Yelling has been an integral part of cinema since the first talkies came to be. I bet you didn’t know that the original screenplay for The Jazz Singer was typed in all caps and was supposed to be yelled the entire time. That’s a true fact. But we’ve come so far now in terms of great yelling/screaming/shouting in cinema so, inspired by Dwayne Johnson’s epic yell at the end of the new Hercules trailer, we bring you the best lines ever yelled in cinema.
When brain storming this list it got kind of crazy long so we’ve made a few rules. The first is that we’re capping it at 15 because if not we could basically go on forever, especially with Nic Cage’s career. That brings us to the second rule: each actor or series only gets one yell. Our first attempt at this list turned out to simply be Star Wars, Arnold and Stallone, and while that is an awesome list it kind of left out some big ones. Finally, it has to be dialog. Simply shouting “AAAAHHHH” will not qualify for this list, though there are plenty of fantastic onomatopoeic shouts out there.
With those rules nailed down, put your headphones on, crank it up to 11 and lets get loud.
Gary Oldman in Léon: The Professional
Seriously. Never make Gary Oldman repeat himself. It’s hard to know why this line works so well, but it’s probably because Gary Oldman is an awesome actor and because it comes out of nowhere. Most of these yells are built up to, but Oldman’s just jumps right into your face along with the spittle flying from his mouth.
Marlon Brando in A Street Car Named Desire
Method acting, bitches.
“ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!”
Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon
Want to know how good Al Pacino is? This entire shout was improvised after assistant director Burt Harris gave him the idea. Possibly the most politically charged shout on the list Attica was a semi-recent prison fight fresh in the minds of the public as an example of police brutality and overwhelming authority. This yell would have not only riled up the crowd in Sydney Lumet’s masterpiece, but the audience watching in the theater as well. Even without the historical context it is nothing short of riveting.
Mel Gibson in Braveheart
Re-watching this clip to put this list together we realized that this scene when taken out of context is insanely cheesy. If you didn’t know any better you’d probably assume this was from some horribly written, low budget British TV show. But that’s the beauty of this yell: it’s built on the rest of the movie. Gibson’s shout here isn’t just a stand alone yell, it’s all of Scottland shouting for freedom!
“I’M AS MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”
Peter Finch in Network
Possibly the line that really solidified yelling as an acceptable form of dialog in legitimate films, “I’M AS MAD AS HELL” isn’t just fantastic because Peter Finch delivers it like a true madman. It’s also fantastic because of how scarily prophetic it is. Flash forward nearly 40 years and we’ve got cable channels propping up pundits shouting everything and anything to get your attention. If you haven’t watched Network and only know this shout we suggest fixing that ASAP.
“NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! AHHHH! THEY’RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES!
Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man
Selecting the best yelled line by an actor who has so perfected yelling like a madman was damn near impossible, but Nic Cage’s performance during the last ten minutes of the remake ofThe Wicker Man had to take the cake. He yells every line during this entire scene until the conclusion of the movie and it’s glorious. The best of those lines? It’s obviously the bees.
“AND YOU WILL KNOW MY NAME IS THE LORD WHEN I LAY MY VENGEANCE UPON THEE!”
Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction
Picking this line over another certain one involving snakes and planes was tough, but Samuel L. Jackson’s performance in Pulp Fiction and the screenplay he’s reading from elevates this above all the rest of his myriad of quality yelled lines. Basically this entire scene is yelling (“ENGLISH, MOTHER FUCKER. DO YOU SPEAK IT?”), but by the time he hits this line, his voice subtly rising after being a badass mother fucker for the past five minutes, it’s definitely the most poetic part of a fantastically delivered and crafted yelling spree.
“SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!“
Charlton Heston in Soylent Green
Most of these lines are big payoffs that leave the audience pumped up and relieved, but “SOYLENT GREEN” is a desperate shout into oblivion as Charlton Heston is carried away and the movie concludes. Not only one of the greatest plot twists to hit the silver screen, it’s one of the few that’s yelled loudly and then brought to a dystopian ending where you’re pretty sure the fact that Heston is shouting his lungs outs is almost entirely moot. Note: Heston’s other classic yelled line “GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL” from Planet of the Apes could easily be swapped with almost the exact same description.
“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!“
Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men
In all honesty, a lot of these yells aren’t what you’d call “well-acted.” They deliver on the yell part and are awesome, but the emotion behind them isn’t really there. Jack Nicholson’s delivery here, however, is god damn full of it. Perfectly led up to by Cruise’s interrogation, the explosion of anger that the audience has been waiting for all movie leads into one of the best courtroom monologues to do date. It also gives regular people a line they can yell whenever the hell someone is demanding the truth about the banalest things in the world.
Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith
It’s hard to know what Lucas was thinking with this one. Oh wait, it’s the prequels, he was thinking about money and fell asleep on the “O” key. Whatever his melodramatic inspirations were, this prolific shout has now cemented itself into the annals of movie yelling history and Internet meme-dom. In a franchise full of fantastic yelled lines (“THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!”, “YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THE CHOSEN ONE!”), you have to give this guy credit for out dramatizing them all.
“HEY, YOU GUYS!”
John Matuszak in The Goonies
Parents, if you’re wondering how to get your children interested in the highly educational and beneficial world of yelled lines pop in The Goonies. OK, pop in The Goonies no matter what because it’s awesome, but it’ll also help with the yelled lines thing. Probably one of the more heavily used lines in pop culture these days — How many times have you shouted it to your friends upon seeing them across the street? — “HEY, YOU GUYS!” is actually pretty immaterial line in the film, but John Matuszak, as Sloth, delivers it so earnestly that it’s no wonder it stuck.
“THIS! IS! SPARTA!”
Gerard Butler in 300
What really sells Butler’s shout here is the fact that he turns three words into three sentences simply through the power of a good yell. Could this have gone all subtle and menacing? Sure, but that wouldn’t have been very Spartan. Instead, each word is shouted with enough force that he probably didn’t even need to kick the Persian to knock him into that bottomless hole.
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
Another tough one to choose from, but Stallone’s first is still his best. These days overly dramatic sports movie conclusion are a dime a dozen (thanks heavily impart to this very franchise), but when Rocky landed people hadn’t really seen something like it before. Rocky yelling “ADRIAAANNN” at the end of the bout as chaos reigned and audiences basically jumped out of their seats in excitement was momentous. It helps that Stallone was all out Stalloning when yelling the line so that it could stick so perfectly in people’s memories.
“GET TO THE CHOPPA!”
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator
Arnold could pretty much fill up a list of his own with fantastic yelled lines, but in the popular zeitgeist of the moment nothing stands out more than “GET TO THE CHOPPA!” We’d argue that this line pretty much defines Arnold’s entire career. The inability to pronounce the word chopper while still having the all-out commitment to the yell makes it the iconic Arnold shout.
William Shatner in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The only yell so loud that it echoed across an entire planet’s landscape, “KHAN!” is more than just a yell it’s the defining moment of William Shatner’s career. The clenching of the face, the perfectly timed dramatic pause, the powerful delivery. If you were going to define Shatner as an actor you would simply type Khan next to his face in the dictionary. Delivered by anyone else this would seem really bad, but with Shatner, you’re right there with his anger.
And that wraps it up. We’re almost sure we left off your favorite since we left off about half of ours, but once the dust settled these were the 15 we thought most important. There’s tons of great yelling going on in movies all the time so let us know what your favorites are or better yet yell at us about them. In a rare instance we will not be upset by people typing in all caps.