Military movies spark a sense of patriotism and display the canvas of our human existence by highlighting trauma, love, and perseverance.
Here are our choices for the 20 best military movie quotes of all time.
Note: Some of these war movie quotes contain strong language, viewer / reader discretion is advised!
Saving Private Ryan
#1. “Keep the sand out of your weapons. Keep those actions clear. I’ll see you on the beach.”
– Captain Miller- Saving Private Ryan (1998)
This introductory scene from Saving Private Ryan sets the stage for the remainder of the movie.
At this moment, Captain Miller’s words were largely inadequate for when they landed on the beach, and he knows it.
Just before hearing this military movie quote, Captain Miller’s hands are shaking, and soldiers are puking around him. This moment definitely foreshadows impending death.
You can catch the scene in the first couple of minutes of this clip. (Note: age restricted)
We Were Soldiers
This scene from We Were Soldiers, and this moment is not about what was said, so there are not, in this scene, any military movie quotes.
Instead, it is what is unspoken that speaks volumes.
As the reporters descend upon the scene, you can tell by the expressions there is nothing glamourous about this war.
You can see the emotional distress by watching the clip below:
Full Metal Jacket
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Gunny) from Full Metal Jack is a national treasure, and everything he says in this movie is fantastic.
Full Metal Jacket might be one of the most quotable military movies of all time, and you’re about to find out why.
The entire movie follows a platoon during the Vietnam war, from the moment they enter boot camp through their military futures.
The first memorable quote comes from the barracks inspection scene, where Gunny unleashes a tirade of insults on Private ‘Cowboy’:
#3. “I bet you’re the kind of guy that would f*ck a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I’ll be watching you.”
– R. Lee Ermey, Gunny – Full Metal Jacket
You can catch this clip below:
Next, Gunny continues on with another memorable insult:
#4. “How tall are you private?”
“Sir, five foot nine, sir!”
“Five foot nine, I didn’t know they stacked shit that high!”
– R. Lee Ermey, Gunny – Full Metal Jacket
This movie quote is definitely one to use in regular conversation if you can.
You can watch this clip in its entirety below:
Next, Gunny goes on to make Private Pyle’s life hell during the climbing obstacle.
#5. “Are you quitting on me? Well, are you? Then quit, you slimy f#king walrus-looking piece of sh&t! Get the f#k off of my obstacle! Get the f#k down off of my obstacle! NOW! MOVE IT! Or I’m going to rip your balls off, so you cannot contaminate the rest of the world! I will motivate you, Private Pyle, IF IT SHORT-D&KS EVERY CANNIBAL ON THE CONGO!”
– R. Lee Ermey, Gunny – Full Metal Jacket
Here is the entire clip below:
The trainees are still going through boot camp, and the abusive antics by Gunny eventually push Pyle over the edge.
#6. “I ain’t got time to bleed.”
– Jessie Ventura, Blain Predator
This famous scene from Predator was not originally in the script. However, the two actors are Vietnam vets, and when Arnold Schwarzenegger became ill, the two war vets were up for doing a scene on their own.
While Blain (Jesse Ventura) delivers this famous line, pay attention to Ponchos’ (Richard Chaves) response a few seconds later.
Lastly, if you have yet to figure out how to work in ‘the son of a bi#$h is dug in like an Alabama tick’ into your regular day-to-day language, you need to work on that.
You can watch this movie clip below:
I would be remiss to not point out another one of the most famous quotes from Predator as well.
You know which one I’m talking about…It’s spoken by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.
Figured it out yet? If not, here it is:
#7. ‘Run!…Go!…GET TO THE CHOPPA!!’
– Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘Dutch’ – Predator
In my opinion, this should be on every list of war movie quotes. Check it out below:
#8. “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Do you smell that? …Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
– Robert Duvall, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore – Apocalypse Now
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore called in an order to hit the treeline with napalm. After the explosions, he turned and delivered the famous quote.
Robert Duvall only had around 20 minutes of screen time in this movie, but he won an Oscar nomination for his work.
You can see this iconic quote in this movie clip, along with the events leading up to the moment, below:
#9. “Lovely f*cking war.”
– Dale Sye, Captain Harris – Platoon
Things are not going well for the Captain at this point in the movie Platoon, and he makes the call for an airstrike.
Soldiers are in a foxhole pulling casualties and dead soldiers inside, and they cannot get a hold of anyone on the radio.
The Captain realizes there is nowhere to retreat, as they are all surrounded by the enemy.
A perimeter airstrike is his best bet.
You can watch the clip below:
#10. “Sir, I got lost on the way to college, sir.”
– Jake Gyllenhall, Anthony Swoff – Jarhead
Jarhead is a goldmine for military movie quotes.
Anthony Swofford (Swoff) signs up for the Marines, and he quickly regrets his decision once meeting his Drill Instructor. Things do not go well.
Watch the clip below, but the quote and the aftermath begin at 2:00. However, watch the whole quote for the build-up:
In this next one of many amazing military movie quotes, Swoff attends Staff Sergeant Sykes’ sniper training.
Throughout this scene, Sykes is giving helpful advice to the trainees and then asks someone about approximating distance, which leads up to this gem:
#11. “Please don’t use your dicks.”
– Jarhead (minute 1:30)
You can catch this particular line at minute 1:30 in the video below, but watch the whole four minutes, as they are full of awesome quotes.
It is impossible to discuss military movie quotes without noting the epicness that is M*A*S*H.
The movie M*A*S*H came out in 1970, and the movie spawned the tv show, which ran for 11 seasons.
The entire M*A*S*H script is perfection, but there are a couple of quotes that really highlight both the seriousness and the comedy of the situation.
#12. “This isn’t a hospital! This is an insane asylum!”
– Sally Kepperman, Major Margaret ‘Hot Lips’ O’Houlihan – M*A*S*H
You can catch this hilarious clip below:
In this next scene, Hawkeye has an interaction with Hot Lips where she is discussing procedures in the hospital. She is displeased with his informality, and he has some choice words for Hot Lips.
#13. “Oh come off it, MAJOR! You put me right off my fresh fried lobster, do you realize that? I’m going to go back to my bed, I’m going to put away the best part of a bottle of scotch… and under normal circumstances, you being normally what I would call a very attractive woman, I would have invited you back to share my little bed with me you might possibly have come. But you really put me off. I mean you’re what we call a regular army clown.”
– Hawkeye – M*A*S*H
It gets better, though.
Hawkeye leaves, and Hot Lips posing the question: “I wonder how a degenerated person like that could have reached a position of responsibility in the Army Medical Corps!”
The deadpan answer is, “He was drafted.”
You can watch the entire clip below:
The Hurt Locker
Hurt Locker is an adaptation of wartime experiences that center around dismantling improvised explosive devices (IUDs). The Explosive Devise Team is responsible for this job.
In this scene, they discover a car and learn the trunk is full of explosives.
Staff Sergeant James removes his helmet and remaining gear, much to everyone’s surprise.
When asked what he is doing, James replies:
#14. “There’s enough bang in there to send us all to Jesus. If I’m gonna’ die, I’m gonna’ die comfortable.”
– Jeremy Renner, Staff Sergeant William James – The Hurt Locker
You can catch this clip below:
You might not think about military movie quotes and have the movie 300 come to mind, but there are stellar movie quotes in the movie worth mentioning.
The movie 300 is an epic story about the Battle of Thermopylae during the Persian Wars.
King Leondias leads 300 spartans into a battle against the God-King, who has a thousand times the number of soldiers.
For the following quote, a messenger shows up to speak to Leonidas, and Queen Gorgo and the messenger have a back-and-forth, along with Leonidas.
#15. Leonidas: “Before you speak, Persian, know that in Sparta, everyone, even a king’s messenger, is held accountable for the words of his voice. Now, what message do you bring?”
Messenger from Xerxes: “Earth and water.”
Leonidas: “You rode all the way from Persia for earth and water?”
Queen Gorgo: “Do not be coy or stupid, Persian. You can afford neither in Sparta.”
Messenger from Xerxes: “What makes this woman think she can speak among men?”
Queen Gorgo: “Because only Spartan women give birth to real men.”
You can watch the entire clip below, as the movie quote happens right in the beginning. However, watch the whole clip because it ends with the famous ‘This is Sparta!’ scene.
Later in this epic story, we have this quote from when Arcadians leave, and the Persians are surrounding Leonidas and his soldiers:
#16. “Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty… For tonight, we dine in hell!”
– King Leonidas – 300
You can see this clip by clicking here.
If you have ever seen the movie Stripes, you know some military movie quotes come from comedies.
Stripes stars Bull Murray and several other Hollywood stars.
This movie takes this unlikely group and sends them to basic training with a commanding officer who is not happy with this group of misfits.
In this quote, Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates) is trying to get all his soldiers in formation, and it is not going well.
#17. “You know something soldier, I’ve noticed that you’re always last.”
“I’m pacing myself, Sergeant.”
– John Winger and Sergeant Hulka – Stripes
One of the reasons this scene is so funny is because pacing yourself is an art in the military. Hurry up and wait, but look busy while you are at it.
You can see the clip below:
There are several military movie quotes from Top Gun, but these two lines are iconic.
Peter “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is a hotshot pilot who rejects rules. Goose (Anthony Edwards) is Maverick’s wingman in all senses of the word.
Maverick does not simply like to go fast; he is compelled to.
#18. Maverick: “I feel the need …”
Maverick and Goose in unison: “… the need for speed!”
– Top Gun
Check it out below:
The movie Pearl Harbor takes place right before, during, and after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
There are several military movie quotes from this movie that are fantastic.
However, one stands out.
In this scene, President Roosevelt (John Voight) meets with his advisors to discuss what they will do after the attack.
The President wants to be bold, but his advisors are not on board.
At one point, President Roosevelt discusses how when he had the use of his legs, he was “strong and proud and arrogant.” Then, Roosevelt ponders that God saw fit to put him in a wheelchair for those moments he needs to remember
#19. “…when we all need to be reminded who we truly are that we will not give up or give in.”
Someone interrupts President Roosevelt to tell him what he is asking is impossible.
Watch the entire clip to see President Roosevelt’s response below:
A Few Good Men
Last on our list of the best military movie quotes of all time is one that should also be included on every list.
It’s from the movie ‘A Few Good Men’, and needs virtually no introduction:
#20. “You can’t handle the truth!”
– Colonel Jessup, USMC (Jack Nicolson)
Need I say more? Check out the clip in its entirety below:
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