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“
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”
4. “Every man dies, not every man really lives.” – Mel Gibson as William Wallace in “Braveheart”
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 flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” – The Emperor in “Mulan”
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”
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. “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in “Jobs”
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. “Just keep swimming.” – Dory in Finding Nemo
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. “Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” – Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in “Rocky Balboa”
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. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” – Rick Gonzalez as Timo Cruz in “Coach Carter”
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”
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. “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” – Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
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. “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” – Richard Jenkins as Richard in “Eat. Pray. Love”
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. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Professor Albus Dumbledore in “Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban”
More graduation quotes and sayings
51. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
52. “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” – Sydney J. Harris
53. “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward
54. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
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. “I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” – George Burns
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
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.
December 22, 2019 7:00 AM EST