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12 One-Liners From Beloved Summer Blockbusters

When we think back on summertime, one of the most vivid memories is often the big blockbuster movie that hit the theaters that season. Armed with oversized budgets and star-studded casts, these summer spectacles generate much buzz and often, major returns at the box office.

The term “blockbuster” comes from the giant bombs dropped during the Second World War, which could flatten a whole city block. The word entered everyday speech in reference to any large or shocking event, and eventually people began to refer to popular films as blockbusters — they were the movies that landed in theaters and blew their competition away.

In 1975, the first official summer blockbuster arrived on the scene with Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. A fast-paced, exciting movie, its success would reshape the way Hollywood did business. Jaws brought audiences flocking to the cinema (and away from the beach) in a way no other film had before, giving studios a winning formula they were all too happy to repeat year after year. But the blockbuster is not all big fish, big money, and bombast — many of these films also have big hearts and deep meanings. Here are 12 memorable one-liners from summer blockbusters that stay with us long after the final explosion.


You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
— Martin Brody (​​Roy Scheider) in "Jaws," 1975

With a great white shark snacking on vacationers on Amity Island, it is down to Sheriff Martin Brody to stop the murderous fish before it strikes again. When he first encounters the giant shark at sea he makes this quip — but doesn’t give up his mission.

To infinity, and beyond!
— Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) in "Toy Story," 1995

In this tale of toys come to life, Buzz Lightyear, a toy who doesn’t know he’s a toy, refuses to accept the limitations of his plastic predicament. This saying acts as a reminder to him, and the audience, that there are no limits to what we can do.

In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers.
— T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) in "Black Panther," 2018

Marvel’s highly acclaimed Black Panther film tackled real-world situations in a way not usually seen in superhero films. While focusing on Black and African experiences, the message of the movie is one of unity. As the Black Panther himself says, “We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”

Do. Or do not. There is no "try."
— Yoda (Frank Oz) in "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," 1980

At the heart of the Star Wars franchise is the mystical Force that binds all beings together. Using the Force allows Jedi to achieve impossible things — and as Yoda reminds us, you have to have faith in yourself to wield it.

Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.
— Doc (Christopher Lloyd) in "Back to the Future III," 1990

Time travel movies tend to get mind-bendingly complicated, but the Back to the Future trilogy centers more on feelings and relationships than complex physics. In the final film, the inventor of time travel, Doc Brown, reveals that we can always change things, reminding his young companion that “Your future hasn’t been written yet!”

I’m the king of the world!
— Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) in "Titanic," 1997

You might think that a movie about the most famous maritime tragedy of all time would be a bit of a downer, and while there are certainly tears to be shed during this film, Titanic is also about the need to seize hold of your life. You might not have much, but if you fill your life with experiences you might, like Jack, be king of the world.

Life finds a way.
— Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in "Jurassic Park," 1993

Jurassic Park is both an exciting adventure film and a warning about technological advancement left unchecked. While the designers of the dinosaur park think they have considered every possibility, Dr. Malcolm is less sure. Life, as he points out, tends to follow unexpected paths.

I don’t want to survive. I want to live!
— Captain (Jeff Garlin) in "Wall-E," 2008

The Pixar film Wall-E sees humanity abandoning a polluted Earth to live lives of comfort and inactivity on a spaceship. The arrival of a cute, if chaotic, robot called Wall-E sets off a chain of events that wakes up the humans to the tedium of their existence. The Captain of the ship stands up to the controlling ship’s computer, demanding a chance to do more than languish in a comfy chair.

We are Groot.
— Groot (Vin Diesel) in "Guardians of the Galaxy," 2014

Groot, the tree-ish member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, has a vocabulary limited to simply saying “I am Groot.” Yet when he sacrifices himself to save the rest of the team he finally says something different and reminds the others that they are more than just a lovable bunch of misfits — they’re friends.

Every man dies, but not every man truly lives.
— William Wallace (Mel Gibson) in "Braveheart," 1995

When William Wallace leads his army of Scots against the English, he knows that he is almost certainly doomed. But it is a fight that he is willing to face nevertheless, because it is a fight for freedom.

Just keep swimming.
— Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) in "Finding Nemo," 2003

Dory, the lovable fish in Pixar’s Finding Nemo, may not be the most intellectual character (she literally has the short-term memory of a fish), but she does have one thing that keeps her going. Her philosophy of “just keep swimming” means that no matter what troubles she faces she always carries on — and things turn out okay in the end.

With great power comes great responsibility.
— Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) in "Spiderman," 2002

Just because you have been bitten by a radioactive spider and gained superpowers does not mean that your troubles are over. As Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben reminds him, those who have been given power have a responsibility to use it carefully, and hopefully for the good of others.

Photo credit: tgilmore/ Unsplash

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About the Author
Ben Gazur
Ben Gazur is a freelance writer, historian, and folklorist.
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