10 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time, According to AFI

Whether it’s Han Solo wishing “the force be with you” to Luke Skywalker, dirty harry coaxing a robbery suspect with a .44 magnum to “go ahead, make my day” or Rhett Bulter telling Scarlett O’Hara “Frankly my dear, I don’t care” the American Film Institute has identified some of the most repeated lines of dialogue in the history of cinema. These, however, represent only three of the top ten entries.

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This batch of top-ranked movie quotes of all time comes from some of the darkest corners of American cinema. From the desert of North Africa during World War II to the deep South of Civil Rights-era America and the jungles of Indonesia, moviegoers will find the most famous lines chosen by AFI that are just right outside the top ten.

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Casablanca (1942)

“Louis, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”


The closing scene of the classic 1942 film casablanca finds Rick Blane (Humphrey Bogart) and Louis Renault (Claude Rains) leaving the title oasis following their role in the murder of a Nazi officer to facilitate the escape of Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), the leader of the movement of Czechoslovak resistance during World War II.

Michael Curtiz directed this Best Picture-winning wartime romance that co-starred fellow icons of the studio system era, Ingrid Bergman and Peter Lorre. The American Film Institute ranks it third among the best productions in the history of cinema behind 1941. Citizen Kane and 1972 The Godfather.


Network (1976)

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”


Howard Beale (Peter Finch) uses this statement (and a long scene after it) to communicate his feelings about society’s arrogance on many topics during a live news program he hosts in 1976. Network directed by Sidney Lumet.

The film foreshadowed the corrupt corporate influence that spread through mainstream news media in the decades following its release. Beale was known to be a loose cannon, and his bosses took advantage of his nature to promote their programming.

White Heat (1949)

“I did it, mom! Top of the world!”


James Cagney shouts this proclamation to law enforcement who have already injured him multiple times during the height of white heat. In a final act of defiance, Cody Jarrett (Cagney) fires a bullet into a leaking gas tank and is incinerated by the ensuing explosion.


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Jarrett’s Oedipal nature drove him to become a criminal and motivated his every action in the 1949 film. Ultimately, the betrayal of his partner in crime who was an undercover policeman rationalized his final stance . Cagney was a regular in the gangster genre throughout the classic Hollywood era with acclaimed roles in Angels with dirty faces and The public enemy among others.

Citizen Kane (1941)

” Rosebud “.


The last word spoken by Charles Foster Kane, dying alone in his bed, contemplating the life he led as a media mogul at the turn of the 20th century that left him broken, bitter and alone.


To date, the meaning of the word rosebud and its symbolism in Orson Welles’ 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane continues to be debated among moviegoers. One theory is that it refers to a sled Kane played with as a child and is his last memory of personal happiness before his life changed when his mother kicked him out.

In the Heat of the Night (1976)

“They call me Mister Tibbs!”


Sidney Poitier remains one of the most influential black actors of the 20th century. One of his most powerful performances comes from the 1967 film In the heat of the Night.

Poitier’s character was a visiting detective from Philadelphia investigating a murder in Sparta, Mississippi, a white supremacist haven that included many blue uniforms. The film was adapted for television in the 1988-1995 drama series of the same name starring Carroll O’Connor from All in the family Poitier was the first person of color to win an acting academy award for 1963 field lily.


ET the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

“And phone home.”


The first complete sentence formed by a visiting intelligent life form is a revelation that AND the alien was accidentally abandoned by his scout ship when he fled Earth’s law enforcement.

ET’s chance meeting with a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) leads them to bond over the creation of a machine built from toys and a few details intended to send a distress signal to the alien people before the American government cannot intervene. Steven Spielberg directs a young Drew Barrymore as one of Elliott’s siblings who conspires with him to help ET evade authorities against the backdrop of John Williams’ iconic score.

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

“The stuff dreams are made of.”


Private Investigator Sam Spades appraisal of a priceless statue from John Huston’s film-noir The Maltese Falcon.

Throughout the film, Spade (Humphrey Bogart) learns that many contestants think the statue is more than it seems. In the end, he concludes that the lawsuit was more of a problem than the value of the item. The falcon is a symbol of greed and its sensational wealth that caused several characters in the film to do anything, including murder, to possess it. The quote, itself, indirectly refers to Shakespeare Storm.

Love Story (1970)

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”


Jennifer Barrett (Ali McGraw) stumbles through tears to assure her young husband Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) that he doesn’t owe him an explanation for why he won’t communicate with his father, especially more than he and both of their families opposed their marriage. at a young age while attending college.

Oliver’s father represents the rift between the couple where Jennifer wants to forgive but her spouse cannot forget. The big meaning behind this famous claim from the 1970s Love story seems like Oliver doesn’t need to apologize for his feelings. This is especially true when confronted with Jennifer’s untimely death which becomes the catalyst for the reconciliation he did not seek.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

“I like the smell of napalm in the morning.”


Robert Duvall delivers this chilling statement during an epic display of warfare in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Odyssey Revelation now.

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Colonel Kilgore (Duvall) is a fearless commander whom the protagonist, Willard (Martin Sheen) encounters on his journey to find a rogue Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) who has disappeared somewhere in the Cambodian jungle at the height of the war. Vietnam. The film is a loose adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s short story “Heart of Darkness”, where Willard explores the darkest corner of his soul with the pursuit of Kurtz as the symbol of the journey.


Cool Hand Luke (1967)

“What we have here is a communication failure.”


The captain of the guards (Strother Martin) assigned to guard rebellious prisoner Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) is furious when the main character of Cool Hand Luke does not recognize his generosity towards his safety by chaining him at the ankles during an outdoor work excursion.

Luke, a nonconformist, retorts a sarcastic comment and is immediately beaten to the ground. The 1967 film served as an anti-establishment allegory highlighting the counterculture movement that was sweeping the United States both in private life and throughout Hollywood at the time.

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