If you want to be a real human man with bona fide man-credentials, then you simply must be able to throw out quotes from any of the following movies, at any appropriate moment.
I’m not saying you have to do the geek-boy thing of remembering entire swathes of dialogue from Return of the Jedi, but there are particular movies in the popular lexicon that, in certain circumstances, a fella just has to quote.
I can promise there’s going to be a lot of De Niro and a fair bit of Pacino, so strap yourself in.
A Few Good Men
If you don’t come out of this movie wanting to be a hotshot lawyer in the US Navy, you have no soul, my friend. And even though Demi Moore keeps her clothes on the whole time, it’s by far her sexiest role. Life hack: Use this film whenever you’re playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, it’s got everybody in it, including Kevin Bacon.
“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? YOU? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.”
-- Col. Jessup (Jack Nicholson)
And of course:
“You can’t handle the truth!”
-- Jack again.
The Big Lebowski
Lebowski gets my vote for the funniest movie of all time. The Coen brothers are goddam geniuses and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. Now hurry up and make that sequel that has been talked about for about a decade.
Oh my god there are a million.
“That rug really tied the room together.”
-- Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), various
“The Dude abides.”
-- The Dude (Jeff Bridges), and again:
“She’s not my special lady, she’s my fucking lady friend.”
We’d waited our whole lives for De Niro and Pacino to spend screen time together and they didn’t disappoint in 1995’s magnificent Heat, a slick crime thriller with some breathtaking action scenes.
This movie is all about the dialogue, but here’s the line every guy needs in his repertoire:
“Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”
-- Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro)
Surely every man can relate to Travis Bickle on some level? More so for the loneliness and despair part, rather than the ‘frequenting sleazy porn theatres’, ‘constructing sleeve guns’ and ‘getting into hellacious gun battles with pimps and mobsters’ stuff.
“Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.”
-- Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), and, you know it:
“You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK.”
Harry Callahan is a half-insane, take-no-shit, neo-fascist lone wolf cop who stalks the mean streets of San Francisco dishing out his own brand of bloody justice with a hand-cannon of a revolver. Reminds me a lot of myself, really.
“I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five'? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya, punk?”
-- Dirty Harry himself (Clint Eastwood)
And the other most famous one which, don’t forget, came from Sudden Impact, not the original Dirty Harry:
“Go ahead, make my day.”
I almost don’t want to watch the sequel to this movie as it seems impossible to make it as good as the original. Ben Stiller has been involved truckloads of movies since and none have been as brilliant, hilarious and quotable as his male-model masterpiece, Zoolander.
Take your pic, but here are a few.
“Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.”
-- Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller)
"Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?"
-- Derek again, and:
Deep down inside, we all know we would totally build a cocaine empire if it meant we got to sleep with 1980s Michelle Pfeifer.
All from Tony Montana (Al Pacino), naturally:
“In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.”
“I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.”
“Say hello to my little friend!” KABOOM!
Yeah, this movie probably didn’t deserve all those Academy Awards. And OK, it’s pretty cheesy. And not at all relatable to our modern lives. But none of that matters because it’s fricken awesome! Go get ‘em Maximus!!
“At my signal, unleash hell.”
-Maximus (Russell Crowe), and:
“Are you not entertained?! Are you not entertained?! Is this not why you are here?”
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
Don’t you just want to live inside this movie? I mean, it would be poorly lit and extremely dangerous, but also really cool to be an enforcer or something for the Corleone family. Pass me that cannoli.
“I'm gonna make him an offer he won't refuse.”
-- Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando)
“It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”
-- Clemenza (Richard Castellano)
Like many of the movies on the list, this Francis Ford Coppola classic can be watched over and over without losing any of its impact. From the initial shot of a napalm firestorm to the Wagner-playing helicopters to Martin Sheen rising out of the mud, there are a myriad of unforgettable moments. And a heap of superb lines.
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
-- Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall)
“Terminate with extreme prejudice.”
-- Civilian (Jerry Ziesmer)
“The horror … the horror!”
-- Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando)
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Like Stiller, Will Ferrell has had a lot of memorable performances, but do any match his role as Ron Burgundy in the original Anchorman? No. If you quote this movie to another guy and he doesn’t know what the hell you’re talking about, that person can never be your friend.
“Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means ‘ whale’s vagina.'”
-- Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell)
“It’s so damn hot. Milk was a bad choice.”
-- Ron again.
“They’ve done studies, you know. 60 percent of the time, it works every time.”
-- Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd)
“I love lamp.”
-- Brick Tamland (Steve Carell)