Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

The Iron Giant (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Tim McCanlies, Brad Bird

The Dark Side of Progress - "I Don't Feel Safe"

At a soda fountain counter, paranoid federal government agent Kent Mansley (voice of Christopher McDonald) went into a delusional rant to young boy Hogarth Hughes (voice of Eli Marienthal) about destroying any foreign threat during the height of the Cold War:

You know, Hogarth, we live in a strange and wondrous time: the Atomic Age. But there's a dark side to progress, Hogarth. Ever hear of Sputnik?... Foreign satellite, Hogarth, and all that that implies. Even now it orbits overhead - Boop! Boop! Watching us. We can't see it, but it's there. Much like that giant thing in the woods. We don't know what it is or what it can do. I don't feel safe, Hogarth. Do you?... What am I talking about? WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT?! I'm talking about your goldarned security, Hogarth! While you're snoozing in your widdle jammies, back in Washington, we're wide awake and worried! Why? Because everyone wants what we have, Hogarth! Everyone! You think this metal man is fun, but who built it? The Russians? The Chinese? Martians? Canadians? I don't care! All I know is, we didn't build it, and that's reason enough to assume the worst and blow it to kingdom come! Now, you are going to tell me about this thing. You are going to lead me to it. And we are going to destroy it before it destroys us!

Magnolia (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Thomas Anderson

"This Was Only A Matter of Chance" - "These Strange Things Happen All the Time"

Play clip (excerpt): Magnolia

The film's opening voice-over narration by Burt Ramsey (voice of Ricky Jay) was preoccupied with the "matter of chance." Three vagrants were hanged for a murder - their last names (Green, Berry and Hill) were the same as the area of London (Greenberry Hill, England) where their crimes were committed.

There were three other deaths and the question is: Did these three cases just happen randomly by chance, or was it something less coincidental? In his "humble opinion," the narrator stated that these things did not happen by chance:

  • a scuba diver (Delmer Darion, also a Reno blackjack dealer) wearing his gear was found dead (of a heart attack) at the top of a tall pine tree in the middle of a forest fire, after being scooped out of a lake by a firefighting airplane (piloted by volunteer firefighter named Craig Hansen) and deposited atop the tree
  • the suicide of pilot/firefighter Craig Hansen, presumably from guilt about his role in the death of scuba-diver Darion
  • and an attempted suicide of 17 year-old Sydney Barringer became a murder as the victim fell past the apartment window where his mother (arguing with his father) fired a shotgun out the window and accidentally killed him as he fell.

In the New York Herald, November 26, year 1911, there is an account of the hanging of three men. They died for the murder of Sir Edmund William Godfrey - Husband, Father, Pharmacist and all around gentleman resident of Greenberry Hill, London. He was murdered by three vagrants whose motive was simple robbery. They were identified as: Joseph Green, Stanley Berry, and Daniel Hill. Green, Berry, Hill. And I Would Like To Think This was Only A Matter Of Chance.

As reported in the Reno Gazette, June of 1983, there is the story of a fire, the water that it took to contain the fire, and a scuba diver named Delmer Darion. Employee of the Nugget Hotel and Casino, Reno, Nevada. Engaged as a blackjack dealer. Well-liked and well-regarded as a physical, recreational and sporting sort, Delmer's true passion was for the lake. As reported by the coroner, Delmer died of a heart attack somewhere between the lake and the tree. A most curious side note is the suicide the next day of Craig Hansen. Volunteer firefighter, estranged father of four and a poor tendency to drink. Mr. Hansen was the pilot of the plane that quite accidentally lifted Delmer Darion out of the water. Added to this, Mr. Hansen's tortured life met before with Delmer Darion just two nights previous. The weight of the guilt and the measure of coincidence so large, Craig Hansen took his life. And I Am Trying To Think This Was All Only A Matter Of Chance.

The tale told at a 1961 awards dinner for the American Association of Forensic Science by Dr. Donald Harper, president of the association, began with a simple suicide attempt. Seventeen-year-old Sydney Barringer in the city of Los Angeles on March 23, 1958. The coroner ruled that the unsuccessful suicide had suddenly become a successful homicide. To explain: the suicide was confirmed by a note in the right hip pocket of Sydney Barringer. At the same time, young Sydney stood on the ledge of this nine-story building, an argument swelled three stories below. The neighbors heard, as they usually did, the arguing of the tenants and it was not uncommon for them to threaten each other with a shotgun, or one of the many handguns kept in the house. And when the shotgun accidentally went off, Sydney just happened to pass. Added to this, the two tenants turned out to be: Faye and Arthur Barringer. Sydney's mother and Sydney's father. When confronted with the charge, which took some figuring out for the officers on the scene of the crime, Faye Barringer swore that she did not know the gun was loaded.

A young boy who lived in the building, sometimes a visitor and friend to Sydney Barringer, said that he had seen, six days prior, the loading of the shotgun. It seems that all the arguing and the fighting and all of the violence was far too much for Sydney Barringer, and knowing his mother and father's tendency to fight, he decided to do something. Sydney Barringer jumps from the ninth floor rooftop. His parents argue three stories below. Her accidental shotgun blast hits Sydney in the stomach as he passes the arguing sixth-floor window. He is killed instantly but continues to fall, only to find, five stories below, a safety net installed three days prior for a set of window washers that would have broken his fall and saved his life if not for the hole in his stomach. So Faye Barringer was charged with the murder of her son, and Sydney Barringer noted as an accomplice in his own death.

And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that this is not just 'Something That Happened.' This cannot be 'One of Those Things... ' This, please, cannot be that. And for what I would like to say, I can't. This Was Not Just A Matter Of Chance. Ohhhh. These strange things happen all the time.

Magnolia (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Thomas Anderson

Seduce and Destroy

Self-help guru, author and 'seduction specialist' Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise) mesmerized a crowded room of single men in a San Fernando Valley hotel attending a motivational course on how to "tame" (mistreat) and pick up women. The motivational huckster stood in front of a "SEDUCE AND DESTROY" poster ("No Pussy Has Nine Lives"), and his opening speech was introduced by the playing of Thus Spake Zaruthustra:

Respect the cock! And tame the cunt! Tame it! Take it on headfirst with the skills that I will teach you at work and say no!...You will not control me! No!...You will not take my soul! No!...You will not win this game! 'Cause it is a game, guys. You want to think it's not, huh? You want to think it's not? You go back to the schoolyard and you have that crush on big-titted Mary Jane. Respect the cock. You are embedding this thought. I am the one who's in charge. I am the one who says Yes!...No!...Now!...Here!... And it's universal, man. It is evolutional. It is anthropological. It is biological. It is animal.! (simulating sexual thrusting)

...Let me tell you what we're gonna teach Denise when we put our calendars to work and we set goals. What I say is, 'Denise...' 'Denise the Piece.' I mark it down. I write it up. And you have been warned. Because I have my lasers. I have my Tasers, I have my ICBMs. I have my bazookas, I have my jets pointed right at you. Because me and my brothers, we like to celebrate. And on the first of May, we celebrate V-Day. And come June, oh-ho baby, it is the lick of my spoon. Come August, we like to celebrate Saint Suck My Big Fat F--king Sausage! I set goals for myself and when I say I do not want to take it anymore. I will not take it anymore. Do you think she's your friend, Geoff? You come here and you think she's your friend. They're not your friends. Do you really think that she's gonna be there when things go bad? Huh, guys? When things go wrong, do you think they're gonna be there for us? Oh-ho. You think again. Oh, f--king Denise, Denise the piece. You're gonna give me that cherry pie, sweet mama baby.

Magnolia (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Thomas Anderson

Confessional of Love

Guilt-ridden trophy wife Linda Partridge (Julianne Moore) gave a speech about the love she had for her near-death husband Earl (Jason Robards) in a confessional to lawyer Alan Kligman (Michael Murphy). She sobbed that she originally married her husband (his second marriage) for his money but now had truly fallen in love with him, and to keep her integrity, wanted to change the will at the last moment, but Kligman could do nothing:

I have to tell you something, I have something to tell you. I want to change his will. Can I change his will? I need to....No, no, no, you see, uhm, I never loved him. I never loved him. Earl. When I met him, when I started, I met him, I f--ked him, and I married him because I wanted his money. Do you understand? I'm telling you this. I've never told anyone, I didn't love him, but now, you know, I know I'm in that will. I mean, we're all there together. We made that f--king thing and all the money I'll get. And I don't want it, because I love him so much now. I've fallen in love with him now for real as he's dying. And, uhm, I look at him, and he's about to go, Alan. He's moments. I took care of him through this, Alan. What now, then? I don't want him to die.

I didn't love him when we met, and I did so many bad things to him that he doesn't know. Things that I want to confess to him, but now I do. I love him....This isn't any f--king medication talking! This isn't -- I don't know, I don't know. Can you give me nothing? You, you have power of attorney! Can you go, can you go in the final f--king moments and change the will? I-I don't want any money. I couldn't live with myself with this thing that I've done. I've done so many bad things. I f--ked around. I f--king cheated on him. I f--king cheated on him, Alan! There. There. You're his lawyer, our lawyer. I am his wife. We are married. I broke the contract of marriage. I f--ked around on him many times. I s--ked other men's cocks...

Magnolia (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Thomas Anderson

"Don't Go Away, You F--king Asshole!"

Estranged son Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise) watched as his father Earl (Jason Robards) died of cancer. He was extremely bitter for a ruined life - when he was a child, his father had abandoned him and his mother, and Frank had to nurse her through death by cancer.

He let loose a venal stream of hatred against Earl, while at the same time begged him not to die:

Earl. You don't look that bad. You prick. 'Cocksucker.' That's what you used to like to say, right? 'Cocksucker.' But you are a cocksucker, Earl. It hurts, doesn't it? Huh? You in a lot of pain? She was in a lot of pain. Right to the end, she was in a lot of pain. I know because I, I was there, Earl. You didn't like illness, though, do you? I was there. She waited for your call. For you to come. I am not gonna cry. I am not gonna cry for you! You cocksucker, I know you can hear me. I want you to know that I hate your f--king guts. You can just f--king die, you f--k. And I hope it hurts, I f--king hope it hurts. Why didn't you call? (sobbing) I f--king hate you. Goddamn you, you f--king asshole. Oh, God, you f--king asshole! Don't go away, you f--king asshole! Don't go away, you f--king asshole! Oh, God, don't go away, you f--king asshole!

Magnolia (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Paul Thomas Anderson

"I'm Sick, And I'm In Love"

"Quiz Kid" Donnie Smith (William H. Macy), winner of TV's game show What Do Kids Know? when a child in the 1960s, and now a drunk, was speaking to mocking barfly Thurston Howell (Henry Gibson). Donnie asked Howell, "Do you have love in your heart?", and then declared in a touching moment that he had "lots of love to give" and was worth loving. He revealed his "special secret crush" for braces-wearing Brad the Bartender (Craig Kvinsland):

(To Thurston Howell) I'm sick. I'm sick here now. I confuse melancholy with depression sometimes. You see?....I'm sick....I'm sick, and I'm in love....That's right! That's the first time you've been right. I confuse the two, and I don't care!
(To Brad the bartender) Hey, Hey, I love you. I love you, and I'm-I'm sick. I'll talk to you - I'll talk to you tomorrow. I'm getting corrective oral surgery tomorrow, for my teeth. I love you, Brad. Brad the bartender. You want to love me back? I'll be good to you. I'll be goddamn good for you. I won't be mad if you don't know who said what. I won't punish you if you get the answer wrong. I can teach and tell you...

(To Howell) You shut up. Mind your own business. (To Brad) Brad, I know you don't love me now...You wanna know the common element for the entire group like he asked? I'll tell you the answer: I'll tell you 'cause I had that one. (pointing to the TV) I had that question. Carbon. Carbon. In pencil lead, it's in the form of graphite. In coal, it's mixed up with other impurities and in the diamond, it's in hard form. (in the guise of Jimmy Gator, the TV quiz show announcer) 'Well, all we really wanted to know was the common element, Donnie, but thank you for all that unnecessary knowledge. Ha, ha, kids! Heads so full of useless knowledge. Thank you. Thank you.' And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us!' (To Howell) And no, it is not dangerous to confuse children with angels!

The Matrix (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

The Matrix - "You Have To See it For Yourself"

Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), underground hacker and captain of the hovercraft Nebuchadnezzar, began to teach computer programmer Thomas Anderson/Neo (Keanu Reeves) about the truth of reality:

I imagine that right now you're feeling a bit like Alice. Tumbling down the rabbit hole? Hmm? ...I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he's expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?...Why not?...

Neo answered: "Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life."

Morpheus replied, and then described the Matrix, an illusory simulated version of the real world developed by machines to enslave and imprison humankind:

I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain. But you feel it. You felt it your entire life: that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there. Like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?...

Do you want to know what it [The Matrix] is? The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. (Neo asked: "What truth?") That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.

Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. (He held out a blue and red pill in each palm) You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Remember, all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more. (Neo chose the red pill and swallowed it) Follow me.

The Matrix (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Human Beings Are A Virus - "You Are a Plague and We Are the Cure"

Sinister and sentient Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), having imprisoned Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and with his captive audience declared that human beings were a virus:

I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. And the only way you can survive is to spread to another area.

There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease. A cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we are the cure.

Slightly later, he removed his sunglasses and continued to show his disgust for Morpheus and the entire human race, while trying to extract the access codes to the mainframe of Zion - the unplugged humans' subterranean refuge in the real world:

Can you hear me, Morpheus? I'm going to be honest with you. I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it. I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell. If there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink. And every time I do, I fear that I have somehow been infected by it. (He wiped sweat from Morpheus' forehead onto the tips of his fingers, and had Morpheus smell it) It's repulsive. Isn't it? (He tightly held Morpheus' head between his hands) I must get out of here. I must get free. And in this mind is the key. My key. Once Zion is destroyed, there is no need for me to be here. Do you understand? I need the codes. I have to get inside Zion and you have to tell me how. You're going to tell me or you're going to die. (He gouged his fingers into Morpheus' flesh)

Notting Hill (1999)
Screenwriter(s): Richard Curtis

The Requirements of Being an American Movie Star

Play clip (excerpt): Notting Hill

When asked why she deserved the last brownie at dinner, Hollywood star actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) argued that she was the most pathetic of all of them:

I've been on a diet every day since I was nineteen, which basically means I've been hungry for a decade. I've had a series of not nice boyfriends, one of whom hit me. Uh, and every time I get my heart broken, the newspapers splash it about as though it's entertainment. And it's taken two rather painful operations to get me lookin' like this...Really. And, one day not long from now, my looks will go, they will discover I can't act and I will become some sad middle-aged woman who looks a bit like someone who was famous for a while.

The assembled family around the table then refused her attempt, joking: "Nice try, gorgeous, but you don't fool anyone," and "pathetic effort to hog the brownie."

The Straight Story (1999)
Screenwriter(s): John Roach, Mary Sweeney

Lamenting a Deer Killing

During his cross-country mower-riding journey, Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) encountered a slightly-unbalanced Deer Woman (Barbara Robertson) who lamented hysterically that she had just killed another deer and seriously dented the front end of her car:

You can't help me. No one can help me. I've tried driving with my lights on. I've tried sounding my horn. I scream out the window. I roll the window down and bang on the side of the door and play Public Enemy real loud. I have prayed to St. Francis of Assisi, St. Christopher, too. What the heck. I've tried everything a person can do. And still, every week, I plow into at least one deer. I have hit thirteen deer in seven weeks driving down this road, mister. And I have to drive down this road every day, forty miles back and forth to work. I have to drive to work and I have to drive home. Where do they come from? He's dead. And I love deer.

Best Film Speeches and Monologues
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