Action Films: King of the One-Liners

By Michael Schilf · May 7, 2010

With a whipping, backhanded throw, Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) lets fly his commando machete… impaling the attacking Guerrilla, pinning him to a post. “Stick around,” Schaefer says with a smile, before running off, firing as he goes.

What a line. “Stick around” is a classic and one that works to perfection in the action genre. Sure, action films are full of octane-energy, colossal stunts and chases, but what separates action films from the other big-budget, explosive genres – Adventure, Sci-Fi, War – is the deliberate use of campy one-liners designed to amuse and provoke laughter.

Clint Eastwood’s “Go ahead, make my day”, as the San Francisco Police Inspector “Dirty Harry” Callahan, ranked #6 on AFI’s top 100 movie quotes. But the King of the one-liners still has to be the Governator himself. “I’ll be back,” he said as the Terminator. Don’t be surprised if he’s right in politics as well.