20. Stand By Me
The Line: “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?”
Context: After their big adventure, Chris, Jerry, Gordie and Teddy separate and follow their lives without connecting again.
Why is it great? Childhood is indeed a very special phase in life. The line makes us think about those golden times, when friendship was more pure than ever.
19. Magnum Force
The Line: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
Context: Harry gets the better of Neil Briggs and the Lieutenant dies in the final scene.
Why is it great? First, because it is really epic. Secondly, people are never aware of their limits. Sometimes being too much positive can cause them to not understanding their weaknesses. Other times negatively, giving up too quickly without even trying.
The Line: “Most people are so ungrateful to be alive, but not you, not anymore… Game over!”
Context: Jigsaw reveals the truth about the game Adam has been playing and he realizes his fate.
Why is it great? Above everything, this line is very reflective about life and the way we don’t value moments and the feeling of being alive. Sometimes we get depressed with superfluous things and don’t notice what life is and how worse off we could be, and this film makes us realize that.
The Line: “Now, where was I?”
Context: Leonard remembers that he’s the one who is trying to deceive his own mind. He also knows he prepared his own jigsaw puzzle. He continues to create “facts” and plots, so his delusion never stops.
Why is it great? Lying to ourselves to not destroy our happiness or purpose of life is a very strong idea. The film builds it in a unique way, but in the end Nolan wanted to give an idea of “endless circle”; the protagonist wants to be so lost in his own reality that he simply forgets the truth and don’t know who he is, what is he doing or where he is. When discovered, he just wants to forget again.
The Line: “Thanks to you, I think I can keep my faith in man.”
Context: A baby is found in Rashomon, and the priest and the woodcutter talk about the world and how their faith in humanity is almost lost.
Why is it great? As in most allegorical stories, Rashomon works as a criticism about society, falsehood and egoism (very different when compared with Akutagawa’s book). After a series of some reproachable behaviors, a slight hope in humanity remains.
15. Cries and Whispers
The Line: “I cannot wish for anything better. Now, for a few minutes, I can experience perfection and I feel profoundly grateful to my life, which gives me so much…”
Context: Before leaving the mansion, Anna founds Agnes’ diary and reads it. While doing that, she understands how important Karin and Maria were to Agnes and how she felt in her last days.
Why is it great? With a simple diary excerpt, we know what Agnes felt while suffering from disease. Unlike Maria and Karin, she, who was near death, could appreciate the simplest moments of life and feel truly happy with an encounter with her sisters.
14. Blue Velvet
The Line: “It’s a strange world, isn’t it?”
Context: After all problems exceeded (Frank, the ear mystery, Dorothy’s son), Jeffrey and Sandy are at the window with Aunt Barbara when a robin appears. Robins were a representation of love for Sandy, but she doesn’t forget the horrors she experienced with Jeffrey.
Why is it great? “Blue Velvet” deals with innocence lost and the way the world can be strange for those who hadn’t experienced much yet. The line is an expression of surprise to what tomorrow can bring. It is a demonstration that some things can’t be erased even when love shows off.
The Line: “I have to wait around like everyone else. Can’t even get decent food. Right after I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I’m an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.”
Context: Henry gets out of the crime world and misses the action of the old days. When he goes to the door to catch his newspaper, he remembers Tommy shooting like a madman. After this memory he smiles.
Why is it great? Normally when somebody runs out of crime, there is the happiness of embracing a normal and decent life. That’s what is amazing with “Goodfellas” and this ending line in particular; Henry will have to watch his back to not be buried alive or beaten with a crowbar and he misses the crime world, the people and the action in the same way.
12. Raging Bull
The Line: “I’m the boss, I’m the boss, I’m the boss, I’m the boss, I’m the boss…(I’m the) boss, boss, boss, boss, boss, boss.”
Context: Jake La Motta’s face is completely disfigured and he’s about do a show as a comedian. So, while he’s waiting to start, he does a speech in the mirror, basically a speech to himself. When he’s called to start the show, he starts to do air punches.
Why is it great? After a quick but amazing retrospective of his own life, Jake La Motta shows that, despite regret and his mistakes, he is still the same person: a reckless bum. This was the story of a bum, so the line was perfect.
11. Silence of the Lambs
The Line: “I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner.”
Context: After escaping, Hannibal Lecter calls to Clarice just to tease her. Then, in a classic and amazing scene, we can see Dr. Lecter in his disguise following Dr. Chilton, paved with bad intentions.
Why is it great? One of the scariest things about horror movies is when they don’t have an ending. Knowing that the murderer, the zombie or the ghost is still on the run ready to cause more panic is the scariest thing. With this line, we know Dr. Lecter will have a dinner “with” Dr. Chilton and we can start to wonder what Dr. Lecter will eat.