"Frankly, my dear..."
May 17, 2011 12:30 PM   Subscribe

What are some examples of classic movie dialogue which are instantly recognizable from sound alone?

I am working on some animated segments where the audio will consist of sound clips from classic movies.

I want to use clips which are instantly recognizable, even without seeing who the actors are or what the movie is. Some famous scenes just don't work if you can't see the visual component.

(For instance, I think the filibuster scene in "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" is pretty unmistakable from audio alone. Jimmy Stewart has a distinctive voice and the dialogue is specific to that film.)

Can you help me find more?
posted by overeducated_alligator to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: "You talkin' to me?"
posted by pardonyou? at 12:32 PM on May 17, 2011

Really anything on this list, assuming you've seen the movie.

The first thing that came to my mind was "what we've got here is a failure to communicate" from Cool Hand Luke.
posted by phunniemee at 12:34 PM on May 17, 2011

What does Marcellus Wallace look like? (Pulp Fiction)
Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk? (Dirty Harry)
Darth Vader breathing (Star Wars Episodes 3-6).
posted by bfranklin at 12:35 PM on May 17, 2011

Probably the end of Casablanca?

The Graduate: Dustin Hoffman yelling "Elaine!" or the guy saying "Plastics" or Dustin saying, "You're trying to seduce me, aren't you, Mrs. Robinson?"

2001: "Open the pod bay doors, HAL." "I'm sorry; I can't let you do that, Dave..."

Lots of songs from Disney movies or other musicals -- Mary Poppins, Sound of Music...

Apocalypse Now: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" or "The horror... the horror..."

Streetcar Named Desire: "Stella!!!!!" or "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

The only thing about the Cool Hand Luke quote is that I'd known the quote for years but never actually connected it to the movie, or the context. You should probably make sure that the quotes, etc. are recognizable in context to most people, instead of just as soundbites. (Maybe that's my own problem, but it's worth checking.)
posted by Madamina at 12:42 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

The thing is, there's a difference between lines that are simply famous enough to be recognized without the visual component (people can fill that in themselves) and lines which really don't need the visual component to be effective. I'm not sure which you're looking for, exactly.

The former category is pretty easy. Some more examples:
"Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." (or any number of other lines from Casablanca)

Whistling In the Hall of the Mountain King (from M)

"Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker" (Die Hard)

The latter category is harder. "What we've got here is a failure to communicate" is a really good example, I think.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:45 PM on May 17, 2011

Best answer: I shtick my neck out for nobody.

You played it for her, now play it for me.

Round up the usual suspects.

I am shocked - shocked! - to find that gambling is going on here.

We don't need no stinking badges!

Who are those guys?

You're gonna need a bigger boat.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:47 PM on May 17, 2011

Anything about the Red Ryder BB gun from A Christmas Story
Dialogue between Rhett and Scarlett from Gone with the Wind

Pretty much anything at all from The Wizard of Oz or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
posted by Mchelly at 12:48 PM on May 17, 2011

"Say hello to my little friend!"

All other answers are superfluous.
posted by dfriedman at 12:48 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
posted by COD at 12:50 PM on May 17, 2011

If I heard these lines (or the scenes containing these lines) I would know instantly what movie they came from:

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" (Network)

"Luke, I am your father." (Empire Strikes Back)

"He ate his liver with fava beans and a nice chianti" (Silence of the Lambs)

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown" (Chinatown)
posted by pardonyou? at 12:59 PM on May 17, 2011

A lot of lines from Back to the Future. "Are you telling me you built a time machine out of a Delorean?" "Are you saying that my mom has got the hots for me?" "Great Scott!" "Hello? Anybody home? Think, McFly, think!" From Back to the Future II: "Nobody calls me chicken."

Several lines from It's a Wonderful Life. "You've never been born." "Zuzu's petals!" "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."

Animal Crackers: "One morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know."

Terminator: "I'll be back."
posted by John Cohen at 1:01 PM on May 17, 2011

The Shining: "Here's Johnny!"
posted by John Cohen at 1:02 PM on May 17, 2011

Dr. Strangelove: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the war room!"
posted by John Cohen at 1:03 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Ever heard of KONG?"
posted by Freedomboy at 1:05 PM on May 17, 2011

"My grandfather's work was doo-doo!"
posted by Gilbert at 1:11 PM on May 17, 2011

"Where all the white women at?"
posted by Gilbert at 1:12 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Luke, I am your father." (Empire Strikes Back)

If I heard this misquote and it sounded like a clip from the film, I'd really struggle to figure out where it came from.
posted by atbash at 1:13 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

If I heard this misquote and it sounded like a clip from the film, I'd really struggle to figure out where it came from.

Whew, that was a close one! Let me fix it so nobody gets confused:

"LukeNo, I am your father."
posted by pardonyou? at 1:28 PM on May 17, 2011

"Yeah white women are scarce around here." Also Kong
posted by Freedomboy at 1:30 PM on May 17, 2011

"YES! YES! YES! YES!" - "When Harry Met Sally" restuarant scene.
posted by foxhat10 at 1:41 PM on May 17, 2011

"It's alive! Alive!" from either or both Frankenstein or Young Frankenstein.
"What in the Wild Wild World of Sports is Goin on here?" Blazing Saddles ( Of course here I would use the farts instead of any dialogue. YMMV)
"What do you mean you can't swim?...Hell the fall will killya" Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
"They're Here" Poltergeist
"He Slimed Me" or "Cats and Dogs living together" Ghostbusters
posted by Gungho at 1:44 PM on May 17, 2011

How does this differ from a list of famous movie quotes? Is there some very well known movie quote that you think wouldn't work?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:09 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'll get you, my pretty...
posted by pentagoet at 2:18 PM on May 17, 2011

Probably a hundred different lines by Arnold are recognizable, a lot of that simply because of his accent.
posted by jefftang at 2:49 PM on May 17, 2011

I'm not exactly clear on how this question doesn't encompass every well-known movie quote in history. Can you give an example of classic movie dialogue that ISN'T recognizable from sound alone?
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 3:04 PM on May 17, 2011

Best answer: "YES! YES! YES! YES!" - "When Harry Met Sally" restuarant scene.

Actually, the more recognizable audio from that scene is "I'll have what she's having."
posted by John Cohen at 4:14 PM on May 17, 2011

Response by poster: I think I should have explained this more. I'm not look as much for key single lines, but for longer stretches of dialogue. Everyone knows the one-off lines, but for 20-30 seconds of dialogue it gets a bit more difficult.

I also should have noted that older movies are far preferable. Like, pre 1965.

Thanks for everything so far!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:34 PM on May 17, 2011

Harry Lime's speech atop the ferris wheel in The Third Man.
Norman and Marion's dialogue in Psycho.
"...and two hard-boiled eggs" routine from A Night At The Opera.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:04 PM on May 17, 2011

Longer bits? How about any scene from "Holy Grail?"
posted by Marky at 5:25 PM on May 17, 2011

Raising Arizona is a pretty good hit. There are some terrific monologue and dialog that stand out, including:
...and when there was no meat, we ate fowl and when there was no fowl, we ate crawdad and when there was no crawdad to be found, we ate sand.
You ate what?
We ate sand.
You ate SAND?
That's right.
All right, ya hayseeds, it's a stick-up. Everybody freeze. Everybody down on the ground.
Well, which is it, young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground? Mean to say, if'n I freeze, I can't rightly drop. And if'n I drop, I'm a-gonna be in motion. You see...
Shut up!
Okay then.
Everybody down on the ground!
Y'all can just forget that part about freezin' now.
Better still to get down there.
Yeah, y'all hear that, don't ya?
Shit! Where'd all the tellers go?
We're down here, sir.
They're on the floor as you commanded, Gale.
posted by plinth at 6:07 PM on May 17, 2011

Best answer: then these scenes from Casablanca are a good bet (lifted from the IMDb website...

Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake.
Sam: [lying] I don't know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By."
Sam: [lying] Oh, I can't remember it, Miss Ilsa. I'm a little rusty on it.
Ilsa: I'll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum...
[Sam begins playing]
Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.
Sam: [singing] You must remember this / A kiss is still a kiss / A sigh is just a sigh / The fundamental things apply / As time goes by. / And when two lovers woo, / They still say, "I love you" / On that you can rely / No matter what the future brings-...
Rick: [rushing up] Sam, I thought I told you never to play-...
[Sees Ilsa. Sam closes the piano and rolls it away]

Rick: Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I've done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you're getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.
Ilsa: But, Richard, no, I... I...
Rick: Now, you've got to listen to me! You have any idea what you'd have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten, we'd both wind up in a concentration camp. Isn't that true, Louie?
Captain Renault: I'm afraid Major Strasser would insist.
Ilsa: You're saying this only to make me go.
Rick: I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that.
[Ilsa lowers her head and begins to cry]
Rick: Now, now...
[Rick gently places his hand under her chin and raises it so their eyes meet]
Rick: Here's looking at you kid.
posted by patheral at 7:15 PM on May 17, 2011

Best answer: Actually any of those scenes from When Harry Met Sally with the people talking about how they met and got together. It's pretty brilliant that they somehow made those scenes distinctive enough that even if you don't remember or recognize the actual dialogue, it just *sounds* like one of those scenes.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:39 AM on May 18, 2011

The part of Annie Hall where Woody Allen introduces Marshall McLuhan.

But I still like the one-liners.

"Don't shoot him, you'll only make him mad."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:55 AM on May 18, 2011

Best answer: As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.

To me being a gangster was better than being president of the United States. Even before I went to the cabstand for an after-school job I knew I wanted to be a part of them. It was there that I knew I belonged. To me, it meant being somebody in a neighborhood full of nobodies. They weren't like anybody else. They did whatever they wanted. They parked in front of hydrants and never got a ticket.

When they played cards all night nobody ever called the cops.
posted by atbash at 10:19 AM on May 18, 2011

Can you give an example of classic movie dialogue that ISN'T recognizable from sound alone?

Actually, I'd think the "Yes yes yes" scene from "Harry Met Sally" would be one that isn't instantly recognizable by sound alone. Because... y'know.

I've always been partial to this one from "Pee-wee's Big Adventure":

Pee-wee: What did you do?
Mickey: Well, I lost my temper and I took a knife and I uh-. Do you know those “Do Not Remove Under the Penalty of Law” labels they put on mattresses?
Pee-wee: Yeah.
Mickey: Well I CUT one of them off!
Pee-wee: Gee.
Mickey: Yeah, I have a real bad temper.
Pee-wee: Boy, I always thought that was the dumbest law.
Mickey: The law.
Pee-wee: The law.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:34 AM on May 19, 2011

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