I don’t know about you, but I’m a full-blown no-doubt-about-it cinephile. More than 50 percent of every sentence that comes out of my mouth is some sort of movie reference (to the ongoing annoyance of my friends and family). But I’m not the only one who enjoys a good movie quote.
Even the most casual of film fans will find themselves referring to an iconic line or famous cinematic speech when the situations calls for it (“You can’t handle the truth!”). Scarface, The Godfather, Gone With the Wind, Star Wars: we love to quote the greatest movies in history in our everyday conversations for a quick laugh or to help emphasize a point.
Believe it or not, but pop culture really does help shape our national lexicon. Try resisting the urge to make some sort of crack next time you meet someone named Luke.
To find out which movies are quoted (and misquoted) most often, Quote.com surveyed 500 people using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and the results revealed which lines stick with us through the test of time and how uninformed moviegoers can sometimes be when throwing out a famous quote.
The Best of the Best
Overall, 70 films made it into Quote.com’s study, leading to the top-15 most used movie quotes in conversation.
To be perfectly honest, I was quite surprised to see “Houston, we have a problem” from 1995’s Apollo 13 claim the top spot. That’s not a knock against the movie, but in the history of cinema, its still an infant at just 23-years-old.
But the Ron Howard-directed film claimed two Academy Awards and boasts an amazing historical backstory, so perhaps it isn’t too shocking of an upset. (Let’s just hope that his Solo: A Star Wars Story is as well-received.) Tom Hanks, who spoke the famous line in the film, has become America’s Dad, after all.
Elsewhere, James Cameron’s Terminator franchise claims two of the top five spots with “I’ll be back” and “Hasta la vista, baby.” Say what you want about Cameron’s plans to continue the franchise well past its sell-by date, but the first two films in the series continue to be just as beloved today as they were when they arrived.
Have You Seen Whats-It-Called?
You wouldn’t believe how often famous movie lines are quoted by people who haven’t even seen the movies they’re quoting! Again, I’m a cinephile, so this rubs me the wrong way to no end. It’s about the purity, people!
OK, OK, here’s where all of my bluster and pretentiousness in this story backfire: I too have never seen Taxi Driver (cringes in fear of online blowback). But hey, at least I wasn’t afraid to admit it publicly.
Robert De Niro and the great Martin Scorsese deserve better than this, which is I why I pledge to lock myself in my apartment tonight and finally watch this all-time classic. Then and only then will my good name be restored.
As bad as my film faux pas is, it’s not anywhere nearly as egregious as fans offering “May the Force be with you” without having seen the original Star Wars. Come on now, that’s just American culture right there, regardless of how toxic the fanbase has become.
Close, But No Cigar
This is for all you trivia nuts out there who never want to be caught in a lightning round with the wrong answer. If you hear a famous movie quote, you best be able to correctly identify where it came from.
Even though I may not have seen Taxi Driver, I could place that with De Niro in the famous flick any day of the week. Yet most of those surveyed attributed it to another famous Scorsese film, Goodfellas. That seems to be something of a running theme in this part of the list where gangster movies such as Scarface, The Godfather and others were mixed up for certain lines.
And please, let’s try not to ever again mix up an Oscar-winning film for a Michael Bay movie, shall we?