps into a beautiful rant that my memory can’t do justice to, about how he believes in filth, and stink, and corruption and hate, “…you SON OF A BITCH, I believe…[sub]in you…[/sub]” trailing into despair.

Not quite a monologue-length, but a favorite. Christopher Walken in “Prophecy”, explaining about angels to a far lesser actor who was concerned that Gabriel wanted to rip the heart out of a small child, and desiring of an explanation. “I’m an angel. I kill newborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. And occasionally, when I feel like it, I tear little girls apart. And from now till kingdom come the only thing you can count on in your existence is never knowing why.”

most of the previous ones but…

Ned Beaty in Network. He comes in and works for one day. He delivers one speech shot almost completly in a long shot. He gets nominated for a best supporting academy award.


Wilford Brimley, the oatmeal spokesperson, does an absolutely killer monologue in “Absence of Malice” as James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General. He comes in after Sally Field has screwed up things for Paul Newman and other complications have taken place and he’s going to by God straighten things out. It’s a wonderfully played scene, worth renting the whole movie for,

I haven’t tracked down a script to get the whole thing, but part of it is posted on the IMDB:


Hoo hah!

Rutgar Hauer as Roy Batty in Bladerunner:

and Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Man:


YES! But you left out the closing line, which makes if all complete.

I chose not to live.