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15 Best Movie Speeches of All Time

January 27, 2019
13 min read

Dialogues and speeches are the string, which binds the beads of a good cinema. Acting, cinematography, production they can all fall apart if the writing sucks. There are so many movies with great stories who aren’t impactful, because of lame dialogues. On the other hand, people remember even mediocre movies because of a powerful speech. These speeches are so inspirational that they make the listener believe that anything’s possible. The sheer power of words is strong enough to move mountains. In these speeches, the speaker enthralls the audience with his wisdom and experience and motivates them to carry out the impossible in life. We, at the Cinemaholic, made a list of top movie speeches ever that will inspire you. Be ready to get motivated!

15. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – “Hoist The Colours”

Consider this. A fleet of pirate ship have been surrounded by the elite force of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy. The pirates are broken, without any command and their faith lies in their pirate queen Elizabeth who probably due to a turn of fate, became their leader. Tricked into a cornered position, by a cunning lord Beckett, she is left with no choice but retaliate with whatever she has. And she choses this moment to rise to the occasion. She thunders at her fellow pirates, asking them to fight like free men and not surrender meekly like cowards. And it resonates with pirates, irrespective of their clans and they roar as every version of Jolly Roger starts flying high in the wind.

14. V For Vendetta (2005) – “The Revolutionary Speech”

Just like Hitler crafted a dictatorship, disguised within a so-called superior race driven government, in a not so distant future version of London, the chancellor Adam Sutler formed a reign where in the name of security, privacy was looted. In return of order and peace to the society, the people traded their foremost weapon – consent. In the garb of protecting the people, the reigning government unleashed tyranny and oppression. In such times, one fine day, every TV gets tuned into a channel where a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask speaks to them. He reminds them of Guy Fawkes, who brought a revolution to the people 400 years ago. To end this cruelty and meek submission, he asks everyone to join him in exactly one year later, on 5th of September on the gates of the Parliament. This speech sets in motion, of the events of ‘V for Vendetta’.

13. The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) – “I’m not fuckin’ leaving”

The high flying, corrupt and megalomaniac Jordan Belfort is finally caught and as a part of the deal with the FBI, he’s supposed to leave Stratton Oakmont and never ever indulge in the market of share trading, which made him so rich. He appears in his office and makes an announcement about his stepping down from the company, in front of his beleaguered colleagues. He explains his pain in leaving them in lurch and how he’s going to miss them all. While talking about their collective effort to make money overcoming their individual struggles in life, all of sudden he realizes, this is place where he belongs after all. And despite the warning of FBI, he screams his lungs out – ‘I’m not fuckin’ leaving !!’

12. Rocky Balboa (2006) – “It ain’t about how hard you hit”

Rocky Balboa is an ageing boxer, who has left the sport, only to come back to it again. His wife’s dead and his son is sick and tired of the name and pressure of being related to Rocky. His father’s fame has started to affect him professionally and personally as well. So he gets the news of his arthritic father, gearing up for another bout of boxing, he discourages him by stating his example of being a failure, despite of being a Balboa. Rocky thunders when he says, ‘It’s ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’ He asks him to stop blaming others for his failure. It’s an moving speech with some profound advice for life. Life’s meant to be unfair and its sole plan is to keep you down. Instead of cribbing, you’ve to accept your loses and move forward. That’s how you win.

11. Any Given Sunday (1999) – “Life’s a game of inches”

Before an all important play off game, coach D’Amato, played by Al Pacino gathers around his players. Through many difficulties and infightings, they’ve reached a place where one mistake can cost them everything. He begins the talk with comparing their current position to being in a shit hole and it’s totally up to them to get beat the shit out of themselves or fight hard to come back. He cites his own example of being a broken man who lost money, family and himself for taking bad decisions in life. But life is just like a game of football. It’s all about the margin of error. Just like a game of football, where once one starts losing, he gets the drift of the game and then tries crawl into those inches. He urges them to come together as a team and win it for themselves.

10. Wall Street (1987) – “Greed, for lack of a better word, is Good”

Wall street is about money. Wall street is about power. Wall street is about greed. And greed, ladies and gentlemen, for the lack of a better word, is good. That’s what Gordon Gekko believed in. In a speech to the investors of a loss making paper company Teldar, he explains meticulously that the sole reason the company lost so much of money is because of inefficient people at the top and not because he broke the company to pieces. He argues that his greed of making money actually liberates loss making industries. Greed is an evolutionary trait and it’s greed which has made man go for more, be it knowledge, technology or profit. It’s an amazing take on something which itself is labelled as a biblical sin. Micheal Douglas as Gordon Gekko, gives an amazing performance.

9. Dead Poet’s Society (1989) – “Carpe Diem, seize the day boys”

In a school, where discipline is revered, a new english teacher comes in a breather among the strict disciplinarians. To a motley group of students, he reaches out and asks them to come out of their shell. He tells them to live their lives in their own way and not to someone’s expectations. One’s life duration is limited and eventually everyone will die. What will be left, is his legacy. So instead of living a dull life, one should do something to make it extraordinary. That’s the essence of Carpe Diem. The character of John Keating was played by the late Robin Williams, who demonstrates the importance of individuality to the students through this inspiring speech. He inspires them to be achieve greatness rather than to be successful.

8. Remember The Titans (2000) – “Take a lesson from the dead”

At the heights of racism, a black man is appointed as the head coach of a school, where traditionally it’s usually filled up by a white man. Tackling racism and discrimination at every step, coach Boone takes up the challenge. The team suffers from racially motivated conflicts and its success is deterred due to the ever meddling school authorities. Coach Boone takes everything to his stride and takes his team through a gruelling schedule of training at the Gettysburg cemetery where thousands of men died during the battle of Gettysburg. Through this speech, he asks his team to learn from those people, who laid their lives while fighting for each other. He urges them to be better by coming together and play as one team. His speech motivates his team to achieve success. Denzel Washington plays coach Boone in the sports drama ‘Remember The Titans’.

7. Braveheart (1995) – “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom”

In an English ruled Scotland, a young William Wallace witnesses the English massacring his family. He flees from the country only to return as a rebel who takes charge to lead the rebellion against the English. As he leads a rag-tag army of Scottish peasants and farmers, he asks them to fight as free men, against the enormous English army. When somebody from the army says that it’s better to hide and live than to fight and die, Wallace roars back by saying that the enemy may take their lives but they will never be able to take their freedom. Mel Gibson acted as well as directed this film, which went on to win five academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

6. Scent Of A Woman (1992) – “When shit hits the fan, some guys run and some guys stay”

At the Baird school, which traditionally has given the country many leaders and achievers, a disciplinary meeting takes place, for an act of mischief. While the reason remains trivial at its best, the focus shifts to two persons, who were supposed to be the witnesses of the events. One of those witnesses is a boy, whose father is a key figure in the school management. Hence he gets off the hook, after naming the suspects. Naturally it’s the other guy Charlie, who despite of being innocent, gets to take the blame. And it almost happens but for the presence of Lt Colonel Frank Slade. He makes his point that while everyone chose to be indifferent to the situation, Charlie showed integrity by not behaving as a snitch. And this is the stuff leaders are made of. Al Pacino played Lt Colonel Slade and gave a performance of a lifetime.

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5. Independence Day (1996) – “Today, we celebrate our independence day”

While the world burns and is at the mercy of aliens, it comes down to a few brave men who decide to join forces to fight against the aliens. After repeated attempts of failure, a final assault is planned in the lines of a kamikaze attack, similar to a suicide mission. The president, himself a pilot mans the mission. Before they leave the base, he reminds them that this mission, incidentally to commence on 4th of July will be the biggest battle of their lives. And should they win, it will no longer be an American holiday. Rather it will be the day, when the world will be liberated of their common enemy. It shall be the world’s independence day. It’s a speech that evokes thunderous applause from everyone, as their belief in their leader becomes firm.

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4. Network (1976) – “I’m mad as hell and am not going to take it anymore”

News these days, are more of shock inducing and eye grabbing details rather than journalism based on facts. In ‘Network’, a TV network’s struggle with declining viewership turns into a full-blown war when its own people start making factory made shows to get ratings. The movie is primarily about how TV controls the life and through it audio-visual medium, can sway public opinion about everything. In a way, this is what controls the masses today. When the veteran news anchor Howard Beale screams at his viewers to shout that they’ re mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore, he vents out his frustration at the growing influence of TV on the people. He cites example of life going astray while the TV shows paint a rosy picture. Many years later, as we see today, the real has imitated the reel and today literally the TV controls everything. This speech is truly pathbreaking.

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3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – “Get busy living or get busy dying”

There’s nothing new that can be told about ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. Arguably the best movie ever, this is Andy Dufresne’s story spanning across nineteen years in the infamous Shawshank penitentiary. While Andy makes the most out of his time at the prison doing various jobs, he also gets into a tiff with a corrupt warden over his discharge which leads him into a solitary confinement. When he’s out, his friend Red becomes afraid that this may break him forever. However a nonchalant Andy tells him about his dream destination and his wish to spend rest of his life there, thus explaining that life is all about hope and at times, it comes down to one simple choice – Get busy living or get busy dying. This speech is also a metaphor for being hopeful in the most hopeless of situations.

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2. A Few Good Men (1992) – “You can’t handle the truth”

A soldier dies at GITMO base camp and the blame goes to couple of fellow soldiers as an act of negligence. While the soldiers plead that they were under order to punish the dying soldier, it comes down to one of the most laziest of military lawyers to take up their case. As the case reaches its final stage, upon repeated provocation from the defence lawyer, Colonel Nathan Jessup becomes enraged and tells that at times, despite being wrong, people need to take decision that may take one life but in return save thousands. Freedom comes at a price and being a provider of the same, that’s what entitles him to take decisions which may or may not be ethical. This’s the truth and that possibly cannot be fathomed by a layman. A stunning performance by Jack Nicholson!

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1. The Great Dictator (1940)- “We think too much and feel too little”

Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’ is a political satire, in the garb of comedy and it condemns the ways of the contemporary dictators of the time, namely Hitler and Mussolini. A jewish barber, who’s also a lookalike of the tyrant ruler of a fictional country gets to replace the dictator and ends up in a podium where he has to deliver a speech. He rises to the occasion when he tells his subjects that instead of ruling everyone as a dictator, he wants to help everyone. As human beings, one should rise above the ever engulfing greed. Though the world has progressed into future through numerous innovations, still it does distinguish people based on their caste, creed and colour. Humanity has been lost its meaning in the countless machinery that does our jobs. We’ve become cynical due to our ever growing penchant for knowledge. And that’s where we all lose as mankind.

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