Maria McKenzie on Memorable Movie Dialogues.

We have author Maria McKenzie today and she has decided to talk on...

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?

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  1. "Hasta la vista baby."
    And of course, "May the force be with you."

    Funny how some of those phrases above have become more memorable than the actual movie!

    1. Elizabeth, you are so right! I had to think a minute before I remembered where "Hasta la vista, baby," came from! But I love that line:).

  2. Those are all great. I'd add these 2 off the top of my head..

    There's no place like home - also from the Wizard of Oz
    Luke, I am your father - Star Wars

    1. Hi, Jemi! The Wizard of Oz is timeless--and so is Star Wars! Great lines:).

  3. "You had me at hello." Jerry McGuire

    I agree with Elizabeth about the lines being more memorable than the movies. :)

    1. Stina, that's a great one! But if you hadn't mentioned the movie, I would've wondered where it came from:)!

  4. Oh my gosh, I didn't realise where "Badges? We ain't got no badges!" came from. My hubby is always quoting it, lol.

    1. Lynda, you have to see that movie--it's great!

  5. Well, of course Rhett's quote from Gone With the Wind is one on my list. Another is "Life is pain, Highness" from The Princess Bride. My family and I toss around a lot of quotes from that film.

    1. Karen, I think I'm the only person alive who has never seen all of The Princess Bride! I'll have to rent it this weekend;).

  6. Those are some great memorable lines!

  7. Nas, thank you so much for hosting me again at Romance Book Haven! Always a pleasure to chat with your readers:).

  8. I don't have a great memory for movie lines, but I am fond of Glenn Close's "I will not be ignored" and "Inconceivable" from The Princess Bride.

    1. Hi, Medeia! You're the second person to mention that movie;). My husband loves it and I know my kids will too, so I'm looking forward to watching it with them!

  9. Medeia, one of my favourites is The Princess Bride...

    "Can I give you my word as a Spaniard?"

    "No good... I've known too many Spaniards."

  10. One of my favourite movies for dialogue is SOME LIKE IT HOT starring Marilyn Montroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. I remember Tony Curtis, dressed as a woman, kissing Marilyn Monroe and saying 'Don't cry Sugar, no man's worth it.' She gets the shock of her life when she sees her 'girlfriend' is actually the handsome man she's in love with. The whole film is full of great back and forth dialogue.

    1. Hi, Maria! That's a great scene, and I love that movie:). The dialogue is wonderful!

    2. It never fails to make me smile. And it's older than I am!

  11. I've seen The Graduate so many times, I practically know it by heart. Two favorites from that movie:

    1) "You're missing a great effect."
    2) "Wood or wire?"

    From Runaway Bride:

    "How do you like your eggs?"

    From French Kiss:

    "Lactose intolerance!!!!!"

    I also love Some Like it Hot - here's another quote from that one:

    "Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop."

    From Shakespeare in Love:

    "It's a mystery!"

    From That Thing You Do:

    “When was the last time you were decently kissed? I mean truly, truly, good and kissed?”

    From Only You (Maria Tomei, Robert Downey, Jr.):

    "I can’t believe you’re gonna let a few little letters of the alphabet keep us apart."

    From Lovers and Other Strangers:

    "So, what's the story, Richie?"

    There are so many good lines in The Philadephia Story, I'll just have to link this page:

    1. Hi again, Becke:)! You've got some great lines--and an amazing memory;). I love that "truly good and kissed" line--too funny. And I love the Philadelphia Story--that dialogue is amazing--off to check out that link!


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