10 Best Quotes In Stanley Kubrick Movies | Screen Rant

While modern directors like Alex Garland and Paul Thomas Anderson walk the line between mainstream and arthouse, perhaps none have done it better than Stanley Kubric. Adhering to quality over quantity, Kubrick's cinematic work is often defined by striking visual imagery, cold and distant characters, and some of the most memorable lines of dialogue in cinema history.

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Whether it's Jack Torrance howling through the Overlook Hotel, HAL 9000 losing its AI mind in outer space, Alex DeLarge waxing poetic about a futuristic society, and many more, nearly every single Stanely Kubrick movie is loaded with memorable quotes, quips, zingers, and thematic utterances.

Kubrick's scathingly dark comedy about dystopic nuclear war is as absurd as it gets, with Peter Sellers stealing the show in three different roles. As the measured U.S. President Muffley constantly loses his cool during war room strategizing, he makes a hilariously hypocritical quip that strikes the heart of the film's message.

When two high-ranking dignitaries nearly come to blows after they disagree about how to prevent a nuclear war, the President tries to restore order and decorum to the top-secret space. The notion one can't fight in the warm, however true, perfectly encapsulates the silly sense of absurd humor the whole movie imbues.

With a surname like Turgidson, Kubrick has ensured the high-ranking General is as thick as it gets. As such, George C. Scott delivers the line about the ramifications of nuclear war so flippantly, casually, and without a shred of remorse, that one can only roll their eyes and chuckle at the absurdity.

The line underscores the point Kubrick is making about how the government at the time viewed human lives as mere sacrificial pawns to ensure future peace on earth. President Muffley rejects the idea, but Turgidson thinks murdering 20-30 million Americans is a good thing. It's a scathingly dark commentary on U.S. foreign policy at the time, which reinforces the movie's main theme.

Arguably t most terrifying computer shutdown sequence in film history, the way in which HAL 9000 slowly and sleepily utters the line as the sentient AI is being dismantled in real-time is truly iconic. Dave Bowman discovered that the robot had a murderous mind of its own and had to protect himself by dismantling the computer piece by piece.

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The increasingly slowed and slurred speech gives HAL 9000 frightening human qualities which are reinforced in the lines it utters. The notion that a robot can feel its mind slipping is highly unnerving, with Kubrick touching on the dangers of sentient AI far before it was popular.

Adapting Anthony Burgess' witty prose in A Clockwork Orange amounts to some of Kubrick's most colorful and unique movie quotations. A violent teenager under major societal illusions, Alex (Malcolm McDowell) notes the blurred line between fiction and reality as he knows it.

The line underscores Alex's inability to distinguish his own violent actions from the fiction he sees in movies and on television, indicating a disillusioned teenager who does not grasp the severity of his crimes until much later in the film.

One of the most exciting aspects of A Clockwork Orange is the way Kubrick retains Burgess' original vernacular and specific slang Alex and his droogs use in the film. A great example comes after committing crimes at night, which Alex poetically describes. It's quotes like these that make A Clockwork Orange hold up today.

In addition to the colorful lyricism of the quote, thematically, it conveys that Alex is not yet aware of how badly he is behaving, liking a major felony to a "small energy expenditure." Luckily, he will later learn the folly of his ways.

Upon rehabbing his image and ridding his violent tendencies, Alex finally seems to make a huge mental breakthrough at the end of A Clockwork Orange. After torturous methods to instill morality, Alex finally sees the light.

Thematically, the quote is extremely important as it marks a real healing process for the troubled protagonist. Before he felt his violent urges were primal and instinctive, but now he knows what it means to be civilized.

Likely still causing nightmares everywhere, when young Danny Torrance rounds the corner of the Overlook on his big wheel to find the two twin girls staring back at him in the middle of the hall, Kubrick delivers one of his most terrifying scenes. The dialogue is forever haunting.

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What makes the quote so alarming is the way Kubrick crosscuts Danny's visions of the young girls lying in a pool of blood and back to the innocent quote beckoning Danny to play their ghosts. One of the scariest horror moments of all time is accentuated by the eerie quotes.

It's now common knowledge that Jack Nicholson ad-libbed The Shining's most iconic line poking fun at late-night TV host Johnny Carson as Jack Torrance tries to murder his wife Wendy with an ax in the bathroom. It's the tight framing and maniacal grin on Torrance's face that makes the line so scary.

While Danny repeating "redrum" (murder spelled backward) adds to the dramatic terror in the sequence, it's the odd blend of campy humor Torrance elects at his most murderous that causes such a jarring counterpoint in one's mind. The scene is so famous that it's been referenced time and again in other movies.

While R. Lee Ermey delivers memorable but wildly inappropriate quotes as the drill sergeant in the darkly comedic war movie Full Metal Jacket, it's the philosophical musings of Private Joker (Matthew Modine) that really resonate the most. The best comes when he's burying soldiers in a massive grave in the  Vietnam war.

Joker states the line with a sobering tone as bodies are covered in lime. Of course, dead people have no memories, which makes the line particularly haunting while also reinforcing Joker's own poetic expressions.

Based on a novella entitled Traumnovelle, which translates to Dream Story, much of what transpires in Eyes Wide Shut can be considered one long dream by protagonist Bill Harford (Tom Cruise). After his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) admits to having a sexual fantasy, Bill wanders the night on an erotic odyssey looking for revenge. At every turn, however, he is denied.

In the final scene, Bill finally admits that while he is now wide awake, dreams have profound consequences whether one likes them or not. By admitting "no dream is just a dream," he admits that he and Alice must continue to work on their marriage in waking life, or else they will not last in the future.

NEXT: Stanley Kubrick's 10 Best Villains, Ranked



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