The 50 Greatest Sports-Movie Quotes Ever

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2011

The 50 Greatest Sports-Movie Quotes Ever

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    Chances are, if you are a sports fan and movie buff, you can probably have an entire conversation with friends revolving entirely around quotes. You've probably gleaned some truly great advice from sports movies as well.

    "You can put a cat in an oven, but that don't make it a biscuit."

    "Never bet money that you don't have on a dog race with an ex-girlfriend who happens to be a stripper."

    "Just remember, football is 80 percent mental and 40 percent physical."

    (If anyone knows where these quotes came from, plus-one for you).

    Three basic rules for this: The quote comes from a sports movie and relates to sports, any lines taken from actual speeches aren't included (sorry Miracle, Lou Gehrig and Gipper fans) and no more than three quotes per movie could be used.

    These are the 50 best quotes in the history of sports movies. Enjoy.

    (Note: The majority of the quotes were taken directly from IMDB for accuracy considerations.)

Honorable Mention: Beerfest

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    Just to get you pumped up for the slideshow.

50. The Program: Hey, Making the Team Is Exciting...

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    Steve Lattimer: Starting defense! Place at the table!
    [smashes head through car window]

    I don't know why, but I love this quote and scene. It's just so ridiculous, yet somehow believable at the same time.

    It is that line that you have to straddle as a football player, between crazy and insane. Crazy you can come back from—insane, I'm not so sure you can.

49. The Longest Yard: And Smoke It?

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    Paul Crewe: Stick this in your trophy case.

    How you like me now, warden? (Also, I couldn't find a clip from the original, so the picture will have to do.)

48. The Replacement: Shane Falco's Inspirational Words

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    Shane Falco: I wish I could say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn't be our style. Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory...lasts forever.

    Sure, you've probably seen everything he said on a T-shirt, but that was the point—they knew what they had to do.

    Why get all fancy about it now?

47. Major League: Who Can Help Pedro?

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    Pedro Cerrano: Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.

    Eddie Harris: You know you might think about taking Jesus Christ as your savior instead of fooling around with all this stuff.

    Roger Dorn: (Bleep), Harris.

    Pedro Cerrano: Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball.

    Eddie Harris: You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?

    I think of Jesus as more of a fisher than ballplayer-type.

46. White Men Can't Jump: Quality Trash Talk

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    Billy Hoyle: I'll tell you what. Why don't we take all these bricks and build a shelter for the homeless, so maybe your mother will have a place to stay?

    What a nice thought by Billy, caring for the homeless like that.

    (I can't find a clip for this quote, so I just threw this one up instead. Enjoy.)

45. Kingpin: More Quality Trash Talk

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    Ernie McCracken: It all comes down to this roll. Roy Munson, a man-child, with a dream to topple bowling giant Ernie McCracken. If he strikes, he's the 1979 Odor-Eaters Champion. He's got one foot in the frying pan and one in the pressure cooker. Believe me, as a bowler, I know that right about now, your bladder feels like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag and your butt is kinda like an about-to-explode bratwurst.

    Good luck getting that mental image out of your head.

44. Talladega Nights: Powerful Urine

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    Ricky Bobby: Here's the deal, I'm the best there is. Plain and simple. I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence.

    If an athlete said that in today's sporting landscape, "excellence" would be assumed to be a euphemism, and they would be drug-tested on a regular basis.

    Yes, Mark McGwire pissed "excellence."

43. Slap Shot: He Means, Uh, the National Anthem

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    Peterboro Referee: I got my eye on the three of you. You pull one thing, you're out of this game. I run a clean game here. I have any trouble here, I'll suspend ya.

    Steve Hanson: I'm listening to the (bleeping) song!

    Without question the best national anthem moment in sports movie history.

42. The Mighty Ducks: Goldberg Learns About His Position

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    Goldberg: Be careful man, it almost hit me that time!

    Charlie Conway: Goldberg, you're the goalie. It's supposed to hit you.

    Goldberg: Does that sound stupid to anyone else?

    Listen, there is a whole lot of quacking and Flying V metaphors and all of that good stuff happening in this flick—which will always be a childhood classic to me, by the way—but this is by far the film's most clever line.

    That, and it provides the "Oh man, this ragtag group of kids is in BIG trouble" moment for the audience.

41. Remember the Titans: And Then Came the Pain

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    Coach Yoast: All right, now, I don't want them to gain ANOTHER YARD! YOU BLITZ...ALL...NIGHT! If they cross the line of scrimmage, I'm gonna take every last one of you out! You make sure they remember, forever, the night they played the Titans!

    I want to suit up and hit somebody right about now.

40. Bad News Bears: Screw the Yankees!

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    Tanner Boyle: Hey Yankees...you can take your apology and your trophy and shove 'em straight up your (bleep)!

    Who hasn't wanted to say that to an opponent at one time or another?

39. He Got Game: The Origin of "Jesus"

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    Jake Shuttlesworth: They called him Jesus, 'cause he was the truth. Then the white media got a hold of it, and they got to call him Black Jesus. You know, he can't just be Jesus. He's got to be Black Jesus. But still, he was the truth. So that's the real reason you got your name. Not Jesus of the Bible, but Jesus of North Philadelphia. Jesus of the playgrounds.

    This is a brilliant moment, because Jesus Shuttlesworth—representing the savior to all of the leeches who want to follow him to the NBA someday—learns that he was named after an entirely different Jesus, Earl Monroe, who represented something altogether different:

    The purity and beauty of the playground game.

    Not the game of the agents or people who want something from Jesus. No, the game that really matters—the one on the court.

38. The Fighter: Mickey Takes Charge

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    Mickey Ward: I'm the one who's fighting. Not you, not you and not you. I know what I need.

    There are so many moments and lines that are more dramatic or even funnier—the film is made by the personality of the family and the humorous moments that result from their many conflicts—but this is the crucial moment of the film for Mickey Ward.

    Surely this quote is really reliant on context for its full meaning to make sense, so it goes low here, but it is still a great moment in a very good film.

37. Rocky: Going the Distance

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    Rocky: Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood.

    The biggest misconception about Rocky is that it is a movie about boxing, or even love.

    It's not—it's about personal redemption. The boxing and love story just make it worth watching.

36. Rudy: Not in This House!

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    Dan Devine: No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around.

    And scoreboard operators everywhere had another clip to get crowds fired up.

35. The Wrestler: What We Live for

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    Randy "The Ram" Robinson: The only place I get hurt is out there. The world don't give a (bleep) about me.

    (Spoiler alert!) He tried and failed outside of the ropes, so he goes back in.

    Okay, so that was the least eloquent summation of a film ever.

34. White Men Can't Jump: It's True

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    Sidney Deane: Billy, listen to me. White men can't jump.

    Billy doesn't realize it, but Sidney is trying to tell him something important here—he can hustle everyone except himself.

    Billy loses.

33. Dodgeball: The Wisdom of Patches

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    Patches O'Houlihan: If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

    This logic also applies to traffic.

    God, I love Patches. Almost as much as I love Pepper and Cotton.

32. Happy Gilmore: Are You Too Good for Your Home?

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    Happy Gilmore: You little son-of-a-(bleep) ball! Why you don't you just go HOME? That's your HOME! Are you too good for your HOME? ANSWER ME! SUCK MY WHITE (bleep), BALL!

    During my college years, this became one of my favorite things to yell after continuous misses in beer pong.

    People who got the reference thought it was funny. People who didn't get the reference probably thought I was a wacko.

31. Rudy: Fortune Knows Best

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    Fortune: You're five foot nothin', 100 and nothin', and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for two years. And you're gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don't have to prove nothin' to nobody but yourself. And after what you've gone through, if you haven't done that by now, it ain't gonna never happen. Now go on back.

    Don't you love those quotes that neatly sum up the entire film for you?

30. Slap Shot: The Foil

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    Reggie Dunlop: What are you guys doing?

    Steve Hanson: Puttin' on the foil!

    Jeff Hanson: Every game!

    Jack Hanson: Yeah, you want some?

    Sure, Slap Shot finishes with a ridiculous and outrageous scene that cheapens the movie a bit. But most of the flick is quirky hockey hilarity, and well worth a view if you haven't seen it yet.

29. The Hustler: A Winner

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    Fast Eddie: Cause, ya see, twice, Sarah...once at Ames with Minnesota Fats and then again at Arthur's, in that cheap, crummy pool room, now why'd I do it, Sarah? Why'd I do it? I coulda beat that guy, coulda beat 'im cold, he never woulda known. But I just hadda show 'im. Just hadda show those creeps and those punks what the game is like when it's great, when it's REALLY great.

    You know, like anything can be great, anything can be great. I don't care, BRICKLAYING can be great, if a guy knows. If he knows what he's doing and why and if he can make it come off. When I'm goin', I mean, when I'm REALLY goin' I feel like a...like a jockey must feel. He's sittin' on his horse, he's got all that speed and that power underneath him...he's comin' into the stretch, the pressure's on 'im, and he KNOWS...just feels...when to let it go and how much.

    'Cause he's got everything workin' for 'im: timing, touch. It's a great feeling, boy, it's a real great feeling when you're right and you KNOW you're right. It's like all of a sudden I got oil in my arm. The pool cue's part of me. You know, it's uh—pool cue, it's got nerves in it. It's a piece of wood, it's got nerves in it. Feel the roll of those balls, you don't have to look, you just KNOW. You make shots that nobody's ever made before. I can play that game the way...NOBODY'S ever played it before.

    Sarah Packard: You're not a loser, Eddie, you're a winner. Some men never get to feel that way about anything.

    Not much I can add except that Paul Newman is the man. But you already knew that.

28. Field of Dreams: Wait, Where Are We?

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    John Kinsella: Is this heaven?

    Ray Kinsella: It's Iowa.

    Iowa and heaven—two places I won't be visiting before I die.

    No Iowa citizen's feelings were hurt during the making of this slideshow.

27. Rounders: Let Me Tell You Something

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    Mike McDermott: Listen, here's the thing: If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.

    And people everywhere retired from playing poker after hearing this line.

26. Cool Runnings: Bobsled Time

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    Sanka Coffie: Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, it's bobsled time! COOL RUNNINGS!

    Just make sure you kiss the lucky egg beforehand.

25. Remember the Titans: Meeting of the Leaders

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    Big Ju: Attitude reflects leadership, captain.

    Here we have the classic turning-point-in-the-film scene.

    And one great line to end it.

24. The Sandlot: It Just Got Real

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    Ham Porter: You play ball like a giiirrrrrrrrl!

    Now it's on like Donkey Kong.

23. Bull Durham: Crash Davis on Srikeouts

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    Crash Davis: Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls—it's more democratic.

    I mean, how good is that line? Catchers everywhere should say that at least once in their careers.

22. Hoosiers: Jimmy Chitwood's Confidence

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    Jimmy Chitwood: I'll make it.

    With the game on the line, that is what you want your star player to say: I'll make it.

    Give it to me, Coach, I can do it. I want this moment. I'll make it.

21. The Natural: Bat Selection Is Key

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    Roy Hobbs: Pick me out a winner, Bobby.

    A simple and classic line for an epic finish.

20. Tin Cup: Par for the Course

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    Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy: Sex and golf are the two things you can enjoy even if you're not good at them.

    I couldn't find footage of this moment, so I just threw the trailer up for you.

    But how good is that line?

    There's a miniature golf joke in there somewhere, but I'm just going to move on.

19. Caddyshack: In the Hole

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    Carl Spackler: Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac... It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole!

    In one fell swoop, Bill Murray made sports announcers reach deeper into their bags of cliché.

18. Million Dollar Baby: Boxing Insight

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    Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: To make a fighter you gotta strip them down to bare wood: you can't just tell 'em to forget everything you know if you gotta make 'em forget even their bones... make 'em so tired they only listen to you, only hear your voice, only do what you say and nothing else... show 'em how to keep their balance and take it away from the other guy... how to generate momentum off their right toe and how to flex your knees when you fire a jab... how to fight backin' up so that the other guy doesn't want to come after you. Then you gotta show 'em all over again. Over and over and over... 'till they think they're born that way.

    This is some of the best insight into the mind of a boxing trainer I've ever heard or read, with the exception of the entirety of W.C. Heinz's classic novel The Professional. (Go to your local library and check it out—it's incredible.)

17. Bull Durham: Annie Savoy Opening Monologue

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    Annie Savoy: I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never boring...which makes it like sex.

    This is the first half of probably my favorite opening monologue in movie history. It's intelligent, it instantly engages you as a viewer and any baseball nut believes there is a truth to it.

16. Hoosiers: Taking Away the Pressure

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    Coach Norman Dale: Ten feet. I think you'll find it's exact same measurements as our gym back in Hickory.

    Can you believe I couldn't find this moment anywhere on lists of the best Hoosiers quotes?

    To me, this was the best scene of the whole movie and an extremely clever way for Coach Dale to eliminate some of the pressure from the spectacle of playing for a state championship.

    But apparently I'm the only one who feels this way about this quote and scene. So be it.

15. Sandlot: Poor Smalls

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    Ham Porter: You're killing me Smalls!

    To this day, my friends and I bust out this line on occasion to express mock disgust with one another.

14. Hustler: The Exit

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    Fast Eddie: Fat man, you shoot a great game of pool.

    I couldn't find a clip of this scene, so you'll have to take my word for it.

13. Caddyshack: Be the Ball

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    Ty Webb: I'm going to give you a little advice. There's a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen and be the ball.

    There are a slew of great quotes in this clip alone, but this is my favorite part (and also the only one that directly corresponds to sports).

12. Bull Durham: Meeting at the Mound

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    Larry: Excuse me, but what the hell's going on out here?

    Crash Davis: Well, Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man's here. We need a live...is it a live rooster? We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present. Is that about right? We're dealing with a lot of (bleep).

    Larry: Okay, well, uh...candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let's get two! Go get 'em.

    Okay, so this might be a scene, but the entire scene is full of memorable quotes. It is moments like this that make Bull Durham so much smarter than simply a romantic comedy that borrows minor league baseball as a setting.

    There are a thousand other quotes I could use for Bull Durham, but I limited it to three. A few of my other favorites from the movie are below:

    Crash Davis: How come in former lifetimes, everybody is someone famous?

    Crash Davis: You be cocky and arrogant, even when you're getting beat. That's the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.

    Annie Savoy: The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness.

    Crash Davis: Well, I believe in the soul, the c**k, the pu**y, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing AstroTurf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

11. Rocky: Mickey's Thoughts on the Ladies

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    Mickey: Women weaken legs!

    Hard to argue with that.

    While we're on Mickey, we should probably include this one as well:

    Mickey: You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!

10. Caddyshack: The Dalai Lama

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    Carl Spackler: So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald...striking.

    So I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one—big hitter, the Lama—long, into a 10,000-foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga...gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the 18th and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

    When he says, "big hitter, the Lama," I lose it every time.

9. Happy Gilmore: Don't Mess with Bob Barker

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    Happy Gilmore: The price is wrong, (bleep).

    (I'm not really sure if I can type some of the curse words that appear in these quotes, which sort of makes me sad. But this is a family program.)

    One of the best lines of trash talk during a fight—during a golf tournament—in movie history.

    Additionally, one of the most hilarious fights in sports movie history.

    Simply an amazing scene.

8. Any Given Sunday: Inches

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    Tony D'Amato: The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that's gonna make the (bleeping) difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!

    I'll tell you this, in any fight it's the guy who's willing to die who's gonna win that inch. And I know, if I'm gonna have any life anymore it's because I'm still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that's what living is, the six inches in front of your face.

    The whole speech is awesome, but this is the particular section I think is the most noteworthy.

    I don't know about you, but I'm pumped up right now.

7. Karate Kid: Do Your Chores, Kids!

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    Miyagi: Wax on...wax off. Wax on...wax off.

    Maybe the ShamWow guy should have studied with Mr. Miyagi.

6. Field of Dreams: The Voice

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    The Voice: If you build it, he will come.

    It's not necessarily an amazing quote, but it is one of the most iconic quotes in movie history, so it had to be pretty high on this list.

    But the No. 1 (or even the best) quote from Field of Dreams?

    Not in my opinion.

5. Major League: Fine Announcing

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    Harry Doyle: JUST a bit outside.

    This cracks me up every time. Baseball and dry wit are a perfect pairing that don't seem to find one another often enough.

4. Jerry Maguire: You Know What Rod Wants

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    Rod Tidwell: I wanna make sure you're ready, brother. Here it is: Show me the money. Oh-ho-ho! SHOW! ME! THE! MONEY! A-ha-ha! Jerry, doesn't it make you feel good just to say that! Say it with me one time, Jerry.

    I know, I know—how could I have put such an obscure quote so high on the list?

3. Rocky II: The Classic Line

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    Rocky: Yo, Adrian! I did it!

    The whole "Yo, Adrian" line is easily the most famous part of the Rocky series.

    Well, unless you live in Philadelphia like I do and see tourists run up the Art Museum steps all the time.

2. A League of Their Own: Jimmy Dugan

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    Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!

    1. It's true.

    2. It's the best part of the movie, as you get the full sense of disparity between Jimmy Dugan's mentality and that of his female players.

    3. The whole scene is well written and pretty damn funny.

1. Field of Dreams: Terence Mann

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    Terence Mann: The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh...people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

    Have truer words ever been spoken about the game of baseball?