Top List Thursdays – Top Ten Movie speeches

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There’s nothing like a rousing speech to really drive home how great a movie can be. It’s that do or die moment, that period in time where a few chosen words can turn the tide of a battle, and grant you victory.

We’re taking a look at ten such speeches today, but with so many to choose from, don’t forget to drop us some of your favourites in the comments below, after the jump.

300

Spoiler: Even 299 Spartan soldiers can’t stop hundreds of thousands of Persians on the warpath. With Leonidas dead, and Greece finally united in a common cause, Dilios recounts the tale of how the large band of brothers eventually fell, taking thousands of Persians with them, as he inspires some HOO-Ha! spirit into the army behind him, who believe that being outnumbered 3-1 is unfair.

For their enemies at least.

Masters of the Universe

Skeletor, played by Frank Langella, and imbued with the power of not giving a damn in this turkey of a movie, finally achieves his godhood, becoming a master of the universe, and revealing to audiences that He-Mans’ true name is Neil.

NEEEEEEEEEEIIIIILLL!

Star Trek: First Contact

For anyone doubting the badass qualifications of Captain Jean Luc Picard, this should be the one moment that truly puts him on par with the rest of the legendary members of Starfleet, as he finally expresses years of fury, letting us all know that he has had it up to here with these mother-lovin’ Borgs on his mother-lovin’ Enterprise.

Rocky 5

So many people despise Rocky 5 , but for the life of me, I can’t understand why. The film went back to the heart of the character, and sure, he may not have spent the film eradicating socialism with left hooks, slipping Bolshevik jabs, but it’s still a damn fine film on its own. And this moment here, where his longtime trainer, Mickey, gives him a pep talk that resonates later in the final showdown, is one of the most touching scenes in the entire saga.

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And yes, I’m aware of the speech from Rocky Balboa, but this one ranks higher on my list.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The Lord of the Rings has plenty of fantastic moments throughout the trilogy, but this one scene, where Aragon decides to buy Frodo some time to destroy the one ring, even if it means his death, is just majestic. The poetic words, the vigour, the conviction, it’s all there, as the future king prepares to lay his life down to save a realm in peril.

Hail to the King baby.

Braveheart

Another classic, before Mel Gibson messed up the hate lobes in his brain, and confused Jewish people for the medieval British. It’s been parodied a dozen times, mocked and imitated, and Kervyn usually paints his face blue and rides a horse into the office, reciting it word for word on payday, but its no less powerful, after all these years.

The Boondock Saints 2

In just a few short words, David Della Rocco and the gang in the second Boondocks film, perfectly encapsulate what it means to be the kind of man who takes charge, and gets things done. But more importantly, I love this speech because it shows how great we as a species can really be, no matter what your gender, ethnicity or sexual preference is. I’ve got no problem with being a man from a dying era of society, but I’m also pretty damn proud to be a human being.

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The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin may be thought of as a classic funny man, but he had his moments of sheer genius, moments where he seemed to see the future, and urge us to better ourselves, and remain human above all. And that’s a point made with absolute heart and soul, in this classic scene from The Great Dictator, where he set aside a lampooning of Adolf Hitler to drive that point home.

Team America

First of all, this is NSFW, at all. If you’ve got a boss that frowns when you say heck, do not click that link. You’ve got to hand it to the South Park guys, with their brand of comedy.

It’s rude, crude and more intelligent and insightful than a room full of starving comedians. Narrowing the world down to three kinds of people, Team America asks us, “which genitalia do you want to be in life?”, a question that everyone needs to reflect on, at one point in their life.

Independence Day

You knew this was coming. And it would be a crime not to have this speech here. It’s been repeated at conventions, weddings, protests and the braai that I organised last weekend.

It’s timeless, and stuffed with so much star-spangled patriotism, that I want to throw my ID away and apply to become an American. Bill Pullman nailed this pivotal scene, but combined with previous events and that stirring score in the background, it’s a speech that set a benchmark in Hollywood.

Last Updated: August 30, 2012

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Han

    Cool choices. Also “Captain my captain” from Dead Poet Society.

    • Darryn_Bonthuys

      Oh yeah, there was definitely some Carpe Diem in the rough draft of this list. If I had done top 15, it would have been there.

  • How on earth could you possibly forget Pacino’s fantastic speech at the funeral in City Hall?

    • Darryn_Bonthuys

      I…haven’t seen that film. (ducks)

      • Do watch it. It’s not brilliance, but it’s still a goodie

  • Erwin Kempff

    AMERICA FUCK YEAH

  • You joke, but I really can recite that Braveheart speech from memory. Along with about a further 90% of that film’s dialogue.

    I originally had a VHS copy of the film, which I busted up from watching it so many times.

    Also, I apparently had no life as a teen.

  • Al Pacino’s speech at the end of Any Given Sunday is an instant classic.
    And Keanu’s big “Chicks dig scars” speech in The Replacements.

    You can’t beat sport movies for that passionate, emotionally rousing speeches. Nearly every movie has one.

  • Han

    The poor man! Epic list is epic 😉 But yea Al Pacino, what abt his explanation of women in Scent of a woman? omw so epic.

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