Actors live and breathe for that once-in-a-lifetime monologue in a movie that can put them on the map.
Few get the chance. But when one came along, these 23 actors delivered performances with these spoken-alone moments that have become truly iconic.
Think Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction or Bill Pullman rallying the troops in Independence Day.
These are moments that call for an actor to be at their best, given material from a screenplay that is drool-worthy, and to show up on set ready to hit it out of the park.
Click through and enjoy our picks for 23 of the most iconic movie monologues.
Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction
When Samuel L. Jackson delivers that speech, you know the one, and he gets to the "And you will know my name is the Lord. When I lay my vengeance upon thee" part... who watching that wasn't shaking in their boots?!
Al Pacino in And Justice For All
Al Pacino's courtroom speech in ...And Justice For All has become beyond iconic. People use it in the most astounding of ways. "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!” With that classic Pacino delivery, it is bloody brilliant.
Robert Shaw in Jaws
Picture the road hard and put away wet Robert Shaw delivering this piece of wordplay from Jaws and prepare to revel in the talent of one of the most underused actors in Hollywood: "You know the thing about a shark, he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t seem to be living until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over and white and then, ah, then you hear that terrible high-pitch screaming. The ocean turns red and despite all the pounding and hollering, they all come in and they rip you to pieces."
Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting
That park bench scene in Good Will Hunting between Robin Williams and Matt Damon is actually one of three fantastic monologues in that film. Just a sampling of what Williams says, "If I asked you about art you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo. You know a lot about him. Life’s work. Political aspirations. Him and the pope. Sexual orientations. The whole works, right? But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling, seen that."
George C. Scott in Patton
When Scott walks up to the stage, with that enormous American flag behind him and delivers this monologue to the troops, we're ready to dive into battle: "The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them, spill their blood, shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do."
Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
David Mamet is a master wordsmith and proof of that is how he has his characters say much with so little. When Alec Baldwin uses his barely 10 minutes in the movie to deliver this line to motivate his sales force, it is riveting. "Put. That Coffee. Down! Coffee’s for closers."
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