Top 10 last lines in film
The last line of a film is often the most memorable. For example, has anyone out there actually seen both Gone With The Wind and Casablanca? No? Bet you can tell us the endings though. We’ve collected some of our other favourites below. From slightly obvious to some more left-field inclusions, here are our top ten closing lines in cinema. This blog is of course at spoiler factor 5, so please do skim over any you don’t want to know the ending for…
#10 – The Italian Job
Another slightly obvious choice, sure, but The Italian Job has to be one of the most quoted British films of all time. Stuck overhanging a cliff, a perilous balancing act keeping them hovering between huge riches and a deadly plummet, Michael Caine mutters…
“Hold on lads, I’ve got a great idea….”
Which is exactly why we love the film, Caine is, of course, a massive LAD, and his crafty cockney approach to the dilemma holds firm until the very end.
#9 – 300
Say what you like about Zack Snyder’s Ab-fest 300, but it knows how to get the blood pumping. As the slaughter at Thermopylae concludes, the voiceover of the single soldier sent back to Sparta explains…
“Just there the barbarians huddle, sheer terror gripping tight their hearts with icy fingers… knowing full well what merciless horrors they suffered at the swords and spears of three hundred. Yet they stare now across the plain at ten thousand Spartans commanding thirty thousand free Greeks! The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one, good odds for any Greek. This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine. Give thanks, men, to Leonidas and the brave 300! TO VICTORY!”
Makes you want to grab your spear and rush out to fight someone doesn’t it? Don’t, though.
#8 – Terminator 2
This dark and action-packed sequel is a lot more chilling that you would expect, with the nuclear destruction of a playground poignantly highlighting the gravity of the cause the heroes are fighting for. A frightening vision indeed, but the day is saved as the villainous T1000 is dispatched. Isn’t it?
“The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope, because if a machine, a terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can, too.”
Linda Hamilton’s voiceover closes the film, and despite the message of hope, it is rammed home that there is NOTHING WE CAN DO to stop the impending apocalypse. Powerful stuff, which also sets the scene for a continuation of the franchise – our tip? Skip the awful Terminator 3 and head straight for underrated TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles if you want to see more.
#7 – Se7en
After a string of grisly murders, a brutal act of revenge by his colleague and a lot of rain, Morgan Freeman’s mournful voiceover intones:
“Ernest Hemingway once wrote: ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.”
You got it Morgan, everything is crap. What a miserable end to an incredible crime movie.
#6 – The Silence of the Lambs
Jodie Foster talks with her cannibalistic nemesis Anthony Hopkins over the phone, the camera cross-cutting between the steely FBI agent and the murderer observing another character in a far off land.
– “I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.”
– “Dr. Lecter. Dr. Lecter. Dr. Lecter?”
He’s out, and the hunt is back on for the demonic Lecter…
#5 – Chinatown
Incest, corruption, betrayal… all are faced by Jack Nicholson’s private eye in Polanski’s classic. Having uncovered the shocking revelations at the core of the conspiracy, a character is mercilessly gunned down in his full view. Moving to assist, he is held back by one of his former police colleagues with the downbeat line…
“Forget it, Jake; it’s Chinatown.”
Possibly even more miserable than Se7en, highlighting the key themes of the film, this evokes a real response as we realise just how deep corruption and deceit are rooted in society. Ouch…
#4 – Inglorious Basterds
After countless brilliantly sadistic Nazi kills from the basterds, notorious enemy colonel Hans Landa seems to have talked his way into immunity when Brad Pitt’s Lt. Aldo Raine has him trapped, and pulls out his trademark scalping knife. Turning to the camera, he drawls…
“I think this just might be my masterpiece.”
Which could well be Tarantino himself addressing the audience, given how near-perfect the last couple of hours have been.
#3 – The World is Not Enough
James Bond is always known for a bit of saucy dialogue, and introducing Denise Richards’ character Dr Christmas Jones opens a Pandora’s box of festive puns – unwrapping your Christmas present etc. But the final line from Pierce Brosnan, after the obligatory steamy session with Richards, is the undoubted winner here:
“I thought Christmas only comes once a year.”
James, you dirty, dirty man! YES!
#2 – The Long Good Friday
Bob Hoskins can do scary – the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? star plays a London gangster to great effect throughout this 80’s crime flick. Finding out that he has been double-crossed by his American partners in crime, he delivers a brilliant speech before walking out, including some of these pearls;
“I’m glad I found out in time just what a partnership with a pair of wankers like you would’ve been. A sleeping partner’s one thing, but you’re in a fucking coma! No wonder you got an energy crisis your side of the water!”
“What I’m looking for is someone who can contribute to what England has given to the world: culture, sophistication, genius. A little bit more than an ‘ot dog, know what I mean?”
Walking to his taxi, and climbing in, he gets the final line;:
“’Ere, ‘old up, where’s Victoria?”
Cut to Helen Mirren’s moll being manhandled in the back of another car, and a VERY young looking Pierce Brosnan pulling a gun on Hoskins. As the car pulls away and the music starts up, there are almost 2 minutes of his furious and betrayed face in close up. What an ending.
#1 – The Usual Suspects
Bryan Singer’s crime-packed whodunit is full of memorable dialogue, and the coup de grace is delivered by Kevin Spacey’s personable chatterbox Verbal Kint. As he hobbles away from the police station, his true identity revealed as the voiceover intones…
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.”
Stretching out the guesswork until the final line of the film, leaving no room for discussion and therefore maximum shock to the audience, the line perfectly encapsulates everything that makes The Usual Suspects great.
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