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The Line Kings 

Classic movie quotes the AFI missed

Last month, the American Film Institute continued its tradition of honoring Hollywood's past by presenting the latest installment in its "100 Years... 100 Lists" series. After tackling such topics as the Top 100 Heroes & Villains and Top 100 Thrills (see sidebar), the organization elected this time to take the words right out of the stars' mouths by showcasing the Top 100 Movie Quotes.

As is always the case with these lists, the film capital has produced so many classic movies — and so many classic movie moments — over the past 100-plus years that it'd be hard for the AFI to completely screw up. Naturally, some selections are certain to cause involuntarily winces — how Guess Who's Coming to Dinner made the group's list of the Top 100 Greatest Movies remains a mystery. Furthermore, the voters have a bad habit of featuring a preponderance of more recent fare: If A Few Good Men's "You can't handle the truth!" and Top Gun's "I feel the need... the need for speed!" are truly among the top 100 quotes, then maybe it's time to return to the days of silent cinema.

But that's the beauty of these lists: They always make for engaging water cooler conversation. More importantly, they also allow discerning film fans searching for something beyond the next Mike Myers comedy plenty of worthy suggestions for their DVD rental run.

The 100 quotes selected by the AFI make up a fairly solid compendium, with many choice lines that will be familiar even to those who consider themselves only casual film fans. For the record, these were the Top 10 lines from the AFI list:

1. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." — Clark Gable, Gone With the Wind (1939)

2. "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." — Marlon Brando, The Godfather (1972)

3. "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." — Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront (1954)

4. "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." — Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz (1939)

5. "Here's looking at you, kid." — Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca (1942)

6. "Go ahead, make my day." — Clint Eastwood, Sudden Impact (1983)

7. "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." — Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard (1950)

8. "May the Force be with you." — Harrison Ford, Star Wars (1977)

9. "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." — Bette Davis, All About Eve (1950)

10. "You talking to me?" — Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver (1976)

These are certainly immortal quips, yet looking through the whole list of 100, I found others that have remained with me more than most of the ones topping their list. Perusing the list, I've determined that these 10 would have headed my ballot:

1. "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" — Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove (1964)

2. "I'm walking here! I'm walking here!" — Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy (1969)

3. "Round up the usual suspects." — Claude Rains, Casablanca (1942)

4. "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." — Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront (1954)

5. "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." — Bette Davis, All About Eve (1950)

6. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." — Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now (1979)

7. "Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast." — Robert Armstrong, King Kong (1933)

8. "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" — James Cagney, White Heat (1949)

9. "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" — Alfonso Bedoya, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

10. "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown." — Joe Mantell, Chinatown (1974)

The AFI's 100 only skims the surface of classic screenwriting (or, in some cases, classic improvising). What about the infinite lines that didn't make the cut? In the name of fair play, here are 40 more brilliant quotes, presented in alphabetical order according to title. As with the AFI, whose list included some brief exchanges rather than just one-liners, I've included a handful of memorable back-and-forths.

1. "What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end!" — Thelma Ritter, All About Eve (1950)

2. "Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand." — Hal Holbrook, All the President's Men (1976)

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