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Last Updated: Friday, 2 January, 2004, 12:18 GMT
'Napalm' speech tops movie poll
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now topped the poll of movie speeches
A monologue from war movie Apocalypse Now has been voted the best speech in cinema history in a movie fans' poll.

Actor Robert Duvall's line "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" came top in a survey of 6,500 film buffs.

Jack Nicholson's "You can't handle the truth" speech in A Few Good Men was second in the poll by DVD and video rental company Blockbuster UK.

Third was Marlon Brando's "I could have been a contender" address from the classic 1954 movie On The Waterfront.

Click here for excerpts from the top 10

You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?
Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry ( 1971)

Duvall's memorable speech was made as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam epic co-starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen.

It begins: "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."

Other film fans' favourites included Samuel L Jackson's "God's fury" speech in Pulp Fiction, Michael Douglas' "Greed is good" line from Wall Street, and the "Choose life" monologue by Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting.

Marlon Brando (r) with Rod Steiger in On The Waterfront
Brando (r) made a memorable speech in On The Waterfront
Clint Eastwood's "Do you feel lucky punk?" line from Dirty Harry also made the list, alongside Richard E Grant's Hamlet recital in Withnail and I and Mel Gibson's freedom speech in Braveheart.

There were also votes for Kevin Spacey's opening speech in American Beauty; James Stewart addressing the loan board in It's A Wonderful Life; and Russell Crowe addressing his troops before the opening battle scene in Gladiator.

However, not a single speech in the top 20 was made by a female character.

"Where are all the great speeches made by women?" said Blockbuster UK's marketing director Sarah Baxter. "I think it's definitely time for the world's great actresses to be given an equal chance."

Back to top

    1. Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now (1979): 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. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...

    2. Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men (1992): You can't handle the truth! 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, lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know - that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives; and my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

    3. Marlon Brando, On The Waterfront (1954): Remember that night in the Garden? You came down to my dressing room and you said 'kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson'... You was my brother, Charlie. You shoulda looked out for me a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum. Which is what I am. Let's face it.

    4. Samuel L Jackson, Pulp Fiction (1994): The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

    5. Michael Douglas, Wall Street (1987): The point is, ladies and gentleman, is that greed - for lack of a better word - is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms - greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind. And Greed - you mark my words - will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

    6. Peter Finch, Network (1976): I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth; banks are going bust; shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter; punks are running wild in the streets, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.

    7. Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting (1996): Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends... Choose your future. Choose life.

    8. Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry (1971): I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

    9. Richard E Grant, Withnail and I (1987): . What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a God! The beauty of the world, paragon of animals; and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dusk. Man delights not me, no, nor women neither, nor women neither.

    10. Mel Gibson, Braveheart (1995): You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight? Aye, fight and you may die, run and you'll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!

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