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Greatest Classic War Movie Speeches: 5 Memorable Monologues

By    |   Monday, 27 Apr 2015 07:27 PM

War movies aren't always known for their incisive and memorable monologues. But amid all the flying bullets and the characters dying and the pain and suffering, the most classic war movies oftentimes have those kinds of speeches embedded in them. It adds a touch of gravitas or, occasionally, humor, and it sometimes puts the exclamation point on what the director is trying to make the audience feel.

Here are five of the most memorable monologues in classic war movies:

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1. Alec Guinness in "Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957)

The elegant Guinness makes a terrific speech while reflecting back on the life of his character, and it's one of the highlights of the film. The New York Times praised Guinness in its review of the film, "With a rigid, serene disposition, he displays the courage and tenacity of a lion, as well as the denseness and pomposity of a dangerously stupid, inbred snob. He shows, beneath the surface of a hero, the aspects of an inhuman fool. He gives one of the most devastating portraits of a militarist that we have ever seen."

2. George C. Scott in "Patton" (1970)

One of the most interesting openings to a movie in modern times, it features Scott giving a motivational monologue to an unseen audience of American soldiers. It's a fabulous speech, and the performance was one reason Scott won an Oscar for Best Actor.

3. R. Lee Ermey in "Full Metal Jacket" (1987)

Ermey was actually a drill instructor before he became an actor, so he certainly knows what he's doing when he introduces himself to the men he'll be training in a scathing monologue. "When you do a really fantastic film with a great role that you're able to customize for yourself, the doors fly open," Ermey told ABC News. "Let's face it, I was a drill instructor, I was a Marine and I am a Marine so who knows better."

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4. Liam Neeson in "Schindler's List" (1993)

Neeson's character, Oskar Schindler, touched by a gift from one of the hundreds of Jews he saved from the Nazis, bemoans his realization that he could have rescued even more people. Wrote the Los Angeles Times: "The brio of his performance knits 'Schindler's List' together, and no greater compliment can be paid to it than to say its strength and assurance makes this unbelievable story believable and real."

5. Mel Gibson in "Braveheart" (1995)

Almost certainly the highlight of Gibson's career, he deserves praise for his monologue in one of the movie's climatic scenes when he convinces his Scottish countrymen to fight against the English. This speech is one of the important scenes of the movie, which won Oscars for Best Picture and best director (Gibson), and includes the famous line, "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom."

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War movies aren't always known for their incisive and memorable monologues. But amid all the flying bullets and the characters dying and the pain and suffering, the most classic war movies oftentimes have those kinds of speeches embedded in them.
classic, war, speeches, films, movies, monologues
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2015-27-27
Monday, 27 Apr 2015 07:27 PM
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