The 10 Greatest Lines in Cinema History, Ranked by the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is one of the biggest names in movie quality, and about a decade ago they started publishing a series of lists honoring the best in movie history. These lists included the greatest movies, greatest songs, greatest movies in specific genres (comedies, westerns, etc.), and perhaps the coolest of all, the most beautiful quotes.
A screenplay is an integral part of a film’s success, and a fantastic line can outlast the film itself for a long time. Many lines of films have made their way into wider cultural consciousness, and many continue to be cited to this day.
ten “You are speaking to me?”
Taxi driver is undeniably one of Martin Scorsese’s best films, and it comes with what is arguably the most famous line in all of his filmography. While practicing his “badass” routine in front of a mirror, increasingly unbalanced Travis Bickle asks an imaginary enemy, “Are you talking to me?” Before pulling out his pistol.
It is one of the most parodied and referenced scenes in the history of cinema, and “Tu me parles?” repeated endlessly in everyday life.
9 ” Fasten your seatbelts. It’s gonna be a rough night. “
Released in 1950, All about Eve contains one of Bette Davis’ most iconic roles in Margo Channing, one of the most egocentric characters in movie history. Margo has a distinct flair for the dramatic, as evidenced by the famous dinner streak.
Margo swallows her entire martini in one sip, turns dramatically to the party guests and, with a flair for the theater, announces, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a hectic night. This is a very famous quote (which is also widely misquoted) with many people thinking it is a “bumpy ride” instead of “a bumpy night”.
8 “May the force be with you.”
Serve as one of the most popular aspects of the Star wars franchise, The Force has long been a staple in pop culture at large. Even people who have never seen Star wars know the Force and its many uses. And although the original trilogy contains many famous lines, it is “May the Force be with you” that ranks 8th on the American Film Institute’s list.
It’s a great line, and it has since become a recurring quote throughout the long-running franchise. In fact, it was turned into a little joke, with “The Fourth Be With You” being quoted often on “Star wars day “, May 4.
7 “Alright, Mr. DeMille. I’m ready for my close-up.”
Sunset Boulevard was rated the 7th best-written film in cinema history by the Writers Guild of America and, coincidentally, its famous latest line was ranked 7th greatest citation of all time by the American Film Institute. The story is about an increasingly ill silent movie star named Norma Desmond who competes for fame and attention.
The story ends in tragedy, with Norma embracing her desperate hallucinations while being arrested for Joe’s murder. The final line has a devastating impact and leaves viewers reeling from the tragedy.
6 “Go make my day.”
One of Clint Eastwood’s signature lines, “Go ahead, make my day” is often mistakenly attributed to Dirty Harry. And while the iconic line is indeed spoken by Harry Callahan, it can actually be found in the fourth. Dirty Harry movie, Brutal shock.
In the context of the film, Harry said the line while pointing his gun at a thief, implying his day would be made by shooting the thief down. It’s one of the most repeated lines in movie history, being widely parodied and referenced, not to mention a grunt through clenched teeth.
5 “I’m looking at you, kid.”
Considered the best written film of all time by the Writers Guild of America, Casablanca contains many lines that have become popular pillars in cultural consciousness. This includes the last line, “I think this is the start of a great friendship”, and of course, “I’m looking at you, kid”.
This last line is an absolutely beautiful and poetic way to honor someone, and it’s delivered with incredible tenderness by Humphrey Bogart.
4 “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
The Wizard of Oz has many timeless qualities, including its wonderful script. Kansas’ sudden transition to the colorful world of Oz needed a memorable line to sell the incredible moment, and the movie certainly delivered with “I feel like we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
It’s a fun, ironic way to approach the sudden change in tone and filmmaking, and it’s since become one of the most repeated lines in movie history. This is the type of line that transcends the medium of film and is often used in everyday life.
3 “You don’t understand! I could have had classes. I could have been a candidate. I could have been someone, instead of a bum, that’s who I am.”
Feel good, inspirational sports movies sell by the dozen, and many follow the same stereotypical story. But that’s exactly what makes At the water’s edge such a revelation. Marlon Brando plays Terry Malloy, an unlucky dock worker and one of the most tragic characters in movie history.
This is summed up by the third largest quote from the American Film Institute, in which Terry pathetically laments his disappointing life. This is one of the most depressing lines – and line readings – ever spoken in a movie.
2 “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
Marlon Brando is widely touted as one of the greatest actors of all time, and possibly the greatest. The Godfather is one of his best efforts, and Vito Corleone is arguably his most famous character.
“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” is repeated throughout the film by many characters, but it is largely attributed to Vito while discussing his problem with Hollywood studio director Jack Woltz. It’s a great line, full of ambiguous threat and mumbled with Brando’s signature whispered voice.
1 “Frankly, my dear, I don’t care.”
Arguably the most famous line in movie history (and considered the greatest by the American Film Institute), “Frankly, my dear, I don’t care” is one of the most popular ending lines. impactful effects of a movie. It is defiantly spoken by Rhett Butler after Scarlett O’Hara asks “Where should I go? What should I do?”
It has lost some of its impact over the years, as “damn” isn’t quite the taboo swear it was in 1939 (or 1861 for that matter, that is when the movie takes place). Still, it’s a wild goodbye and a harsh end to one of cinema’s most famous relationships.
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