Off the back of my recent list of unforgettable movie moments, I have decided to put together another list, this time I have complied my favourite movie speeches.
Nothing makes a film more than those magnificent monologues that just have the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. I have put together some of my favourites, so with out any further waffle and in no particular order, let us get on with the list. (PS some of the clips do feature some sweary words, sorry)
1. “Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!” President Thomas Whitmore, Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996)
Was there really anywhere else to start? Aliens have brutally invaded Earth and all is almost lost. The only hope lies with a co-ordinated world wide strike. President Whitmore prepares to lead the air strike himself, but before he climbs into the cockpit he takes the mic and delivers what is one of the most spine tingling, rousing and down right awesome speeches of all time. Even now, 20+ years on it proves that neither time or a pretty terrible sequel can dilute this amazing moment. I watch this film every year on the 4th of July. It makes me wish I was American (well, not really, but it is close).
2. “You can’t handle the truth!” Col Nathan Jessup, A Few Good Men (Rob Reiner, 1993)
Though only appearing in 3 scenes Jack Nicholson’s Col. Nathan Jessup casts a massive shadow over the whole film. The over arching villain of the piece, he goes head to head with Tom Cruise’s Dan Kaffee, a young hot shot lawyer. When Kaffee catches him out with some clever questioning, Jessup, who still believes he is in the right, attempts to justify his actions. Now, anyone who has watched TV classic The West Wing will know that Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue is unparalleled and this is never more true than in this scene, but a writer can only do so much and it is up to the actor to bring the words to life and with a powerhouse like Nicholson, this scene is just electrifying. A Few Good Men is one of my all time favourite films and I can pretty much recite it word for word. I will admit, I have rewound this scene more than once. Thrilling.
3. “You’re Chasing Amy…” Silent Bob, Chasing Amy (Kevin Smith, 1997)
This is a bit of a change of pace from what has come before, but Kevin Smith is a bit of a hero of mine. His finest hour as a film maker comes with the brilliant Chasing Amy, it is a different take on the romantic comedy and explores love in a broader sense and goes beyond the well trodden tale of a man falling in love with a woman. It is also extremely funny. It is the 3rd film in his shared Viewaskewniverse and the 3rd film to feature the immortal Jay and Silent Bob, Smith’s recurring stoner characters. Smith himself plays Silent Bob and before and since this film Bob is limited to 1 or 2 throw away lines, whereas here he has a full on monologue, which pretty much sums up the lead characters predicament and gives him a road map of what to do or better yet, what not to do. Smith won an independent Spirit award for his script and it was richly deserved. (warning explicit language)
4. “They’ll never take our Freedom!” William Wallace, Braveheart (Mel Gibson, 1995)
As a Scotsman, I was contractually obliged to put this speech in the list. As much as this film contains very little in the way of historical accuracy, there is just something about it that stirs that sense of national pride. Now I am no nationalist, I am a proud Scotsman sure, but am a pretty contented Brit too but in spite of everything I can not help but absolutely love this film and it has a lot to do with moments like this. In spite of its many flaws, it is a rousing treat. ALBA GU BRA!!!!
5. “Stand, Men of the West!” Aragorn, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Peter Jackson, 2003)
After victory at Pelenor Fields, Aragorn gathers the forces of men to march on Mordor. The aim is to distract the eye of Sauron and give Frodo and Sam a chance to destroy the ring once and for all.
Hopelessly out numbered, the men are facing certain death. It is down to Aragorn to rally his men one more time and rally them he does. The Lord of The Rings films are littered with memorable moments and at the end of film 3 of an epic trilogy, they up the ante once more. I have stop myself from cheering with every viewing.
6. “Now, imagine she is white” Jake Brigance, A Time To Kill (Joel Schumacher, 1996)
These days a year doesn’t by where we don’t have a movie based on a comic book, in the 90s however, it was John Grisham adaptations. The lawyer turned best selling author’s work was mined thoroughly in that decade and none better than with A Time To Kill, it was his first novel, but the 4th to make it to the big screen. Set in America’s deep south it tells the story of a young white lawyer hired to defend a black man accused of killing two rednecks who were freed after brutally assaulting his daughter.
It is a great legal thriller and this moment comes as the young lawyer played by a fresh faced Matthew McConaughey is delivering his closing argument. He has the jury in the palm of his hand and with his final line pulls the rug from under them, a real gut punch moment and a tough but great watch
7. “On this team, we fight for that inch” Tony D’Amato, Any Given Sunday (Oliver Stone, 1999)
I could have quite easily filled the entire list with inspirational quotes from sport movies, but in the end I have limited myself to just one, and it is a belter.
As aging coach Tony D’Amato, Al Pacino gives us what in my opinion at least was his last truly great role. The film itself is a no holds barred look at pro football, warts and all. Partly based on a book by a former NFL defensive end it shows the sport, sometimes at least, in an unflattering light. It is little wonder that the NFL refused Stone permission to use the league as the basis for his film. It is instead set in the fictional Associated Football Franchises of America (AAFA).
The film is a must see for any fan of the sport. Despite its controversies, it is still a sporting drama and the speech D’Amato delivers is sensational. As with Nicholson in A Few Good Men, Pacino delivers the speech like no one else can. It is a wonderful moment.
8. “You just have to decide what kind of a man you want to grow up to be” Jonathon Kent, Man of Steel (Zac Snyder, 2013)
This one is short and sweet and is more of a line than a speech but it makes it on account of my love for Superman. He is my hero and has been since childhood and while I have many issues with the latest big screen version of the character, this moment from Man of Steel is one of the times where they absolutely nail it.
In the comics, Clark Kent is the character and Superman is what he can do and Clark is who he is because of his upbringing, the values that Jonathon and Martha Kent instilled in him. This moment between 13 year old Clark and his dad, played perfectly by Kevin Costner completely captures that notion. Man of Steel may have ended in a big mess of noise and destruction but there is a beating heart in there somewhere…(couldn’t find a shorter clip)
9. “The greatest trick, the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)
Cripple Verbal Kint is one of only 2 survivors of a massacre on a boat following a drug deal gone wrong. He is being interrogated by a customs agent, when he is asked about legendary underworld figure Keyser Soze he tells a terrifying origin story.
Now at the risk of spoiling the epic twist in this 22 year old movie, this is a great moment when you watch it for the first time, but on a re-watch it is even better as Verbal’s intricate web of lies is expertly woven, just how much truth is in that tale?. Spacey won an academy award for this role and rightly so.
I bought this film on VHS back in the 90s and it came in a double video pack, with the second tape featuring an audio commentary. I watched this film (for the first time) and was blown away and was amazed that this revolutionary idea of hearing the film makers insights, I immediately popped in the tape and watch the film again with the commentary track, how times have changed. I watched this again last week and it is every bit as great as I remember it.
10. “Time to die” Roy Batty, Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
Widely refered to as “The tears in the rain monologue”, this truly moving moment comes at the climax of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece. Blade Runner Rick Deckard has finally chased down the last of the replicants, as he face off against the leader Roy Batty, he finds himself hanging on for his life. Roy, who is coming to the end of his existence, saves Deckard and delivers this beautiful monologue. Backed by the driving rain and Vangelis’s mesmeric score this speeches shows the duality of the replicant, how that are machines, but are so unbelievably human too.
There is a story about the crew being in tears as Rutger Hauer delivered this monologue on set, I wouldn’t be surprised. Powerful and evocative stuff.
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.