'What We've Got Is a Dead Shark': Great Breakup Lines From Movies

Lovers parting ways always promises some dramatic tension. These screenwriters made the most of it.
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Breaking up is hard to do, but the movies have taught us that a witty one-liner can make it a little easier. And in searching through film history for 25 of the most memorable goodbye lines—below—it became clear that some screenwriters are at their best when coming up with memorable way to say "We're through." Feel free to leave your favorite Dear John and Jane quotes in the comments.

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Breakfast at Tiffany's

"You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You're chicken, you've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, 'Okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness.' You call yourself a free spirit, a wild thing, and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself."

Gone with the Wind

"Rhett, Rhett... Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?"
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

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Titanic

"I'd rather be his whore than your wife."

Annie Hall

"A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark."

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Casablanca

"I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that."

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500 Days of Summer

"I just... I just woke up one day and I knew."
"Knew what?"
"What I was never sure of with you."

Wet Hot American Summer

"Listen, Coop—last night was really great. You were incredibly romantic and heroic, no doubt about it. And that's great. But I've thought about it, and my thing is this: Andy is really hot. And don't get me wrong, you're cute too, but Andy is like, cut. From marble. He's gorgeous. He has this beautiful face and this incredible body, and I genuinely don't care that he's kinda lame. I don't even care that he cheats on me. And I like you more than I like Andy, Coop, but I'm 16. And maybe it'll be a different story when I'm ready to get married, but right now, I am entirely about sex. I just wanna get laid. I just wanna take him and grab him and fuck his brains out, ya know? So that's where my priorities are right now. Sex. Specifically with Andy and not with you."

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Say Anything

"She's gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."

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The Social Network

"You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole."

Wuthering Heights

"Let her run. Let her run through storm and Hell. They're birds of a feather and the Devil can take them both. Now, get me a bottle."

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Legally Blonde

"If I want to be a Senator, I need to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn."

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

"We should break up or whatever."

Dangerous Liaisons

"It's beyond my control."

John Malkovich's Sébastien de Valmont knows his revenge game with Glenn Close's Marquise is what's truly beyond his control, so he breaks up with Michelle Pfeiffer's Madame de Tourvel despite being madly in love with her.

Superstar

"I made up a new dance. It's called the Move on with Your Life."

And then there was that time Mary Katherine Gallagher broke up with a tree...

American Psycho

"My need to engage in homicidal behavior on a massive scale cannot be corrected, but, ah, I have no other way to fulfill my needs," serial killer Patrick Bateman tells his girlfriend Evelyn while breaking up with her. She doesn't get it, so he persists. When Evelyn's crying becomes to much to bear, he takes off to "return some videotapes."

Network

"It's too late, Diana. There's nothing left in you that I can live with. You're one of Howard's humanoids. If I stay with you, I'll be destroyed. Like Howard Beale was destroyed. Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed. Like everything you and the institution of television touch is destroyed. You're television incarnate, Diana: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You're madness, Diana. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you. But not me. Not as long as I can feel pleasure, and pain... and love."

Closer

"I don't love you anymore. Goodbye."

Bananas

"You're immature, Fielding.
"How am I immature?"
"Well, emotionally, sexually, and intellectually."
"Yeah, but what other ways?"

Happiness

"You think I don't appreciate art? You think I don't understand fashion? You think I'm not hip? You think I'm pathetic? A nerd? A lard-ass fat-so? You think I'm shit? Well, you're wrong, 'cause I'm champagne, and you're shit. Until the day you die, you, not me, will always be shit."

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Roman Holiday

"I have to leave you now. I'm going to that corner there and turn. You must stay in the car and drive away. Promise not to watch me go beyond the corner. Just drive away and leave me as I leave you."
"All right."
"I don't know how to say goodbye. I can't think of any words."
"Don't try."

Ordinary People

"We would have been all right if there hadn't been any mess. But you can't handle mess. You need everything neat and easy. I don't know. Maybe you can't love anybody. It was so much Buck. When Buck died, it was like you buried all your love with him, and I don't understand that, I just don't know, I don't... maybe it wasn't even Buck; maybe it was just you. Maybe, finally, it was the best of you that you buried. But whatever it was... I don't know who you are. I don't know what we've been playing at. So I was crying. Because I don't know if I love you any more. And I don't know what I'm going to do without that."

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Brief Encounter

"I do love you, so very much. I love you with all my heart and soul."
"I want to die. If only I could die... "
"If you'd die, you'd forget me. I want to be remembered."

Chungking Express

"Since she left, everything in the flat is sad. Everything needed lulling to sleep."

If you're Tony Leung in a Wong Kar-wai film, the pain of a breakup is eased by talking to a bar of soap.

Total Recall

"Consider that a divorce."

The Maltese Falcon

"I won't play the sap for you."

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

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