10. “I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich.”
Actor: Billy Crystal as Harry
Movie: When Harry Met Sally
I believe this is the best speech of any romantic comedy, which gave it a spot on this list. Everyone who has seen this movie simply knows it as the When Harry Met Sally Speech for good reason. In this speech, Billy Crystal runs through all the reasons why he loves Meg Ryan in a both funny and yet heart-felt enough way to even make a cynic like me go gushy.
9. “What is there to explain?”
Actor: Hillary Swank as Alice Paul
Movie: Iron Jawed Angels
Of all the movie speeches on this list, I would wager this is the one you have never heard of. Iron Jawed Angels is one of the few HBO feature films with some actual quality. It is about how women passed the 19th amendment. The speech in question is performed by Hillary Swank, playing the true life character of Alice Paul. She gives this speech when she is questioned by a doctor in the mental ward of a prison she is in after picketing a war time president. She eloquently explains her position as a suffragette, revealing that all she really wants are the same thing men want as well.
I couldn’t find a youtube video of just the speech so skip to 5:32 on the video to get straight to it.
8. “If I asked you about art I bet you could give me the skinny on every art book ever written…but I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel.”
Actor: Robin Williams as Sean Maguire
Movie: Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting, an impeccable film, has multiple good speeches, but I think this is the best one. Robin William’s character is speaking to Matt Damon (Will) about how even though he is extremely intelligent, he has really never experienced anything in his life.
7. “You’ll never write well if you fear death.”
Actor: Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway
Movie: Midnight in Paris
Corey Stoll’s great performance as Hemmingway makes this speech unforgettable. It is so powerful and also kind of funny in a very subtle way. The first time I saw this scene, I thought, “I’m not quite sure what he said, but he said it beautifully,” which just goes to show the power of his words.
6. “The Lambs Were Screaming”
Actor: Jodie Foster as Clarisse Starling and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector
Movie: Silence of the Lambs
The power in this speech (and really the whole film) is how the actor’s feed off each other. You have Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lector gazing at Jodie Foster (Clarisse) so intensely, and Jodie Foster respinding with raw emotion as she tells him about her childhood trauma when he came across screaming lambs.
5. “My Name is Maximus”
Actor: Russell Crowe as Maximus
You all know this rivetting scene, when Maximus faces Commedus with eyes of glaring hatred and completely tells him off in a tour-de-force diatribe that leaves you shivering.
4. “Here’s Lookin’ at you kid.”
Actor: Humphrey Bogart as Rick
There was no way I could leave Casablanca out of this list. This is at the end of the movie when Rick persuades Elsa to get in the plain with Victor even though they love each other in the most beautiful scene on the silver screen.
3. “They May Take Our Lives, but they will never take our freedom!”
Actor: Mel Gibson as William Wallace
I am not a particularly large fan of Braveheart, but I have to admit that this is a very awesome speech. I think that every speech a general gives in front of his troops in a movie goes back to this powerful scene that pretty much every Western man knows by heart.
2. “And You Will Know My Name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!!”
Actor: Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield
Movie; Pulp Fiction
Do I really have to explain this one? Come on.
- “You Can’t Handle the Truth!”
Actor: Jack Nicholson as Col. Jesip
Movie: A Few Good Men
For the best movie speech, I chose the one Jack Nicolson gives in A Few Good Men. I realize that saying “You can’t handle the truth” is kind of a joke now, but that is only because it is from a very memorable speech that sticks in people’s heads. In this scene, Col. Jesip is explaining the role he plays as a colonel heading Guantanamo Bay. His speech is so intense and deranged that it goes beyond awesomeness. Just watch the clip. it says it all.
Being that there are some really amazing movie speeches out there, please speak up if I forgot some great ones. Or, feel free to argue with my choices!