"Here's looking at you, kid." "Open the pod bay doors, please, Hal." "I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." The history of cinema is littered with lines of dialogue that transcend context, but for the most part, what are considered the Great Movie Quotes are vintage in nature. AFI's 100 Years...100 Quotes remains the bible, reminding us that, yes, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" is pretty significant.
These days, one way to mark a movie's cultural impact is whether a part of the script has gone viral. The "sunken place" is not just a dream state where an evil white psychiatrist traps her daughter's black boyfriend, it's a metaphor for race in America. "She doesn't even go here" is an easy way to vent your frustration with an interloper. "My wife" is, well, "MAH WIFE."
We here at Thrillist Entertainment have made an effort to canonize quotes of the modern era, starting from 2000 onward. Our process was highly unscientific. We thought (and argued) through what moments had lodged themselves into our brains and stuck there. Not every entry on this list has become a meme, though some certainly earn their spots because of that. Others we included simply because they astonished us, one way or another: They are perfect punchlines, gut-dropping reveals, and brilliantly written axioms. Some are so silly we've developed a deep affection for them. (Ever hear the one about sand from Star Wars?) They've made us cry, laugh, and clutch our hands to our hearts. Also, we have to acknowledge our inherent limitations: We're an American site with English-speaking readers, writers, and editors. There is a virtually limitless amount of excellent filmmaking and screenwriting happening across the world, from Mexico to Nigeria to Russia to India to Korea and everywhere in between, so consider "greatest" as modified with "mostly American, English-speaking, Western cinema."
One more note before we get going: We decided to include only one quote from each movie. So while we probably could have filled this list with lines from Mean Girls and Anchorman, we had to make some tough choices. No, we're not the American Film Institute, but in this beautiful new millennium of democratic content creation, everyone is an equally qualified critic.