Thirty years ago, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park hit theaters. Based on the book of the same name by Michael Crichton, who also wrote the screenplay, the film captivated audiences with groundbreaking special effects, likable characters, and a powerful theme about the dangers of capitalism ignoring man’s responsibility to nature. It has spawned a massive franchise including five sequels and a Netflix series.
With the rise of the internet, Jurassic Park has become one of the most quoted movies of all time. This is due to several factors, including how strong the dialogue is, the delivery, or how well they tie into the film’s central message.
10 “Welcome to Jurassic Park.” – John Hammond
In order to appease his investors, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) invites three specialists, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Alan Grant (Sam Neill), to sign off on his park. Shortly after arrival, they spy a fully grown brachiosaurus. As everyone is mesmerized by the sight, an elated Hammond welcomes them to Jurassic Park.
Hammond’s excited delivery, combined with a truly iconic score by John Williams, guaranteed that this line would stick in the mind of the audience. It conveys a sense of wonder and excitement: that the audience, just like the characters, will bear witness to something never seen before. It has since been referenced and parodied in shows like Family Guy and Futurama.
9 “Hold on to your butts.” -Ray Arnold
As everyone prepares for their tour of Jurassic Park, Hammond and Warden Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) head to the control room to monitor things with chief engineer Ray Arnold (Samuel L. Jackson). As he starts up the automated tour, he tells everyone to “hold onto your butts.” He later repeats the phrase when trying to restart the park’s power.
What really makes this line stand out is Jackson’s perfect delivery. It captures Arnold’s uncertainty without losing any of Jackson’s charisma. The line has seen some use online, usually when referring to an incoming unpleasant event.
8 “We’ve got Dodgson here.” – Dennis Nedry
Frustrated by the lack of appreciation he receives from InGen, Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) decides to smuggle dinosaur embryos to a rival company. He meets their representative, Dodgson (Cameron Thor), who is not happy that Nedry used his name in public. Nedry counters by shouting his name over and over to show how nobody cares.
This scene and Nedry’s line, are the perfect ways to introduce him to the audience. His delivery, plus how giddy he gets when Dodgson shows him the canister he’ll use to transport the embryos, shows his disregard for how serious the situation is. He also showcases his ego when he stiffs Dodgson with his restaurant bill.
7 “Clever girl.” – Robert Muldoon
While covering Sattler as she tries to turn the power back on, Muldoon stalks the velociraptors hunting them. He tracks one and aims his shot, only for a second raptor to emerge from the brush and smile at him. “Clever Girl,” is all he can say before the raptor pounces.
Muldoon was the only staff member who respected the danger of the raptors. His line is a final tip of the hat to their intelligence and hunting skills. It also serves as a callback to the beginning of the film, when Grant explained raptor tactics to a young boy.
6 “Shoot her!” – Robert Muldoon
As Muldoon and his team prepare to transport a new velociraptor to her paddock, she slams into its cage strong enough to push it. This allows her to grab at one of the workers. As Muldoon tries desperately to hold onto the man, he yells for his team to shoot the raptor before losing his grip.
Everything about this opening scene is perfect. There are some fantastic camera angles, including a back-and-forth shot between Muldoon and the raptor’s eyes, which hints at their intelligence. The best is the close-up of Muldoon’s lips as he yells, “shoot her!” which adds to the intensity of the moment.
5 “That is one big pile of s**t.” – Ian Malcolm
Thanks to a lack of locks on the car door, the tour group meets a sick triceratops. Sattler sees some West Indian Lilac growing nearby, which is known to be toxic, so she requests a nearby vet to look through the dinosaur’s droppings for any traces of the plant. This prompts Malcolm to point out the size of the triceratops droppings.
Goldblum’s deadpan delivery combined with the improbably visual of a dung pile that’s larger than the triceratops ensured this line would be remembered. Online, this quote has been used to describe anything bad. The scene it’s spoken in is also good as it continues one of Sattler’s earlier concerns about dangerous flora that was brought to the island because it looked pretty.
4 “Must go faster.” – Ian Malcolm
When Sattler and Muldoon go to rescue Hammond’s grandchildren, they find an injured Malcolm outside the tyrannosaurus paddock. Their investigation is cut short due to sudden tremors, which herald the arrival of the giant carnivore. She gives chase to the humans in their jeep, and all Malcolm can say is, “must go faster.”
This chase scene is one of the movie’s tensest moments: the audience has already seen the t-rex destroy a covered jeep, and now it’s pursuing an open-top one. Malcolm’s line highlights that their only hope for survival is to outrun the beast. Goldblum would recycle this line three years later in Independence Day.
3 “Spared no expense.” – John Hammond
Whenever Hammond talks about his park and its features, he always reminds everyone that he “spared no expense.” This ranges from getting exotic food for the menu to hiring Richard Kiley to be the tour narrator. Yet when Nedry shuts down the power, it’s clear Hammond put his funding into the wrong sections of the park.
The fact that Hammond repeats this line, again and again, helps drive home the themes regarding the dangers of capitalism. While Hammond isn’t strictly motivated by money, he wants Jurassic Park to be a truly breathtaking experience for his guests. This causes him to overlook the security and maintenance sections of the park and proves Malcolm’s earlier criticisms correct.
2 “…they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – Ian Malcolm
One of the strongest scenes in the film has no dinosaurs present. Over a lunch of Chilean sea bass, Hammond preps everyone for a tour of the park, while the lawyer Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) predicts the park’s earnings. This prompts Malcolm to go on a strongly-worded rant about the lack of respect being shown for the park’s scientific advancements.
Malcolm’s words strike home the dangers of blindly pursuing a profit at the expense of the natural world. Nowadays, this message is more pressing than ever as the planet faces worse climate change than ever before. Malcolm also mentions in this rant the dangers of doing something just because you can, which some online circles have used to criticize the decision to keep the franchise going.
1 “Life, uh, finds a way.” – Ian Malcolm
While meeting with Jurassic Park’s chief scientist, Henry Wu (BD Wong), the tour group witnesses the birth of a baby velociraptor. When Malcolm asks how they prevent breeding in the wild, Wu explains that they engineer all the dinosaurs to be born female. Rather than accept this explanation, Malcolm explains that life cannot be contained by science and will “find a way.”
The reason why this line is the most powerful in the movie is because of how true it is. Nature’s power to adapt to any situation is staggering to behold, and in Hammond and Wu’s attempt to harness nature for their own gains, they don’t respect it and thus are doomed to failure. The fact that Goldblum breaks up the line with a small “uh,” ensured that it would remain in the audience’s minds.
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