30. “I Have the High Ground” / “You Underestimate My Power.” (Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith)
Admittedly, there are more than a few apologists out there, but even ardent Star Wars fans will generally concede that the prequel trilogy is not great. Sure, it may have some moments — in particular, there are some genuinely great action sequences, and John Williams brings his A-game, as usual — but overall, yikes. Still, even for those not particularly invested in the goings-on of a galaxy far, far away, there is still a very good reason to sit through them: do it for the memes. The original trilogy provided some classics, including one that makes the top 10 in this list, and the sequel trilogy has given us a few gems with one installment left to go (see: Ben Swolo), but the prequels are a veritable meme haven.
29. Gru’s Plan (Despicable Me)
As mentioned earlier, scenes with charts are particularly meme-friendly, and Gru’s horrified double-take at the end of this sequence, in particular, is meme gold. I mean, there’s always that Robert Burns quote about the best-laid plans of mice and men, but sometimes you want to comment on the same basic principle but keep things more 21st century and, you know, humorous. And for that, there’s this meme.
28. “I’m Something of a Scientist Myself” (Spider-Man)
Compared to other memes on the list, this one admittedly doesn’t have quite as much range. But it makes up for that shortcoming in quality. It requires particular circumstances, but when it does fit, it does so perfectly. It’s just the thing for situations where you feel a little bit smug but also are self-aware enough to realize you’re kind of being a dick.
27. “…That Would Be Great” (Office Space)
Office Space is chock full of #relatable content, so of course one of the best comedies of 1999 would spawn some quality memes. And a red stapler craze. But that’s a whole other story, Anywho, the film’s best meme ironically enough stars its most annoying character, Bill Lumbergh. He’s the worst kind of awful boss we all love to low-key hate, who always asks you to work weekends and has mind-numbing and functionally useless reports and other such work for you to do. And if you’ve ever seen the movie, you definitely read the meme in his voice.
26. Learning to be Spider-Man (Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse)
I’m just gonna go ahead and say that this is probably the most wholesome meme on here. Likely because Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse is a wholesome film in all the best ways. It’s like the cinematic equivalent of one of those five or so foods that actually taste amazing while also being really good for you. So just fry your eyes on the blue light radiating out of whatever screen device you’re using and soak up this good content.
25. Killing Younglings (Star Wars: Episode Episode III — Revenge of the Sith)
Oh yes, another Star Wars prequel meme. With their good hair and flair for melodrama, Skywalker men are inherently meme-able, even (read: especially) when they’re being bad. Now, another weird quirk about memes is their tendency to turn things that are decidedly un-funny into comedy content — the ultimate example of this is still to come at #8 — case in point: killing younglings. To prove his dedication to the Dark Side of the Force and the completion of his transformation into Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker executes Order 66: the extermination of all Jedi. He takes charge in storming the Jedi Temple, where all the babies and children training to be Jedi live. Spoiler alert: he does not have a last-minute change of heart. Memes surrounding this incident often either use screen captures from his actual murder spree for humor or the scene in which Obi-Wan Kenobi reveals to Anakin’s illegal secret wife, Padme, that her husband’s gone Dark Side complete with “killing younglings.” The big reveal is so awkward that it honestly looks like Ewan McGregor covers his mouth as he drops the “younglings” bomb to hide that he can’t quite keep a straight face, the way one generally does upon realizing that it’s really not the time to be laughing but your face just refuses to comply. No matter how you spin it, the death of all those younglings sure has birthed some great memes.
24. Confused Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
Gandalf is no fool. But even he sometimes missteps — or, at least, can’t always remember absolutely everything he’s ever done. And, you know, fair enough. He’s lived a long and exciting life. But that’s the particularly useful and rather unique thing about this meme. When he says, “I have no memory of this place,” the implication is that it’s the place at fault, not Gandalf. Thus, the same basic judgment of competency gets extended to you and whatever or wherever it is that your brain deemed unnecessary only for it to prove important later.
23. “It’s Been 84 Years” (Titanic)
Of all possible Titanic memes, favoring this one over the arguably more popular “draw me like one of your French girls” might be something of a hot take. But as far as I’m concerned, “84 years” beats the competition by a mile in one key category: versatility. While “like one of your French girls” is restricted to joking about people and/or animals posed in ways that could be interpreted as provocative, “84 years” works in any situation in which you’ve had to wait an absurdly long time. When a customer service agent puts you on hold. When you have to go to the DMV. When you’re waiting for that one ridiculously non-communicative friend you love in spite of their flaws to respond to your text. So many perfect opportunities.
22. Cobb/Fischer Conversation (Inception)
When it comes to the meme potential of dialogue, reaction shots are key, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s squinty-eyed gaze here is the stuff that memes are made of. It might not be quite as iconic as some of the other memes on this list, but every time I think it might have faded into obscurity I’ll run into a new example, which speaks to some pretty impressive longevity considering Inception is nearing its 10th anniversary. Also, it’s a meme featuring Cillian Murphy, which automatically makes it Top 50 material. That’s what happens when you leave me in charge. I’ve gone mad with power. Mad, I tell you. Tl;dr—yeah, I’m biased, but also, this meme slaps.
21. “All Right Then, Keep Your Secrets” (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
Much like “I’m something of a scientist myself,” this is one that scores rather low with regard to range but very high in terms of quality. It’s also the perfect way to give yourself the last word and feel witty in a situation where someone has denied you access to something you want and put your ego in danger.