shrek quotes
Design by Grace Han for Thrillist

'Shrek' Quotes That Live in Our Heads Rent-Free

Help! These lines have been rattling around in our brains for two decades!

Welcome to Shrek Week, Thrillist Entertainment's celebration of 20 years of Shrek. We've already discussed how the movie holds up today, written a passionate defense of the Shrek 2 soundtrack, took a look at the "what if?" scenarios that would have completely changed Shrek, and surveyed all the weird Shrek merchandise out there. Here, we break down our favorite Shrek lines. Stay tuned for more!

Whether you're a Shrek lover or, gasp, a Shrek hater, you really have to hand it to its Oscar-nominated (!!!) screenplay, written jointly by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman, and Roger S.H. Schulman. It's truly and unexpectedly good! Shrek has gone down in history as one of the most quotable movies of all time (to many parents' chagrin), with dialed-in vocal performances from Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, and the supporting cast that turn a snidely funny script into an unforgettable experience.

Since most of us paying tribute to the movie via Shrek Week are young enough to have seen it as impressionable youngsters, and therefore have bits and pieces of it seared into our brains whether we like it or not, we've selected the quotes we'll never free ourselves from. Lots of Shrek impressions were involved.

"Ogres are like onions." —Shrek

Who would have thought, before the movie opened in theaters, that Shrek would end up being the most relatable character of the 21st century? He has a nice place all to himself, only hangs out with people he likes, and there's more to him than meets the eye. As he attempts to explain to Donkey on the way to rescue Princess Fiona, ogres are multifaceted beings with hopes and dreams underneath their swampy, soggy, repulsive exterior. Plus, they smell kind of weird. Shrek's simple vegetable comparison quickly became the most quote-able part of the movie, as well as proof that this absurdist fairy tale send-up is deeper than it seems on the surface. Layers, people. Layers. —Emma Stefansky

"I like that boulder. That is a nice boulder." —Donkey 

Donkey is the kind of friend you want to have: happy-go-lucky, kind-hearted, and super-supportive. Like, even when he insults Shrek's swamp before realizing it's the ogre's home—"Who'd want to live in a place like that?"—he manages to turn it into a positive by complimenting a beautiful... boulder. You can't help but appreciate the effort and the Eddie Murphy delivery! The best part is that it's applicable to your own friendships. Your friend's questionable fashion choice? Their shitty boyfriend you can't stand but aren't in a place to criticize? Just swap out "boulder" and say, for example, "I like that [boyfriend]. That is a nice [boyfriend]." May we all strive to be a friend like Donkey. —Sadie Bell

"EAT ME!" *spits* —Gingy

It goes without saying that the entire interrogation of the Gingerbread Man, a.k.a. Gingy, is iconic. From "No, not the buttons... not my GuMDroP BuTToNS!!" to the whole "Do you know... the Muffin Man?" "The Muffin MAN???" exchange between Lord Farquaad and Gingy, every second has nested inside the brains of a generation of two for what will be eternity. But my very favorite Gingy moment comes after Farquaad crushes up one of his broken-off gingerbread legs and demands, "Now tell me: Where are the others?"—the others being the "fairy tale trash poisoning [his] perfect world"—and Gingy, in his tiny voice, shouts "EAT ME!" and spits milk into Farquaad's face. (Side note: They definitely waterboarded Gingy with milk, right?) Even though, at the end of the day, Gingy is a rat, I'll never forget his little act of rebellion in the face of tyranny. —Leanne Butkovic

"We can stay up late swapping manly stories, and in the morning, I'm making waffles!" —Donkey

Donkey's wiggly energy at making a new friend and selective blindness when others are trying to make it clear they don't want to be around him play hysterically against Shrek's irked persona during their first scenes together: Donkey trots around Shrek's hut and treads on all of his furniture while the ogre stands aghast, unable to make this fuzzy hanger-on take a hint. Donkey is too full of joyful energy to notice, already planning his ideal sleepover. Late night manly stories? The promise of waffles for breakfast? What's better than this? Guys being dudes. —ES

"Some of you may die, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make." —Lord Farquaad

John Lithgow's voice performance of the self-proclaimed king of Duloc is absolutely inspired, spitting out Lord Farquaad's condescending lines with a perfect lack of self-awareness and insecurity hardened into vitriol, in part from having been the butt of short jokes all his life. I can and will not imagine a universe in which anyone else was cast in this role. The best of Lithgow's Farquaad comes in the first third of Shrek, after Shrek and Donkey stroll into Duloc to confront Farquaad about the fairy tale character dump in the swamp and find the entire town in the coliseum listening to Lord Farquaad's preamble to a tournament of armored knights battling for "the honor—no, the privilege" of being sent to rescue Princess Fiona from the "fiery keep of the drrrragon." The delivery of the line in question owes much to impeccable comedic timing, the entire creation a chef's kiss of a statement made by a leader, his head stuck up his ass, with no stake in the game. It was funny then and it's still funny now, even if the statement scans as wholly Trumpian. —LB

"You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, 'Let's get some parfait,' they say, 'Hell no, I don't like no parfait'? Parfaits are delicious!" —Donkey

Obviously this quote from donkey is linked to Shrek's "ogres are like onions" aphorism. Donkey does not agree with that analogy, and suggests other options. Where he lands? Parfaits. My father and I thought Eddie Murphy saying the word "parfait" was basically the funniest thing ever when Shrek came out. But what makes this line, which was purportedly improvised, work is the absurdity of it. Parfait is not a dish you would immediately think of, but it's true: It's hard not to love a parfait, yogurt or otherwise. With a parfait, the layers are appealing: Stick your spoon in, find a surprise. If someone said to me, "let's get some parfait," I would say "yes," emphatically. —EZ

"Wake up and smell the pheromones." Donkey

Another banger from Donkey! Except it's one that probably went over a lot kids' heads when they first saw it. Nevertheless, Donkey's earnest plea for Shrek to admit his feelings for Fiona will always warm our hearts (and got even funnier upon rewatches as we got older). It's definitely a weird way to convince someone to confess their love for somebody else, but 10/10 phrasing, given his "animal instincts." And, hey, he's not wrong: Technically, we're all just sniffing up some pheromones whenever we're crushing. —SB

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.