Line readings from movies that stay with you FOREVER.

“Philippe Moyez killed a goat.”

– Devil’s Advocate, as delivered by Keanu Reeves.

With his panhandle accent and odd matter-of-fact emphasis, I can never unhear this line. Sometimes it comes to me like how I imagine schizophrenia must be. I’ll just be driving and think, “Philippe Moyez killed a goat.” I should really just set it as my text message notification and be done with it.

Everybody knows the popular movie quotes, Star Wars, et al. But what are the lesser known off beat lines that stick in your head, not so much because of the content of the quote, but owing to the delivery?

Not a movie, but a T.V. show. I frequently remember a particular version of the line, “I see no evidence of intent.” I was fairly certain that it was from an episode of Law & Order, but couldn’t place the actor or the specific episode. Just last week, I finally happened to see that episode again, and made a note of the title, “Justice”, so that I’ll have it handy the next time I’m thinking, “I see no evidence of intent”!

Honestly I don’t like the term “line readings”. Sounds very routine and mechanical and it makes me remember that it’s just an actor saying some things he memorized.

“That ain’t no Etch-A-Sketch. This is one doodle that can’t be undid, Homeskillet.” Rainn Wilson in Juno, of course.

Dunno. The content is funny, but the delivery is so tender, especially considering the way his character had been acting prior to delivering it.

Isn’t that the whole point of the thread?

I’m pretty sure “line readings” is the terms actors themselves use.

“We thought you was a toad.” As delivered by Tim Blake Nelson in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

“What’s this? Spaghetti?” Paul Winchell as the detergent commercial director on The Brady Bunch disparaging Alice’s baloney curls. How’s that for a line sticking with you forever?

“Still! Old! Friend!” -Wrath of Khan

In the excellent movie Snatch, after Turkish (played by Jason Statham) asks a particularly vicious gangster (played by Alan Ford) if he wants sugar in his coffee:

Find me a dead cat” – Sean Connery in The [First] Great Train Robbery. It helps that it follows Donald Sutherland’s rant as shown in the clip, but Connery’s delivery sells it.

Sean Connery as James Bond in From Russia, with Love:

“Of course … SCHPECTRE!”

Excellent choice.

I mentioned this in the Jobs taken by big name celebrities that make you wonder “Why?” thread, but Raul Julia as Bison in the Street Fighter movie just killed it. And this line has managed to stick with nerds of all stripes for years:

“For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.”

Richard Burton in Where Eagles Dare:

“Broadsword calling Danny Boy! Broadsword calling Danny Boy!”

Michael Caine in The Eagle Has Landed:

[Points at Donald Sutherland, smiles.] “How did you get in here?!?”

Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons:

“We asked the Pope for a dispensation so that the King could marry his brother’s wife. Are we to now ask the Pope to dispense with his dispensation?”

Paul Scofield in The Train:

“Bring … me … La Biche!”

Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasance in The Eagle Has Landed:

Duvall [As Col. Radl]: “May I smoke, Herr Reichsfuehrer?”

Pleasance [As Heinrich Himmler]: “No.”

“I’m your huckleberry.”

There are lots of these in My Cousin Vinnie, but my favorite is the prosecutor, Mr. Trotter, in the spiel where he refers to the crime as “high anus”.

Judge Haller’s under the breath utterances (“I don’ like yo’r attitude”) were dead-on accurate to a lot of educated southern men from that generation (including my father), and of course pretty much anything that came out of Marisa “Totally Deserved that Oscar and Anybody Who Says Otherwise is Wrong” Tomei’s mouth was brilliant, even when it was something as mundane as “A deer?”

“Barb, honey… we’re dead. I don’t think we have very much to worry about anymore.”


“We’re not completely helpless, Barbara. I’ve been reading that book and there’s a word for people in our situation: ghosts.”

both by Alec Baldwin as Adam in Beetlejuice.

The delivery just breaks me up.

It’s slightly modified mostly because I misremembered it until I looked it up a few years back, but I like it this way and it still means the same thing. It doesn’t mean anything to me, I just like the subtle logic in it.

“You don’t win a war by dying for your country…you win a war by making the other guy die for his country”