In today’s cinema, the movie monologue has become a rare occurrence. No longer are audiences engaged by the written word, but instead looking for quick resolutions in a slam, bam, thank you ma’am fashion. When we do get them, though, there is typically true depth behind those words.
Movie monologues have their place and have the power to lift a film or unfortunately sink it as well. We have found 8 of the best movie monologues that only pushed their respective films toward greatness. Take a look at these and see if you don’t agree.
The Best Movie Monologues Ever
8. Pulp Fiction (1994) – Jules Winnfield
Any time we can get Samuel L. Jackson delivering any type of speech in a film, we are better off for it. When you couple Jackson’s delivery with Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue, well, it is a match made in Heaven. Take for instance Pulp Fiction and Jules Winnfield’s Ezekiel 25:17 speech.
Not only does Jackson perfectly recite 25:17, but he lays in the rest of Tarantino’s dialogue in a menacing fashion. It is classic Jackson delivery of Tarantino’s distinctive dialogue.
7. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Andy Dufresne
When Red (Morgan Freeman) finally decides to get busy living rather than getting busy dying, his journey takes him to a tree in the middle of the desolate countryside. With no one around him, Red finds what Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) left for him – money and a heartfelt letter.
As Andy says in his missive to Red, “If you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.” We all went on that journey with Andy and Red in The Shawshank Redemption and yes, we are most willing to see it through to the end.
6. The Dark Knight (2008) – The Joker
Heath Ledger’s brilliance as the unhinged Joker in The Dark Knight is on full display with his movie monologue. Here, The Joker chooses the perfect time to explain how he got his scars in grueling detail. It’s not just the story he tells about how his drunk father decided to cut the smile into his face, but it is the delivery that seals the deal. Plus, he is holding a knife to the face of the man he’s telling his story to.
5. The King’s Speech (2010) – King George VI
The struggle was real and perfectly portrayed by Colin Firth in The King’s Speech. Firth played King George VI, a man afflicted with a serious stutter that almost ruined a country. The scene, featuring the entire speech given by the real King George VI during wartime Britain, was a movie monologue that was truly edge-of-your-seat excitement, powerful, and a testament to perseverance and ultimate courage.
4. Taken (2008) – Bryan Mills
It was a moment in time that took a middling career and catapulted it to a new level. Before Liam Neeson became Bryan Mills, the most badass father a young daughter could ask for, he had a solid career.
It was nothing to be ashamed of, not in the least. But one scene, one movie monologue changed everything for Neeson. His “very particular set of skills” were just that and a new career was born.
3. Jaws (1975) – Quint
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is known for many things, on-screen and off. The choice to show as little as possible of the oftentimes non-working mechanical shark named Bruce was a decision that made Jaws the terror that still holds true to this day.
But one of the bigger moments in the film is seldom talked about, and that is when Quint (Robert Shaw) shares his story of being on the USS Indianapolis when it was sunk during World War II. It was a harrowing story, one delivered with full conviction by Shaw.
2. A Few Good Men (1992) – Colonel Jessup
Not much needs to be said about this movie monologue, considered by many to be the best in movie history. Jack Nicholson positively hit it out of the park as Colonel Jessup, in a role that was not large (he was only in a total of 3 scenes in the film) but it was his last scene that is the most talked about. In defending his actions, Jessup’s “you can’t handle the truth” monologue is pitch-perfect.
1. Network (1976) – Howard Beale
When you revisit Peter Finch’s “I’m Mad as Hell” speech, we won’t forgive you if you think he is talking about life as we see it today. This movie monologue was in Network, a film that was released in 1976. But take a listen to Finch’s fiery delivery, his frustration and outrage with the world as it spins. Then compare his complaints with life today. Spot on and one of the most influential monologues ever put on film.