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Graduation Quotes from Famous Films About Success

Graduation quotes are most popular during commencement exercises at the end of a school year but their value does not diminish as graduates progress through different stages of their journey towards their future.

Let’s put a different spin on famous movie lines instead of traditional graduation quotes from scholars to create motivation and inspiration among our newly grads.

Hopefully, these quotes encourage them to embrace their future despite the bumps and bruises they’re bound to encounter along the way.

If you’re about to graduate or know of one who will, read on. These graduation quotes from notable characters of both classic and modern films are rich in wisdom and life lessons.

Graduation Quotes from Famous Films About Success

1. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – Ian McKellen as Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings

Graduation Quotes about time

2. “Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” – Robin Williams as John Keating in “Dead Poets Society”

Graduation Quotes to seize the day

If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of Dead Poets Society quotes to make you think differently.

3. “Don’t ever let anybody tell you they’re better than you.” – Sally Field as Mrs. Gump in “Forrest Gump

inspirational Graduation Quotes

4. “Every man dies, not every man really lives.” – Mel Gibson as William Wallace in “Braveheart

wise Graduation Quotes

5. “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.” – Morgan Freeman as Red in “The Shawshank Redemption

Graduation Quotes and sayings

6. “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Tim Robbins as Andy in “The Shawshank Redemption”

7. “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.” – Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in “12 Years A Slave”

8. “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” – Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore in “Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets” (see more quotes from Dumbledore)

9. “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” – Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan in “A League of their Own”

10. “Make your life spectacular.” – Robin Williams as Jack Powell in “Jack”

Graduation quotes that are rich in wisdom

11. “Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.” – Grandmother Willow in “Pocahontas”

12. “The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.” – Prince of Genovia, ‘The Princess Diaries

13. “The past can hurt. But, you can either run from it or learn from it.” – Rafiki in “The Lion King

14. “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.” – Edward Norton as the Narrator in “Fight Club

15. “When you decide to be something, you can be it.” – Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello in “The Departed”

16. “With great power comes great responsibility.” – Cliff Robertson as Ben Parker in “Spiderman”

17. “You cannot live your life to please others. The choice must be yours.” – White Queen in “Alice In Wonderland

18. “You dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.” – Will Smith as Chris Gardner in “The Pursuit of Happyness”

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19. “You have to get lost before you find yourself.” – Margo Roth Spiegelman in “Paper Towns”

20. “A teacher has two jobs: fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more important, give those minds a compass so that that knowledge doesn’t go to waste.” – Olympia Dukakis as Principal Helen Jacobs in “Mr. Holland’s Opus”

Also, read these memorable first day of school quotes.

Graduation quotes that will inspire you to embrace your future

21. “After a while, you learn to ignore the names people call you and just trust who you are.” – Shrek in “Shrek The Third”

22. “At some point you’ve got to decide for yourself who you gonna be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.” – Mahershala Ali as Juan in “Moonlight”

23. “Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.” – Yoda in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”

24. “Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want. Go for it” – Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona in “10 Things I Hate About You”

25. “In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.” – Black Panther

You might also like these graduation quotes on success, dreams and your future.

26. “I can’t tell you any sure way to happiness. I only know that you’ve got to go out and find it for yourselves.” – Gene Lockhart as Dr. Selden in “Carousel”

27. “It’s what you do right now that makes a difference.” – Brian Van Holt as Sgt. Struecker in “Black Hawk Down”

28. “It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.” – Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes in “Batman Begins”

29. “We are who we choose to be.” – Spiderman

30. “Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them.” – Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox in ”Wall Street”

Graduation quotes on embracing new opportunities

31. “Life is not the amount of breaths you take. It’s the moments that take your breath away.”- Will Smith as Alex Hitchens in “Hitch”

32. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Ferris Bueller quotes from the hit comedy.

33. “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams as John Keating in “Dead Poets Society”

34. “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” – All About Eve

35. “Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image.” – Kirsten Dunst as Betty Warren in “Mona Lisa Smile”

36. “I don’t regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do.” – Lucas, ‘Empire Records’

If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of Coach Carter quotes from the inspiring sports drama.

37. “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” – Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

38. “The human spirit is more powerful than any drug and that is what needs to be nourished with work, play, friendship, family. These are the things that matter.” – Robin Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer in “Awakenings”

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39. “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” – Jason Scott Lee as Bruce Lee in “Dragon – The Bruce Lee Story”

40. “The more we all know about each other, the greater the chance we will survive.” – Anthony Hopkins as Bill Parrish in “Meet Joe Black”

Don’t forget these insightful college quotes as well.

Graduation quotes that are full of life lessons

41. “There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” – Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”

42. “They don’t make you what you are, you do. You are what you choose to be.” – Harry Connick Jr. as Dean McCoppin in “The Iron Giant”

43. “Some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright.” – The Shawshank Redemption

44. “We can’t retract the decisions we’ve made. We can only affect the decisions we’re going to make from here.” – Jamie Foxx as Nick Rice in “Law Abiding Citizen”

45. “What do you want to be in the world? I mean the whole world. What do you want to be? Close your eyes and think about that.” – Robin Williams as Maxwell Wallace in “August Rush”

46. “When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you.” – Kevin Costner as Roy McAvoy in “Tin Cup”

47. “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you are born to stand out?” – Oliver James as Ian Wallace in “What a Girl Wants”

48. “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” – Braveheart

49. “You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Robin Williams as Sean Maguire in “Good Will Hunting”

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Good Will Hunting quotes to help you realize your potential.

50. “Don’t let them run over you. . . You got to fight.” – The Color Purple

More graduation quotes and sayings

51. “Only if you find peace within yourself will you find true connection with others.” – Palm Reader, ‘Before Sunrise’

52. “You have to be a little bit crazy to do great things.” – The Dark Knight

53. “There’s no such thing as an unsolvable problem.” – The Matrix

54. “Nothing happens to anyone that he is not fitted by nature to bear.” — Maximus, Gladiator

55. “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” – Bernard Baruch

56. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

57. “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” – Maximus, ‘Gladiator’

58. “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” – Judy Garland

59. “All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

60. “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.” – Ella Fitzgerald

Don’t forget to also check out these senior year quotes for graduation and the yearbook.

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Graduation quotes to inspire success in your life and business

61. “The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.”- Colin R. Davis

62. “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” – Gen. George Patton

63. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

64. “Never give up, never surrender.” – Jason Nesmith, ‘Galaxy Quest’

65. “Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”- Chris Grosser

66. “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vince Lombardi

67. “Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” – Winston Churchill

68. “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.” – Oprah Winfrey

69. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”- Winston Churchill

70. “Great men are not born great, they grow great.” – Don Vito Corleone, ‘The Godfather

Graduation quotes to keep in mind as you consider college

71. “College isn’t the place to go for ideas.” Helen Keller

72. “The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one.” William James

73. “Getting through high school and college was one of my greatest achievements.” — Ann Bancroft

74. “It is virtually impossible to compete in today’s global economy without a college degree.” — Bobby Scott

75. “When we make college more affordable, we make the American dream more achievable.” – William J. Clinton

76. “You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.” — Michael Dell

77. “College isn’t in everyone’s hearts. I am living proof, though, that school doesn’t mess up your plans. It gives you more experiences to write about.”J. Cole

78. “You are graduating from college. That means that this is the first day of the last day of your life. No, that’s wrong. This is the last day of the first day of school. Nope, that’s worse. This is a day.” — Andy Samberg

79. “A college degree is not a sign that one is a finished product but an indication a person is prepared for life.” – Edward A Malloy

80. “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” – Bob Harris, ‘Lost In Translation’

Do you have any more lines to add to the list?

If you do, this can be the start of a fun tradition where you collect inspiring quotes from fictional or real-life characters from films and share them with your fellow graduates or a special graduating individual or group you pledge to support in their new pursuit to seize the future.

Remember, there’s a reason why a graduation ceremony is also called a commencement exercise.

Graduations are beginnings, a new opportunity to pursue goals and dreams by making the best decisions moving forward.

As Eames said in the film “Inception”, do not “be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”

Which of these wise graduation quotes resonated with you best? Did we miss any other inspirational quote? Let us know in the comment section below.

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  1. Dennis Stevenson

    June 1, 2022 at 1:55 AM

    Never look back, always look forward.! Tomorrow is here.
    It is now. It is your destiny! Doc “D”

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