The 30 Greatest Closing Lines in Cinema History

10. Videodrome


The Line: “Long live the new flesh.”

Context: After killing Moses, Max Renn sees himself pulling the trigger against his own head on television. Max rises from the ground and does what he saw on TV.

Why is it great? Once the film talks about degradation of men and the way violence on television and media affects society, violence is presented as something that is already in the viewer. When this “violent transformation” occurs, Max turns into “new flesh” and reproduces the scene he watched on TV.


9. Back to the Future

Back to the Future

The Line: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Context: Marty returns to the present and everything is great until Dr. Brown appears in his DeLorean, saying he has to go back to the future. So the Doctor, Marty and Jennifer go aboard to another adventure.

Why is it great? It works as an amazing teaser for what comes next. Even if a sequel wasn’t planned, this line opens an appetite for an imaginary world full of technologies and future gadgets, typical of a place where roads are not needed.


8. Some Like it Hot


The Line: “Nobody’s perfect.”

Context: Sugar, Joe and Jerry are back to the boat. While there, Joe and Sugar declare their true love. Upfront Jerry confesses some of his flaws to Osgood, such as the fact that he is a man.

Why is it great? The comic side makes it one of the most memorable lines of all time. It’s also the culmination of the different paths Joe and Jerry took; Joe dressed like a woman, but then reconquering his masculinity staying with Sugar. Jerry maintains his persona and accepts Osgood’s proposal.


7. Fight Club

Fight Club (1999)

The Line: “You met me in a very strange time in my life.”

Context: The “Narrator” understands what is happening to himself and tells everything to Marla. Buildings start to explode outside and the two hold hands.

Why is it great? The line is in past tense, which implies that the “strange time” has passed. It also implies that everything is clear and solved: Tyler Durden is dead and buried; the Narrator is at peace with his personality; and he also accepts Marla, understanding he was the one who had a relationship with her.


6. A Clockwork Orange

clockwork orange

The Line: “I was cured all right.”

Context: Alex is eating at the hospital and receives some information about his recovery treatment. Minister Frederick makes Alex an offer, trying to get some help in the next election. Alex agrees and imagines a “violent” and bizarre sex scene.

Why is it great? The irony and sarcasm are astonishing on this one. The government thinks Alex is “cured” and wants to use him as a campaign weapon, but Alex just turned into the person he was before. He is thinking by himself again and his concept of ultra-violence is stronger than ever.


5. Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind

The Line: “Tomorrow is another day.”

Context: After being abandoned by Rhett, Scarlett cries emotionally lying down on the stairs. Suddenly, in a momentary glance of reason, she gains hope to keep on fighting.

Why is it great? After all the suffering and pain that this woman has experienced, this closing line of hope is a lesson of resilience. After a huge feeling of grief, the moment of not giving up appears, leaving a positive message in the air.


4. Dr. Strangelove

Mein Fuhrer, I can walk

The Line: “Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!”

Context: Dr. Strangelove shows his fascist masterplan followed by some Nazi salutations, convincing a part of his audience to escape from the “end of the world”.

Why is it great? Dr. Strangelove personifies fascism and when he says he can walk, it’s like if fascism itself could “walk”. In that moment, the world explodes with smooth background music in a clear criticism about power, tyranny and demagoguery.


3. Sunset Boulevard


The Line: “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Context: Norma Desmond is going to jail for murdering Joe Gillis and a fake cinema production is used as bait to attract her. Norma thinks she’s back in the movies, but she will be arrested instead.

Why is it great? It’s a very brave criticism by Billy Wilder. Watching that woman blinded by fame and despair, thinking she is in another world is fantastic. The line is simple but effective, showing us that the plot was just a hiccup in Norma’s life of frustration.


2. The Usual Suspects


The Line: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, he’s gone.”

Context: After a convincing and emotive testimony, “Verbal” Kint leaves the police station. In that moment, in a logical bid, agent Kujan realizes he was deceived and the whole story “Verbal” Kint invented was built with objects present in the room.

Why is it great? Bryan Singer’s film is an amazing ode to good and evil. “Verbal” Kint, the good one, becomes Keyser Söze, the bad one, within seconds. Therefore, the ending line is the key to solving the mystery: if you believe that “Verbal” exists, you could never tell he was Keyser Söze, because he was God in the story. But, if the good one (“Verbal”) is a farce, you can tell he is the Devil, so you decipher the mystery.


1. Casablanca


The Line: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Context: Helped by Captain Louis, Rick arranges a plane escape for Ilsa and Victor Laszlo. When Major Heinrich Strasser arrives to the airport, he tries to stop the escape, but Rick shoots him down.

Why is it great? The final scene was not the “perfect one”, but this line shows that everything will be just fine in the future. Once Rick and Captain Louis are planning an escape from Casablanca, the repression and incarceration will be over soon.

Author Bio: Pedro Bento is a portuguese samurai, who travels with his wakizashi sword into the infinity of his mind, always forgetting his way home. He doesn’t believe in inspirational moments, but he likes to hide in a secret place, where heavy metal is always blasting and no one can bother him, except his apathetic girlfriend Inês. Yes, he’s a loner.