Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

JFK (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar

"Your Only Chance Is to Come Up With a Case"

During a secret rendezvous in Washington DC, "X" (Donald Sutherland) delivered a spellbinding, 15-minute long paranoic monologue about a massive conspiracy to murder the President. He described how he was deliberately detoured to the South Pole as a military escort during November 1963, when he should have been in Washington preparing additional security in Texas for President Kennedy's visit - one of his routine duties. "X" claimed if he had been there, "you would have felt an Army presence in the streets that day, but none of this happened."

He asserted there was a "massive plot in Dallas" performed by black ops to kill the President - "Nothing was left to chance. He could not be allowed to escape alive." His words about Kennedy's threat to the establishment and its desire to maintain war powers and to instigate the Vietnam War were intercut with photographs, footage, reconstructed behind closed doors meetings, etc. as he spoke. He considered Kennedy's killing a "coup d'etat."

"X" encouraged New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) to continue to pursue his investigation into Kennedy's assassination:

(Garrison: "I never realized Kennedy was so dangerous to the Establishment. Is that why?")
Well, that's the real question, isn't it? Why? The 'How' and the 'Who' is just scenery for the public. Oswald, Ruby, Cuba, the Mafia, keeps 'em guessing like some kind of parlor game. Prevents 'em from asking the most important question: Why? Why was Kennedy killed? Who benefited? Who has the power to cover it up? Who?...

The organizing principle of any society, Mr. Garrison, is for war. The authority of the state over its people resides in its war powers. And Kennedy wanted to end the Cold War in his second term. He wanted to call off the moon race in favor of cooperation with the Soviets. He signed a treaty with the Soviets to ban nuclear testing. He refused to invade Cuba in 1962 and he set out to withdraw from Vietnam. But all of that ended on the 22nd of November, 1963. As early as 1961, they knew Kennedy was not going to war in Southeast Asia. Like Caesar, he is surrounded by enemies and something's underway, but it has no face. Yet everybody in the loop knows...

Everything is cellularized. No one has said, 'He must die.' There's been no vote. Nothing's on paper. There's no one to blame. It's as old as the crucifixion. A military firing squad: five bullets, one blank. No one's guilty, because everyone in the power structure who knows anything has a plausible deniability. There are no compromising connections except at the most secret point. But what's paramount is that it must succeed. No matter how many die, no matter how much it costs, the perpetrators must be on the winning side and never subject to prosecution for anything by anyone. That is a coup d'état....

(Garrison: "I don't, I can't - I can't believe they killed him because he wanted to change things. In our time. In our country.")
Well, they've been doing it all through history. Kings are killed, Mr. Garrison. Politics is power, nothing more! Oh, don't take my word for it, don't believe me. Do your own work, your own thinkin'....
(Garrison: "The size of this is beyond me. Testify...Testify.")
No chance in hell. No, I'd be arrested and gagged, maybe sent to an institution, maybe worse, you too. I can give you the background, but you have to find the foreground, the little things. Keep digging. Remember, you're the only person to bring a trial in the murder of John Kennedy. That's important, it's historic...
(Garrison: "I haven't yet. I don't have much of a case.")
You don't have a choice anymore. You've become a significant threat to the national security structure. They would have killed you already but you got a lot of light on you. Instead, they're trying to destroy your credibility. They already have in many circles in this town. Be honest. Your only chance is to come up with a case. Something. Anything. Make arrests. Stir the s--t storm. Hope to reach a point of critical mass that'll start a chain reaction of people coming forward. Then the government'll crack. Remember, fundamentally, people are suckers for the truth, and the truth is on your side, Bubba. I just hope you get a break.

JFK (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar

Dismissal of the Magic Bullet Theory - "There Had to Be A Conspiracy"

The scene of Garrison's address to the courtroom when he scornfully dismissed the "Magic Bullet Theory" after viewing the Zapruder film and doing a walk-through - with diagrams of the highly-unlikely zig-zag path of the bullet - and discussing the improbability of the Warren Commission's official report and their open and shut case of "three bullets, one assassin":

A picture speaks a thousand words, doesn't it? The Warren Commission thought they had an open-and-shut case. Three bullets, one assassin. But two unpredictable things happened that day that made it virtually impossible. One, the eight-millimeter home movie taken by Abraham Zapruder while standing near the grassy knoll. And two, the third wounded man, James Tague, who was knicked by a fragment while standing near the triple underpass. The time frame, 5.6 seconds, established by the Zapruder film, left no possibility of a fourth shot. So the shot or fragment that left a superficial wound on Tague's cheek had to come from one of the three bullets fired from the sixth floor of the Depository. That leaves just two bullets. And we know one of them was the fatal head shot that killed Kennedy. So now a single bullet remains. A single bullet now has to account for the remaining seven wounds in Kennedy and Connally.

But rather than admit to a conspiracy or investigate further, the Warren Commission chose to endorse the theory put forth by an ambitious junior counselor, Arlen Spector, one of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people. We've come to know it as the 'Magic Bullet Theory.' The magic bullet enters the President's back, headed downward at an angle of 17 degrees. It then moves upwards in order to leave Kennedy's body from the front of his neck -- wound number two -- where it waits 1.6 seconds, presumably in mid-air, where it turns right, then left, right, then left, and continues into Connally's body at the rear of his right armpit -- wound number three. The bullet then heads downward at an angle of 27 degrees, shattering Connally's fifth rib and exiting from the right side of his chest -- wound number four. The bullet then turns right and re-enters Connally's body at his right wrist -- wound number five. Shattering the radius bone, the bullet then exits Connally's wrist -- wound number six -- makes a dramatic U-turn and buries itself into Connally's left thigh -- wound number seven -- from which it later falls out and is found in almost 'pristine' condition on a stretcher in a corridor of Parkland Hospital. (He held up a bullet) That's some bullet. Anyone who's been in combat will tell you never in the history of gunfire has there been a bullet this ridiculous. Yet the government says it can prove it, with some fancy physics in a nuclear laboratory. Of course they can't. Theoretical physics can prove that an elephant can hang from a cliff with its tail tied to a daisy (laughter) but use your eyes -- your common sense. The Army Wound Ballistics experts at Edgewood Arsenal fired some comparison bullets and not one of them looked anything like this. Take a look at CE 856, an identical bullet fired through the wrist of a human cadaver. Just one of the bones smashed by the magic bullet. Seven wounds, gentlemen. Tough skin, dense bones.

This single bullet explanation is the foundation of the Warren Commission's claim of a lone assassin. And once you conclude the magic bullet could not create all seven of those wounds, you have to conclude that there was a fourth shot and a second rifleman. And if there was a second rifleman, then by definition, there had to be a conspiracy, which we believe involves the accused Clay Shaw. Fifty-one witnesses, gentlemen of the jury, thought they heard shots coming from the Grassy Knoll, which is to the right and front of the President...

JFK (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar

"It's Gonna Be A Turkey Shoot"

New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) speculated about what actually transpired, with dramatic shots recreating the day's events:

So, what really happened that day? Let's just for a moment speculate, shall we? We have the epileptic seizure around 12:15, p.m. distracting the police, making it easier for the shooters to move into their places. The epileptic later vanished, never checking into the hospital. The A-Team gets on the 6th floor of the Depository. Now they were refurbishing the floors in the Depository that week, which allowed unknown workmen in and out of the building. They move quickly into position just minutes before the shooting. The second spotter on the radio talking to the other two teams has the best overall view -- the 'God spot.' B-Team, one rifleman and one spotter with a head-set, with access to the building, moves into the low floor of the Dal-Tex Building. The third team, the C-Team moves in behind the picket fence above the Grassy Knoll, where the shooter and the spotter are first seen by the late Lee Bowers in the watchtower of the rail yard. They have the best position of all. Kennedy is close and on a flat low trajectory. Part of this team is a coordinator who's flashed security credentials at several people chasing them out of the parking lot area. Probably two to three more men are down in the crowd on Elm. Ten to twelve men - three teams, three shooters. The triangulation of fire that Clay Shaw and David Ferrie discussed two months before. They have walked the plaza. They know every inch. They have calibrated their sights. They have practiced on moving targets. They are ready.

Kennedy's motorcade makes a turn from Main onto Houston. It's gonna be a turkey shoot. They don't shoot him coming up Houston, which is the easiest shot for a single shooter in the Book Depository. They wait. They wait 'til he gets to the killing zone between three rifles. Kennedy makes the final turn from Houston onto Elm, slowing down to some 11 miles an hour. The shooters across Dealy Plaza tighten, taking their aim, waiting for the radio to say 'Green! Green!' or 'Abort! Abort!'. The first shot rings out, sounding like a backfire. It misses the car completely. Frame 161: Kennedy stops waving as he hears something. Connally's head turns slightly to the right. Frame 193: the second shot hits Kennedy in the throat from the front. Frame 225: the President emerging from behind the road sign. You can see that he's obviously been hit, raising his arms to his throat. The third shot, Frame 232, hits Kennedy in the back pulling him downward and forward. Connally, you will notice, shows no signs at all of being hit. He is visibly holding his Stetson, which is impossible if his wrist has been shattered. Connally is turning here now. Frame 238: the fourth shot. It misses Kennedy and takes Connally in the back. This is the shot that proves there were two rifles. Connally yells out: 'My God! They're going to kill us all.' Somewhere around this time now, another shot that misses the car completely, strikes James Tague down by the underpass. The car brakes. The sixth and fatal shot, Frame 313, takes Kennedy in the head from the front. This is the key shot. The President going back and to his left. Shot from the front and right. Totally inconsistent with the shot from the Depository. Again, back and to the left. Back and to the left. Back and to the left. Back and to the left. So what happens then? Pandemonium.

JFK (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar

Closing Summary Statement Against the Military-Industrial Complex and Clay Shaw - "Do Not Forget Your Dying King"

Garrison gave a tearful closing summary statement against the American military-industrial complex and alleged conspirator Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones):

...'Treason doth never prosper,' wrote an English poet, 'What's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.' The American public has yet to see the Zapruder film. Why? The American public has yet to see the real X-rays and photographs of the autopsy. Why? There are hundreds of documents that could help prove this conspiracy. Why are they being withheld or burned by the government? Each time my office or you the people have asked those questions, demanded crucial evidence, the answer from on high has always been 'national security.' What kind of national security do we have when we've been robbed of our leaders? What national security permits the removal of fundamental power from the hands of the American people and validates the ascendancy of an invisible government in the United States? That kind of national security, gentlemen of the jury, is when it smells like it, feels like it, and looks like it, you call it what it is: Fascism! I submit to you that what took place on November 22, 1963 was a coup d'etat. Its most direct and tragic result was a reversal of President Kennedy's commitment to withdraw from Vietnam. The war is the biggest business in America worth $80 billion a year. President Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy that was planned in advance at the highest levels of our government and it was carried out by fanatical and disciplined cold warriors in the Pentagon and CIA's covert-operation apparatus. Among them, Clay Shaw, here before you. It was a public execution and it was covered up by like-minded individuals in the Dallas Police Department, the Secret Service, the FBI, and the White House - all the way up to and including J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson, whom I consider accomplices after the fact.

The assassination reduced the President to a transient official. His job, his assignment is to speak as often as possible of this nation's desire for peace, while he acts as a business agent in the Congress for the military and their hardware manufacturers. Now some people say I'm crazy, (laughter) a southern caricature seeking higher office. Well, there is a simple way to determine if I am paranoid. Let's ask the two men who have profited the most from the assassination - your former President Lyndon Baines Johnson and your new President, Richard Nixon - to release the 51 CIA documents pertaining to Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, or the secret CIA memo on Oswald's activities in Russia that was 'destroyed' while being photocopied. All these documents are yours - the people's property - you pay for it, but because the government considers you children who might be too disturbed or distressed to face this reality, or because you might possibly lynch those involved, you cannot see these documents for another 75 years. I'm in my early 40's, so I'll have shuffled off this mortal coil by then, but I'm already telling my 8 year-old son to keep himself physically fit so that one glorious September morning in the year 2038, he can walk into the National Archives and find out what the CIA and the FBI knew. They may even push it back then. Hell it may become a generational affair, with questions passed down from father to son, mother to daughter. But someday, somewhere, someone may find out the damned Truth. We better. We better or we might just as well build ourselves another government like the Declaration of Independence says to when the old one ain't working - just - just a little farther out West.

An American naturalist wrote, 'A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government.' I'd hate to be in your shoes today. You have a lot to think about. You've seen much hidden evidence the American public has never seen. You know, going back to when we were children, I think that most of us in this courtroom thought that justice came into being automatically, that virtue was its own reward, that good would triumph over evil. But as we get older we know that this just isn't true. Individual human beings have to create justice and this is not easy, because the truth often poses a threat to power and one often has to fight power at great risk to themselves. People like S.M. Holland, Lee Bowers, Jean Hill, Willie O'Keefe. They've all taken that risk. They've all come forward. I have here some $8,000 in these letters sent to my office from all over the country - quarters, dimes, dollar bills from housewives, plumbers, car salesmen, teachers, invalids. These are people who cannot afford to send money but do. These are the ones who drive the cabs, who nurse in the hospitals, who see their kids go to Vietnam. Why? Because they care, because they want to know the truth, because they want their country back, because it still belongs to us, as long as the people have the guts to fight for what they believe in! The truth is the most important value we have because if the truth does not endure, if the government murders truth, if we cannot respect the hearts of these people, then this is not the country in which I was born and this is certainly not the country I want to die in.

Tennyson wrote, 'Authority forgets a dying king'. This was never more true than for John F. Kennedy, whose murder was probably one the most terrible moments in the history of our country. We, the people, the jury system sitting in judgment on Clay Shaw, represent the hope of humanity against government power. In discharging your duty, in bringing the first conviction in this house of cards against Clay Shaw, 'ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.' Do not forget your dying king. Show this world that this is still a government 'of the people, for the people, and by the people'. Nothing as long as you live will ever be more important.

Then he stared directly into the camera, the jury -- and at the movie audience -- and issued a challenge:

It's up to you.

Other People's Money (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Alvin Sargent

A Warning About Corporate Destruction

Play clip (excerpt): Other People's Money

Andrew Jorgensen's (Gregory Peck) scathing address to the stockholders of New England Wire & Cable Co. denounced corporate raider Lawrence (aka Larry the Liquidator) Garfield (Danny De Vito):

Well, it's good to see so many familiar faces, so many old friends. Some of ya I haven't seen in years. Well, thank you for coming. Now, Bill Coles, our able President, in the annual report, has told you of our year, of what we accomplished, of the need for further improvements, our business goals for next year and the years beyond. I'd like to talk to you about something else. I wanna share with you some of my thoughts concerning the vote that you're going to make in the company that you own. This proud company, which has survived the death of its founder, numerous recessions, one major depression, and two world wars, is in imminent danger of self-destructing - on this day, in the town of its birth. There is the instrument of our destruction. I want you to look at him in all of his glory, Larry 'The Liquidator,' the entrepreneur of post-industrial America, playing God with other people's money. The Robber Barons of old at least left something tangible in their wake - a coal mine, a railroad, banks. This man leaves nothing. He creates nothing. He builds nothing. He runs nothing. And in his wake lies nothing but a blizzard of paper to cover the pain. Oh, if he said, 'I know how to run your business better than you', that would be something worth talking about. But he's not saying that. He's saying, 'I'm gonna kill you because at this particular moment in time, you're worth more dead than alive.' Well, maybe that's true, but it is also true that one day, this industry will turn. One day when the yen is weaker, the dollar is stronger, or, when we finally begin to rebuild our roads, our bridges, the infrastructure of our country, demand will skyrocket. And when those things happen, we will still be here, stronger because of our ordeal, stronger because we have survived. And the price of our stock will make his offer pale by comparison. God save us if we vote to take his paltry few dollars and run. God save this country if that is truly the wave of the future. We will then have become a nation that makes nothing but hamburgers, creates nothing but lawyers, and sells nothing but tax shelters. And if we are at that point in this country, where we kill something because at the moment it's worth more dead than alive - well, take a look around. Look at your neighbor. Look at your neighbor. You won't kill him, will you? No. It's called murder and it's illegal. Well, this too is murder - on a mass scale. Only on Wall Street, they call it 'maximizing share-holder value' and they call it 'legal.' And they substitute dollar bills where a conscience should be. Damn it! A business is worth more than the price of its stock. It's the place where we earn our living, where we meet our friends, dream our dreams. It is, in every sense, the very fabric that binds our society together. So let us now, at this meeting, say to every Garfield in the land, 'Here, we build things. We don't destroy them. Here, we care about more than the price of our stock! Here, we care about people.'

Other People's Money (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Alvin Sargent

Defending Corporate Greed

Play clip (excerpt): Other People's Money

President and Chairman of the Board of Garfield Investments' Larry the Liquidator (Danny De Vito) responded to Andrew's attack:

Amen, and amen, and amen. You'll have to forgive me, I'm not familiar with the local custom. Where I come from, you always say 'Amen' after you hear a prayer. Because that's what you just heard - a prayer. Where I come from, that particular prayer is called 'The Prayer for the Dead.' You just heard The Prayer for the Dead, my fellow stockholders, and you didn't say, 'Amen.' This company is dead. I didn't kill it. Don't blame me. It was dead when I got here. It's too late for prayers. For even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred, and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the infrastructure did the other thing, we would still be dead! You know why? Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence. We're dead, alright. We're just not broke. And do you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow, but sure.

You know, at one time, there must've been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best god-damn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let's have the intelligence, let's have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future. 'Ah, but we can't,' goes the prayer. 'We can't because we have responsibility, a responsibility to our employees, to our community. What will happen to them?' I got two words for that - 'Who cares?' Care about them? Why? They didn't care about you. They sucked you dry. You have no responsibility to them. For the last ten years, this company bled your money. Did this community ever say, 'We know times are tough. We'll lower taxes, reduce water and sewer.' Check it out: You're paying twice what you did ten years ago. And our devoted employees, who have taken no increases for the past three years, are still making twice what they made ten years ago. And our stock - one-sixth of what it was ten years ago. 'Who cares?' I'll tell ya -- Me.

I'm not your best friend. I'm your only friend. I don't make anything. I'm makin' you money. And lest we forget, that's the only reason any of you became stockholders in the first place. You wanna make money! You don't care if they manufacture wire and cable, fried chicken, or grow tangerines! You wanna make money! I'm the only friend you've got. I'm makin' you money. Take the money. Invest it somewhere else. Maybe, maybe you'll get lucky and it'll be used productively. And if it is, you'll create new jobs and provide a service for the economy and, God forbid, even make a few bucks for yourselves. And if anybody asks, tell 'em ya gave at the plant. And by the way, it pleases me that I'm called 'Larry the Liquidator.' You know why, fellow stockholders? Because at my funeral, you'll leave with a smile on your face and a few bucks in your pocket. Now that's a funeral worth having!

Point Break (1991)
Screenwriter(s): W. Peter Iliff

An Obsession with Meatball Sandwiches - "Get Me Two!"

With his rookie partner Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), FBI agent Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) sat in a car at 10:30 am during a stakeout of the Assured Trust Savings & Loan across the street, while reading the comics section of the L.A. Life Weekly. After being distracted by an orange-selling vendor, Pappas had his partner leave the car to go purchase two meatball sandwiches at a nearby sandwich shop. During their discussion, they didn't see the criminals, named the Ex-Presidents, pull up to the bank:

Huaahahahaha! This Calvin and Hobbes is funny!... You want some oranges?... No. No. We got a lot. We got a lot. No thanks. Good luck....God. Huhuhahahaha! For his turkey cemetery! Ho! It's time for lunch...Right around that corner, there is a sandwich shop. They sell meatball sandwiches. Best I've ever tasted. Would you go get me two? C'mon partner. Two...Thank you...(He called out from his car window, with two outstretched fingers) Utah! Get me two!

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Screenwriter(s): Ted Tally

"You Look Like a Rube"

Play clip (excerpt): The Silence of the Lambs

Serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) made a mocking assessment of novie FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), after she gave him a questionnaire to answer:

You're so-o ambitious, aren't you? You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube, with a little taste. Good nutrition's given you some length of bone, but you're not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you've tried so desperately to shed - pure West Virginia. What does your father do? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys found you. All those tedious, sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars, while you could only dream of getting out. Getting anywhere, getting all the way to the F...B...I.

Then after Clarice retorted, he added his famous line of dialogue:

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chi-an-ti. You fly back to school now, little Starling. Fly, fly, fly. Fly, fly, fly.

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