Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

Quiz Show (1994)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Attanasio

"I Was Involved, Deeply Involved, in a Deception"

Play clip (excerpt): Quiz Show

Patrician TV quiz show ("Twenty-One") contestant Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a Columbia University instructor, as he testified on the scandal before a House committee, and finally told the truth about his role in the conspiracy:

I would give almost anything I have to reverse the course of my life in the last year. The past doesn't change for anyone. But at least I can learn from the past. I've learned a lot about life. I've learned a lot about myself and about the responsibilities any man has to his fellow man. I've learned a lot about good and evil - they're not always what they appear to be. I was involved, deeply involved, in a deception. I have deceived my friends, and I have millions of them. I lied to the American people. I lied about what I knew and then I lied about what I did not know. In a sense, I was like a child who refuses to admit a fact in the hope that it will go away. Of course, it did not go away. I was scared, scared to death. I had no solid position, no basis to stand on for my self. There was one way out and that was simply to tell the truth. It may sound trite to you, but I've found myself again after a number of years. I've been acting a role, maybe all my life, of thinking that I've done more, accomplished more, produced more than I have. I have had all the breaks. I have stood on the shoulders of life, and I've never gotten down into the dirt to build, to erect a foundation of my own. I have flown too high on borrowed wings. Everything came too easy. That is why I am here today.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Screenwriter(s): Frank Darabont

Suicide Letter: "Not for an Old Crook Like Me"

Elderly released Shawshank prisoner Brooks (James Whitmore) wrote a despairing letter, read in voice-over, to his ex-fellow inmates about life outside of prison:

Dear Fellas. I can't believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid, but now they're everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry. The parole board got me into this halfway house called the Brewer, and a job bagging groceries at the Food-Way. It's hard work. I try to keep up, but my hands hurt most of the time. I don't think the store manager likes me very much. Sometimes after work I go to the park and feed the birds. I keep thinking Jake might just show up and say hello. But he never does. I hope wherever he is, he's doing okay and making new friends.

I have trouble sleeping at night. I have bad dreams, like I'm falling. I wake up scared. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am. Maybe I should get me a gun and rob the Food-Way, so they'd send me home. I could shoot the manager while I was at it, sort of like a bonus. I guess I'm too old for that sort of nonsense anymore. I don't like it here. I'm tired of being afraid all the time. I've decided not to stay. I doubt they'll kick up any fuss. Not for an old crook like me.

He packed his few belongings into a bag and said that he planned on leaving. He climbed up onto a chair and then onto a table and carved a message into the wall with his pocketknife: "BROOKS WAS HERE." He kicked out the table from under his weight and hanged himself - his feet dangling. The entire montage was revealed to be the contents of Brooks' 'Dear Fellas' note that was read outloud by prisoner Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) in the prison yard following his death.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Screenwriter(s): Frank Darabont


During the third, final parole board meeting, Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman) was again wearily asked his thoughts on rehabilitation (rejoining society), after serving 40 years of a life sentence:

Rehabilitated? Well, now, let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means...I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it's just a made-up word. A politician's word, so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?...

There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then, a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are, but I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bulls--t word. So you go on and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a s--t.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Screenwriter(s): Frank Darabont

"I Hope"

Play clip 1 (excerpt): The Shawshank Redemption
Play clip 2 (excerpt): The Shawshank Redemption
Play clip (excerpt): The Shawshank Redemption (complete)

Red (Morgan Freeman) gave an expectant "Get busy livin'" closing voice-over monologue after being paroled and invited to come to Mexico by fellow escaped convict Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins). Rather than take Brooks' way out (by suicide), he broke parole and took a bus to a Texas border town to cross over the border:

Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'. That's god-damn right. For the second time in my life, I am guilty of committing a crime. Parole violation. Of course, I doubt they'll toss up any roadblocks for that. Not for an old crook like me...

I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

The camera skimmed across the blue Pacific and then dissolved to a wide shot of a bright, warm, sunlit beach, where Red walked bare-footed on the sand toward an old wreck of a boat. With simple hand tools (a hammer rested on the boat!), Andy was patiently and meticulously sanding the old paint from the boat's ancient surface. He slowly turned and saw his friend approaching - and jumped off to greet him. The camera pulled back, revealing the wide, distant horizon of the blue Pacific with no end in sight.

Sleep With Me (1994)
Screenwriter(s): Duane Dell'Amico, Roger Hedden, Neal Jimenez, Joe Keenan, Rory Kelly, Michael Steinberg

Script Analysis of Top Gun

Sid's (Quentin Tarantino) notorious monologue in a conversation with Duane (Todd Field) in which he analyzed and deconstructed Top Gun (1986) as having a homosexual subtextual meaning:

You want subversion on a massive level. You know what one of the greatest f--kin' scripts ever written in the history of Hollywood is?...Top Gun. Top Gun is f--kin' great. What is Top Gun? You think it's a story about a bunch of fighter pilots... It is a story about a man's struggle with his own homosexuality. It is! That is what Top Gun is about, man... They are this gay fighting f--king force. All right, and they're beating the Russians...And it's over, and they f--kin' land, and Iceman's been tryin' to get Maverick the entire time, and finally, he's got him, all right? And what is the last f--king line that they have together? They're all hugging and kissing and happy with each other, and Ice comes up to Maverick, and he says: 'Man, you can ride my tail, anytime!' And what does Maverick say? Remember? 'You can ride mine!' Swordfight! Swordfight! (gesturing a masturbation duel) F--kin' A, man!

Street Fighter (1994)
Screenwriter(s): Steven E. de Souza

"I'm Not Going Home!"

After valiantly fighting against the tyranny of middle-eastern warlord and dictator General M Bison (Raul Julia), Allied Nations Forces Colonel William F. Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme) defied orders when he spoke solemnly to his A.N. troopers. He challenged them to continue to pursue and ass-kick Bison, and assemble a group of mercenaries and fighters to aid his cause:

Troopers, I just received new orders. Our superiors say the war is cancelled. We can all go home. Bison is getting paid off for his crimes, and our friends who have died here will have died for nothing. But, we can all go home. Meanwhile, ideals like peace, freedom, and justice, they get packed up. But, we can all go home. (with anger) Well, I'm not going home. I'm gonna get on my boat, and I'm going up river, and I'm going to kick that son of a bitch Bison's ass so hard that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it! Now, who wants to go home - and who wants to go with me?

Swimming with Sharks (1994)
Screenwriter(s): George Huang

"That's the Trouble With Your F--kin' MTV, Microwave-Dinner Generation"

Play clip (excerpt): Swimming With Sharks

Influential, abrasive and tyrannical movie mogul and film producer Buddy Ackerman (Kevin Spacey) verbally abused his newly-hired, naive and gullible young assistant/writer Guy (Frank Whaley), a recent college graduate, even remaining belligerent when he was bound, beaten, and taken hostage, as Guy sought "payback time."

Buddy revealed how he had also made it to the top by putting up with tyrants, and suffering the senseless rape and death of his wife, and then goaded Guy into shooting him. (Spoiler: In the twist ending, Guy killed not Buddy - but Dawn Lockard (Michelle Forbes) (who was blamed for kidnapping and torturing Buddy), and Guy was subsequently promoted):

You think you know it all, don't you? You're 25 years old. You're a baby. You don't know s--t....Look, I can appreciate this. I was young too, I felt just like you. Hated authority, hated all my bosses, thought they were full of s--t. Look, it's like they say, 'If you're not a rebel by the age of 20, you got no heart, but if you haven't turned establishment by 30, you've got no brains.' Because there are no story-book romances, no fairy-tale endings. So before you run out and change the world, ask yourself, 'What do you really want?'...

You were getting complacent, ungrateful, complete and total job burnout, and don't think I didn't notice. You just didn't give a s--t anymore. Draggin' your feet everywhere, telling everybody you were doing my job. That you were running the show. That without you, I was nothing. Yeah, people tell me things. So don't come preaching to me about your ideas of what's fair. You're no martyr here. You're no hero. You're just a f--kin' hypocrite. You're just like any other punk kid out there, lookin' for a way in, any way in, and you need me...

Because I earned it. What, you think someone just handed me this job? I've handled the phones. I've juggled the bimbos. I've-I've put up with the tyrants, the yellers, the screamers. I've done more than you can even imagine in that small mind of yours. I paid my dues...and I spent ten. Dammit - it's my turn to be selfish! It's my turn. See, that's the trouble with your f--kin' MTV, microwave-dinner generation. You all want it now. You think you deserve it just because you want it? It doesn't work like that. You have to earn it. You have to take it. You have to make it yours. But first, Guy, you need to decide what it is you really want...

What life? What life? I gave you life. Before me, you were nothing. Before me, you were an inkspot, and now you're playing in the majors. I made you. You will always be Guy from Buddy Ackerman's office. You wanna go back to your s--tty little existence? Go ahead, leave. There's the door. No one's stoppin' you. You could have left any day, but you stayed. So let's forget the Dudley-damn-do-right-crap. Because out here, it's kill your parents, f--k your friends, and have a nice day!...

Look, I don't make the rules. I play by them. What, your job is unfair to you? Grow up, way it goes. People use you? Life's unfair? Grow up, way it goes. Your girlfriend doesn't love you? Tough s--t, way it goes. Your wife gets raped and shot, and they leave their unfinished beers...(weeping) their, their stinking long-necks just lying there on the ground? So be it. Way it goes. So now you want to tell me what you really want, what this is really all about. What happened to you this evening...

So we're left with just one thing, the only thing I know that drives men to hurt, to want. This is about a girl, isn't it, Guy? This is about Dawn. All this over a chick, you fool? ...All right, Guy, come on, let's finish this. Give it to me. Show me what you're made of. Show me what you've learned. Don't let me down, son. Everything I've taught you comes down to this. This is the only way that you can hope to survive. Because life is not a movie. Everyone lies. Good guys lose. And love does not conquer all. So let's do this thing. Let's finish it...Do it! Come on, do it now! (gunshot)

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
(chronological, by film title)
1920-1931 | 1932-1935 | 1936-1937 | 1938-1939 | 1939
1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943-1944 | 1945-1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952-1954
1955 | 1956-1957 | 1958-1959 | 1960 | 1961-1962 | 1963-1964 | 1965-1967 | 1968-1969
1970 | 1971 | 1972-1973 | 1974-1975 | 1976 | 1976-1977 | 1978-1979 | 1979 | 1980
1981 | 1982 | 1982-1983 | 1984 | 1984-1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1989
1990 | 1990 | 1991 | 1991 | 1992 | 1992 | 1993 | 1993 | 1994 | 1994 | 1995 | 1995
1996 | 1996 | 1997 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 1999 | 2000 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2004
2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009-2010
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