by Jay Sizemore
What are the most quotable films ever made? Most likely, movies that make you repeat lines uttered by their characters for weeks after watching them. Amongst those, there are a few that spring to mind regardless of the passage of time, unforgettable lines that seem to apply to various day-to-day situations, making them seem more amusing, more profound, or simply… cooler. Here is my list of what I consider the top ten most quotable films, the ones that stick with me the most, and come up in random conversations long after they have been viewed:
1. Monty Python and The Holy Grail: This is undoubtedly the reigning champion of quotable films. Nearly every line of this film is a stroke of comedic genius. For some reason comedies seem to have more memorable lines than dramas. I think this is because they incite laughter, and have a tendency to be more random and original.
2. Pulp Fiction: Tarantino’s second film is the one most likely to be quoted in every drunken conversation of a college film student. Tarantino loves to write original dialogue, and this movie is the cream of the crop, controversial and teeming with humor.
3. The Princess Bride: When you have Cary Elwes, Billy Crystal, and Andre the Giant in a movie together, the results are bound to be priceless. This iconic film by Rob Reiner is the proof. Watch this movie, and I guarantee you will be repeating lines from it the rest of your life.
4. Star Wars: Science-fiction geeks everywhere heralded George Lucas as a god for his initial trilogy of films set in a distant galaxy. Characters like Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, and one of the most memorable movie villains of all time, Darth Vader, utter many of film’s most memorable lines.
5. Super Troopers: Do you know what a “mustache ride” is? After watching this comedy classic you will. This is a cult hit among police officers all over the United States, and it is easy to see why. The movie successfully knocks all the down time officers must face in between the drama the rest of the world assumes must happen nonstop.
6. Fight Club: “I am Jack’s ear worm.” This is one of my all-time favorite films, and a movie quote gold mine. David Fincher manages to do the almost impossible, make a movie that promotes anti-materialism, inside a medium that thrives on that very instinct. Tyler Durden wants to blow up all your stuff, and make you remember the rules of his club forever.
7. The Big Lebowski: The Coen brothers have managed to make a few great comedies full of wonderful quotes, but this one takes the cake. The Dude, Donnie, and Walter have some of the greatest conversations in movie history. Friends of mine can quote this movie almost word for word. The memories of the movie, along with the dialogue, are always sure to bring a laugh.
8. A Clockwork Orange: No self-respecting film lover could go their life without seeing this Kubrick masterpiece, and once you have seen it, lines from it will be fused into your vernacular. From ultra-violence, to “the old in-out, in-out,” the colorful originality of Alex’s speech throughout the film has a lasting resonance. Also, sections of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony will be stuck in your head for weeks, which isn’t dialogue, but anything that promotes Beethoven is cool in my book.
9. A Christmas Story: You’ll shoot your eye out! Need I say more? This perennial favorite, which gets shown on a 24 hour loop every Christmas on cable television, has enough memorable lines to occupy several holiday conversations. Part of the sticking quality of this film’s content, is the use of narration throughout the entire narrative. The adult voice of the main character telling the story makes a lasting impression, along with the ridiculous situations the character finds himself in. Who can’t relate to a crazy family?
10. Blazing Saddles: Mel Brooks has a flair for using comedy to disguise satire. In his most memorable film, he uses that weapon to tackle racism, and makes us all laugh at America’s historical failures in that regard. Many of the film’s best moments you probably shouldn’t repeat in public, but that doesn’t mean they don’t stick with you. This is another level of the movie’s satire, making us laugh at racism, then realize the truth behind the laughter, when we feel guilty for it later on. Who says laughter doesn’t cure all evils?
Film Critic Jay Sizemore is a member of The Missing Slate’s Film Team.