What makes something a memorable quote? Every day millions of people say or write things—there is an endless supply of words that can be quoted.
How come some become engrained in our memory and are instantly recognizable while others fade away?
Sure, something memorable is something that “is easy to remember.” But this isn’t about easily memorizing something—it is about being moved to the point where something changes your perspective and stays with you.
We recall memorable experiences because they trigger powerful feelings. Often books, movies, and shows are relatable because they also stir our emotions. Maybe the plotline was special. It could also be because the story resonated with something you were feeling deeply at the time.
Many of these memorable quotes come from iconic books and movies. However, there are also some memorable quotes about love and the power of experiences.
Memorable quotes from movies
1. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” — Gone With the Wind, 1939
2. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” — The Godfather, 1972
3. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” — The Wizard of Oz, 1939
4. “Here’s looking at you, kid.” — Casablanca, 1942
5. “You talking to me?” — Taxi Driver, 1976
6. “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” — Cool Hand Luke, 1967
7. “You can’t handle the truth!” — A Few Good Men, 1992
8. “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” — Forrest Gump, 1994
9. “Houston, we have a problem.” — Apollo 13, 1995
10. “There’s no crying in baseball!” — A League of Their Own, 1992
Read more movie quotes from your favorite characters.
Memorable quotes from books
11. “And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
12. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
13. “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” — Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
14. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” — Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
15. “Tomorrow I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” — Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
16. “Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” — Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
17. “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” — J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
18. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
19. “Time is the longest distance between two places.” ― Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
20. “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” — William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Memorable quotes about life
21. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” — Lao Tzu
22. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
23. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” — John Lennon
24. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” — Joe Kennedy
25. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
26. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West
27. “Get busy living or get busy dying.” — Stephen King
28. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” — Wayne Gretzky
29. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill
30. “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” — John F. Kennedy
Memorable quotes about love
31. “Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
32. “The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference.” — Elie Wiesel
33. “He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.” — Benjamin Franklin
34. “Love recognizes no barriers.” — Maya Angelou
35. “We are most alive when we are in love.” — John Updike
36. “Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth.” — Mark Twain
37. “I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.” — Roy Croft
38. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu
39. “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss
40. “The only thing we never get enough of is love, and the only thing we never give enough of is love.” — Henry Miller
Quotes about memorable experiences
41. “Every moment is memorable to me.” — Suga
42. “What makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant, colorful.” — Joshua Foer
43. “For me, being memorable is more important than winning.” — Ricki Lake
44. “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” — Leo Burnett
45. “If you want to live a memorable life, you have to be the kind of person who remembers to remember.” — Joshua Foer
46. “Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.” — Dieter Rams
47. “Memorable people do memorable things. Followers are seldom remembered. The herd mentality is the killer of innovation. When appropriate, be bold in your undertakings.” — Gad Saad
48. “Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.” — Diane Ackerman
49. “Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our mom’s homemade lasagna or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past.” — Homaro Cantu
50. “There are some real memorable highlights in my history that, in my mind, are such milestones. Winning a national championship in college and being on the Olympic platform getting a gold medal. Visiting the Hall of Fame and going into the Hall of Fame.” — Anne Donovan
The popularity of these memorable quotes
It is funny how many of the memorable quotes from movies that I have used in my everyday life—despite never having seen the movie they originate from. Words like “Houston, we have a problem” have become commonplace phrases.
I have heard people say, “Get busy living or get busy dying” my whole life and never realized that was a Stephen King quote. I just thought it was a phrase people said. Many of these memorable quotes came from famous people who touched our lives—like JFK, Maya Angelou, and John Lennon.
You might be surprised that there is a science to what makes some quotes more memorable than others. A study by computer scientists at Cornell concluded memorable quotes are basic with unusual syntax structures. Popular quotes also seem to diverge from everyday language—60% of memorable quotes used language that was more distinctive.
They also discovered that the most memorable quotes use fewer (non-you) pronouns 61% of the time. This makes them more relatable in different contexts, and therefore people use it frequently.
What is the quote that sticks in your head the most? Do you have any other memorable quotes and sayings to add? Let us know in the comment section below.
March 29, 2022 7:00 AM EST