Fade Out: 25 of Hollywood’s Greatest Closing Lines

Everyone wants their last words to be memorable. This is the same for screenwriters. If the movie ends with a great last line, it tends to be more memorable and leave you with a feeling of “that was clever”. While re-watching Almost Famous recently for the millionth time, I chuckled out loud to myself as Russell Hammond says to William: “and you can tell Rolling Stone my last words were… I’M ON DRUGS!” William yells to him: “Russell… I think we should work on those last words”.

This is my list of the 25 greatest closing movie lines of all time.

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!

Casablanca

Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Fight Club

You met me at a very strange time of my life.

Psycho

It’s sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn’t allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They’ll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man… as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can’t move a finger, and I won’t. I’ll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do… suspect me. They’re probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I’m not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching… they’ll see. They’ll see and they’ll know, and they’ll say, “Why, she wouldn’t even harm a fly…”

American Psycho

This confession has meant nothing.

Se7en

Ernest Hemingway once wrote: ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.

Silence of the Lambs

I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye. 

Beauty and the Beast

chipDo I still have to sleep in the cupboard?

Stand by Me


I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?

The Wizard Of Oz

There’s no place like home.

The Dark Knight

Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.

American History X

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:

But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man that suddenly got everything he always wanted...He lived happily ever after.

Friday the 13th

But he…then he’s still there.

Memento

Now, where was I?

Spider-Man

Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ This is my gift. My curse. Who am I? I’m Spider-Man.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

One more thing Sophie… Is she aware her daughter is still alive?

Back to the Future

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

The Shawshank Redemption

I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

Serenity

-Storm’s getting worse.
-We’ll pass through it soon enough…What was that?

No Country for Old Men

And in the dream I knew that he was goin’ on ahead and he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold. And I knew that whenever I got there, he’d be there. And then I woke up.

The Usual Suspects

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that…he’s gone.

Unforgiven

You better not cut up nor otherwise harm whores, or I’ll come back and kill every one of you sons of bitches.   

The Princess Bride

As You Wish.  

Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead

 Where is the babysitter? 

The Devil’s Advocate

  Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.

Superman II

 Good afternoon, Mr. President. Sorry I’ve been away so long. I won’t let you down again.

An honorable mention goes to Lost in Translation for the whispers. Feel free to comment with your input…

Thank you Rachael Ann, Jason Wild, Dr. Kronner, and SupaScoot for your input.

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44 thoughts on “Fade Out: 25 of Hollywood’s Greatest Closing Lines”

  1. Although admittedly, it is strange to see Beauty and the Beast in the same article as Psycho, it is clear that you did your research and took input from others. Those are the things that make good writers. Clearly this is a rock solid top 25. couldn’t have done it better myself.

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  2. I must assume the writer has never seen “Some Like it Hot” and that’s the reason for omitting perhaps the best last line of a movie, ever.

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  3. how about “sunset boulevard”? that was an amazing, classic quotation.

    otherwise, I really enjoyed this list! i’m surprised i’ve actually seen 90% of whats listed.

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  4. SOME LIKE IT HOT has GOT to have the best closing response in the history of film!

    oh and also the movie happiness “i came”

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    1. “One thing about this town I never could stomach….All the damn vampires” (grandpa says after killing the head vampire in The Lost Boys)..IMO, one of the most epic ending lines to a movie.

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  5. What about –
    Childs: What do we do now?
    MacReady: Why don’t we just wait here for a little while… see what happens…

    John Carpenter’s The Thing

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  6. I know it’s kinda long, but no ones mentioned American Beauty’s yet…

    Lester Burnham [Narrating]: I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time… For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars… And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined our street… Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird… And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.

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  7. I Am a Fugitive from A Chain Gang (1932)

    Helen: How do you get by?
    James: [hissing as he backs away and fades into the dark]: I steal ….

    The most haunting line ever.

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  8. Always liked Trainspotting’s ending line:

    So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers, all false. The truth is that I’m a bad person, but that’s going to change, I’m going to change. This is the last of this sort of thing. I’m cleaning up and I’m moving on, going straight and choosing life. I’m looking forward to it already. I’m going to be just like you: the job, the family, the fucking big television, the washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electrical tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisurewear, luggage, three-piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing the gutters, getting by, looking ahead, to the day you die.

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  9. I’m really glad to see ones like Se7en and Usual Supects included, but like someon else said, A Clockwork Orange’s “I was cured all right.” was anotable omission. And what about King Kong, a line so good it was used in the original and the Peter Jackson remake. “It was beauty that killed that beast.”

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  10. From “Judgment at Nuremberg”

    Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that. You *must* believe it, *You must* believe it!

    Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it “came to that” the *first time* you sentenced a man to death you *knew* to be innocent.

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  11. What about Death becomes her…
    “Do you remember where you parked the car?”
    Not amazing as a stand-alone line, but great in context…

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  12. My personal favorite is The Last of the Mohicans.

    “Great Spirit, Maker of All Life. A warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. He is Uncas, my son. Tell them to be patient and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one – I, Chingachgook – Last of the Mohicans.”

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  13. How do you not put Goodfellas! ” I ordered spaghetti and they sent me egg noodles and ketchup. I get to live my life like a shnook”. Or something along those lines lol.

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  14. great list, even though i haven’t seen all of these movies;) a worthy addition for me would be from Apocalypse Now!, when *spoiler* marlon brando’s says his final words; “the horror”. so haunting !

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  15. What about Clue
    “If you want to know who killed Mr. Boddy, I did. In the hall, with the revolver…Alright chief, take them away. I’m going home to sleep with my wife.”

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  16. Howzabout:
    “Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!” (DR. STRANGELOVE)
    “Eliza, where the devil are my slippers?” (MY FAIR LADY)
    “Frankie, your mother forgives me!” (THE INFORMER)

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  17. the lines from “the dark knight” and “spiderman” really shouldn’t be on this list.

    i would have included the final line from carpenter’s “the thing”.

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