Sunday, June 24, 2012

Top 10 Movie Quotes


The American Film Institute presented this year's Life Achievement Award 2012 to Shirley MacLaine. The ceremonies aired on TVLand cable Sunday night, June 24.

And in honor of that, I thought this might be a good time to present the AFI Top 10 Movie Quotes along with some insight into what actually makes a movie quote memorable…something that lives with us over the decades.

"I'm king of the world!" This Leonardo DiCaprico one-liner from 1997's TITANIC is one of the most quotable moments in movie history. But do we know why? Was it the way he said it? The scene content when the line was spoken? Well, thanks to science we seem to now have an answer.

A team of researchers at Cornell University recently conducted a study about how and why movie lines became popular and concluded it was a combination of factors. The two most important being familiar sentence structure and general statements that could apply to any situation. Other factors include: use of third-person pronouns (she, her, he, him), definite articles (the as opposed to a), and use of past tense. More syllables and fewer conjunctions (and, or, but) also help.

To figure out the formula for a memorable movie quote, researchers used thousands of scripts along with a list of famous quotes. They detected two patterns to identify the memorable choice from a script—distinctiveness and generality. Then they programmed their findings into a computer and the final results are this top 10 list.

One actor has the distinction of claiming two of the top 10 quotes from movies that were released 18 years apart.

1) GONE WITH THE WIND 1939
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
Rhett Butler (Clark Gable)

2) THE GODFATHER 1972
"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."
Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando)

3) ON THE WATERFRONT 1954
"You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."
Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando)

4) THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939
"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland)

5) CASABLANCA 1942
"Here's looking at you, kid."
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart)

6) SUDDEN IMPACT 1983
"Go ahead, make my day."
Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood)

7) SUNSET BLVD. 1950
"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson)

8) STAR WARS 1977
"May the Force be with you."
Han Solo (Harrison Ford)

9) ALL ABOUT EVE 1950
"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride."
Margo Channing (Bette Davis)

10) TAXI DRIVER 1976
"You talkin' to me?"
Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro)

There are, of course, many more memorable movie quotes that will be around for years to come.

9 comments:

Harlie Reader said...

That's a great list. I would agree on all of it. Another one woudl be from Rocky after the fight just him calling for Adrian.

Marika

Samantha Gentry said...

Hi, Marika. How are you doing bright and early this morning?

There are so many great movie quotes that narrowing it down to only 10 is a really tough job!

Harlie Reader said...

Going to church and then to see Brave. :)

Marika

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Samantha!
Very interesting how they came up with these quotes. I do, however, question the one from All About Eve. I remember the "it's going to be a bumpy ride." part, but I don't believe seatbelts were around in 1950. Maybe it was "hang on to your hats"?

My favorite quote from Casa Blanca was "Of all the gin joints in the world, she had to walk into his." Or something close to that.

Oh, and I recently saw Bernie (Jack Black and Shirley McLaine)and I have to say, she only called in her performance in that one. Quite a hack acting job. I do love and admire her career though. Jack Black was fabulous!

Ilona Fridl said...

Great list! I remember all of them. Casablanca is my favorite movie and there's so many quotes from that. There's the famous one: "You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it, Sam."

Samantha Gentry said...

Hi, Lynne. Casablanca had several memorable quotes. There's the one you mentioned, the one Ilona mentioned and then there's the last line of the movie, (to paraphrase) This is the start of a beautiful friendship.

On All About Eve...I think it is seat belts. As a 1950 movie, I took the seat belt reference and a bumpy ride as relating to airline travel rather than cars.

Samantha Gentry said...

Hi, Ilona. I think I read somewhere that Casablanca was originally scheduled to star Ronald Reagan rather than Humphrey Bogart (I can't visualize that at all). And Robin Hood...Jack Warner wanted to star James Cagney in it rather than Errol Flynn. Cagney was a great actor and very versatile, but I simply cannot see him as Robin Hood.

Fiona McGier said...

I guess you know these are really memorable quotes when I haven't even seen some of the movies, yet I know the quotes and who said them! Part of being alive in the culture?

Samantha Gentry said...

Hi, Fiona: You're right...when you haven't seen the movie and you still know the quote and which character said it that does speak for itself! :)

Thanks for your comment.