40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes

Warning: do not watch this rousing montage if you have a heart condition.

So way back in April, I first had the idea of editing together inspirational speeches. Since then, the Dow has dropped 3,000 points and one million jobs have been lost. The people of the United States are now a ragtag bunch of scruffy underdogs, down by three touchdowns at halftime, with a whole horde of orcs waiting for us right outside those locker room doors. Inspiration has become something we need. (By the way, you couldn’t tell because it started the sentence, but “Inspiration” was capitalized.)

What I’m trying to say is, I may have just single-handedly saved the economy with this montage:


Shame on you. This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you’re going to let it be the worst. And I guarantee a week won’t go by in your life you won’t regret walking out, letting them get the best of you. Well, I’m not going home. We’ve come too far! And I’m going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause. A day may come when the courage of men fails… but it is not THIS day. The line must be drawn HERE. This far, no further! I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. You’re going to work harder than you ever worked before. But that’s fine, we’ll just get tougher with it! If a person grits his teeth and shows real determination, failure is not an option. That’s how winning is done! Believe me when I say we can break this army here, and win just one for the Gipper. But I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time: you’ve got to get mad. I mean plum mad dog mean. If you would be free men, then you must fight to fulfill that promise! Let us cut out their living guts one inch at a time, and they will know what we can do! Let no man forget how menacing we are. We are lions! You’re like a big bear, man! This is YOUR time! Seize the day, never surrender, victory or death… that’s the Chicago Way! Who’s with me? Clap! Clap! Don’t let Tink die! Clap! Alright! Let’s fly! And gentlemen in England now abed shall know my name is the Lord when I tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our Independence Day!

Some behind-the-scenes notes for editing nerds only.

  • Obviously, there was some fudging to get it all in one aspect ratio. Some clips were 4:3, so I had to blow them up to fill a 16:9 frame. Other clips were 2.35:1, and I had to blow those up too. You don’t really notice, because you’re watching the finished product in a little box.
  • The music sort of picked itself. A problem I always run into doing these videos is that you can’t just push a button and make a movie’s soundtrack magically disappear. I actually discarded certain clips because they had loud music I couldn’t cover up (Starship Troopers: “Everyone fights, no one quits.”) But there were two clips I felt like I needed that had really loud music – Animal House and Henry V. So I got those mp3s, synced them up with those two clips, and then dragged the audio out to underscore the entire piece.
  • For a while, I was going to end it with Henry V to ID4, like this: “… and hold their manhoods cheap, while any speaks who fought with us upon OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY!” But I like going back to Braveheart, because it’s sort of a subtle, subconscious fakeout. The video began with the Braveheart speech, and when William Wallace pops back up, you think it’s going to end there. You don’t expect that last cut to Bill Pullman.
  • I’m grateful to Mr. Stokes, who suggested that I use longer clips at the beginning. At the time I had even more movies packed in there, with more cuts. But Jordan is usually right, and it definitely works better with more of a build.
  • My favorite cut: Chaplin as a Hitler-esque dictator, to George C. Scott as Patton. Not an accident.
  • The clips at the end aren’t exactly in random order. It’s seven shots of characters with arms raised in triumph: the boy from Neverending Story, Rudy, Andy Dufresne, the Grinch, Ferris Bueller, Lincoln, and Rocky.
  • My favorite speech? Animal House, actually. Maybe it’s the positive associations we all have with that movie, or the positive associations we all have with Belushi. But by jingo, it works.

So what’s your favorite inspirational speech?