Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


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

Casablanca (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch

Airport Farewell

Play clip (excerpt): Casablanca - 1942
Play clip (excerpt): Casablanca - 1942
Play clip (excerpt): Casablanca - 1942

Casablanca cafe owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) sacrificed himself with a "We'll always have Paris" and "No good at being Noble" airport farewell speech to ex-lover Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman):

Rick: Because you're getting on that plane.
(Ilsa: "I don't understand. What about you?")
Rick: I'm staying here with him [Renault] 'til the plane gets safely away.
(Ilsa: "No, Richard. No. What has happened to you? Last night...")
Rick: Last night, we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I've done a lot of it since then and it all adds up to one thing. You're getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.
(Ilsa: "But Richard, no, I've...")
Rick: Now, you've got to listen to me. Do you have any idea what you've have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten, we'd both wind up in a concentration camp. Isn't that true, Louis?
(Renault: "I'm afraid Major Strasser would insist.")
(Ilsa: "You're saying this only to make me go.")
Rick: I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
(Ilsa: "What about us?")
Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have - we'd - we'd lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
(Ilsa: "When I said I would never leave you..")
Rick: And you never will. I've got a job to do too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now. Here's looking at you, kid.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Orson Welles

"The Magnificence of the Ambersons"

An opening monologue narrated by Orson Welles:

The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873. Their splendor lasted throughout all the years that saw their Midland town spread and darken into a city. In that town in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet and everybody knew everybody else's family horse and carriage. The only public conveyance was the streetcar. A lady could whistle to it from an upstairs window, and the car would halt at once, and wait for her, while she shut the window ... put on her hat and coat ... went downstairs... found an umbrella... told the 'girl' what to have for dinner...and came forth from the house. Too slow for us nowadays, because the faster we're carried, the less time we have to spare.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Orson Welles

The Source of Everything

In a rambling, incoherent speech (from Booth Tarkington's original novel), old Major Amberson (Richard Bennett) disjointedly mused on the source of life:

It must be in the sun. There wasn't anything here but the sun in the first place...The Earth came out o' the sun, and we came out of the Earth. So whatever we are...

When the light faded, his voice grew silent, the screen turned slowly to black, and his life ended.

Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Arthur Wimperis, George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West

Vicar's Patriotic "It is Our War" Speech

Play clip (excerpt): Mrs. Miniver (short)
Play clip (excerpt): Mrs. Miniver (long)

The vicar (Henry Wilcoxon) gave a moving speech in a bombed out English church, before the congregation sang Onward Christian Soldiers:

We, in this quiet corner of England, have suffered the loss of friends very dear to us. Some close to this church. George West, choir boy; James Ballard, station master and bell ringer and the proud winner, only an hour before his death, of the Beldon Cup for his beautiful Miniver rose. And our hearts go out in sympathy for the two families who share the cruel loss of a young girl who was married at this altar only two weeks ago. The homes of many of us have been destroyed, and the lives of young and old have been taken. There is scarcely a household that hasn't been struck to the heart. And why? Surely you must have asked yourselves this question. Why, in all conscience, should these be the ones to suffer? Children, old people, a young girl at the height of her loveliness. Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed? I shall tell you why.

Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefield, but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home, and in the heart of every man, woman, and child who loves freedom! Well, we have buried our dead, but we shall not forget them. Instead, they will inspire us with an unbreakable determination to free ourselves and those who come after us from the tyranny and terror that threaten to strike us down. This is the people's war! It is our war! We are the fighters! Fight it then! Fight it with all that is in us, and may God defend the right!

Now, Voyager (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Casey Robinson

Inhibitions About Getting Married - "I Don't Think I'll Ever Marry"

Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) was being courted by attractive widower Elliot Livingston (John Loder), but remained uncertain and indecisive about committing to him. Her only reason for marrying him would be to have a husband, a home, and a child - fulfilling her role as a mature, married woman. She identified more with a woman in one of the forbidden 'novels' that she had once read - with a tale that echoed her overnight experience with her real lover, Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid) in Rio:

You know what I'd like? I'd like you to take me to some Bohemian restaurant for dinner some night, where we can be very gay, have cocktails and champagne. And you could make love to me...(she stood up and moved to another chair) Well, what I mean is, if I could just get rid of some of my inhibitions just for once, I might have more confidence....

I read a novel once about a woman, a very repressed woman. She was in an automobile accident with a man. It was a very cold night. He gave her a drink to keep her warm. And because of the drink, she lost her inhibitions. You see, she was just... I'm afraid I sound very depraved.

She realistically broke off her short-lived engagement with Elliot, realizing that she could only be happy with someone she was passionately in love with:

You ought to marry someone who would enjoy what you enjoy. Let's not linger over it, Elliot. (Elliot: "Well, I-I suppose you'll meet somebody sometime.") No, I don't think I'll ever marry. Some women just aren't the marrying kind. But you'll meet someone. Thank you for thinking it was me. I have that on my record anyway.

After she courteously said goodbye to him, to her inner self, in voice-over, she lamented the loss of a marriage prospect as she climbed her stairs: "It's like the time when my father died. His breathing just stopped. All over. Finished. Ended forever. You fool, oh you fool! Now you'll never have a home of your own, or a man of your own, or a child of your own."

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Jo Swerling, Herman J. Mankiewicz

Lou Gehrig's "Luckiest Man" Farewell Address to Baseball

Top Pick

Play clip (excerpt): The Pride of the Yankees

Dying ball player Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) delivered a farewell speech in the New York Yankees baseball stadium to 62,000 fans:

I have been walking on ballfields for 16 years, and I've never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. I have had the great honor to have played with these great veteran ballplayers on my left - Murderers Row, our championship team of 1927. I have had the further honor of living with and playing with these men on my right - the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees of today. I have been given fame and undeserved praise by the boys up there behind the wire in the press box - my friends, the sports writers. I have worked under the two greatest managers of all time, Miller Huggins and Joe McCarthy. I have a mother and father who fought to give me health and a solid background in my youth. I have a wife, a companion for life, who has shown me more courage than I ever knew. People all say that I've had a bad break. But today - today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. (Applause)

Saboteur (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison, Dorothy Parker, and Alfred Hitchcock (uncredited)

Defending Against Fifth-Column Saboteurs Ready to Destroy America

Wrongly-accused, on the run, Los Angeles-based aircraft factory worker Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) dared to confront fifth columnists, led by wealthy mastermind Charles Tobin (Otto Kruger) who were planning to destroy and disrupt various American institutions through sabotage, including Hoover (Boulder) Dam, a naval ship in the Brooklyn Naval Yard, and others.

Face-to-face with the slimy, fascist ringleader Tobin, Kane attempted to prove his innocence, argue for democracy, and fight for freedom. He showed his reluctance to be anti-American and to bow to saboteurs, their fear-mongering tactics, and terrorist murders. He explained how he had met decent Americans who helped him along the way - a friendly truck driver, a blind composer, a band of "freak" circus performers, and a blonde model - compared to the corrupt elitists or law officers:

Tobin: "You can't afford to make yourself that vulnerable, not when you're out trying to save your country."
"Why is it that you sneer every time you refer to this country? You've done pretty well here, I don't get it."
Tobin: "No, you wouldn't. You're one of the ardent believers - a good American. Oh, there are millions like you. People that plod along, without asking questions. I hate to use the word stupid, but it seems to be the only one that applies. The great masses, the moron millions. Well, there are a few of us who are unwilling to just troop along, a few of us who are clever enough to see that there's much more to be done than just live small complacent lives, a few of us in America who desire a more profitable type of government. When you think about it, Mr. Kane, the competence of totalitarian nations is much higher than ours. They get things done."
Kane: "Yeah. They get things done. They bomb cities, sink ships, torture and murder so you and your friends can eat off a gold plate; it’s a great philosophy."
Tobin: "I neither intend to be bombed nor sunk, Mr. Kane. That’s why I’m leaving now. And if things don’t arrive for you, if, uh, we should win, then I’ll come back. Perhaps I can get what I want then: Power. Yes. I want that as much as you want your comfort, or your job, or that girl. We all have different tastes, as you can see. Only I'm willing to back my tastes with the necessary force."
Kane: "You certainly make it sound smooth and easy. Well, that's a trick. I know the results of that power you believe in. It killed my friend, and it's killing thousands like him. That's what you're aiming at. But it doesn't bother you, I can see that. Because you really hate all people. Let me tell you something. The last four or five days, I've learned a lot. I've met guys like you, and I've met others - people that are helpful and eager to do the right thing; people that get a kick out of helping each other fight the bad guys. Love and hate. The world's choosing up sides. I know who I'm with. There are a lot of people on my side - millions of us in every country. And we're not soft; we're plenty strong. And we'll fight standing up on our two feet, and we'll win. Remember that, Mr Tobin. We'll win, no matter what you guys do. We'll win if it takes from now until the cows come home."

Tobin's Allegiance to Terrorism

Kane's Reluctance To Bow to Saboteurs

The Talk of the Town (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Irwin Shaw, Sidney Buchman

Defense of Wrongly-Accused Man and the Law

Supreme Court nominee Professor Michael Lightcap (Ronald Colman) bravely defended wrongly accused fugitive-arsonist Leopold Dilg (Cary Grant) from an angry mob in the front of a courtroom:

His (Dilg's) only crime was that he had courage and spoke his mind...This is your law and your finest possession. It makes you free men in a free country. Why have you come here to destroy it? If you know what's good for you, take those weapons home and burn them - and then think. Think of this country and of the law that makes it what it is. Think of a world crying for this very law. Then maybe you'll understand why you ought to guard it, and why the law has got to be the personal concern of every citizen, to uphold it for your neighbor as well as for yourself. Violence against it is one mistake.

Another mistake is for any man to look upon the law as just a set of principles. Just so much language printed on fine, heavy paper. Something he recites and then leans back and takes it for granted that justice is automatically being done. Both kinds of men are equally wrong. The law must be engraved in our hearts and practiced every minute, to the letter and spirit. It can't even exist unless we're willing to go down into the dust and blood and fight a battle every day of our lives to preserve it, for our neighbor as well as ourselves.

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Screenwriter(s): Robert Buckner, Edmund Joseph

Separating Fact From Fiction on the Stage - A Lesson on Self-Conceit

As a young boy in the performing Cohan family, young, precocious, and cocky George (Douglas Croft at age 13) was the star performer as Henry in 'Peck's Bad Boy' - A Rolicking Comedy." In the play, mischievous Henry pelted grocer Schults (Harry Jones) and an Irish cop (Roy T. Locket) with eggs in a slapstick scene. Adults in the orchestra seats and tough kids in the balcony were amused. The store owner was paid off by Henry's wealthy father, and Henry was coerced to promise that he'd be a good boy, yet he vowed: "I can still lick any kid in town" - causing the kids in the balcony area to scoff.

After the last curtain for the show, Georgie was congratulated by backstage crew and other actors, and the egotistical, big-headed lad boasted about how he had upstaged his father: "Thanks, but what are you all so surprised about? You could've told during rehearsals that I'd be a sensation in this part. Listen, there's nothing to this acting business. I wonder what took me so long to become a star."

At a backstage door, young Georgie was surprised by townie kids from the theater gallery hurling objects at him and scuffling with him in a fistfight. "Let's see how tough he is!" they shouted. After he was rescued, George was administered first aid by his mother Nellie (Rosemary DeCamp) and his sister Josie (Patsy Lee Parsons at age 12) - he was "almost murdered in cold blood." His father Jerry (Walter Huston) calmly mentioned:

Well, the way I figure it, it's a fine tribute to Georgie's acting. The way he plays the part, every tough kid in America will want to take a punch at Peck's Bad Boy, just to see what happens.

When Georgie responded: "What! Have I gotta go through that every night?", his father saw an opportunity to deliver a lesson to his head-strong son about conceit and arrogance, and George finally promised to reform himself:

Yes. And matinees, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Georgie, those boys did you a great favor and they saved me a lot of trouble. You know, most actors give their whole lives to their profession without once scoring a hit. You're lucky. You're a hit at the age of 13. I've been in this business a long time, and I've never met a performer who, in the long run, wouldn't rather be a great guy than a great actor. That is, until I made your acquaintance.

(Georgie: "Can't I be both?")

The chances are, the way you're going, you won't be either. If the hoodlums don't get you, a committee of actors will! Actors are considered a very bad risk by insurance companies. And any actor with a conceit like yours - well, we just couldn't afford the premium.

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
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