80 Great ’80s Movie Quotes about Money

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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. (We were supposed to be reintroduced to Mr. Gekko this week with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, but the film’s release was pushed off to the fall.)

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. I’m posting 40 quotes today, and you can look out for the rest tomorrow. They’re in somewhat random order, though feel free to comment on your favorites.

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)

“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)

“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)

“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)

“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!”

“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)

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

“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)

“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)

“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)

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80 Great 80s Movie Quotes About Money