Top List Thursday – 10 Best Action Movie One-liners

5 min read

Since next week this time we’ll be up to our bushy eyebrows in girly hearts, teddy bears and criminally overpriced roses, I figured it’s time for us to man it up around here while we still can. And really, there are few things as manly as a one-liner uttered by an action hero, especially as it’s usually either preceded or followed by the death of some unlucky sod who rubbed said hero up the wrong way.

So without further ado, here are 10 lines of dialogue that will put hair on your chest just by listening to them.

“How do you like ya ribs?” – Carl Weathers (Action Jackson)

The uploader of the video below described it as “quite possibly the greatest scene in history” and damn, he may just be right. Before we even get to the particular line of dialogue that I’m highlighting, you’re treated to some of the very best worst (not a typo) action the 1980’s had to offer. And then you get to that one-liner, which is already pretty good, but coupled with that Kubrickian fade-out/in afterwards, it’s movie gold.

“We will fight in the shade” – Michael Fassbender (300)

Way before Michael Fassbender was making all the rest of us feel inadequate about our talent and/or manhood, he was proving that there’s nothing quite so fatalistically badass as a mouthy Greek in a loincloth and sandals.

“…And I’m all outta bubblegum!” – “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (They live)

The secret to a good, memorable one liner, is to make it just ever so slightly ridiculous. Unless you’re “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. In which case, “slightly” means “turn it up to effing 11!”. It’s easily one of the cheesiest lines of dialogue ever uttered, but by Thor’s nipples is it ever cool!

“Stick around” – Arnold Schwarzenegger (Predator)

Admittedly, this is very similar to another classic James Bond one-liner moment, but whereas Bond was suave and cool in the execution, here Arnold shows a bloodthirsty glee, like only a man whose pectorals are more eloquent than he is, truly can.

“I never miss” – Pierce Brosnan (The World Is Not Enough)

The Pierce Brosnan era of Bond takes quite a bit of flack for it’s ever increasing level of absurdity, and rightfully so. And while The World is Not Enough has its fair share of eye-rollers (like naming Denise Richards’ character “Christmas Jones” all for the sake of one cringe-inducing double entendre right at the end) it also has this piece of cold blooded badassery.

“…I’ll take two bullets” – Bruce Willis (The Last Boy Scout)

Bruce Willis’ entire feature film career in the 80’s and 90’s was essentially just a montage of badass one-liners set to music of 9mm pistols, and he was arguably at his very snarky best when those lines came from the pen of Shane Black in The Last Boy Scout. The film is filled with great moments from start to finish, which is why it was pretty hard to find a video containing just this one scene. So skip ahead to 02:40 to get to the bit I’m highlighting, but by all means, watch the whole damn thing.

 “Consider that a divorce!” – Arnold Schwarzenegger (Total Recall)

Domestic violence is not a laughing matter. Unless of course it’s followed up by a pithy quip as demonstrated by Arnie when he dispatches of his wife, played by Sharon Stone, after he discovers that she was actually planted in his life by the people who replaced his entire identity, so that she could keep an eye on him, and eventually kill him. And you thought your marriage had issues?

“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” – Gert Frobe (Goldfinger)

Who says that only good guys get to have all the fun? Especially when you can produce this (pun intended) golden line of dialogue. While James Bond is famous for his capacity for quips (quip-acity?), this – aside from 007’s famed introduction of himself – is arguably the best line ever uttered in a Bond film.

“Yippee ki-yay, [email protected]#$er!” – Bruce Willis (Die Hard)

There’s a reason why fans got upset when this line got PG-13’ed out of the last Die Hard. And no, it’s not because we’re all just a bunch of obsessive potty mouths. The line, in essence, tells you just about everything you need to know about Detective John McClane: He likes to swear at people in funny ways before killing them.

“Do you feel lucky, punk?!” – Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry)

Did you know that before Clint Eastwood landed the role of “Dirty” Harry Callahan, that the role was originally intended for Frank Sinatra? That “What if?” scenario makes for some interesting food for thought, but I really just can’t see how Ol’ Blue Eyes would out-tough Ol’ Never See My Eyes, especially when it comes to uttering this immortal line.

And just to prove that the art of the one-liner doesn’t always go to plan, even if you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger, here are the outtakes of him trying to nail the final line in Commando.

Last Updated: February 7, 2013

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