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35 Movie Quotes Every '90s Kid Knows by Heart

This decade produced countless quotable films.

Hello, it's the '90s! A decade spent chasing fads, wallowing in the low-fi aesthetic of grunge, and—lucky for us—watching a brilliant crop of memorable, highly quotable movies. From Hannibal Lecter's slurping to Jack and Rose pledging their love amid the wreckage of the Titanic to (indeed) infinity and beyond, the movies of the '90s knew how to deliver dialogue that would live forever. These '90s movie quotes will remind every '90s kid that films are like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're gonna get.

RELATED: The 25 Best Coming-of-Age Movies Ever Made.

Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

Any list of memorable quotes from the films of the '90s is going to include the erudite Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). In an early scene of the 1991 thriller, he and FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) are trying to push at each other's limits. Lecter gets his message across to Starling with a story about one of his early cannibal killings. The addition of red wine and fava beans just gives the people-eating an air of sophistication.

Oda Mae Brown in Ghost

Still from Ghost
Paramount Pictures

"Molly, you in danger, girl."

Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) takes a lot of convincing to help Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze), the ghost trying to warn his still-living fiancée Molly (Demi Moore), that his killer is coming after her, too. So when she comes calling on Molly, she insists on delivering the dire warning her own way. Goldberg won an Oscar for her pitch-perfect work in this 1990 film, and this enduring line delivery is a great example of why.

Colonel Jessep in A Few Good Men

Still from A Few Good Men
Columbia Pictures

"You can't handle the truth!"

The thunderous courtroom face-off between brash young JAG lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) and imperious Marine Colonel Jessep (Jack Nicholson) in the climactic scene of 1992's A Few Good Men isn't limited to this one line, delivered with extreme ferocity by Nicholson in response to an equally ferocious demand for the truth from Cruise. Jessep follows it with a whole monologue about the American security state. But it was "you can't handle the truth" that became the film's calling-card phrase.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in The Fugitive

Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive
Warner Bros.

"Listen up, ladies and gentlemen, our fugitive has been on the run for 90 minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground, barring injuries, is 4 miles per hour. That gives us a radius of 6 miles. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at 15 miles. Your fugitive's name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him."

It's a mouthful, but that's probably why Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar for his role as a U.S. marshal on the trail of an escaped wrongfully convicted murderer (Harrison Ford) in 1993's The Fugitive. Jones' rat-tat-tat delivery ratchets up the tension and pretty much spring-loads the rest of the movie's action.

Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump

still from forrest gump
Paramount Pictures

"My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

Forrest Gump's mantra about the unpredictability of his life comes from his mama, of course. And he's not shy about sharing it with anyone who will share a bus bench with him. Tom Hanks' Oscar-winning performance wasn't just this signature phrase, but it's the one almost everybody associates with the 1994 movie.

RELATED: The 25 Best Classic Movies That Every Film Fan Needs to See.

Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption

Still from Shawshank Redemption
Columbia Pictures

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."

It's maybe surprising that the chosen quote from 1994's The Shawshank Redemption isn't something delivered in the wise and dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman, America's narrator. Instead it's Tim Robbins' Andy Dufresne who offers up the central theme of Shawshank: hope in the most hopeless of places.

Commander Jim Lovell in Apollo 13

Tom Hanks in Apollo 13
Universal Pictures

"Houston, we have a problem."

It's Tom Hanks again, this time alerting mission control that things have gone awry on the Apollo 13 space shuttle. Ron Howard's 1995 take on the thrilling true story earned its place of immortality within '90s American culture with this one rather economical turn of phrase.

Farmer Hoggett in Babe

Still from Babe
Universal Pictures

"That'll do, pig."

Farmer Hoggett (James Cromwell) doesn't say much in the beloved 1995 film Babe; it's the barnyard animals that do the talking, after all. But it only takes three words to express his gentle appreciation for this most unusual pig who can herd sheep. A job well done by that adorable little oinker.

Marge Gunderson in Fargo

Still from Fargo
Gramercy Pictures

"There's more to life than a little money, ya know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it.

Sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) is a most unlikely hero at the end of the 1995 Coen Brothers black comedy Fargo, apprehending the men (well, man, after he does away with his accomplice) who kidnapped and killed a car salesman's wife. Marge's simple goodness, which gets played somewhat for laughs earlier in the film, shines through at the end with affecting sincerity, as she honestly can't comprehend the greed and violence she's dealing with.

Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire

Still from Jerry Maguire
Sony Pictures Releasing

"Show me the money!"

It was a dead heat between recognizing the above quote and the more romantic—though no less memorable—"You had me at hello." But Cuba Gooding Jr.'s infectious enthusiasm and brazen confidence in this iconic scene is what gives 1995's Jerry Maguire a jolt of energy. It also helped win him an Oscar.

RELATED: The 22 Best '90s Cartoons Every Millennial's Inner Child Still Loves.

Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic

still from titanic
Paramount Pictures

"I'll never let go, Jack."

For 1997's Titanic, we could have gone with "I'm the king of the world," a phrase that was ubiquitous enough even before director James Cameron co-opted it for his Oscar acceptance speech. But Rose's (Kate Winslet) shivering promise to Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) as they're both floating in the frigid Atlantic Ocean isn't just a cinematic way to say goodbye—it's a promise to live on, into old age, until one day she could tell their story.

Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting

Still from Good Will Hunting

"I got her number. How do you like them apples?"

Good Will Hunting from 1997 is about many things, including mathematics, wounded upbringings, masculine pride, and heavy Boston accents. At its center is a titular genius (Matt Damon), who works as a janitor and spends his free time clowning around with his friends. When he outsmarts a Harvard smartie to get the attentions of Minnie Driver's Skylar, he cleverly delivers the world's greatest produce-based kiss-off.

Lynn Sear in The Sixth Sense

Still from The Sixth Sense
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

"Do I make her proud?"

"I see dead people" is what makes it onto the clip reels, but dig a little deeper into The Sixth Sense and you'll find a movie about a sweet little boy (Haley Joel Osment) whose terrifying gift (he, you know, sees dead people) has made him a mystery to his mom (Toni Collette), the only person he has in his life. Their scene in the car in the 1999 thriller is more than just a parlor trick where he proves to his mom that he really can commune with the dead. It's also the moment they both trust each other enough to share their scariest and saddest secrets. Collette's delivery of the signature line is a tearjerker.

Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects

Still from The Usual Suspects
Gramercy Pictures

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Oft repeated and adapted in the media and online (the devil is pulling so many tricks these days!), the line within the context of 1995's The Usual Suspects seems surprisingly matter of fact. Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) isn't trying to scare Agent Kujan (Chazz Palminteri). He's just explaining the most insidious gift of the gifted criminal Keyser Söze: He's convinced the world he's a ghost story.

Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story

Still from Toy Story
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

"To infinity and beyond!"

Buzz Lightyear's (Tim Allen) catchphrase doesn't really approach the sweet, sometimes melancholy heart of the original Toy Story, released in 1995. But it fully defines the heedless confidence of Buzz himself, who refuses to admit for much of the movie that he's merely a toy.

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Henry Hill in Goodfellas

Still from Goodfellas
Warner Bros.

"I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce, and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook."

It's not quite remorse in Henry Hill's (Ray Liotta) voice as he talks about his new life in witness protection at the end of the 1990 gangster flick Goodfellas—far from New York City's fine Italian food, and also the life of crime that had him riding high for a long time. It's such an evocative image, though: egg noodles and ketchup. A pale imitation of the real thing. Food for schnooks. Hill's ultimate comeuppance.

Evelyn Couch in Fried Green Tomatoes

Still from Fried Green Tomatoes
Universal Pictures


When Kathy Bates hears the story of Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson) and her headstrong, bee-charming ways in the 1991 adaptation of Fannie Flagg's novel, she decides to take charge of her own life, taking Idgie's battle cry as her own. It comes in handy when a couple young blonde jerks steal her parking spot at the grocery store.

Karen Sisco in Out of Sight

Still from Out of Sight
Universal Pictures

"You wanted to tussle. We tussled."

Jennifer Lopez won raves for her performance in Steven Soderbergh's funny and sexy caper flick based on the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. Her signature scene comes when a low-level thug (Isaiah Washington) leers threateningly at her one too many times and pays the price.

Neo in The Matrix

Still from The Matrix
Warner Bros.

"I know kung fu."

There's also the red pill/blue pill speech from Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), but more fun and less problematic is Neo (Keanu Reeves) reacting to his fancy new fightin' upgrades with the most deadpan Keanu delivery he could muster.

Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park

Still from Jurassic Park
Universal Pictures

"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should."

Dr. Ian Malcolm's (Jeff Goldblum) warnings to John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) about the hubris of his dinosaur amusement park fall on deaf ears… at least until the dinosaurs start rampaging. Since Jurassic Park's 1993 release, Malcolm's words have become universally applicable to all risky undertakings.

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Tyler Durden in Fight Club

Still from Fight Club
20th Century Fox

"The first rule of Fight Club is 'You do not talk about Fight Club.'"

The second rule of Fight Club is also, "You do not talk about Fight Club," which makes it really easy to remember. Brad Pitt delivers the rules with a threatening charisma that makes you really, really curious about what goes on in this most secret society.

Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski

Still from The Big Lebowski
Gramercy Pictures

"That rug really tied the room together."

Of all the foolishness that goes down as Jeffrey Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) gets himself mixed up with a wealthy man with his same name—including kidnapping, sex, a fire, and a bowling-based dream sequence—things always seem to circle back to the befouled rug he's simply seeking restitution for. It wasn't an expensive rug, but as everyone in his life including bowling pal Walter (John Goodman) agrees, it really tied the room together.

Mufasa in The Lion King

Still from The Lion King
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

"Everything the light touches is our kingdom."

Amid the ever-turning circle of life, young cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) must learn the ways of the African savannah from his father, the great king Mufasa (James Earl Jones), before he grows up. The first lesson is to survey his kingdom, which includes, well, everything. It's a handy phrase to pull out of your pocket whenever you want to describe something vast and nearly borderless.

Tai Frasier in Clueless

Still from Clueless
Paramount Pictures

"You're a virgin who can't drive."

Tai's (Brittany Murphy) "way harsh" assessment of Cher (Alicia Silverstone) comes after their big argument over Josh (Paul Rudd). Tai goes for the jugular in the way only high schoolers can, hitting Cher right where she lives: her dating life and her tendency to bump into things with her car.

Ghostface in Scream

Still from Scream
Paramount Pictures

"What's your favorite scary movie?"

And so begins Ghostface's reign of terror. The cold open to the first Scream is one of the greatest scenes of the '90s, a terrifying, ground-shifting, post-modern jolt of horror. And it all starts with one creepy question on the phone, asked by Ghostface (voiced by Roger L. Jackson) of Drew Barrymore's doomed high school student.

RELATED: The 25 Best Sports Movies of All Time.

Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber

Still from Dumb and Dumber
New Line Cinema

"So you're telling me there's a chance."

The sheer stupidity of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) as they bumble across America, chasing Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly), the girl of Lloyd's dreams, offers no shortage of hilarious moments. But it's Lloyd's refusal to accept Mary's odds of one out of a million that she'd date him that's both funny and rather sweet. One in a million, after all, is still a chance.

Craig Jones in Friday

Still from Friday
New Line Cinema

"Bye, Felisha!"

One of the many enduring legacies of the 1995 comedy Friday was to gift the world with one of the great blow-off lines in movie history. Are you finished with a conversation? "Bye, Felisha." Is someone bugging you on X and about to get blocked? "Bye, Felisha." (We pretty much always spell it "Felicia" now, but the sentiment remains the same.)

David Mills in Seven

Still from Seven
New Line Cinema

"What's in the box?"

The twisted, gruesome final act of Seven turns the tables on detectives Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Mills (Brad Pitt) when John Doe (Kevin Spacey) has a package delivered to Mills out in the middle of nowhere. Doe is trying to goad Mills into fulfilling the seventh deadly sin: wrath. While Somerset tries mightily to intervene, he has to admit that Doe has the upper hand. So what was in the box? The truth may leave you gooped.

Dorian Corey in Paris Is Burning

Still from Paris Is Burning
Off-White Productions/Prestige Pictures

"Shade comes from reading."

The highly influential documentary Paris Is Burning pulls back the curtain on the house balls of uptown Manhattan during the '80s, where voguing was invented and LGBTQ+ people competed in high-stakes pageants. One particularly clever queen, Dorian Corey, explains the concepts of reading (running down insults on the queen in front of you) and shade (backhanded insults delivered with faux-softness). "I don't have to tell you you're ugly because you already know," for example. That is shade.

Austin Powers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Still from Austin Powers
New Line Cinema

"Help! I'm in a nutshell! How did I get into this nutshell? Look at the size of this bloody great big nutshell! What sort of shell has a nut like this? This is crazy!"

Middle-schoolers all over the world could not be stopped from quoting the spy movie parody Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery throughout the late '90s. But for every "shagadelic" uttered by star Mike Myers, there's an even funnier joke. Take for example Austin's impression of himself "in a nutshell." We know you still use this one.

RELATED: 24 Feel-Good Movies to Lift Your Spirits.

Anna Scott in Notting Hill

Still from Notting Hill
Universal Pictures

"I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

Julia Roberts' character in the 1999 rom-com Notting Hill may be an internationally famous movie star, but with one ridiculously enduring line, she reminds her bookseller paramour (Hugh Grant) that she's also… well, you know how it goes.

Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own

Still from A League of Their Own
Columbia Pictures

"Are you crying? There's no crying. There's no crying in baseball!"

For Tom Hanks' third appearance on this list, we have to shout out his reluctant Rockford Peaches coach Jimmy Dugan from Penny Marshall's beloved sports film based on the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the '40s. When one of his players (Bitty Schram) breaks down, he delivers a line—a meltdown, really—that's been repeated countless times in the dugout and beyond.

Albert Goldman in The Birdcage

Still from The Birdcage
MGM/UA Distribution Co.

"Oh god, I've pierced the toast!"

Elaine May's script for the 1994 comedy based on the French film La Cage aux Folles is jam-packed with jokes, but they wouldn't come off as well without the hilarious performances from the movie's stars. Nathan Lane is particularly great in the scene where his partner Armand (Robin Williams) is giving Albert a crash course on how to behave in a stereotypically masculine way so he can be passed off as their son's straight uncle when his conservative future in-laws come to visit. A line great for any time you also pierce the toast, or any other food item.

Kevin McAllister in Home Alone

Still from Home Alone
20th Century Fox

"When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone!"

There are many quotable lines in this 1990 family holiday film, including but not limited to: "You're what the French call 'les incompetents,'" and "Keep the change, ya filthy animal." But perhaps none is more relatable than eight-year-old Kevin's (Macaulay Culkin) complaint that there are too many people in his dang house and that he just wants some alone time.

Detective Sergeant Mike Lowrey in Bad Boys

Still from Bad Boys
Sony Pictures Releasing

"Now that's how you supposed to drive!"

The original Bad Boys kicked off a franchise that's still active to this day. And why wouldn't it be, with the money-printing idea of pairing superstars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in an action-packed buddy cop movie? Neither actor is stranger to creating a catchphrase, either on TV and in the movies, but we're highlighting Mike's (Smith) reaction to Marcus (Lawrence) doing some offensive driving after poking fun at him for driving "almost slow enough to drive Miss Daisy" earlier in the 1995 flick.

This story has been updated to include additional entries, fact-checking, and copy-editing.

Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
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