225 voters

The Best One-Liners from Coen Brothers Movies

Updated October 13, 2018 650 votes 225 voters 8.9k views24 items

To say that the Coen Brothers have an ear for dialogue would be an understatement. Joel and Ethan Coen are responsible for directing, writing, producing, and editing their own films. They work within and outside the boundaries of nearly every genre, including neo-noir, the Western, crime, and comedy. Although each of their films is distinctively different, they all share the Brothers' knack for creating lines of dialogue that aim to be dark and funny at the same time. Here are the best quotes from Coen Brothers movies.

The Coen Brothers have received five Oscar nominations for their writing, and won cinema’s most prestigious writing award twice. The first win, for Best Original Screenplay, came in 1997 for the noir-ish black comedy Fargo. The second win was for their adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men in 2007.

One of most iconic Coen Brothers quotes comes from No Country for Old Men, which also won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Perhaps, you've heard something about a big bad scary man, with an awful bowl cut, asking an innocent convenient store clerk to bet his life on the toss of a coin, with the simple but terrifying declaration, “Call it, Friendo.”

Although Fargo was not the first film written and directed by the Coen Brothers, it was their first big time feature to capture a wide audience. The Minnesota-born brothers were able to bring that okie dokey Midwestern dialogue to the big screen with simple phrases that have since become iconic, like “Oh you betcha, ya.”

Maybe some of the jokes from Coen Brothers movies on this list are more than just simple one-liners (looking at you, Lebowski). But sometimes we're just not into the whole brevity thing. Make your voice heard and vote up your favorite one-liners from Coen Brothers movies below.
  • 1

    "That rug really tied the room together, did it not?"

    Photo: flickr / CC0

    Film: The Big Lebowski

    All The Dude wants is a new rug, after the nihilists pee all over it. He's not in it for the money, or the fame. It is such an important rug, everyone agrees, it really does tie the room together.
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  • 2

    "...And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper."

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Film: Fargo

    The wood chipper scene from Fargo is one of the most iconic scenes in the Coen Brothers' filmography. Of course, Marge is the only person on the force smart enough to catch the bad guys.
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  • 3

    "The Dude abides."

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

    Film: The Big Lebowski

    At the end of The Big Lebowski, the Stranger/Narrator says, "The Dude abides." Then he admits, "I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals."

    It is certainly good to know that someone like The Dude exists, even if it's just in a movie world.

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  • 4

    "Oh you betcha, ya."

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    Film: Fargo

    "You betcha" pretty much sums up the Midwestern tone the Coen Brothers successfully created with the dialogue in Fargo. Even the vilest characters from the film, who are from Minnesota, speak in that okie dokey, mild-mannered regional syntax.
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