I love movies and movie quotes. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I tend to quote movies more often than I probably should. Fortunately many of them share my love for memorable dialog just as much as I do, so I put together a list of 10 of my all-time comedy favorites. If this goes over well, I’ll post an eventual follow up of other genres. It was tempting to use multiple quotes from a film, so I limited myself to just one per movie (very tough!). You can click each number to listen to a clip from its respective soundtrack.
I hope these bring a smile to your face and I invite you to post your own favorite movie quotes in the comments below. Enjoy!
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“Dan Marino should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell.”
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) – At the time, Ace Ventura was a break-out hit for Jim Carrey. Carrey’s comedic flair, rapid fire impressions, ad libs and facial contortions made him a perfect fit for the quirky pet detective. Ace’s visit to the ancestral home of Miami Dolphin kicker Ray Finkel, helps shed light on his homicidal tendencies thanks to this hilarious speech given by his mom played by Alice Drummond. Mrs. Finkel seems like a sweet old lady that could be anyone’s mother… a mom with a Marino death wish and a grudge the size of the entire state of Florida that is. “Laces OUT!”
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“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
The Princess Bride (1987) – If I had to pick a list of my top ten films, The Princess Bride would be on it. I fell in love with this strange movie the first time I saw it and have been quoting from it ever since. From Wesley’s “To the pain!” monologue, and the Grandfather’s “Yes, you’re very smart. Shut up.” to everyone’s favorite line “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.” Princess Bride holds a special place in many fans’ hearts. The quote here is a perfect example of the tilted humor that made it an instant classic.
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“They loved him up and turned him into a… horny toad!”
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) – The Coen Brothers have an uncanny knack for creating memorable characters, locations and dialog. No where was this more apparent than in the hit film O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Like his ancient Greek counterpart, Ulysses Everett McGill finds himself on an amazing journey in which he meets all manner of characters including an oracle, a cyclops and a set of seductive sirens. This quote is the punchline for the river scene where we learn that one of Everett’s traveling companions has been turned into a frog. Like many favorite quotes, the delivery is often what makes it great, and this clip at number 8 is a wonderful example.
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“A Sheldon can do your income taxes, if you need a root canal, Sheldon’s your man… but humpin’ and pumpin’ is not Sheldon’s strong suit.”
When Harry Met Sally (1989) – So many lines, so little time! Often seen as the quintessential romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally offers up such classic quotes as “Baby fishmouth!”, “Men & women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” and “I’ll have what she’s having.” Harry and Sally’s priceless discussion of Sally’s sex life in act 1 leads to this gem about her “amazing sex” with Shell Gordon. Billy Crystal is at his comedic best and combined with Nora Ephron’s brilliant writing, we have a sound bite for the ages.
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“You can’t have the duck! Do you think with a financial statement like this you can have the duck?”
L.A. Story (1991) – Often overlooked in the grand scheme of screen comedies is the diamond in the ruff that is L.A. Story. Part of it’s failure as a main stream hit stemmed from the fact that many of the jokes were predicated on the audience’s understanding of what it’s like to live, work and love in Los Angeles. Never-the-less, Steve Martin’s talent is undeniable and the film includes a wealth of memorable lines including this one from Patrick Stewart as the judgmental Maitre D’ of L’Idiot. Martin’s character Harris attempts to book a reservation at the trendy L.A. restaurant with hilarious results.
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“Give him the seda-give!”
Young Frankenstein (1974) – The sci-fi geek in me debated posting a quote from Spaceballs in this spot, but Mel Brooks’ classic Young Frankenstein wins the spot instead. By far my favorite Brooks movie, Young Frankenstein has so many things going for it it surely must be counted as one of the best comedies of all time. Writing, acting, and art direction all come together in one big pile of funny to give us a side-splitting spoof of classic horror flicks. Picking just one line from Young Frankenstein is hard enough, but the charades scene wins the day with Gene Wilder’s “Put…the…candle…back!” coming a close second.
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“We’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f*cking Kaye!”
Christmas Vacation (1989) – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has become as much a holiday tradition in our home as the Grinch and A Christmas Story. Each year, Clark Griswold’s heartfelt attempt to throw the ultimate Christmas experience explodes just like his over-sized tree. Clark just wants what’s best for his family, but redneck relatives, 25,000 Italian twinkle lights and a jelly-of-the-month club subscription all conspire against him. Clark (played superbly by Chevy Chase) finally snaps, and the 4th place quote is the riotous result.
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“Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, MASS HYSTERIA!”
Ghostbusters (1984) – The undeniable commercial success of Ivan Reitman’s ’84 monster, Ghostbusters, doesn’t detract from it’s comedic brilliance. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis all have screen gems in Ghostbusters as they get caught up in the haunting of New York. Candidates for 3rd place included “Listen! Do you smell something?”, “Ray. If someone asks if you are a god, you say, ‘YES!'” and “Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.” The mayor office scene works on many levels including Murray’s sucker-punch line “Yes, it’s true. This man has no dick.”, but it’s the “dogs and cats” quote that perfectly sums up the humor that is Ghostbusters.
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“But the doctor explained that her insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.”
Raising Arizona (1987) – As a movie buff, I’m a bit ashamed to say that I didn’t even know Raising Arizona existed until my wife introduced it to me only a few years ago. I knew after the first 10 minutes that it would become one of my all-time favorite movies, and so it has. The Coen brothers spin a farcical yarn about H.I. McDunnough and his wife Ed’s misplaced efforts to raise the kidnapped Natan Arizona Jr. as one of their own. The movie’s humor is sometimes subtle – “Not unless round is funny.” but for those paying attention, it’s pure gold. People either love or hate Raising Arizona, but for those of you in the former, Hi’s quote from Raising’s prologue always satisfies.
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“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”
Airplane! (1980) – If the Coen brothers skillfully tickle your funny bone, then Jim Abrahams and David Zucker will whip it out and massage it. A comedy for the ages, Airplane! single handedly invented the spoof genre to the delight of movie goers everywhere. Filled with puns, one liners and laugh-a-minute silliness, Airplane! pokes zany fun at the disaster movies that where the hallmark of the 70’s. I doubt the kind of dialog that Peter Graves recites in this hilarious scene with Joey, played by Rossie Harris, would even be allowed in today’s comedies. Thank goodness Zuker and Abrahams had the sense to ignore studio execs at the time and make one of the funniest movies ever. We promise not to call either of them ‘Shirley’ either.