The 1970s are a great time for movies, as filmmakers allow them to experiment more and push the boundaries of cinema further than ever before! Along with an increase in voices seen in cinemas throughout the 1970s, there was also an increase in memorable movie quotes. Quite a few of the most memorable film quotes of all time have come from the decade, and we’ll be looking at the absolute most iconic of them in this video! Join Facts Verse as we explore 70s movie quotes that burn into your brain.
Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry
The iconic 70s movie quote we’ll be exploring first comes from Dirty Harry. Of course, in the film, the quote makes in reference to the titular cop asking a criminal whether he is paying attention to the number of bullets he fires from his gun. There’s only room for five bullets, and Harry can’t remember if he shot five or six. Unsure whether or not there’s a bullet left for his next shot, he asks the criminal the iconic question that has taken on a life outside of the film.
Dirty Harry is a major hit with audiences for more reasons than just its iconic quote, with other notable aspects of the film including its star, its novel premise, and its campy score. The premise of the film is like the Zodiac murders, which are a national sensation around the time that the film finishes. The original movie goes on to spawn several sequels, but none of them managed to stay in the public’s consciousness quite like the original, as well as the iconic quote that spawned from it. Even today, the quote stands as one of the first things that people think of when they see Clint Eastwood, despite all of the star’s work since then.
Sandy Olsson in Grease
Like with Dirty Harry, there was a plethora of things that made Grease a hit with 1970s audiences. Whereas Dirty Harry was riding the zeitgeist of the public’s fascination with the Zodiac murders, Grease was riding the zeitgeist of the public’s nostalgia for the 1950s. The film featured two talented up-and-coming stars in the form of Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, both of whom went on to great careers after appearing in the film. As well, it featured several iconic musical numbers featuring hit songs that are still popular to this day! However, it’s hard to argue that one of the most standout moments from the film is the quote utter by Olivia Newton-John’s character Sandy when she first makes her appearance after her famous makeover to impress greaser Danny, played by John.
Of course, a big part of what makes the quote so iconic is that it leads into one of the film’s most memorable musical numbers, with that set to “You’re the One That I Want”. It’s hard to think of the quote and not start tapping your feet, and this is a huge part of why it has remained in the cultural lexicon for so long.
Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver
Travis Bickle’s iconic quote in the film Taxi Driver stands alongside Al Pacino’s “say hello to my little friend” as one of the most parodied quotes in cinematic history. All of these parodies serve to make the original quote itself all the more ubiquitous, with children oftentimes being able to recognize the quote despite being in the film. It’s hard to appreciate the gravity of both the quote and the scene apart from the mass hype that currently surrounds it, but the film recognizes as being one of the greatest of all time. The film was one of Martin Scorsese’s earliest hits and represented another early collaboration with actor Robert De Niro after the two had previously worked together in 1973’s Mean Streets. The quote sells to the audience by Robert’s psychopathic gravitas, though much of the shock value wears off.
Detective Thorn in Soylent Green
Like Travis Bickle’s famous quote in Taxi Driver, Detective Thorn’s famous quote in Soylent Green is one that is likely much more ubiquitous than the film itself. The iconic quote comes when Detective Thorn, played by Charlton Heston, finds out what the film’s titular food product makes out of. The film takes place in a dystopian society where everyone receives a food product by the name of “soylent green” for sustenance, and it turns out that this product makes up of the society’s deceased citizens!
Since Soylent Green‘s release, the quote becomes synonymous with things not quite what it is and uses in the same sense as “the emperor having no clothes”. For instance, when one learns about some of the strange methods and ingredients that use to make many modern food products, they may find themselves having a very similar reaction to the one that Detective Thorn was having when he uttered this iconic film quote!
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John “Bluto” Blutarsky in Animal House
The classic fraternity comedy Animal House fills with iconic quotes, but few are quite as memorable as the one that John Belushi’s character Bluto utters to justify spewing food all over one of his schoolmates. Despite John going on to suffer a tragic early death not long after the film’s release, both he and this iconic quote live on in our memories!
Holly Palance (The Nanny) in The Omen
Holly Palance is the name of the nanny in the omen, though most will probably just know her better as “The Nanny”. Although audiences might not remember the character’s name, they will certainly remember the quote that she utters just before she jumps to her own death in the name of the film’s infamous little spawn from hell, Damien.
Margaret White in Carrie
The 70s movie were a great time for horror films, especially since the relaxed censorship standards of the film industry allowed for much more extravagant sights, sounds, and ideas in the name of scaring the audience. This resulted in plenty of iconic horror quotes coming from the decade. In addition to the aforementioned quote from The Omen, there’s also Margaret White’s classic quote from Carrie. The quote comes in the form of a cryptic warning from Carrie’s mom as the girl leaves for prom. Although Carrie’s mother certainly had her issues, perhaps Carrie should’ve heeded her advice on just the one occasion! However, then cinemas wouldn’t have been graced with the film’s iconic climax.
Howard Beale in Network
Howard Beale’s iconic line in Network is perhaps more pertinent now than ever, which is part of why the quote has managed to stand the test of time so well. The state of American culture and the media has only gotten worse since Network premiered, and many view the film as being ahead of it’s time in many ways. The iconic quote stands as another line that has taken on a life of it’s own outside of the film. Similar to the aforementioned iconic quote from Soylent Green, this classic quote from Network has become a generic reaction that is used in many different situations.
Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now
Though the character of Bill Kilgore might be best remembered for his interesting taste in music while performing an air raid, it’s hard to deny that this iconic quote wasn’t a big part of what made Robert Duvall’s relatively minor character in Apocalypse Now so memorable. Of course, Bill Kilgore’s memorable quote is far from being the only one that the film added to the cultural lexicon, with Marlon Brando’s climatic utterances of “the horror… the horror…” standing up there with any of the other classic 70s quotes on this list.
Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather
Francis Ford Coppola directed Apocalypse Now, though it wasn’t even the director’s most popular feature of the 70s Movie. Before undergoing the infamously difficult production of Apocalypse Now, Francis had risen to prominence as the director of The Godfather. Based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo, The Godfather was a massive hit with both critics and audiences and is now considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. One quote from the film stands above all others, and that is the moment when Don Vito Corleone wants to make an offer.
Rocky Balboa in Rocky
Rocky is a movie that has stood the test of time and continues to inspire audiences today. Part of what has made the film so memorable is the romance between Rocky and his love interest Adrian, which culminates in this memorable quote after Rocky loses his climactic battle with Apollo Creed.
Darth Vader in Star Wars
Though Darth Vader would go on to utter even more iconic words during the 1980s, this memorable line still stands as a fan favorite, due in part to the fact that it was one of the audience’s first experiences with the character. Audiences at the time were shocked when Darth Vader showed his true colors so soon into the film, and they never forgot his words!
Martin Brody in Jaws
Finally, no list of iconic 70s movie quotes would be complete without this classic line from the film Jaws. Of course, the line comes when the character of Martin Brody, played by Roy Scheider, realizes exactly how much of a threat the film’s titular shark is going to pose to him and his crew. Thankfully, Martin and his boys end up subduing the shark, but that didn’t stop the film from spawning a franchise!
While the aforementioned quotes are arguably the most iconic that 70s movie cinema has to offer, there are still plenty of other memorable quotes from the decade that we couldn’t cram into this video! Comment down below to share what your favorite 70s film quote is that wasn’t on this list, or if you think that any of the aforementioned quotes have lost their zeal after decades of constant parroting. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!