The 80’s were a big decade, especially when it came to cinema. With so many iconic pop culture stars on screen, movies became full-fledged visual and audio experiences with countless memorable moments. That went double for catchy quotes and one-liners voiced by a variety of interesting, dynamic, and likable characters.
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There was no shortage of outrageously awesome quotes in 1980s action movies, and they weren’t all cut from the same cloth. Some were rampaging and rampaging characters while others cracked jokes and the rest got philosophical in the coolest way. Here are ten of the best action movies of the 1980s that are still resonating with fans.
1. Schwarzenegger’s Iconic Running Man Rant (1987)
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1980s one-liners are the stuff of cinema legends, but nothing tops this extraordinarily wacky (and funny) tirade his character Ben Richards drops by The running man. After learning about the machinations of ruthless game show host Damon Killian (played by family feuds Richard Dawson), Richards is offered a lucrative contract to become a regular cast member.
Rather than accept the offer, Richards grabs a nearby TV camera to get up close and replies, “You cold-blooded bastard! I’ll tell you what I think of it! I’m going to see you eat up that contract, but I hope you leave enough room for my fist because I’m going to put it in your stomach and break your goddamn spine!” then throws the camera with a typical Schwarzenegger “Eeyah !” to the ground.
2. Leia loses it in The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Empire Strikes Back continues to stand as the culmination of all that includes war of stars Saga, even if her submission was subsequently ignored. It’s packed with excitement, shocking twists and, of course, a healthy dose of laughter thanks to its leading actors. One of those outrageously funny moments occurs on the planet Hoth in Act I.
After rescuing Luke Skywalker from the clutches of a villainous wampa, Han Solo turns his attention to stirring up talk of romance for Princess Leia. When he goes too far, Leia blurts out with some struggle, “Why you’re snooty… dimwitted… scruffy looking… nerf herder!” To the uninitiated, nerfs were a sort of intergalactic cow or ox, bred for food and skin, and they also stink to high heaven.
3. Dirty Harry’s Hot Dog Lesson in Sudden Impact (1983)
Harry Callahan spent the entire time Sudden Impact on the search for the victim of a vicious gang rape who takes particularly brutal revenge on her attackers, shooting them dead in the family jewels before stabbing them through the skull. At one of the crime scenes, a co-worker asked Harry if he was bothered by the brutality of the job while unceremoniously wolfing down a large hot dog.
Callahan started rattling off a list of the horrific crimes he dealt with on a daily basis before concluding, “No, I don’t mind, but you know what does bothers me? You know what makes me special Yes, really sick in the stomach? It’s watching you stuff your face with those hot dogs! Nobody… I mean nobody put ketchup on a hot dog!”
4. Ripley Goes Nuclear in Aliens (1986)
Foreigner continues to be one of the greatest sci-fi movie sequels of all time, thanks in large part to the masterful direction of James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver as fan favorite Ellen Ripley. After getting a bloody nose from a swarm of deadly Xenomorphs, she and her Colonial Marine team are forced to retreat and discuss options.
Ripley suggests shelling the entire facility from orbit, adding, “It’s the only way to be sure.” However, Weyland-Yutani prosecutor Carter Burke immediately interjects, citing the “significant dollar value.” the installation. Without missing a beat, Ripley says, “Well, they can Send me the bill!” Straightforward epic, in every way.
5. The Joker’s Medical Advice (1989)
It’s almost impossible to pin down the best Joker quote from Tim Burton’s iconic 1989 Batman Movie, thanks in large part to Jack Nicholson’s masterful performance as the Clown Prince of Crime. However, there is one that still resonates with fans more than three decades after its release.
As Batman begins making headlines on Gotham’s evening news, his nemesis, the Joker, becomes angry and digresses about the whole situation. He then turns to his right-hand man, Bob, and loudly proclaims, “This town needs an enema!” It was one of the outrageously greatest quotes of the decade, and totally out of left field.
6. Rambo Proclaims His Patriotism in First Blood, Part II (1985)
Dumping Vietnam veterans at this point has been in fashion for years, but anti-war sentiment was particularly strong when the conflict came to an abrupt end. After the disastrous retreat, men like John Rambo were stuck between two worlds, giving up a fight to bureaucracy and politics while being spat at at home.
When Colonel Trautman suggests that Rambo not hate his country for the treatment he has received, Rambo replies, “I would die for it! I want what they want and every other guy that came here and shed his heart and gave everything he wanted – that our country loves us, as much as we love it! That’s what I want!” It’s outrageously awesome, especially because that kind of feeling has been actively discouraged, even today.
7. Wade gets philosophical in Road House (1989)
Sam Elliott played a mentor and half father/brother figure for Dalton in the 1989s street house, and he was keen to help out when things got too rough. Upon arrival, he met up with Dalton’s love interest Doc and immediately hit her with his own trademark of rustic bad-boy charm.
When she briefly apologized, Wade got a wide-angle view of her as she walked away, muttering, “That girl’s way too smart to have an ass like that.” It was a comfortable oxymoron for Wade, who was no doubt used to it , seeing beautiful women night after night with not so intellectual demeanor. Male moviegoers were impressed by Wade’s approach, while ladies were drawn to his game. A win/win for all.
8. Chuck Norris doesn’t need a clock in Invasion of the United States (1985); He decides what time it is
invasion of the USA was a fairly controversial action film from Cannon Films that gave Chuck Norris quite a bit of latitude (and budget) to make a political statement about how easily terrorism could break out on US soil. The action sequences are great, but critics and fans are quite divided about the film’s overall quality.
Nevertheless, in the final act it offered one of the outrageously cool quotes in cinema in the 80s. Norris’ character Matt Hunter confronts his Soviet nemesis Mikal Rostov, muttering “It’s time!” in a menacing voice just before blowing him to pieces with an M72 LAW.
9. Davidge & Jerry insult each other’s cultures in Enemy Mine (1985)
1985 was a great year for excellent, well thought out sci-fi action films Enemy mine is one that deserves special recognition. The relationship between mortal enemies Davidge and the alien Drac known as “Jerry” goes from an uneasy truce for survival to a life-changing friendship that paves the way for peace between the two races.
However, it begins in a hilariously epic way. Davidge insults Jerry’s iconic spiritual leader with the line “You know something, Jerry? Your awesome Shismar doesn’t suck!” Not to be outdone, Jerry immediately replies, “Earthman…your Mickey Mouse is one big stupid DOPE!” It’s hard to top that level of outrageous hilarity.
10. The Kurgan ruined church for everyone in Highlander (1986)
With the legendary “game” that supposedly comes to an end in the original from 1986 highlanders film, the villainous Kurgan decided to pay one last visit to Connor MacLeod before their ultimate and final battle. He toppled a church with little regard for the meek folk who were simply trying to pray in peace, clad in punk attire with a vile excuse for a haircut.
When MacLeod noticed that his old friend Ramirez’s blade hadn’t cut deep enough into the kurgan’s neck during an old skirmish, the latter replied, “Ramirez was a wimpy snob! He died on his knees. I took his head and raped his wife before his blood even ran cold!” It was a disturbing but satirically hard-hitting line that still resonates highlanders Fans, mainly because of the church setting.
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