Friday, May 29, 2015

Favorite Movie Cliches: The Motivational Speech

     Time to look at another one of my favorite movies clichés that gets old for some but I personally never get tired of ... the inspiring motivational speech. This commonly happens when a team loses all hope and something massive is about to start. Then that one person who’s spirit hasn’t been broken get’s up and gives a motivating or inspiring speech. It’s what raises the hopes of our hero’s and gives them the strength to continue on fighting against improbable odds. This is also what get’s the audience to get up and cheer for them and to get fully invested in their cause. Now the motivational speech cliche can apply to a variety of films like sports movies, business movies, and most commonly war movies. So lets take a look at 10 of my personal favorite motivational monologues in movies, weather you take them seriously or not doesn't matter, all that maters is that it's memorable, quotable or just plain awesome!

#10 “Today we Celebrate our 4th of July” – Independence Day (1996)

Most of my favorite movie speeches come from battle movies, so you can expect more like this on my count down. When human kind is on the brink of annihilation from an alien invasion, it’s up to President Bill Pullman to rally the men and raise the nations hopes. While this speech is over patriotic, over sentimental and honestly quiet clichéd, it is still a rousing speech that delivers an honest and heartfelt message that anyone can get behind. Whenever I think of an epic, clichéd battle speech, this is the one that always comes to mind first.  

#9 “Hero’s Get Remembered, but Legends Never Die” - The Sandlot (1993)

Sport movie speeches are a dime a dozen and there have been countless inspiring monologues in sports films like “Mirical” and “Any Given Sunday” but one very special speech that’s stuck with me ever sense I was a little kid came from the 1993 picture “The Sandlot”. When a group of boys find themselves in a situation involving a valuable baseball signed by Babe Broth, a big fence and a savage dog on the other side, our team tries everything to get it back. When it seems like all hope is lost, one of the boys has a dream in which he’s visited by none other than Babe Broth who conveys a very humble and wise speech about the opportunities that lay in front of him, the courage to do what no one else will and the chance to make something of himself. It’s so simple and so genuine that his words have stuck with me for years.

#8 “We’re not Hero’s, We’re the Other Guys” – Mystery Men (1999)

Comedies have had their fair share of memorable movie speeches, and one of my personal favorites that’s every bit as funny as it is moving comes from the 1999 super hero spoof “Mystery Men”. When a team of heroes suffer a traumatizing lose at the hands of an evil villain, this small team of second rate hero’s find themselves in a rare situation where their the last hope to save the city. Leading the charge is “The Shoveler” who motivates his team by highlighting every individual, their strengths, their accomplishments and interjects just enough subtle comedy to make it my personal favorite speech to come from a super hero film.   

#7 “This is Where they Fought ...” – Remember the Titans (2000)

One of my favorite sports movies of all time is “Remember the Titans”, it’s such an inspirational crowd-pleasing film that boasts a healthy dose of social commentary and is chalk full of quotable speeches. My personal favorite actually comes early in the film, before the games even begin. When a diverse football team of whites and blacks has to learn to work together, their coach (played by the always fantastic Denzel Washington) leads them to the battlefield of Gettysburg, where he teaches his team a valuable lesson in unity. It’s a very unique sports movie speech that doesn’t feel as forced or contrived as most others as it warns of the dangers of hatred. It’s short, simple and gets the point across stronger then few others of its kind.   

#6 “I Won't Be Wronged” – The Shootist (1976)

It was John Wayne’s final movie and the end of this titan’s very respected carrier. I always looked at John Wayne as the definitive Hollywood cowboy and in this movie he plays a dying gunfighter who spends his last days looking for a way to die with the least pain and the most dignity. It reflected the man himself, as John Wayne too was dying and this was like his big moment to leave his mark on cinema. One of the films biggest highlights is when he conveys some words of wisdom to a young Ron Howard, about his life, what he views in other people, how he’s gained their respect and it’s here that he quotes one of his most famous lines. It’s short, it’s simple, it gets the point across without being overly emotional and it was a definitely a bright spot in his long and successful acting carrier.   

#5 “Too Victory” – 300 (2007)

One of the most epic battle speeches of all time is delivered at the tail end of the movie, a unique twist, but it ends this action film on one the highest notes you could possibly close on. The 2007 sword and sandal epic titled “300” revolves around a group of vastly outnumbered Spartan soldiers and their war against the mighty forces of Persia. When the dust settles on the battle field, our last survivor relays a speech of all his fallen brothers, their sacrifice and encourages thousands more to fight for his noble cause. It’s a riveting speech and informs the audience that victory is on the horizon without even showing us the after math of the battle and it’s one of my favorite endings of all time.   

#4 “The Barber’s Speech” – The Great Dictator (1940)

It’s ironic that one of Hollywood’s most epic speeches would be conveyed by Charlie Chaplin, he was mostly a silent actor from silent films. However, his speech in “The Great Dictator” is more than inspiring, it truly is one of the most powerful and influential monologues ever heard in a motion picture, and very poignant as the movie was released just at the start of World War II. Playing a Jewish Barber mistaken for a dictator, this little tramp takes the opportunity to repeal against the emperors fascist laws. It starts calm and subtle, and then it really picks up as Chaplin delivers a passionate speech employing thousands of listeners to follow the ways of love, liberty and world peace. Well staged, and relying entirely on the performance with no distracting music, it’s one of the brightest spots in Chaplains legacy. 

#3 “He one it by being all he can be!” – Patton (1970)

If anyone in history ever gave a riveting battle speech, it was Patton. George C. Scott delivers the biggest performance of his carrier as this well spoken, charismatic and commanding military general. The is personally my favorite war movie of all time and the film kicks off on a really strong note as General Patton gives his speech to the third army in World War II. He instills both fear and pride into his solders and it’s his brutal honesty that everyone rallies around. With zero reaction shots from the audience, perfect staging and Scots electrifying screen presence, this monologue stands as an authentic recreation of the general’s real life speech.   

#2 “Closing Statement” – To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

While this isn’t exactly a “motivational” speech and more like a plea for innocence, this monologue is still very inspiring, powerful and leaves me with chills every time I hear it. When a colored man is on trial for crimes he didn’t commit, a racially in-sensitive town demands his head. However, a soft spoken man by the name of Atticus Finch (played by the very talented Gregory Peck) comes to his defense and delivers one heck of an elegant speech to the court revolving race, prejudice and the very definition of justice. It’s well acted, well paced and will make you stand up in his support. The movie itself is truly fantastic and if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out.    

#1 “The Eve of Saint Crispin's Day” - Henry V (1989)

My favorite speech of all time had to be the work of Shakespeare, and perhaps the most rousing and triumphant monologue I’ve ever heard in film comes from King Henry in the 1989 movie adaption of Shakespeare’s “Henry V”. It’s the eave Saint Crispin’s Day, the eave before battle and King Henry played by the very charismatic Kenneth Branagh gives a passionate speech to his vastly outnumbered soldiers revolving around the honor of dying on the battle field and further implies that their story will be one worth telling throughout that ages. What can I possibly say about this monologue that would do it justice, you really just need to hear it for yourself. It’s a powerful story of valor, honor, courage, and this is the speech that speaks to everyone!   

       The End        

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