Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quotable science fiction films

Ellie Garrat at is hosting the Top Ten Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blogfest tomorrow... I'm posting this a day early so you can join too, if you're interested.

My top ten was really hard to put together, which is why I actually ended up with twelve. My list also includes a few older, more obscure movies that never really made it big, but I still loved them.

12. Treasure Planet (2002)
"When the time comes you get the chance to really test the cut of your sails, and show what you're made of, well, I hope I'm there, catching some of the light coming off you that day."

I love a great twist on a classic! Treasure Island in space! The ultimate SF skateboard, pirate John Silver as a cyborg, Emma Thompson as a space ship captain, okay so the doggish Doctor was a little annoying, but then again, the breathtaking animation! Who wouldn't love it? And yet this movie never made it big, I never could figure out why. The science-fiction trick they pull off at the end is the stuff that science fiction geeks like me get all giddy about.

11. Transformers (2007)
"Fifty years from now, when you're looking back at your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?"

Not much depth to this movie, but I love colorful characters with snappy lines, and the original Transformers were my favorite after-school treat in the '80s, so I had a lot nostalgia tied to this movie. It was really hard to pick a favorite line from this one because I like so many of the quips "fifty-year old virgin car" "it's a mystical bond between man and machine" "what would Jesus do?" "so what'd they get you for?" "I bought a car, turned out to be an alien robot, who knew?"

10. BladeRunner (1982)
"All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain."

I thought this movie was more stunning for its visual effects (and Harrison Ford adds some great eye candy, too) than for its words, but nevertheless one quote has always stuck with me. The main antagonist, a ruthless replicant, has a chance to kill Deckard (Ford) but, realizing he's running out of time before his pre-programmed death, actually saves Deckard instead. The quote is from Roy just after he saves Deckard, as he's reflecting on his memories moments before he dies. A powerful scene. (And, totally unrelated, but the implications of the unicorn... fascinating)

9. Avatar (2009)
"Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world, and in here is the dream."

Like BladeRunner, I loved this movie more for its stunning visuals (flying on the dragons - okay yeah technically they are Ikran but jeez didn't they remind you of dragons?) (and OMG the neon forest and the spinning lizards, so cool!) than for its concept or script. But Jake Sully's comment above, about being sucked into his life as an avatar, was a memorable one for me.

8. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
"I know now why you cry. But it's something I can never do."

This was my favorite movie for years. I loved the twist: your worst enemy comes back to save you. The scene where Sara Connor sees the Terminator for the first time and backpedals in terror - and then she sees her son run out from behind him - one of those scenes you never forget. The quote is from the end where the terminator machine shows human compassion but at the same time admits he can never be quite human.

7. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
"There's a whole section on tax law down here that we can burn."

Proof that there is always a silver lining, even in the clouds that are harbinger of massive climatic disaster. Most memorable (and ironic) scene from this movie: thousands of Americans illegally crossing into Mexico across the Rio Grande river.

6. Contact (1997)
"You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other."

This film embodies the belief that science and religion can co-exist rather than being opposing camps. I loved it for all the cool SF touches (anyone ever notice that the waves on the alien beach move out from shore instead of in? - and you've got to watch it to see the simple but oh-so-cool trick required to interpret the aliens' message/blueprints) but I also loved how this movie wasn't afraid to explore conflicts between religion and science. The quote is from the person who might have been an alien, or might have been Ellie's own subconscious reconstructing her long-lost father - the ending remains purposefully ambiguous, like the next one on the list (Inception). Such endings are frustrating but thought-provoking - definitely memorable.

5. Inception (2010)
"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."

This is the most mind-bending film I've yet seen; I had to watch it three times almost back to back to figure it all out and I'm sure I'm still missing tons of nuances. The concepts of dreams within dreams and how that effects our perception of time is fascinating. Another movie where there are so many good quotes it was hard to pick one. This one is from Eames as he joins Arthur in a gunfight (within a dream) and ups the ante by pulling out a grenade launcher.

4. Armageddon (1998)
"If anybody's anybody, I'm Han and you''re Chewbacca"

Bruce Willis' oil drilling roughneck crew turned save-the-world astronauts is still the best collection of buddy characters ever put together, in my opinion. The scene where the crew bargain with top NASA officials for "no more taxes, ever" and "say, do you guys know who killed Kennedy" and "bring back eight-track tapes" is a favorite, though the scenes were they are being evaluated for physical and psychological fitness are close seconds. The quote I selected though is AJ arguing with Oscar over which members of the crew match up with Star Wars characters.

3. Deja Vu (2006)
"I'll speak slow, so those of you with Ph.D.'s in the room can understand."

Denzel Washington is one my favorite actors, and when he finally got brave enough to go SF I knew it was going to be a treat (especially because I love time-twists). The ultimate appeal of this movie, in a post-9/11 world, is the idea (yeah, it's far-fetched, but science fiction fans are always dreamers) that there could be a way to go back in time to prevent terrible disasters from happening. The above quote is agent Doug Carlin (Denzel) trying to get the time-technology geeks out of their theoretical ivory towers and into the serious reality of the situation. This movie has a chase scene that takes place simultaneously in the present and the past - whoa!

2 and 1. All the Star Wars and Star Trek movies. I couldn't pick one over the other. So many great quotes that they have literally become part of the vocabulary of modern culture.

"Make it so" - Jean Luc Picard
"These aren't the droids you're looking for" - Obi Wan Kenobi
"Beam me up, Scotty" - James Kirk
"I suggest a new strategy: let the Wookee win." - C3PO
"Are you out of your Vulcan mind?" - Bones
"Boring conversation anyway. Luke, we’re gonna have company." - Han Solo
"I would cite regulation, but I know you will simply ignore it." - Spock
Please share your favorite SF quote or scene - I'm sure I've overlooked some good ones!


  1. Wow!! What a great list!! Some I've not heard cos I've not seen the films but most I so agree with - especially your many no.1s!!! Oh but that blade runner quote is just beautiful!!!!!

    I shared this already with Ellie but I'll share it here again cos it's one of my faves:

    "Flash, I love you but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!" (Flash Gordon!).

    Take care

  2. This was so much fun! I loved reading these, even though I haven't seen all of the movies. I think my favorite from the above is number 7 (it feels timely, since we just got the hubby's w2 form in the mail). Thanks!

  3. Yours are awesome! You had me nodding and smiling at the ones I knew! :)

    I love Bones various "I'm a doctor, not a ..." quotes too!

  4. i love all these, esp. the Star Wars & Star Trek quotes at the end. you're right--how do you choose? maybe i'll play along after i've read more entries.

  5. I like your list, especially the way you explain each quote. Love the Blade Runner scene. Thanks for posting.


  6. A fantastic list, with some of my favourite films. Did you find it difficult choosing which quote from each film? I could have some several for each one.

    Here's my favourite quote, from Star Trek V: "What does God need with a spaceship?"

    Thank you for taking part!

    Top Ten Movie Quotes Blogfest

  7. I loved Inception, but still have to get to round two. Didn't want to ruin the effect of the first time.

    As for best Star Wars quotes:

    "I love you!"
    "... I know."


    "I kissed my sister!"

  8. Excellent list! Very representative of the genre's. Kudo's!! :)

  9. I am so jazzed to have a little sci-fi film festival!

    I've not seen all of your picks, but am very excited to do so!


  10. oh, very nice! I especially liked the one from Contact, which I completely neglected to quote and it's like, one of favorite movies ever!

  11. I would have done almost all Star Trek quotes if I could have gotten away with it although Contact has so many great lines (and I almost chose the one you did! lol) and XFiles has tons of great lines too.

  12. All really great movies. First mention of Contact I've seen. Loved the book and the movie was pretty good, too.

  13. This is an awesome list you have so many of my favourite movies - I could have quoted so many of these: I love Star Trek, Blade Runner, Deja Vu, The Day After Tomorrow - great films. As for Terminator ... love it turned up loud on the surround sound, yum! ;)

  14. I selected the same Blade Runner quote. Loved Inception, but just haven't watched it enough to select a favorite quote just yet. Good picks!

  15. Great list! I loved Inception, and I can't believe I forgot about Contact- I remember I really liked that movie.

  16. Great list, but if you are going to use a Transformers quote I would go with the animated movie. One shall rise one shall fall, Rise rodimus prime.

  17. OMGosh, these are so awesome. I cracked up when I got to The Day After Tomorrow, forgot about that one. And Treasure Planet sounds really good, I don't think I've seen that. Now I'll have to look it up.

  18. "Fifty years from now, when you're looking back at your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?"

    I loved this one the best from your list, but they are all cool.


  19. You've convinced me that I need to see Contact--sounds like a movie that might appeal to me. Inception somewhat disappointed me, but I know I need to watch it a few more times and I'm sure I will like it better then.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  20. he says you brade-runner...
    great list...

    Thank you for being part of this, it was a great time and success.
    Jeremy [iZombie]

  21. Great list Margo! I haven't seen Inception yet, looking forward to watching though. Oh I do love the Terminator movies :)

    Welcome on board the Crusade, so glad to have you along for the ride ;)



  22. Nice list! I forgot about Contact and I really like that movie. Well done.

  23. Hello Margo from another Margo (and yes, our surnames are similar!) thanks for dropping by mine.

    This is a fantastic list, I love the Terminator films and anything from Star Trek lives long and prospers in our house!

    Crusaders 'Engage!'

  24. I love SciFi, but my favorites are usually TV shows,like Stargate and Star Trek. I'm currently writing a SciFi dystopian novel, which I wrote 2500 words on over the weekend!! Goal met! We should definitely trade tweets on our goals. My twitter account is CandiKennington. I don't think we follow each other, but I'm going to go check. How is your writing goal coming this week?

  25. I haven't seen Treasure Planet but it sounds like fun, and I completely forgot about Armageddon. Great list!

  26. I haven't seen Treasure Planet but it sounds like fun, and I completely forgot about Armageddon. Great list!

  27. Excellent list Margo! :)

    Love #6 since CONTACT is one of my favorite movies. Has to be one of the best opening credits I've seen.

    And just today, I did a Jean Luc Picard and all the software geeks in the office instantly knew what I was talking about. LOL.

  28. These are all great ones! Love the idea, but I might get too distracted watching old movies and tv shows..

  29. These are good. I love any reference to Blade Runner :)

    New follower...

  30. I'm late to this party, but I wanted to play! Awesome list, and I had forgotten about Contact as well. I think I'd add The Abyss (love Ed Harris) and maybe even AI, even though it was LONG.

  31. I was too late to do this blogfest, but I think you got all of the best lines there!

  32. Oh, I love "Make it so." I also like "Never give up! Never surrender!" That's from Galaxy Quest.

  33. Hi Margo!
    Thanks so much for the follow! I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to return the favor! Ugh.

    These quotes are brilliant. Good ol' Sci-Fi! And you picked some great movies. Contact is one of my all time favorites; I must agree with you on Treasure Planet: how did it NOT gather more followers. Brilliant!

    Hmmm...favorite quotes?

    "Psychic? That sounds a lot like science fiction to me."
    "We live on a space ship, dear."
    ~ Firefly

    The scene in Jurassic Park when they're driving away from the T-Rex with Ian Malcolm in the back. He's staring wide-eyed at the dinosaur and says, "Must go faster."

  34. I loved reading those - what fun! I just watched Inception for the second time and I still don't have it figured out. Maybe the third time will do it!

  35. Inception and Avatar are wonderful. They'd be on my list for sure. Thanks for popping by my blog. I appreciate the kind words.


  36. I love all your choices, even Trasnformers which you're right--not much depth, but they had zome real quotables in that movie! I think my very favorite quotes come from The Princess Bride!

    You know, I just saw Contact the other day? I forgot how much I loved that movie!

  37. Hey there- you asked me since I liked fairies if I had read "wings" I haven't- But I will look into it. thanks for the comment.

  38. Thanks for stopping by! I'm a total Star Wars nerd, but for a quote, I'd like to reference my favorite Star Trek movie: VI, The Undiscovered Country. In the classic Kirk-fighting-Kirk-impersonating-alien.
    Kirk: "I can't believe I kissed you!"
    Impersonating Alien: "It must have been your life-long ambition!"

  39. Yay! I whole lot of SF movies that I recognise!

    Transformers, Avatar, The Day After Tomorrow, Inception, Armageddon.

    I loved ALL those lines from Transformers that you mentioned! Avatar was a visually INCREDIBLE movie - one of the few movies I would watch no matter what the script because it just LOOKS so awesome! And, "There's a whole section on tax law down here that we can burn"... yeah that makes me smile :-)

  40. I loved Inception! And right when the movie ended I cheated and googled the movie and got all the answers b/c I couldn't stand not understanding everything!

  41. OMG! The only movie I've seen is Armegeddon. We own Inception, but I haven't watch it yet.



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