Top 10: Most quotable films in the history of cinema

Quotation marks
Some of the most quotable films make dialogue a true art form


Everyone loves a film quote. We all have at least one friend who always has a pearl of cinematic wisdom ready or is handy at pulling quips from the screen. As a society, film is such an enormous part of our culture that it is only natural for its dialogue to creep into our social consciousness.

There are some films that everyone has seen and can recite at will. Here are the top ten most quotable films ever made.


10. Shaun of the Dead

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s homage to the horror back catalogue of George Romero is a rare beast. As well as being an undisputed cult classic, it permeated the mainstream in a big way with its mixture of sharp cultural references and broad appeal comedy.

For those brought up on Noughties cinema, Shaun of the Dead is a treasure trove of quotable material, as well as some delicious gore. The script is razor sharp and perfectly judged, like any quotable classic should be.

One to Remember: “Fuck-a-doodle-doo!”

9. Harry Potter

Perhaps this one is a generational thing, but Harry Potter on both the page and the screen was an enormous part of my childhood. For many of the people I grew up around, this was also true.

As such, the Harry Potter movies are something that is regularly quoted by my friends, more than any other series of films. It’s a culture-defining film for my generation and, for that, it merits its place on this list of the most quotable films in history.

One to Remember: “She needs to sort out her priorities.”

8. Jaws

There’s a reason that Jaws started the summer blockbuster trend. It’s one of the greatest movies ever made. One of the best elements of Spielberg’s horror classic is the script, which is packed with wit, emotion and an awful lot of drama.

Robert Shaw’s Indianapolis speech is one of the best dramatic monologues in the history of cinema and still produces goosebumps even after dozens of watches.

Everyone remembers Brody’s witticisms and the rapport between the central trio on their sharking trip creates a number of lines that make it one of the most quotable films ever made.

One to Remember: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

7. American Pie

Another hit that defined a generation, American Pie and its sequels (ignoring the direct-to-DVD travesties) got the 90s giggling. Perfectly capturing the relationship between high school lads, it dealt with the turbulent loves of adolescence better than just about any film.

Its script is an absolute Aladdin’s Cave of quotable moments, whether it’s the hilarious filth spouted by Seann William Scott or Alyson Hannigan’s tales of band camp.

American Pie is definitely a franchise that keeps you coming back for another slice.

One to Remember: “This one time, at band camp…”

6. Die Hard

Of all of the crazy action movies that defined the 80s, Die Hard might be the best. Bruce Willis does an incredible job as John McClane and he gets some of the best hero one-liners ever written. Combined with Alan Rickman’s classic villain, this is one of the most quotable films to ever come out of the action genre.

Add in the sequels to this and you have a formidable selection of quotes to choose from when looking to raise your cinephile credibility. Yippee ki-yay!

One to Remember: “Yippee ki-yay motherfucker!”

5. Casablanca

This 1940s classic is considered by many to be one of the true masterpieces of early cinema. It appears six times on the AFI list of the 100 greatest movie quotes, which is more than any other film. That says enough for me to rank it as one of the most quotable films of all-time.

Time hasn’t dulled Casablanca at all and it’s still a hugely important landmark in the history of cinema. Play it again?

One to Remember: “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The Monty Python troupe were the masters of uniquely British comedy. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the best of their films and is certainly the most quotable. Whether it’s the incredible persistence of the Black Knight or the unyielding weirdness of The Knights Who Say Ni, there’s always something hilarious going on in this film.

Holy Grail has had almost 40 years to plant itself into the hearts of the British public and that is reflected clearly in the fact that there isn’t a person alive in this country who can’t remember a line from this: one of cinema’s most quotable films.

One to remember: “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!”

3. Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino might be the best screenwriter currently working in Hollywood. He is so immersed in cinema and pop culture that his scripts almost feel like theses on the state of movies. None of his movies are more quotable than Pulp Fiction, the non-linear crime epic that cemented him as a world class filmmaker.

Samuel L Jackson’s towering central performance yields many of the most quotable lines, but John Travolta and Bruce Willis are also capable of zingers that deserve to be recited at every possible time.

One to Remember: “English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?”

2. Mean Girls

The most quotable film of choice for teenage girls everywhere, Mean Girls is a veritable barrage of hilarious material. Bitchy teenagers and Tina Fey’s sharp writing proves to be a dynamite combination, creating a quotable film that is already a modern classic.

There’s even a whole Tumblr account dedicated to mashing up Mean Girls with the Harry Potter franchise. How awesome is that?

One to Remember: “Boo, you whore!”

1. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

It couldn’t really be anything else, could it? Anchorman is the undisputed champion of quotability and by far the most quotable film of all-time. From Paul Rudd’s dubious grasp of statistics to Steve Carell’s unexpected skill with a trident, it’s an utterly hilarious mess of a movie that represents the zenith of the Apatow comedy wave.

No matter how many times you watch Anchorman, it only gets better and better. With a sequel on the way, Anchorman may go even further and become the most quotable film franchise as well.

One to Remember: “I’m in a glass case of emotion!”
Do you agree with the choices on this list? Are there any other quotable films that I missed? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

3 thoughts on “Top 10: Most quotable films in the history of cinema

  • 07/10/2013 at 17:31

    I agree with most of those 🙂 I know it’s a smaller film, but I would put The Heat somewhere on there. Pretty much everything Melissa McCarthy says is pure genius 😛 One of the funniest films I’ve seen this year 🙂

    • 07/10/2013 at 21:04

      Interesting idea. I think it needs a few more years to simmer before we know if it’s going to become a quotable classic. I certainly laughed at it a lot.

  • 07/10/2013 at 18:19

    Robocop. The answer is Robocop. Take the Robocop challenge and see if you can make it through a normal day speaking only in Robocop quotes!


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