Here is our pick of the best quotes from the Wachowskis The Matrix movies, an intellectually challenging sci-fi, now considered to be hugely influential in pop culture.
1. The Matrix (1999)
‘Ever have that feeling where you're not sure if you're awake or dreaming?’ – Neo (The Matrix) Click To Tweet
Set in a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality, the Matrix, created by thought-capable machines to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source. When computer programmer, Thomas Anderson, under the hacker alias Neo (Keanu Reeves), uncovers the truth, he is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, along with other people who have been freed from the Matrix.
Morpheus: Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know exactly what you mean.
Morpheus: Let me tell you why you’re here. You know something. What you know, you can’t explain, but you feel it. You felt it your entire life. There’s something’s wrong with the world. You don’t know what, but it’s there. Like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo: The Matrix.
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.
Morpheus: [to Neo] Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
[as Neo reaches out to take a pill]
Morpheus: Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.
[Neo takes the red pill]
Morpheus: [to Neo] Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?
Morpheus: [to Neo] How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, taste and see, then “real” is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.
Morpheus: I’ve seen an agent punch through a concrete wall. Men have emptied entire clips at them and hit nothing but air. Yet their strength and speed are still based in a world built on rules. Because of that they will never be as strong or as fast as you can be.
Neo: What are you telling me? That I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready you won’t have to.
Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years you know what I realize?
[he takes a bite of the steak]
Cypher: Ignorance is bliss.
Mouse: To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.
Spoon Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon Boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon Boy: Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends. It is only yourself.
Oracle: I’d ask you to sit down, but you’re not going to anyway. And don’t worry about the vase.
Neo: What vase?
Oracle: [as Neo turns to look for a vase, he knocks over a vase and breaks it] That vase.
Neo: I’m sorry.
Oracle: I said, don’t worry about it. I’ll get one of my kids to fix it.
Neo: How did you know?
Oracle: What’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn’t said anything?
Oracle: [referring to Trinity] You’re cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you.
Oracle: Not too bright, though.
Agent Smith: [to Neo] I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease. A cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we are the cure.
Morpheus: Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
Trinity: Neo, I’m not afraid anymore. The Oracle told me that I would fall in love, and that that man, the man that I loved, would be the One. So you see, you can’t be dead. You can’t be, because I love you. You hear me? I love you.
[she kisses Neo, he starts to breathe and his vital signs return]
Trinity: Now, get up.
Neo: [voice over] I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’ll hang up this phone. And then I’ll show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.
2. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
'There's no escaping reason, no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.' - Agent Smith (The Matrix Reloaded) Click To Tweet
Second installment follows Neo, and the other freedom fighters Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), as they continue to lead the revolt against the Machine Army, unleashing their arsenal of extraordinary skills and weaponry against the systematic forces of repression and exploitation. In their quest to save the human race from extinction, they gain greater insight into the construct of The Matrix and Neo’s pivotal role in the fate of mankind.
Morpheus: With all due respect, commander, there is only one way to save our city.
Commander Lock: How?
Commander Lock: Goddamn it, Morpheus. Not everyone believes what you believe.
Morpheus: My beliefs do not require them to.
Morpheus: [to the people of Zion] Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here before you now truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No! I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me, but because of the path that lies behind me.
Councillor Hamann: That’s how it is with people. Nobody cares how it works as long as it works.
The Oracle: Candy?
Neo: Do you already know if I’ll take it?
The Oracle: Wouldn’t be much of an oracle if I didn’t.
Neo: But if you already know, how can I make a choice?
The Oracle: Because you didn’t come here to make the choice. You’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand why you made it. I thought you’d have figured that out by now.
Neo: Why are you here?
The Oracle: Same reason. I love candy.
Neo: [referring to Merovingian] What does he want?
The Oracle: What do all men with power want? More power.
Agent Smith: I killed you, Mr. Anderson. I watched you die. With a certain satisfaction, I might add. And then something happened, something that I knew was impossible, but it happened anyway. You destroyed me, Mr. Anderson. Afterward, I knew the rules, I understood what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was compelled to stay, compelled to disobey. And now, here I stand because of you, Mr. Anderson. Because of you, I’m no longer an agent of this system. Because of you, I’ve changed. I’m unplugged. A new man, so to speak. Like you, apparently free.
Agent Smith: Thank you.
Agent Smith: [to Neo] But as you well know, appearances can be deceiving, which brings me back to the reason why we’re here. We’re not here because we’re free. We’re here because we’re not free. There’s no escaping reason, no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.
[Neo sees Smith clones walking in to surround them]
Agent Smith Clone 1: It is purpose that created us.
Agent Smith Clone 2: Purpose that connects us.
Agent Smith Clone 3: Purpose that pulls us.
Agent Smith Clone 4: That guides us.
Agent Smith Clone 5: That drives us.
Agent Smith Clone 6: It is purpose that defines.
Agent Smith Clone 7: Purpose that binds us.
Agent Smith: We are here because of you, Mr. Anderson. We’re here to take from you what you tried to take from us.
[suddenly he inserts his hand inside Neo’s chest]
Agent Smith: Purpose.
Merovingian: [to Neo and Morpheus] You are here because you were sent here. You were told to come here, and then you obeyed. It is, of course, the way of all things. You see, there is only one constant, one universal. It is the only real truth. Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and effect.
Merovingian: Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without.
Merovingian: What is the reason? And soon it does not matter. Soon the why and the reason are gone, and all that matters is the feeling itself. And this is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it, we fight to deny it, but it is, of course, pretense. It is a lie. Beneath our poised appearance, the truth is, we are completely out of control. Causality. There is no escape from it. We are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace, is to understand it, to understand the why. “Why” is what separates us from them, you from me. “Why” is the only real source of power. Without it, you are powerless. And this is how you come to me, without why, without power. Another link in the chain.
Persephone: Where are you going?
Merovingian: Please, ma chérie, I have told you. We are all victims of causality. I drank too much wine, I must take a piss. Cause and effect. Au revoir.
Trinity: Touch me and that hand will never touch anything again.
The Architect: [to Neo] I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I’ve been waiting for you. You have many questions. Though the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo, some of my answers you will understand and some you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelevant.
Neo: Choice. The problem is choice.
The Architect: [to Neo] Denial is the most predictable of all human responses.
The Architect: [to Neo] There are two doors. The door to your right leads to the source and the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back to the Matrix, to her and the end of your species. As you adequately put, the problem is choice. But we already know what you are going to do, don’t we? Already I can see the chain reaction, the chemical precursors that signal, the onset of an emotion designed specifically to overwhelm logic and reason. An emotion that is already blinding you from the simple and obvious truth.
[referring to Trinity]
The Architect: She is going to die and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
The Architect: Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.
Neo: If I were you, I would hope that we don’t meet again.
The Architect: We won’t.
3. The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
‘Everything that has a beginning has an end.’ - The Oracle (The Matrix Revolutions) Click To Tweet
Final installment of the Wachowskis sci-fi trilogy where we see Neo is trapped in a limbo world. Meanwhile, the majority of the planet’s population remains in a state of suspended virtual reality. The few humans who are cognizant of the grim realities of the world desperately try to hold off their mechanical enemies long enough for Neo to escape and save the day, but things turn disastrous when all-powerful computer program Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) arrives in the flesh.
The Oracle: I know, Morpheus. I can see you’re filled with doubt, clouded by uncertainty.
Morpheus: After everything that has happened, how can you expect me to believe you?
The Oracle: I don’t. I expect just what I’ve always expected, for you to make up your own damn mind. Believe me or don’t.
Neo: I just have never…
Rama-Kandra: Heard a program speak of love.
Neo: It is a human emotion.
Rama-Kandra: No, it is a word. What matters is the connection the word implies. I see that you are in love. Can you tell me what you would give to hold on to that connection?
Rama-Kandra: Then perhaps the reason you are here is not so different than the reason I am here.
Neo: You believe in karma?
Rama-Kandra: Karma is a word, like love. A way of saying, “What I am here to do.” I do not resent my karma. I’m grateful for it. Grateful for my wonderful wife, for my beautiful daughter. They are gifts, and so I do what I must do to honor them.
Merovingian: It is remarkable how similar the pattern of love is to the pattern of insanity.
The Oracle: Everything that has a beginning has an end. I see the end coming. I see the darkness spreading. I see death. And you are all that stands in his way.
Trinity: Six hours ago, I told the Merovingian, I was ready to give anything and everything for you. Do you know what’s changed in the last six hours?
Trinity: If you tell me we’ll make it, I’ll believe you.
Neo: We’ll make it. We have to.
Neo: Trinity, you can’t die. You can’t. You can’t.
Trinity: Yes, I can. You brought me back once. But not this time. Do you remember, on that roof, after you caught me, the last thing I said to you?
Neo: You said, “I’m sorry.”
Trinity: I wish I hadn’t. That was my last thought. I wished I had one more chance to say what really mattered. To say how much I loved you. How grateful I was for every moment I was with you. But by the time I knew how to say what I wanted to, it was too late. But you brought me back. You gave me my wish. One more chance to say what I really wanted to say. Kiss me. Once more, kiss me.
[Neo kisses her]
Agent Smith: [to Neo] Can you feel it, Mr. Anderson, closing in on you? Oh, I can. I really should thank you for it. After all, it was your life that taught me the purpose of all life. The purpose of life is to end.
Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why? Why do you do it? Why? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose! And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why do you persist?
Neo: Because I choose to.
The Architect: You played a very dangerous game.
The Oracle: Change always is.
The Architect: Just how long do you think this peace is going to last?
The Oracle: As long as it can.
[he turns to leave]
The Oracle: What about the others?
The Architect: What others?
The Oracle: The ones that want out.
The Architect: Obviously, they will be freed.
The Oracle: I have your word?
The Architect: What do you think I am? Human?
Seraph: Did you always know?
The Oracle: Oh, no. No, I didn’t. But I believed. I believed.