Top 10 Best Movie Battle Speeches - The Script Lab (2023)

Remember the last time you watched a movie and wished you could attack the enemy right then and there! Even if it were almost certain you’d go down in flames, you were psyched for the contest. A great movie battle speech touches the audience with its passion, putting the viewer in the center of the conflict. It can be a rallying cry for victory; the motivational force that propels a warrior to act with bravery, and disregard the paralyzing effects of fear. It can be the recognition of almost certain defeat in the short term, realizing the enemy must be engaged, and victory focused on loftier future goals.

Historically, movies have played an important role in rallying the American spirit in wartime. Battle speeches have been used not only to inspire patriotism, but also to highlight the ideals, issues, and conflicts of the time.

Have a great speech you want to include in a script? Write your first draft in 5 weeks with this guide.

Alas, I know I have left out many great speeches and movies in my list, so I invite you to add your personal favorites to the list in the comments section.

10. Dawn Patrol (1938)

As payback for his insubordination and daredevil antics, crackerjack pilot Captain Courtney is handed the command of the 39th Squadron in this film about the World War I Royal Flying Corps. Given the unsavory task of sending inexperienced pilots in worn-out planes against a well-equipped German air force, Errol Flynn as Captain Courtney gives the following pre-battle speech:


GOOD Evening Gentlemen, There’s no secrecy about these orders. GHQ has discovered that Fritz is making a big push the day after tomorrow. They’ve started minor advances already. You’re to patrol the Belleau Wood sector, that’s opposite the German Sixth Army. You’ll fly four patrols a day, which means that every man will be in the air at dawn tomorrow. As usual you got the dirty work to do, low flying, machine-gunning infantry, strafing supply trucks, and any shock troops that they try to bring up. You’re flying directly below Von Richter’s Patrols. So you better watch out. That’s all.

9. The Dirty Dozen (1967)

After Major Reisman’s team of 12 convicted murders prove themselves trained and ready by winning a combat game using unconventional tactics, Reisman, played by Lee Marvin, preps them for their real mission, the mass assassination of Nazi officers in a fortified chalet.


We still have one operation to go. If you guys foul up on this one none of us will ever play the violin again. Cause up until now it’s all been a game. But as of tomorrow night it’s going to be the real thing. And if you want to know how real, I’ll tell you. It’s my guess that a lot of you guys won’t be coming back. But there’s no sense in squawking about that, right? Cause the army never did love you anyway. And besides you all volunteered, right? That’s more than I did.

Reisman drills his troops, having them recite a 16-point rhyming plan to attack the Nazi stronghold.

8. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Download the screenplays for THE LORD OF THE RINGS here for free

As Aragorn rides back from the Black Gate, he delivers this impassioned speech:


Sons of Gondor, of Rohan. My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of Fellowship, but it is not this day! An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you, stand, men of the West!

7. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Download the screenplay for ZERO DARK THIRTY here for free

With the war on terrorism, we fight a new type of battle, the covert action. And so comes a new kind of battle speech. In this intense action drama about the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden, CIA agent Maya, played by Jessica Chastain,lays out the mission to a skeptical team of Navy SEALS:


Quite frankly I didn’t want to use you guys. With your dip and your Velcro and all your gear bullshit. I wanted to drop a bomb. But people didn’t believe in this lead enough to drop a bomb. So they’re using you guys as canaries in the theory that if Bin Laden isn’t there, you can sneak away and nobody will be the wiser. But Bin Laden is there. And you’re gonna kill him for me.

6. Braveheart (1995)

Download the screenplay for BRAVEHEART here for free

Delivered by the legendary Scottish rebel, William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, this battle speech beckons the Scottish countrymen to lay down their lives as the cost of freedom from English tyranny:


Sons of Scotland, I am William Wallace.


William Wallace is 7 feet tall.


Yes, I’ve heard. Kills men by the hundreds, and if he were here he’d consume the English with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse. I AM William Wallace. And I see a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight?


Fight? Against that? No, we will run; and we will live.


Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!!!

5. Gandhi (1982)

This film depicts a different type of battle for independence; not of brutal combat, but of non-violent resistance. Playing Mohandas Gandhi, who led the revolt against British colonialism in India, Ben Kingsley delivers this inspiring speech:


We must defy the British… Not with violence that will inflame their will, but with a firmness that will open their eyes. English factories make the cloth that makes our poverty. All those who wish to make the English see bring me the cloth from Manchester and Leeds that you wear today and we will light a fire that will be seen in Delhi, and in London! And if, like me you are left with only one piece of homespun, wear it with dignity.”

Moved to passion by these words, the massive crowd throws their English clothes onto a burning fire. At the end of the film, as Gandhi’s ashes are poured into the sea, we hear him speak:


When I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it: always.

4. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Download the screenplays for APOCALYPSE NOW here for free

In this film co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore, portrayed by Robert Duvall, assists Captain Benjamin L. Willard and crewman Lance B. Johnson by launching a strike on Viet Cong outpost on the Nung River:


You smell that? Do you smell that?




Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed for twelve hours…and when it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of them, not one stinking dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell? The whole hill – smelled like – victory.

He looks off nostalgically. A shell comes in and HITS in the background. Willard and the soldiers react; Kilgore ignores it.


Someday this war’s gonna end.

3. Spartacus (1960)

This movie has two great battle speeches intercut as the preface to the battle between the Roman Legions and a rebellion of slaves led by the gladiator slave, Spartacus.In the film directed by Stanley Kubrick, Kirk Douglas plays Spartacus:


Tonight a Roman army lands in the harbour of Brundusium. Another army is approaching us from the west. Between them, they hope to trap us here… against the sea…Rome will not allow us to escape from ltaly. We have no choice but to march against Rome herself… and end this war the only way it could have ended: by freeing every slave in ltaly. “


I promise you…a new Rome…a new ltaly and a new empire. I promise the destruction of the slave army…and the restoration of order…throughout all our territories.


I’d rather be here, a free man among brothers…than to be the richest citizen of Rome…


I promise the living body of Spartacus…


We’ve fought many battles and won great victories…Maybe there’s no peace in this world…as long as we live…we must stay true to ourselves. I do know that we’re brothers, and I know that we’re free. We march tonight!


…this campaign is not alone to kill Spartacus. It is to kill the legend of Spartacus.

2. Armageddon (1998)

Download the screenplay for ARMAGEDDON here for free

In this movie, the enemy is an asteroid the size of Texas that threatens the destruction of the entire earth. It is a fictional President that defines the battle:


I address you tonight, not as the President of the United States, not as the leader of a country, but as a citizen of humanity. We are faced with the very gravest of challenges; The Bible calls this day Armageddon. The end of all things. And yet for the first time… in the history of the planet, a species has the technology… to prevent its own extinction.

Rallying the entire population of the world to put their faith in the hands of a team of oddball deep core drillers, he goes on to say:


Through all the chaos that is our history, through all of our times, there is one thing that has…elevated our species above its origins. And that is our courage. Dreams of an entire planet are focused tonight… on those 14 brave souls… traveling into the heavens. And may we all, citizens the world over, see these events through. God speed and good luck to you.

1. Patton (1970)


Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.

With that compelling line, George C. Scott as General George S. Patton delivers the film’s opening speech directly to the movie audience.

Dressed in his decorated general’s uniform and dwarfed by an enormous American flag, he goes on to say,


Americans, traditionally, love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle…the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.

One can imagine the impact of those lines as a 1970’s American audience embroiled in debate over the unpopular Vietnamese War listened to Patton’s incitement to winning as the only option in war.

In an introduction interview for the Cinema Classics collection DVD, Francis Ford Coppola, who co-wrote the screenplay, explains how he was fired from the project, largely because the opening speech was seen to be strange. He goes on to instruct young people that the things you are fired for, are often the things later on that you are celebrated for.

The speech ends with a line that is almost an afterthought for Patton:


Oh… I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere.That’s all.

For the full text of this opening speech, go to: Patton’s Speech.

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