The passing of Robin Williams was undoubtedly a shock to everyone – from casual fans to those who considered the equally comedic and dramatic actor as a personal hero. As I perused YouTube looking at his past works, I couldn’t help but rewatch Good Will Hunting and admire just how well Robin Williams’ therapist character, Sean, spun heartwarming tales that contained both optimism and an overarching sense of sadness. Falling further down the rabbit hole, I found myself consumed by the great monologues in cinematic history. Stripped down to the barest essentials for filmmaking – acting and writing – these scenes are often the pieces that make up great films, or the actual reason why these are considered cinematic gems. Here are 25 of our favorite speeches/monologues.
Caddyshack – “A Cinderella Story.”
The dialogue: What an incredible Cinderella story! This unknown, comes out of nowhere, to lead the pack at Augusta. He’s at the final hole. He’s about 455 yards away, he’s gonna hit about a 2-iron, I think. Oh, he got all of that. The crowd is standing on its feet here at Augusta. The normally reserved crowd is going wild…for this young Cinderella who’s come out of nowhere. He’s got about 350 yards left, he’s going to hit about a 5-iron, it looks like, don’t you think? He’s got a beautiful backswing… that’s- oh, he got all of that one! He’s gotta be pleased with that! The crowd is just on its feet here. He’s a Cinderella boy. Tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up this last shot. He’s got about 195 yards left, and he’s got a, looks like he’s got about an 8-iron. This crowd has gone deadly silent… Cinderella story, out of nowhere, former greenskeeper, now about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac- it’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!
A Bronx Tale – “Wasted Talent…”
The dialogue: Sonny and my father always said that when I get older I would understand. Well, I finally did. I learned something from these two men. I learned to give love and get love unconditionally. You just have to accept people for what they are, and I learned the greatest gift of all. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever. But you can ask anybody from my neighborhood, and they’ll just tell you this is just another Bronx tale.
Buy the film on Blu-Ray here.
Good Will Hunting – “Your Move Chief.”
The dialogue: 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 orientation, the whole works, right? But I 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 asked you about women you’d probably give me a syllabus of 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. I ask you about war, and you’d probably, uh, throw Shakespeare at me, right? ‘Once more into the breach, dear friends.’ But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap and watched him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help. And if I asked you about love you probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone 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 and to have that love for her to be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. You wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand because the doctors could see in your eyes that the term visiting hours don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. I 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 fuckin’ life apart. You’re an orphan right? Do you think I’d 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 wanna talk about you, who you are. And I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t wanna do that, do you, sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
American Beauty – “I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me.”
The dialogue: I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all. It stretches on forever, like an ocean of time. For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout Camp, watching falling stars. And yellow leaves from the maple trees that lined our street. Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper. And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird. And Janie, and Janie. And Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain, and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry. You will someday.
Network – “I’m Mad As Hell”
The dialogue: I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. “Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s no one anywhere that seems to know what to do with us. Now into it. We know the air is unfit to breathe, our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in a house as slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster, and TV, and my steel belted radials and I won’t say anything.’ Well I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad. I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crying in the streets. All I know is first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a human being. God Dammit, my life has value.’ So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change my friends. You’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open your window, stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’
Stream the film here.
Wall Street – “Greed is Good.”
The dialogue: The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.
Stream the film here.
Any Given Sunday – “Inches…”
The dialogue: I don’t know what to say really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives, all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team, or we’re gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play — till we’re finished. We’re in hell right now gentleman. 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 out of hell, one inch at a time. Now I can’t do it for you, I’m too old. I look around I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I made every wrong choice a middle aged man can make. I, uh, I 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. Y’know when you get old in life things get taken from you, I mean that’s that’s that’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losin’ stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches, and 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 to slow or to fast, you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break in 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 we add up all those inches that’s going to make the fucking difference between winning and losing. Between livin’ and dying. I’ll tell you this in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die who’s gonna win that inch, and I know that if I’m going to have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willin to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what livin’ is. The six inches in front of your face. Now I can’t make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now, I think you’re gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You’re gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you’re going to 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 going to do?
Kids – “Fuckin’ is what I love.”
The dialogue: When you’re young, not much matters. When you find something that you care about, then that’s all you got. When you go to sleep at night, you dream of pussy. When you wake up, it’s the same thing. It’s there in your face. You can’t escape it. Sometimes when you’re young, the only place to go is inside. That’s just it. Fuckin’ is what I love. Take that away from me, and I really got nothing.
Buy the film on DVD here.
Pulp Fiction – “Up His Ass.”
The dialogue: “This watch I got here was first purchased by your great-grandfather during the first World War. It was bought in a little general store in Knoxville, Tennessee. Made by the first company to ever make wrist watches. Up till then people just carried pocket watches. It was bought by private Doughboy Erine Coolidge on the day he set sail for Paris. It was your great-grandfather’s war watch and he wore it everyday he was in that war. When he had done his duty, he went home to your great-grandmother, took the watch off, put it an old coffee can, and in that can it stayed ’til your granddad Dane Coolidge was called upon by his country to go overseas and fight the Germans once again. This time they called it World War II. Your great-grandfather gave this watch to your granddad for good luck. Unfortunately, Dane’s luck wasn’t as good as his old man’s. Dane was a Marine and he was killed — along with the other Marines at the battle of Wake Island. Your granddad was facing death, he knew it. None of those boys had any illusions about ever leavin’ that island alive. So three days before the Japanese took the island, your granddad asked a gunner on an Air Force transport name of Winocki, a man he had never met before in his life, to deliver to his infant son, who he’d never seen in the flesh, his gold watch. Three days later, your granddad was dead. But Winocki kept his word. After the war was over, he paid a visit to your grandmother, delivering to your infant father, his Dad’s gold watch. This watch. This watch was on your Daddy’s wrist when he was shot down over Hanoi. He was captured, put in a Vietnamese prison camp. He knew if the gooks ever saw the watch it’d be confiscated, taken away. The way your Dad looked at it, that watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes were gonna put their greasy yella hands on his boy’s birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something. His ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.
Glengarry Glen Ross - “Coffee’s for closers.”
The dialogue: Let me have your attention for a moment! So you’re talking about what? You’re talking about…bitching about that sale you shot, some son of a bitch that doesn’t want to buy, somebody that doesn’t want what you’re selling, some broad you’re trying to screw and so forth. Let’s talk about something important. Are they all here?
Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important! Put that coffee down! Coffee’s for closers only. Do you think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Levene?
You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?
You certainly don’t pal. ‘Cause the good news is — you’re fired. The bad news is you’ve got, all you got, just one week to regain your jobs, starting tonight. Starting with tonight’s sit. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this months sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize’s a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. You get the picture? You’re laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them! You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you ARE shit, hit the bricks pal and beat it ’cause you are going out!!!
The leads are weak. Fucking leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business fifteen years.
FUCK YOU, that’s my name!! You know why, Mister? ‘Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That’s my name! And your name is ‘you’re wanting.’ And you can’t play in a man’s game. You can’t close them. And you go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! You hear me, you fucking faggots?
A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!! A-I-D-A. Attention, interest, decision, action. Attention — do I have your attention? Interest — are you interested? I know you are because it’s fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks! Decision — have you made your decision for Christ?!! And action. A-I-D-A; get out there!! You got the prospects comin’ in; you think they came in to get out of the rain? Guy doesn’t walk on the lot unless he wants to buy. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? What’s the problem pal? You. Moss.
Rudy - “Five foot nothin’…'”
The dialogue: Since when are you the quitting kind? So you didn’t make the dress list. There are greater tragedies in the world…Oh, you are so full of crap. You’re 5 feet nothin’, a 100 and nothin’, and you got hardly a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years. And you’re also gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this lifetime, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody – except yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back… Hell, I’ve seen too many games in this stadium…I’ve never seen a game from the stands…I rode the bench for two years. Thought I wasn’t bein’ played because of my color. I got filled up with a lotta attitude. So I quit. Still not a week goes by I don’t regret it. And I guarantee a week won’t go by in your life you won’t regret walkin’ out, letting them get the best of ya. You hear me clear enough?
Casino – “I’m fuckin’ stupid…”
The dialogue: I think that you’ve gotten the wrong impression about me. I think in all fairness, I should explain to you exactly what it is that I do. For instance, tomorrow morning, I’ll get up nice and early, take a walk down over to the bank, walk in and see and uh, if you don’t have my money for me, I’ll crack your fuckin’ head wide-open in front of everybody in the bank. And just about the time that I’m comin’ out of jail, hopefully, you’ll be comin’ out of your coma. And guess what? I’ll split your fuckin’ head open again. ‘Cause I’m fuckin’ stupid. I don’t give a fuck about jail. That’s my business. That’s what I do. And we know what you do, don’t we, Charlie? You fuck people out of money and get away with it.
Swingers – “Kill the bunny…”
The dialogue: You know what you are? You’re like a big bear with, with claws and with fangs… Yeah, big fuckin’ teeth on ya’. And she’s just like this little bunny, who’s just kinda cowering in the corner. Yeah, man just kinda, you know, you got these claws and you’re starin’ at these claws, man, and you’re thinkin’ to yourself, and with these claws you’re thinkin’, ‘How am I supposed to kill this bunny, how am I supposed to kill this bunny?’ Yeah, you’re not hurtin’ it. You’re just kinda gently battin’ the bunny around, you know what I mean? And the bunny’s scared, Mike, the bunny’s scared of you, shivering. And you got these fuckin’ claws and these fangs, man! And you’re lookin’ at your claws and you’re lookin’ at your fangs. And you’re thinkin’ to yourself, I don’t know what to do, man. ‘I don’t know how to kill the bunny.’ With this you don’t know how to kill the bunny, do you know what I mean? No I’m not fuckin’ with you, Mike, I’m tellin’ ya, you’re money…
Come here a second, listen. Now look it. When you go up to talk to her, man, I don’t want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone’s really hopin’ makes it happen. I want you to be like the guy in the rated R movie, you know, the guy you’re not sure whether or not you like yet. You’re not sure where he’s coming from. Okay? You’re a bad man. You’re a bad man. You’re a bad man. Bad man.
American History X – “Hate is baggage.”
The dialogue: So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned – my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Hate is baggage. Life’s too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it. Derek says it’s always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can’t top it, steal from them and go out strong. So I picked a guy I thought you’d like.’We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.’
The Blues Brothers – “Chicago…”
The dialogue: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Inglorious Basterds – “The hawk and the rat…”
The dialogue: 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 with a saucer of your delicious milk? 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.
The Big Lebowski – “Theodore Donald Karabotsos…”
The dialogue: Donny was a good bowler, and a good man. He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors – and bowling, and as a surfer, he explored the beaches of Southern California, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and up to Pismo. He died, he died as so many young men of his generation before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364. These young men gave their lives. And so would Donny. Donny, who loved bowling. And so, Theodore Donald Karabotsos, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well. Good night, sweet prince.
Fight Club – “The rules…”
The dialogue: Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: if someone yells ‘stop!’, goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: no shirts, no shoes. Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.
Training Day - “King Kong…”
The dialogue: Awwww, you motherfuckers. Okay. Alright. I’m putting cases on all of you bitches! Huh. You think you can do this shit. Jake! You think you can do this to me?! You motherfuckers will be playin’ basketball in Pelican Bay when I get finished with you! SHU program, nigga. 23 hour lockdown! I’m the man up in this piece! You’ll never see the light of – who the fuck do you think you’re fuckin’ with? I’m the police, I run shit here. You just live here! Yeah, that’s right, you better walk away! Go on and walk away, ’cause I’m gonna burn this motherfucker down. King Kong ain’t got shit on me! That’s right, that’s right. Shit, I don’t fuck. I’m winnin’ anyway, I’m winnin’.I’m winnin’ any motherfuckin’ way, I can’t lose. Shit, you can shoot me, but you can’t kill me.
Kill Bill Vol. 2 – “Superman and Spider-Man…”
As you know, I’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. 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 Plympton…
You would’ve worn the costume of Arlene Plympton. But you were born Beatrix Kiddo. And every morning when you woke up, you’d still be Beatrix Kiddo.I’m calling you a killer. A natural born killer. You always have been, and you always will be. Moving to El Paso, working in a used record store, goin’ to the movies with Tommy, clipping coupons. That’s you, trying to disguise yourself as a worker bee. That’s you tryin’ to blend in with the hive. But you’re not a worker bee. You’re a renegade killer bee. And no matter how much beer you drank or barbecue you ate or how fat your ass got, nothing in the world would ever change that…
Gone Baby Gone – “You are sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves.”
The dialogue: I always believed it was the things you don’t choose that makes you who you are. Your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in these things, like it was somethin’ they’d accomplished. The bodies around their souls, the cities wrapped around those. I lived on this block my whole life; most of these people have. When your job is to find people who are missin’, it helps to know where they started. I find the people who started in the cracks and then fell through. This city can be hard.
When I was young, I asked my priest how you could get to heaven and still protect yourself from all the evil in the world. He told me what God said to His children. ‘You are sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves.’
Do the Right Thing – “Love and Hate.”
The dialogue: Let me tell you the story of Right Hand, Left Hand. It’s a tale of good and evil. Hate: it was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love: these five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love, is finished. But hold on, stop the presses, the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that’s right. Ooh, it’s a devastating right and Hate is hurt, he’s down. Left-Hand Hate KO’ed by Love.
Goodfellas – “Respect…”
The dialogue: People looked at me differently and they knew I was with somebody. At thirteen, I was making more money than most of the grown-ups in the neighborhood. I mean, I had more money than I could spend. I had it all. One day the kids from the neighborhood carried my mother’s groceries all the way home. You know why? It was out of respect.
There Will Be Blood – “I drink your milkshake.”
The dialogue: Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? You watching? And my straw reaches across the room, and starts to drink your milkshake… I…drink…your…milkshake! I drink it up!
Pulp Fiction - “Ezekiel 25:17.”
The dialogue: Well there’s this 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 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 thee.’
In case you missed it, check out our list of the 30 Movies to See Before You’re 30.