Stop everything and watch our handpicked playlist of the best movie monologues ever seen on screen. Disclaimer: Guaranteed Chills!
Calibbr’s list of best movie monologues exclusively includes Oscar®-winning or Oscar®-nominated movies. In other words, 9921 Academy Award members have pre-approved the brilliant acting and writing of the below movie monologues.
If you’re here to do the homework, let’s start by explaining what movie monologues are. A movie monologue is a speech given by a single character in a movie to connect the audience to the depth of the character’s thoughts or storyline.
Famous movie monologues are fueled by powerfully emotional acting and speeches, adding unforgettable drama, crescendos, or closing scenes that stick with us forever.
Before we dive into the movie monologues, I’m aware that some of the famous movie monologues are not in here. I’ve decided to make room for some new movie monologues that shed light on less represented stories and people. Lights out, Volume Up, Watch, and Enjoy!
A Few Good Men | Jack Nicholson (1992)
“You can’t handle the truth!”
Jack Nicholson won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “A Few Good Men”. “You can’t handle the truth” became one of the most popular movie lines of all time, ranking in the Top 30 list of AFI’s 100 years…100 movie quotes.
Fun Fact: The original line was “You already have the truth”. Jack Nicholson improvised “You can’t handle the truth” and the rest is Oscar® history.
You can’t handle the truth!
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, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.
You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. Have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know — that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives; and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall — you need me on that wall.
We use words like “honor,” “code,” “loyalty.” We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.
I would rather that you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand the post. Either way, I don’t give a DAMN what you think you’re entitled to!
Good Will Hunting | Robin Williams good (1997)
“Your Move, Chief”
A very moving monologue from the great Robin Williams in “Good Will Hunting”. It’s a timeless message on experiencing life. Robin Williams plays Shawn Mcguire, a Psychiatrist that leaves us with the effortless, raw speech about the beauty of understanding life through experience, not books. This role gave Robin Williams his well-deserved Oscar®.
Bitter-sweet fact: The bench in this scene is now used as a memorial for Robin Williams.
If I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on about every art book ever written.
Michelangelo. You know a lot about him. Life’s work. Political aspirations. Him and the Pope. Sexual orientation. The whole works, right?
But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that.
If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites.
You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid.
If I ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right? “Once more into the breach, dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap and watch him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help.
If I ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone who can level you with her eyes. Feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of Hell? And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel. To have that love for her be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer.
And you wouldn’t know about sleeping, sitting up in a hospital room for two months, holding her hand because the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms visiting hours don’t apply to you.
You don’t know about real loss. Because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself.
I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. I look at you, I don’t see an intelligent, confident man. what I see a cocky, scared-shitless kid.
But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you.
But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, you ripped my fucking life apart.
You’re an orphan, right?
Do you think I’d know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you?
Personally, I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what? I can’t learn anything from you that I can’t read in some fucking book. Unless you want to talk about you. Who you are. And I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that, do you, sport?
You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Birdman | Emma Stone (2014)
“You’re not important, get used to it”
I’m particularly a fan of commentaries on Hollywood, and this monologue is a wrenching burst on an actor’s ego and fight for relevancy and status.
Personally obsessed with the film’s script and performances. Alejandro Inarritu blessed us with capturing the rawest performances by Emma Stone, Micheal Keaton, Edward Norton, and Naomi Watts. While Keaton and Stone were only nominated (such a shame), the film did end up winning an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
Means something to who? You had a career before the third comic book movie before people began to forget who was inside the bird costume. You’re doing a play based on a book that was written 60 years ago, for a thousand rich, old white people whose only real concern is gonna be where they go to have their cake and coffee when it’s over.
Nobody gives a shit but you. And let’s face it, Dad, it’s not for the sake of art. It’s because you just want to feel relevant again.
Well, there’s a whole world out there where people fight to be relevant every day. And you act like it doesn’t even exist! Things are happening in a place that you willfully ignore, a place that has already forgotten you.
I mean who are you? You hate bloggers. Make fun of Twitter. You don’t even have a Facebook page.
You’re the one who doesn’t exist. You’re doing this because you’re scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don’t matter. And you know what? You’re right. You don’t.
It’s not important. You’re not important. Get used to it.
Joker | Joaquin Phoenix (2019)
“How about another joke, Murray?”
You knew this will be featured on the list, as you should! This phenomenal take on the Joker, lead by an Oscar®-winning performance by Joaquin Phoenix, is a commentary on the ruthless society and media that mocks the outcasts and misfits of society.
Although this clip includes a slight dialogue, it’s one of the tensest close-shot scenes of recent times.
Excerpt from the script:
“Have you seen what it’s like out there, Murray? Do you ever actually leave the studio? Everybody just yells and screams at each other. Nobody’s civil anymore.
Nobody thinks what it’s like to be the other guy. Do you think men like Thomas Wayne ever think what it’s like to be someone like me? To be somebody but themselves? They don’t. They think that we’ll just sit there and take it, like good little boys! That we won’t werewolf and go wild!”
The Great Dictator | Charlie Chaplin (1940)
“The Final Speech”
Let’s go back in time to the most iconic monologue of all time, penned by Charlie Chaplin.
The movie scored Oscar® wins and is Charlie Chaplin’s first film with dialogue; he has also written and directed this picture. Sadly, this speech resonates with our times, but its reaffirming message about faith in humanity is why you should watch it.
Excerpt from the script:
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery.
We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world, there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.
Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….
The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..
Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drills you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder.
Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! Also you are not cattle! You are men! Have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
Braveheart | Mel Gibson (1995)
“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom”
A “.Gif” that you can hear.
I had to include this fan favorite in our list. If you’re a 90’s kid, you know Mel Gibson is the star of the most iconic memories you’ve made growing up watching movies. Mel Gibson did not win his “Best Actor” nod, but scored big wins in the Best Picture and Best Director categories.
“ I am William Wallace, and I see a whole army of my countrymen, here, in defiance of Tyranny. You’ve come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do without freedom? Will you fight?
Fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live…at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance – just one chance – to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives [With growing excitement] but they’ll never take our freedom!”
Scent Of A Woman | Al Pacino (1992)
“I’ll show you out of order”
Al Pacino won his first Best Actor Oscar® for this brilliant portrayal of an overbearing, blind retired Lieutenant Colonel. Al Pacino’s monologue truly portrays what it’s like to feel alive again when you’ve lost everything. This monologue delivery truly is one for the ages.
Excerpt from the script:
Outta order? I’ll show you outta order! You don’t know what outta order is, Mr. Trask! I’d show you but I’m too old; I’m too tired; I’m too fuckin’ blind.
If I were the man I was five years ago I’d take a FLAME-THROWER to this place! Outta order. Who the hell you think you’re talkin’ to? I’ve been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And I have seen boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there isn’t nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit; there is no prosthetic for that. You think you’re merely sendin’ this splendid foot-soldier back home to Oregon with his tail between his legs, but I say you are executin’ his SOUL!! And why?! Because he’s not a Baird man! Baird men, ya hurt this boy, you’re going to be Baird Bums, the lot of ya. And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are out there, F*** YOU, too!
Birdman | Michael Keaton (2014)
Birdman made it to our list yet again, to make up for Michael Keaton’s Oscar® snub. This immensely tense scene makes you question if an actor or a critic is the more entitled and unversed.
Excerpt from the Script:
You know what this is? You don’t, do you? Can’t even see it if you don’t label it. You mistake those sounds in your head for true knowledge.
Nothin’ about intention, structure, technique. Just crappy opinions backed up by crappy comparisons. You’re incapable of writing more than a couple of paragraphs, and you risk nothing of yourself.
Well, I’m an actor and this play has cost me everything. So you can take your cowardly, malicious, shittily written reviews and shove them up your ass.
Marriage Story | Laura Dens (2018)
“That’s the way it is”
Savage lawyer Nora Fanshaw (played by the amazing Laura Dens) talks about the patriarchal and misogynistic society we live in when legally advising a female client filing for a divorce. Watch Laura act her a#! out in her Oscar®-winning role in “Marriage Story”.
“Don’t ever say that. People don’t accept a mother who drinks too much wine and yells at her child and calls him an asshole. I get it. I do it too. We can accept an imperfect Dad. Let’s face it, the idea of a good father was only invented like, 30 years ago. Before that, fathers were expected to be silent and absent and unreliable and selfish and we can all say that we want them to be different but on some basic level we accept them, we love them for their fallibilities. But people absolutely don’t accept those same failings in mothers.
“We don’t accept it structurally and we don’t accept it spiritually because the basis of our Judeo-Christian Whatever is Mary Mother of Jesus and she’s perfect. She’s a virgin who gives birth, unwaveringly supports her child, and holds his dead body when he’s gone. But the Dad isn’t there. He didn’t even do the f***ing because God’s in heaven. God is the father and God didn’t show up so you have to be perfect and Charlie can be a f*** up and it doesn’t matter. You’ll always be held to a different, higher standard and it’s f***ed up, but that’s the way it is.”
Call me by your name | Micheal Stuhlbarg
“Father and Son”
This heartbreaking Father to son monologue in the coming of age film “Call me by your name” will leave you sobbing. This film has grown an LGBTQI+ fandom due to its depiction of underrepresented same-sex love stories. But the honest end scene monologue is more than sexual orientation, it’s the agony of living in fear and not having the courage or choice to live and feel. The movie won an Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay.
“When you least expect it, nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot. Just remember I’m here. Right now, you may not want to feel anything. Maybe you’ll never want to feel anything. And, maybe it’s not to me you want to speak about these things, but I feel something you obviously did.
Look, you had a beautiful friendship. Maybe more than a friendship. And I envy you.
In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, or pray that their sons land on their feet. But I am not such a parent. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!
And I’ll say one more thing… it’ll clear the air. I may have come close, but I never have what you two have. Something always held me back or stood in the way. How you live your life is your business. Just remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once, and before you know it, your heart’s worn out. And as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now, there’s sorrow, pain; don’t kill it, and with it, the joy you’ve felt.”
Fences | Viola Davis (2016)
“What about my life”
Bow down to queen Viola, one of the greatest actors of our century. It’s nearly impossible to not be moved by the credibility and that Viola adds to each character she plays on screen. After two outstandingOscar®-nominated roles in “Doubt” and “Help”, Viola finally took home her Oscar® for her role in “Fences”.
I been standing with you!
I been right here with you, Troy.
Got a life too.
I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot with you. Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me? Don’t you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men? That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget about my responsibilities? That I wanted someone to make me laugh so I could feel good?
You not the only one who’s got wants and needs. But I held on to you, Troy. I took all my feelings, my wants and needs, my dreams…and I buried them inside you. I planted a seed and watched and prayed over it. I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom. And it didn’t take me no eighteen years to find out the soil was hard and rocky and it wasn’t never gonna bloom.
But I held on to you, Troy. I held you tighter. You was my husband. I owed you everything I had. Every part of me I could find to give you. And upstairs in that room…with the darkness falling in on me…I gave everything I had to try and erase the doubt that you wasn’t the finest man in the world. And wherever you was going…I wanted to be there with you. Cause you was my husband. Cause that’s the only way I was gonna survive as your wife. You always talking about what you give…and what you don’t have to give. But you take, too. You take…and don’t even know nobody’s giving!
Hidden Figures | Taraji P. Henson.
“No Bathrooms for me here”
Nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Adapted Screenplay”, “Hidden Figures” is a biographical drama that celebrates the overlooked and crucial people in the history of America. On planet Calibbr, we’re celebrating the amazing performances by the cast, with Taraji singled out for her monologue about injustice and racism.
There’s no bathroom for me here. (What do you mean there’s no bathroom?). There is no bathroom. There are no colored bathrooms in this building. Or any building outside the West Campus, which is half a mile away. Did you know that? I have to walk to Timbuktu just to relieve myself. And I can’t use one of the handy bikes. Picture that, Mr. Harrison. My uniform. Skirt below my knees, my heels, and a simple string of pearls. Well, I don’t own pearls. Lord knows you don’t pay coloreds enough to afford pearls! And I work like a dog, day and night, living off of coffee from a pot none of you wanna touch. So, excuse me if I have to go to the restroom a few times a day.
Encore: “Thunder Road”
Thunder Road Short Film
The monologue is the movie itself. A rollercoaster that would make you laugh and cry, both at once. This short film isn’t Oscar-nominated, but it’s a must-watch!
This short was so good, it was later adapted into a full-length feature film.
Encore: A Dialogue in “Marriage Story”
An honorable mention: Marriage Story Dialogue (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanson).
While this is a dialogue, it’s a manifestation and an outburst that is too captivating to be missed. Both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanson were nominated for an Oscar for their roles.
To sum up, movie monologues are captivating scenes that make the movie remarkable and iconic. It’s the one-liners that we never forget, and performances that stay with us forever.
The excitement in thinking that somewhere right now, a writer is penning a monologue that will mark us and move us forever, is what that’s all about.
“That’s all Folks”