11 Great American Film Quotes that rarely (if ever) get mentioned in Top 10 Film Quote Lists

From “Say hello to my little friend” in Scarface to “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” in Jaws, there are so many memorable film quotes. But here are 11 great quotes that rarely get a mention.

“I told you not to stop, now let’s go.”

Willard (Martin Sheen) to Chief (Albert Hall) after the crew of PBR Streetgang slaughter the Vietnamese sampan family midway through Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.

“They got your message Kathryn.”

James Cole (Bruce Willis) to Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) – at which point it fully dawns on her that the world really is moving towards a plague-ridden apocalypse – in Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys.

“It’s cyanide, cut with carbolic acid, to give it a mellow flavor.”

Bitter barfly Larry Slade (Robert Ryan) prepares for another drink near the start of John Frankenheimer’s 1973 version of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh.

“We’re after men, and I wish to God I was with them. The next time you make a mistake I’m going to ride off and let you die.”

The traitorous Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan again) spells it out for the degenerate group of bounty hunters he is leading in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch.

“I think I’ve lost my faith, Tom.”

Father Damian Karras (Jason Miller) to Father Tom (Thomas Bermingham) just before he takes on the Devil in William Friedkin’s The Exorcist.

“Bullshit! That’s not what she said – what she said doesn’t make any sense.”

Dillon (Carl Weathers) disputes Anna’s (Elpida Carrillo) claim that “the jungle came alive and took him” (Hawkins, played by Shane Black) in John McTiernan’s Predator.

“These are the facts Rich. I mean I haven’t even begun to let my imagination loose on this thing.”

Alex Cutter (John Heard) to Richard Bone (Jeff Bridges) before their ill fated attempt to bring down the establishment in Ivan Passer’s Cutter’s Way.

“Life’s got no time for your little boy games – leave all that nonsense at home when you come here.”

Recovering junkie Samuel L. Jackson, ignorant of the fact that his 12-year-old son (Sean Nelson) has just rescued his daughter and single-handedly brought down a wannabe drug kingpin, in the closing moments of Boaz Yakin’s Fresh.

“Do you think LBJ would ever have asked Hunt to forge a cable implicating Kennedy in the assassination of the president of Vietnam?”

John Ehrlichman (JT Walsh) questions HR “Bob” Halderman (James Woods) about his knowledge of Richard Nixon’s past crooked dealings in Oliver Stone’s Nixon.

“Are you ready for that – checking into a Vegas hotel under a phony name with intent to commit capital fraud and a head full of acid? I sure hope so.”

Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) to Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) on the road in Terry Gilliam’s take on Hunter S. Thompson’s classic novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

“They made us too smart, too quick and too many. We are suffering for the mistakes they made, because when the end comes all that will be left is us. That’s why they hate us – and that’s why you must stay here, with me.”

Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) tries to persuade fellow android David (Haley Joel Osment) to stay with him in Steven Spielberg’s AI.

Written and compiled by Mark Fraser.

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About the Author
Mark is a film journalist, screenwriter and former production assistant from Western Australia.

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  1. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    That quote from Predator is great. It isn’t one I’ve considered a favourite in the past, which makes the title of this list so apt, but it resonates so effectively when I think about it. When Dillon says what he says we are still unsure as to the true horrors that are to come – for the team as a whole, for Arnie in his final face-off, and for the unfortunate Dillon whose moment of bravery fails to pay off. It’s suitably unsettling and highlights one of the reasons Predator is so enjoyable – namely, the character dynamic between the various soldiers.

    Likewise, that A.I. quote is deeply unsettling!

  2. Avatar
    Jack Deth Reply

    Hi, Mark and company:

    Intriguing topic!

    I’ve often used one of the final lines from Mamet’s ‘The Spanish Prisoner’ when discussing the obvious. I’m also pleased that others see its simple logic.

    “Nobody looks at a Japanese tourist.”

    Spoken by an Asian American US Marshall to a surprised Campbell Scott. As high end con man, Steve Martin is bundled into an ambulance. After being tranquilizer darted by a young, attractive, girls prep school uniformed Asian American Marshall with an Austin, Texas accent packs away her rifle.

    Also, two lines from ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’:

    “I’ve waited my entire life to screw up this badly”.

    Delivered my Michael Moriarty after being kidnapped by Richard Masur and Ray Sharkey. As Moriarty is used as leverage to get five kilos of Laotian heroin from Nick Nolte and Moriarty’s wife, Tuesday Weld.

    “I’m a loyal American who fought for my flag. And I don’t take shit from Martians!”

    A very post-Vietnam line delivered by Nolte. Obliquely explaining his actions to Tuesday Weld just after a drug deal in Beverly Hills goes bad.

    Surprised that one of Sidney Falco’s lesser lines from ‘Sweet Smell of Success’ is missing.

    “The cat’s in the bag. And the bag’s in the river.”

    Great catches on ‘Cutter’s Way’ and ‘Fresh’!

  3. Avatar
    mark Reply

    Thanx fellas

    Dan – admittedly Predator is not one of my favourite films, but that line has always stuck with me since I first saw it (on VHS) in 1989.

    Jack – believe it or not I STILL haven’t seen Sweet Smell …. ; plus I haven’t seen WSTR since the start of 1990 (also on VHS), despite the odd attempt to find it at some of the classier DVD outlets in recent years(yes, I could download this stuff, but I’m lazy, an imbecile and a troglodyte to boot … plus I’d like to get a properly formatted version of WSTR, crank the volume way up and then get cranked up myself, if you get my drift). From memory I watched WSTR twice in one day (I was very under-employed at the time)- great movie; Nolte was fantastic.

  4. Avatar
    Alex Withrow Reply

    Oh great, unique list here. Love that quote from The Exorcist. Such a telling moment.

  5. Avatar
    The Focused Filmographer Reply

    I like this post. No one really thinks about “unpopular” movie quotes.

    Great subject.

    i can’t think of any profound ones I like right now. but I can’t help but think about Nic Cage screaming “not the bees” in Wickerman. haha

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