#50. Apollo 13 (1995)
- Quote: "Houston, we have a problem."
- Character: Jim Lovell
- Actor: Tom Hanks
“Apollo 13” is based on the 1970 moon landing mission. Astronauts Jack Swigert and James Lovell each said close versions of the famous line, but they expressed it in past tense. The revised line was used earlier in pop culture, but Tom Hanks’ delivery in “Apollo 13” as the imperiled astronaut gave the phrase new life.
#49. Frankenstein (1931)
- Quote: "It's alive! It's alive!"
- Character: Henry Frankenstein
- Actor: Colin Clive
Dr. Frankenstein’s excitement in achieving his goal comes through clearly in this iconic line. This eventually disastrous narcissism became ripe fodder for parody. Gene Wilder does an excellent spoof of this line in “Young Frankenstein” from 1974.
#48. Some Like It Hot (1959)
- Quote: "Well, nobody's perfect."
- Character: Osgood Fielding III
- Actor: Joe E. Brown
The gender-bending subtext of “Some Like It Hot” is powerful, and not even that subtle. Joe E. Brown as Osgood has been wooing Jack Lemmon’s character who’s dressed in drag. When Lemmon says “I’m a man,” and pulls off his wig, Osgood’s quip (it almost didn’t make it in the movie) displays open and romantic, homosexual love.
#47. Shane (1953)
- Quote: "Shane. Shane. Come back!"
- Character: Joey Starrett
- Actor: Brandon De Wilde
This movie includes the classic Western trope of a lone cowboy riding into town, heroically saving it, then disappearing into the sunset. The tear-jerker ending has gotten the meme treatment, now a joke of sentimental hokum, when the child cries for the hero to return.
#46. Now, Voyager (1942)
- Quote: "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."
- Character: Charlotte Vale
- Actor: Bette Davis
Bette Davis stars as a woman who’s diagnosed with cancer, undergoes a flashy makeover, and falls in love with a married man. The line captures her can-do spirit with regards to going without love.
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#45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
- Quote: "Stella! Hey, Stella!"
- Character: Stanley Kowalski
- Actor: Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando delivers this famous line using his signature “method” acting style, revealing seemingly unstaged anguish. The line appears over in over in other iterations as a representation of melodramatic acting. In “The Disaster Artist,” James Franco (as hack actor Tommy Wiseau) performs an over-the-top interpretation of this line in acting class.
#44. The Sixth Sense (1999)
- Quote: "I see dead people."
- Character: Cole Sear
- Actor: Haley Joel Osment
Haley Joel Osment was the ultimate turn-of-the-millennium child actor, speaking this line in a profoundly creepy manner. He in fact delivers this line earlier than the notorious twist ending, offering a clue that audiences famously missed the first time around.
#43. Casablanca (1942)
- Quote: "We'll always have Paris."
- Character: Rick Blaine
- Actor: Humphrey Bogart
“Casablanca” has multiple lines in the top 100 greatest, and two of them come from Humphrey Bogart as Rick, during his final monologue to Ilsa on the tarmac. “We’ll always have Paris” caught on as a catchphrase to use to make light of great loss. “Casablanca’s” Paris montage also provides a quick shorthand for the couple’s romance and breakup.
#42. The Graduate (1967)
- Quote: "Plastics."
- Character: Mr. Maguire
- Actor: Walter Brooke
When it premiered in 1967, “The Graduate” stood out as a cinematic anthem for counterculture men who longed to break free of social expectations. Young Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) runs away with another man’s bride, for example. Earlier, the line “Plastics” summarizes the out-of-touch, shallow nature of an older generation that only cares about money and tradition.
#41. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
- Quote: "We rob banks."
- Character: Clyde Barrow
- Actor: Warren Beatty
“Bonnie and Clyde” used a new style of editing that changed American cinema and offered a subversive take on glamorous criminality. Set during the Great Depression, the line “We rob banks,” comes across as an exciting, seductive brag without a touch of shame.
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