10 Best Dramatic Monologues From Movies

Saturday, July 23 by Nina St. John

These 10 best dramatic monologues from movies are examples of acting and screenwriting at its best. You get the best dramatic monologues when these elements come together and they are never forgotten.

  1. “Inherit the Wind” contains one of the best dramatic monologues based on the true life “Monkey Trials.” It centers around the issue of Creationism versus Evolution and the prosecution of a young teacher that dared to teach Darwin’s theory of evolution to his class. Henry Drummond, the defense attorney, is talking to the judge about the social implications of criminalizing thought and knowledge.
  2. “Network” has one of the best dramatic monologues with the famous “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” piece. This emotion-filled cry is uttered towards the end of the film when a newsman just can’t take it anymore and goes network wide with his views.
  3. “Gone With the Wind” has among many things a triumphant monologue by Scarlett O’Hara where she vows to never go hungry again. You feel every word she’s saying and you know she means it.
  4. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” has one of the most famous and best dramatic monologues from movies. It’s delivered exceptionally by Jimmy Stewart as he defies government hypocrisy and corruption.
  5. “Foreign Correspondent” is a film from 1940 covering fictional events that lead up to WWII. This monologue is given at the end of the film while London was being bombed by the Germans. It was a wake up call to America. The foreign correspondent trapped there pleads with America over the radio to keep Her lights on, whatever they must do, because they are now the only lights in the world.
  6. “Sunset Boulevard” has one of the best dramatic monologues from movies and one of the most famous: The crazed descent down the stairs and the famous “I’m ready for my close up” speech. It’s been used over and over in many ways, but the original has been imitated for a reason. The scene is heartbreaking.
  7. “A Streetcar Named Desire” stars the memorable Blanche DuBois played by Vivian Leigh. This great bit has Blanche explaining the transitory nature of physical beauty and how the things on the spirit are what counts. The edge to this speech, however, is that Blanche is having a hard time letting go of her youth and beauty.
  8. “On the Waterfront” with the “I could have been a contender” speech by Marlon Brando, this is one of the best dramatic monologues from movies. This speech sets in a stark light the reality of the impact of small choices and a life and dream gone astray.
  9. “Judgment at Nuremberg” has one of the best dramatic monologues from movies delivered by the fabulous Burt Lancaster as Dr. Janning. This is where he confesses despite his own counsel trying to cut him off. He confesses and examines how the German people could not have known of the atrocities taking place. He questions that defense and comes to the conclusion it was because they didn’t want to know, even when they saw their neighbors were being dragged from their houses.
  10. “Apocalypse Now” Only Brando could deliver has one of the best dramatic monologues from movies when he describes the “horror” of war. He goes into detail and understands that he must be able to stand war and emotionally disconnect from it. The world needs warriors able to commit horrors without it affecting them.
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COMMENTS

  1. July 23, 2011 5:03 am

    LanceGabriel

    Scarlett’s “I’ll never go hungry again…” speech also declares that the men she’s relied on just aren’t up to the task. It’s time for her to take things under her own control.

    That’s very much how my novel develops. “Don Carina” can’t see the men around her being up to protecting she and her family during WWII so she takes control of the “family business” in the dangerous Gestapo controlled streets of Naples.

    Ron Russell
    http://www.DonCarina.com


  2. July 23, 2011 5:03 am

    Ray Mooney

    I would add Robert Shaw’s monologue from Jaws – Ray Mooney


  3. July 23, 2011 5:03 am

    Brian MacEvilly

    The “You can’t handle the truth” monologue from “A Few Good Men” — written by that master of argumentative dialogue, Aaron Sorkin. Bogie’s crack-up speech in “The Caine Mutiny”. The “I believe in” declaration in “Bull Durham”.
    Henry Fonda’s “Wherever there’s a guy” speech from the end of “The Grapes of Wrath”. Alec Baldwin’s “Second prize, a set of steak knives” pep talk in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. The list goes on…