‘Greed Is Good’ and the 80 Greatest Quotes About Money from ’80s Movies

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This week, moviegoers are being reintroduced to Gordon Gekko, the (hated? beloved?) villain of Oliver Stone‘s 1987 film “Wall Street.” In the sequel, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” there are sure to be attempts at topping the brilliant, much-quoted lines of the original. In the trailer, Mr. Gekko (Michael Douglas) says, “Someone reminded me I once said, ‘Greed is good.’ Now it seems it’s legal.”

Not bad, but not exactly up to par with the zingers from the first film—nor with other funny, insightful, wacky, wise, and otherwise memorable movie quotes from the 1980s. In honor of the return of Wall Street and Gekko, I’m reposting in its entirety an earlier roundup of great movie quotes about money—all from the 1980s.

Why the ’80s? The decade was all about money, introducing the world to the yuppie and crack, along with film characters like Tony Montana and Gordon Gekko, who seemed to coin slogans about money, wealth, capitalism, and, most memorable of all, greed, every other time they spoke.

Money was a favorite obsession in the ’80s, and it came through on film. Richard Pryor was sold off as a child’s plaything in one movie (The Toy), and given $300 million just for wasting $30 million in another (Brewster’s Millions). Tom Cruise was always starring as a cocky entrepreneurial type on the hunt a quick way to get rich in the likes of Cocktail, Risky Business, and Rain Man. It was a decade when you could inherit millions merely if you swore off booze, smoking, and other vices (Easy Money), and when the whims of the wealthy and powerful could instantly transform rich to poor, and vice versa, a la Trading Places.

So perhaps I wasn’t wasting my time watching all those movies back in my formative years. Maybe I was learning something about money, and how the business world works. So, with the help of the Internet Movie Database and MovieQuotes.com, here are some kernels of wisdom and amusement from ’80s movies, for those who as obsessed about money as anyone was three decades ago.

This Is Spinal Tap
“Stop wasting my time. / You know what I want. / You know what I need. / Or maybe you don’t. / Do I have to come right flat out and tell you everything? / Gimme some money! Gimme some money!”

Wall Street
“What’s worth doing is worth doing for money.” –Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas)

Princess Bride
“There’s not a lot of money in revenge.” –Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin)

Crimes and Misdemeanors
“God is a luxury I can’t afford.” –Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau)

Coming to America
“I’m washing lettuce. Soon, I’ll be on fries. In a few years, I’ll make assistant manager, and that’s when the big bucks start rolling in.” –Maurice (Louie Anderson)

Ruthless People
“A bad salesman will automatically drop his price. Bad salesmen make me sick.” –Sam Stone (Danny DeVito)

Do the Right Thing
“You fool! You’re 30 cents away from having a quarter!” –Sweet Dick Willie (Robin Harris)

Trading Places
“The best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people” – Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy)

Brewster’s Millions
“I’m going to teach you to HATE spending money.” –Rupert Horn (Hume Cronyn)

Scarface
“In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.” –Tony Montana (Al Pacino)
Stand By Me
“Sorry, Vern. I guess a more experienced shopper could have gotten more for your seven cents.” –Gordie (Wil Wheaton)

Wall Street
“Money’s only something you need in case you don’t die tomorrow.” – Carl Fox (Martin Sheen)

Raising Arizona
“H.I., you’re young and you got your health, what you want with a job?” –Evelle (William Forsythe)

Rain Man
“Look at the studio filled with glamorous merchandise. Fabulous and exciting bonus prizes. Thousands of dollars in cash. Over $150,000 just waiting to be won as we present our big bonanza of cash on Wheel Of Fortune.” –Raymond (Dustin Hoffman)

The Muppets Take Manhattan
“Mr. Mayor! Mr. Mayor, I’m looking for a frog who can sing and dance!” –Gonzo
“If he can balance the budget, I’ll hire him!” –Mayor Ed Koch

Trading Places
“Money isn’t everything, Mortimer.” –Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy)

Risky Business
“In a sluggish economy, never, ever f*** with another man’s livelihood.” – Guido, the “killer pimp” (Joe Pantoliano)

Johnny Dangerously
“Magna carta. Master charga.” –Priest, speaking to Johnny (Michael Keaton)

Platoon
“Everybody know the poor are always being f***** over by the rich. Always have, always will.” –Junior (Reggie Johnson)

Trading Places
“Mother always said you were greedy.” –Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy)
“She meant it as a compliment.” –Mortimer Duke (Don Ameche)

First Blood
“Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment, back here I can’t even hold a job PARKING CARS!” –John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone)

Spaceballs
“Listen! We’re not just doing this for the money! We’re doing this for a S*** LOAD of money!” – Lone Starr (Bill Pullman)

Trading Places
“One minute you’re up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don’t go to college and they’ve repossessed your Bentley.” –Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd)

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
“For twenty dollars I can tell you a lot of things. For thirty dollars I can tell you more. And for fifty dollars I can tell you everything.” –Madame Ruby

The Karate Kid
“What kind of belt do you have?” – Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio)
“Canvas. J.C. Penney. $3.98. You like?” –Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita)

Vacation
“How much do I owe you?” –Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase)
“How much you got?” –Mechanic
“No, I’m asking you how much the repairs are.”
“And I’m asking you how much you got!”

Splash
“I don’t ask for much. I don’t ask to be rich, and I don’t ask to be famous, and I don’t ask to play center field for the New York Yankees. I just want to get married and have a wife, and a house, and I want to have a kid, and I want to go see him be a tooth in the school play!” –Allen (Tom Hanks)

Trading Places
“My wife ain’t gonna make love to me if I got no money!” – Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy)

Better Off Dead
“Now that’s a real shame when folks be throwin’ away a perfectly good white boy like that.” –Anonymous tree trimmer

Back to School
“I don’t care how rich and successful a man is. He’s nothing without an education.” – Thornton Mellon (Rodney Dangerfield)

Say Anything
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” –Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack)

Spaceballs
“Hey! I don’t have to put up with this! I’m rich!” – Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga)

Batman
“The rich. You know why they’re so odd? Because they can afford to be.” –Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl)

Bull Durham
“I was in the show for 21 days once—the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains.” –Crash Davis (Kevin Costner)

Scarface
“Lesson number one: Don’t underestimate the other guy’s greed.” –Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia)

Wall Street
“A fool and his money are lucky enough to get together in the first place.” — Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas)

Caddyshack
“The world needs ditch diggers, too.” –Judge Smalls (Ted Knight)

Night Shift
“As we sit here and idly chat, there are woman, female human beings, rolling around in strange beds with strange men, and we are making money from that.” –Chuck (Henry Winkler)
“Is this a great country, or what?” –Bill (Michael Keaton)

Trading Places
“By the way, food and rent aren’t the only things around here that cost money. You sleep on the couch.” –Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis)

Ruthless People
“Do I understand this right? I’m being marked down?” –Barbara (Bette Midler)

The Color of Money
“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.” –Eddie Felson (Paul Newman)

Youngblood
“You know what Gordie Howe got for a signing bonus? A team jacket!” –Coach (Ed Lauter)
“Lousy agent!” –Derek Sutton (Patrick Swayze)

Full Metal Jacket
“Fifteen dollar too beaucoup. Five dollars each… Five dollars is all my mom allows me to spend.” –Private Joker (Matthew Modine), negotiating with a prostitute
Field of Dreams
“Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.” –Terence Mann (James Early Jones)

Cocktail
“You outwork, outthink, outscheme and outmanuever. You make no friends. You trust nobody. And you make damn sure you’re the smartest guy in the room whenever the subject of money comes up.” –Uncle Pat (Ron Dean)

This Is Spinal Tap
“Money talks, and bulls*** walks.” –Bobbi Flekman (Fran Drescher)

Big
“How would you like that?” –Bank teller, looking at Josh’s paycheck of $187.30
“Three dimes, a hundred dollar bill and 87 ones.” –Josh (Tom Hanks)

Ghostbusters
“Personally, I liked working for the university. They gave us money and facilities. We didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college. You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve worked in the private sector … they expect results!” –Ray (Dan Aykroyd)

Scarface
“You know what capitalism is? Getting f*****!” –Tony Montana (Al Pacino)

The Blues Brothers
“Oh, yeah, $200, and you boys drank $300 worth of beer.” –Bob, of Bob’s Country Bunker, discussing the band’s pay

Rain Man
“I’m not greedy. I just want my half.” –Charlie (Tom Cruise)

48 Hours
“Class isn’t something you buy. Look at you … you’ve got on a $500 suit and you’re still a low life.” –Jack (Nick Nolte)

The Untouchables
“Somebody steals from me, I’m gonna say you stole. Not talk to him for spitting on the sidewalk. Understand?” –Al Capone (Robert De Niro)

Trading Places
“I had the most absurd nightmare. I was poor and no one liked me.” –Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd)

Tootsie
“I don’t believe in hell. I believe in unemployment, but not hell.” –Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman)

Ruthless People
“If you can’t afford it, F***ING FINANCE IT!” –Ken Kessler (Judge Reinhold)

Can’t Buy Me Love
“Didn’t you take economics? You could have had me for $49.95.” –Transfer student to Ronald Miller (Patrick Dempsey)

Caddyshack
“It’s easy to grin / When your ship comes in / And you’ve got the stock market beat. / But the man worthwhile, / Is the man who can smile, / When his shorts are too tight in the seat.” –Judge Smalls (Ted Knight)

Airplane
“Hey, you know what they say: See a broad to get dat booty yak ‘em, leg ‘er down a smack ‘em yak ‘em.” –Jive dudes
Field of Dreams
“Man, I did love this game. I’d have played for food money… I used to love traveling on the trains from town to town. The hotels… brass spittoons in the lobbies, brass beds in the rooms. It was the crowd, rising to their feet when the ball was hit deep. Shoot, I’d play for nothing!” –Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta)

Bachelor Party
“Rick, I want Debbie. You dump her and I’ll give you cash. Ten thousand dollars, plus a G.E. toaster over; a Litton microwave; a Cuisinart; Michelin tires, brand new; a set of Sears’ best metric tools.” –Cole (Robert Prescott)

Spaceballs
“Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made.” –Yogurt (Mel Brooks)

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
“I wouldn’t sell my bike for all the money in the world. Not for a hundred million, trillion, billion dollars!” –Pee-Wee (Paul Reubens)
The Three Amigos
“No dough, no show.” –Lucky Day (Steve Martin)

Johnny Dangerously
“You tell me another gang that’s got a dental plan.” –Johnny (Michael Keaton)

Wall Street
“The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.” –Lou Mannheim (Hal Holbrook)

Trading Places
“We seem to be paying some of our employees an awful lot of money.” –Mortimer Duke (Don Ameche)
“Can’t get around the old minimum wage, Mortimer.” –Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd)

Better Off Dead
“I want my TWO DOLLARS!” –Johnny, the paper boy

The Breakfast Club
“Did you work for the money to buy those earrings? Or did your Daddy buy those for you?” – John Bender (Judd Nelson) to Claire (Molly Ringwald)

Blue Velvet
“Heineken?!? F*** that s***! Pabst Blue Ribbon!” –Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper)

Caddyshack
“And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.’ And he says, ‘Oh, uh, there won’t be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.” –Carl (Bill Murray)

Tootsie
“OK, I know this is going to disgust you, Michael, but a lot of people are in this business to make money.” –George Fields (Sydney Pollack)

Better Off Dead
“This is pure snow! Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?” –Charles De Mar (Curtis Armstrong)

Stripes
“Where’s the great pay? Where’s the travel? Where’s the Winnebago, Goddamnit!” –Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis)

The Secret of My Success
“What you’ve got is college experience, not the practical, hard-nosed business experience we’re looking for. If you’d joined our training program out of high-school, you’d be qualified for this job now.” –Unnamed employer
“Then why did I go to college?” –Brantley Foster (Michael J. Fox)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
“You need money” –Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold)
“All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine” –Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn)
Sixteen Candles
“We have $70 and a pair of girl’s underpants. We’re safe as kittens.” –The Geek (Anthony Michael Hall)

The Toy
“If you want a friend, you don’t buy a friend, Eric, you earn a friend through love and trust and respect.” – Jack Brown (Richard Pryor)

Risky Business
“My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night.” –Joel (Tom Cruise)

Wall Street
“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies and cuts through to the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” – Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas)

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