20 Movie Quotes to Actually Live By

Big Screen Inspiration for Intentional Living

If you were to ask my wife, she would tell you that I’m a bit of a movie snob. I have been known to be the only one at movie night to be unsatisfied with every movie suggested. And yes, I have intentionally fallen asleep when my movie suggestion was passed over for someone else’s suggestion. Hey, I felt it was a better use of my time.

But that’s only because I demand a high standard of myself and the ways I spend my time. Sometimes my intentional living even carries over into the movies that I watch. Sure, in my early days I delighted in irreverent comedies and Saturday afternoon B movies. However, over time my tastes have been refined.

These days, I just want to watch movies that really draw me in. Movies that inspire me, or make me think, or tell an important story.

Despite my clearly snobbish attitude towards movies, I really do enjoy them. Sometimes I even find a movie that speaks to me so much that I come back to it time and again. On rare occasions I feel a real connection with a film. Maybe its the story line, or the actors, or maybe its the message of the film; either way I feel that it adds to my life.

Many films really do have a great message. For those trying to live intentionally movies can be a great source of inspiration. To share the movies that have touched and/or inspired me, I’ve put together this list of 20 movie quotes to actually live by. Please enjoy.

Intentional Living Kung Fu Panda

1. Good Will Hunting

Sean McGuire: People call those imperfections, but no, that’s the good stuff.

2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Sean O’Connell: Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.

3. Kung Fu Panda 3

Master Shifu: If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better than what you are.

4. The Shaw Shank Redemption

Andy Dufresne: [in letter to Red] Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

5. Hook

Granny Wendy: So… your adventures are over.

Peter Banning: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.

6. Stranger than Fiction

Harold Crick: You have to understand that this isn’t a philosophy or a literary theory or a story to me. It’s my life.

Professor Jules Hilbert: Absolutely. So just go make it the one you’ve always wanted.

7. Kung Fu Panda 2

Soothsayer: Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn’t make you who you are. It is the rest of your story, who you *choose* to be. So, who are you, panda?

8. Moana

Gramma Tala: Sometimes the world seems against you/ The journey may leave a scar/ But scars can heal and reveal/ Just where you are”

9. Dances with Wolves

John Dunbar: [voice-over] They were a people so eager to laugh, so devoted to family, so dedicated to each other. The only word that comes to mind is harmony.

10. The Pursuit of Happyness

Chris Gardner: Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something, not even me. Alright? You dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.

11. Ferriss Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

12. The Sand Lot

Babe Ruth: Kid, there are heroes and there are legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.

13. Its a Wonderful Life

Clarence: [In book inscription] Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.

14. Rudy

Fortune: In this life time, you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody, except yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen.

15. The Lion King

Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.

16. Inception

Eames: You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

17. Kung Fu Panda

Po: Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.

Master Oogway: Quit, don’t quit… Noodles, don’t noodles… You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.

18. The Shaw Shank Redemption

Andy Dufresne: [to Red] I guess it comes down a simple choice: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

19. Dances with Wolves

John Dunbar: [voice over] It seems every day ends with a miracle here. And whatever God may be, I thank God for this day.

20. Cool Runnings

Irv: Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.

Bonus: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Helicopter Pilot: Don’t cheat on your lady, man, when you live in a country that only has eight people in it.


We’ve begun doing family movie nights every couple of weeks, which gives me an opportunity to show my kids the movies I grew up watching. Its been a lot of fun to re-watch some of the movies that were inspirational for me growing up and sharing that experience with my own kids.

The experience of sharing with my children is what gave me the inspiration for this post. I hope you enjoyed these quotes and found some inspiration in them. If so, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

Pacific Swells is a collection of short stories and helpful articles about finding happiness through intentional living.

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