Fantasy and sci-fi movie quotes that have stood the test of time come from the best films ever made.
Sci-fi and fantasy films have delivered visual spectacle for decades. These genres are best known for pushing the technical envelope but also expressing rich ideas with brilliant dialogue. But some lines are so snappy and loaded that they become household phrases. These are eight of sci-fi and fantasy films’ most quotable quotes.
“I’ll be back.” – The Terminator, The Terminator (1984)
It is harder to say these three words without an Austrian accent than with one. Of all the quotes on the list, this line-turned-catchphrase from Arnold Schwarzenegger has been repeated and called back to in and out of movies for nearly 40 years.
Schwarzenegger first says, “I’ll be back” in the original Terminator; after being denied a chance to see Sarah Connor at a police station, the Terminator assesses the room and promises to return. He does, and he blows the whole station away in his violent pursuit of his target.
The line comes back in most of Schwarzenegger’s work in some form or fashion, and of all the quotes on the list, this is perhaps the one most commonly applicable. After all, we all have to come back sometime.
“May the Force be with you.” – Han Solo, Star Wars (1977)
The Star Wars films keep delivering. This line comes from the original and is one of the great cultural equalizers. If you say this to anyone, they will know what you mean, and they will be grateful.
This quote competes with Spock’s for being the most humanitarian in nature on the list. It is a fun and powerful way to wish someone well in their endeavors, especially when the context is considered.
Obi-Wan Kenobi originated the phrase, but when Han Solo adopted the words, it signaled a change happening in the heart of the jaded con man. The words represent a willingness to believe that something greater than ourselves might be on our side, and to support our friends, even when they believe differently than we do.
“You shall not pass!” – Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Whether you are blocking a doorway, standing your ground on the freeway, or giving yourself the worst exam pep talk ever, this line from Gandalf applies. Sir Ian McKellen shouted the epic command while staring down a giant, demonic Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dûm. He then proceeded to make good on his words.
McKellen is truly a legendary actor, and his performance as Gandalf is witty, warm, and, when necessary, completely badass. His cadence and conviction give this brief line of dialogue an impassioned, songlike quality that is fun to repeat.
His stand against the Balrog in the Mines of Moria would be his last in The Fellowship of the Ring, giving this iconic character an equally memorable sendoff.
“Live long and prosper.” – Spock, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
This line from Spock is a lovely greeting. It is made extra cool by the hand gesture that goes with it. Original Spock actor Leonard Nimoy came up with the gesture while shooting the Star Trek original series episode Amok Time.
Nimoy believed that Vulcans should have a significant greeting, the way some cultures bow or salute each other. Nimoy took the gesture from a Jewish ceremony he saw as a child. The hand forms the Hebrew letter Shin, the first letter of Shaddai, which means the name of God.
Of all the quotes on the list, this one from Spock could be the most well-meaning of them all. And that is just as Gene Roddenberry would want it.
“Houston, we have a problem.” – Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 (1995)
You don’t need to have ever been to Houston to let them know there is trouble. This line, originally delivered by the inimitable Tom Hanks, has become the default expression to signal that there is, in fact, a problem.
In Ron Howard’s space thriller, the mission goes awry when an oxygen malfunction compromises the astronauts’ spacecraft. As the control room back on the ground tries to get answers, Hanks dramatically delivers one of the most repeated lines in movie history.
Forrest Gump may be Tom Hanks’ most quotable film, but this line from Apollo 13 is in contention to be the actor’s greatest.
“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Lots of people want to try. When anyone verbalizes such a desire, there is only one appropriate response: to quote Yoda.
This line originated in the swamps of Dagobah. As Luke Skywalker struggled to learn the ways of the Force, Yoda knew that Luke was held back by his lack of belief in himself. When Luke’s X-Wing sank beneath the surface of the swamp, his defeat felt complete.
When Yoda told Luke that the ship could be recovered, Luke halfheartedly agreed to give it a try. Then Yoda responded with this iconic line that reminds us that in order to achieve something, one must first believe that it can be done.
“There’s no place like home.” – Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Going far back into film history, this iconic line is just one of the many gems uttered in The Wizard of Oz. The line comes at the climax of the film as Dorothy uses the magic of her ruby slippers to take her back to where she belongs.
She repeats the mantra, clicks her heels together, and returns to her own reality. These immortal words from Judy Garland have echoed through time. When people return from their travels or describe the places they are from, it is hard to find a truer expression than “There’s no place like home.”
“I am your father.” – Darth Vader, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
This line is most commonly said into the swirling blades of a fan. The earth-shattering words from Darth Vader mark one of the greatest turning points in movie history. The scene in which the villain makes the disturbing revelation to Luke Skywalker is burned into the culture’s collective mind, and so are Vader’s words.
This quote is also one of the most commonly misquoted lines of dialogue. Many recite, “Luke, I am your father.” The actual line is, “No, I am your father.” Next time you hear someone make that mistake, you can show your impressive Star Wars knowledge by correcting them. Just don’t plan on making any new friends in the process.