They Seriously Had to do a Study to Figure This Out? And Yet I’m Jealous I’m not the One Who Wrote It. Darn you, A. Pawlowski! Darn You to Heck!

Stolen from the archive of awesome that is

By A. Pawlowski

— Sometimes, when you need just the right thing to say, it’s good to let the movies do the talking.

Whether it’s daring someone to “Show me the money!” before sealing a deal, proclaiming “Houston, we have a problem” when something goes wrong or shouting “I’m the king of the world” on a particularly good day, there’s a simple pleasure in using those instantly recognizable nuggets of dialogue.

I may or not may not have shouted “I’m king of the world!” as I rode the Zamboni last night.

And why not?

When some of the funniest, most dramatic, romantic and poignant words are spoken on the big screen, it’s no wonder they stick with us long after the movie is finished.

It also turns out that using movie quotes in everyday conversation is akin to telling a joke and a way to form solidarity with others, according to a researcher who has actually studied why we like to cite films in social situations.

Gee willikers, really?

“People are doing it to feel good about themselves, to make others laugh, to make themselves laugh,” said Richard Harris, a psychology professor at Kansas State University.

Slow down, Professor Turbo, I’m not following you. So when I say, “I caught you this delicious bass,” I’m… trying to make someone… laugh? What if I really caught them a delicious bass? What then, Dr. Genius?

Harris decided to ask hundreds of young adults about their film-quoting habits after he and his graduate students realized it was a common behavior that no one had looked at closely before.

Does it really take a team of graduate students to tackle this question? People like to appropriate some of the good will that peers might have with the film in question, and show off their pop culture prowess. Next you’ll be telling my we need to study why English lit majors like to quote Shakespeare. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing the practice. I, myself, like to fish that pond often.

He found that all of the participants in his study had used movie quotes in conversation at one point or another. They overwhelmingly cited comedies, followed distantly by dramas and action adventure flicks.

As for horror films, musicals and children’s movies, “fuh-get about it.” They were hardly ever cited, Harris said.

Don’t cite musical or children’s movies? Last night alone I referenced “The Little Mermaid” at least two dozen times: “It’s a dinglehopper!”

When asked about their emotions while quoting films, most people reported feeling happy, the study found.

If it made them feel sad/confused/depressed/angry/remorseful/fearful/exasperated do you think they’d do it? Side note: check out this fascinating (no, seriously) Wikipedia entry for “emotions.”

For those who can’t get enough of movie quotes, there are countless lists and trivia dedicated to them online. Depending on your budget and taste, you can buy T-shirts, mugs, games and posters featuring your favorites. Web sites like allow users to submit film lines to a growing quote bank and take quizzes.

Some movies, like “The Godfather,” “Casablanca” and “Gone With the Wind,” seem infinitely quotable.

It’s called “classic.” Next you’ll be telling me the Bible seems “infinitely quotable.”

Others can produce a single unforgettable line that will define that film forever: “You can’t handle the truth” from “A Few Good Men” and “I see dead people” from “The Sixth Sense.”

I’ve always thought “You can’t handle the truth!” to be overrated. The actual most quotable line from that movie is by Cmd. Gibbs: “Captain West, this is Lt. Commander Galloway. Jo, you know Mike Lawrence.”

A number of Hollywood masterpieces can infuse a single word with meaning: Think “plastics” from “The Graduate” and “Rosebud” from “Citizen Kane.”

“Citizen Kane” = GREAT movie. Despite my love of Simon and Garfunkel, I’m not a huge fan of “The Graduate.”

Movie quotes can even be used to teach lessons in the unlikeliest places. A blog on recently took lines from movies such as “Jaws,” “Jerry Maguire” and “The Princess Bride” and applied them to software development, of all things.

“My precious,” the words uttered by Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, for example, can teach programmers a valuable lesson, the blog said.

“In software development, it is good to take ownership of things,” JavaWorld’s blogger Dustin Marx wrote in explaining the quote’s significance. “However, we can take it too far to where we refuse to admit anything is wrong with what we’ve done or insist ours is the only way to go.”

Seriously? We’re going here?

Like a food connoisseur pairing wines with meals, one man’s fascination with memorable film lines led him to self-publish a book that advises readers which quotes would be perfect to use in which situations.

Jim Silverstein, author of “Movie Quotes to Get You Through Life,” called the 14-year project a labor of love that grew out of his fondness for bantering in movie quotes with friends in college.

Silverstein — a self-described “computer guy” who lives in suburban Chicago, Illinois — began compiling his book in the early 1990s, watching hundreds of films and gathering more than 2,000 quotes in the process. The constant search for good lines made it hard for Silverstein to relax while watching films at home and annoyed his wife because he would frequently pause the movies to write down the lines, he said.

OK, this part is actually kind of cool.

Silverstein, 39, categorized the quotes under topic headings such as compliments, excuses and marriage. Readers looking for zingers have an especially big selection of movie lines to choose from; the insults category has nine subgroups, including appearance, intelligence and sex.

Journalistic aside – I’ve always been puzzled that journalists a whole like to stick people’s ages in stories. Everybody does it. NYT, AP, everybody. It’s not like it’s relevant to the story. To me, you mights as well say, “Silverstein, a white, Jewish man of 39 who prefers swiss cheese to American or cheddar, categorized…” (Mr. Silverstein, I apologize if I offended you by assuming you’re Jewish. Zay moykhl!)

Everyone loves movies, so citing them is a way to break the ice, Silverstein explained.

“I think it’s a matter of lightening up conversation, maybe finding a better way to say it than you would have said yourself,” Silverstein said.

“It’s meant to help you be clever. … Sometimes, when you don’t know what to say, why not say what James Caan said? Why not pull out a Marlon Brando: ‘Make me an offer I can’t refuse’? Everybody understands.”

Ahh… the trusty standby, “WWJD?” (What Would James (Caan) Do?)

Silverstein’s own favorite quotes include lines from movies such as “Roxanne” and “Spinal Tap.” But with some of his friends looking for work in a tough economy, he has become fond of citing a line from “Raising Arizona” to cheer them up: “You’re young, and you’ve got your health; what [would] you want with a job?”

What? Not a single reference to Monty Python (“…then thou shalt count to three; no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four, shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three.)? Have they never met a male college student? Also, my dad LOVES “Raising Arizona.” I can take it or leave it. What is Nic Cage’s appeal?

Top 100 movie quotes (according to the American Film Institute)

I starred the ones I’ve seen. Because I know you were wondering. Wow, only 36. I have some work to do. Sadly, my personal favorite movie quote didn’t make the list: “I was born a small black child” (Steve Martin, “The Jerk”). Wow. Lots of racial humor in the blog lately. Bad form, BK. Bad form.

1 “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a [darn].” Clark Gable Gone with the Wind 1939
*2 “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Marlon Brando The Godfather 1972
3 “You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando On the Waterfront 1954
*4 “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz 1939
5 “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Humphrey Bogart Casablanca 1942
6 “Go ahead, make my day.” Clint Eastwood Sudden Impact 1983
7 “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Gloria Swanson Sunset Boulevard 1950
*8 “May the Force be with you.” Harrison Ford Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 1977
9 “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” Bette Davis All About Eve 1950
10 “You talkin’ to me?” Robert De Niro Taxi Driver 1976
11 “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Strother Martin Cool Hand Luke 1967
*12 “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!” Robert Duvall Apocalypse Now 1979
13 “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Ali McGraw Love Story 1970
*14 “The stuff that dreams are made of.”[7] Humphrey Bogart The Maltese Falcon 1941
*15 “E.T. phone home.” Pat Welsh E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982
16 “They call me Mister Tibbs!” Sidney Poitier In the Heat of the Night 1967
*17 “Rosebud.” Orson Welles Citizen Kane 1941
18 “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” James Cagney White Heat 1949
19 “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Peter Finch Network 1976
20 “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Humphrey Bogart Casablanca 1942
*21 “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” Anthony Hopkins The Silence of the Lambs 1991
*22 “Bond. James Bond.” Sean Connery Dr. No 1962
*23 “There’s no place like home.” Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz 1939
24 “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.” Gloria Swanson Sunset Boulevard 1950
25 “Show me the money!” Cuba Gooding Jr. Jerry Maguire 1996
26 “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?”[9] Mae West She Done Him Wrong 1933
27 “I’m walking here! I’m walking here!” Dustin Hoffman Midnight Cowboy 1969
28 “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'” Ingrid Bergman Casablanca 1942
*29 “You can’t handle the truth!” Jack Nicholson A Few Good Men 1992
30 “I want to be alone.” Greta Garbo Grand Hotel 1932
*31 “After all, tomorrow is another day!” Vivien Leigh Gone with the Wind 1939
32 “Round up the usual suspects.” Claude Rains Casablanca 1942
*33 “I’ll have what she’s having.” Estelle Reiner When Harry Met Sally… 1989
34 “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” Lauren Bacall To Have and Have Not 1944
*35 “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Roy Scheider Jaws 1975
36 “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” Alfonso Bedoya The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948
*37 “I’ll be back.” Arnold Schwarzenegger The Terminator 1984
38 “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Gary Cooper The Pride of the Yankees 1942
*39 “If you build it, he will come.” Ray Liotta (voice) Field of Dreams 1989
*40 “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Tom Hanks Forrest Gump 1994
41 “We rob banks.” Warren Beatty Bonnie and Clyde 1967
*42 “Plastics.” Walter Brooke The Graduate 1967
43 “We’ll always have Paris.” Humphrey Bogart Casablanca 1942
44 “I see dead people.” Haley Joel Osment The Sixth Sense 1999
45 “Stella! Hey, Stella!” Marlon Brando A Streetcar Named Desire 1951
46 “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.” Bette Davis Now, Voyager 1942
47 “Shane. Shane. Come back!” Brandon De Wilde Shane 1953
48 “Well, nobody’s perfect.” Joe E. Brown Some Like It Hot 1959
49 “It’s alive! It’s alive!” Colin Clive Frankenstein 1931
*50 “Houston, we have a problem.” Tom Hanks Apollo 13 1995
51 “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry 1971
52 “You had me at ‘hello’.” Renée Zellweger Jerry Maguire 1996
53 “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.” Groucho Marx Animal Crackers 1930
*54 “There’s no crying in baseball!” Tom Hanks A League of Their Own 1992
55 “La-dee-da, la-dee-da.” Diane Keaton Annie Hall 1977
56 “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” Anthony Perkins Psycho 1960
57 “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Michael Douglas Wall Street 1987
*58 “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” Al Pacino The Godfather Part II 1974
*59 “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” Vivien Leigh Gone with the Wind 1939
60 “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” Oliver Hardy Sons of the Desert 1933
61 “Say hello to my little friend!” Al Pacino Scarface 1983
62 “What a dump.” Bette Davis Beyond the Forest 1949
*63 “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” Dustin Hoffman The Graduate 1967
64 “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” Peter Sellers Dr. Strangelove 1964
65 “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Basil Rathbone The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 1939
*66 “Take your stinking paws off me, you [darned] dirty ape!” Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes 1968
67 “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Humphrey Bogart Casablanca 1942
68 “Here’s Johnny!” Jack Nicholson The Shining 1980
69 “They’re here!” Heather O’Rourke Poltergeist 1982
70 “Is it safe?” Laurence Olivier Marathon Man 1976
71 “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet! Wait a minute, I tell ya! You ain’t heard nothin’!” Al Jolson The Jazz Singer 1927
72 “No wire hangers, ever!” Faye Dunaway Mommie Dearest 1981
73 “Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?” Edward G. Robinson Little Caesar 1930
74 “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.” Joe Mantell Chinatown 1974
75 “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” Vivien Leigh A Streetcar Named Desire 1951
*76 “Hasta la vista, baby.” Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
77 “Soylent Green is people!” Charlton Heston Soylent Green 1973
*78 “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” Keir Dullea 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
*79 Striker: “Surely you can’t be serious!” Rumack: “I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.” Robert Hays and Leslie Nielsen Airplane! 1980
*80 “Yo, Adrian!” Sylvester Stallone Rocky 1976
81 “Hello, gorgeous.” Barbra Streisand Funny Girl 1968
*82 “Toga! Toga!” John Belushi National Lampoon’s Animal House 1978
83 “Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.” Bela Lugosi Dracula 1931
84 “Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.” Robert Armstrong King Kong 1933
*85 “My precious.” Andy Serkis The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2002
86 “Attica! Attica!” Al Pacino Dog Day Afternoon 1975
87 “Sawyer, you’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!” Warner Baxter 42nd Street 1933
88 “Listen to me, mister. You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re going to get back on that horse, and I’m going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we’re gonna go, go, go!” Katharine Hepburn On Golden Pond 1981
89 “Tell ’em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper.” Pat O’Brien Knute Rockne, All American 1940
*90 “Shaken, not stirred.” Sean Connery[8] Goldfinger[30] 1964
*91 “Who’s on First?” Bud Abbott The Naughty Nineties 1945
*92 “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac…It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!!” Bill Murray Caddyshack 1980
93 “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” Rosalind Russell Auntie Mame 1958
*94 “I feel the need—the need for speed!” Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards Top Gun 1986
*95 “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” Robin Williams Dead Poets Society 1989
96 “Snap out of it!” Cher Moonstruck 1987
97 “My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you.” James Cagney Yankee Doodle Dandy 1942
98 “Nobody puts ‘Baby’ in a corner.” Patrick Swayze Dirty Dancing 1987
*99 “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!” Margaret Hamilton The Wizard of Oz 1939
100 “I’m the king of the world!” Leonardo DiCaprio Titanic 1997


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