Goosegasms – The Top 5 Rousing Speeches In Film
Alfred Hitchcock is unquestionably a master of the cinematic art; however, if things were up to him, film would have remained a silent medium. He was a firm believer that stories should be told through imagery and not with dialogue. He has a point, and lazy filmmakers today regularly rely far too much on expositional dialogue to explain situations to an audience rather than showing them. Just look at the opening moments of Rear Window inside Jefferies’ apartment and you learn so much without any dialogue.
However, if you are given the use of sound and the spoken word, you might as well use it and holy tortellini have some films used it! When initially thinking about this, it was surprising just how many goosegasm* speeches appear in films. Creating a ‘Top 5’ was a truly difficult task nevertheless, here are what I believe to be the ultimate rousing speeches in cinema.
*When goosebumps occur at a spectacularly tingling rate.
#5 – Rocky IV (1985)
The Rocky universe is a bizarre beast as even when it’s bad, it’s still bloody brilliant. In the franchises fourth instalment audiences are confronted with the closest thing to a boxing style Cuban Missile Crisis scenario imaginable. It’s the ultimate battle of east versus west as Rocky & Ivan Drago take to the ring (in Moscow and on Christmas Day just to up the ante) just months after Drago killed Rocky’s trainer Apollo Creed in the ring. After fifteen gruelling rounds a triumphant Rocky addresses the crowd & viewers at home and essentially ends the Cold War.
“In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million.”
As if we didn’t hate Drago enough for killing Apollo, he’s also being injected with illegal steroids. Who would’ve thought of that, a drugs cheating Russian sportsman!?
#4 – Network (1976)
In a world in which the media dominates so many areas of our lives by covering so many different sides of the story, we even struggle to work out who the good guys are anymore. How refreshing that Howard Beale’s speech in Network is as significant today as it was during its initial release forty years ago.
“I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them stick your head out and yell – I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!”
I join in with Howard every single time I see this clip. The poor people of Lancashire haven’t got a clue what’s going on, I’m still hoping that someone will eventually join in with me.
#3 – Independence Day (1996)
In early July 1996 mankind was on the brink of becoming completely wiped out by an army of aliens, from an unknown planet and from an unknown galaxy. Roland Emerich made a tremendously camp yet fun documentary about it which did wonderfully well at the box office. On 4th July President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) gathered all able pilots to Nevada to launch a last stand against the intergalactic creatures and being an ex-army pilot himself decided to also throw himself into the firing line.
“We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”
What is brilliant about President Whitmore’s speech is that he unifies the world under one banner. People from all cultures, religions, creeds and social standpoints. President’s like him may well be a Hollywood myth #TrumpsMexicanWall
#2 – The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
Bloody Rohan ey, turning up late to every war, typical. At lease they showed up for the Battle of Middle Earth though; those cheeky Gondorian’s didn’t give them the same courtesy at Helm’s Deep. Shame to think that all those Rohan lives were needlessly lost as the Army of the Dead would’ve sorted things out anyway, but the main positive we have from this entire situation is King Theoden’s speech to his army moments before their charge on the orcs on the Pelennor Fields.
“Spears shall be shaken, swords shall be splintered. A sword-day, a red day… ere the sun rises!”
The sight of over six-thousand warriors on horseback all chanting “death” is a truly magnificent sight. Combine that with Peter Jackson’s masterful direction and Howard Shore’s rousing score and you’re on to a spine tingling winner.
#1 – The Great Dictator (1940)
Charlie Chaplin is a man predominantly known in cinema for being silent. If you’re going to speak you might as well make it worthwhile, and he certainly does that with this epic speech during the finale of his WW2 satire. Recently popularised by numerous social media users with a Hans Zimmer backing score, the speech touches every sense and it is delivered with such perfect nuance that it is difficult to ever seeing this be topped.
“Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”
There’s nothing else to say about its brilliance really, just watch the clip…
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