The most iconic lines from ’90s action movies

The 1990s was an incredible time for film. There was the Disney renaissance, the birth of Pixar, and many debut directors who have risen to fame since then, such as Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, and Wes Anderson. In the 1990s, visual effects also experienced an enormous upswing. Just compare the years from 1984 The Terminator with its 1991 sequel, and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

With these visual effects improvements, some of Hollywood’s best action films were born. We were blown away by her explosive thrills—and her iconic lines, too. Some of them have a harder punch than the film’s protagonist. Others are one-liners that the hero says before killing the villain, creating moments that are as great as they are cheesy. It’s been over 20 years and we’re still repeating those famous lines. Here are ten of the most famous quotes from “Action movies of the 90s.


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10 “Kittridge, you’ve never seen that before I’m very upset.” – Mission: Impossible (1996)

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible's tank explosion
Paramount Pictures

Impossible Mission marks the birth of Tom Cruise’s blockbuster film series. After his team is killed, Impossible Missions Force (IMF) agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) meets with IMF Director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) at a restaurant to discuss what happened. Kittridge tells him that they are looking for a mole at IMF and hints that Hunt could be that mole. “I can understand that you are very upset,” says the director. “Kittridge, you’ve never seen that before “I’m very upset,” Ethan replies coldly. Seconds later, Hunt uses an exploding stick of gum to create an iconic and spectacular escape. Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is set to return to the big screen in 2019 Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One this year.

Related: Here’s Every Mission: Impossible Movie Ranked

9 “Plan B. Let’s just kill each other.” – Face/Off (1997)

Play 1997
Paramount Pictures

Director John Woo is known for his action films. And Face/Off could just be his masterpiece in this genre. In this film, Hollywood stars John Travolta and Nicolas Cage compete and pit them against each other at the same time. Castor Troy (Cage) and Sean Archer (Travolta) are mortal enemies who end up swapping faces and identities, spending the entire movie playing cat and mouse.

Their rivalry belongs on the list of greatest movie rivalries of all time, along with Batman and the Joker or Neo and Agent Smith. Their rivalry is perfectly summed up in a scene where Archer (now as Cage) and Troy (now as Travolta) stand back to back in front of a mirror, guns at the ready. Tired of being in Archer’s shoes, Troy suggests switching identities again. When Archer refuses, Troy suggests another solution. “Plan B. Let’s just kill each other.” Then they point their guns at the mirror and see their enemy in their reflection.

8th “Don’t get tied down to you…” – Heat (1995)

Neil McCauley - Heat (1995)
Warner Bros.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are two of cinema’s greatest actors. Interestingly, until 1995, they had never appeared in a scene together heat. De Niro plays criminal Neil McCauley while Pacino plays LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hanna, two characters engaged in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Throughout the film, McCauley shares the criminal mantra and famous quote he lives by: “Don’t get hung up on something you don’t want to be out of in 30 seconds when you feel the heat around the corner.” heat has since gone on to become one of the most iconic action films of all time, largely because it brings together two of Hollywood’s most iconic actors. Director Michael Mann is reportedly working on a sequel to a novel he recently co-wrote.

7 “I make this look good.” – Men in Black (1997)

Will Smith in Men in Black 2
Columbia images

Long before he slapped Chris Rock, Will Smith was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. He made it with action movies in the ’90s, and men in black was one of his biggest hits. This movie had a little bit of everything: action, comedy, sci-fi. It also contained one of Smith’s most famous lines. After being recruited into a top-secret organization that oversees Earth’s extraterrestrial activities, Jay (Smith) dons his iconic MIB outfit: the last suit he will wear.

As he gets dressed, he says to his partner Kay (Tommy Lee Jones), “Do you know what the difference is between you and me?” Then the camera zooms in on Jay’s face. And as he pulls on his black sunglasses, he tells both Kay and the audience, “I’ll make sure this looks good.”

Related: These Are Some of the Best Sci-Fi Movies of the ’90s, Ranked

6 “You’re fired.” – True Lies (1994)

Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies
20th century studios

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a big star in the ’90s. Comedy aside, there’s one genre this man is really good at: action. True Lies is one of Arnold’s most famous action films and director James Cameron’s most underrated film. Unbeknownst to his family, Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger) leads a double life as a secret agent. But those two lives collide when Tasker and his wife are kidnapped by terrorists.

At the end of the film, Harry is flying a helicopter while a terrorist is holding a missile. Tasker looks straight into the camera and says in a dry voice, “You’re fired.” He then launches the missile and terrorist at an enemy helicopter in the distance, resulting in a massive explosion. It’s so cheesy and ridiculous, but has since become a classic Arnold moment.

5 “Not for me.” – Goldeneye (1995)

Golden Eye Bond
MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

Gold eye was Pierce Brosnan’s debut as British secret agent James Bond. The film begins with 007 and his partner Alec Trevelyan, also known as 006 (Sean Bean), on a mission. “For England,” they both agree before moving on. However, things go wrong when Trevelyan is killed. At least we thought so. Later in the film, he returns and turns out to be Bond’s newest villain.

The two former friends engage in an epic melee that ends with Bond dangling Trevelyan from a tremendous height. “For England, James?” 006 asks him, remembering the opening scene. And in typical 007 fashion, Bond hits him back with this hard-hitting and iconic line: “No. For me.” He then drops the villain to his death. In a franchise spanning 60 years, Gold eye Considered one of the best films of 007.

4 “Get off my plane.” – Air Force One (1997)

Ford in Air Force One
Release of Sony images

In Air Force OneSuperstar Harrison Ford plays American President James Marshall, who deals with Russian terrorists led by a man named Egor (Gary Oldman) after they hijack Air Force One. In the end, Marshall fights Egor on the edge of the open cargo door while the plane is still flying through the air – a scene you can only find in an action movie. Marshall slips a parachute harness around Egor’s neck, opens the parachute, brings his enemy closer, and snarls that iconic Harrison Ford phrase: “Get off my plane.” Then he lets go of Yegor, whose neck snaps moments later. President Marshall is one of the toughest presidents of all time, even if our next post gives him a run for his money.

Related: All Harrison Ford Movies from the ’90s, Ranked

3 “Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” – Independence Day (1996)

Independence Day - Bill Pullman
20th Century Fox

In independence DayBill Pullman plays American President Thomas J. Whitmore, who leads the nation through an alien invasion. On July 4th, near the end of the invasion, President Whitmore delivers an epic, uplifting speech that will get your adrenaline pumping. And he ends it with that iconic phrase that proclaims freedom not just for America but for the whole world: “Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” After that, the world launches a united airstrike. And as a former fighter pilot and war veteran, President Whitmore decides to join the offensive. Why can’t America find presidents like this?

2 “…and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” – The Matrix (1999)

A scene from The Matrix.
Warner Bros.

The Matrix is so much more than a great 90’s action movie; it defined the turn of the century. Its main character, Neo (Keanu Reeves), meets his future guru and mentor, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), who seems to exude mystery and wisdom. He hints to Neo that there may be more to his reality than meets the eye.

But before they can continue, Morpheus holds out two palms, each with a different colored pill, and presents Neo with this iconic phrase and choice: “You take the blue pill: the story ends, you wake up in your bed believing whatever.” you want to believe You take the red pill: you stay in Wonderland and I’ll show you down the rabbit hole.” Morpheus’ question “red pill vs. blue pill” has become a modern philosophical metaphor for free will and existentialism.

1 “Hasta la vista, baby.” – Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Hasta La Vista, baby

Everyone knows Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous line from the original Terminator: “I’ll be back.” Its sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, gives his character a new, equally great quote. During his mission, Schwarzenegger’s killing machine bonds with John Connor (Edward Furlong), the teenager he is tasked with protecting. Connor teaches the Terminator some “cool and modern” lingo.

After a violent brawl at the end, he manages to destroy the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), a liquid metal robot that was sent back in time to kill John. But just before he pulls the trigger, the Terminator repeats a line Connor taught him, one of the worst quotes in cinema: “Hasta la vista, baby.”

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