AFI's Top Ten Movie Quotes and the Athletes That Best Embody Them

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2012

AFI's Top Ten Movie Quotes and the Athletes That Best Embody Them

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    "It's alive! It's alive!" - Frankenstein, 1931

    The American Film Institute has provided us a number of lists over the years, but one that sticks out are their "100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes." It's a fun look at some of the most memorable and important pieces of the film lexicon.

    Which athletes best embody those quotes? This slideshow will give you the answers to that question.

    Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, I'm walking this slideshow into yours.

Honorable Mentions

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    The numbered rankings are where the quotes rank on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes list.

    100. I'm king of the world! - TITANIC, 1997
    Muhammad Ali, Boxing

    This one is pretty self-explanatory. He's not dubbed "The Greatest" for nothing.

    94. I feel the need - the need for speed! - TOP GUN, 1986
    Tony Stewart, Auto Racing

    One could make arguments for any number of auto racing's greatest drivers, but Stewart has the TOP GUN swagger to fit in with this quote.

    59.  As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again. - GONE WITH THE WIND, 1939
    Takeru Kobayashi, Competitive Eating

    If you have never watched Kobayashi put away food, consider yourself lucky. The king of gluttony.

    50. Houston, we have a problem. - APOLLO 13, 1995
    Steve Christie, Football

    Houston sports fans will cringe at his name. Up 35-3 against the Buffalo Bills in the 1992 AFC Wild Card Game, the Oilers suffered one of sports' most brutal collapses. It was Steve Christie who finally sent the Oilers home with a field goal in overtime.

    48. Well, nobody's perfect. - SOME LIKE IT HOT, 1959
    Armando Galarraga, Mike Mussina and eight others, Baseball

    10 men have been one out away from pitching a perfect game. Galarraga was the last to suffer this fate in 2010 when the umpire made an incorrect call, robbing him of history.

    41. We rob banks. - BONNIE AND CLYDE, 1967
    Lee Murray, Mixed Martial Arts

    Murray was involved in the largest cash robbery in Britain's history, the Securitas depot robbery. Murray is currently spending time in a Morocco prison for his involvement.

    37. I'll be back. - THE TERMINATOR, 1984
    Brett Favre, Football

    He is still retired, right?

    33. I'll have what she's having. - WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, 1989
    Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Multiple Sports

    One of the 20th century's greatest athletes—two Olympic gold medals, 10 LPGA major championships, an AAU basketball championship and even more accomplishments in a variety sports. Oh, and she is still the only female to make the cut in a PGA event.

    29.  You can't handle the truth! - A FEW GOOD MEN, 1992
    Jose Canseco, Baseball

    We can. But maybe Mark McGwire can not.

    14. The stuff that dreams are made of. - THE MALTESE FALCON, 1941
    Abby Wambach, Soccer

    More specifically, the quarterfinals of the 2011 Women's World Cup. In the waning seconds of regulation, Megan Rapinoe sent in a beautiful cross that Wambach headed into the goal to even the score against Brazil. The US would later win the match on penalty kicks.

No. 10: "You Talking to Me?"

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    TAXI DRIVER, 1976

    Travis Bickle, portrayed by Robert De Niro, stands in front of his mirror acting out a confrontation that would lead to him using his gun.

Barry Bonds

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    More specifically, Barry Bonds in 2011.

    He did his confrontation with a bat. Bonds dared pitchers to throw anything over the plate, and when they did, the ball usually found its way out of the ballpark.

    Despite your personal feelings toward Bonds, no one can deny the spectacle of that season. From that point on, Bonds did a lot of walking to first base instead of his typical jogging around it.

No. 9: "Fasten Your Seatbelts. It's Going to Be a Bumpy Night."

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    ALL ABOUT EVE, 1950

    The famous line was delivered by the legendary Bette Davis, portraying Margo Channing.

Dale Earnhardt

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    That famous quotation was probably uttered by every crew chief when "The Intimidator" rolled on to the track in the black No. 3. Earnhardt is tied with Richard Petty for the most NASCAR championships with seven.

    Earnhardt did whatever it took to win. If it was down to Earnhardt and someone else, well, they were in for a bumpy night. He got his nickname for a reason; a true legend of auto racing.

No. 8: "May the Force Be with You."

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    STAR WARS, 1977

    First uttered in the classic series' debut film and heard in each carnation afterwards, this quote has transcended into our lexicon.

    It was said to give hope to the poor Rebel forces as they went off to battle the dominant evil empire.

Curt Schilling

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    The Boston Red Sox had not won the World Series since 1918. They were playing the team America had dubbed "The Evil Empire," the New York Yankees, in the ALCS. Is there any better athlete that embodies that quote? I do not think so.

    Schilling had to have his tendon in his right ankle stabilized many times during the postseason. There were questions as to how effective he could be. In Game 6 of the ALCS, he took the mound and gave one of the most dramatic performances in recent baseball memory. Blood from the sutures leaked through his sock as Schilling only gave up four hits and one run in seven innings of work.

    The Red Sox would go on to win that series and the World Series.

No. 7: "All Right, Mr. DeMille, I'm Ready for My Close-Up."

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    SUNSET BOULEVARD, 1950

    Spoken by Gloria Swanson, portraying Norma Desmond. The quote was the film's closing line and made an impression that lasts to this day.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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    Many athletes have crossed over into film and television, but most have been cameo performances. The NBA Hall of Fame center, however, made a legit leap into Hollywood. While he never broke out as a superstar actor, Kareem did make an impression.

    He made his debut in Bruce Lee's Game of Death as Hakim. Abdul-Jabbar would put on a memorable performance in the comedy classic Airplane! as co-pilot Roger Murdock. If you have never seen it, I will not spoil it for you no matter how popular the scene has become, but I suggest heading to your Netflix queue now..

No. 6: "Go Ahead, Make My Day."

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    SUDDEN IMPACT, 1983

    Clint Eastwood as "Dirty" Harry Callahan. Men across the nation still do their best Eastwood impression from this classic scene.

    Many athletes could be chosen to represent the line, but only one makes the cut.

Michael Jordan

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    Staring in Jordan's eyes while he has the ball in his hands would be the equivalent of staring down the barrel of "Dirty" Harry's gun.

    Jordan may be the I-Ching athlete for this quote. During his prime, it was not a question of if Jordan would beat you, but rather what he would do to beat you. A three? Dunk? Fade away?

    How would No. 23 make everyone look like they did not even belong in the league? That's what you felt with him on the court. Go ahead, make his day.

No. 5: "Here's Looking at You, Kid."

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    CASABLANCA, 1942

    Bogart and Bergman. Rick and Lisa. The classic pair.

    Universally recognized as one of the greatest films in history, Casablanca also provides us with multiple memorable lines. The most memorable being, "Here's looking at you, Kid."

Nolan Ryan

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    Nolan Ryan played in four decades. Think about that for a second.

    The no-hit king still managed to toss two no-no's in the '90s. No matter what young buck stepped to the plate, the hurler still found ways to sit them down. He was a marvel to watch with a power fastball that never seemed to fade.

    While the quote in the movie has more of a romantic take, you do not have to take it literally. If Ryan's pitches could have spoken, they would have told the batter, "You still have a lot to learn, son."

No. 4: "Toto, I've Got a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore."

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    THE WIZARD OF OZ, 1939

    Thrown in to the world of Oz, Dorothy quickly finds out they are no longer in their beloved home state. Toto, her trusted pooch, remains by her side the whole time as they make their way on the yellow brick road all the way to the Emerald City.

    I wonder which athlete felt out of place on this list...

Barry Sanders

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    One of the all-time NFL greats, Barry Sanders, a Kansas native, is not one for the spotlight. However, when you are as talented as he was, the spotlight tends to gravitate toward you.

    Sanders did not even attend the Heisman Trophy presentation, and in interviews years later he could not even tell reporters where it is located in his house. He is a simple man with extraordinary talent.

    When he walked onto campus at Oklahoma State, I could only imagine The Wizard of Oz line running through his head.

No. 3: "I Coulda Been a Contender."

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    ON THE WATERFRONT, 1954

    Full quote: "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

    Marlon Brando, as Terry Malloy, delivers the famous line to Charley Malloy (Rod Steiger). It's a heartfelt delivery that resonates with many athletes. Well, maybe not to the point of throwing a fight, but in that many had the talent to succeed but instead of becoming the next star, they ended up at the bottom of the barrel.

Ryan Leaf

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    Ryan Leaf is the quintessential athlete for this quote.

    For those that only know of his downfall and are reminded during the NFL draft of his existence, let me put it in perspective for you. NFL scouts around the league generally thought he could be one of the league's best.

    Many valued him higher than Peyton Manning.

    Now, he is a cautionary tale. A "contender" that has fallen on hard times. He could have been good, but sometimes it is just not meant to be.

No. 2: "I'm Going to Make Him an Offer He Can't Refuse."

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    THE GODFATHER, 1972

    Look who it is—Marlon Brando again. This time, as iconic Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather. This quote is more aligned to an owner or general manager, but I think we can make it work in the world of sports. Don't you?

Alex Rodriguez

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    As evidenced by the photo I selected, I am singling out a specific period of time. A-Rod was the free agent of all free agents; the franchise player that any GM would want. But the price—oh, the price was steep.

    The Rangers ponied up the cash for the largest deal in baseball history: a 10-year, $252 million dollar deal. Sure, Rodriguez could have signed to another contender, but when this deal crosses your desk, you simply cannot refuse.

    How could you?

No. 1: "Frankly, My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn."

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    GONE WITH THE WIND, 1939

    After hours of this epic, we get to the ending. Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) asks Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), "Where shall I go? What shall I do?" And his response remains one of the most loved in film history—as evidenced by its place on the AFl list.

    This film quote can fit many athletes that have come our way that bucked the trend of playing nice for the camera.

Mike Tyson

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    There are many athletes who did not "give a damn," but none like Mike Tyson.

    Tyson's ego may be fragile, but you do not do what he has done or say what he has said if you "give a damn."

    He threatened to eat Lennox Lewis' children. And that goes on the list of least offensive things Mike Tyson has said.

    Tyson remains a polarizing figure who says the outlandish in his appearances, and if you are interested in hearing more, you can check out his one-man show in Las Vegas later this month. He will talk about it all and hold nothing back.

    He epitomizes this quote. Although, I don't think Clark Gable would have ever uttered it in front of Tyson.