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11 Quotes From the Biggest Movies of 2023

From a cinematic point of view, history will likely sum up 2023 in one word: “Barbenheimer.” It was the cultural phenomenon of the summer, with Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer — two films that couldn’t be more different but that shared a release date — managing to spawn their own portmanteau.

Both films were massive hits. Barbie became the 53rd film to gross $1 billion worldwide as well as the highest-grossing comedy movie ever released in the U.S., breaking the long-standing record previously held by Home Alone. Oppenheimer, meanwhile, became both the highest-grossing World War II film and the highest-grossing biographical film of all time.

Although Barbenheimer received far more attention than all other movies this year, there were plenty of other great films that are also well worth watching. Here are quotes from 11 of the biggest and most noteworthy movies of 2023, from weighty biopics to the now-customary superhero movies and, of course, the Barbenheimer duo.

A shoe is just a shoe until somebody steps into it. Then it has meaning.
Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) in “Air"

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Ben Affleck directed 2023’s biggest sports drama, which tells the true story of Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike employee who set out to strike a deal with the then-rookie basketball player Michael Jordan. This, of course, resulted in Air Jordans — one of the most successful apparel partnerships in history.

Just keep telling the story.
Schubert Green (Adrien Brody) in “Asteroid City”

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Wes Anderson’s highly anticipated 11th feature film was met with mixed reviews, but devoted Anderson fans showed up to see it nonetheless. The movie itself examines the idea that what we see on our screens is far from reality. It also involves the concept of emotional repression — and aliens.


They won't fear it until they understand it. And they won't understand it until they've used it. Theory will take you only so far.
J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) in “Oppenheimer”

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Oppenheimer tells the true story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American theoretical physicist known as the “father of the atomic bomb” for his work on the Manhattan Project. Everyone assumed it would be a great film simply because it was directed by Christopher Nolan, one of the best directors of his generation — and Nolan didn’t disappoint.

We mothers stand still so our daughters can look back and see how far they've come.
Ruth (Rhea Perlman) in “Barbie”

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Barbie turned the summer pink with a movie that many initially presumed would primarily target young kids. In reality, it’s a very meta commentary on feminism, life in a patriarchal society, and existential crises. And then there’s Ryan Gosling, who’s hilariously devoted to his role as the lost and lovestruck Ken.


You should not be crying for your own misfortunes, for your own sins. You also have been searched for, but you’re so lost in your own selfishness that no one could ever find you.
Angel (Maev Beaty) in “Beau Is Afraid”

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Ari Aster fans know to expect a certain degree of strangeness from his movies, but Beau Is Afraid saw the director aim for a whole new level of weird. Exactly what it’s about is anyone’s guess, but it’s one heck of a journey for those willing to be swept along.


In an insane world, it is the sane who are called crazy.
Lumalee (Juliet Jelenic) in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie, starring Chris Pratt as the beloved Italian plumber, received mixed reviews from critics — but moviegoers didn’t seem to care about that, as it became the first movie based on a video game to gross $1 billion worldwide.


Evil surrounds my heart. Many times I cry and this evil around my heart comes out of my eyes. I close my heart and keep what is good there. But hate comes.
Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone) in “Killers of the Flower Moon”

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Martin Scorsese’s epic Western crime drama, based on David Grann’s 2017 nonfiction book of the same name, tells the story of a series of murders among the Osage Nation after the lucrative discovery of oil on their tribal lands. Many critics have called it one of Scorsese’s best films — high praise indeed, considering his incredible filmography.


The universe has sent you a gift, and you have to figure out what to do with it.
Rudy Reyes (George Lopez) in “Blue Beetle”

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DC Studios created an unashamedly family-focused superhero movie with Blue Beetle, packing in plenty of humor and heart. Superhero-weary critics were surprisingly positive in their reviews, but the movie struggled at the box office, in part because of the competing hype surrounding Barbie and Oppenheimer.


Then we're the same. We can't go to heaven. Because you're not good. And I'm not a person.
Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles) in “The Creator”

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Welsh filmmaker Gareth Edwards burst onto the sci-fi movie scene with 2010’s Monsters before striding into Star Wars territory with Rogue One. With the artificial intelligence-fueled, action-packed shenanigans of The Creator, he further established himself as a rising star within the genre.


You fought your way back … You just have to find out why.
Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) in “Extraction 2”

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Extraction 2 is, overall, a solid action movie. But it truly excels during a 21-minute segment near the start of the movie that surely ranks among the greatest action sequences of all time. While it looks as if it was filmed in one shot, the initial extraction by ex-soldier Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) was actually cleverly stitched together. Nonetheless, it’s a highly impressive cinematic feat.


Someday I'm gonna make great machines that fly. And me and my friends are gonna go flying together, into the forever and beautiful sky.
Rocket (Bradley Cooper) in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

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Some viewers criticized Guardians 3 for tugging too hard on the ol’ heartstrings. But for those of us who were swept up in the whole adventure, it was a truly emotional — and at times genuinely heartbreaking — final romp with Star-Lord and his faithful friends.

Featured image credit: Entertainment Pictures/ Alamy Stock Photo

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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