10 Movie Catchphrases That Have Influenced American Culture

Posted By ColumbiaWestCollege on 10-19-2015 Categories - American Culture,

10 Movie Catchphrases That Have Influenced American Culture

As an international student in the United States, you probably try to immerse yourself in American culture as much as possible, from wearing American clothes to eating American food. But if you’ve been paying attention, you already know that movies are one of the biggest influences on American English language and culture. From the 1900s up to now, movie catchphrases (short phrases or expressions) have worked their way into the American English language and are used all the time. In fact, Americans love to use expressions or lines from the movies in their conversation. At Columbia West College, we are proud to be located in Los Angeles, CA, the home of Hollywood. That’s why we’ve decided to put together a list of the top 10 movie catchphrases of all time. Read below to learn more about these iconic catchphrases!

1. Gone With the Wind (1939)

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Gone With the Wind is a love story about two Southerners set during the Civil War. In the scene above, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) says the line to Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) as he walks out on her.

2. The Godfather (1972)

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

The Godfather, the first movie of the trilogy that traces the saga of Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) and his family, is the most iconic mobster film of all time. Corleone says the line in reference to a movie studio head who refuses to give a role to a singer named Johnny Fontane (Al Martino). The studio head’s refusal of Don Corleone’s offer leads to one of the most iconic scenes in the film.

3. Star Wars (1977)

“May the Force be with you.”

Does Star Wars even need an introduction? This six-part saga has influenced American culture for decades. Its most iconic line, as seen above, comes from the very first film, which introduced us to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo. Solo (Harrison Ford) says the line to Skywalker (Mark Hamill) before Skywalker leaves to attack the Death Star.

4. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

“There’s no place like home.”
Based on the book of the same name, The Wizard of Oz is about a girl named Dorothy (Judy Garland) who is transported from Kansas to the magical Land of Oz during a powerful tornado. Near the end of the movie, Dorothy repeats the line over and over again to herself while clicking her heels to return home.

5. Forrest Gump (1994)

“Life is a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”

This American classic is about the life of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), a slow but good-hearted man who participates in many defining events of the latter 20th century in the United States. Forrest’s mother (Sally Field) says the line to him as she tells him she is dying of cancer.

6. Jaws (1975)

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

In Jaws, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), with the help of a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter, hunts a giant, man-eating great white shark that has been attacking beachgoers on Amity Island. Brody says the line after the shark passes the boat, realizing that the shark is much bigger than he had imagined.

7. The Terminator (1984)

“I’ll be back.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Terminator, a cyborg assassin that’s been sent back in time to kill a woman named Sarah Connor, because her son will end up leading a future uprising against the machine overlords. The Terminator says the line after being unable to find Sarah Connor.

8. Apollo 13 (1995)

“Houston, we have a problem.”

Apollo 13 is based on the ill-fated mission in 1970 of the same name, during which one of the spacecraft’s oxygen tanks exploded on its way to the moon. Astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) calmly says the line to Mission Control in Houston once the crew realizes what has happened.

9. Jerry Maguire (1996)

“You had me at hello.”

Jerry Maguire sees Tom Cruise starring as a recently fired sports agent trying to save his career. Towards the end of the film, Maguire meets his estranged wife, Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) to tell her he loves her and wants her back in his life. An emotional Dorothy accepts with the above line.

10. Titanic (1997)

“I’m the king of the world!”

An American epic about the doomed ship of the same name, Titanic stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as passengers who fall in love while aboard the ship. In the scene above, Jack (DiCaprio) excitedly shouts the line as the ship sets sail for America.

Learn English in Los Angeles with CWC!

We hope our list of iconic movie catchphrases has been fun and informative, and has helped you understand a bit more about American English language and culture. If you would like more information about learning English in Los Angeles, call or email us today!

Share Post:
  • Logo
  • Logo