Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


Best Film Speeches and Monologues
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue

Love Streams (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Ted Allan, John Cassavetes

"I Know This Looks Crazy, But..."

Play clip (excerpt): Love Streams

In a comic-pathetic scene, recently divorced Sarah Lawson's (Gene Rowlands) gave a nervous, upbeat explanation to her alcoholic writer brother Robert Harmon (John Cassavetes) about why she purchased and adopted farm animals and brought them in a taxi-cab to his house to give him "something to love":

I-I know this looks crazy, but, but, I just got carried away. I mean, I couldn't resist these! These, these are miniature horses! Aren't they small? (laughing) I was gonna take one, but then I figured they'd get lonely, and if you have one, you know, you might as well have two, and so I just - come on, sweetheart! Anyway, the goat, uh, the goat gives milk, so that's not a waste. And, and the chickens, and the duck, well, uh, they'll have eggs - eventually - and we can eat those. And, and we'll, we'll all live here at the park! Ah, well, we'll talk about it in a minute. I'm gonna take these in, and, and give them a little food and some water, because it was really hot coming over...It's gonna be alright, Robert.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Michael Radford

"She Had a Young Face"

The nightmarish memory of Winston Smith (John Hurt) as he wrote in his journal - a recollection of a past visitation with a Whore (Shirley Stelfox) in the off-limits proletarian areas - her seemingly youthful beauty masked a middle-aged, homely, bruised and repulsive woman:

If there is hope, it lies in the proles. If they could become conscious of their own strength, there would be no need to conspire. History does not matter to them. It was three years ago on a dark evening. Easy to slip the patrols, and I'd gone into the proletarian areas. There was no one else on the street, and no tele-screens. She said: 'Two dollars,' so I went with her. She had a young face, painted very thick. It was really the paint that appealed to me: the whiteness of it like a mask, and the bright red lips. (She hiked up her skirt) There were no preliminaries. Standing there with the scent of dead insects and cheap perfume, I went ahead and did it just the same.

Paris, Texas (1984, UK/Fr./W. Germ.)
Screenwriter(s): Sam Shepard

"I Knew These People"

In one of the best sets of monologues in recent film history, Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) met up for the first time in four years with separated wife Jane (Nastassja Kinski), while she was behind a one-way peep-show mirror in a Houston, TX strip club. He was silent for many minutes as she asked patiently: "Is there something I can do for ya?" He first spoke when he declined to have her remove her red sweater, and then told her: "I don't want anything...I wanna talk to you." She asked: "Is there something you want to tell me?...You can tell me, I can keep a secret." She added that she mostly talked and listened to clients. He wondered: "What else do you do?" She laughed nervously: "We're not allowed to see the customers out of here...We're not allowed to have any outside relationships with the customers." He snapped back: "You can go home with them if you want to. All these places say that. I mean, how much extra money do you make? How much money do you make on the side?" When she suggested that he talk to one of the other girls, he refused. She added: "I just don't think I'm the one you want to talk to," but she remained in the room when he urged her not to go. After she agreed to listen to him ("Relax and tell me what's on your mind. I'll listen... to you. I don't mind listening. I do it all the time"), he quietly got up and left the booth without her knowing.

During their second encounter, Travis delivered an 8-minute "I knew these people" monologue, a summation of their own life together; Jane was unable to see him - until she realized that he was describing their life in his story - their images overlapped or melted together and then separated, followed by the climactic moment when she turned off the light in her room so she could view him:

I knew these people. These two people. They were in love with each other. The girl was very young, about 17 or 18, I guess. And the guy was quite a bit older. He was kind of raggedy and wild. And she was very beautiful, you know...And together they turned everything into a kind of adventure. And she liked that. Just an ordinary trip down to the grocery store was full of adventure. They were always laughing at stupid things. He liked to make her laugh, and they didn't much care for anything else because all they wanted to do was be with each other. They were always together...Yes, they were, they were real happy. And he, he loved her more than he ever felt possible. He couldn't stand being away from her during the day when he went to work. So he'd quit, just to be home with her. Then he'd get another job when the money ran out, and then he'd quit again. But pretty soon, she started to worry...Money, I guess. Not having enough. Not knowing when the next check was coming in. So he started to get kind of torn inside...Well, he knew he had to work to support her, but he couldn't stand being away from her either...And the more he was away from her, the crazier he got, except now, he got really crazy. He started imagining all kinds of things. He started thinking that she was seeing other men on the sly. He'd come home from work and accuse her of spending the day with somebody else. He'd yell at her and break things in the trailer...Yes, they lived in a trailer home...

Anyway, he started to drink real bad, and he'd stay out late to test see if she'd get jealous. He wanted her to get jealous, but she didn't. She just worried about him but that got him even madder...because he thought if she never got jealous about him, that she didn't really care about him. Jealousy was a sign of her love for him. And then one night, one night, she told him that she was pregnant. She was about three or four months pregnant. And he didn't even know, and then suddenly everything changed. He stopped drinking and got a steady job. He was convinced that she loved him now, because she was carrying his child. And he was going to dedicate himself to making a home for her. But a funny thing started to happen...He didn't even notice it at first. She started to change. From the day the baby was born, she began to get irritated with everything around her. She got mad at everything. Even the baby seemed to be an injustice to her. He kept trying to make everything all right for her. Buy her things. Take her out to dinner once a week. But nothing seemed to satisfy her. For two years, he struggled to pull them back together like they were when they first met, but finally he knew that it was never gonna work out. So he hit the bottle again. But this time it got mean. This time, when he came home late at night, she wasn't worried about him, or jealous, she was just enraged. She accused him of holding her captive by making her have a baby. She told him that she dreamed about escaping. That was all she dreamed about: escape. She saw herself at night running naked down a highway, running across fields, running down riverbeds, always running. And always, just when she was about to get away, he'd be there. He would stop her somehow. He would just appear and stop her.

And when she told him these dreams, he believed them. He knew she had to be stopped or she'd leave him forever. So he tied a cow bell to her ankle so he could hear her at night if she tried to get out of bed. But she learned how to muffle the bell by stuffing a sock into it, and inching her way out of the bed and into the night. He caught her one night when the sock fell out and he heard her trying to run to the highway. He caught her and dragged her back to the trailer, and tied her to the stove with his belt. He just left her there and went back to bed and lay there listening to her scream. Then he listened to his son scream, and he was surprised at himself because he didn't feel anything anymore. All he wanted to do was sleep.

And for the first time, he wished he were far away. Lost in a deep, vast country where nobody knew him. Somewhere without language, or streets. And he dreamed about this place without knowing its name. And when he woke up, he was on fire. There were blue flames burning the sheets of his bed. He ran through the flames toward the only two people he loved, but they were gone. His arms were burning, and he threw himself outside and rolled on the wet ground. Then he ran. He never looked back at the fire. He just ran. He ran until the sun came up and he couldn't run any further. And when the sun went down, he ran again. For five days he ran like this until every sign of man had disappeared.

First View of Jane at Bar in Strip Club

First Visit

Second Visit

Protocol (1984)
Screenwriter: Buck Henry, from story by Charles Shyer, Nancy Meyers, and Harvey Miller

Waking Up and Taking Responsibility For Our Government - Promising To Watch Everything "Like a Hawk"

Naive, mid-30s, nightclub waitress Sunny Davis (Goldie Hawn) at a men's club, Lou Fox's Safari Club in DC, accidentally foiled an assassination and saved an Arabian potentate. Subsequently, she was offered a post in the State Department as a protocol officer - a pawn in the inner dealings of Washington.

Soon, she faced a Congressional inquiry into her knowledge of nefarious dealings in the government, dubbed "Sunnygate". During the questioning, she acknowledged that she took a "protocol" job ("with no practical expertise") and without understanding the full implications of her position or the meaning of the Declaration of Independence. She took the blame: "I'm responsible" and refused to blame the bureaucrats who had set her up - and then she promised to be more responsible and vigilant in the future:

You wanna know something? That before I started to work for the government, I'd never read the Constitution. I didn't even begin to know how things worked. I didn't. I didn't read the newspaper, except to look at my horoscope, and I never read the Declaration of Independence. But I know they had, the ones we're talking about - the 'experts' - they all read it. They just forgot what it's about, that it's about 'We the People.' And that's me. I'm 'We the People', and you're 'We the People', and all of us, we're all 'We the People', right? So when they sell me that ten-cent diamond, or down the river, or - or to some guy who wears a lot of medals, that means they're selling all of us, all of 'We the People.' And when they, I mean, when you guys, when you spend another pile of money, and when you give away or sell all those guns and tanks and planes, and every time you invite another foreign big-shot to the White House and hug and kiss them and give them presents, it has a direct effect on 'We the People''s lives!

So if we don't - I mean, if I don't know what you're up to, and if I - if I don't holler and scream when I think you're doing it wrong, and if I just mind my own business and don't vote or care, then I just get what I deserve. So now that I'm Sunny Davis, private citizen again, you're gonna have to watch out for me, 'cause I'm gonna be watching all of you - like a hawk!

The Terminator (1984)
Screenwriter(s): James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd

Warning About the Terminator - "It Absolutely Will Not Stop..."

Play clip (excerpt): The Terminator

Tech-Com protector Kyle Reese's (Michael Biehn) description and warning about the unemotional, relentless cyborg killer Model 101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), while driving and pursued:

I'm Reese, sergeant, TechCom DN38416 assigned to protect you. You've been targeted for termination...It's very important that you live....(The Terminator) He's not a man - a machine. A Terminator. A Cyberdyne Systems Model 101...Not a robot. A cyborg. A cybernetic organism...The Terminator's an infiltration unit, part man, part machine. Underneath, it's a hyper-alloy combat chassis - microprocessor-controlled, fully armored. Very tough. But outside, it's living human tissue - flesh, skin, hair, blood, grown for the cyborgs...The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy. But these are new, they look human. Sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot...

Then he famously and harshly warned her:

Cyborgs don't feel pain, I do. Don't do that again. (Sarah: "Just let me go!") Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead!

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)
Screenwriter(s): Peter Hyams

"A World of Two Suns"

Play clip (excerpt): 2010

In the film's finale, project director Dr. Heywood R. Floyd (Roy Scheider) delivered a final transcendent speech and transmission (a letter) to his son Christopher (Taliesin Jaffe) while returning to Earth from Jupiter, about the miraculous appearance of a second star in the sky (the remains of Jupiter) and his realized dream of restoring long-lasting interplanetary friendship and peace between the Soviets and the US:

My dear Christopher: This is the last time I'll be able to speak to you for a long while. I'm trying to put into words what has happened. Maybe that's for historians to do sometime later. They will record that the next day, the President of the United States looked out of the White House window and the Premier of the Soviet Union looked out of the Kremlin window, and saw the new distant sun in the sky. They read the message, and perhaps they learned something because they finally recalled their ships and their planes. I am going to sleep now. I will dream of you and your mother. I will sleep knowing that you are both safe, that the fear is over. We have seen the process of life take place. Maybe this is the way it happened on Earth millions of years ago. Maybe it's something completely different.

I still don't know really what the monolith is. I think it's many things. An embassy for an intelligence beyond ours. A shape of some kind for something that has no shape. Your children will be born in a world of two suns. They will never know a sky without them. You can tell them that you remember when there was a pitch black sky with no bright star, and people feared the night. You can tell them when we were alone, when we couldn't point to the light and say to ourselves - 'There is life out there.' Someday, the children of the new sun will meet the children of the old. I think they will be our friends. You can tell your children of the day when everyone looked up and realized that we were only tenants of this world. We have been given a new lease and a warning from the landlord.

The Existence of a New Star ("A World With Two Suns")

The Monolith in the Jungle of a Transformed Europa

The Color Purple (1985)
Screenwriter(s): Menno Meyjes

Exchanging Strength

In a cornfield, high-spirited and raging Sofia (Oprah Winfrey), married to Harpo Johnson (Willard E. Pugh), confronted poor African-American Celie Harris Johnson (Whoopi Goldberg) (who was married to abusive black widower named Albert Johnson, aka "Mister" (Danny Glover), father of Harpo) about her advice to have Harpo beat her up. She refused to tolerate the threatened abuse:

You told Harpo to beat me!..All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. Girl child ain't safe in a family of mens. But I ain't never thought I had to fight in my own house! I loves Harpo. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead 'fore I let him beat me...Now you want a dead son-in-law, Miss Celie? You keep on advisin' him like you're doin'...Girl, you oughta bash Mister's head open and think about heaven later!

During a family dinner years later, prematurely gray-haired and almost catatonic Sofia revived when she tearfully recalled being jailed for making a rude remark ("Hell no!) to the mayor's wife, and for punching the mayor himself. She was often beaten while incarcerated, and disfigured, and thanked Miss Celie for giving her hope:

Sat in that jail, I sat in that jail 'til I near about done rot to death. I know what it like, Miss Celie, to wanna go somewhere and can't. I know what it like to wanna sing and have it beat out 'ya. I want to thank you, Miss Celie, for everything you done for me. I 'members that day I was in the store with Miss Millie - I's feelin' real down. I's feelin' mighty bad. And when I seed you - I know'd there is a God. I know'd there is a God. And one day, I was gonna get to come home.

The Goonies (1985)
Screenwriter(s): Chris Columbus

True Childhood Confession

The confession by fat kid Lawrence 'Chunk' Cohen (Jeff Cohen) when interrogated by the Fratellis and he spilled his guts:

Everything. OK! I'll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max's toupee and I glued it on my face when I played Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog... When my Mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then they served lunch, I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out. But the worst thing I ever done - I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa - and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And t-t-then, this was horrible, all the people started gettin' sick and throwin' up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.

James Joyce's Women (1985, Ire.)
Screenwriter: James Joyce

Masturbatory Reverie and Soliloquy

Director Michael Pearce's R-rated film was advertised as an intimate, passionately-told "erotic masterpiece" - it was the controversial film version of the acclaimed 1977 play which classical Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan herself wrote and produced.

In the lead role in this one-woman production, Flanagan portrayed all six female roles of the 'women' in James Joyce's (Chris O'Neill) real and imaginary worlds - including three key women in his life, and three women from his novels.

The most memorable character was Molly Bloom, a character in Ulysses (with her lengthy, stream-of-consciousness, masturbatory monologue-reverie or soliloquy filmed in real-time, taken from Ulysses), as she fondled her breasts and then intimately touched herself as she laid back on her bed. She mused about the beauty and sex characteristics of both men and women, and the act of love-making.

The scene was notable for female frontal nudity and masturbation in full view of the camera, as Molly fondled her own breasts and intimately touched herself until she experienced an orgasm - as she spoke the final words: "And yes, I said, yes I will, Yes":

"...Yes, I think he made them a bit firmer sucking them like that so long he made me thirsty. Titties he calls them. I had to laugh, yes this one anyhow. Stiff the nipple gets for the least thing. I'll get him to keep that up and I'll take those eggs beaten up with marsala, fatten them out for him. What are all those veins and things? Curious the way it's made. Two the same in case of twins, they're supposed to represent beauty placed up there like those statues in the museum, one of them pretending to hide it with her hand. Are they so beautiful? Of course compared with what a man looks like with his two bags full and his other thing hangin' down out of him or stickin' up at you like a hatrack. No wonder they hide it with a cabbage leaf..."

"...that disgusting Cameron Highlander behind the meat market or that other wretch with the red head behind the tree where the statue of the fish used to be. When I was passin', (he was) pretendin' he was pissin', standin' out for me to see it, like some kind of a thick crowbar. He must have eaten oysters. They're always tryin' to show it to you. Every time nearly I passed outside the men's greenhouse near the station just to try. Some fellow or other tryin' to catch my eye as if it was one of the seven wonders of the world..."

"...there's the mark of his teeth still where he tried to bite the nipple. I had to scream out - aren't they fearful tryin' to hurt you? I had a great breast of milk with Milly - enough for two. What was the reason of that? He said I could have got a pound a week as a wet nurse all swelled out... Hurt me they used to weaning her I had to get him to suck them they were so hard. He said, it was sweeter and thicker than cows. Then he wanted to milk me into the tea. Well, he's beyond everything..."

"Yes, and it's so much smoother, the skin, much an hour he was at them I'm sure by the clock, like some kind of a big infant I had at me. They want everything in their mouth. All the pleasure those men get out of a woman. Oh, I can feel his mouth. I gave my eyes that look with my hair a bit loose from the tumblin' and my tongue between my lips up to him - the savage brute! Thursday, Friday one, Saturday two, Sunday three, O Lord, I can't wait till Monday. I wished he was here or somebody to let myself go with, and come again like that. I feel all fire inside me. He made me spend the second time, ticklin' me behind with his finger. I was coming for about five minutes with my legs round him. O Lord, I wanted to shout out all sorts of things: f--k and s--t."

"...That awful deep down torrent. O and the sea, the sea crimson sometimes, like fire and the glorious sunsets and the fig trees in the Alameda gardens. Yes, and all the queer little streets and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rose gardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses. And Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain, yes. When I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used, or shall I wear a red, yes. And how he kissed me under the Moorish wall. And I thought well, as well him as another. And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again, yes, and then he asked me. Would I, yes, to say yes, my mountain flower. And first I put my arms around him, yes, and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts, all perfume, yes. And his heart was goin' like mad. And yes, I said, yes I will, Yes."

Out of Africa (1985)
Screenwriter(s): Kurt Luedtke

"I Had a Farm in Africa..."

Play clip (excerpt): Out of Africa

The sweeping epic opened with a flashback monologue (voice-over) of older Danish Baroness and author/writer Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), as she slept and then awoke to write - she reflected back on her love of Africa and game hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford):

He even took the Gramophone on safari. Three rifles, supplies for a month and Mozart. He began our friendship with a gift. And later, not long before Tsavo, he gave me another. An incredible gift. A glimpse of the world through God's eye. And I thought: 'Yes, I see. This is the way it was intended.' I've written about all the others, not because I loved them less, but because they were clearer, easier. He was waiting for me there. But I've gone ahead of my story. He'd have hated that. Denys loved to hear a story told well.

You see, I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. But it began before that. It really began in Denmark. (gunshots) And there I knew two brothers. One was my lover, and one was my friend.

Out of Africa (1985)
Screenwriter(s): Kurt Luedtke

A Memorial to Her Lover

Play clip (excerpt): Out of Africa

After her free-spirited lover Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) died in a plane crash at Tsavo in Africa, Baroness Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) attended the outdoor burial/funeral in the Ngong Hills, and delivered a memorial reading from A.E. Houseman's "To An Athlete Dying Young":

The time you won your town the race, we cheered you through the market-place. Man and boy stood cheering by, as home we brought you shoulder-high.
Smart lad to slip betimes away, from fields where glory does not stay, early though the laurel grows, it withers quicker than a rose.
Now you will not swell the rout of lads that wore their honors out, runners whom renown outran, and the name died 'fore the man.
And round that early-laurelled head will flock to gaze the strengthless dead, and find unwithered on its curls, a garland briefer than a girl's.

Now take back the soul of Denys George Finch Hatton, whom you have shared with us. He brought us joy, and we loved him well. He was not ours. He was not mine.

The film concluded with another poetic voice-over recollection, beginning as she walked away from the grave, after resisting the European custom of throwing a handful dirt onto the coffin, and as she prepared to leave Africa for good:

If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on? Or will the children invent a game in which my name is? Or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me? Or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?

Back in Denmark, she read a letter (in voice-over), telling her:

"The Masai have reported to the district commissioner at Ngong that many times, at sunrise and sunset, they have seen lions on Finch Hatton's grave. A lion and a lioness have come there and stood or lain on the grave for a long time. After you went away, the ground around the grave was leveled out into a sort of terrace. I suppose that the level place makes a good site for the lions. From there, they have a view over the plain and the cattle and game on it."

Denys will like that. I must remember to tell him.

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
(chronological, by film title)
1920-1931 | 1932-1935 | 1936-1937 | 1938-1939 | 1939
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