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10 best movie quotes of all time, ranked

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman share an intimate moment in Casablanca.
Warner Bros. Pictures

In 2005, the American Film Institute put out a list of its choices for the 100 best movie quotes. For its time, AFI’s choices were pretty definitive. But it’s been almost 20 years since that list came out, and it’s time for a refresh that includes quotes from both the 20th and the 21st century.

The classics definitely have their place on our list as well. But the last two decades of movies have delivered some memorable quotes of their own and deserve to take their place alongside some of the most memorable lines in cinema history. So after due consideration, these are our choices for the 10 best movie quotes of all time, ranked from 10 to 1.

10. Training Day (2001)

Denzel Washington in Training Day.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Famous line: “King Kong ain’t got s*** on me!”

Who said it: Denzel Washington’s Detective Alonzo Harris

This was such a great quote that Warner Bros. even used it for Training Day‘s promotional campaign. But the thing that’s easy to forget is that Alonzo only says the line when he’s been broken. His hold over the neighborhood has been shattered, and the word’s he’s screaming are simply a manifestation of his impotent rage.

Alonzo knows that any illusions about his power over civilians are gone, and his angriest words can’t change that. If anything, Alonzo is trying to convince himself that nothing has changed, and even he doesn’t really believe that.

9. Gladiator (2000)

Russell Crowe in Gladiator.
DreamWorks Pictures

Famous line: “Are you not entertained?!”

Who said it: Russell Crowe’s Maximus.

Admittedly, we pinched this one from our list of the best action movie quotes of all-time. But it deserves it. Maximus (Crowe) may have fallen from general to a slave, but he knew better than anyone what the gladiatorial games were about.

When he easily triumphed over much-better-armed gladiators with shocking brutality, even the hardened Roman crowds looked away from the bloodshed. That’s not what Maximus wants. He wants them to face what they’re doing, and what they’ve become.

8. Frankenstein (1931)

Colin Clive in Frankenstein.
Universal Pictures

Famous line: “It’s alive!”

Who said it: Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein.

Dr. Frankenstein’s quote may actually be more famous for all of the parodies it inspired in the 93 years since Frankenstein‘s release. But the delivery is everything as Dr. Frankenstein embraces his inner mad scientist after successfully reanimating a corpse to become his creature. Suffice to say, Frankenstein won’t be celebrating for very long…

7. Scarface (1983)

Al Pacino in Scarface.
Universal Pictures

Famous line: “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend!”

Who said it: Al Pacino’s Tony Montana.

Tony Montana doesn’t realize it yet, but he’s a dead man. Al Pacino’s character says the line while he’s high out of his mind, and also after he’s lost the last people in his life he cared about.

So when Tony’s enemies descend upon him, he doesn’t think twice about attempting to fight them off all by himself. All things considered, he does pretty well by himself. But his luck doesn’t last forever.

6. The Dark Knight (2008)

Christian Bale and Michael Caine in The Dark Knight.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Famous line: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Who said it: Michael Caine’s Alfred Pennyworth.

The Dark Knight had an abundance of great lines, from “Why so serious?” to “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” But the one that really sticks with us is Alfred relating the tale of a bandit not unlike the Joker himself who didn’t care about money, riches, or power.

He simply wanted to watch the world burn. The kicker to this story is that Bruce Wayne asks Alfred how he finally handled the bandit, and his answer was that he burned down the forest he was hiding in.

5. Star Wars (1977)

Harrison Ford in Star Wars.

Famous line: “May the Force be with you.”

Who said it: Harrison Ford’s Han Solo.

If we hadn’t told you that Han Solo said “May the Force be with you,” would you have guessed that he was the one to say the most iconic line in Star Wars? Obi-Wan Kenobi has a similar line: “the Force will be with you, always.” But this is the one that was embraced by both George Lucas and the fans to the point where it’s practically a normal thing to say in the Star Wars universe.

In the context of this scene, Han is basically saying as heartfelt a goodbye as he can manage for Luke Skywalker, because he thinks that the Rebel assault on the Death Star is doomed from the start. He’s wrong, of course. But it was Han himself who changed the course of history by coming back before the battle was over.

4. Dirty Harry (1971)

Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Famous line: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

Who said it: Clint Eastwood’s Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan.

To be honest, Dirty Harry’s line from Sudden Impact, “Go ahead, make my day,” could have easily been slotted in here. Clint Eastwood did grizzled rogue policeman like few others. The key to this particular quote though is that Harry’s bluffing a bank robber. Harry knows that he’s out of bullets, but the robber doesn’t know that. And by making the robber doubt his own survival, Harry walks away from this encounter without firing another shot.

3. The Shining (1980)

Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Famous line: “Here’s Johnny!”

Who said it: Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance.

Someday, movie lovers will completely forget that this line is a reference to the iconic introduction that Ed McMahon gave for Johnny Carson for decades on The Tonight Show. So we’ll just have to remind them.

By this point in Stanley Kubrick‘s seminal horror movie The Shining, Jack Torrance was completely out of his mind and willing to murder his wife and child. He said the line right after using an ax to break through a door and terrorize his wife. It’s all about the delivery, and Nicholson successfully comes off as completely unhinged in this scene.

2. Casablanca (1942)

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Famous line: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Who said it: Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine.

Sometimes, the classics are the classics for a reason. Casablanca also has a lot of lines that could fill up a list of the best quotes, but this one stands out because it’s Rick’s redemption. Instead of running off with his former lover, Ilsa Lund, he sends her off with her husband to escape the Nazis with their letters of transit.

As for Rick, he’s going to stay behind and fight the Nazis in his own way. It’s a bittersweet ending to one of the greatest films ever made, but it’s the ending that gives Casablanca its staying power.

1. The Godfather (1972)

Marlon Brando in The Godfather.
Paramount Pictures

Famous line: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Who said it: Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone.

This line has been endlessly quoted and imitated, even by Marlon Brando himself! But when it comes to The Godfather, everyone remembers this moment when he promises a favor … that may involve leaving a severed horse head in the bed of a Hollywood producer. That’s what he means by “an offer he can’t refuse.”

Don Corleone is at the height of his power here, and the moment is significant because the film chronicles his fall before the mantle of Godfather passes to his son, Michael.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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