Sunday, 29 November 2015

Tom Joad's "I'll Be There" Speech

"Whenever there's a fight so hungry people can eat.  I'll be there." (Tom Joad)

Okies piled into their Model T's, overloaded with their worldly possessions, and rumbled down a dusty Route 66 to California during the Great Depression, searching for work in the "Promised Land".  Tom Joad, the main character in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, was fed up with begging for food, begging for a job, begging for dignity.  He parts ways with his family, delivering a tear-jerker speech to his mother.

"Well maybe it's like Casy says.  A fella ain't got a soul of his own -- just a little piece of a big soul.  The one big soul that belongs to everybody.  Then it don' matter.  I'll be around in the dark.  I'll be everywhere -- wherever you can look.  Whenever there's a fight so hungry people can eat.  I'll be there.  Whenever there's a cop beatin' up a guy.  I'll be there.  I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad.  I'll be the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready.  And when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise, and livin' in the houses they build.  I'll be there, too."

To listen to the speech from the 1939 movie The Grapes of Wrath, visit

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Mr. Keating's "Seize the Day" Speech

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old time is still aflying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying. (Mr. Keats, Dead Poets Society)

English teacher Mr. Keating, played by Robin Williams in the movie Dead Poets Society, gives the following inspirational lecture to his students:

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.  The Latin term for that sentiment is Carpe Diem.  Now who knows what that means?  Carpe Diem.  That's seize the day.  Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.  Why does the writer use these lines?  Because we are food for the worms, lads.  Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.  

Now I would like to step forward over here and peruse some of the faces from the past.  You have walked past them many times.  I don't think you've really looked at them.  They're not very different form you,are they?  Same haircuts, full of hormones, just like you.  Invincible, just like you feel.  The world is your oyster.  They believe they are destined for great things, just like many of you.  Their eyes are full of hope, just like you.  Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable?  Because you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils.  But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you.  Go on.  Lean in.  Listen.  Do you hear it?  [He whispers.] Carpe.  Carpe.  Carpe Diem.  Seize the day, boys.  Make your lives extraordinary."  

Friday, 27 November 2015

Jack Lengyel's "We are Marshall" Speech

"This is your opportunity to rise from the ashes and grab glory.  We are Marshall!" (Jack Lengyel)

We Are Marshall is the story of the Thundering Herd football team and the 37 players who were killed in a plane crash in 1970.  The movie talks about the rebuilding of the team and the healing of the community.  Jack Lengyel, played by Matthew McConaughey, gathers the team together in the cemetery where six of the players are buried, and gives them a speech about the teammates they lost and about the game they are about to play.

This is the final resting place of six members of the Thundering Herd.  The plane crash was so severe their bodies were unable to be identified.  So they were buried here together.  Six men, six teammates, six sons of Marshall.  This is our past, gentlemen.  This is where we have been.  This is who we are.  

"Today I want to talk about our opponent.  They're bigger, faster, stronger, more experience.  And on paper, they're just better and they know it too.  But I want to tell you something that they don't know. They don't know your heart.  I do.  I've seen it.  You have shown it to me.  You have shown this coaching staff.  You have shown your teammates.  You have shown yourselves just exactly who you are in here.  When you take that field, today, you've got to lay it hard on the line.  With the souls of your feet, with every ounce of blood in your body.  Lay it on the line.  You can do that.  If you do that, we cannot lose.  We may be behind on the scoreboard at the end of the game, but if you play like that, we cannot be defeated.  

We came here today to remember.  six young men and 69 others who will not be on the filed today, but they will be watching.  You can bet your ass that they'll be gritting their teeth at every snap of that football.  How you play today is how you'll be remembered.  This your opportunity to rise from the ashes and grab glory.  We are Marshall!"

Memorial to Marshall students who died in plane crash at 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Mickey Goldhill's "Get Up...Cause Mickey Loves You" Speech

"Get up you son of a b*ch, get up cause Mickey loves you!" (Mickey Goldhill)

In the original Rocky movie, Rocky's manager is an old crusty fellow named Mickey Goldhill.  He becomes Rocky's mentor, even a father figure for the young boxer.  As Rocky trains for his big fight with Apollo Creed, Mickey gives him a much needed pep talk.  These are his words:

"That Apollo won't know what hit him.  You're going to roll over him like an Italian bulldozer.  You know kid, I know how you fell about this fight...If you wasn't here I probably wouldn't be alive today. The fact that you're here and doing as well as you're doing gives me -- what do you call it -- motivization to stay alive.  Cause i think that people die sometimes when they don't want t o live no more.  Nature's smarter than people think.  Little by little we lose our friends, we lose everything -- keep losing and losing till we say:  What the hell am I living around here?  I've got no reason to go on.  But with you kid, boy I've got a reason to go on.  And I'm going to stay alive.  And I will watch you make good.  And I'll never leave you.  Cause when I leave you, you'll not only know how to fight, you'll be able to take care of yourself outside the ring, too.  Is that okay?"

He gives Rocky a gift, the cuff link given to him by Rocky Marciano.

"It's got to be like an angel sitting on your shoulder.  If you ever get hurt and you feel that you're going down.  This little angel is going to whisper in your ear:  'Get up you son of a b*ch, get up, cause Mickey loves you!'" (

 photo RockyV199003657815-23-43.jpg

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Coach Herman Boone's Remember the Titans Speech

"This green field right here was painted red, bubblin' with the blood of young boys, smoke and hot lead pourin' right through their bodies." (Herman Boone) 

The hour was early.  The sun was had just peaked above the horizon.  The young football players, both black and white, ran behind their coach, unaware of where they were headed.  As they arrived at a cemetery, fog lingered above the headstones.  Why were they here?

The coach broke the silence:

"Anybody know what place this is?  This is Gettysburg.  This is where they fought the Battle of Gettysburg.  Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fightin' the same fight that we're still fightin' amongst ourselves today.

This green field right here was painted red, bubblin' with the blood of young boys, smoke and hot lead pourin' right through their bodies.  Listen to their souls, men:  'I killed my brother with malice in my heart.  Hatred destroyed my family.'

You listen.  And you take a lesson from the dead.  If we don't come together right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed -- just like they were.  I don't care if you like each other or not.  But you will respect each other.  And maybe -- I don't know -- maybe we'll learn to play this game like men."(

The football players, led by Coach Herman Boone, attended T. C. Williams High, a newly integrated Virginia school.  Despite their differences, the football team went on to win a state title.  The football team served as a uniting force for the school.  Their story is portrayed in the movie Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

George Bailey's Address to the Board of Directors

"Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community." (George Bailey)  

George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie It's a Wonderful Life, delivers a speech to Mr. Potter about his deceased father's Buildings and Loan business.  George admits that, while his father was not a good businessman, he had a heart for the downtrodden, something Potter lacks.  This speech is a microcosm for the whole movie.

Here is an excerpt from George Bailey's speech:

"Now hold on, Mr. Potter.  Just a minute now.  Now, you're right when you say my father was no businessman.  I know that.  Why he ever started this cheap penny-ante building and loan, I'll never know.  But neither you nor anybody else can say anything against his character because his whole life was -- Why, in the twenty five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself.  Isn't that right, Uncle Billy?  He didn't save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me.  But he did help a few people get outta your slums, Mr. Potter.  And what's wrong with that?  Why -- here, you're all businessmen here.  Don't it make them better citizens?  Doesn't it make them better customers?

You said that they had to wait and save their money before they even thought of a decent home.  Wait?  Wait for what?  Until their children grow up and leave them?  Until they're so old and broken down that -- You know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars?  Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community.  Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?  Anyway, my father didn't think so.  People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped frustrated old man, they're cattle.  Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you'll ever be." (

Monday, 23 November 2015

William Lyon Phelps The Pleasure of Books

"If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including things that other people are certain are impossible." (William Lyon Phelps)

Yale University's William Lyon Phelps taught the first course about the modern novel.  He penned many books including the Advance of the English Novel.  Professor Phelps was also blessed with the gift of oratory.  In April of 1933, a month before the famous Berlin Book Burnings, he delivered this address, titled "The Pleasure of Books".  

Here is an excerpt from his speech:

"Books are for use, not for show; you should own no book that you are not afraid to mark up, or are afraid to place on the table, wide open and face down.  A good reason for marking favourite passages in books is that this practice enables you to remember more easily the significant sayings, to refer to them quickly, and then in later years, it is like visiting a forest where you once blazed a trail.

Everyone should begin collecting a private library in youth; the instinct of private property, which is fundamental in human beings, can here be cultivated with every advantage and no evils.  One should have one's own bookshelves...The knowledge that they are all there in plain view is both stimulating and refreshing.  You do not have to read them all.  Most of my indoor life is spent in a room containing six thousand books.  And I have a stock answer to the invariable question that comes from strangers:  'Have you read all of these books?'  'Some of them twice.'  This reply is both true and unexpected.

Books are of the people, for the people, by the people.  Literature is the immortal part of history; it is the best and most enduring part of personality.  In a private library, you can at any moment converse with Socrates or Shakespeare or Carlyle or Dumas or Dickens or Shaw or Barrie or Galsworthy.  And therre is no doubt in these books you see these men at their best.  They laid themselves out; they did their ultimate best to entertain you, to make a favourable impression.  You are necessary to them as an audience is to an actor, only instead of seeing them masked, you look into their innermost heart of heart." (