50 great famous last words from the movies
They're funny, they're sad, they're weird. Here are 50 famous last words from characters in the movies...
Our run-down of final words madness continues, with the final 25 selections. We kick off with an infamous British thriller which unfairly ruined the career of its brilliant director.
It's a true classic, though...
Peeping Tom (1960)
"Helen! Helen! I'm afraid... And I'm glad I'm afraid!"
If this critically maligned film is guilty of anything, it's simply being too ahead of its time. As much a character study as a thriller, Peeping Tom's about Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm), a young sociopath who kills his female victims with a sharpened tripod attached to a camera - all the better to capture their final, terrified moments before they expire.
A frightened boy turned into a monster by the experiments of his deranged psychologist father, Mark is as captivating as any serial killer played by Tom Noonan, Brian Cox or Michael Rooker, and Boehm's performance is captivating. Even knowing the full horror of his crimes, when he finally turns his weapon on himself, it's still a sombre moment.
Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975)
"Right! Silly little bleeder! One rabbit stew coming right up!"
The funniest British film of all time? Quite possibly. And in the middle of it, one of the funniest scenes: Sir Bors (Terry Gilliam) and his fateful last words, as he fatally underestimates the biting strength of a rabbit with "a killer streak a mile wide..."
"Anybody tries to stop me, the old geezer gets it!"
Let’s face it, corporate villain Dick Jones had it coming right from the start. A horrible old white-collar criminal whose monstrous creation, ED-209, resulted in a boardroom bloodbath, Jones thinks nothing of killing cocky young business rivals, doing deals with Old Detroit’s criminal fraternity, and when he’s threatened with arrest, taking his own boss as a hostage.
Unfortunately for Jones - brilliantly played by Ronny Cox - his idle threat to RoboCop quickly becomes his grave stone, as a few well-placed bullets send him plummeting from a window to his screaming doom. Idle thought: quite a few villains died falling from skyscrapers in the 70s and 80s.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
"A plague on both your houses!"
You can't improve on perfection, so director Baz Luhrmann added Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes instead, moving the Bard's tragedy about star-crossed lovers to a stylised version of the present. Harold Perrineau plays Mercutio, Romeo's best friend who's slashed with a piece of glass by rival Tybalt (John Leguizamo). In the throes of death, Mercutio provides a variety of twists on Shakespeare's famous line: muttered in a state of shock, blasted out angrily against a backdrop of gathering clouds, and whispered quietly while sinking into the soft arms of oblivion.
It's a grand, appropriately theatrical death scene from a director not exactly known for his dramatic restraint
Rocky IV (1985)
"I want you to promise me you're not gonna stop this fight, no matter what. No matter what!"
Carl Weathers went from fearsome opponent in the first two Rocky films to Balboa’s best friend in the third and fourth, and his grandiose exhibition fight with the freakishly powerful Russian boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) proves to be his last. Still, he did manage to get James Brown to turn up to do a live rendition of Living In America, so it’s not all doom and gloom. Maybe Creed decided to save money by having the match and his funeral combined into one glittering occasion.
"I'm still standin', huh! Fuck! Come on! Go ahead! I take your fuckin' bullet! Come on! I take your fuckin' bullet! You think you kill me with bullets? I take your fuckin' bullets! Go ahead!"
One of the most profane films of the era, it's only right that Al Pacino's title gangster should go out in a hail of swear words as well as bullets. One of the most aggressive performances in history, Pacino rants and rages to the very bitter end; his empire has collapsed, his sister hates him, and his enemies are closing in, armed to the teeth. Needless to say, Tony 'Scarface' Montana goes out fighting, and succeeds in taking out a bunch of invading assassins with a machine gun before he finally meets a bullet he can't out-swear.
"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I..."
Joss Whedon's cinematic continuation of his much-loved but short-lived TV series Firefly, Serenity provided us with the chance to reunite with the show's engaging roster of characters - among them Alan Tudyk's pilot, Hoban 'Wash' Wishburne. How sad it was, then, to see Wash so abruptly written out; the poor chap didn't even get to finish his last line, "I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."
"Oh. He didn't know."
As serial killer John Doe, Kevin Spacey doesn’t physically appear until the final act of David Fincher’s influential 90s thriller, but his terrible crimes cast a long shadow over its events. Even when he’s willingly apprehended by detective duo Mills and Somerset, he still has the upper-hand, with a meticulous plan that involves a box, a delivery van and a remote desert location. Spacey’s quiet, callous performance is brilliant in these last scenes, his eyes glittering with conviction - and even with a gun in his face, a disquieting lack of fear.
Independence Day (1996)
"In the words of my generation, up yours!"
Former crop duster Russell Casse (Randy Quaid) finally gets to exact revenge on the aliens who kidnapped him at the end of Roland Emmerich's invasion movie. At the helm of a fighter jet - which he can unaccountably fly having previously piloted a crop duster - Casse makes a kamikaze flight directly into the underbelly of an alien spacecraft, destroying both himself and, presumably, dozens of invaders.
Thinking about it, the debris from these gigantic falling craft would probably cause as much damage as their giant laser cannons, but we'll gloss over that.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
"Have some fire, scarecrow"
Was Michael Madsen’s Mr Blonde the scariest villain of the 90s? Quite possibly. Madsen’s gangster is so chilling because of his glee at torturing poor captured cop Marvin (Kirk Baltz), and we can only wince at the pleasure he takes in treating this helpless victim as his plaything. What a relief, then, that with a well-timed bullet, Mr Orange saves both the cop - and the audience’s frayed nerves - from the pain of the villain's intended barbecue.
Riki-Oh: The Story Of Ricky (1991)
"Someone gave me 30 kilos of rice to bump you off and mince you into meat pies."
Possibly the most violent Hong Kong martial arts movie ever made, The Story Of Ricky is a cavalcade of gore and carnage from beginning to end. An inmate named Zorro is one of the many, many people stupid enough to get into a fight with the ridiculously powerful hero, Ricky. In response, Ricky punches the rather heavy-set Zorro in the stomach so hard that it splits open. Faced with the threat of being turned into a meat pie, I'm sure we'd all respond in the same way.
Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
"It's been a funny sort of day, hasn't it?"
As played by Penelope Wilson, ordinary mother Barbara is just one of the characters who bring a very British charm to Edgar Wright's zom-rom-com. Barbara's sweet-natured and easy going, so it's easy to imagine the grief her son Shaun (Simon Pegg) feels when she's bitten by a zombie. She accepts her fate philosophically, before Shaun puts her out of her misery with a rifle. You never had scenes like this in Ever Decreasing Circles.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
"You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."
Alec Guinness brought all his thespian charisma - plus more than a touch of fatherly warmth - to the role of Obi Wan Kenobi, and when he's brutally struck down by Darth Vader, it's an emotional moment. Unfortunately, the magic of the Star Wars universe was all a bit lost on Guinness himself, who publically dismissed it as "Fairy-tale rubbish" in his 2003 autobiography. I wonder what he made of the Phantom Menace?
Star Wars Episode VI: The Return Of The Jedi
"You were right about me. Tell your sister... you were right..."
After years of flapping about in a cape and mask and generally being horrible to everybody, Darth Vader finally has a road-to-Damascus experience aboard the Death Star. Watching as Emperor Palpatine tortures his son Luke with bolts of evil Sith electricity, Darth gradually realises that he's still capable of feeling compassion after all. And thus, within the space of a minute or two, Darth morphs from a fearsome villain to a sympathetic hero, as he kills Palpatine, saves Luke, and fatally wounds himself in the process. As Vader's mask is removed, we realise that beneath it, a sweet old man (played by Sebastian Shaw) lurked there all along.
Superman II (1980)
"Now take my hand, and swear eternal loyalty to Zod."
Arguably the most theatrical and self-regarding supervillain in cinema, Terrence Stamp's General Zod turns pomposity into an artform. But in the end, his smugness proves to be undoing; if he wasn't so keen on getting people to kneel in front of him all the time, he might have taken a minute to realise that Superman had robbed him of all his powers. Instead, he has his hand squashed by the Man of Steel, and promptly falls into an icy abyss. That'll teach him.
The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
"Ah, you cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! Melting! Ohhhhh... What a world, what a world! Who ever thought a little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?! Ah, I'm going! Ahhh!"
Both this scene and the Wicked Witch's dialogue have been referenced and lampooned multiple times since, and that's because it's brilliantly handled, superbly acted by Margaret Hamilton, and a satisfying end for the cackling villainess.
"Heh, Garfield, maybe."
A classic modern movie moment that often turns up in lists like these - take a look at Nick Horton’s top 50 celebrity cameos, for example - this small yet unforgettable role for the great Bill Murray is a true gem. Murray plays himself, a survivor of the zombie apocalypse who's mistakenly shot when he rather foolishly pretends to be a member of the undead. When asked if he has any regrets, he ruefully mentions his ill-advised vocal work for Garfield, before promptly expiring.
Team America (2004)
"Let's go, bitch! I've done action films. Come on!"
We can only imagine what the actors depicted in puppet form actually made of Matt Stone and Trey Parker's one-of-a-kind action comedy. Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Martin Sheen and, most memorably, Matt Damon, are all replicated and mercilessly lampooned, while Helen Hunt turns up as a relentlessly aggressive opponent for Team America squad member, Sarah. Unfortunately for Hunt, she's nowhere near as handy in a fight as she thinks she is, as she's hacked in two by Sarah's sword.
Day Of The Dead (1985)
"Choke on 'em! Choke on 'em!"
Not as celebrated as George A Romero’s earlier zombie flicks, Day Of The Dead does still have plenty of memorable horror moments - neat least this infamous scene, where a luckless Captain Rhodes is torn apart by the undead, his viscera graphically pulled all over the screen in a torrent of gore.
As if the scene wasn’t grotesque enough, it’s said that the animal entrails stuffed inside the prosthetic torso had gone off before shooting, so while those actors were clawing away at the special effect, the stench on set was abominable. Fortunately, we don’t get the full force of that from our armchairs, so we can instead enjoy one of the best last lines in horror history.
"Promise me, Rose. And never let go of that promise."
A gentleman to the end, Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack Dawson gallantly sets his lover Rose (Kate Winslet) on a bit of wooden driftwood - which, unfortunately for him, won't take the weight of them both. Succumbing to the freezing water, Jack manages to gasp out a farewell monologue before he expires. It's the kind of romantic heroism that saw the movie go on to gross billions at the box office.
Village Of The Damned (1960)
“You’re thinking of a brick wall!”
A brilliant adaptation of John Wyndham's novel, The Midwich Cuckoos, Village Of The Damned sees the women of a genteel British community give birth to a worryingly intelligent breed of children with glowing eyes. Able to read minds, these alien younglings are capable of causing all sorts of mayhem with their Jedi mind tricks.
Professor Gordon Zellaby is the only person who manages to get in their way, and by protecting his true plan - to blow the little blighters up with a time bomb - by thinking of a brick wall, he successfully ends their reign of terror. Little David (Martin Stephens) expresses genuine surprise at his being outsmarted - a rare flicker of emotion from these blank-eyed cuckoos.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
Proof that some boxes are best left unopened, contemptible archaeologist Belloq's decision to open the Ark of the Covenant in a grand ceremony proves to be his undoing. Lifting the lift on the biblical artefact, he and the Nazis around him are initially transfixed by the spiralling dance of ancient spirits, before the Ark's supernatural power causes his head to explode. Bad luck, Belloq.
Citizen Kane (1941)
Orson Welles' classic debut not only features an ingeniously shot and edited opening sequence - one of the very best in cinema - but also opens with a aged publisher Charles Foster Kane's dying word: "Rosebud". This final whisper kickstarts the film's chain of events, as a news reporter attempts to find out who or what Rosebud is - though, as Nick Horton pointed out in his 50 plot holes article, it's not clear how anyone knew Kane had even said it, since he was alone in his room at the time...
The Swarm (1978)
"The antidote works. My God, it works. Wait... my physiological responses are swinging from normal to really spooky levels..."
Quite possibly the chattiest and most descriptive death scene since The Wizard Of Oz, Henry Fonda's terminal moments in The Swarm are downright hilarious. Playing a scientist named Dr Krim, he foolishly decides to test his serum - designed to counter the venom from a deadly bee sting - on himself. At first, the results seem to work, but then, a fever kicks in, his heart rate and temperature rise again, and it's curtains. But before that, he thoughtfully describes everything that's happening to him, right up until he has a vision of a giant bee and dies. Thanks, doctor. Your efforts were not in vain.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
"I'll see you in another life. When we are both cats."
It's not unknown for Tom Cruise to die in his numerous films, but this is surely the weirdest last line he's ever had to give. The movie's conclusion's very moving, obviously. We just like the idea of Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz being reincarnated as cats. They'd sit by the fire together in winter, quietly coughing up fur balls.
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