What's the best movie tagline ever?

Alien_lEver wonder who gets paid to come up with poetry like "This summer Jason Bourne comes home"? Then check out Portfolio.com’s illuminating article about movie tagline writers. It introduces us to a sushi-loving fellow named Jason Byers, who earns a comfortable six-figure income reducing movies to their punny, catchy essences. "This relationship is going to be a real mother," from Monster-in-Law?  "It’s time to kick some asteroid," from Armageddon? Those are his.

If you think about it, a guy like Jason must make more money per published word than any other scribe in history. Lucky dog. And it got me wondering: who and where is the unsung hero who came up with "In space, no one can hear you scream" from Alien (pictured)? That, arguably, is the most famous poster tagline of all time, if we (in the interests of fairness) discount any line taken directly from the movie itself, like "Long ago, in a galaxy etc etc etc" and "They’re heeere…" and "Houston, we have a problem…"

Keeping in mind this restriction, what are your favorite movie taglines? I have two. See if you can guess which movies they’re from. (Answers, and more irresistible taglines, after the jump.) The first is old, and was the basis for a riveting Final Jeopardy question from ten or more years ago: "When these hands point straight up…the excitement starts!" Here’s the second one, and my absolute favorite: "The story of two people who got married, met, and then fell in love." Who guessed both of these?

addCredit(“Alien: Everett Collection”)

The first tagline is from High Noon; the second is from Green Card — and it’s so good, it’s like they thought of it first, then concocted a whole movie around it, don’t you think? As for other classic poster hooks, I gotta respect "If adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones" (Temple of Doom), "Can two friends sleep together and still love each other in the morning?" (When Harry Met Sally), and "He’s a man of peace in a savage land…Suburbia" (The ’Burbs). On a more serious note, I also endorse "The first casualty of war is innocence" from Platoon. What about you, P-Dubbers? Throw out some crazy ones, please.

And before we go, one more great one: "Detective Harry Callahan. He doesn’t break murder cases. He smashes them."


Comments (185 total) Add your comment
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  • Calliope10

    “The story of a man who could only count to one” – Talledega Nights

  • Chub Mack

    “Justice needs a new program.” From Virtuosity. I think it’s the line’s sheer stupidness that I find so compelling. I wish Denzel Washington ran around shouting this line at the top of his lungs all movie long. THAT I would have loved.

  • denny

    Alien is probably the best one, but I have always liked the tagline for Kill Bill: “Uma Thurman will kill Bill”. Short and sweet, and who wouldn’t want to see a movie with that tagline?

  • Mozz

    “Before a lifetime of adventure, he had the adventure of a lifetime” Young Sherlock Holmes: I remember seeing the poster as a little kid, and the tagline gave me this incredible feeling of excitement. To this day, when i go to the movies, it’s to see The adventure of a lifetime.

  • Katie

    “He didn’t find his dreams… his dreams found him” The Last Starfighter. I loved this movie growing up!!

  • Megan

    “His love is real. But he is not” — A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)

  • D

    “Nice guys finish last. Meet the winners.” Any guesses?

  • Cliff

    Is the second one from Green Card?

  • Gregg

    Cheesiest – “Crime is the disease. Meet the cure.” Cobra.

  • Laura

    I *think* this was a poster tagline, but I’m not 100% sure:
    “You will believe a man can fly.” – Superman the First

  • Gregg

    D – Dirty rotten scoundrels

  • Ryan

    The Good, The Bad & The Ugly:
    For three men, the civil war wasn’t hell – it was practice!

  • Jilly

    “Turn Back the Clock, and You’re History”. From Timecop with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Mindless action.

  • Chaddogg

    Not sure if it was a tag-line for The Last Starfighter (according to Katie, it isn’t) but the back of the VHS box (which I own) has this as it’s first line: “Can a boy from a trailer park in the sticks find happiness as an intergalactic warrior?” I think if you went to a movie studio today with that pitch alone you’d get a $50 million budget for the movie, with or without a script.

  • Amanda

    “Family isn’t a word…it’s a sentence.” – The Royal Tenenbaums

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