War Movie Quotes: The Memorable, the Inspiring

Lord, we stand before you this evening, to say thank you! And we thank you, father, for your grace, and your many blessings! Now I run off, leaving all my young’uns and my kinfolk, in bondage. So I’m standing here this evening, Heavenly Father, to ask your blessings on all of us. So that if tomorrow is the great getting-up morning, if that tomorrow we have to meet the Judgement Day, O Heavenly Father, we want you to let our folks know that we died facing the enemy! We want ’em to know that we went down standing up! Amongst those that are fighting against our oppression. We want ’em to know, Heavenly Father, that we died for freedom! We ask these blessings in Jesus’ name. Amen! — John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) in Glory (1989)

At this time of year it’s nice to hear stories and speeches that stir us inside. They remind us of the heroes who have gone before us and how fortunate we are to be heirs of their heritage. In that vein, we are going to recognize some war/military movie quotes, because even fictional speeches and quotations hold deep meaning.

Some of them are funny. Some of them angry. Some inspiring. There’s at least one that I find disturbing. But, hopefully, they will all help us do what is most important every November: Remember.

“Remember us.” As simple an order as a king can give. “Remember why we died.” For he did not wish tribute or song. No monuments, no poems of war and valour. His wish was simple: “Remember us,” he said to me. — Dilios (David Wenham) in 300 (2006)

We’re gonna be dropped into France, dressed as civilians. And once we’re in enemy territory, as a bushwhackin’ guerrilla army, we’re gonna be doin’ one thing and one thing only – killin’ Nazis. — Raine (Brad Pitt) in Inglourious Basterds (2009).

You smell that? Do you smell that? … Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed for twelve hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. But the smell – you know, that gasoline smell. The whole hill smelled like victory. — Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) in Apocalypse Now (1979).

Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom…my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. — Col Jessep (Jack Nicholson) in A Few Good Men (1992).

We’re all very different people. We’re not Watusi. We’re not Spartans. We’re Americans, with a capital ‘A.’ You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog. We’re mutts! Here’s proof: his nose is cold! But there’s no animal that’s more faithful, that’s more loyal, more loveable than the mutt. Who saw ‘Old Yeller?’ Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? I cried my eyes out. — John Winger (Bill Murray) in Stripes (1981)

When I go home people will ask me, ‘Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? What, you some kinda war junkie?’ You know what I’ll say? I won’t say a goddamn word. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand that it’s about the men next to you, and that’s it. That’s all it is. — Hoot (Eric Bana) in Black Hawk Down (2001)

I won’t ask you to do anything I haven’t done myself. — Don Collier (Brad Pitt) in Fury

A brilliant man will find a way not to fight a war. — Admiral Yamamoto (Mako) in Pearl Harbor (2001)

The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! — A Jewish Barber (Charlie Chaplin) in The Great Dictator (1940)

I just know that every man I kill the farther away from home I feel. — Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) in Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Congratulations Dunkirk. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Anamaria Marinca as Irma in Fury.

Best Actor: Mark Rylance as Mr. Dawson in Dunkirk.

Best Quote: Men my age dictate this war. Why should we be allowed to send our children to fight it?” — Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) in Dunkirk

There were only 2 votes, so I decided to go with the movie that didn’t get one. Dunkirk is one of those films that is not only great, it will get better with every viewing. Also, even though Grave of the Fireflies (1988) isn’t even mentioned anywhere above, it too is a great one. Not everyone’s into anime, but I promise it’s good.

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