To some, movie quotes are a mere curiosity. To geeks, movie quotes are a way of life. Due to the way their brains function, every geek possesses the innate ability to have entire conversations with their friends using only lines spoken in movies. Star Wars is, of course, the gold standard; between Han Solo’s self-assuredness and Yoda’s new-age philosophizing, there is a quote in the original trilogy for every occasion. (The prequels are less quotable, although most Jar-Jar Binks and Anakin Skywalker dialogue is useful when attempting to make a grown man cry.)
Leaving aside the six Star Wars films as a whole, the following are the ten geek-friendly films that are the most quotable, using our highly subjective system of rating the quality and quantity of quotes. And no, Caddyshack and Die Hard are not geek films — their fantasy/sci-fi elements are limited to a talking groundhog and an unkillable Bruce Willis, neither of which is outside the realm of statistical possibility.
10) Conan the Barbarian
Long, long ago, before his thick Austrian accent became a national treasure, filmmakers learned to give Arnold Schwarzenegger as little dialogue as possible. His Conan was largely the strong, silent type, but Arnold held his own in the first Conan film, spouting straightforward lines that counterbalanced the heavy-handed philosophy and mysticism that everyone else spouted off about. His clumsy “Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!” is far more memorable than better quotes by other characters (“What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?” “Do you want to live forever?”). But one line of dialogue puts this film in the geek-quote hall of fame, and only one. When asked “What is best in life?” Conan replies, in rote perfection, “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.” And thus a geek credo was born, one that has been repeated, somewhere, every five minutes since it was first spoken. When it comes to giving us words to live by, Conan is king.
The Big One: There’s really only the one.
9) Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
It seems a shame to break up the set, but so many great quotes come from the first Lord of the Rings movie that you don’t even need the other two. After all, The Fellowship of the Ring introduced us to the loyalty of men (“You have my sword.”), the defiance of elves (“If you want him, come and claim him!”), the hunger of orcs (“You will taste man-flesh!”), the clumsiness of Hobbits (“Fool of a Took!”) and the immovability of wizards (“You shall not pass!”). Sure, The Two Towersand Return of the King gave us some great quotes as well, but the first LOTR film already packs enough precious dialogue to choke a hobbit.
The Big One: “One ring to rule them all. One ring to find them. One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”
8) Terminator 2: Judgment Day
I know, I know, some of the best Terminator 2 quotes first appeared in Terminator 1. But when we say “Come with me if you want to live,” do we say it in Michael Biehn’s voice, or Arnold’s? And “I’ll be back” didn’t really become a catchphrase until it was spoken by the hero of T2, with a sly wink to the original film — in T1 it was yet another menacing statement by a monosyllabic cyborg. But arguably more famous than both of those quotes is one of the cheesiest and yet most–repeated phrases in all of moviedom: “Hasta la vista, baby.” We may not want to take ownership of it, but we geeks are indirectly responsible for that quote existing, and I think we need to show a little pride.
The Big One: “I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle.”
7) The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride is a strange beast. It’s a fairy-tale romance, one that a He-Man-loving Fred Savage rejects outright in the first five minutes of the film, but it’s also a brilliant genre parody with an amazing cast and a great script. Which means you get a mix of romantic (“As you wish.”), bad-ass (“We are men of action; lies do not become us.”) and hilariously self-referential dialogue (“Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” “Have fun storming the castle!” “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”) Even Andre the Giant has some great dialogue, but it’s not as funny on paper. “Hello, lady!” See? Not as funny. In the movie, that s#%$ is hilarious.
The Big One: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
6) Marvel’s The Avengers
The newest box-office-smashing Marvel film owes much of its repeat business (and its spot on this list) to the script of writer-director Joss Whedon. While it has plenty of “hell yeah” quotes — “You have made me very desperate.” “We have a Hulk.” “Puny god.” — it’s also sprinkled with plenty of that great Whedon banter. “Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?” “There’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” “That guy was playing Galaga.” “He’s adopted.” The end result is a two-and-a-half-hour movie that’s as quotable as seven seasons of Buffy.
The Big One: “That’s my secret, Cap — I’m always angry.” (Punches space whale.)
5) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The greatest Trek film, naturally, has some of the best quotes, thanks to Ricardo Montalban’s debonair delivery (“I deprived your ship of power, and when I swing around, I mean to deprive you of your life.”) and Shatner’s unbridled fury (“You’ve managed to kill everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target!”). There’s also some great McCoy quotes in there. (“Are you out of your Vulcan mind?”) Phasers play their part, but from Kirk’s “KHAAAAAAN!” to Khan’s final curse, the entire film is a war of words.
The Big One: “Ah, Kirk, my old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold… in space.”
4) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
All of the Indiana Jones movies are somewhat light on dialogue, thanks to the extended action sequences that leave Dr. Jones little time to breathe, let alone speak. And though Temple of Doom may be the chattiest Indy film, nobody wants to quote Kate Capshaw, so Raiders remains the gold (idol) standard. Every line from the opening sequence — “Throw me the idol, I’ll throw you the whip!” “There is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.” “I hate snakes!” — may as well be etched in stone given their permanent place in nerd culture. Factor in more bon mots from Belloq and some true gems from Sallah (“Bad dates.” “Asps! Very dangerous! …You go first.”) and the script for that movie belongs in a museum. You know, in a good way.
The Big One: “You want to talk to God? Let’s go see him together — I’ve got nothing better to do.”
“The Ghostbusters.” This movie is so quotable even the title is a quote, if you say it in an exasperated voice like the mayor, or an annoyed voice like Janine Melnitz. The quotes don’t start right away in this movie, but by the time the film hits its stride, it’s pure gold, with a quote for nearly every occasion. (“Print is dead.” “That’s a big Twinkie.” “Stop staring at me, you’ve got the bug-eyes.” “Dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”) And it all builds to the final battle scene, which gives us such gems as “Let’s show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown,” “What did you do, Ray?” and “Nobody steps on a church in my town!” The second movie is nowhere near as quotable, but I like to quote it as a sign of respect to the first.
The Big One: “Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say ‘yes’!”
2) Army of Darkness
The smartest thing Sam Raimi did in the third Evil Dead film was give Bruce Campbell’s Ash more people to mouth off to. After talking mostly to cackling demons and himself for two films, AoD gave Ash a bunch of Middle Ages types to boss around and really showed off his personality, especially in regards to the ladies. (“Hail to the king, baby.” “Gimme some sugar, baby.” “Honey, you got real ugly.” “It’s a trick. Get an axe.”) And if that wasn’t enough, we were treated to Ash fighting an evil version of himself for much of the second half of the film, leading to double the Kampbell Kwotes. “Good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun.”
The Big One: “All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up — you see this? This… is my boomstick!“
1) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
There is no competition. When it comes to non-Star Wars movies geeks have quoted, Holy Grail takes the top spot. Of course, it does have a distinct advantage, considering that a large number of G1 geeks started out as Monty Python fans, and that every single line in the movie is effing hilarious to them. Still, a large number of geeks can speak entire sections of the movie by heart. “Bring out your dead!” “None shall pass.” “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.” “There are some who call me… Tim?” And with the right accent, even a few words — “A shrubbery!” “Run away!” “I got better.” “He’s already got one!” — are enough to set off a long conversation between two giggling geeks.
The Big One: “We are the Knights who say ‘Ni!'”