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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

what are the greatest or most iconic movie quotes spoken by women?


The Bechdel Test, which examines the representation of women in film, is in the ether at the moment, so this week’s Question is another way of looking at the paucity of women onscreen.

What are the greatest or most iconic movie quotes spoken by women?

The dialogue doesn’t need to be feminist. It doesn’t need to come from a film that passes the Bechdel Test. It doesn’t need to be anything other than so memorable that when it is uttered even outside the context of its story, most people recognize it.

I’m going to get what I think are the three most likely responses out of the way right here:

• “Get away from her, you bitch!” –Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Aliens

• “I’ll have what’s she’s having.” –unnamed bystander (Estelle Reiner) in When Harry Met Sally…

• “You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and… blow.” –Slim (Lauren Bacall) in To Have and Have Not

I’m actually not even sure how recognizable that last quote will be to many people. I do know that I’ve never even seen that film, yet I know the quote.

I suspect this one will be really tough. That’s the point. Go!

(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)

  • “I’m flying, Jack!”
    Rose DeWitt Bukater, Titanic

  • RogerBW

    Your first example was the first one that came to mind here.

    “If I were Shé, do you think I’d be operating a taco truck? Shé brings hope. Shé rights the wrongs. Unfortunately, Shé is a myth.”

  • Dokeo

    “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?”

  • FunWithHeadline

    “I am no man!” – ‎Éowyn

    LOTR:The Return of The King

  • Anne-Kari

    There’s always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm.

  • Anne-Kari

    YOU’VE got ME? Who’s got YOU?

  • Danielm80

    “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

  • Anne-Kari

    Hey, Boo.

  • Anne-Kari

    As God as my witness, I will never be hungry again.

  • I have no idea what movie that quote is from. What is it?

  • RogerBW

    Fair enough. It struck me when I was watching it. Machete.

  • Bluejay

    I’m meltiiiing!!! What a world, what a world…

  • LaSargenta

    Goodness had nothing to do with it!

  • Gospodin Dangling-Participle

    “You’re not too smart, are you? I like that in a man.” -Kathleen Turner in _Body Heat_

  • FormerlyKnownAsBill

    “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”

    -Jessica Rabbit

    A loaded quote, but iconic.

  • FunWithHeadline

    When I’m good I’m very good, but when I’m bad I’m better.

  • MisterAntrobus

    “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

    . . . and . . .

    “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

    Scarlett O’Hara

  • MisterAntrobus

    Whoops, sorry; missed this one before I posted.

  • MisterAntrobus

    “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” – Norma Desmond

  • Lisa

    Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with the Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else.

    Not a movie, I know but I jumped up and down and cheered when Delenn saved Babylon 5 from the forces of Earth. Yeah baby yeah!!!

  • LaSargenta

    Just goes to show how iconic it is!

  • LaSargenta

    If Loverman posted here, he probably would have gone for this one, too. :-)

  • LaSargenta

    ” I do know that I’ve never even seen that film…”

    Well, I know that there’s millions of films and limited time, but I liked that one and the line, and how it is delivered, is great.

  • Kathy_A

    I love old movies, so I’ll mention a few lines here.

    “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?” (Mae West to Gary Cooper–I mentioned to a mid20s classmate that the only person I can mimic is Mae West, and he said “Who?” God, I’m old….)

    “I make more than Calvin Coolidge–put together!!” and “I am ‘a bright shining star in the cinema firm-a-mint.’ It says so, right there.” (Lina Lamont)

    And from more recent movies.

    “I speak jive.”

    “Put…the candle…back.”

  • Matt Clayton

    “I’m your goddamn partner!”
    “The most gifted bum he ever trained. You know, he loved you like a son… took a hell of a lot for you to alienate him.”

  • Jan_Willem

    “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? – Mae West. Apparently it’s from She Done Him Wrong (1933), had to look that up, though.

  • Jonathan Roth

    “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

    “I *am* big. It’s the *pictures* that got small.”

    -Norma Desmond, Sunset Blvd.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Ah, I scrolled through twice and still missed this. Sorry!

  • Jonathan Roth

    Don’t forget: “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

    And for Dorothy: “There’s no place like home”

  • bronxbee

    i love that quote from THaHN…. it’s a great movie.

  • bronxbee

    actually, i believe it is Mae West to Cary Grant.

  • Ah. And I’ve seen that!

  • Anything Annie (Susan Sarandon) says in Bull Durham. “The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self awareness.” “Despite my rejection of most Judeo-Christian ethics, I am, within the framework of the baseball season, monogamous.” (helping her friend who’s slept with half the Carolina League get ready for a marriage)Milie: Do I deserve to wear white? Annie: Honey, we all deserve to wear white.

  • “You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought.”

  • Dokeo

    “Would it help if I got out and pushed?”

  • Bluejay

    “I know.” (Yes, SHE says it too!)

    And maybe her most iconic line: “Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” I’ve seen people modify and use it in all sorts of non-Star Wars help-requesting situations.

  • Hank Graham

    Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.
    Bette Davis in “All About Eve.”

    This one probably isn’t as remembered these days, but it used to be a line everyone knew:
    He used to be a big shot.

    Panama (Gladys George), referring to the dead Jimmy Cagney in “The Roaring Twenties.”

  • beccity98

    “Dinosaurs eat man, Woman inherits the Earth.” -Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park, finishing Ian Malcolm’s sexist observation of, “God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs. God creates Man, Man destroys God, Man creates dinosaurs.”

  • Jim Mann

    For Babylon 5 quotes, I’d chose: “And just one more thing, on your trip back I want you to take the time to learn the Babylon 5 mantra. Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova’s recommendations. Ivanova is God.”

  • Bluejay

    It doesn’t need to be anything other than so memorable that when it is uttered even outside the context of its story, most people recognize it.

    There are a lot of great quotes in this thread so far, but I wonder how many really pass this requirement. Some of the most iconic quotes seem to come from older movies, while others seem to be great lines in the context of their films but aren’t exactly “household quotes” in the larger culture. “I’m flying, Jack!” isn’t as much in circulation as “I’m king of the world! Woo hoo!” My parents (my unscientific stand-in for non-movie-buff mainstream US culture) wouldn’t recognize most of these suggestions the way they would instantly recognize lines like “Hasta la vista, baby” or “Go ahead, make my day” or “Say hello to my little friend,” which have developed a life outside the films they came from.

  • Jonathan Roth

    “Will somebody get this walking carpet out of my way?”

    “I am not a committee!”

  • Danielm80

    I dunno. I count at least a dozen quotes I would consider iconic–more than that if I’m hanging out with Star Wars fans. However: Very few of the really memorable lines are from the past twenty years, and that’s a problem. Maybe we should force the studio heads to watch a marathon of Mae West films.

    (On the other hand, I think my parents would recognize “I’m flying, Jack!” and they’ve never heard of James Franco or the Twilight novels.)

  • Tony Richards

    let’s not forget ‘you had me at hello.’

  • ruth waterton

    I’ll hum it for you…deedi, deedi, deedi

  • MisterAntrobus

    “You had me at hello” is the only one that passes the test from the last 15 years or so.

  • MisterAntrobus

    Then again, I can’t think of very many memorable lines spoken by men or women in films of the last 15 years – maybe “You’re so money” from Swingers, “I wish I could quit you” from Brokeback Mountain, “Why so serious?” from The Dark Knight . . . maybe dialogue in general is suffering.

  • MisterAntrobus

    “She’s my sister AND my daughter!” – Evelyn Mulwray, Chinatown

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “See ya tomorrow, Indiana Jones!”

  • madderrose74

    “What is it?”
    “The stuff dreams are made of.”

  • texphile

    Not from film ….from babylon 5 series. Absoluely my favorite though. Delynn says to the bad guys “If you value your lives…be somewhere else! (Bad Guys tuck tail and RUN )

  • Rebecca Dalmas


    I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.


    I am your number one fan.

    Not my daughter, you bitch!

  • rurugby

    You need to see “To Have and Have Not” it’s fantastic. **** “Why Don’t You Come Up at See Me Sometime” – Mae West

  • Zarah

    “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

    “I will never let go, Jack, I’ll never let go.”

    “I like large parties, they’re so intimate.”

    “I want to be alone.”

    “Run, Forrest, run!”

  • lescarr

    Face it girls. I’m older, and I have more insurance.

  • Tonio Kruger

    “By the way, there are rats in the cellar.”

  • Tonio Kruger

    “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”

    “They’re going to laugh at you!”

    “No more wire hangers ever!”

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