What Makes Movie Dialogue Memorable
by Maria McKenzie
"The stuff that dreams are made of." Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, 1941
Along with reading and writing, watching movies is one of my top favorite past times! I’m very excited about the release of my new novel Escape, and as I wrote it, I envisioned it as a movie, of course, I think all writers do that!
Dream weaving and illusion contribute to making enjoyable movies. I love watching stories unfold and listening to the characters. But what makes a line of movie dialogue, or even just a single word, timeless and unforgettable? What makes it so memorable that it's often quoted in real life, other movies, television and even kids' cartoons?
Perhaps it's spoken during a suspenseful situation, or in a scene where love has gone wrong. Maybe it's exclaimed in the thick of danger, or during the thrill of excitement, or in the midst of a conflict about to explode. It could be line akin to a sigh of relief, spoken at the very end, when all problems are resolved.
With a skilled screenwriter and an amazing story, all of these elements can create exciting dialogue and at least one immortal line that leaves the audience saying, "I loved it when he said..."
Here are 10 of my favorites, in chronological order.
1. "Wait a minute, wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin' yet!" Al Jolson as Jackie Rabinowitz in The Jazz Singer, 19272.
|Maria's new release Escape|
2. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, 1939
3. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz, 1939
4. "Rosebud." Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane, 1941
5. "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By,'" Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca, 1942
6. "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." Lauren Bacall as Marie "Slim" Browning in To Have and Have Not, 1944
7. "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" Alfonso Bedoya as "Gold Hat" in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948
8. "Stella! Hey, Stella!" Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in On the Waterfront, 1951
9. "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront, 1954
10. "Say 'hello' to my little friend!" Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface, 1983
What are some of your favorite movie lines? And in your opinion, what makes them so memorable?