In centuries past, people memorized poetry, but sadly that practice has fallen by the wayside. So how do we nowadays express our knowledge of entertainment and culture? Movie quotes, that’s how. Everyone has a favorite, and there is no shortage of lists and rankings for the great ones. For people like me who enjoy film quotes enough to read this post, there are many that have wormed their way into our everyday dialogue. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard or said things like “Game over, man. Game over!” or “What we have here is failure to communicate” or “I’ll be back” or “As you wish” or “I love the smell of bacon in the morning.” Yeah.
Yet there are just as many great quotes that don’t get as much recognition. They often come from specific personal favorites or might just be underrated gems hidden among a film’s more famous lines. Either way, these are quotes that usually serve as inside jokes among the few who know them. Typically, when I employ them outside the family circle, people have no idea what I’m quoting, and I think it’s about time these lines get the attention they deserve. Many of these I remembered offhand, but others only came to mind after several days of waiting for someone to spit them out subconsciously.
To test just how unknown these lines are, I’ve set this list up as somewhat of a game. You can scroll down to read each quote and try to identify its source before going down a little further for the answer.
Something tells me these aren’t all obscure, but I never see them on other lists and I do get a kick out of using them. What are your favorites?
- “And we’re walking, and we’re walking…”
Dave – I’ve always enjoyed this political romantic comedy, in which Kevin Kline must take the place of his doppelganger President and falls in love with the First Lady (Sigourney Weaver). For some reason, though, the scene that always sticks in my mind is Bonnie Hunt’s cameo, in which she leads a tourist group through the White House. The perfect line for leading someone or just, you know, walking.
- “It is time. Oooooh!”
Heart and Souls – A childhood favorite of mine, Heart and Souls followed four dead souls completing their unfinished business through their human friend/vessel (Robert Downey, Jr.). What else would you expect a ghostly bus driver (David Paymer) to say when he drives through a wall to reclaim the wayward souls? His own personal sound effect adds to this line’s appeal. Perfect for announcing the time.
- “You swear?”
“Every damn day.”
The Mummy – I love Brendan Fraser’s heroic Rick O’Connell in this action horror remake. This particular line is so quick that most viewers probably didn’t even notice it, but when Evie (Rachel Weisz) demands reassurance with the question above, he delivers the perfect answer. I’m not a fan of swearing, but I always laugh at that line. Perfect for whenever someone asks you to swear.
- “This is a very interesting situation!”
It’s a Wonderful Life – Properly said in your best Jimmy Stewart impression, this quote is ideal for when your sweetheart is naked in a bush and you’re holding the only robe in sight. The look on his face is priceless too. Perfect for just about any remotely interesting situation.
- “I like that boulder. That’s a nice boulder.”
Shrek – When Donkey has to come up with something nice to say about Shrek’s swamp, a boulder is the best thing he can praise. This line may be referencing something else, but I have no idea what it is. Just replace the word “boulder,” and this line is perfect for complimenting anything.
- “It was real, and it was great, and it was really great.”
Elizabethtown – When Drew (Orlando Bloom) tries to reconnect with sort-of girlfriend Ellen (Jessica Biel), she lets him down easy with this should-be classic line. Other memorable quotes from this Cameron Crowe favorite of mine include “You failed, you failed, you failed” and “I’m going to miss your lips and everything attached to them.” This #7 pick, though, is perfect for breaking up or generally taking your leave of someone.
- “You’re right. You’re right. I know you’re right.”
When Harry Met Sally… – This classic rom com has a preponderance of quotable material, from “I’ll have what she’s having” to Billy Crystal’s “pepper in my paprikash” spiel. Honestly, this one flew under my radar for a long time until my VC pointed it out and employed it regularly, just like Carrie Fisher every time Meg Ryan points out that her lover will never leave his wife. Perfect for admitting you’re wrong with no intention of changing.
- “Aye, I could do that.” (with Scottish accent)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – As my favorite movie (series?) ever, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings has had a subconscious effect on my speech patterns. Instead of “Not today,” I say “Not this day!” Instead of “cook potatoes,” I say “Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.” Not to mention, “What say you” and “You will suffer me!” Yet I’ve noticed this final film quote from Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) creeping into my conversations a lot lately. Perfect for agreeing to die with a friend or agreeing to anything really.
- “Three hours later…” (with fake French accent)
SpongeBob SquarePants – Okay, so this is from a TV show, but I never said this list was just movies. Used as a running gag on Nickelodeon’s overly long-running kids show (which stretched back to my childhood), this line is utilized by the French narrator whenever a period of time passes. It might be “Three hours later” or “One eternity later” or “So much later that the old narrator got tired of waiting and they had to hire a new one.” Perfect for waiting or practicing fake French accents.
- “Helloooooo!” (as high and drunk-sounding as possible)
Miracle on 34th Street – My mom and I especially love this scene of the original Christmas classic, in which Mr. Shellhammer (Philip Tonge) gets his wife drunk enough to let Santa Claus move in with them. She’s so snockered that she can’t hold the phone right and answers it hilariously. My mom also likes to use her follow-up line “I think that would be simply charming!” This is one inside joke that insiders will love swapping, but everyone else will think you’re nuts. Perfect for answering the phone and maybe scaring off telemarketers.
- “How dare he!” (with fake Scottish accent)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – This is one I use a lot, and not even those who know about it recognize it every time. Surely, you remember the scene where Jones enters the Nazis’ castle in disguise, only for the butler to insist, “If you are a Scottish lord, then I am Mickey Mouse!” Indy’s next line doesn’t get enough credit, though, as he utters “How dare he!” before punching the guy out. It’s a great scene and a perfect line for even the slightest offense.
“There are many moods of Ben.” and
“He has an empty space.” and
“Look, it’s mouse on a stick. I love mouse on a stick!”
Stuart Little – I haven’t seen this kids’ film in a while, but it’s easy to forget how quotable it is. The “many moods of Ben” gets the most use at my house, where it can apply to anyone who has varied tastes or is just moody. “There are many moods of Joe or Sarah or me, etc.” The second is great for overly emotional acknowledgements that something is wrong, and the third just makes me laugh every time. That “mouse on a stick” line is uttered by a random hungry cat when Stuart is hanging from a tree branch and is perfect whenever I see or eat anything on a stick (which isn’t as often as I would like).
Below are a bunch of other film quotes that my family uses or that we just enjoy more than most:
“Keep your pantyhose on!” – The Abyss (My mom uses this line a lot more than I do.)
“Lord, I’d just like to thank You for that waitress in South Bend. You know who she is – she kept calling Your name.” – A League of Their Own (Yeah, no comment.)
“We’re talking…big.” – Baby Boom (Best used with an accompanying expanding hand gesture and perfect for any big event.)
“Last night, Darth Vader came down from Planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn’t take Lorraine out, that he’d melt my brain.” – Back to the Future (I love it.)
“Never trust a man who puts his hands in your mouth.” – Doc Hollywood (I haven’t yet found the right situation to use this line effectively.)
“You want it. You got it. Toyota.” – Forget Paris (Perfect for saying over and over to annoy someone.)
“You’ve attacked an innocent dwarf.” – Foul Play (Perfect for…I have no idea, but it’s funny.)
“Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.” – Forrest Gump (Just one bit of wisdom among many more famous ones, and very true.)
“Everything else was lost in the explosion.” – Funny Farm (Perfect for scaring people into thinking there was an explosion.)
“Is it safe?” – Good Eats/Marathon Man (I know this is a famous line from Marathon Man, but I heard it first on Good Eats, a funny cooking show with lots of movie references.)
“Hold onto your butts.” – Jurassic Park (Perfect for preparing yourself for the worst.)
“It comes in pints?” – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Perfect for commenting on the availability of pints.)
“Well, that didn’t work.” – Phineas and Ferb, the pilot episode (Another TV cartoon, but I use this line more often than I care to admit. Perfect “oops” line instead of cussing and screaming when you mess up, or maybe just to sound calm after the screaming.)
Miguel: “Well, don’t blame me.” Tulio: “I BLAME you!” – The Road to El Dorado (A great exchange between Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline.)
“Have you tried staples?” – Scrooged (Perfect for attaching antlers to a mouse.)
“Arizona, maybe” and “Little bit jumpy” and “Terrific!” with an OK gesture – Starman (My favorite John Carpenter movie has lots of great quotes.)
“Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.” – Starman again (Told you; perfect for explaining why you run through yellow lights.)
“Wesa going home!” – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Say what you will about Jar Jar Binks, but he did give me this line, perfect for whenever you’re headed home.)
“I am a lone reed.” – You’ve Got Mail (A great confidence builder from a perfect rom com.)