“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” “Go ahead, make my day.” “I’ll be back…” “Well, nobody’s perfect.”
These quotes—from “Gone with the Wind,” “Dirty Harry,” “The Terminator” and “Some Like It Hot,” respectively—have gone from the movie screens of yore to be imprinted indelibly into our consciousness. Great screenplays—and the lines they produce—are part of what makes watching movies such a great, communal experience of shared memories.
The current batch of films available on Streampix has its own unforgetable lines, and here are just 10 of the classics.
“Full Metal Jacket”: Stanley Kubrick’s corrosive 1987 Vietnam movie (he co-wrote the screenplay the with novelist Gustav Hasford and Michael Herr) featured real-life drill instructor R. Lee Ermey as the terrifying Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, who had any number of great lines as he whipped his troops into shape. One of his most memorable is to Arliss Howard’s Pvt. Cowboy, after asking him how tall he was: “Five-foot-nine… I didn’t know they stacked shit that high.” [Watch here]
“Lawrence of Arabia” David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic about the man who led the Arab revolt against the Turks during World War I earned Best Picture and Best Director honors, but Peter O’Toole lost out to Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird” for Best Actor. O’Toole’s T.E. Lawrence tells leader Omar Sharif what they’re up against: “So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel, as you are.” The screenplay was taken from Lawrence’s own writings, with Robert Bolt and an uncredited Michael Wilson also contributing. [Watch here]
“The Searchers”: John Ford’s 1956 masterpiece about the search for a girl kidnapped by Indians is perhaps John Wayne’s most iconic role as Ethan Edwards, including, as it does, one of the most famous movie lines of all time after being asked if he was ready to quit, “That’ll be the day,” later made into a hit song by Buddy Holly, who came up with it after seeing the movie. The screenplay was by Frank S. Nugent. [Watch here]
“Casablanca”: Michael Curtiz’s 1942 classic with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman locking eyes to Sam playing “As Times Goes By” on the piano has any number of memorable lines, including Bogie’s “Here’s looking at you kid,” “We’ll always have Paris” and the oft-misquoted, “If she can stand it, I can. Play it!” My own personal favorite is Bogart’s final line to Claude Rains’ Capt. Renault as they walk down the deserted, foggy airstrip: “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Brothers Julius and Phillip Epstein wrote the script with Howard Koch. [Watch here]
“The Graduate”: Oscar winner Mike Nichols’ ultimate 1967 coming-of-age comedy was a counter-culture classic and introduced Dustin Hoffman as the college grad who grows up very quickly after an affair with his girlfriend’s mother, the legendary Anne Bancroft. Hoffman, Bancroft and Katherine Ross all earned Academy Award nominations. Perhaps the best-remembered line is a single word, “Plastics,” the career advice offered by Walter Brooke’s Mr. McGuire to Hoffman’s Benjamin Braddock. The Oscar-nominated screenplay, adapted from Charles Webb‘s original novel, was by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham. [Watch here]
“Do the Right Thing”: Writer/director Spike Lee’s groundbreaking 1989 movie about racism in his native Brooklyn, created a number of durable catch phrases, including the title of the film and “Fight the Power,” the name of the Public Enemy song that served as its theme, but perhaps the most memorable snippet of dialogue is from Giancarlo Esposito’s character Buggin’ Out—yep, the very same guy that went on to play Gus Fring in “Breaking Bad”—who tells Spike’s Mookie after a series of exchanged “You da man’s,” “I’m just a struggling Black man trying to keep my d*** hard in a cruel and harsh world.” [Watch here]
“The Maltese Falcon”: John Huston’s 1941 film noir classic (he wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett) is chock full of memorable dialogue with Humphrey Bogart as private dick Sam Spade and a memorable supporting cast including Mary Astor as the femme fatale, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Elisha Cook Jr., among others. Bogart’s Sam responds to a detective asking “What is it?” about the figure of “the bird” that everyone is trying to grab: “The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.” [Watch here]
“Easy Rider”: Dennis Hopper’s 1969 counterculture classic (co-written with Peter Fonda and Terry Southern) introduced many great bits into pop history, but perhaps the most memorable is Fonda’s Captain America, answering Hopper, who celebrates the duo’s big drug score by claiming they’re going to be rich and retire to Florida. Says Fonda, simply: “You know, Billy. We blew it.” [Watch here]
“Dog Day Afternoon”: Sidney Lumet’s raucous 1975 black comedy, based on a real-life story about a guy who bungles a bank robbery and then takes hostages he offers in exchange for a sex change, was a tour de force for Al Pacino, who memorably paraded in front of the assembled mob, chanting, “A-ttica, A-ttica, A-ttica,” echoing the famed prison uprising of the time. Frank Pierson won the Oscar for his original screenplay. [Watch here]
“Bonnie and Clyde”: Arthur Penn’s 1967 dramatization of the lives of outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker caused a critical firestorm, especially for its ending, when stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway died in a hail of bullets. The movie became known from Beatty’s famous line: “This here’s Miss Bonnie Parker. I’m Clyde Barrow. We rob banks.” The screenplay by David Newman and Robert Benton, with special consultant Robert Towne, was nominated for an Oscar. [Watch here]