October 4, 2013

Iconic One-Liners

The one-liner is incredibly important to an action hero, without it, you just ain’t shit. Imagine John McClane NOT saying his infamous line in Die Hard?

There are plenty of bad one-liners, which are also just as awesome but then there is a single line which pretty much defines the character but may also define the type of characters that the actor would play in the future.


Here are a few of the one-liners that defined some of the best action heroes.

Arnie: “I’ll Be Back”. Although he has said it in pretty much every movie of his career “I’ll be Back!” was first uttered in the classic “The Terminator”. It is then followed by Arnold’s killer machine decimating a police station in his search for Sarah Connor. The line would become Arnold’s catchphrase which he still uses today.

Dolph: “I Must Break You”. Arguably the most iconic line from Rocky IV, it made Dolph’s character Ivan Drago one of his most enduring roles and showed that the character is essentially a machine, trained for one purpose: winning, no matter what.

Sly: “Yo Adrienne, we did it!” (Rocky II) or “Don’t push it” (First Blood). I couldn’t decide who is more iconic Rocky or Rambo so I’m cheating and putting both. Rocky’s cry of victory at the end of Rocky II defined the character perfectly. He’s the underdog who overcame insurmountable odds to become the champ and inspired a generation.

Rambo’s “Don’t push it, or I’ll give you a war you wouldn’t believe” would become his mantra. Even in part 4, he says “When pushed, killing’s as easy as breathing”. People seem not to listen to him however and keep pushing him. It doesn’t end well for them.

Bruce Willis: “
Yippee ki-yay, motherf**ker!” Pretty much the most iconic one-liner in action movie history; it defines John McClane as a modern cowboy using his wits and wit to outsmart his enemies.

Wesley Snipes: “Always Bet on Black”. More funny than anything, Wesley Snipes’ role in Passenger 57 is still quoted today and I can’t think of any other line he’s said since that’s as memorable. Rumour has it something similar will be uttered in The Expendables 3.

Clint Eastwood: “Do I feel Lucky? Well, do ya punk?” One of the greatest lines of all time proved that Dirty Harry is a cop who loves to play by his own rules, the one law he cares about is his own. He believes criminals should be dealt with in the harshest way possible which caused a lot of controversy around the time of release.


I’ve been trying to think about Jean-Claude Van Damme’s most iconic one-liner is but nothing really springs to mind. Any ideas?


About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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