20 Of The Greatest Lines in Cinema History

One of the best parts of movies is awesome lines that become iconic. Sometimes, they become a part of everyday culture due to their effectiveness and familiarity. While there will never be a consensus on what the best line ever is, there are a lot of good contenders.

Following are several, not ranked in any particular order.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (Gone with the Wind)

Gone with the Wind.
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

 

Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) at long last realizes she loves and needs her husband, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), but he’s reached his breaking point and speaks these words to his crying wife as he walks out the door.

 

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” (The Godfather)

The Godfather.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

 

Before we ever heard Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) say this, we probably thought someone was about to share a great deal. Now, it’s a threat, and we know that someone who refuses the “offer” is in grave danger.

 

“Here’s looking at you, kid.” (Casablanca)

Casablanca,
Image Credit: Warner Bros..

 

When Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) were lovers in Paris before the Germans invaded during WWII, Rick liked saying this to Ilsa as a term of endearment. At the end of the film, these become his bittersweet final words to her as she and her husband flee Casablanca and Rick rediscovers his idealism.

 

“Go ahead, make my day.” (Sudden Impact)

Sudden Impact.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

 

When Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) is pointing a .44 Magnum at you, it’s not a time to make a bold move. The would-be robber he’s pointing the gun at takes the chance, and it’s the last mistake he ever makes.

 

“You talking to me?” (Taxi Driver)

Taxi Driver.
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

 

As Travis Bickle, Robert DeNiro really came into his own as a major star. Contrary to what many people assume, this line isn’t delivered to another person; it’s part of a tough-guy rehearsal DeNiro performs in front of a mirror.

 

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” (Cool Hand Luke)

Cool Hand Luke.
Image Credit:
Jalem Productions.

 

When prisoner Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman) sasses the warden (Strother Martin), the “Captain” beats him and then shoves him down a hill in front of the other inmates. Then he delivers this memorable line as the start of a brief speech.

 

“I’m as Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore!” (Network)

Network.
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

The context of this line is an angry newscaster shouting this on the air and encouraging viewers to shout it out their windows, which they do. It’s something everyone wishes they could do from time to time, which is why the line has endured.

 

“Show Me the Money!” (Jerry Maguire)

Jerry Maguire.
Image Credit:
TriStar Pictures.

 

A pro athlete played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. says this to agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise). The line caught on and remains one of two really famous lines from the film, the other being “You had me at hello.”

 

“You Can’t Handle the Truth!” (A Few Good Men)

A Few Good Men.
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

 

In this military courtroom drama, Tom Cruise plays a young lawyer examining Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) related to the death of a Marine. He finally gets under the Colonel’s skin, causing this outburst and leading to self-incriminating testimony.

 

“I’ll have what she’s having.” (When Harry Met Sally)

When Harry Met Sally.
Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

 

Director Rob Reiner’s mother has one of the best cameos ever here. Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) are in a restaurant, and Harry is saying he can tell the difference between a woman faking pleasure and the real thing, and Sally says he’s wrong. To prove, she very convincingly fakes it right there. When a server asks Estelle Reiner what she wants to order, she nods to Sally and delivers her famous line.

 

“You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat.” (Jaws)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

 

This is what Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) mutters when he gets his first glimpse of the great white shark that’s been terrorizing local waters. The line now comes in handy whenever someone doesn’t have equipment up to the task.

 

“I’ll be back.” (The Terminator)

Image Credit: Orion Pictures.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t too versatile an actor at the time, but he was perfect as a cyborg sent from the future to assassinate the mother of a foe before he could be born. Along the way, he turned this mundane phrase into magic thanks to his accent.

 

“I See Dead People.” (The Sixth Sense)

The Sixth Sense.
Image Credit:
Hollywood Pictures.

 

Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) has this secret, and he shares it with Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). If you pay close attention to what Cole also tells Dr. Crowe, you might figure out this movie’s famous twist before the reveal.

 

“There’s no crying in baseball!” (A League of Their Own)

A League of Their Own.
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

 

Tom Hanks plays a washed-up manager stuck with overseeing a women’s baseball team in WWII when the Major Leagues shut down. He’s not prepared for the sensitivities he encounters, especially crying. It’s not uncommon for parents to say this to their kids now when tears come down.

 

“Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.” (The Godfather Part II)

The Godfather Part II.
Image Credit:
Paramount Pictures.

 

Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is sharing this piece of wisdom he learned from his father Vito. It’s now widely followed advice in business, politics, and other fields. The idea is that it’s important to know what your foes are thinking, doing, and planning.

 

“Say ‘Hello’ to my little friend!” (Scarface)

Arnaldo Santana in Scarface (1983).
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

 

Al Pacino plays Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee who becomes a drug lord in 1980s Miami. The gun battle at the end is famously violent and bloody, and Pacino kicks it off with this line as he prepares to fire a grenade launcher.

 

“Gentleman, You Can’t Fight in Here! This Is the War Room!” (Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

Dr. Strangelove.
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures, Hawk Films.

 

Dr. Strangelove is one of the best satirical films ever made, mockingly depicting Cold War-era tensions, fears, and personalities during the 1960s. The classic line here is a fantastic example of situational and verbal irony.

 

“Here’s Johnny!” (The Shining)

The Shining.
Image Credit: Warner Bros., Peregrine Productions.

 

For almost 30 years, this was how Ed McMahon introduced Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. In 1980, Jack Nicholson put his own spin on it as a deranged man trying to murder his family.

 

“I know.” (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

 

This is the response by Han Solo (Harrison Ford) when Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) says “I love you” as he’s about to be frozen in carbonite. She gets the chance to pay it back in Return of the Jedi.

 

“No, I Am Your Father.” (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

 

We could have featured several movies from this list more than once (you could write a whole article on great Casablanca and Godfather lines), but we’re limiting ourselves to just this movie. These were the words that shocked millions of moviegoers when they learned the truth about Luke Skywalker’s lineage.

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Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998),
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

 

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Brid Box.
Image Credit: Netflix.

 

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Image Credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX.

 

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The End of The World.
Image Credit: Netflix.

 

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