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Signature Line
"And now, here it comes, the line you've all been waiting for..." (Also Sprach Zarathustra plays in the background)
Phelous in his Troll 2 review

Related to Signature Scene, a Signature Line is a quote of dialogue that everyone remembers from a work of fiction, and has become synonymous with it. When the general public thinks of the work, this is the one quote that immediately springs to mind, and may be the only reason to remember the work at all.

There are many reasons that the line may stand out. It may be...
  • A major centerpiece of the marketing for the work, possibly the tagline
  • The opening line or monologue of a famous work
  • A line that evoked major controversy
  • A line that is incredibly ridiculous or narmful in what is supposed to be a serious work
  • The major twist in the work

No matter the reason, the Signature Line is cemented in the minds of the general public. If you have actually seen the work yourself and are familiar with it, there may be lines that stick out more for you.

A Signature Line is a line of dialogue that actually appears in the work. If the line is never actually spoken in the work, it's an example of Beam Me Up, Scotty!.

Signature Lines are likely to succumb to Memetic Mutation, and thereby result in viewers Watching It For The Meme.

Don't confuse this with a character's Catch Phrase; a signature line is something viewers might watch the entire show simply to hear, not just something that gets said a lot. If many different people in the show say it, it's the show's Arc Words. Sometimes, of course, a catchphrase or arc words can catch on and come to define the show in popular imagination, but it's rarer than you'd think — the vast majority of signature lines are only spoken once in the work where they appear.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • "Call me Ishmael." (Moby-Dick)
    • "From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!"
  • "The first rule of Fight Club is 'You do not talk about Fight Club.' The second rule of Fight Club is 'YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.' (Fight Club)
  • A Tale of Two Cities
    • "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
    • "It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done..."
  • Harry Potter
  • "The things I do for love." (A Song of Ice and Fire)
    • "The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."
  • "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." (Pride and Prejudice)
  • "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her." (Emma)
  • "You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope." (Persuasion)
  • "Bah, humbug!" (A Christmas Carol)
  • "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." (The Hobbit)
  • "Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,
    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them,
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."
    (The Lord of the Rings)
  • "The rosy fingers of dawn." (The Iliad)
  • "And so it goes." (Slaughterhouse-Five)
  • "Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink." (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
    • "As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean."
  • "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate" ("Abandon all hope, ye who enter.") (The Divine Comedy)
  • "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." (Neuromancer)
  • "The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there." (The Go-Between)
  • "Big Brother is watching you." (1984)
  • "All right, I'll go to hell, then." (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
  • "All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others." (Animal Farm)
    • "Four legs good, two legs bad." Which eventually morphs into "Four legs good, two legs better."
  • "I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." (Atlas Shrugged)
    • "Who is John Galt?"
      • Both leading to one of the more memorable quotes of literary critique: "Eventually, the question you ask stops being 'Who is John Galt?' and becomes 'When will John Galt shut up?'"
  • "The question isn't who is going to let me, it's who is going to stop me." (The Fountainhead)
    • "Before you can do things for people, you must be the type of man who can get things done."
  • "April is the cruelest month..." (The Waste Land)
  • "I have no mouth, And I Must Scream" (I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream)
  • "Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good." (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
    • "Wrong with be right, when Aslan comes in sight."
  • "Please, sir, I want some more." (Oliver Twist)
  • "There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." (The Wind in the Willows)
    • "The mole had been working very hard all morning at spring cleaning."
  • "Reader, I married him." (Jane Eyre)
  • "It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window." (The Big Sleep)
  • "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it." (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
  • "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins." (Lolita)
  • "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once." (The Fault in Our Stars)
  • "The field is covered in blood." (Watership Down)
    • "You are closer to death than I."
    • "All the world will be your enemy, O Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And if they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed."

    Live Action TV 

    Newspaper Comics 

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 
  • "Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name." (Romeo and Juliet)
    • "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun."
    • "Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow."
    • "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet."
  • "To be or not to be: that is the question." (Hamlet)
    • "Alas, poor Yorick."
    • "What a piece of work is a man!"
    • "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
  • "Et Tu, Brute??" (Julius Caesar)
    • "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears."
  • "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" (Richard III)
    • "Off with his head. So much for Buckingham." (A line added to Shakespeare's play by Colley Cibber)
  • "All the world's a stage." (As You Like It)
  • "[He exits, pursued by a bear]" (The Winter's Tale)
  • "Oh beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on!" (Othello)
  • "I am the very model of a modern major-general." (The Pirates of Penzance)
  • "Dead! And never called me 'Mother'!" (East Lynne)
  • "Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble" (Macbeth)
    • "Something wicked this way comes"
    • "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow"
    • "Out, Damned Spot!!"
  • "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." (Twelfth Night)
    • "If music be the food of love, play on!"
  • "STELLA!" (A Streetcar Named Desire)
  • "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
  • "You see, insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops." (Arsenic and Old Lace)

    Video Games 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed, by so many, to so few." - Winston Churchill
    • "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."
    • "If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say this was their finest hour."
  • "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • "Veni; vidi; vici." (I came, I saw, I conquered.) - Julius Caesar
    • "Alea jacta est." (The die is cast.)
  • "I have a dream." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" - Ronald Reagan
  • "That's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind." - Neil Armstrong
  • "Let my people go." - Moses
  • "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy
  • "Speak softly, but carry a big stick." - Theodore Roosevelt
  • "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions." - Lillian Hellman
  • "I have nothing to declare but my genius." - Oscar Wilde
  • "Cogito ergo sum" (I think therefore I am) - Descartes
  • "Sapere aude" (Dare to know) - Immanuel Kant
  • "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains" - Rousseau
  • "écrasez l'infâme" (crush the infamous thing) - Voltaire
  • "You cannot conceive the many without the one" - Plato
  • "The unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates
  • "God is dead!" - Friedrich Nietzsche
    • "What does not destroy me makes me stronger."
  • "I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few." - Adolf Hitler
    • "If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed."
  • "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" - Thomas Jefferson
  • "Time is money." - Benjamin Franklin
    • "Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults."
    • "God helps those that help themselves."
    • "Early to bed and early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
  • "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." - Abraham Lincoln
  • "I did not get on the bus to get arrested; I got on the bus to go home." - Rosa Parks
  • "To err is human, to forgive divine." - Alexander Pope
  • "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
  • "To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." - Carl Sagan
  • "I believe it is peace for our time." - Neville Chamberlain
  • "There is not a liberal America. There is not a conservative America. There is the United States of America." - Barack Obama
  • "[Full nationwide Internet availability] is not a question of 'if', it is a question of 'when'." - Bill Clinton
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried." - G. K. Chesterton
  • "With us or against us." - George W. Bush
  • "And that's the way it was..." - Walter Cronkite
    • "Good night, and good luck."
  • "Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!" -Karl Marx

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