Skip to content

Fun Friday–Pep Talks

Friday, November 9, 2007


You got a little taste of this week’s topic last week . . . because this week, I’m highlighting great “going into battle” speeches from movies. Now, I will give this caveat: I don’t watch a lot of “war” movies—i.e., World War II, John Wayne, Allies and Nazis, etc. But I do watch a lot of movies that have battle sequences in them and a lot of them have wonderful pep-talk speeches in them. So, be ready to be inspired . . .

Memphis Belle. The crew of the flying fortress Memphis Belle is on their twenty-fifth and final bombing mission, sent to bomb a factory in Germany. They’ve already aborted the drop once, because of a smoke screen. They’ve watched other planes around them go down, when their captain decides to take one more run at the target:

Everybody listen. I know you want to drop the bombs and get the hell out of here. But there’s civilians down there, there’s a school right next door and if we don’t get these bombs right in the pickle barrel, a lot of innocent people are going to be killed. . . . I don’t want to go around again any more than you do. But we were sent here to bomb a factory and if we don’t do it, somebody’s going to have to come back here again and do it for us. . . . Nobody promised us it would be fun and games. It’s our job. Ours, nobody else’s. . . . If we do it right, it’s something we can be proud of our whole lives. That’s all I want, believe me.

Master & Commander. The important thing to know about this pre-battle speech is that the name of Jack’s ship is Surprise.

Right, lads. I know there’s not a faint heart among you, and I know you’re as anxious as I am to get into close action. But we must bring him right up beside us before we spring this trap. That will test our nerve. And discipline will count just as much as courage. . . .

They mean to take us as a prize. And we are worth more to them undamaged. Their greed will be their downfall.

England is under threat of invasion. And though we be on the far side of the world, this ship is our home. This ship is England. So it’s every hand to his rope or gun. Quick’s the word and sharp’s the action. After all, Surprise is on our side.

Glory. This isn’t your typical pre-battle speech, but it’s stirring and moving just the same:

King Arthur. He doesn’t give one long pep-talk speech, but several shorter ones and a great prayer:

Oh, merciful God, I have such need of Your mercy now. Not for myself, but for my knights, for this is truly their hour of need. Deliver them from their trials ahead and I will pay You a thousandfold with any sacrifice You ask of me. And if in Your wisdom, You should determine that sacrifice must be my life for theirs, so that they can once again taste the freedom that has so long been denied to them, I will gladly make that covenant. My death will have a purpose. I ask no more than that. 
You be my friend now and do not dissuade me. Seize the freedom you have earned and live it for the both of us. I cannot follow you, Lancelot. I know now that all the blood I have shed, all the lives I have taken have led me to this moment. . . .
How many times in battle have we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat? Outnumbered, outflanked, but still we triumph? With you at my side, we can do so again. Lancelot, we are knights. What other purpose do we serve if not for such a cause? 
Knights! The gift of freedom is yours by right. But the home we seek resides not in some distant land, it’s in us, and in our actions on this day! If this be our destiny, then so be it. But let history remember, that as free men, we chose to make it so.

Return of the King.

Henry V. There are two great battlefield speeches in this play/movie:
The first is Act III, Scene i:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage . . .
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry! England and Saint George!’

The second is from Act IV, Scene iii:

  1. Friday, November 9, 2007 10:59 am

    Gotta love Aragorn’s speech!


  2. Friday, November 9, 2007 2:54 pm

    I vote for William Wallace! Braveheart is one of the best movies of all time. No doubt about it!


  3. Friday, November 9, 2007 3:07 pm

    Now, how did I know those would be y’all’s favorites? 🙂


  4. Friday, November 9, 2007 11:17 pm

    You forgot my favorites! The Patriot and Independence Day. Those 2 speeches always make me so proud to be an American, especially the one in ID4. The President has just lost his wife, is trying to figure out how to tell his little girl that Mommy’s dead, the world is being invaded by aliens and their only hope rests on a half-crazed Vietnam vet. Plus the speech is being broadcast to the entire world. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!


  5. Saturday, November 10, 2007 1:39 pm

    The best thing (to me) about the ID4 pep-talk is that Adam Baldwin is standing in front of Bill Pullman when he gives the speech. I couldn’t remember one from The Patriot–and I was too tired to pull out the DVD to see if there was one, so I stuck with the ones that came to mind.



  1. Who Said Flannery Gets to Have All the Fun? «

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: