The 30 Most Famous Movie Quotes Ever Spoken on Screen

Want to quote a famous movie? Here are your best bets

A couple enjoying a scary part of a movie

Flashpop / Getty Images

Fame is a fickle food, and as Emily Dickinson's famous line from the poem of the same name suggests, fame is fleeting. While the last line in Shane may have still been quite famous just thirty years ago, the only reason most of us recognize it now is because it has the name of the movie in it. So what does famous mean? The most famous movie quotes have to stand the test of time, and while many great quotes of the past have trickled into our vernacular, others have simply dripped away. Here are the ones that stand strong.

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The Movie Quote That May Have the Most to Say About Our Future

Image from 2001: A Space Odyssey



"Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?"

Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, has never rang more true after many leading scientists and technology leaders have named artificial intelligence one of the greatest threats to our species. HAL, the computer that turns on its humans, was so named by taking IBM and moving each letter back one in the alphabet to make H-A-L.  

This one has a ton of great quotes including: "Open the pod bay doors, HAL," and, "My God, it's full of stars."

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The Most Famous Quote About Karate

The wax on wax off scene from Karate Kid

Columbia Pictures


"Wax on, wax off."

The only thing crazier than the most famous karate quote coming from a Ralph Macchio film is the fact that Pat Morita, who played Mr. Miyagi in the film, did not know karate until learning some during filming. And while the coolest quote from the Karate Kid might be "sweep the leg" or "get him a body bag," Mr. Miyagi's unique training method brings out the most well known.

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The Movie Quote We Wish We Had Memorized

Bible quote scene from Pulp Fiction

Miramax Films 

"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 the 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 you."

Of all the great Samuel Jackson quotes, isn't this Pulp Fiction quote the one we'd love to pull out at parties? Better yet, nailing it with a perfect Samuel Jackson voice!  

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The Creepiest Movie Quote of All Time

Buffalo Bill telling victim to rub the lotion on its skin

Orion Pictures 

"It rubs the lotion on its skin."

It's amazing that a movie with Anthony Hopkins as one of the most memorable villains in cinematic history would have its most memorable quote uttered by Ted Levine playing Buffalo Bill. While "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti" is another great quote from Silence of the Lambs, ultimately, Buffalo Bill's creepy instruction is often the first that comes to mind.

As an honorable mention in the creepiest quote category we have, "What's in the Box?" A question that Brad Pitt in Seven probably doesn't want answered.

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The Famous Movie With the Most Quotable Lines

Classic fake orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally

 Columbia Pictures

When Harry Met Sally may not have a single quote that could make the list, but almost every scene has a very memorable quote, so we'll list the top five from the movie:

"What I'm saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way."
"To Harry and Sally. If Marie or I had found either of them remotely attractive we would not be here today."
"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
"I want you to know that I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table."

And, of course...

"I'll have what she's having."
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The Best Banter During a Fight Scene

The Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

EMI Films

"It's just a flesh wound."

Funny banter is a hallmark of action movies, but let's face it, Monty Python and the Holy Grail nailed this one. It would likely be at the top of a funniest movie quotes of all time list, mostly just competing with all of the other hilarious lines from the movie. 

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The Line That Is Simply Elementary

A scene from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

20th Century Fox 

"Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary."

First uttered in the 1929 film The Return of Sherlock Holmes, the world's most famous fictional detective never actually utters the line in the books. The line had garnered some fame before the movie, despite not being a direct quote from the stories, but it was the utterance in the movie that stamped it into history. 

The quote is similar to another famous quote, "Houston, we have a problem," which was also well known before the Tom Hanks movie and is also a slight misquote, however, the Tom Hanks line was close enough to the original ("Houston, we've had a problem.") and famous enough before the movie that it didn't make the list. 

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The Famous Quote That Is Now a Hallmark Card

A still shot of the hallmark moment from Love Story

 Paramount Pictures

 "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

One day we may read, "I'm just a girl standing before a boy..." on a Hallmark card, but for now we have the famous quote from Love Story to help us get out of those awkward situations with our significant other. This one is best served with chocolate and flowers.

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The Quote That Can't Be Done Without the Accent

A scene from The Terminator

 Orion Pictures

"I'll be back."

Luckily, Arnold Schwarzenegger has got one of the easiest accents to do. The line in The Terminator proceeds one of the coolest shootouts in cinematic history, so it's easy enough to remember. It helps that it is repeated in most Terminator movies and many other Schwarzenegger films. 

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The Movie Line About a Fish

A still shot of Jaws

 Universal Pictures

 "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

Jaws has transcended the decades with a memorable two-note theme song, and it's this simple observation by Roy Scheider's character immediately after getting an up-close-and-personal look at the gigantic shark that really sums up the movie.

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The Biggest Movie Rule About Baseball

A still shot from A League of Their Own

Columbia Pictures

"There’s no crying in baseball!"

Cinematic history is filled with quotable lines from baseball movies, from "breath out of your eyelids like a lava lizard" to the ever-popular "if you build it, he will come." But is anything more quotable than Tom Hanks' reaction in A League of Their Own after yelling at Bitty Schram's character to the point of bringing her to tears?

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The Quote That Reveals Human Intelligence

Charlton Heston hanging in a net in Planet of the Apes

 20th Century Fox

 "Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape."

Planet of the Apes was a great marriage of science fiction and social commentary, and that is never more true than with this famous quote. But it's the reaction from the surrounding apes stunned that a human can actually speak that boosts this iconic line. 

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The Most Repeated of Famous Quotes

Cuba Gooding Jr. getting Tom Cruise to yell

 TriStar Pictures

 "Show me the money!"

Does it help a quote become more famous if it is repeated multiple times in the same scene? Cuba Gooding Jr's chant along side Tom Cruise stole the show in Jerry Maguire, but it didn't take long for "Show me the money!" to be repeated so much that it became annoying.  Luckily, this one has aged better.  And what can we say? It completes us.

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The Luckiest Movie Quote

Dirty Harry holding a gun on a suspect

 Warner Bros

"I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question. 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya, punk?"

This one could have easily been "Go ahead, make my day," but if we had to choose just one Dirty Harry quote, wouldn't we want to feel lucky?

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The Famous Movie Line About Talking

The talking to me scene from Taxi Driver

 Columbia Pictures

"You talking to me? You talking to me? You talking to me? Well, then who the Hell else are you talking? You talking to me? Well, I'm the only one here."

The crazy part about this fantastic scene by Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver is how closely it resembles the famous Jim Mora "playoffs" rant and Allen Iverson going on about "practice." It's true, great art mimics life, but in these cases, life is parroting great art.

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The Most Dramatically Delivered Quote

Dr. Frankenstein animates the Monster

 Universal Pictures

"It's alive! It's alive!"

Is it possible to be both maniacal and giddy at the same time? Collin Clive pulls it off in this Frankenstein scene that bounces between evil genius and madness. The quote is helped along by a somewhat lighter version rendered by Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein. This quote is best accompanied with hand gestures.

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The Spookiest Quote

Haley Joel Osment in Sixth Sense

Buena Vista Pictures 

 "I see dead people."

Easily one of the most popular movie quotes delivered by a child, Haley Joel Osment's character in The Sixth Sense continues with a few lines that play a much larger role in the plot: "They don't see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don't even know they are dead." But it's the seeing of the dead people that is most quotable.

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The Quote That Could Have Been a Contender

Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront

 Columbia Pictures

"I could've been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

Marlon Brando's monologue in On the Waterfront is unforgettable in its own right, but a repeat performance by Robert De Niro in Raging Bull ensured the transcendent "I could've been a contender" etched its way into Americana. 

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The Famous Quote That Isn't About Exercise

A Screenshot of Forest Gump

Paramount Pictures

 "Run, Forrest, run."

In a film starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, and Sally Field, with characters ranging from Elvis Presley to President Kennedy, it's Hanna Hall portraying the younger version of Jenny Curran that delivers Forrest Gump's most recognizable line. Of course, we could have easily chosen a box of chocolates, but stupid is as stupid does, so we went in a different direction. 

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The Best Movie Quote You Simply Can't Refuse

Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in the Godfather

 Paramount Pictures

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

Every Godfather movie has an extremely quotable line. Godfather II had "you broke my heart." And the best quote may be Al Pacino in Godfather III, lamenting, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." 

But were we really going to use a Godfather III quote over the most recognizable line from the original? It may not come up as often in the movie quote game, but making people an offer they can't refuse has become pretty standard since the 1972 movie's release.

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The Most Memorable Greeting

The fight scene in Princess Bride

 20th Century Fox

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

It is almost polite. He has a greeting. He introduces himself. He says something about himself, and then he informs of his life goal. We should all greet new people the same way. Just maybe without swords being drawn. The Princess Bride nails it.

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The Most Famous Threat to an Animal

The first scene with the Wicked Witch in Wizard of Oz


 "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

It's one thing to go after the person that killed your sister, but you really know the Wicked Witch of the West is bad when she's threatening poor, innocent Toto. 

The Wizard of Oz is another film filled with famous movie lines like "I'm melting, melting..." and "I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."  

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The Best Quote About a Man's Best Friend

Al Pacino preparing a grenade launcher in Scarface

Universal Pictures 

 "Say hello to my little friend."

A man's best friend is his dog. Or for drug kingpin Tony Montana, his grenade launcher. Scarface provides one of Al Pacino's best performances with a number of quite memorable scenes, but it is this line from the climax of the movie that sticks with you. It's basically what is on the tip of every Call of Duty player's tongue when they run into a new match.

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The Best Movie Line Stolen From Television

Jack Nicholson bursting through the bathroom door in The Shining

 Warner Bros.

 "Here's Johnny!"

This entire scene from The Shining should be mandatory viewing for every director before every movie begins production. You take the scene where the villain smashes the locked bathroom door with an axe and you really drag it out. First, crazed Jack Nicholas recites the Little Pigs nursery rhyme ending with, "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in." 

Next, he starts chopping at that door. Not just one chop and the door explodes, but several swings while Shelley Duvall's character is screaming. Last, he sticks his face in the hole of the door and steals the famous introduction of Johnny Carson. 

If you haven't seen it in a while, it is worth another watch.

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The Most Famous Line Uttered by Jack Nicholson

Image from A Few Good Men

 Columbia Pictures

 "You can't handle the truth!"

Jack Nicholson has a lot of famous lines.  "I want to be a better man." "Where does he get those wonderful toys?" His best quote from a movie may be "Here's Johnny," but it's this line from A Few Good Men — in fact, this entire monologue — that has become his most famous. Yes. We want him on that wall. We need him on that wall.

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The Movie Line That Supplants Coffee

The scene from Apocalypse Now right after the napalm bombing

United Artists 

 “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

You might be wondering, what does napalm smell like? According to Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore played by the great Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, napalm smells like "victory." Now that doesn't sound so bad, does it?

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The Most Recognizable Name in Cinematic History

James Bond first introducing himself in Dr. No

 United Artists

 "Bond. James Bond."

Yes, he likes his martinis shaken and not stirred, but it's his name that is the most distinctive quote from any James Bond movie. So distinctive in fact that simply saying your name as "last name. first name, last name" is an instantly recognizable reference to the movies.

A frequent quote in the Bond movies, it was technically the second line by James Bond in Dr. No, but it was the first line spoken when we first see Sean Connery's face.

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The Movie Quote Most Famously Remembered by Your Parents

The famous ending scene of Gone with the WInd

 Selznick International Pictures

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

It's hard to believe Rhett Butler's final denial of Scarlett O'Hara's affection was a controversy at the time when censors wanted to edit the word "damn." However, it wasn't the first time "damn" was uttered on screen, as the word was commonly used in silent films prior to being banned in the 1930 Motion Picture Production Code.

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The Most Famous Misquote of All Time

Darth Vader revealing himself to Luke

 20th Century Fox

"No. I am your father."

The most famous quote of all time might be: "Luke, I am your father" in The Empire Strikes Back. But there's a slight problem. Darth Vader doesn't actually address Luke by name.  

When asked about what Obi-Wan told him about his father, Luke says, "He told me enough. He told me you killed him." 

Darth Vader replies, "No. I am your father."

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...And the Most Famous Quote of Them All

Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca

 Warner Bros

 "Here's looking at you, kid."

Casablanca may very well own this list. Easily one of the most recognizable films by dialogue alone, we'll leave you with a few more famous lines from the movie:

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
"Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.'"
"We'll always have Paris.​"