Story by: Jack Foley
ROBERT Duvalls gung-ho, I love the smell of napalm
in the morning speech has topped a poll to find the best
speech in cinema history, compiled by DVD and video rental specialists,
The monologue, from seminal war movie, Apocalypse
Now, came first in a poll of 6,500 film buffs, and was given
by the character, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, following the
bombing of a Vietnamese village. It is one of several memorable
lines in the 1979 epic.
Second in the poll was Jack Nicholson's, You can't handle
the truth speech, from A Few Good Men, in which the grizzled
war veteran went head-to-head in a courtroom with Tom Cruise.
While third was Marlon Brando's I could have been a contender
address, from On The Waterfront, and fourth was Samuel L Jacksons
Gods fury rant in Quentin Tarantinos Pulp
Of the other memorable speeches, Michael Douglas' "Greed
is good" line, from Wall Street, which helped to win him
the best actor Oscar, also featured highly, as did Ewan McGregors
Choose life monologue, from Trainspotting (which was
also sampled on a record), and Clint Eastwood's classic, Do
you feel lucky punk? line from Dirty Harry.
There were also votes for Kevin Spacey's opening speech in American
Beauty, and Russell Crowes address to his troops before
the opening battle in Gladiator.
Notably, not a single speech in the top 20 was made by a female
The top 10 in full:
1. Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now (1979): You smell that?
Do you smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells
like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know,
one time we had a hill bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all
over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin'
dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole
hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
2. Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men (1992): You can't handle
the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls
have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You,
lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you
can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the
Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing
what I know - that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved
lives; and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible
to you, saves lives.
3. Marlon Brando, On The Waterfront (1954): Remember that
night in the Garden? You came down to my dressing room and you
said 'kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on
Wilson'... You was my brother, Charlie. You shoulda looked out
for me a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for
the short-end money. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender.
I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum. Which is what I am.
Let's face it.
4. Samuel L Jackson, Pulp Fiction (1994): The path of
the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the
selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the
name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the
valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the
finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with
great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison
and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord
when I lay my vengeance upon you.
5. Michael Douglas, Wall Street (1987): The point is,
ladies and gentleman, is that greed - for lack of a better word
- is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts
through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed,
in all of its forms - greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge
- has marked the upward surge of mankind. And Greed - you mark
my words - will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning
corporation called the USA.
6. Peter Finch, Network (1976): I don't have to tell you
things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression.
Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar
buys a nickel's worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep
a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the streets,
and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and
there's no end to it.
7. Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting (1996): Choose life. Choose
a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a big television,
Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical
tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance.
Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home.
Choose your friends... Choose your future. Choose life.
8. Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry (1971): I know what you're
thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you
the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself.
But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in
the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask
yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?
9. Richard E Grant, Withnail and I (1987): What a piece
of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties,
how like an angel in apprehension, how like a God! The beauty
of the world, paragon of animals; and yet to me, what is this
quintessence of dusk. Man delights not me, no, nor women neither,
nor women neither.
10. Mel Gibson, Braveheart (1995): You have come to fight
as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that
freedom? Will you fight? Aye, fight and you may die, run and you'll
live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from
now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day
to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and
tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never
take our freedom!