The intensity and emotion of war easily generate some of the most memorable monologues. In war movies, everything from lamenting the carnage to taking pride in killing creates dialogue that stays with viewers long after they leave the theater.
Here are five memorable monologues that make up some of the best modern war movie speeches:
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Lt. Aldo Raine in “Inglourious Basterds”
Raine, played by Brad Pitt, assembled Jewish-American soldiers to fight against the Nazis in World War II, according to IMDb.
In this 2009 film about a young girl’s desire for revenge against the Nazis who killed her family and the “Basterds” determined to make it happen, Raine tells the soldiers what they will be tasked with.
“We're gonna be dropped into France, dressed as civilians. And once we're in enemy territory, as a bushwhackin' guerrilla army, we're gonna be doin' one thing and one thing only - killin' Nazis.”
Pvt. Chris Taylor in “Platoon”
Charlie Sheen plays a young man who narrated a letter he wrote to his grandmother in this 1986 Oliver Stone film. Set during the Vietnam War, Taylor praised the men who fight, the men he called “anonymous.”
“Two years' high school's about it. Maybe if they're lucky, a job waiting for 'em back in a factory. But most of 'em got nothin'. They're poor. They're the unwanted. Yet they're fighting for our society and our freedom. It's weird, isn't it? At the bottom of the barrel, and they know it. Maybe that's why they call themselves 'grunts,' ‘cause a grunt can take it, can take anything. They're the best I've ever seen, grandma. The heart and soul.” – Taylor, as quoted on Filmsite.
William Wallace in “Braveheart”
Wallace (played by Mel Gibson, also the director) leads a rebellion of Scots against the British in this 1995 classic. He belts out this monologue as he sits on horseback in preparation for a bloody battle, according to Filmsite:
“I am William Wallace! And I see a whole army of my countrymen, here, in defiance of tyranny. You've come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight? ... Aye, fight and you may die, run and you'll live, at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!”
Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now”
In the Vietnam War, Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall) and another unit must trek to murder a rogue U.S. colonel. He expressed his excitement about mass killings in the 1979 film:
“You smell that? Do you smell that? ... Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed for twelve hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. But the smell - you know, that gasoline smell. The whole hill smelled like victory.”
Col. Nathan R. Jessep in “A Few Good Men”
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Jack Nicholson brought intensity and power to his performance as Jessep, and his line shouted in the courtroom – “You can’t handle the truth” – is oft-quoted.
“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.”
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