Famous last words can be funny, inspirational, prophetic or simply memorable. These are the lines of dialogue that seem to click in your mind and they become part of your life experience.
Even those students who do not particularly care for Shakespeare often remember the pained final words of Caesar “Et tu, Brute?” (and you too Brutus) as he died at the hands of assassins. Today these words are still used by people who want to describe a feeling of treacherous betrayal by someone they trusted. This is just one instance that shows how well-chosen words can live on through time.
How many times have you heard someone describe WWII General McArthur said, “I shall return”? Although these words were apparently paraphrased, more people are able to recite these words and credit them to this famous general that can actually tell you where or when he supposedly made this statement.
Other people easily remember the scene in “Streetcar Named Desire” where Brando begins to bellow out the name, “Stella! Stella!” They may not even remember the plot of this movie, but many movie fans act out this one last scene with an amazing passion.
Such is the power of some famous last words. They can sometimes take on a life and existence of their own.
Sometimes you can read a book or watch a movie and the one thing that you truly remember about the experience are the last lines spoken by one of the characters. In many instances, these words have the ability to speak to your heart and soul. This allows you to instantly identify with the real message that is being delivered.
Last words can be the final statement that causes a book or movie to soar in popularity, but they can also be an event’s unwitting downfall. This is why so many people will frequently put more thought into these words than into any other single part of a project.
Here is a list of 10 famous last words that moviegoers have enjoyed, memorized and recited over the years:
“Liberty and Union one and inseparable now and forever.”
This is a line that was seen at the end of the 1915 movie, “The Birth of a Nation”. While this is a very brief statement it is stirringly patriotic and these words resonated with the great majority of audience members.
“Happiness must be earned.”
This was a statement that was written in the stars as the 1924 silent movie, “The Thief of Bagdad” drew to a close. Simple words but they are able to be easily remembered, and they also make people think about what the sentence means.
“The END of Tom Powers is the end of every hoodlum. The Public Enemy is not a man nor is it a character — it is a problem that sooner or later WE, the public, must solve.”
These were the final written words in the 1931 Hollywood movie classic, “Public Enemy”. The truth that lies behind these words makes this last line as meaningful and thought-provoking today as it was nearly a century ago when this film was first shown to millions of American viewers.
“Yes… a nutty kind of a book. Do you know that the guy says machinery is going to take the place of every profession?”
These were the famous last words of one of the main characters in a 1930s era movie titled, “Dinner at Eight”. This statement receives a response from another character that assures them they have nothing to worry about regarding machines taking over people’s jobs. At that time the computer age had not even become a glint in the eye of IBM, but today these words seem to foreshadow the mechanization and computerization of the modern world.
“Beauty killed the’ beast.”
As the giant ape died in the movie “King Kong” these words were uttered by a character during the last scene. One could say that this statement packs a great deal of truth in just a few brief words. Many people have read these words and considered that “Beauty” could refer to physical appearance, a woman or the search for a coveted but unattainable treasure.
“My dear friend, there’s a little bit of Don Juan in every man, but since I am Don Juan, there must be more of it in me.” Famous last words from a scene in the 1949 movie “Adventures of Don Juan.
These words are as clever and humorous today as they were when they were first heard at the debut of this movie.
“Made it, Ma! Top of the world…He finally got to the top of the world. And it blew right up in his face.” (“White Heat” 1949)
These famous last words were often recited by avid movie fans during the 40s and 50s. The phrase was viewed as ironically prophetic at the time.
“. I told you, if you love someone deeply enough, anything is possible. Even – miracles?” These words are from the movie “Brigadoon “in 1954.
These sweetly sentimental words touched the hearts of men and women.
“Nobody’s perfect.”(“Some Like it Hot” 1959)
Of course, this is not the first time these words have been spoken, but this movie scene transformed these last words into a comedic catchphrase
“But I ain’t got me peace of mind – and if you ain’t got that, you ain’t got nothing.”(Words spoken by Michael Caine in the 1960s hit movie, “Alfie”.)
This statement has a profound impact when you really take the time to think about its meaning.
There are many other famous last words found in the climactic last scenes, and these words owe much of their popularity to moviegoers. Still, you should remember that the basic idea is for the words to form some type of personal connection with you. Even some of the funniest words are not going to be remembered unless there is a meaning or reason for you to commit them to memory.