Recently, I read an article on great monologues in movie history. Like most lists I read, my first step was to check out which monologues made the list. Only then could I decide if the writer had earned the time it would take to read what they had to say about each entry. It's a tactic that usually works for me, although this time, not so much. As reading in the introduction that the list was based on movies of the past 15 years would've saved me all that time thinking the writer was on crack for leaving out so many great ones.
But as I was thinking of all the great monologues not included, I realized I had several favorites...almost enough for my own list. My selection criteria...pretty simple. After a good monologue, you have to feel like you've just seen something pretty amazing. The dialogue and the actor's delivery work together to make the speech something you'll remember for years to come. That's how I chose the following ten.
Please note...in similar fashion to the list I read, some of my selections include dialogue from another actor on screen, which would disqualify them from being pure monologues. But for the most part, it's just the one person talking. And besides, these are my favorites, not yours. So stop being such a stickler for details, and enjoy.
10) Snatch: Pig Farmers
Definitely one I'll bet no one is expecting, but I include it here for two reasons...1) a speech on the proper use of pigs to dispose of a body is just too good to pass up, and 2) it took real balls on Guy Ritchie's part to make the same movie twice. Also, the actor playing Bricktop is awesome. Every word that comes out is a new study in saliva production. Well done.
9) Saving Private Ryan: School teacher
What's the pool on me up to? It's the question that starts the speech that reminds everyone these are all just ordinary guys with ordinary lives back home. And the best they can hope for is some sort of life after the bullets stop flying. One of the best scenes in a movie full of amazing scenes. This video has a bit of it (5:15) and you can hear the rest of it here. A classic.
8) Pulp Fiction: I will strike down upon thee
This was a close one. I couldn't decide whether to add the Jules Wrath of God speech, or the Mr. Brown Like a Virgin explanation. Both are great, but I went with Jules because he says dick fewer times, and I'm trying to keep it clean. You know, I just realized he killed the guy on the couch. Never too old to learn something new.
7) Jaws: U.S.S. Indianapolis
Quint has got to be one of the most colorful characters in film history. From the nails on the chalkboard to the mouth of the great white, he made that movie. Well, him and the guy with gills. But toothy didn't have that great Indianapolis monologue to sink his teeth into. Maybe that's why he was so pissed. Anyway...we delivered the bomb.
6) Apocalypse Now: Smells like victory
I have to admit, I'm not as big a fan of this flick as I think most people are. It's just too weird at times. But I guess that's the point, right? That's why I included this scene. But not for the napalm line, which is obviously classic. It's the melancholy look on Duvall's face when he says Someday, this war's gonna end that I can't forget. It's like it sums up the whole bizarre situation in one statement. Duvall's great.
5) True Romance: Sicilian history lesson
Can someone tell me why Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken haven't acted together more often, because this scene between them is just friggin fantastic. And if I hadn't added Hopper's explanation of why Sicilians have black hair and dark skin, I could've added Walken's explanation of why he was there. As a bonus, check out the music behind Hopper. I tell ya...these guys...
4) The Warriors: Can you dig it?
Can you count, suckas? The future is ours, if you...can count. I've read they're planning a Wariors remake, and I have to say I can't think of many ideas dumber than that. Oh wait, Escape from L.A., that's pretty close. Hey I have a question. If Fox was the only one who saw Luther shoot Cyrus, and he fell in front to a train, how did the Riffs know who did it? Crap like that keeps me up at night. Can...you...dig it?
3) Field of Dreams: People will come
I love this flick. I don't even like baseball that much, and I love this flick. It's on my movies that make guys cry list. And if I ever put together a triple digit viewings list, it'll be on that too. Try this...watch James Earl Jones talk about childhood heroes and all that is good, then ask yourself if Barry Bonds deserves the home run title. Sorry, dont't mean to editorialize. Let's move on.
2) Glengarry Glen Ross: Steak knives
Obviously, one of the greatest monologues of all time. Alec Baldwin is the epitome of everything there is to hate about corporate America. A world where the value of a man's life is the result of a mathematical equation involving his annual income and the price he paid for his watch. He is pure evil in every way, and you can't help but love that he's such an a'hole.
1) Scent of a Woman: In defense of Charlie Simms
My favorite of all time. This scene never gets old. Every time I watch it I end up with this dumbass perma-grin across my face, it's just that good. Pacino gives one of the speeches of his career, and does it while playing a blind guy. Definitely deserving of not only the best actor oscar, but the number one position on this list. Hoowaaa!
BONUS: I just realized there are no women on`the list.
Not intentional, just worked out that way. But how about this...check out Barbara Streisand in Nuts. A great performance in a movie I really like. Because there are crazier things in this world than getting $50 a blowjob.