Skilled animators have brought cartoon characters and inanimate objects to life throughout the years. But the key to many successful animated films goes beyond just the visuals.
The dialogue also plays an important part. From children to creatures to inanimate objects, animated characters have given plenty of classic speeches filled with brilliant lines.
Here are seven classic speeches from animated films:
“A Boy Named Charlie Brown” (1969)
Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts gang had a maturity level beyond their years. Among the wisest for his age was Linus, the closest thing Charlie Brown had to a true friend.
Brown had just blown a rare chance at success, messing up at the spelling bee by misspelling beagle, of all words. Naturally, because he has a beagle, Snoopy, and he should have known the answer, he is depressed, and he stays in bed after coming back from the bee. Linus, voiced by Glenn Gilger, gives a classic consoling speech, telling him that in the scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. Thus inspired, Charlie Brown goes out and tries to kick the football that Lucy is holding. He fails, or course, but is back to his usual self.
The full episode is embedded below, but Linus’ speech begins just after the 1 hour, 12-minute mark.
Here is Linus’ speech:
Linus: “Well, I can understand how you feel. You worked hard, studying for the spelling bee, and I suppose you feel you let everyone down, and you made a fool of yourself and everything. But did you notice something, Charlie Brown?”
Charlie Brown: “What’s that?”
Linus: “The world didn't come to an end.”
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“Finding Nemo” (2003)
Even fish have feelings. In this 2003 hit, Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, makes a plea with Marlin to stay with her. While they are only fish, the classic animated speech easily could be applied to humans as well.
This is Dory’s speech:
“Stop! Please don’t go away, please. No one’s ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave, if you leave, I just, I remember things better with you. I do. Look, P. Sherman. Forty-two. Forty-two. I remember it, I do, it’s there. When I look at you, I can feel it. I look at you and I … I’m home. Please, I don’t want that to go away. I don’t want to forget.”
“Shrek the Third” (2007)
Prince Charming, with Rupert Everett providing the voice, is out recruiting some of the greatest fairytale villains and misfits. Cornered in a bar, and fearing for his life, he rallies the bad guys by showing them how they have gotten the raw end of the deal throughout the years.
The speech has become an animated classic. It’s an amusing take on fairytales and how the villains have feelings and dreams, too.
Here is Prince Charming’s speech:
Charming: “We are more alike than you think. Wicked Witch – seven dwarves save Snow White and then what happened?”
Witch: “Oh, what’s it to you?”
Charming: “They left you the unfairest of them all. And now, here you are hustling pool to get your next meal. How does that feel?”
Witch: “Pretty unfair.”
Charming: “And you – your star puppet abandons the show to go and find his father.”
Geppetto: “I hate that little wooden puppet.”
Charming: “And Hook, need I say more? … And you, Frumpy Pigskin …”
Charming: “Where’s that firstborn you were promised, eh? Mable, remember how you couldn’t get your little, fat foot into that tiny glass slipper? Cinderella is in Far Far Away right now, eating bonbons, cavorting with every little last fairytale creature that has ever done you wrong. … Once upon a time, someone decided we were the losers. There are two sides to every story, and our side has not been told. So, who will join me? Who wants to come out on top for once? Who wants their happily ever after?”
Food critic Anton Ego, voiced by Peter O’Toole, wrote a review that had negatively affected Chef Gusteau. He now comes back to the restaurant, which is without the deceased chef, to do an update on that criticism. While the cooking impresses Ego, he finds that Remy the rat has prepared his food.
The critic then delivers a brilliant take, not only on food, but also about criticism and its value.
This is Ego’s speech:
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and themselves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.
But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.
Last night, I experienced something new, an extra-ordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: 'Anyone can cook.' But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.”
“The LEGO Movie” (2014)
The big animated hit of 2014 appealed to adults as well as children. One of the great moments of the movie was Emmet’s confession that he was not a Master Builder, or brave, or smart, or really anything.
Chris Pratt, who voiced Emmet, gives a classic animated speech that is self-deprecating. While it seems he’s on track to tell the others they are wrong about him, he does not. It’s a great bit of humor to which most anyone, animated or not, can relate.
This is Emmet’s speech:
“Yes, it’s true. I may not be a Master Builder. I may not have a lot of experience fighting or leading or coming up with plans. Or having ideas in general. In fact, I’m not all that smart. And I’m not what you’d call a creative type. Plus, generally unskilled. Also, scared and cowardly. I know what you’re thinking – he is the least-qualified person in the world to lead us, and you are right.”
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“The Lion King” (1994)
Mufasa is teaching Simba about what it takes to make a great king. Part of his talk involves respect for all creatures, great and small. But what makes this short monologue a classic animated speech is very simple: the circle of life. Mufasa, with James Earl Jones providing the voice, teaches Simba that, while the lion eat the antelope, the antelope are in a way fed by the lion.
This is Mufasa’s speech:
“But let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass. And the antelope eat the grass. So, we are all connected in the great circle of life.”
“The Point” (1971)
This was about as counterculture as possible for an early 1970s TV movie cartoon. The soundtrack and writing credits featured Harry Nilsson. The trippy animated feature, which is a story within a story, is part of a tale in which a father is reading a bedtime story to his son. The story deals with themes of non-conformity and accepting those with different looks and points of view.
Oblio is a boy who is born without a point on his head, unlike the people in his village. He is banished to the Pointless Forest with his trusty dog Arrow. He returns from his journey at the end with a point, in more ways than one.
The story-reading father, who has served as narrator, delivers the message. Depending on the version of “The Point,” that a viewer watches, he is voiced by Dustin Hoffman, Alan Barzman, Alan Thicke, or Ringo Starr.
This is the narrator’s speech:
“And so it was that Oblio and Arrow returned safely from their travel, only a little older but certainly a good deal wiser.
As for the Pointed Village, well the way things worked out, it was a much better place to live after Oblio’s return. True the people didn’t have their once-cherished points right there on the tops of their heads. But that didn’t matter so much anymore. People just started assuming that every man has some kind of point, whether it shows or not. The end.”
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