Sunday, July 31, 2011

Power Rankings: Most Quotable Movies

Counting down the most quotable movies of all time is a difficult task. There are several factors that have to be taken into account including common everyday use, amount of instantly classic quotes, and use of quotes in other mediums. Narrowing down this list was very difficult, but I think I came up with the most objective list as possible for me, along with a few strictly personal choices. Here is what I came up with:

Others receiving votes: The Breakfast Club, Clerks, Fight Club, The Godfather, Top Gun

10. Casablanca

The reason that this is included on the list is almost solely for the last ten minutes of quotes. Each line is a classic, and it features six on AFI’s list, the most of any movie. It is just an extraordinarily well-written movie with lines that will forever be engrained in the head of anyone who watches it.

Best quote: “Alright, I'll make it easier for you… go ahead and shoot. You'll be doing me a favor.” (Rick; Humphrey Bogart)

Most quoted line: “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

9. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

“It’s called sex panther. It’s got bits of real panthers in it, so you know it’s good!” “I love scotch… scotchy scotch scotch.” I am not even the biggest fan of this movie, but there are a ton of quotes in this movie that are used everywhere. It is the kind of movie that you will quote randomly and not even realize you were quoting a movie. The random things that Ron and company say immediately feel like they are everyday sayings, and there are also the lines that will undeniably take you back to the movie and make you laugh. It is a great mix of wacky humor, as well as perceptive spoofs. It is by far the most quoted comedy of this generation.

Best quote: “(putting mayonnaise in a toaster) I'm Brick Tamland. People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks. Years later, a doctor will tell me that I have an I.Q. of 48 and am what some people call mentally retarded.” (Brick; Steve Carell)

Most quoted line: “You stay classy, San Diego.”

8. Sideways

This is a very personal inclusion for me. Anyone who knows me is already aware of my ridiculous love for this movie. I quote the movie basically everyday because, let’s face it, Sideways is life. There is no movie that is more representative of relationships and critiques on everything like this movie. It is hilarious, heartbreaking, and always intelligent. I quote the movie to everyone, whether they have seen it or not, and yet, it never sounds or seems out of place. There is room for Sideways in every conversation.

Best quote: "It's a hard grape to grow. As you know. Right? It's, uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it's neglected. No, pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And, in fact, it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked-away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression." (Miles; Paul Giamatti)

Most quoted line: “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!”

7. Forrest Gump

There are as many classic quotes in this movie as any movie in the last 20 years. People use quotes like “Stupid is as stupid does” who may not have even seen the movie, or may not even be aware that they are quoting something. It is a movie that is filled with so many of these types of lines that it would be a joke not to include it on this list.

Best quote: “He was from a long great military tradition. Somebody from his family had fought and died in every single American war. I guess you could say he had a lot to live up to.” (Forrest; Tom Hanks)

Most quoted line: “Life is like a box of chocolates.”

6. Superbad

It is no real surprise that comedies seemed to dominate this list. This is a movie that is filled with those lines that every teenager has thought or said at some point, but never have they been put to use with such effortlessness as they were in this movie. There are so many great quotes in this movie, but none of them really are punch lines. They are all in-the-moment passing statements that are hilarious due to the context. So the quotes may not be as accessible as other movie quotes, but they are just as good.

Best quote: “You know how many foods are shaped like dicks? The best kinds!” (Seth; Jonah Hill)

Most quoted line: “I am McLovin!”

5. Dumb and Dumber

It is ridiculous how many recognizable quotes there are from this movie. Hanging out with friends, it is like a thing with us where a quote from this movie will be used at some point. Most of the time, it is not even forced. It just comes out. And we haven’t run out of quotes yet. This is the kind of stupid comedy that has a punch line seemingly every ten seconds, but no matter how many tens of times you see the movie, they will still be funny. And that is saying something.

Best quote: “Yeah I called her up. She gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something. I don't know; I wasn't really paying attention.” (Harry; Jeff Daniels)

Most quoted line: “Austria! Well, then. G'day mate! Let's put another shrimp on the barbie!”

4. The Usual Suspects

This is the kind of movie that is included simply because it is just so well-written and filled with lines and moments that are immediately unforgettable. They are brilliant lines that can be taken out of context and still be just as meaningful and shrewd. It seems to be the norm in movies that one or two characters are given all the good lines, but in this movie, the entire cast has at least a handful of lines that I can never forget. That is really rare.

Best quote: “How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss?” (Verbal; Kevin Spacey)

Most quoted line: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

3. Office Space

The top comedy on this list is a no-brainer. Office Space is a movie that can never run out quotable lines. They are just as useful in every day conversation as Sideways, but a lot more widespread and popular. Every word Lumberg speaks, ever mumbling moment from Milton, and every sarcastic rant by Michael all rank with some of the best lines in movies in the last 15 years. It is a movie whose quote mill will never run dry as long as there are still bad bosses and boring jobs.

Best quote: “I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up ‘money laundering’ in a dictionary.” (Michael; David Herman)

Most quoted line: “Looks like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays.”

2. Star Wars trilogy

I cannot think of a movie with more recognizable quotes than Star Wars and its two immediate sequels. The ridiculous writing by George Lucas and crew is so corny, but somehow all of that is so endearing that nerds like me get completely wrapped up in the crazy lingo and intensely serious series of lame, on-the-surface quotes. Let me be clear that I am not criticizing the movies. I love every moment of all three of them, but the quotes that are most often used are such bad lines, but they always relay back to those movies, which by association makes them absolutely brilliant. Never has a movie series been so in touch with its tone and so in tune with its created universe. Every character has a million punch lines, and they are all immediately identifiable, even if someone has not seen the movies. It is an unstoppable, amazing phenomenon, and the quoting of these movies will go on forever.

Best quote: “Had a slight weapons malfunction, but everything's perfectly alright now. We're fine, we're all fine, here, now, thank you. How are you?” (Han; Harrison Ford)

Most quoted line: “May the force be with you.”

1. Scarface

When I first came up with the idea for this list, there was no other movie that could possibly have been named number one other than Scarface. It is a movie that many people would not immediately think of as being super quotable, but upon a rewatch or two, it is obvious. Each and every line that Tony Montana says seems like a punch line. It is almost like Oliver Stone thought that since he wasn’t going to be able to speak English all that well that he needed to pack all of his brilliant and hilarious lines into a lot smaller volume. There really is nothing like the world that Brian de Palma creates in this movie. It is one of the few times that after the movie the audience will want to start talking like the main character. You will want to throw the movie back in just to live in it a bit longer. There are so many passing lines that are amazing that one will not catch on one single viewing. I also realize that Scarface is definitely an acquired taste, but when that taste is developed, there is no greater three-hour series of quotes than this screenplay contains.

Best quote: "All I have in this world is my balls and my word, and I don't break them for no one." (Tony; Al Pacino)

Most quoted line: “Say hello to my little friend!”


  1. Good list, but how did you leave Top Gun on the honorable mention? If we are talking movies that are quotable in everyday conversation, few films are more useful than Top Gun. It would be tough to knock one of that top ten though.

  2. Yeah I know what you mean. I actually hadn't thought about Top Gun until I was done ordering my list and I just couldn't justify taking one off, so I just left it there. I could see an argument for having it top 5 in someone's list even.

  3. Those are your revered "Sideways" quotes?? Amateur. Have another try or 2 and make sure the volume is on next go-around. Cheers!

  4. Um, yeah. Pretty sure I have seen Sideways as much as anyone in the world, and if you don't think that monologue is one of the best ever, then you don't deserve to be posting on this blog. And I didn't think you had the stomach for another go-round... Cheers!