Nothing gets the spine tingling like a well written, powerful monologue. Here are my personal favourites…

10. True Romance – 1993 – Dennis Hopper – You.. are part eggplant….”

Watch the clip here.
OK, so technically this entire scene is a 2-way, but Hopper’s achingly cool acceptance of his fate, followed by his decision to go down with his middle finger firmly extended, is strong enough to stand on it’s own. It has all the trademark Tarantino touches, racial slurs, palpable tension, but in my opinion this is the greatest scene he has ever written, and delivered to perfection by the late, great Hopper. Cinema gold.

9. Blade Runner – 1982 – Rutger Hauer – I’ve seen things.”

Watch the clip here.
Roy Batty’s emotional,  fatalistic swan song, as he laments the loss of memories at life’s end. Dripping in neo-noir style, and with that unforgettable Vangelis score, this was Hauer’s career highlight. Unlike Roy Batty’s lost memories, no-one will ever forget this scene. They’ll probably forget “Blind Fury” though…

8. Manhattan – 1979 – Woody Allen – He adored New York City….”

Watch the clip here.
The combination of Gershwin and the most beautiful photography of New York City ever shot, provides an incredibly atmospheric backdrop to Isaac’s (Allen’s) multiple false starts. One of the most memorable openings of any film ever, the monologue perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the film. Clever and neurotic, this is classic Woody Allen.

7. M – 1931 – Peter Lorre – I must..”

Watch the clip here.
The final plea of child killer Hans Beckert. Every aspect of the film is a masterpiece, yet Peter Lorre’s performance still manages to shine through. When you consider this as one of the earliest talkies (Lang’s first) this is even more impressive. The wild eyes, the conflicting personality, the bravery of the performance. The film, and the scene which put the inimitable Lorre on the map and showed us Lang had made the switch to sound with ease and a masters touch.

6. 2001 a Space Odyssey- 1969 – Douglas Rain – I’m afraid, Dave.”

Watch the clip here.
A haunting end to the life of a HAL9000. As Dr Bowman makes the journey to HAL’s mainframe, the computer pleads for it’s life. HAL’s already eerie monotone voice slows to a drawl while singing “Daisy Daisy”, the words set over the claustrophobic breathing sounds of Dr Bowman’s suit.

5. GlenGarry Glen Ross – 1992 – Alec Baldwin ABC – Always Be Closing

Watch the clip here.
Bathing in his own masturbatory arrogance, no-one has ever painted a more frightening and domineering picture of corporate smarm as Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, and this scene is the personalised plate on the $80000 BMW. A more intense verbal reaming is not possible. Sure, there are a few pathetic shaky words from the others in the room, but this scene is ALL Baldwin. Scary stuff.

4. Apocalypse Now – 1979 – Marlon Brando – I’ve seen horrors…”

Watch the clip here.
Fat, drunk, unrehearsed, but the stars aligned and created something perfect. Lighting which was only really intended to conceal Brando’s luxurious man-boobs, actually worked to the film’s advantage, creating an ethereal atmosphere that complimented this savage tale of children’s severed limbs. Despite reading the lines for the first time from cue-cards off-camera, Brando delivers the dialogue as impressively and as effortlessly as if he was sliding a huge jelly down his cavernous throat.

3. Network – 1976 – Ned Beatty – The primal forces of nature

Watch this clip here.
You dont have to be as crazy as the mad prophet of the airwaves to be affected by the immensly powerful delivery of this cynical preacher (Beatty as Arthur Jensen) – greed and power personified, the spokesman for a world driven by profit and cash-flow. It is testament to this film’s script that there were three seperate monologues as contenders for this list, but it was Beatty’s sermon on his “New World Order” that won out in the end.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird – 1962 – Gregory Peck – Atticus’ closing defense

Unfortunately I cannot find a video clip for this, but listen to the audio here.
7 minutes of Gregory Peck’s powerful screen presence. A fantastic monologue appealing for justice, equality and fairness. Peck remains cool while he bargains for an innocent, but ultimately doomed man’s life, pleading for the court to forget their bigoted ways. One of most iconic speeches in any film ever, and a moment totally deserving of the number two spot.

1. The Great Dictator – 1940 – Charles Chaplin – I don’t want to be an emperor.”

Words can do no justice to the emotional delivery of Chaplin’s famous monologue. Cementing his legacy as a great dramatic actor and writer, on top of his already established reputation as director and physical comedian, The Great Dictator’s final monologue does with words, what City Lights and The Kid did with pictures. A glorious demonstration of why Chaplin’s films were so important. A comedy, with a heartfelt and profound message, simple genius, and rightful claim to the top spot.

So that was my personal top 10 list of film’s monologues. I hope you enjoyed revisiting some of these scenes. Honorable mention goes to George C Scott’s “addressing the troops” speech in Patton, and James Stewart’s “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” filibuster, both of which narrowly missed the cut.