Monday, August 19, 2013

What Makes Movie Dialogue Memorable

This is a post from "the archives".  Hope you enjoy it for another round!

"The stuff that dreams are made of." Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, 1941

Along with reading and writing, watching movies is one of my top favorite past times! Dream weaving and illusion contribute to making enjoyable movies.  I love watching stories unfold and listening to the characters. But what makes a line of movie dialogue, or even just a single word, timeless and unforgettable? What makes it so memorable that it's often quoted in real life, other movies, television and even kids' cartoons?
Perhaps it's spoken during a suspenseful situation, or in a scene where love has gone wrong. Maybe it's exclaimed in the thick of danger, or during the thrill of excitement, or in the midst of a conflict about to explode. It could be line akin to a sigh of relief, spoken at the very end, when all problems are resolved.
With a skilled screenwriter and an amazing story, all of these elements can create exciting dialogue and at least one immortal line that leaves the audience saying, "I loved it when he said..."

Here are 10 of my favorites, in chronological order:

  1. "Wait a minute, wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin' yet!" Al Jolson as Jackie Rabinowitz in The Jazz Singer, 1927
  2. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, 1939
  3. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz, 1939
  4. "Rosebud." Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane, 1941
  5. "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By,'" Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca, 1942
  6. "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." Lauren Bacall as Marie "Slim" Browning in To Have and Have Not, 1944
  7. "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" Alfonso Bedoya as "Gold Hat" in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948
  8. "Stella! Hey, Stella!" Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in On the Waterfront, 1951
  9. "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront, 1954
  10. "Say 'hello' to my little friend!" Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface, 1983
What are some of your favorite movie lines? And in your opinion, what makes them so memorable?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!


Shelly said...

Oh, you've picked some gems! I don't know why, but a while back I started saying the Al Pacino line so often I got sick of myself saying it. It's still fun every now and then, though!

Old Kitty said...

"Never give up! Never surrender!" Galaxy Quest!

Take care

William Kendall said...

Casablanca's one of my favourites, and so full of quotable lines.

I love North By Northwest, which has a lot of great lines. My favourite, however, is by James Mason, the final line by the villain, delivered in such a dry manner. "That's not fair, using real bullets."

Norma said...

Casablanca's one of my favorites, too.

But I've found some of my favorite lines in movies in which the actors improvised rather than following the script, like one of Will Smith's lines in Men in Black: "All the technology in the universe, and we ride around in a Ford POS."

And there's Roy Scheider's famous line from Jaws: "We're going to need a bigger boat."

Intangible Hearts said...

Those are all classics!