Ah the 80’s…. So many poor fashion decisions. So many great movies. It was the decade we were gifted with movies like, Rain Man, The Lost Boys, Beverly Hills Cop and Aliens (none of the speeches I picked are from any of these films).
So in honor of the wonderous time capsule that contains countless memorable movie quotes and one liners, I have compiled another list of some obscure and some instantly recognizable movie speeches for you to work on, should you like to.
So put on your happy pants and grab yourself a Capri Sun and start rehearsing!
1. Altered States – 1980
Dr. Eddie Jessup:
What dignifies the Yogic practices is that the belief system itself is not truly religious. There is no Buddhist God per se. It is the Self, the individual Mind, that contains immortality and ultimate truth…At least I know where the Self is. It’s in our own minds. It’s a form of human energy. Our atoms are six billion years old. We’ve got six billion years of memory in our minds.
Memory is energy! It doesn’t disappear – it’s still in there. There’s a physiological pathway to our earlier consciousnesses. There has to be. And I’m telling you, it’s in the god-damned limbic system….
I’m a man in search of his true self. How archetypically American can you get? Everybody’s looking for their true selves. We’re all trying to fulfill ourselves, understand ourselves, get in touch with ourselves, face the reality of ourselves, explore ourselves, expand ourselves. Ever since we dispensed with God, we’ve got nothing but ourselves to explain this meaningless horror of life….Well, I think that that true self, that original self, that first self is a real, mensurate, quantifiable thing, tangible and incarnate. And I’m going to find the fucker.
2. Nine To Five – 1980
Well, that explains it. That’s why these people treat me like some dime store floozy…They think I’m screwin’ the boss…And you just love it, don’t you? It gives you some sort of cheap thrill like knockin’ over pencils and pickin’ up papers…Get your scummy hands off of me. Look, I’ve been straight with you from the first day I got here. And I put up with all your pinchin’ and starin’ and chasin’ me around the desk ’cause I need this job, but this is the last straw…Look, I got a gun out there in my purse, and up until now, I’ve been forgivin’ and forgettin’ because of the way I was brought up. But I’ll tell you one thing: if you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I’m gonna get that gun of mine and I’m gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot! Don’t think I can’t do it.
3. My Dinner With Andre – 1981
The life of a playwright is tough. It’s not easy as some people seem to think. You work hard writing plays and nobody puts them on. You take up other lines of work to try to make a living. I became an actor, and people don’t hire you. So you just spend your days doing the errands of your trade. Today I had to be up by ten in the morning to make some important phone calls. Then I’d gone to the stationery store to buy envelopes. Then to the xerox shop. There were dozens of things to do. By five o’clock, I’d finally made it to the post office and mailed off several copies of my plays, meanwhile checking constantly with my answering service to see if my agent had called with any acting work. In the morning, the mailbox had just been stuffed with bills! What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to pay them? After all, I was already doing my best! I’ve lived in this city all my life. I grew up on the Upper East Side, and when I was 10 years old, I was rich! I was an aristocrat. Riding around in taxis, surrounded by comfort, and all I thought about was art and music. Now I’m 36, and all I think about is money!
4. Liquid Sky – 1982
You wanted to know where I’m from? I’m from Connecticut, Mayflower stock. I was taught that my prince would come, and he would be a lawyer, and I would have his children. And on the weekends we would barbecue. And all the other princes and their princesses would come, and they would say: ‘Delicious, delicious.’ Oh, how boring. So I was taught that I should come to New York, become an independent woman. And my prince would come, and he would be an agent, and he would get me a role, and I would make my living waiting on tables. I would wait – till thirty, till forty, till fifty. And I was taught that to be an actress, one should be fashionable, and to be fashionable is to be androgynous. And I am androgynous not less than David Bowie himself. And they call me beautiful, and I kill with my cunt. Isn’t it fashionable? Come on, who’s next? I’ll take lessons. How to get into show business: Be nice to your professor. Be nice to your agent. Be nice to your audience. Be nice. How to be a woman: Want them when I want you. How to be free and equal: F–k women instead of men, and you’ll discover a whole kingdom of freedom. Men won’t step on you anymore. Women will. So come on, who’s next? Who wants to teach me? Come on, teach me. Are you afraid? You’re right, because they’re all dead. All my teachers.
5. Poltergeist – 1982
There is no death. There is only a transition to a different sphere of consciousness. Carol Anne is not like those she’s with. She’s a living presence in their spiritual, earth-bound plane. They’re attracted to the one thing about her that’s different from themselves. Her life-force – it is very strong. It gives off its own illumination. It is a light that implies life and memory of love and home and earthly pleasures, something they desperately desire but can’t have anymore. Right now, she’s the closest thing to that, and that is a terrible distraction from the real light that has finally come for them. Do you understand me?
These souls who for whatever reason are not at rest are also not aware that they have passed on. They’re not part of consciousness as we know it. They’re in a perpetual dream state, a nightmare from which they cannot wake. Inside this spectral light is salvation – a window to the next plane. They must pass through this membrane with friends who are waiting to guide them to new destinies. Carol Anne must help them cross over, and she will only hear her mother’s voice. Now, hold onto your selves. There’s one more thing – a terrible presence is in there with her. So much rage, so much betrayal. I’ve never sensed anything like it. I don’t know what hovers over this house, but it was strong enough to punch a hole into this world and take your daughter away from you. It keeps Carol Anne very close to it and away from the spectral light. It lies to her. It says things only a child can understand. He’s been using her to restrain the others. To her, it simply is another child. To us, it is the Beast. Now let’s go get your daughter.
6. The Verdict – 1982
So much of the time, we’re just lost. We say, ‘Please, God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true.’ I mean there is no justice. The rich win. The poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time we become dead, a little dead. We think of ourselves as victims, and we become victims.
We become, we become weak. We doubt ourselves. We doubt our beliefs. We doubt our institutions, and we doubt the law. But today, you are the law. You are the law, not some book, not the lawyers, not a marble statue, or the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are, they are, in fact, a prayer, I mean a fervent and a frightened prayer. In my religion, they say, ‘Act as if you had faith. Faith will be given to you.’ If-if we are to have faith in justice, we need only to believe in ourselves and act with justice. See, I believe there is justice in our hearts.
7. Paris, Texas – 1984
I knew these people. These two people. They were in love with each other. The girl was very young, about 17 or 18, I guess. And the guy was quite a bit older. He was kind of raggedy and wild. And she was very beautiful, you know…And together they turned everything into a kind of adventure. And she liked that. Just an ordinary trip down to the grocery store was full of adventure. They were always laughing at stupid things. He liked to make her laugh, and they didn’t much care for anything else because all they wanted to do was be with each other. They were always together…Yes, they were, they were real happy. And he, he loved her more than he ever felt possible. He couldn’t stand being away from her during the day when he went to work. So he’d quit, just to be home with her. Then he’d get another job when the money ran out, and then he’d quit again. But pretty soon, she started to worry…Money, I guess. Not having enough. Not knowing when the next check was coming in. So he started to get kind of torn inside…Well, he knew he had to work to support her, but he couldn’t stand being away from her either…And the more he was away from her, the crazier he got, except now, he got really crazy. He started imagining all kinds of things. He started thinking that she was seeing other men on the sly. He’d come home from work and accuse her of spending the day with somebody else. He’d yell at her and break things in the trailer…Yes, they lived in a trailer home…
Anyway, he started to drink real bad, and he’d stay out late to test her…to see if she’d get jealous. He wanted her to get jealous, but she didn’t. She just worried about him but that got him even madder…because he thought if she never got jealous about him, that she didn’t really care about him. Jealousy was a sign of her love for him. And then one night, one night, she told him that she was pregnant. She was about three or four months pregnant. And he didn’t even know, and then suddenly everything changed. He stopped drinking and got a steady job. He was convinced that she loved him now, because she was carrying his child. And he was going to dedicate himself to making a home for her. But a funny thing started to happen…He didn’t even notice it at first. She started to change. From the day the baby was born, she began to get irritated with everything around her. She got mad at everything. Even the baby seemed to be an injustice to her. He kept trying to make everything all right for her. Buy her things. Take her out to dinner once a week. But nothing seemed to satisfy her. For two years, he struggled to pull them back together like they were when they first met, but finally he knew that it was never gonna work out. So he hit the bottle again. But this time it got mean. This time, when he came home late at night, she wasn’t worried about him, or jealous, she was just enraged. She accused him of holding her captive by making her have a baby. She told him that she dreamed about escaping. That was all she dreamed about: escape. She saw herself at night running naked down a highway, running across fields, running down riverbeds, always running. And always, just when she was about to get away, he’d be there. He would stop her somehow. He would just appear and stop her.
And when she told him these dreams, he believed them. He knew she had to be stopped or she’d leave him forever. So he tied a cow bell to her ankle so he could hear her at night if she tried to get out of bed. But she learned how to muffle the bell by stuffing a sock into it, and inching her way out of the bed and into the night. He caught her one night when the sock fell out and he heard her trying to run to the highway. He caught her and dragged her back to the trailer, and tied her to the stove with his belt. He just left her there and went back to bed and lay there listening to her scream. Then he listened to his son scream, and he was surprised at himself because he didn’t feel anything anymore. All he wanted to do was sleep.
And for the first time, he wished he were far away. Lost in a deep, vast country where nobody knew him. Somewhere without language, or streets. And he dreamed about this place without knowing its name. And when he woke up, he was on fire. There were blue flames burning the sheets of his bed. He ran through the flames toward the only two people he loved, but they were gone. His arms were burning, and he threw himself outside and rolled on the wet ground. Then he ran. He never looked back at the fire. He just ran. He ran until the sun came up and he couldn’t run any further. And when the sun went down, he ran again. For five days he ran like this until every sign of man had disappeared.
8. Platoon – 1986
Private Chris Taylor:
Somebody once wrote: ‘Hell is the impossibility of reason.’ That’s what this place feels like. Hell. I hate it already and it’s only been a week. Some god-damn week, Grandma. The hardest thing I think I’ve ever done is go on point three times this week – I don’t even know what I’m doing. A gook could be standing three feet in front of me and I wouldn’t know it. I’m so tired. We get up at 5 am, hump all day, camp around four or five, dig a foxhole, eat, then put out an all-night ambush or a three-man listening post in the jungle. It’s scary, ’cause nobody tells me how to do anything ’cause I’m new, and nobody cares about the new guys. They don’t even want to know your name.
The unwritten rule is a new guy’s life isn’t worth as much ’cause he hasn’t put his time in yet – and they say, if you’re gonna get killed in the Nam, it’s better to get it in the first few weeks, the logic being you don’t suffer that much. If you’re lucky, you get to stay in the perimeter at night and then you pull a three-hour guard shift, so maybe you sleep three, four hours a night, but you don’t really sleep. I don’t think I can keep this up for a year, Grandma. I think I made a big mistake comin’ here…
9. True Stories – 1986
Yeah, I’m in the construction business. Got work goin’ on at five sites right now. Bought me a condo last week! Shoot, real close to here, as a matter of fact. And next week, I just think I might buy me another house. Darlin’, I’ll tell you what now, I just have a feel for it, do you know what I mean? Of course, bein’ overly psychic sure doesn’t hurt anything. It’s paid off for me! Listen, Mr. Fry … Fine, … Louis, darlin’, listen, I’ll tell you somethin’ if you promise not to tell another livin’ soul. Now, I’d never tell this to anybody else, but I believe that part of my extra-psychic ability’s connected up with the fact that I was born with a tail. Little ol’ bitty hairy thing about that long – had it surgically removed when I was just five years old. My Momma kept it in a fruit jar, up in the medicine cabinet, right between the 4-Way Cold Tablets and the monkey blood. I’d get up every morning – first thing I’d go in there in the bathroom brush my teeth and stare at my own tail at the same time.
Now, somethin’ like that can give you power – and that’s the truth. Then Momma got a wild hair one Sunday and she decided to go make a lot of money off of it, you know. Took it out to a big ol’ swap meet and sold it to Lyndon Johnson’s top Secret Service agent. And he told a good personal friend of mine that he was gonna sell it for even more money to the Smithsonian Institute. Shoot, he might as well, it wouldn’t do him any good. It wasn’t HIS tail!
Gee, I’ll tell you, I could write a book. That thing would be a best seller… Oh, don’t be nervous. Songs are easy. I wrote “Billie Jean” and half of Elvis’ songs…Hell, yes! You know, they pay me and I keep quiet. You know, somebody’s got to do it! Excuse me just a minute, Pumpkin, I’ll be right back, OK?
10. Wall Street – 1987
Well, I, uh, I appreciate the opportunity you’re giving me, Mr. Cromwell, as the single largest shareholder in Teldar Paper, to speak. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’re not here to indulge in fantasy, but in political and economic reality.
America, America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. Now, in the days of the free market, when our country was a top industrial power, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the men that built this great industrial empire, made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company! All together, these men sitting up here own less than three percent of the company. And where does Mr. Cromwell put his million-dollar salary? Not in Teldar stock. He owns less than one percent. You own the company. That’s right – you, the stockholder. And you are all being royally screwed over by these, these bureaucrats, with their, their steak lunches, their hunting and fishing trips, their, their corporate jets and golden parachutes…
Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has thirty-three different Vice Presidents, each earning over two hundred thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can’t figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost a hundred and ten million dollars last year, and I’ll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these Vice Presidents.
The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book, you either do it right or you get eliminated. In the last seven deals that I’ve been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pre-tax profit of 12 billion dollars. (applause) Thank you. I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them!
The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed – for lack of a better word – is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind. And Greed – you mark my words – will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.