I have in my possession two hundred-odd movie quotes that popped into people’s heads over the last several days. When they started to roll in last Thursday, I discovered that it was very interesting to keep a running tally of all the quotes I could find (in my email and on other blogs) and the movies they came from. I became, truth be told, somewhat obsessive about this, and started to compile them in a Word file alphabetically by film. This dubious diversion continued through the weekend until, at some point Sunday night, I couldn’t take it anymore. Still, in just a few days of open enrollment I managed to compile a decent sample, big enough to suggest a few general observations on what people–bloggers and blog readers, anyway–remember most from the movies. Or at least most immediately.
Little surprise that the most frequently cited film, with seven mentions, was Casablanca. What is surprising–and a little suspicious, frankly!–is that it was represented by seven different quotations:
I was misinformed.
And I was well paid for it.
You despise me, don’t you?
All the gin joints in all the world and she had to walk in to mine.
Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Louis, are you pro-Vichy or Free French?
I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on here.
So, what do y’all think was second? Well, there are two movies that were cited five times each, each of them represented by five different lines. Can you name one of those tunes in…one note?
No, you probably can’t, and I can’t verify the spelling here in any case. I’ll fill in the rest–if you still can’t identify it, I daresay Google can help you out:
Ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?
All right. But you’ll have to answer to the Coca-Cola corporation.
Mr. President, I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed, but twenty million killed, tops, with the breaks.
Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret.
The other five-timer? The Big Lebowski, which almost also won the Special Jury Prize for Most Appearances of a Certain Obscenity That I Am Far Too Ladylike to Repeat. (Those who know me can stop laughing now. Really, stop.) This item appeared three times in five quotations from The Big L: in noun, verb, and adjective forms. Again I say: fishy!
A special mention goes to Star Wars with four cites, but let it be noted that three of them were “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” (The orphan was “Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”) Three times was the most a single quotation appeared in the sample; beside the droids line, there was “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” (you go, Howie), the only thing anyone remembers about Network, apparently. Lines cited two times were:
I want you to hold it between your knees. (Five Easy Pieces)
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. (The Godfather, Part 3)
You’re gonna need a bigger boat. (Jaws)
This one goes to eleven. (This Is Spinal Tap)
Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges! (Treasure of the Sierra Madre)
You just put your lips together and blow. (To Have and Have Not)
Top of the world, Ma! (White Heat)
A few movies were mentioned three times: Animal House, Patton, The Blues Brothers, Withnail and I, Apocalypse Now, and The Godfather, Part 2. A bunch were quoted twice–some surprisingly to me: Ghostbusters (geez, the eighties really are back), The Adventures of Buckaroo blah blah blah, and The Outlaw Josey Wales. In general, Clint Eastwood was well represented; the post-Oscar timing worked for him. Both entries from Raiders of the Lost Ark had to do with snakes.
The longest quotation submitted was easily one from Blue Velvet. It won the aforementioned Special Jury Prize, too, with twice as many, er, points as the runner-up, Lebowski.
There was a six-way tie for shortest quote:
Stella! (A Streetcar Named Desire)
Plastics. (The Graduate)
Willoughby!!!! (Sense and Sensibility)
Sincerely. (Stand By Me)
Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!! (Star Trek II)
I love the extra-expressive orthography in that last one. A couple of others also emphasized articulation, to hilarious effect:
“Doolittle Lynn, you’re growling like a big ol’ ba-i-air.” (Coal Miner’s Daughter, in which Spacek makes “bear” into a three-syllable word)
“Awww, ya remembered! Ya made me fried green tomatoes!” (Fried Green Tomatoes)
Finally, if you had to boil down the plot of The Godfather 2 to the barest possible sketch, you might well come up with the following two lines that were provided by two different readers. Spoken by Fredo and Michael Corleone, respectively, they pretty much tell the most sad and revealing of all the stories that make up the Godfather epic:
Johnny Ola knows these places like the back of his hand.
I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.
Ow. Look for one last post on this subject later in the week, listing personal favorites. And thanks to everyone who played.