Sunday, December 28, 2008

25 Classic Monologues in Cinema

Hey guys,

I dedicate this article to Joshua James. As much as I preach about visual storytelling and “show, don’t tell,” Josh is quick to remind me that a lot of dialogue isn’t wrong so long as it’s good dialogue, and that’s very true. Today’s article will only reinforce his point.

A link on my sidebar that gets little love is
Colin’s Movie Monologues, which is a collection of cinema’s great speeches. The list below, a smattering of samples from his website, does not represent the personal favorites of mine. But rather, I chose the widest variety I could – well-known, little-known, speeches, confessions, tirades, breakdowns, etc. I tried to look for a consistent pattern of how, when, and why they are used and ultimately concluded that to create a simple formula for monologues is to belittle their power. All I can say is that generally A) there should be strong emotion behind all the words or in the context of an emotionally charged moment, B) the character’s voice – not yours – should shine through the speech, C) you should have a damn good reason for having it, and D) you better knock that speech out of the ball park.

The list only goes up to films that begin with the letter “J.” In any case, I hope you enjoy them.



Charlie Kaufman: Do I have an original thought in my head, my bald head? Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn’t be falling out. Life is short; I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. Oh well. The dentist called again, I'm way overdue. If I stopped putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass, if my ass wasn’t fat, I would be happier. I wouldn’t have to wear these shirts with the tails out all the time; like that’s fooling anyone. Fat ass. I should start jogging again. Five miles a day; really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing; I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more; improve myself. Maybe I should learn Russian or something. Or take up an instrument. I could speak Chinese. I could be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese and plays the oboe. That would be cool. I should get my hair cut short; stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that? Just be real. Confident. Isn't that what women are attracted to? Men don’t have to be attractive. But that's not true, ''specially these days. There's almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days. Why should I be made to feel like I should apologize for my existence? Maybe it's my brain chemistry. Maybe that’s what's wrong with me. Bad chemistry... all my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help from them; but I'll still be ugly though. Nothing is going to change that.

African Queen
Charlie Allnutt
: Well, Miss, 'ere we are, everything ship-shape, like they say. Great thing to 'ave, a lyedy, with clean 'abits. Sets me a good example. A man alone, 'e gets to livin' like a bloomin' og. Then, too, with me, it's always -- put things orf. Never do todye wot ya can put orf til tomorrer. (he chuckles and looks at her, expecting her to smile; no reaction from Rose) But you: business afore pleasure, every time. Do yer pers'nal laundry, make yerself spic an' span, get all the mendin' out o' the way, an' then, an ' hone-ly then, set down to a nice quiet hour with the Good-Book. (he watches for something; still no response from Rose) I tell you, it's a model for me, like. An inspiration. I ain't got that ole engine so clean in years; inside an' out, Miss. Just look at 'er, Miss! She practically sparkles. Myself too. Guess you ain't never 'ad a look at me without whiskers an' all cleaned up, 'ave you, Miss? Freshens you up, too; if I only 'ad clean clothes, like you. Now you: why you could be at 'igh tea. (no recognition from Rose, as if she doesn't hear him at all) 'Ow 'bout some tea, Miss, come to think of it? Don't you stir; I'll get it ready. (a pause) 'Ow's the book, Miss? (no answer) Not that I ain't read it, some -- that is to say, me ole lyedy read me stories out of it. (no response; another pause) 'Ow 'bout reading it out loud, eh, Miss? (silence) I'd like to 'ave a little spiritual comfort m'self. (Charlie loses his patience with her silence, he flares up, frustrated) An' you call yerself a Christian! You 'ear me, Miss. (he leans in toward her, getting louder and louder, until he's yelling at the top of his lungs) Don't yer?! Don't yer?! HUH??

Salieri: My plan was so simple that it terrified me. First I must get the death mass and then I, I must achieve his death. His funeral! Imagine it, all of Vienna there, Mozart's coffin, Mozart's little coffin in the middle, and then suddenly, in that silence, music! A divine music bursts out over them all. A great mass of death! Requiem mass for Wolfgang Mozart, composed by his dear friend, Antonio Salieri! Oh what sublimity, what depth, what passion in the music! Salieri has been touched by God at last. And God is forced to listen!! Powerless, powerless to stop it! I, for once in the end, laughing at him!! The only thing that bothered me was the actual killing. How does one do that? Hmmm? How does one kill a man? Well it's one thing to dream about it; very different when you, when you have to do it with your own hands.

American Psycho
Patrick Bateman: Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where, uh, Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as, uh, anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your ass. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and, uh, Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.

Apocalypse Now
: I've seen the horror. Horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me . It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and mortal terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with Special Forces--it seems a thousand centuries ago--we went into a camp to inoculate it. The children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us, and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile--a pile of little arms. And I remember...I...I...I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it, I never want to forget. And then I realized--like I was I was shot with a diamond...a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, "My God, the genius of that, the genius, the will to do that." Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they could stand that--these were not monsters, these were men, trained cadres, these men who fought with their hearts, who have families, who have children, who are filled wi th love--that they had this strength, the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time were able to utilize their primordial i nstincts to kill without feeling, without passion, without judgment--without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us. I worry that my son might not understand what I've tried to be, and if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything. Everything I did, everything you saw, because there's nothing that I detest more than t he stench of lies. And if you understand me, Willard, will do this for me.

Austin Powers
: Oh no, please, please, let's hear about your childhood.
Dr Evil: Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Some times he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it.
Therapist: You know, we have to stop.

Blazing Saddles
: Yeah, I was the got so that every pissant prairie punk who thought he could shoot a gun would ride into town to try out the Waco Kid. I must've killed more men than Cecil B Demille. Got pretty gritty. I started to hear the word draw in my sleep. Then one day, I was just walking down the street, and I heard a voice behind me say, "Reach for it Mister!" I spun around and there I was face to face with a six-year-old kid. Well I just threw my guns down and walked away....little bastard shot me in the ass!! So I limped to the nearest saloon, crawled into a whiskey bottle, and I've been there ever since.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Paul Varjak
: You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You're chicken, you've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, "Okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to eachother, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness." You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.

The Breakfast Club
: Do you guys know what I did to get in here? I taped Larry Lester's buns together. Yeah, you know him? Well then, you know how hairy he is, right? Well, when they pulled the tape off, most of his hair came off and some skin too. And the bizarre thing is, is that I did it for my old man. I tortured this poor kid because I wanted him to think I was cool. He's always going off about, you know, when he was in school, all the wild things he used to do, and I got the feeling that he was disappointed that I never cut loose on anyone, right? So, I'm sitting in the locker room and I'm taping up my knee and Larry's undressing a couple lockers down from me and he's kinda, kinda skinny, weak, and I started thinking about my father and his attitude about weakness, and the next thing I knew I, I jumped on top of him and started wailing on him. Then my friends, they just laughed and cheered me on. And afterwards, when I was sittin' in Vernon's office, all I could think about was Larry's father and Larry having to go home and explain what happened to him. And the humiliation, the fucking humiliation he must have felt. It must have been unreal. I mean, how do you apologize for something like that? There's no way. It's all because of me and my old man. God, I fucking hate him. He's like, he's like this mindless machine I can't even relate to anymore. "Andrew, you've got to be number one. I won't tolerate any losers in this family. Your intensity is for shit." You son of a bitch. You know, sometimes I wish my knee would give and I wouldn't be able to wrestle anymore. He could forget all about me.

Chasing Amy
: I love you. And not in a friendly way, although I think we're great friends. And not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I'm sure that's what you'll call it. And it's not because you're unattainable. I love you. Very simple, very truly. You're the epitome of every attribute and quality I've ever looked for in another person. I know you think of me as just a friend, and crossing that line is the furthest thing from an option you'd ever consider. But I had to say it. I can't take this anymore. I can't stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can't look into your eyes without feeling that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can't talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. I know this will probably queer our friendship -no pun intended- but I had to say it, because I've never felt this before, and I like who I am because of it. And if bringing it to light means we can't hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But I couldn't allow another day to go by without getting it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And I'll accept that. But I know some part of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there is a moment of hesitation, that means you feel something too. All I ask is that you not dismiss that -at least for ten seconds- and try to dwell in it. Alyssa, there isn't another soul on this fucking planet who's ever made me half the person I am when I'm with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance to take it to the next plateau. Because it's there between you and me. you can't deny that. And even if we never speak again after tonight, please know that I'm forever changed because of who you are and what you've meant to me, which -while I do appreciate it- I'd never need a painting of birds bought at a diner to remind me of.(Alyssa exits the car) Was it something I said?

Crimes and Misdemeanors
Professor Levy
: We're all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale, most of these choices are on lesser points. But we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly. Human happiness does not seem to have been included in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and even to find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.

Dangerous Beauty
Beatrice Venier
: When my daughter is old enough, I want you to make her a courtesan. … The life you live, the freedom that you have! Would you deny my daughter the same chance? … Do you know what my daughter's nurse told her this morning? That "in a girl's voice lies temptation -- a known fact: eloquence in a woman means promiscuity. Promiscuity of the mind leads to promiscuity of the body." She doesn’t believe her yet, but she will. She'll grow up just like her mother. She'll marry. Bear children and honor her family. Spend her youth at needlepoint and rue the day she was born a girl. And when she dies, she'll wonder why she obeyed all the rules of God and country, because no Biblical hell could ever be worse than this state of perpetual inconsequence.

Dead Poets Society
Mr. Keating
: In my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and languages. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. I see that look in Mr Pitts' eyes like 19th century literature has nothing to do with going to business school or medical school, right? Maybe. You may agree and think yes, we should study our Mr. Pritcher and learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions. Well, I have a secret for you. Huddle Up...Huddle UP! We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business these are all noble pursuits necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, and love; these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman "Oh me, Oh life of the question of these recurring. of the endless trains of the faithless of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these? Oh me, Oh life." "Answer...that you are here and life exists....You are here. Life exists, and identity. The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse." The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Dr. Strangelove
President Merkin Muffley
: [to Kissoff] Hello? ... Ah ... I can't hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little? ... Oh-ho, that's much better. ... yeah ... huh ... yes ... Fine, I can hear you now, Dmitri. ... Clear and plain and coming through fine....I'm coming through fine, too, eh? ... Good, then ... well, then, as you say, we're both coming through fine. ... Good. ... Well, it's good that you're fine and ... and I'm fine. ... I agree with you, it's great to be fine. ... a-ha-ha-ha-ha ... Now then, Dmitri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb. ...The *Bomb*, Dmitri.... The *hydrogen* bomb! ... Well now, what happened is ... ah ... one of our base commanders, he had a sort of ... well, he went a little funny in the head ... you know ... just a little ... funny. And, ah ... he went and did a silly thing. ... Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes ... to attack your country... Ah... Well, let me finish, Dmitri. ... Let me finish, Dmitri. ... Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?! ...Can you *imagine* how I feel about it, Dmitri? ... Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello? ... *Of course* I like to speak to you! ... *Of course* I like to say hello! ... Not now, but anytime, Dmitri. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened... It's a *friendly* call. Of course it's a friendly call. ... Listen, if it wasn't friendly ... you probably wouldn't have even got it. ... They will *not* reach their targets for at least another hour. ... I am ... I am positive, Dmitri. ... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick. ... Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes. ... Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we're unable to recall the planes, then ... I'd say that, ah ... well, ah ... we're just gonna have to help you destroy them, Dmitri. ... I know they're our boys. ... All right, well listen now. Who should we call? ...*Who* should we call, Dmitri? The ... wha-whe, the People... you, sorry, you faded away there.... The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters. ... Where is that, Dmitri? ... In Omsk. ... Right. ... Yes. ...Oh, you'll call them first, will you? ... Uh-hu ... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Dmitri? ... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk information. ...Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm ... I'm sorry, too, Dmitri. ...I'm very sorry. ... *All right*, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well. ... I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are. ... So we're both sorry, all right?! ... All right.

Empire Strikes Back
: I can't. It's too big.
Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Yes, even between the land and the ship.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Mike Damone
: First of all Rat, you never let on how much you like a girl. "Oh, Debbie. Hi." Two, you always call the shots. "Kiss me. You won't regret it." Now three, act like wherever you are, that's the place to be. "Isn't this great?" Four, when ordering food, you find out what she wants, then order for the both of you. It's a classy move. "Now, the lady will have the linguini and white clam sauce, and a Coke with no ice." And five, now this is the most important, Rat. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.

A Few Good Men
: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

The Fisher King
: Do you believe in God?
Anne: Ohh! You gotta believe in God! But I don't believe God created Man in His image. 'Cause most the shit that happens is because of men. Men were made in the devil's image. And women were created outta God. 'Cause, after all, women can have babies--which is kinda like creating. And which also accounts for the fact that women are so attracted to men. 'Cause let's face it, the devil is a helluva lot more interesting. I slept with some saints in my day, believe me, I know. Eegh-boy! So, the whole point of life, the whole point of life is for men and women to get married so God and the Devil can get together--and work it out. Not that we have to get married or anything. God forbid.

Funny Girl
Fanny Brice
: Suppose all ya ever had for breakfast was onion rolls. Then one day, in walks (gasp) a bagel! You'd say, 'Ugh, what's that?' Until you tried it! That's my problem - I'm a bagel on a plate full of onion rolls. Nobody recognizes me! Listen, I got 36 expressions. Sweet as pie and tough as leather. And that's six expressions more than all those...Barrymores put together. Instead of just kicking me, why don't they give me a lift? Well, it must be a plot, 'cause they're scared that I got...such a gift! 'Cause I'm the greatest star, I am by far, but no one knows it. Wait - they're gonna hear a voice, a silver flute. They'll cheer each toot, hey, she's terrific!, when I expose it. Now can't you see to look at me that I'm a natural Camille, and as Camille, I just feel, I've so much to offer. Kid, I know I'd be divine because I'm a natural cougher (coughs) - some ain't got it, not a lump. I'm a great big clump of talent! Laugh, they'll bend in half. Did you ever hear the story about the travelling salesman? A thousand jokes, stick around for the jokes. A thousand faces. I reiterate. When you're gifted, then you're gifted. These are facts, I've got no axe to grind. Ay! What are ya, blind? In all of the world so far, I'm the greatest star! No autographs, please. What? You think beautiful girls are gonna stay in style forever? I should say not! Any minute now they're gonna be out! FINISHED! Then it'll be my turn!

Glengarry Glen Ross
: All train compartments smell vaguely of shit. It gets so you don't mind it. That's the worst thing that I can confess. You know how long it took me to get there? A long time. When you die you're going to regret the things you don't do. You think you're queer? I'm going to tell you something: we're all queer. You think you're a thief? So what? You get befuddled by a middle-class morality? Get shut of it. Shut it out. You cheated on your wife? You did it, live with it. You fuck little girls, so be it.There's an absolute morality? Maybe. And then what? If you think there is, then be that thing. Bad people go to hell? I don't think so. If you think that, act that way. A hell exists on earth? Yes. I won't live in it. That's me. You ever take a dump made you feel like you'd just slept for twelve hours?

Goodwill Hunting
: Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll take a shot. Say I'm working at the N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people that I never met and that I never had no problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Send in the marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number was called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin' play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's walking to the fuckin' job interviews, which sucks 'cause the schrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorroids. And meanwhile he's starvin' 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure, fuck it, while I'm at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

The Goodbye Girl
: Will you listen very, very carefully to me? Just for once--This may be the last time I ever talk to you. Not everyone in this world is after your magnificent body, lady. In the first place, it's not so magnificent. It's fair, but it ain't keeping me up nights, you know? I don't even think you're very pretty. Maybe if you smiled once and awhile, okay, but I don't want you to do anything against your religion. And you are not the only person in this city ever to get dumped on. I myself am a recent dumpee. I am a dedicated actor, Paula, you know? I am dedicated to my art and my craft. I value what I do. And because of a mentally arthritic director, I am about to play the second greatest role in the history of the English-speaking theater like a double order of fresh California fruit salad. When I say "nice," I mean "nice"--ya know, decent, fair. I deserve it, because I'm a nice, decent and fair person. I don't wanna jump on your bones. I don't even want to see you in the morning. But I'll tell you what I do like about you, Paula: Lucy. Lucy's your best part. Lucy is worth putting up with you for. So here is fourteen dollars for the care and feeding of that terrific kid. You get zippity-doo-dah! You want any money? Borrow it from your ten-year-old daughter. I am now going inside my room to meditate away my hostility toward you. Personally, I don't think it can be done.

: You were on the Indianapolis?
Brody: What happened?
Quint: Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief. It was comin' back, from the island of Tinian Delady, just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen footer. You know, you know that when you're in the water, chief? You tell by lookin' from the dorsal to the tail. Well, we didn't know. `Cause our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. Huh huh. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, chief. The sharks come cruisin'. So we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know it's... kinda like `ol squares in battle like a, you see on a calendar, like the battle of Waterloo. And the idea was, the shark would go for nearest man and then he'd start poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark would go away. Sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes. You know the thing about a shark, he's got...lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eye. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be livin'. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitch screamin' and the ocean turns red and spite of all the poundin' and the hollerin' they all come in and rip you to pieces. Y'know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men! I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand! I don't know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday mornin' chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player, boson's mate. I thought he was asleep, reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up and down in the water, just like a kinda top. Up ended. Well... he'd been bitten in half below the waist. Noon the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us, he swung in low and he saw us. He'd a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper, anyway he saw us and come in low. And three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and start to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks ttook the rest, June the 29, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

The Jerk
: And I don't need any of this! I don't need this stuff, (pushes all of the letters off the desk), and I don't need you. I don't need anything except this (picks up an ashtray) and that's it and that's the only thing I need, is this. I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game (picks it up), the ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game and the remote control, and that's all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that's all I need. And that's all I need too. I don't need one other thing, not one - (sees something) I need this! The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. Well what are you looking at? What do you think I am, some kind of a jerk or something? And this! And that's all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair. And I don't need one other thing except my dog. (Shithead, the dog, growls) Well I don't need my dog.

And finally, Goodwill Hunting again
: So if I asked you about art you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written...Michelangelo? You know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that.....If I asked you about women you'd probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. I ask you about war, and you'd probably--uh--throw Shakespeare at me, right? "Once more into the breach, dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap and watched him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help. And if I asked you about love y'probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone could level you with her eyes. Feeling like! God put an angel on earth just for you...who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it’s like to be her angel and to have that love for her to be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. You wouldn't know about sleeping sittin’ up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand because the doctors could see in your eyes that the term visiting hours don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. I look at you; I don't see an intelligent, confident man; I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine and you ripped my fuckin' life apart. You're an orphan right? Do you think I'd know the first thing about how hard ! your life has been, how you feel, who you are because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what? I can't learn anything from you I can't read in some fuckin' book. Unless you wanna talk about you, who you are. And I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't wanna do that, do you, sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.


purpletrex said...

One of my favorite monologues comes from Brazil.


I hereby inform you under powers
entrusted to me under Section 47,
Paragraph 7 of Council Order Number
438476, that Mr Buttle, Archibald,
residing at 412 North Tower, Shangri La Towers, has been invited to assist the Ministry of Information with certain enquiries, the nature of
which may be ascertained on
completion of application form
BZ/ST/486/C fourteen days within this date, and that he is liable to
certain obligations as specified in
Council Order 173497, including
financial restitutions which may or
may not be incurred if Information
Retrieval procedures beyond those
incorporated in Article 7 subsections 8, 10 & 32 are required to elicit
information leading to permanent
arrest - notification of which will
he served with the time period of 5
working days as stipulated by law. In that instance the detainee will be debited without further notice
through central banking procedures
without prejudice until and unless at such a time when re-imbursement
procedures may be instituted by you
or third parties on completion of a
re-imbursement form RB/CZ/907/X ...

purpletrex said...

Of course, the best monologue of all time can be attributed to Welles in "The Third Man."

I wish I had asked you to bring me
some of these tablets from home...
Holly, I would like to cut you in,
old man. Nobody left in Vienna I
can really trust - and we have
always done everything together.
When you make up your mind, send me
a message... I'll meet you any
place, any time. And when we do
meet, old man, it is you I want to
see, not the police. Remember that,
won't you?...Don't be so gloomy...After all,
it's not that awful. Remember what
the fellow said in Italy, for thirty years under
the Borgias, they had warfare,
terror, murder, bloodshed, but they
produced Michaelangelo - Leonardo
Da Vinci, and the Renaissance...In
Switzerland, they had brotherly
love. They had five hundred years
of democracy and peace, and what did that produce?...The cuckoo clock.
So long, Holly.

Joshua James said...


I'm honored. Thank you.

Christian M. Howell said...

Aaaah, there's nothing like a heartfelt speech.

I really liked the one from the American President.

That's all right, you can keep your seats. For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being president of this country was, to a certain extent, about character...


who's picked up the receiver from a wall phone and punches in four numbers.

She turns in to the wall to shield her conversation from the rest of the room.

ROBIN(into phone) A.J. and come on down here...I don't know, but something's happening.

...and although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on
me, I've been here three years and
three days, and I can tell you
without hesitation: Being President
of this country is entirely about

LEWIS enters with A.J. and KODAK.

SHEPHERD (continuing)
For the record: Yes, I am a card-
carrying member of the A.C.L.U. But
the more important question is why
aren't you, Bob? This is an
organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it
naturally begs the questions.

SHEPHERD (continuing)
Why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for president, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? If you can answer that question, then, folks, you're smarter than I am,because I didn't understand it until a couple of minutes ago. Everybody knows American isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship.

SHEPHERD (continuing)
You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's
gonna put up a fight. It's gonna
say, "You want free speech? Let's
see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating, at the top of his lungs, that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim
this land as the land of the free,
then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest." Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.
Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free. I've known Bob Rumson for years. I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong.

SHEPHERD (continuing)
Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't
get it. Bob's problem is that he
can't sell it. Nobody has ever won
an election by talking about what I
was just talking about.

SHEPHERD (continuing)
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious men to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, friend, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: Making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-
income voters who remember with
longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and personal character. Then you have an old photo of the President's girlfriend. You scream about patriotism and you tell them
she's to blame for their lot in life, you go on television and you call her a whore. Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but put herself through law school, prosecute criminals for five years, represent the interests of
public school teachers for two years, and lobby for the safety of our natural resources.

SHEPHERD (continuing)
You want a character debate? Fine,
but you better stick with me, 'cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league. I've loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer, and I lost the other 'cause I was so busy keeping my job I forgot to do my job.
Well that ends right now.

SHEPHERD (continuing)
Tomorrow morning the White House is
sending a bill to Congress for its
consideration. It's White House
Resolution 455, an energy bill
requiring a 20 percent reduction of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming. The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today it no longer exists. I'm throwing it out. I'm throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense.
You cannot address crime prevention
without getting rid of assault
weapons and handguns.
I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I'm gonna convince Americans that I'm right, and I'm gonna get the guns. We've got serious problems, and we need serious men, and if you want to talk about character, Bob, you'd better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to
talk about character and American
values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I'll show up. This is a time for serious men, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name's Andrew Shepherd, and I am the President.

JustBill said...

Thanks for highlight the great speeches.

Saw "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" last night and thought it was pretty awful.

Have you reviewed it? Curious to read your analysis of what went wrong.

purpletrex said...

Pretty much this review:

Sums up my thoughts on "Benjamin Button."

Visually, the movie is great, but I found it hard to connect with the titular character. Benjamin seemed to me, to be almost devoid of a personality. Cate Blanchette was, as usual awesome, aside from that she was unable to master a New Orleans accent (nobody in Hollywood can seem to do it either).

To me, the best performance can from Taraji P. Henson, as the caretaker that takes in Benjamin, followed closely by Tilda Swinton.

"Button" is a good movie, but surely is no Forrest Gump.

*Fun Fact! Eric Roth, the writer of Gump and Button, just lost all of his money via the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Roth is suing his financial advisor, as the advisor just dumped all of Roth's money into Madoff's fund willy-nilly.

*Funner Fact! Using the "Fart Machine" Iphone app, for a well-timed fart during one of the many slow, long and drawn out silent scenes in Benjamin Button was worth the price of admission.

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

pfftt to JustBill. I thought Benjamin Button was a moving, touching film.

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

and yea, some of these monologues are just freakin' great.

I can't believe how long the JAWS monologue is, though.

Crumbs said...

It shames me to say it, but I did one *exactly* like that Chasing Amy one to a girl once. I was nuts about her, but it's still an embarrassing, cringeworthy memory.

Greatest monologue written in the History of Man (at least today, considering how infatuated everyone is with politics):

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest -
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men -
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar. Amazingly relevant, 400 years on.

Anonymous said...

I love a good monologue. Some great examples here. Call me a sap but the Robin Williams/GWH monologue damn near made me drop a tear.

My latest spec has a monolougue. I now feel the need to go back and rewrite it completely...


Mystery Man said...

Hey guys,

I truly apologize for my delay in responding to the comments. I’ve been traveling so much this holiday, that I wrote a bunch of articles in advance and scheduled them to be published while I was gone.

Purpletrex – Those are great. Loved the one from Brazil. That was hilarious.

JJ – You should be. Hehehe…

Christian – That’s great. I hadn’t seen that film.

JustBill – I have seen Button and will write an article. I plan to see it twice first. I imagine your complaints would stem from the episodic nature of the narrative and the passive protag? Am I wrong? Basically, the same debates over “Button” will be very similar to the ones that have raged in the past over “Forest Gump.”

Purpletrex – I gotta say, I didn’t hate “Button.”

Deaf – I did, too.

Crumbs – Yeah, that’s classic. Thanks for sharing that.

Dom – I’ve written very few monologues.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but mention two of my favorites which aren't included here. Ben Johnson's extended reflection while sitting on a log in "The Last Picture Show" (which won him an Oscar.) Also Klattu's speech to the crowd at the end of the original "Day The Earth Stood Still." (...reduce the earth to a burned out cinder.")

Dave said...

How about the monologue from 25th Hour, Norton delivers one of the most scathing reviews of NY citizens and humanity, pulling no punches, here it is:

No, Fuck You
written by David Benioff, from his novel

(Monty walks into the bathroom. He looks in the mirror. In the bottom corner, someone's written Fuck You!)
Monty: Yeah, fuck you, too.
Monty's Reflection: Fuck me? Fuck you! Fuck you and this whole city and everyone in it.
Fuck the panhandlers, grubbing for money, and smiling at me behind my back.
Fuck squeegee men dirtying up the clean windshield of my car. Get a fucking job!
Fuck the Sikhs and the Pakistanis bombing down the avenues in decrepit cabs, curry steaming out their pores and stinking up my day. Terrorists in fucking training. Slow the fuck down!
Fuck the Chelsea boys with their waxed chests and pumped up biceps. Going down on each other in my parks and on my piers, jingling their dicks on my Channel 35.
Fuck the Korean grocers with their pyramids of overpriced fruit and their tulips and roses wrapped in plastic. Ten years in the country, still no speaky English?
Fuck the Russians in Brighton Beach. Mobster thugs sitting in cafés, sipping tea in little glasses, sugar cubes between their teeth. Wheelin' and dealin' and schemin'. Go back where you fucking came from!
Fuck the black-hatted Chassidim, strolling up and down 47th street in their dirty gabardine with their dandruff. Selling South African apartheid diamonds!
Fuck the Wall Street brokers. Self-styled masters of the universe. Michael Douglas, Gordon Gecko wannabe mother fuckers, figuring out new ways to rob hard working people blind. Send those Enron assholes to jail for fucking life! You think Bush and Cheney didn't know about that shit? Give me a fucking break! Tyco! Imclone! Adelphia! Worldcom!
Fuck the Puerto Ricans. 20 to a car, swelling up the welfare rolls, worst fuckin' parade in the city. And don't even get me started on the Dom-in-i-cans, because they make the Puerto Ricans look good.
Fuck the Bensonhurst Italians with their pomaded hair, their nylon warm-up suits, and their St. Anthony medallions. Swinging their, Jason Giambi, Louisville slugger, baseball bats, trying to audition for the Sopranos.
Fuck the Upper East Side wives with their Hermés scarves and their fifty-dollar Balducci artichokes. Overfed faces getting pulled and lifted and stretched, all taut and shiny. You're not fooling anybody, sweetheart!
Fuck the uptown brothers. They never pass the ball, they don't want to play defense, they take fives steps on every lay-up to the hoop. And then they want to turn around and blame everything on the white man. Slavery ended one hundred and thirty seven years ago. Move the fuck on!
Fuck the corrupt cops with their anus violating plungers and their 41 shots, standing behind a blue wall of silence. You betray our trust!
Fuck the priests who put their hands down some innocent child's pants. Fuck the church that protects them, delivering us into evil. And while you're at it, fuck JC! He got off easy! A day on the cross, a weekend in hell, and all the hallelujahs of the legioned angels for eternity! Try seven years in fuckin Otisville, Jay!
Fuck Osama Bin Laden, Alqueda, and backward-ass, cave-dwelling, fundamentalist assholes everywhere. On the names of innocent thousands murdered, I pray you spend the rest of eternity with your seventy-two whores roasting in a jet-fueled fire in hell. You towel headed camel jockeys can kiss my royal, Irish ass!
Fuck Jacob Elinski, whining malcontent.
Fuck Francis Xavier Slaughtery, my best friend, judging me while he stares at my girlfriend's ass.
Fuck Naturel Rivera. I gave her my trust and she stabbed me in the back. Sold me up the river. Fucking bitch.
Fuck my father with his endless grief, standing behind that bar. Sipping on club soda, selling whiskey to firemen and cheering the Bronx Bombers.
Fuck this whole city and everyone in it. From the row houses of Astoria to the penthouses on Park Avenue. From the projects in the Bronx to the lofts in Soho. From the tenements in Alphabet City to the brownstones in Park slope to the split levels in Staten Island. Let an earthquake crumble it. Let the fires rage. Let it burn to fuckin ash then let the waters rise and submerge this whole, rat-infested place.
Monty: No. No, fuck you, Montgomery Brogan. You had it all and then you threw it away, you dumb fuck!
(He takes a breath and tries to rub away the words.)

Jeff Werner said...

The Devil in Denim, by Carson Mells:

Me and my new friend Rodney Buckinghorse had just been let out of a dryin' out clinic in Fresno and were fighting ourselves with sugar, each of us with our own pie. I was telling old Rodney that as far as Rock was concerned we were in a pussy period.

What's a Pussy Period?

Pussy Period is where music sounds like it's being made by a guy who was breast fed till the age of 12 playing a $20,000 guitar with mittens on while the sound engineer squeezes his balls with one hand and cools them with a Chinese fan with the other.

What do you think Rock 'n' Roll should sound like?

I think Rock 'n' Roll should sound like a wad of jagged of steel rolling down the highway spitting hot glass on the broken rocks. And at the centre of this, the nucleus to this, is the softest woman the world has ever seen, open motherly arms and just a whiff of sex. And then what does this fucking genius do? This awesome Indian with a feather in his hair to tell you Yes I am a native American and Yes fuck you for taking my land? He turns over his napkin and makes a perfect drawing of exactly what I'm talking about. Then outside guy just peels off his shirt like we're going swimming and shows me his tattoo, tells me: 'I know Rock 'n' Roll, also.'

So what do yo do after that? Your first night back in society after 48 days straight talking about your feelings, three point five pounds of cherry pie in your gut. I tell you what you do: you take that drawing to the first tattoo artist you see even if he does look like some Alfred E. Newman nightmare and you tell him 'Put this shit smack dab in the middle of my chest.'

And what does he do? He fucks it up.

Then what do you do after that? Well two months later you meet a decent tattoo artist living out of the back of his van and you trade him two cases of Bud to turn it into a spider. And there you are, walking around a spider on your chest, everyone thinking, 'Wow, that guy really digs spiders.'

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