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Clark Gable, Gone With the Wind
Credit: Gone with the Wind: Everett Collection

What is the best movie line of all time?

What is the best movie line of all time? —Jamie

Who could resist that question, and how, you may well wonder, could anyone answer it? How could one begin to choose between ”You talkin’ to me?” and ”I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” and ”I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore”? Or dozens of others? To rise to the challenge, I employed a test. So many great lines have enjoyed enduring life as cultural catchphrases that when you go back and experience them in the original film, they have a way of coming off as a bit…anticlimactic. To me, the greatest movie line ever has to be one that still, on screen, gives you that full tingle, that frisson of discovery. I considered the sublime rejoinder that ends Some Like It Hot (”Nobody’s perfect”), and, for that ominous echo that never quits, The Godfather‘s ”I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” But for the line that is still just as bold, as shocking, as final today as it was way back when, I have to hand this contest to Gone With the Wind‘s ”Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

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