Quotations The Best First Lines of Famous Film Characters  

Ranker Film
2.6k votes 361 voters 6.9k views 33 items

List Rules Don't just vote up the characters you like, vote based on how great their first lines are.

First impressions are everything, especially in the movies. Screenwriters go to great lengths to think of how to introduce characters in a film. Every line of dialogue is sacred, each word must be crafted in order to create three dimensional, memorable characters. But which are the best first lines of famous film characters?

A lot of these best film character first lines actually begin the movie. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) tells the spectator in voice over at the start of Goodfellas, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster... To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States." It’s not only the perfect way to open Martin Scorsese’s tale of the old school glory days of gangster life, it also introduces us to the movie’s protagonist and how sacredly he views that lifestyle.

This list of best first lines from famous movie characters spans nearly every genre and decade. Which line is your favorite? Cast your vote and make your voice heard.

list ordered by

130 50
"I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you stranger." The Joker -

The Dark Knight

112 49
"Hello. My name's Forrest. Forrest Gump. You want a chocolate?" Forrest Gump -

Forrest Gump

79 39
“I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on, you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be 'Sir!' Do you maggots understand this?” Gunnery Sergeant Hartman -

Full Metal Jacket

76 37
“… Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” Gen. George S. Patton Jr. -


91 48
"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster...To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States." Henry Hill -


67 34
"My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neighborhood. This is my street. This is my life. I'm 42 years old. In less than a year, I'll be dead. Of course, I don't know that yet. And in a way, I'm dead already. Lester Burnham -

American Beauty

58 32
“The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom; I’m a big believer in it." Ferris Bueller -

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

63 38
“ I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being.” Gordie Lachance -

Stand by Me

45 25
"Three billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day." Sarah Connor -

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

59 37
"Why did you go to the police? Why didn’t you come to me first?" Don Vito Corleone -

The Godfather

48 30
"Three minutes. This is it; ground zero. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion?" Tyler Durden -

Fight Club

48 30
"Detective, you're looking for me." John Doe -


49 31
“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f*cking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f*cking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f*ck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sittin’ on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f*cking junk food into your mouth. Choose rottin’ away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f*cked-up brats that you’ve spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life… But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?” Renton -


51 33
“I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me." Frank Costello -

The Departed

51 33
"Welcome my friends. Welcome to my chocolate factory." Willy Wonka -

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

53 35
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold." Raoul Duke -

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas

34 23
"Listen, here's the thing: If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker." Mike McDermott -


22 14
But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters! Luke Skywalker -

Star Wars

40 32
"Do you find me sadistic? You know I’ll bet I could fry an egg on your head right now if I wanted to." Bill -

Kill Bill

27 21
"Oh, I guess this isn't the bathroom, is it?" Mrs. Robinson -

The Graduate

34 28
"When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull. Unspooling her brains. Trying to get answers. The primal questions of any marriage: 'What are you thinking?' 'How are you feeling?' 'What have we done to each other?'" Nick Dunne -

Gone Girl

35 30
"Let me tell you what 'Like a Virgin' is about..." Mr. Brown -

Reservoir Dogs

35 31
"People were always asking me, did I know Tyler Durden." The Narrator -

Fight Club

35 32
"Huh? I am not a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi." Navin -

The Jerk

30 29
"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands - literally, thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and the loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?" Rob Gordon -

High Fidelity

28 27
"You all know me. You know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for ya, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like goin' down to the pond chasing bluegills or tommycats. This shark will swallow you whole." Quint -


27 26
"I'm 36 years old, I love my family, I love baseball, and I'm about to become a farmer. But until I heard the voice, I'd never done a crazy thing in my whole life." Ray Kinsella -

Field of Dreams

26 26
“Who are you?” “I am Death.” Death -

The Seventh Seal

23 25
"So life is disappointing? Forget it! In here, life is beautiful! The girls are beautiful! Even the orchestra is beautiful!" The Emcee -


22 29
"Hello, gorgeous." Fanny Brice -

Funny Girl

19 26
"I remember those cheers. They still ring in my ears." Jake La Motta -

Raging Bull

28 39
"Rosebud." Charles Foster Kane -

Citizen Kane

10 29
“Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion.’ Uh, no, make that: ‘He-he… romanticized it all out of proportion. Now… to him… no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.’ Ahhh, now let me start this over…” Isaac -