Our Daily Bleg: What Are the Film Quotes of the Century?

Our resident quote bleggar Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, is back with another request. If you have a bleg of your own, send it along here.

Thanks again to all who contributed great suggestions of TV catchphrases, U.S. and British.

Now I turn to film quotes, which have probably supplanted literary quotations in cultural resonance. The American Film Institute has named the following as its top film quotes of all time:

1. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gone With the Wind

2. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” The Godfather

3. “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.” On the Waterfront

4. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” The Wizard of Oz

I have no illusions that contemporary movie lines resemble such classics in any way, but precisely for the reason that things have gone downhill in the film quote world, I bleg for assistance in identifying the most memorable cinematic quotes of the 21st century so far. Please identify the film as well as the quote.


'F*** a lot of women, Dwayne. Not just one woman. A lot of women'.

Little Miss Sunshine


Oh, the 21st century.

By all means move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me. - Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada

Andy Sachs: So none of the girls here eat anything?

Nigel: Not since two became new four and zero became the new two.

Andy Sachs: Well, I'm a six...

Nigel: Which is the new fourteen.

Also The Devil Wears Prada

Julie Roth

Narrowing it down to the 21st century does pose a bit of a challenge. (Who would have thought "I see dead people" was too old without looking it up?) These two may seem silly, but based on how often they pop into my head they may have some staying power:

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."

~Dory in "Finding Nemo"


~Golem in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy

Fred Shapiro

Re #252: This is an interesting point, but in today's world of web sites and blogs and YouTube and late night talk shows, a movie line's impact can propagate and be measured more quickly than in the past.

George Johnston

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” The Princess Bride


"Quaffable, but uh... far from transcendent." - Sideways (2004)

"I wish I knew how to quit you." - Brokeback Mountain (2005)

"My Precious." - any of the LOTR trilogy

"Let's roll." - United 93 (arguably the most famous because it's not a "movie" quote)


This bleg is mostly a waste of time. You can't know what a culture considers a "memorable cinematic quote" until well after a film is released: Cinematic quotes can only become culturally memorable by being alluded to in subsequent works of pop culture. This process probably requires at least 10 years.


"Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?"

"Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?"

Donnie Darko


Is a pig's pu**y pork? - Hustle and Flow

Clementine: This is it, Joel. It's going to be gone soon.

Joel: I know.

Clementine: What do we do?

Joel: Enjoy it. - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Tom Waits: The beauty of quitting is, now that I've quit, I can have one, 'cause I've quit. Coffee & Cigarettes


"Here's to my brother George, the richest man in town!"

Look, daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.

It's A Wonderful Life


"We gotta let Olive be Olive."


Ugarte: You despise me, don't you?

Rick: If I gave you any thought I probably would.

Casablanca (Greatest Movie of All Time) !

As for the 21st century kerfuffel, there haven't been any decent FILMS

Matt Collister



"Houston, we have a problem" is from the 1995 film - Apollo 13.

Chris (Again)

2 quotes this time

"Look at me. You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself. "

Anthony: Look around! You couldn't find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys, who look like UCLA students, strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gang-bangers? Huh? No. Do we look threatening? No. Fact, if anybody should be scared around here, it's us: We're the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So you tell me, why aren't we scared?

Peter: Because we have guns?

Anthony: You could be right.

Both from Crash (2004)

Fred Shapiro

Re #2,4,5,6, etc.: I don't think these are 21st-century films.


From a movie not made in hollywood...and actually came out this century (last couple months)

"Somebody always has to die" (Translation from Flemish)



"We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason...We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home". Edward R. Murrow,"Good Night,and Good Luck"


I agree. "Call it," from No Country from Old Men is a 21st century winner.

But if I were stuck in in the 20th century, which I’m of course I’m not, by far the most prophetic was Tyler Durden's acumen in Fight Club, "F**k Martha Stewart! She’s polishing the brass on the Titanic. It’s all going down.”

This from a film that foreshadowed 9/11 (the destruction of economic centers of power by terrorists) and Martha Stewart’s face plant into prison.


I think the best is #35 on the AFI list:

"You're gonna need a bigger boat." - Roy Scheider in 'Jaws'