30 Memorable Movie Taglines
Visit a movie theatre and browse the upcoming film posters. If you're like me you notice the taglines, clever or descriptive slogans. Marketers use a tagline to sum up a film, to capture the spirit or theme of the movie in a sentence or two.
Some taglines are so memorable that people will recognize their films even if they haven't actually watched them. I'm a movie nerd, so I compiled my top 30 memorable taglines. It goes without saying that such lists are subjective, but I've made an effort to include taglines from a variety of films, both classics and new. There are dramas, comedies, blockbuster hits, and obscure films--the popular and the quirky. Whatever the movie, the best tagline will stay in the mind and say something special about the film.
30. Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don't fall for it.— (Almost Famous, 2000)
Cameron Crowe's largely autobiographical coming-of-age film is a tribute to the great music of the 1970s. It's also about an era and the feeling you have when you're young and starting to see life in a different light. Lester Bangs's (Philip Seymour Hoffman) words of advice to William in the tagline offer a more jaded view.
29. Life is one long insane trip. Some people just have better directions.— (Donnie Darko, 2001)
You can never go too far. Be afraid of the dark. What would you do if you knew the future? The mind-bending cult classic inspired many taglines and quotes recognizable to Millennial children, which is funny since the film is set in the 1980s. Jake Gyllenhaal needs to ask himself why he's wearing that stupid man suit.
28. Would you erase me?— (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004)
This movie already had an unusual, memorable title. The tagline just gave viewers a hint of what the film was about: new technology that allows people to erase memories of specific people or events. One of Jim Carrey's serious roles, it also stars Kate Winslet with vibrantly dyed hair.
27. "Difficult times lie ahead, Harry."— (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2005)
Part four of the Harry Potter series was a turning point. It wasn't just kid stuff anymore. Besides meeting his nemesis Lord Voldemort face to face, Harry had to deal with all the dreaded challenges of adolescence: first dance, first crush, raging hormones, fights with friends...he's lucky that Dumbledore's there to guide him through another spellbinding year at Hogwarts.
26. No Laws. No Limits. One Rule. Never Fall In Love.— (Moulin Rouge, 2001)
This lavish musical takes the myth of Orpheus to the decadent and dangerous underworld of the Bohemian Moulin Rouge. Will idealistic Christian (Ewan McGregor) be able to save courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman) from the grip of a jealous duke? He should have listened to his friend's warning about falling in love with a woman who sells herself: It always ends bad!
25. Trust Me.— (Liar Liar, 1997)
Seeing Jim Carrey on the movie poster with his smirk and his arms spread wide, it's hard not to laugh at this tagline because it's so ridiculous. This comedy, in which Carey plays a lawyer who is cursed with unfailing honesty for a day, gave the actor full range for his wacky, over-the-top humor and slapstick. Trust me, it's one of the memorable comedies of the 1990s.
24. Innocence Has A Power Evil Cannot Imagine.— (Pan's Labyrinth, 2006)
Guillermo del Toro's fantasy is as dark as any Grimm's fairy tale, set against the Franco revolution. Brave Ofelia goes up against giant toads, fawns, and other monstrous baddies, none as terrifying as her brutal stepfather Captain Vidal. Innocence and virtue prevail in the end, but not in the manner you would expect.
23. If adventure has a name...it must be Indiana Jones.— (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984)
There's no other way to describe Indiana Jones. Even if Temple of Doom is the bummer film in the series (Spielberg admits that his divorce at the time cast a pall over the filming), Harrison Ford's archaeologist-adventurer remains one of the greatest iconic film heroes ever. Nazis had better watch out.
22. Every generation has a legend. Every journey has a first step. Every saga has a beginning.— (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999)
No matter how you feel about the Star Wars prequels, there's no denying that the anticipation built up around The Phantom Menace reached a fevered peak as the end of the millennium neared. Star Wars fans everywhere were anxious to rediscover a universe far, far away and meet familiar characters in a new light. As Darth Vader would say, "The circle is now complete."
21. When your Dad's an undertaker, your Mom's in heaven, and your Grandma's got a screw loose...it's good to have a friend who understands you. Even if he is a boy.— (My Girl, 1991)
Vada Sultenfuss was a heroine for many young girls--she had dreams of being a writer; she made mood rings popular again; she had a special relationship with little Macauley Culkin. Vada helped little girls better understand the pains and joys of growing up, even at the tender age of eleven.
20. He is afraid. He is totally alone. He is 3 million light years from home.— (E.T. the Extraterrestrial, 1982)
One of the most touching movies ever, E.T. is as much about holding onto childhood innocence and hope as it is about a little lost alien. It's ironic, in a sense, that the film's tagline refers to E.T. specifically, when much of the movie centers around the boy Elliott's point of view. He may be alone and afraid, but E.T. is not powerless. The movie poster's recreation of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam is no mere parody; E.T.'s touch has marked healing powers on his human friends' lives.
19. In space no one can hear you scream.— (Alien, 1979)
Ridley Scott's film was a perfect blend of menacing science fiction and claustrophobic horror. Stuck on a commercial refinery vessel in the vast reaches of space, seven crewmates are terrorized by an unwelcome alien passenger. Audiences heard--and made--plenty of screams, especially during the infamous chest-bursting scene.
18. 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by water. That's a lot of space to find one fish.— (Finding Nemo, 2003)
Pixar was one of the greatest things to happen to Disney in the past decade. The CGI animation company is responsible for such visually stunning and engrossing films as The Incredibles, Wall-E, Ratatouille, and Up. Finding Nemo will likely remain one of the most popular Pixar film with kids because of its cast of bright, engaging sea creatures. Even more relevant is its simple story of the love between a father and son, something rare in kids' movies these days.
17. Collide With Destiny.— (Titanic, 1997)
Titanic's tagline is almost too blunt. Yes, in case you didn't know, Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, killing thousands of passengers. What audiences didn't know was whether luminous lovers Jack and Rose would survive the disaster. Teenage girls went to see the film multiple times, just to be sure.
16. They're not there to shop. They're not there to work. They're just there.— (Mallrats, 1995)
Did you spend at least part of your youth loitering at the mall, the park, or the comic book store? Did hanging with your friends mean wandering around aimlessly for hours or goofing off at some retail store? If so, then this Kevin Smith film may be for you. "Get malled" is another tagline.
15. Where’s Olive?— (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006)
This tagline is just one of several, and it refers to just one specific scene. On their way to a children's beauty pageant in California, the Hoover family accidentally leaves little Olive behind at a gas station. The remarkable thing is that the girl shows no fear or anxiety; she knows that her family will come back for her. Despite the fact that each member of the family is forced to face his or her deepest fears on this road trip from hell, they remain steadfastly assured of one another's love and support. What's family about, after all?
14. Some pets deserve a little more respect than others.— (Best in Show, 2000)
The words seem inspired by Orwell's Animal Farm: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. This biting, dry mockumentary by Christopher Guest is just as satirical as Orwell's "fairy story," although it skewers the national dog show culture, not a Stalinist revolution. Stand-out performances (besides all the dogs, who are champs) include Jane Lynch, Catherine O'Hara, and Fred Willard; but the scene-stealer has to be Parker Posey, sporting braces, as the over-excitable yuppie owner of an equally anxious Weimaraner.
13. Weird is relative.— (The Addams Family, 1991)
A friend of mine once observed that while the Addams family is supposed to be viewed as abnormal (e.g., kooky, mysterious, and spooky), Gomez and Morticia as a couple are passionately in love and devoted parents. If that's the standard for the bizarre family, then I guess weird is relative.
12. Just Because They Serve You...Doesn't Mean They Like You.— (Clerks, 1994)
"I wasn't even supposed to be here today," whines Dante periodically throughout his shift at a convenience store. For everyone who has ever worked retail, Kevin Smith delivers a cult classic about the travails of serving the public and the conversations with coworkers that seem so important but usually aren't.
11. You won't know the facts until you've seen the fiction.— (Pulp Fiction, 1994)
With seemingly unrelated storylines intertwining and colliding in unexpected ways, Tarantino's classic tale of hit men, gangsters, a washed-up boxer, and a cocaine-snorting mobster's wife hits all the right notes as a twisted dark comedy.
10. Spartans, tonight, we dine in hell!— (300, 2006)
Yes, it's the ultimate guy movie, along with Braveheart and Rocky. Yes, it's also filled with stylized violence, gruesome monsters, epic battles, and over-the-top quotes like the one in the tagline. But where else can you find such an unabashed paean to honor, glory, and butt-kicking?
9. For Harry and Lloyd every day is a no-brainer.— (Dumb and Dumber, 1994)
Dumb and Dumber, for being about a pair of nitwits, is actually a smart, satisfying comedy, one of the classics of the 1990s. Its tagline is just as deceptively clever, highlighting both Harry and Lloyd's imbecility and their carefree, adaptive personalities. Just when we thought they couldn't be any dumber, they totally redeem themselves!
8. Not that it matters, but most of it is true.— (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969)
George Roy Hill's film was an unusual Western even at its release, incorporating playful one-liners and a pop score by Burt Bacharach. For a period piece it didn't take itself too seriously, but I like its lively and touching take on the famous outlaw duo; Paul Newman and Robert Redford looked like they had fun, too.
7. Relive the best 7 years of your college education.— (Animal House, 1978)
The grandfather of all raunchy, rude frat house comedies, Animal House relishes its beer-soaked silliness. John Belushi's Bluto is a standout, as is John Vernon's Dean Wormer. Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, but it can be entertaining to witness.
6. A tale of murder, lust, greed, revenge, and seafood.— (A Fish Called Wanda, 1988)
What's not to like with this combination? Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese, and Michael Palin head a perfect cast of characters trying to outsmart each other for some stolen loot. Watch for Kline's character slurping down Palin's beloved fish to the latter's horror. "What do the English usually eat with chips to make them more interesting?" Kline says with malicious glee. "Wait a moment! It's fish. Isn't it?"
5. The legend had it coming... Find out where Robin Hood put his Little John, what made Will Scarlet, and what did Friar Tuck into his tights that Maid Marian all of a quiver?— (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, 1993)
Mel Brooks's comedy deserves as such a clever, pun-filled tagline. People looking for a reverent, historically accurate portrait of the beloved legendary outlaw, beware!
4. They're young...they're in love...and they kill people.— (Bonnie and Clyde, 1967)
Bonnie and Clyde shocked audiences of its time with realistic and brutal violence. The glamorous portrayal of the notorious bank robbing lovers by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty is purposefully incongruous with their reckless and dangerous criminal spree.
3. Fast Cars, Fast Girls, Fast Carrots...Fast Carrots?— (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982)
I just like how this tagline doesn't take itself too seriously. Carrots! It's hilarious! Of course, Mr. Hand would say, "What are you people, on dope?"
2. And now! At Last! Another film completely different from some of the other films which aren't quite the same as this one is.— (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975)
Monty Python was always brilliantly confounding, This film, probably Python's most well known, provides ample quoting material for any film nerd.
1. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...— (Star Wars, 1977)
The tagline for Star Wars needs no explanation. One of the most famous and recognizable lines from movie history sets the stage for Lucas's classic space odyssey.
Feel like I've missed some important taglines? Add some of your favorites in the comment section.
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