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It’s time to get ready for Sunday’s Oscar show with some memorable three-word movie lines

With the Oscar ceremonies Sunday, it seems the perfect time for another installment of our ongoing series of lists of memorable movie lines.

You may recall we did earlier lists of both one-word and two-word lines of dialogue so distinctive that you could actually recognize the film from them.

So, here we go with memorable three-word lines, many of which made the American Film Institute’s fun list “AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes” (PDF).

As always, feel free to add to my sampler with your own suggestions in the Comment area below.

We’ll start with a bunch of “gimmes”:

“E.T. phone home.”“E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.” AFI ranked this quote No. 15.

“Bond. James Bond.” — From 007’s debut film, “Dr. No,” and many follow-up adventures. This quote finished No. 22. For extra credit, try your hand at this James Bond quote quiz.

“Tora! Tora! Tora!”“Tora! Tora! Tora!”

“Good morning, Vietnam!”“Good Morning, Vietnam”

Some classics:

“I’ll be back.”“The Terminator.” This one finished No. 37 on the AFI list.

•  “Follow the money.” — Deep Throat’s order to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in “All the President’s Men”

“What a dump!” — Bette Davis’ succinct comment on her surroundings in the 1949 film “Beyond the Forest.” The quote ended up at No. 62 on AFI’s list. In 1966, Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) riffs on the famous line in this scene from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

“We rob banks.”“Bonnie and Clyde.” The line finished No. 41 in the AFI rankings.

“Is it safe?” — the repeated question in this squirm-inducing scene in “Marathon Man.” It’s No. 70 on AFI’s list.

“You complete me.”“Jerry Maguire”

“Well, nobody’s perfect.”“Some Like It Hot.” The classic comeback ranked No. 48.

“Stop the presses.” — the ultimate newspaper command that prompts a pressroom knockdown battle between tabloid editors Glenn Close and Michael Keaton in “The Paper”

“Klaatu barada nikto” — the unforgettable line from the 1951 sci-fi thriller “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and, of course, the 2008 Keanu Reeves remake

And we’ll wrap up with a great quote from a cult classic with both Minnesota connections — the Coen Brothers — and Sunday’s Oscars. Jeff Bridges, “The Dude” in “The Big Lebowski,” appears to be the clear favorite to win the Oscar for best actor, at least according to this interesting academic research.

“The Dude abides.”

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Laurie Zelesnikar on 03/05/2010 - 10:00 am.

    “Make my day.” Dirty Harry Callahan. Clint Eastwood. Of course.

  2. Submitted by David Wintheiser on 03/05/2010 - 10:53 am.

    “As you wish.”

  3. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 03/05/2010 - 10:54 am.

    That 3-line ending to “Some Like It Hot” is one of the greatest endings of all time. Perfect.

    Not to pick nits, but “Klaatu barada nikto” might be considered a four-liner, as the full line was
    “Gort, Klaatu barada nikto.”

    Yes, I am a SciFi nerd.

  4. Submitted by Aaron Klemz on 03/05/2010 - 12:36 pm.

    Well, since you started the Lebowski lines, I like these:

    “Phone’s ringing dude.”
    “Thank you Donny.”

  5. Submitted by on 03/05/2010 - 12:21 pm.

    “It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar, Return of the Jedi

  6. Submitted by Rich Ahrens on 03/05/2010 - 01:10 pm.

    “Nag, nag, nag…” Clint Eastwood as Ben Shockley in “The Gauntlet.”

  7. Submitted by Pat Borzi on 03/05/2010 - 01:43 pm.

    “Now it’s garbage.”

    –Oscar (Walter Matthau) to Felix (Jack Lemmon) after flinging a plate of Felix-prepared linguine against the wall.


    “Not anymore.”

    –Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers), after wrecking a piano in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. The setup line: “But that was a priceless Steinway!”

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