25 Best Movie Catchphrases Of All Time (2023)

We all know that guy. You know, the one who only speaks in movie quotes — possibly only in movie quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sure, that guy is an annoying jerk, but we all have those bits of dialogue from our favorite movies that stick with us, which catch on to our attention and follow us out into the world. They become part of our day-to-day speech, distilled from the screen into our culture.

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For the purposes of this article, we've defined a catchphrase as a short piece of dialogue that has become indelibly associated with a particular movie, character, or actor and exists in the public zeitgeist so that an average non-movie fanatic would know the phrase.

Updated on December 2nd, 2020 by Zach Gass: There are certain phrases from famous movies that have become so well-known and so reiterated that they have been permanently ingrained in our collective popular culture. Movie fans everywhere have been uttering phrases like the ones below since the golden age of Hollywood.


"This is Sparta!” - 300

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Although this rather embellished retelling of King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans might not be what some consider to be red carpet royalty, the entire, bloody, glorious message of the film can be summed up in three little words screamed by the movie's leading monarch. "This is Sparta!" with this iconic phrase, a new battle cry and a veritable host of memes to come sprung forth like the blood from the Spartan's Persian enemies.

Part comic book movie, part historical drama, part action film, all guts, glory, and an epic sensation many mythic films can only hope to achieve. Historically accurate it might not be, but 300's presentation of the Battle of Thermopylae is one that stands toe-to-toe with the likes of Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts.

"They’re Here…” - Poltergeist

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To say that little kids haven't become a horror movie staple is a gross understatement. Whether their intents are innocent or not, there are few things more unsettling than a small child bathed in an unnatural glow in the middle of the night and saying something cryptic or unnerving. Carol Ann might be a cute six-year-old kid by daylight, but by the unholy aura of the TV set, she makes the words "They're here" sound less like an informatory statement and more like a deadly warning.

Once the audience learns who the "They" in question are, things only get creepier and more disturbing from there. Malevolent spirits, evil clown dolls, and skeletal entities living in the closet are just a few of the problems the family has to face in Poltergeist, but no phrase or Phantom from the movie is more quoted than two words from one little girl lost.

"With Some Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti...” - The Silence of the Lambs

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Before some jump the gun and say "Hello, Clarice" deserves this spot, that line is, in reality, a product of the Mandella effect, and doesn't appear in this movie's script at all. But the line "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." Followed by Anthony Hopkin's improvised hissing noise, it made the character an instant creep.

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What makes Hannibal Lecter work is that he can be downright bone-chilling without even lifting a finger. His terror exists by reputation and presence alone at times, and he definitely knows it. With his calm and soothing demeanor paired with that unblinking, hungry stare a friendly hello can be absolutely chilling.

"You Shall Not Pass!” - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series is an absolute gold mine of quotes, phrases, and other quips and blurbs that bring to mind thoughts of Middle Earth, swords, daggers, dragons, dwarves, and other fantasy imagery. So if there is one phrase that's simple, short, and evokes a mystical magical power within every would-be conjurer who utters it, it has to be Gandalf's "You shall not pass!"

Whether during the weekend session of D&D, out on the soccer field, at the gym, or just in line for a bit of fast food, there is a multitude of opportunities to unleash one's inner grey wizard and defend their ground. Now if only staves, robes, and pointed hats would come back in style. Quite simply put, it's one of those magical lines that never go out of style.

"Bond, James Bond.” - Dr. No

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Speaking of things that never go out of style, there are few characters as suave, sophisticated, sensual, and down-right scene-stealing than "Bond, James Bond." With the recent passing of the original 007, Sean Connery, to not include at least one line from the most famous member of Her Majesty's Secret Service would be a great discredit to the sensational super spy.

Sure, there are several other spies, secret agents, and members of various agencies trained in the ways of espionage, and there have been many actors and performers to take up the number, the name, and the incredible reputation. but the fact remains that no one is as iconic, dashing, daring, and dangerous as 007. Whether shaken, stirred, or from Russia with love, there's only one who can deliver this line with just the right charm.

"I'll be back." - The Terminator

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Director James Cameron makes his first of three appearances on our list with this oft-repeated classic from his 1984 sci-fi mega-hit The Terminator. Delivered deadpan by then-evil robot Arnold Schwarzenegger just before he drives a car through a police station, these three words — and their mandatory Austrian-accented delivery — have become an indelible part of the American vocabulary.


How many of us have heard a dude at the office leaving for lunch and whipping out his best Arnold impersonation? Worse, how many of you have delivered it yourselves? Maybe you’ve even inflicted it on your family when making a quick run out to the store. Maybe you’re that person. Maybe we all should knock it off, but until Skynet sends evil future robots back to kill us every time we utter this cliche, we’re going to keep doing it. And, if you’re looking for more Arnold on this list, stick around. He’ll be back.

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." - Gone With The Wind

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Victor Fleming’s masterful adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind is one of the most memorable examples of pre-WWII American cinema. With an unheard-of running time of nearly four hours, it chronicles a decade of Rhett Butler’s (Clark Gable) amorous pursuit of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) amidst the backdrop of Southern aristocratic culture during the American Civil War.

This quote, which marks the end of Rhett’s dismissal of Scarlett after many long years of unrequited love almost never made the film. In 1930, the Motion Picture Association passed a code that banned the use of the word “damn” in movies. Despite the fact that silent films and even early talkies had made copious use of the word, censors strenuously objected to its inclusion in Gone With the Wind. It took an amendment to the code only one month before the release of the film to prevent this iconic line from being censored. It didn’t hurt it at the box office, however. The film, with a huge budget of $3.85 million has so far grossed nearly $400 million at the box office, and that's without adjusting for inflation.

“I’m the king of the world!” - Titanic

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Nearly twenty years before redefining himself in The Revenant, 2015 Best Actor Academy Award-winner Leonardo DiCaprio changed sailing forever when he starred in James Cameron’s pseudo-historical epic Titanic. Not content with inflicting Celine Dion’s ear-twitching megahit "My Heart Will Go On" on the masses, Cameron made sure there was a line of dialogue in the film which would stick in the public’s mind for all eternity.

Now, every time you want to take a boat out on the water, some jerk has to walk all the way to the bow, spread his arms, and shout “I’m the king of the world.” No, sir, you are not. Now sit down before we all push you in.

"Say hello to my little friend." - Scarface

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In 1983, Brian DePalma decided to cast Al Pacino, F. Murray Abraham, Stephen Bauer, Robert Loggia, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Cuban immigrants and gangsters in a remake of a 1932 classic crime film of the same name. The original film starred George Raft as an Italian immigrant gangster. Despite the whitewashing of the casts (a trend that is now single-handedly killing movies), both movies featured intensely violent endings that irked critics and censors of their day.


In a scene that clearly influenced the Crazy-88s restaurant fight scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Tony Montana (Pacino) single-handedly takes on an army of invaders sent to kill him in his mansion. As the invaders close in on his secure room, Montana grabs an automatic weapon equipped with an honest-to-goodness grenade launcher and starts yelling at the attackers. “You wanna play rough? Ok! Say hello to my little friend!” before shooting a grenade their way through his locked doors. The movie, and the line, have hung around for more than thirty years, and are now part of one of the most highly-regarded gangster films of all time.

"May the force be with you." - Star Wars

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There is perhaps not a line from any movie better known around the world than this all-purpose “aloha” from Star Wars. Wishing someone luck? Use it! Saying goodbye? Use it! Think you might never see someone again? Break out “May the force be with you!” Even that scoundrel and force-skeptic Han Solo, after Luke turns his job offer down and calls him selfish, uses the line.

In fact, the phrase is so ubiquitous it even has its own day on the calendar. Many attribute the original quote to Obi-Wan, but it was actually the relatively obscure General Dodonna that first uttered the phrase. Still, with the success of last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens and at least one Star Wars film on the horizon for each of the next several years, we should all get used to hearing that galactic greeting. It has been around since a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

"Why so serious?" - The Dark Knight

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In 2008, Heath Ledger single-handedly redefined the way comic book villains could be portrayed on the silver screen. His iteration of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight could not be further removed from either Cesar Romero's cartoonish clown or Jack Nicholson’s mean-spirited weirdo. Instead, Ledger brought deep and angry chaos to the character which, for the first time in live-action, made Batman’s greatest nemesis seem like someone who could actually exist in the world.

What most memorably aligned with the “why so serious” quote that Ledger’s Joker so often delivered, however, were the stories he told to go along with how he received his smiling scars. From an angry father to a frightened wife, Ledger’s Joker created the perfect story to scare the pants off of his victims and ingrain himself in the public memory. With Ledger’s death coming just six months before the film’s release, we can now project the actor’s pain onto the character, making this line even more memorable.

"Yippie-ki-yay, motherf*****!" - Die Hard

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Ah, Christmas time. A time for families to come together, take in a little holiday cheer, greet friends new and old, and exchange bullets with German terrorists.

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In the greatest Christmas movie of all time, Bruce Willis travels from New York to quintessential 1980s LA. It’s the middle of the yuppie craze, and Willis’ stereotypically macho NYC cop John McClane has a hard time dealing with the yuppies and their baloney when all he wants to do is get his wife and kids back. Then German terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) attack his wife's company’s Christmas party. The movie brought us tons of great lines (“Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho!”), but there is nothing that beats this his NSFW response to being called a cowboy. The mic drop-ingly awesome line is repeated in each of the film's sequels, justifiably so.

"I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." - The Wizard of Oz

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There have been lines that originate in one film and become popular enough to show up in other pieces of art or entertainment. Sometimes lines from films end up in songs, or books, or TV shows as a nod to the fans of the original. And then there’s “we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

This phrase is so commonly used that it has appeared in movies and television shows from Married...With Children and Grey’s Anatomy to Sailor Moon and Avatar. In fact, it is so common that viewers could be forgiven for forgetting its original utterance: when Dorothy first arrives in the technicolor Oz in The Wizard of Oz. At the time, it was a breathtaking scene — the beginning of the film had been rendered in black and white, and the brightly colored Oz would have been a novelty to 1939 moviegoers. This one line of dialogue has become a universal shorthand to mean things have changed, and they might never be the same again.

“Here’s Johnny!” - The Shining

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Say you’re a homicidal maniac, driven insane by isolation and supernatural occurrences in the giant, empty hotel where you have been hired as the winter caretaker, and you're stranded with your family. It could happen to anybody, right?

The thing you’d be most concerned about is “What do I say when I finally corner my wife in the bathroom?” It’s a big moment, and it’s an important phrase to get right in that particular situation! Too long, and she’ll escape and thwart your plans while you are speaking. Too detailed, and you'll mistakenly reveal your entire plan to her, as so many bad guys have done before you. Too cliched a reference and she’ll just feel embarrassed for you. If you’re Jack Torrance of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, what you say is “Here’s Johnny!” Nicely dovetailed with The Tonight Show’s introduction of Johnny Carson, it takes on a sinister tone due to your maniacal face peering through the splintered door and that axe in your hand. Nailed it.

"You’re gonna need a bigger boat." - Jaws

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Steven Spielberg’s nautical horror masterpiece Jaws is a veritable cornucopia of memorable quotes. From Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) growling “Smile you sonofabitch” before shooting the oxygen tank which blew the shark to kingdom come, to “That’s some bad hat, Harry,” (the slogan of Bryan Singer’s production company) there is almost no dialogue in the film which is not quotable. We still find ourselves singing "Show Me The Way to go Home" from time to time.

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Most memorable, though, is Chief Brody’s fearful claim after seeing the shark for the first time. Looking around at the Quint’s small fishing vessel and then back at the enormous shark, Brody proclaims “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This one line has come into common usage any time we find ourselves in over our heads, with insufficient tools to get us back out safely.

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning." - Apocalypse Now

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Apocalypse Now is the greatest movie that almost didn’t happen. The notoriously jinxed production featured a typhoon which nearly destroyed the set, a lead actor (Harvey Keitel) who was fired two weeks into production, a heart attack which nearly killed replacement lead actor Martin Sheen, a star (Marlon Brando) crazier than the crazy AWOL officer he was portraying, a production designer who brought actual human cadavers to be part of a set, and a suicidal writer/director.

What all this insanity produced, however, was perhaps the greatest war film ever made. There was an authenticity to the production that has never been matched, the madness behind the eyes of the actors was too close to being real. And in this insanity, Robert Duvall and his helicopter squadron dropped out of the sky like Valkyries, blaring Wagner, surfing in the middle of a firefight, and dropping napalm like the fires of Hell itself from the sky. “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” his character declares, and we believe every word of it.

"Where we're going, we don't need roads." - Back to the Future

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“Hello, McFly!” In the greatest film featuring near-incest made in the 1980s, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) becomes a paradox when he travels to the past in a stolen souped-up DeLorean, where his mother quickly gets the hots for him.

The movie itself is memorable for its portrayal of the dichotomy of small-town America in the red scare 1950s and the tech-centric, anything-is-possible 1980s. The quote that lingers, however, comes after the paradox is neatly resolved when Marty follows the advice of his pair of Docs (1950s Doc Brown and 1980s Doc Brown, both played perfectly by Christopher Lloyd) and get his parents together before he ceased to exist. Just before the credits roll, the DeLorean turns up and a manic Doc Brown pops out from the future, complaining about Marty’s kids. The DeLorean revs up, and Marty worries that there isn’t enough road to get them to the 88mph they need to time travel. As the car lifts gracefully into the air, sporting its garbage-fusion clean-burning engine, the Doc utters his famous line, and they shoot off into the future.

"I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." - The Godfather

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Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Robert Duvall each make their second appearance on this list in the 1972 masterpiece The Godfather. In what might be the best film ever made, the story of two generations of an Italian immigrant crime family plays out, with all the inherent drama and intrigue one could ever ask for.

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Early in the film, Johnny Fontane (Al Martino) plays a Sinatra-esque actor/singer who, like Sinatra in the 1940s, is facing a challenging time in his career. His voice is weak, he’s boozing and drinking too much, and a film producer is refusing to cast him in a role that will make him an A-list film star. Don Vito Corleone (Brando), head of the family, begins the film receiving guests in his study. Tradition states that no Sicilian can refuse requests on his daughter’s wedding day, and the reception is in full swing in the yard. Fontane comes to the Don, crying about the state of affairs he finds himself in. Corleone slaps him around a little bit, but then promises Fantane he’ll take care of the producer, stating he’s “going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Later, his son Michael (Pacino) tells his girlfriend Kay (Diane Keaton) a similar story, wherein the offer was revealed to be a death threat. In this, we see both the loyalty and ruthlessness inherent in the Corleone family.

"Here's looking at you, kid." - Casablanca

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Like some of the earlier films in this list, there is little about Casablanca that is not quotable. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” “If that plane leaves and you’re not on it, you’ll regret it - maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” “The problems of three people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this world,” and “we’ll always have Paris” are all indelibly inked on the American consciousness.

But it’s in the final goodbye, the selfless sacrifice Rick (Humphrey Bogart) gives to Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), and to the world, in giving her away to Victor Laszlo. “Here’s looking at you, kid,” sums up their lost love, and the lost loves of so many during the war. Interestingly, this movie has, perhaps, the most misquoted catchphrase in movie history as well. “Play it again, Sam,” uttered in the speaker’s best Bogie impersonation has become shorthand for Casablanca. The only problem is that nobody says “Play it again, Sam.” Rick, in lamenting Ilsa’s return to his life shouts at Sam (Dooley Wilson) to play their song As Time Goes By. “Play it,” he commands. Earlier, Ilsa also implores Sam to play the same song, “Play it once, Sam, for old time’s sake.”

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