Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is famously one of the most quotable movies ever made, because every line in the movie is either an absurd non-sequitur, a hilarious joke, a setup for a later payoff, or a payoff to an earlier setup. The screenplay by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell is one of the finest, tightest, funniest, best-constructed comedy scripts ever written.
The lead character has dozens and dozens of memorable lines, but so do the supporting characters around him: Brick, Brian, Champ, and Veronica. So, here are The 10 Most Memorable Quotes From Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy.
10 On signing off
“You stay classy, San Diego.”
In the 1970s broadcast journalism scene, an anchorman was only as good as his sign-off. The line that you ended the broadcast on was what everyone remembered about you, and it determined whether or not they would tune back in to get the news from you, or tune in to someone else’s news show to get their version of the reports.
Walter Cronkite, who remained the most trusted man in America for several decades, ended every broadcast by saying, “And that’s the way it is.” Ron Burgundy’s is arguably just as memorable, albeit in a different way: “You stay classy, San Diego.”
9 On comebacks
“Where’d you get those clothes? The toilet store?”
Comedy classics have a way of providing their viewers with the most hysterical comebacks to insults. The comeback is a great way of getting a punchline into the dialogue – the insult is the setup and the comeback is the punchline.
As an example, take when George Costanza said, “Oh, yeah? Well, the jerk store called – they’re running out of you!” or when the Dude said, “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” Another prime example is Brick Tamland in Anchorman saying, “Where’d you get those clothes? The toilet store?”
8 On regrets
“It’s so damn hot! Milk was a bad choice.”
This is one of those great lines from Anchorman that don’t make a word of sense, but you can kind of see where they’re coming from. After getting fired for accidentally cursing on the air, Ron Burgundy has grown a beard and it looks like he hasn’t changed his clothes since he was kicked out of the news station.
He’s drinking milk from the carton under the hot sun and it’s dripping down into his beard. Then he says, “It’s so damn hot! Milk was a bad choice.” Somehow, we can all relate to how he feels in that moment.
7 On unrequited love
“We need you. Hell, I need you. I’m a mess without you. I miss you so damn much. I miss being with you. I miss being near you. I miss your laugh. I miss your scent. I miss your musk. When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together.”
In this Champ Kind monologue, delivered excellently by David Koechner, he basically insinuates he’s in love with Ron, and that love is unrequited. If this scene wasn’t in a comedy and was instead in a movie like My Own Private Idaho, it wouldn’t seem out of place, because it’s acted with such sincerity.
6 On the ground rules
“Okay, before we start, let’s go over the ground rules. No touching of the hair or face. And that’s it. Now, fight!”
The battle between the news teams in Anchorman is, hands down, one of the funniest sequences in any comedy movie ever made. It holds up next to any scene from Airplane!, the Monty Python movies, Animal House, Caddyshack – because it’s so delightfully absurd.
It has a series of cameos from celebrities who were just famous enough to be recognizable (in 2004), and also just obscure enough for it to be funny that they were chosen: Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Tim Robbins.
5 On love
“I love lamp.”
When Ron started telling the rest of the news team about what it’s like to be in love after his night of passion with Veronica, Brick says, “I love carpet. I love desk.” Confused, Ron asks him, “Brick, are you just looking at things in the office and saying you love them?” Then he says the most iconic one: “I love lamp.”
Ron asks, “Do you really love the lamp or are you just saying it because you saw it?” Brick would eventually find true love in the sequel, as he fell for Kristen Wiig’s character Chani.
4 On emotions
“I’m in a glass case of emotion!”
The best comedy actors are the ones who do just the right amount of overacting, like Jim Carrey and Jack Black. Will Ferrell also falls into that category, as exemplified by his hilarious reaction to watching Baxter get kicked off the side of a bridge into a river.
He breaks down in the street, starts crying out in anguish, and calls Brian from a phone booth in hysterics. Brian asks him where he is so he can come and get him and Ron just yells out, “I’m in a glass case of emotion!”
3 On statistics
“They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.”
One Redditor pointed out that this statistic could actually make sense, if you twist what Brian means by it. It could be that 60% of the bottles of Sex Panther that get made make the wearer irresistible to women. The one that cleared the room and got Brian hosed down, due to a stench described by Ron as “a turd covered in burnt hair,” could be in the 40% of bottles that don’t work every time.
Later, he bought another bottle that was in the 60% of bottles that work and that’s what attracted the female zookeeper at the end of the movie.
2 On the news team battle
“Well, that escalated quickly.”
This is the line that opened a new chapter in the history of comedy. It didn’t just set up absurd situations; it had its characters talk about how absurd it was in the very next scene. Ghostbusters had already done this with a few one-liners – when he was told about the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster, Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman said, “Oh, we have to get these two together.”
1 On being a big deal
“I’m not quite sure how to put this, but...I’m kind of a big deal.”
This is the funniest, most memorable line from the whole of Anchorman – and that’s a movie full of funny, memorable lines – and that’s because it sums up the Ron Burgundy character so perfectly. He’s so unabashedly full of himself and expects everyone he meets to know who he is and then looks down on them if they don’t.
It also introduces us to the idea that this is the opposite of every romantic comedy you’ve ever seen. This line is in lieu of a “meet cute” moment.