Ahhh, The Fourth of July. One of my favorite holidays, just chalk full of wonderful traditions: food, fireworks, and best of all, watching a little human/alien interaction going down in the creme de la creme of July 4th movies, Independence Day! It's a tradition I've upheld since 1996, and one I'll continue to uphold until my dying days.
You've just gotta love that dialogue. "Welcome to Earth" (or if you prefer the phonetic version, "Welcome to Earf"). Pretty much all of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum's interchanges. And of course, the famous presidential speech. Every time I watch Bill Pullman give that presidential address to the pilots facing down the invading alien forces, I have to fight the urge to stand up and salute. It's no small feat.
Which makes me wonder . . . what are some other great movie speeches? I thought long and hard about this, and after some serious debate I think I've narrowed it down to my top ten favorites. Here's the movies that made my list.
Top Ten Spectacular Movie Speeches:
#10 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
I know my cousin absolutely hates this scene from the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but I always liked it. A band of pirates, coming together to face down an angry pagan god and the British Navy. A female Pirate King leading them. And an epic raising of the pirate flags in a united front proclaiming freedom. All ingredients for cinematic excellence.
Favorite line: "Gentlemen . . . hoist the colors."
#9 - V for Vendetta
I cannot say that I love the film adaptation of V for Vendetta; in fact, I think it's a gross raping of the source text, stripping it of it's original context and repackaged it for American audiences. However, the speech that V broadcasts to London does stick out in my mind as wonderfully inspirational. A voice breaking the silence, asking for others to stand with him. To no longer remain silent and turn a blind eye to the injustice of the government in return for an oppressive "peace". It may not be my favorite film, but I cannot help but love V's speech nonetheless.
Favorite line: "But again, truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty you need only look into a mirror."
#8 - Goonies
In deference to my childhood, I have to make room for the great Sean Astin speech from Goonies. With one puff of his inhaler and a few well delivered lines, he rallies his troops and remind us all that even children can make a difference. That every child deserves their moment to be a hero. Sniffle.
Favorite line: "Goonies never say die."
#7 - 300
I have often wondered what the casting call was like for this movie. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was spearheaded by a group of women who rounded up the prospective actors and asked them to remove their shirts. And let me just say . . . effective. Now, eye candy aside, this movie offers one of the more impressive film speeches I've seen. A legion of Spartans on the eve of great battle, facing superior numbers and, ultimately, their death. Offering their lives in the name of freedom. A scene worthy of this list, would you not agree?
Favorite line: "No retreat, no surrender."
[I also particularly love the line later delivered by Michael Fassbender: "Our arrows will blot out the sun." "Then we will fight in the shade." Delicious.]
#6 - Dead Poets Society
It still hurts to know that Robin Williams is gone. But he lives on in so many great films, not the least of which is a movie that reminds us seize the day. To live life to it's very fullest. And to make every day extraordinary. And Captain, my Captain, you will never be forgotten.
Favorite line: "Thoreau said most men lead lives of quiet desperation. Don't be resigned to that. Break out!"
#5 - Remember the Titans
A great movie, with many powerful speeches. But none more so than the Gettysburg speech given by Denzel Washington. A speech asking for everyone to put aside their hatred and come together as one unit. A speech worth hearing once again in light of all the racial violence in today's news.
Favorite line #1: "Fifty thousand men died right here on this field. Fighting the same fight that we're still fighting amongst ourselves today."
Favorite line #2: "Take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together right here in this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed."
If I were surrounded by an army of Sauron's forces and facing down death itself, I'd be tempted to crumble with fear. I'd be on the first train or horse or giant flying bird outta there. That is until Viggo Mortensen rode by in a vision of armor clad splendor, reigniting the courage of men and inspiring a last, if possibly doomed, stand in the name of fellowship. Man that guy gives good speech.
Favorite line: "But it is not this day!"
Still one of the greatest battle films of all time, I never get tired of watching Russell Crowe take on hordes of angry foe. But by far the best scene in the film is his spectacular speech delivered on the knife's edge of obliteration, rallying the gladiatorial forces into a deadly unit reminiscent of the Roman legion he once commanded. Is it any surprise that this made #3 on my list?
Favorite line: "Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together we survive."
#2 - Braveheart
Well, Mel Gibson may have become something of a controversial figure in the film world, but no one can deny that he played an excellent William Wallace. And his speech . . . well, it goes down as perhaps the best film speech in cinematic history. It reminds us that some things are worth dying for. And to this day, every time I heart that speech, it makes me want to run out to buy a kilt, slater some blue pain on my face, and head to Scotland.
Favorite line: "They may take our lives, but they may never take our freedom!"
#1 - Independence Day
As I mentioned before, this speech was the inspiration for my blog post. It is therefore fitting that it should make my list of Top 5. It's the speech that turns an American holiday into a celebration of a world united, joined together in their fight to survive extinction. Annihilation.
Favorite line: "We can't be consumed by our petty difference anymore. We will be united in our common interests."
And there you have it. My list of the Top 10 spectacular movie speeches. I'm sure there are plenty who might argue against my choices, but hey, that's what the comment section is for. So what about you guys? Any favorite movie speeches?