Thursday, May 11, 2006

May 11: Classic Movie Lines Day

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was founded on this day in 1927. The mission of this professional organization is the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures.

The AMPAS is best known for its annual ceremony the Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars. By the time of the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1928, movies had become a vital part of the culture.

Below are examples of movie-related words that entered the language as motion pictures evolved into a staple of modern life:

cinema (1909)

feature film (1911)

movie (1912)

talkie (1913)

movie house (1914)

movie theater (1915)

movie star (1914)

Hollywood (1926)

flick (1926)

Oscar (1936) (1)

In an essay entitle "Yadda Yadda Doo" from his book The Way We Talk Now, Geoffrey Nunberg compares the lifespan of movie lines to television catch phrases. According to Nunberg, television catch phrases come and go, like the shows from which they spawn. But movie lines have a longer life, and when they enter the language, they take on a life of their own; for example, "a lot of people use the line ‘We don’t need no stinkin’ badges,’ but not many of them could identify it as a quote, or actually a misquote, from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (2). Like dead metaphors, movie lines become imbedded in the cultural vocabulary of all of us.

Today’s Challenge: "We’ll Always Have the Movies."

The following classic movie lines are from the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 Movie Lines of All Time. See if you can identify the movie that goes with each line (3).

1. #11 What we've got here is failure to communicate.

2. #16 They call me Mister Tibbs!

3. #29 You can't handle the truth!

4. #32 Round up the usual suspects.

5. #50 Houston, we have a problem.

6. #64 Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

7. #95 Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.

8. #100 I'm king of the world!

Quote of the Day: Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. --Forrest Gump

Answers: 1. Cool Hand Luke 2. In the Head of the Night 3. A Few Good Men 4. Casablanca 5. Apollo 13 6. Dr. Strangelove 7. Dead Poets' Society 8. Titanic

1 Ayto, John. Twentieth Century Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press,1999.

2 Nunberg, Geoffrey. The Way We Talk Now. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.

3. American Film Institute

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