There’s a lot of swearing in movies these days. The Wolf of Wall Street, for instance, uses the word “fuck” nearly 600 times. Not bad for a single film. But sometimes if you use these things too often, they become meaningless, they lose their impact… but not every time. We’ve come up with a list of five of the best uses of expletives in film. Those times when characters, well, they just fucking had enough of your shit and they just have to let you know – with everyone’s favourite four letter word!
1. Glengarry Glen Ross – Alec Baldwin
David Mamet’s play based around the wheeling and dealing of real estate salesman was made into a simply astounding movie back in 1992, that featured a heavyweight cast that included Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Ed Harris. Alec Baldwin is in it for a single scene, but he most definitely makes an impression as the no-nonsense, foul mouthed salesman sent from the bosses (“I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy!”) to whip the failing office into shape. The movie is a delight from start to end with almost every other line being quotable, but this exchange here is the most memorable one, Baldwin’s lines delivered with icy cold venom and a bucket full of “I don’t have time for this”.
Shelley: The leads are weak.
Blake: The leads are weak. Fuckin’ leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business 15 years.
Dave: What’s your name?
Blake: FUCK! YOU! That’s my name!
2. The Thing – David Clennon
John Carpenter’s The Thing is a masterclass in horror and paranoia set in the harsh, unforgiving arctic. The isolated cast is slowly whittled down one by one, where nobody knows who to trust as they are picked off by a shapeshifting alien creature that can literally be anyone. In this most memorable scene, following an autopsy that ends in a shower of violence and gore, the unfortunate Norris’ head literally detaches from his body, grows legs and attempts to scuttle out the door, only for the men to hear the noise and turn to look. It then falls to the easygoing, laid back Palmer to utter the following line in the voice of a man who has stopped questioning the things he sees. Because really, what else could you say?
Palmer: You gotta be fuckin’ kidding.
3. The Limey – Terence Stamp
This Steven Soderbergh directed movie is a good old fashioned gritty revenge flick that really deserves to be better known than it is. Following the suspicious death of his daughter in the US, Terence Stamp’s character (who just happens to be an ex-convict with a propensity for a bit of the old ultra-violence) decides to take matters into his own hands and track down everyone and anyone who was involved. In this particular instance he’s just finished massacring some thugs who really should have checked to see if he had more than one gun before they disarmed him, beat his ass to a pulp and tossed him onto the street. As the only survivor runs in terror, he delivers this line with bared teeth and barely controlled fury –
Wilson: You tell him, you tell him I’m coming! Tell him I’m FUCKING COMING.
4. Last Days on Mars – Liev Schreiber
This is not a great film, let’s be clear. Other than Ridley Scott’s The Martian the films about the Red Planet are a mixed bag (though this is WAY better than that terrible Mission to Mars movie). None of the others, however, are zombie movies. In this film Liev Schreiber plays Vincent, one of the members of the Aurora mission in the closing hours before they head back to Earth. Then it happens, they discover proof of life on Mars. The only problem is that said proof is a little bacteria that turns the dead into extremely undead rampaging monstrosities so, you know, maybe not the best discovery and further proof that, regardless of size, Martians don’t seem to like humans very much. Give them enough time and you could put money on those zombies building tripod fighting machines. In this particular instance Vincent has just finished bludgeoning a zombie to the floor with a flashlight, only to have it get back up again. He responds in the way that most of us likely would, with a weary, disbelieving –
Vincent: Oh for fuck’s sake.
5. Alien³ – Danny Webb
Alien³ is a tale of shouldabeens, wouldabeens and couldabeens. Its troubled history is public record these days, but for all the problems and all the things it does wrong, there are a few things it gets right and this particular glorious usage of that most colourful of curses is one such moment. Ripley bursts into the mess as a meeting is under way, yelling that “It’s here”. The warden is having none of this and in the middle of trying to shut Ripley up the alien decides it’s time for some delicious, messy irony and lunges from the ceiling above, dragging the flailing warden to his death. Cue screaming, panic, blood raining everywhere and as silence falls and the warden’s stress ball drops down to bounce forlornly on the floor it falls to one man to sum up what we’re all thinking with a single word.
6. The Predator – Thomas Jane
Ah, The Predator (2018). It is a deeply silly film that does an astoundingly clumsy retcon of the whole reason the Yautja race hunt other species. That aside, it does have one particular expletive worthy of mention, delivered by the incomparable Thomas Jane, playing a character suffering from Tourettes. Yes, I know, this is a horrid stereotype and lazy writing, but it’s still bloody funny, especially as it just comes out of absolutely nowhere.
Baxley: Fuck me in the face with an aardvark!
7. Aliens – Bill Paxton
Bill Paxton, an actor sorely missed after his death back in 2017. From his turn as one of the punks in the original Terminator or a vampire in Near Dark through to playing Bill “The Extreme” Harding in Twister and even Fred Tracey in the 2004 Thunderbirds reboot, he had one hell of a varied filmography. But there’s one role he’s arguably most well known for. The role that most sci-fi fans will know him for – Private Hudson in Aliens. He has so many great lines in this film we could be here all day discussing them but there’s one section that stands above the others. The final stand in the colony against the rampaging Xenomorph swarm as our characters attempt to retreat in the face of overwhelming odds with Hudson laying down not only cover fire, but a barrage of bravado.
Hudson: Come on! I don’t got all day! Come on! Come on! Come on you bastard! Come on, you too! Oh, you want some of this? Fuck you!
Do you have a different idea of which particular expletives deserve to be here? Got some favourites of your own? Leave a comment and let us know!