By Drew Parton
Times are tough, and for those in college or grad school, we can take any sort of motivation that we can get as we approach finals. From the sports speech, to the battle speech, to the romance speech- everybody loves a good motivational monologue, and nobody does it better than movies. With that in mind, here are my top 5 Inspirational Movie Speeches:
5. IT’S SPACE JAM, FUCKERS!!!!
Ah, sports movies. From Rocky Balboa, to Miracle, to even Marky Mark in Invincible, sports movies are packed full of inspirational coach speeches- second only to war speeches (but more on that later) and this speech from the football movie Any Given Sunday holds a special place in my heart. Not because I enjoy the movie, or that I know anything about football, but because before we took our AP US history exam in high school, our teacher played this speech for us. Even seven years later, it still strikes a chord with me. Life is a game of inches– whatever it is, fight for every little victory.
This BBC miniseries flew under the radar for most people back in 2008. It’s a series of shorts depicting moments leading up to, and during the Iraq war- and this specifically comes from the last episode. I had actually heard about this speech before I saw the series- but it’s absolutely worth it. Colonel Tim Collins (played by Kenneth Branagh) briefing and preparing his soldiers for war. It combines savagery and humility in one deeply human monologue.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is home to a lot of great speeches- this almost went to Sam’s speech at the end of The Two Towers, or the ride of the Rohirrim at the battle of Pelenor Fields, but ultimately it had to go to Aragorn’s speech at the battle of the Black Gates.
A supreme meme nowadays, the speech comes as Aragorn and what’s left of the armies of Gondor and Rohan assault the stronghold of the evil Sauron in order to buy Frodo time to destroy the one ring. Despite the insurmountable odds, and not knowing whether Frodo is even alive, the armies of man make one last stand against the forces of evil. The speech is desperate, yet hopeful, and Viggo Mortenson puts his heart and soul into this.
Wa-hey, Kenneth Branagh, nice to see you again on here. Now, fair point- this is actually from a Shakespeare play. There’s no greater writer to pen it, and there’s no greater performance of it than in Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 adaptation. The speech comes just before the battle of Agincourt, where English troops assaulted a fortified French position. Weak, tired, afraid and out-numbered, King Henry rallies his men. Classic, emotional, awe-inspiring, and even joyous, it is essentially a “dare to be badass” moment, and what I think to be the best battle speec
So far, I’ve mainly featured battle speeches, but here’s it’s more of a peace-speech. The Great Dictator was Charlie Chaplan’s first talking movie- and by far his most political. A scathing condemnation of Hitler, Mousellini and the like. Chaplan plays the character of both a jewish barber, and Adenoid Hynkle, an obvious expy of Adolf Hitler. This speech comes at the very end when the barber is mistaken for Hynkle and must give a speech in front of the masses. What follows is a beautiful and rousing passionate plea for brotherhood and humanity- and what I think is the most moving moment in all of movie history.