10 ‘Great Expectations’ Movie Quotes

Monday, March 21 by Shawn Landis

The 1998 movie "Great Expectations" does not follow the Charles Dickens classic closely. Instead of being set in Victorian England, we find the setting moved to modern New York. The protagonist, Finn, attempts to earn his living as a painter. While the movie quotes do not quite share the same beauty of the language the Dickens put into his work, they do tell you something about life. When you come back to this article, you will find yourself asking, “Please, sir, may I have some more.” (Yes, that quote came from “Oliver Twist” and not “Great Expectations.”)

  1. I'm not going to tell the story the way it happened. I'm going to tell it the way I remember it.” This quote may not seem all that deep at first, but isn't it always true that how we remember things aren't necessarily how they happen? Finn might want to tell us he's lying.
  2. We are who we are. People don't change.” Anyone who has seen an episode of “House” knows this line. It is not quite true for the individual, but that is not what Emily is talking about here. Human history shows a rather depressing picture.
  3. You bite your nails? It's a bad habit. People always tell you that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Bullshit, its your hands. That's the sign of a gentleman.” Your hands, whether you realize it or not, say something about who you are. Even a carpal tunnel brace can inadvertently reveal a person's handedness in many cases.
  4. The night all of my dreams came true and like all happy endings, it was a tragedy, of my device, for I succeeded. I had cut myself loose from Joe, from the past, from the gulf, from poverty I had invented myself. I'd done it cruelly, but I had done it. I was free!” While the character achieves a goal with this step, what we often learn after achieving such a goal is that only emptiness follows. We need to have something to focus on.
  5. She'll onl break your heart. It's a fact. And even though I warn you, even though I guarantee you that the girl will only hurt you terribly, you'll still pursue her. Ain't love grand?" This “Great Expectations” line reminds us that the heart does not always pursue its goals with logic.
  6. Throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.” Some quotes just stand on their own. This wording comes from the Dickens' novel on which the movie was based.
  7. It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold. When it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” Dickens managed to use this line from “Great Expectations” to convey something familiar to all of us. Now if he had only known the displeasure of getting in a car with closed windows on such a day.
  8. So now, as an infallible way of making little ease great ease, I began to contract a quantity of debt.” We have all tried to live beyond our monetary means at one time or another. The consequences for this are shown both in the movie and the novel.
  9. Seven years passed. I stopped going to Paradiso Perduto. I stopped painting. I put aside the fantasy and the wealthy, and the heavenly girl who did not want me. None of it would happen to me again. I'd seen through it. I elected to grow up.” When this in taken out of the context of the story, it can mean only one thing. We can pursue something all we want, but we do not always get it. As Mick Jagger once put it, you can't always get what you want.
  10. If this isn't love, I don't think I can handle the real thing. All of us have experienced infatuation or a feeling we mistook for love. As the plot explains, he does fall in love and the conflict centers around his attempts at romance.