21 Movie Quotes That Defined Pop Culture

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Movies play a significant role in how we communicate with each other. Terms like “Debbie Downer,” “Friendzone,” and “Gaslighting” all come from the entertainment world. Much of what we consider slang is invited during storyboard sessions for iconic films.

Today, we would like to examine movie quotes that redefined American pop culture. In curating this list, we have chosen the films that had the most considerable impact on audiences. While there are films with more iconic quotes, these movies have had the most significant impact on people’s daily lives.

1. “Are you not entertained?” Gladiator (2000)

Photo Credit: Dreamworks Pictures.

In Ridley Scott’s epic drama Gladiator, Maximus Decimus Meridius screams this iconic line during his battle in the Colosseum. A former Roman soldier turned slave fighter, Maximus mocks the bloodthirsty spectators in the arena.

This line encapsulates Maximus’s unwillingness to succumb to his new position in the Roman Empire. The line has since transcended the film and is used as a filler for any reckless action or a scenario where there may be ethical concerns in entertainment.

2. “You shall not pass!” The Lord of the Rings (2001)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Gandalf shouts this iconic line during his battle with the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. Instructing his friends to flee, he valiantly fights the massive creature, giving the Fellowship time to escape what would otherwise be certain death.

His declaration, “You shall not pass!” highlights his willingness to sacrifice himself for his friends and his defiance of this monstrous creature. After the film’s release, the line has been used in countless pop culture references. It has even popped up occasionally on road signs, adding a bit of humor to our everyday lives.

3. “This is Sparta!” 300 (2007)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Zack Snyder’s blood-soaked action film, 300, changed how audiences viewed historical movies. Gone were the days of stuffy conversations and diplomacy. Instead, they were treated to Gerard Butler kicking a Persian emissary into a well while screaming, “This is Sparta!”

4. “What I do have is a particular set of skills.” Taken (2008)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Taken is a film that completely ignores the trolly problem. Throughout the franchise, Liam Neeson proves that it is acceptable to kill boatloads of people, so long as you are the good guy. This chaotic course of events starts with the iconic line, “What I do have is a particular set of skills.”

Bryan Mills utters this line while on the phone with the people who kidnap his daughter. The line is meant to emphasize that he is a skilled killer who will stop at nothing to get his daughter back.

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5. “Why so serious?” The Dark Knight (2008)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Heath Ledger was a gift to the world and provided us with the best Joker performance we will ever see. His ability to capture the anarchic, dark whimsey of the character elevated The Dark Knight into the stuff of legend. His iconic line, ‘Why so serious?” perfectly captures the chaotic energy of this iconic villain.  

6. “You’ve got red on you.” Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Shaun of the Dead proves how spectacular horror comedies can be if done right. Following a three-act structure, the film often calls back to lines to the previous acts. The funniest of these has to be “You’ve got red on you.”

Pointing out that someone has a bit of red on their shirt during the zombie apocalypse highlights the absurd style of humor Shaun of the Dead relies on.

7. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Spider-Man (2002)

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures.

Without Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man adaptation, we wouldn’t have the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whether that is a good or bad thing is still undecided. What is clear is that this iconic film changed the entertainment landscape for over 20 years.

Uncle Ben delivers the famous line, “With great power comes great responsibility,” to a young Peter Parker. As his parental figure, Uncle Ben conveys that becoming Spider-Man should be viewed as a blessing and a curse. This line encapsulates Peter Parker’s story arc and has become the most quoted line in superhero movie history.

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8. “I drink your milkshake!” There Will Be Blood (2007)

Photo Credit: Miramax Films.

Daniel Day-Lewis is the most outstanding character actor the world has ever seen. In Paul Thomas Anderson’s historical drama, There Will Be Blood, he plays Daniel Plainview, a corrupt and callous oil tycoon. This pivotal line comes to us as he argues with his longtime rival, Eli Sunday, over a potential oil deposit. His condescending tone and childlike metaphor send a clear message of disrespect to his opponent.

9. “I am Iron Man.” Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.

The Avengers Saga is Marvel Entertainment at its best. This franchise is filled with a variety of impactful quotes. However, none have the emotional impact of Robert Downey Jr.’s final words as Iron Man. In his last stand against the mad titan, our hero saves the world at the cost of his own life. But just before he snaps his fingers, he says the iconic words that started it all, “I am Iron Man.”

10. “Wilson!” Cast Away (2000)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Tom Hanks is one of the best living actors. Often cited as America’s dad, Hanks has many iconic films under his belt. However, the most quoted film he has been in has to be Cast Away. As a man trapped on a desolate island, Hanks forms a strong friendship with a volleyball named Wilson.

Our protagonist eventually escapes his waking nightmare but loses his only friend along the way. As he watches the ball float away in the ocean, Hanks repeatedly screams his friend’s name. This heartbreaking scene highlights Hank’s acting prowess and the human ability to bond with anything.

11. “May the odds be ever in your favor.” The Hunger Games (2012)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate Films.

Suzanne Collins’ dystopian series, The Hunger Games, became a worldwide sensation in the early 2000s. Although the films were not as brutal as the books, they still capture the heartless nature of the capital. “May the odds be ever in your favor” encapsulates that for some, the Hunger Games is a life-altering fight to the death, but for others, it is merely a form of entertainment.

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12. “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Listed as one of the greatest movies of all time, The Wizard of Oz follows Dorothy as she is transported into the magical land of OZ. Expressing her bewilderment at the situation, she utters, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” This line lives on in homages and pop culture references worldwide.

13. “May the force be with you.” Star Wars (1977)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Star Wars is the most iconic sci-fi franchise of all time. Its magical religion, The Force, allows its users to wield godlike powers and is central to the series’ conflict. “May the force be with you” is such an iconic line that the United States has a national celebration day for the film. May 4th is known as May the Fourth Be With You Day and hosts all kinds of Star Wars themed celebrations.

14. “Say hello to my little friend!” Scarface (1983)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Gangster movies are a timeless piece of American cinema. While many critics highlight The Godfather as the best, no film enthralls audiences like Scarface. In his final stand, Tony Montana reigns bullets down on his enemies while shouting, “Say hello to my little friend.” This scene emphasizes Tony’s larger-than-life persona and reckless disregard for danger.

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15. “Here’s Johnny!” The Shining (1980)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining receives mixed feelings in the horror community. His disregard for the source material and treatment of Shelley Duvall has left a bad taste in the mouths of some genre fans. That being said, the film is still considered one of the greatest horror films ever made.

One of the main reasons for this is the deranged portrayal of Jack Torrence by Jack Nicholson. Jack slowly descends into madness and decides to kill his family. This is emphasized when he bursts through a door with an ax while screaming Johnny Carson’s famous line, “Here’s Johnny!”

16. “Hasta la vista, baby.” Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Photo Credit: Carolco Pictures.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day took an interesting approach following the first film’s success. Ditching the gritty sci-fi angle of The Terminator, they instead tried to make the robot killing machine cool by teaching it slang. This approach worked surprisingly well.

There is something extremely charming about a phrase like “Hasta la vista, baby,” coming from a cold-blooded android. The line has worked its way into pop culture legends and can still be seen in references and homages to the film.

17. “I see dead people.” The Sixth Sense (1999)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Night Shyamalan may be viewed as a one-trick pony now, but he shocked the world with his twist ending in The Sixth Sense. The film follows a young boy and his therapist as they try to find the root cause of his anxiety and fear. “I see dead people” perfectly sets the tone for this creepy thriller.

18. “This one time at band camp…” American Pie (1999)

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

American Pie comes from a simpler time in cinema history. Its raunchy humor and terrible sex puns have entertained generations of viewers. “This one time at band camp…” details one of the more graphic jokes in the film.

There was a period when you couldn’t walk into a high school or college campus without hearing an utterance of this iconic line. While it may not have the staying power of other quotes on this list, American Pie had an enormous impact on pop culture that can still be felt today.

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19. “My precious.” Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Possibly the creepiest monster ever displayed on the silver screen, Gollum demonstrates the One Ring’s horrible effect on those who wield it. Once a prosperous Stoorish Hobbit named Smeagol, Gollum has been reduced to a horrid creature obsessed with retrieving the ring. His repetitive phrase “My precious” highlights his reverence and desire for this cursed artifact.

20. ‘What’s in the box?” Se7en (1995)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

A line that should be screamed every Christmas morning, “What’s in the box?” comes from David Fincher’s film Se7ev. The movie follows two detectives attempting to track down a serial killer who punishes people based on the seven deadly sins. We won’t spoil the film for you, but let’s just say Gwyneth Paltrow loses her head in this role.

21. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Jaws (1975)

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

Jaws is one of the best horror films of all time. However, the budget and resources for the film were limited, so fitting everything on tiny boats became a problem. As such, the crew started using the term “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” anytime something went wrong.

As a result, Roy Scheider ad-libbed the line upon first seeing the robotic shark in action. Although it wasn’t scripted, this deadpan reaction perfectly fit the film’s theme and has become one of the most iconic lines in film history.

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20 Timeless Black and White Films That We Absolutely Love

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

So we’re sharing our top black-and-white films with you today! From the contained drama of 12 Angry Men to the eerie Nosferatu and the heart-achy Casablanca, we’re rounding up 20 of the myriad old films that have made it to the status of legends; whether they’re can’t-miss classics or films with a niche cult following, they’re all excellent in some way.

20 Timeless Black and White Films That We Absolutely Love

19 Films Where the Main Character Discovers They’re Not the Good Guy in the End

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Whether through deception or a mistake, it does not change the result: several of the most thrilling and astonishing events reveal that the protagonist is mistaken or definitely a villain. Here are some of the best films that demonstrate that!

19 Films Where the Main Character Discovers They’re Not the Good Guy in the End

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