While again watching the movie Galaxy Quest; a satire on Star Trek, I noticed how neatly they made use of two main movie lines:
“By Grabthar’s hammer, we live to tell the tale.” (there are more hilarious variations from this character within the whole movie)
“Never give up. Never surrender.”
Watch the opening of Galaxy Quest to get an idea.
Both of the quotes get used by two main characters, which’ve lost their enthusiasm for those quotes near the beginning of the movie. However as the film moves forward and their story unfolds, they regain their appreciation for the line and use it enthusiastically later on in the movie. Those quotes also get used to create humor throughout the movie. They are great quotes, making fun of the whole Star Trek hype in a good way.
Movie lines can be amazing and it’s great when a scriptwriter can come up with great lines for their screenplay…why?
A great movie line is of course bait to reel actors in. Actors love good dialogue, it’s great if there is that one memorable line which audiences can connect with.
Audiences will remember a good quote; therefore your movie will stay even more relevant and on their minds.
Important readers and directors love a good line to work with creatively. It is just another element you choose to put in your screenplay and they will love and remember you for it.
Movie lines are used in many different ways. Below are a couple of examples:
A repetitive and entertaining line that is used throughout a movie. A great example is Bruce Willis’ reply to the villain played by Alan Rickman, which is:
“Yippee-Ki-Yay, Motherfucker!” - John McClane in Die Hard
A line which makes a role characteristic and reflects the character. The most famous line:
“My name is Bond, James Bond.” It just oozes coolness. The same goes for Bond’s Martini quote: “Shaken, not stirred” classic!
A foreshadowing line of what is to come. I absolutely love the quote Bryan Mills presents in Taken:
“If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
And that is what he does throughout the whole movie just as stylishly as the words were delivered by his character.
A strong mythological statement which supports the whole theme/story of a movie:
“May the force be with you.” - Ben Kenobi in the Star Wars trilogy
Can it get any better than this line?
A strong statement often times made in dramas:
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” – Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind.
“The only way you can beat my crazy was by doing something crazy yourself. Thank you. I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck.” - Pat in The Silver Linings Playbook.
There are many more examples of how to use great lines in movies. My favourite one:
“You can’t handle the truth.” Col. Nathan R. Jesse in A few Good Men.
A great line, the way in which Jack Nicholson delivers it send shivers down my spine. Apparently he loved his speech in the courtroom scene so much he acted it out 50 something times for reaction shots. So make your lines count and you get someone like Jack Nicholson to get passionate about acting out that line.
What is your favourite movie line and why?