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A Graduation Speech from the Mouths of Movie Characters

A Graduation Speech from the Mouths of Movie Characters

The leaves have all turned green just like the bills adorned with imprints of Ben Franklin and assorted dead presidents that are now falling into envelopes and cards made specifically for them. It is graduation season, and your kids, nieces, nephews, neighbors and various hangers-on have all hit a milestone. It happens. And social graces require that we do our part to mark the occasion. The graduates will cherish the gifts, just as we all did and always do, but what they really need is advice—unfortunately, they don’t know it yet and our collective years of wisdom often fall upon headphone-covered ears.

This may help.

Nothing influences young people like pop culture, and, as luck would have it, there is nothing adults love better than using pop culture to influence said young people. Welcome to the circle of life.

Below is a collection of quotes from popular teen-targeted movies and family films. They are full of key points, but were said by someone fictional and therefore carry more weight than any real experience. They are perfect for toasts, T-shirts, and other awkward exchanges. For your entertainment, they have been compiled into what may be the GREATEST. COMMENCEMENT. SPEECH. EVER. Seriously.

[Note: Some quotes have been modified to protect other characters and plot lines or to make this joke work.]

Welcome! Graduates, we welcome you. We salute your courage and your sacrifice, and we wish you happy job hunting! And may the odds be ever in your favor.[1]

Now, the first lesson you must learn from me, if you wanna survive here, is keep your mouth shut. Do you understand me?[2]

Also, you must chill. You must chill.[3]

Whatever game you think you're playing, those out there are not playing it with you.[4] And just because it's what's done doesn't mean it's what should be done.[5]

It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.[6] All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.[7] After a while, you learn to ignore the names people call you and just trust who you are.[8] Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.[9] Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.[10] Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.[11]

And remember, we're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all. To the world, you see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain… and an athlete… and a basket case… a princess… and a criminal.[12]

I know there are people who say all these things don't happen. And there are people who forget what it's like to be 16 when they turn 17. I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. We'll all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening... and in this moment I swear, we are infinite. [13]


I don't want to be just one thing. I can't be. I want to be brave, and I want to be selfless, intelligent and honest and kind. Well, I'm still working on kind.[15]

If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn't be a human being. You'd be a game show host.[16] But, I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite.[17]

I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind.[18]

We've left everything behind, but we found ourselves and each other. Tomorrow we may have to fight again, but for now we'll ride the train to the end of the line. And then, we'll jump.[19] Remember kids, there's heroes and there's legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die, follow your heart kids, and you'll never go wrong.[20]

Thank you, fans and friends and odds and ends. And now, for you gals and guys, a few words to the wise. You Jims and Sals are my best pals. And to look your best for the big contest, just be yourselves and have a ball. That's what it's all about, after all.[21]

I just wanted to say that you're all winners. And that I couldn't be happier the school year is ending.[22]

[1] Hunger Games (President Snow)

[2] Divergent (Four)

[3] Say Anything (Lloyd Dobler)

[4] Hunger Games (President Snow)

[5] Cinderella (Cinderella)

[8] Shrek (Shrek)

[9] The Lion King (Rafiki)

[14] The Dead Poets Society (John Keating)

[15] Divergent (Four)

[16] Heathers (Veronica Sawyer)

[17] Elf (Buddy)

[18] Cinderella (Ella’s mother)

[19] Divergent (Beatrice 'Tris' Prior)

[20] The Sandlot (The Babe)

[21] Grease (Vince)

[22] Mean Girls (Mr. Duvall)

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