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The Most Meme-Worthy Movies Of All Time

Memes have technically existed before the internet, but when someone uses that word now, there is a very specific thing they have in mind (via The Washington Post). Most commonly, it is a viral image or gif that can have words on top of it, which are directly related to or commenting on the image in question (via Merriam-Webster). While the use of memes predates social media, the internet is now where they are typically shared. And among the most enduring types of memes are ones that come from movies.

Thanks to the combination of image and dialogue, any movie can be meme-ed. Most are, particularly leading up to and following the release of a new one, as this type of audience engagement online can boost business. When a specific movie is "hot" and is dominating the overall pop culture conversation, that's when the memes about or inspired by said movie are at their most prevalent. 

However, there are a few individual movies or film franchises that have endured in the ever-growing world of memes. Some have been mined for memes that go through a variety of styles, while others have given the world one or two tried-and-true memes that have been used for years, and don't seem to be going away any time soon.

Whether used in the classic picture-and-text format, gif replies on Twitter, or jumping off points for TikToks, these are the films and franchises that have been the most frequently referenced thus far in meme culture — and will most likely continue to withstand the infinite scroll of the future.

Vampire's Kiss

Some memes are more about the actor than the movie. In fact, many of the people who use the meme might not even be able to name the movie that is the source of the image. One of the primary examples of that is the widely-used image of Nicolas Cage with wild eyes and a ridiculous smile, which comes from his 1989 cult hit film "Vampire's Kiss." Do people know that's where the image is from? More importantly, does it even matter?

No, no it doesn't. Cage has enough of a reputation for overacting, and it's not terribly hard to find an image or gif of him chewing the scenery and have it make a classic meme. There are Nic Cage memes from "Face/Off," "Con Air," "The Wicker Man," and "Gone in 60 Seconds" that are frequently used and all serve a similar purpose. But there is nothing like the infamous office scene from "Vampire's Kiss," not only in that it contains one of the most legendary single images in meme history, but is also the source of the oft-used gif of him dramatically pointing and dropping his head with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. 

Napoleon Dynamite

The titular main character of "Napoleon Dynamite" was made to be meme-ed. Any random image of him from the movie with words plastered over top of it is instant chuckle material, whether it's him staring off into space with his mouth agape or in the middle of talking about how his lips hurt real bad. There are also plenty of moments that make for perfect gifs, from Napoleon dancing during the class president debates to doing his Happy Hands Club performance in class.

It's not just Napoleon himself that has been excessively meme-ed, either. His brother, Kip, is the source of a few common memes, including one that people use when they want to jokingly say that something is "getting pretty serious." Kip's bowling alley celebration and accompanying "yesss!" is also a frequent sight when people want to express victories both silly and genuine. Of course, beyond these memes, "Napoleon Dynamite" has lived on in the pop culture zeitgeist by way of people quoting the movie's many memorable lines, and by imitating Napoleon, Kip, and the rest of the gang.

Office Space

If you could just go ahead and sort of name a comedy from the last 25 years that has become a bigger cult hit and has more quotable lines, that would be great. Mike Judge's "Office Space" came and went from theaters pretty quickly when it was first released, but it soon found an audience on DVD and has since entered the pantheon of certified modern classics. Much of that has to do with it having one of the most hilarious groups of characters ever contained in a single movie, almost all of which have at least a handful of memes to their name.

When one thinks of "Office Space" memes, they likely either picture patronizing Bill Lumbergh holding a coffee mug, or Milton Waddams peering out from behind a stack of papers on his desk. And those two are definitely the most common ones, but that isn't to discount the memes that include "the Bobs," Diedrich Bader's Lawrence, Michael Bolton (no, not that one), and of course, the "oh face" guy. Even Jennifer Aniston gets to join the league of extraordinary meme subjects thanks to her role as waitress Joanna, who needs "more flair" (and arguably, it's a more meme-able turn than Rachel in "Friends").

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

It goes without saying that just about any Will Ferrell movie is filled with quotable lines that make for perfect meme fodder. There are a few swirling around the internet from the movie "Elf," as well as "Step Brothers" and "Talladega Nights." But his most meme-ed movie by far is "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy." From "That escalated quickly" to "I'm not even mad," there are at least a half dozen different moments from the iconic comedy that have endured in meme-dom for years.

It's not only Ferrell who makes up the "Anchorman" memes. Paul Rudd's Brian Fantana talking about the strange math behind Sex Panther's supposed success rate is an oft-shared gif, as is Steve Carell as Brick Tamland expressing his love for lamp or screaming "Loud noises!" Finally, anyone who has ever acted a little too dramatically on the internet — so, in other words, everyone — has probably been on the receiving end of a gif of Ron Burgundy having a meltdown in his glass case of emotion.

The Matrix series

A common meme is of Keanu Reeves from the "Bill & Ted" movies, mouth agape as if he was just delivered some mind-blowing information — not that it takes much to blow the mind of Ted "Theodore" Logan. It's a meme that is typically used sarcastically to feign shock at something that is otherwise a no-brainer or at a supposed conspiracy. But "Woah" has become something of a catchphrase for Keanu Reeves in general, and it's arguable that his most famous delivery of the word occurs in the original "Matrix" movie. As such, the moment from "The Matrix" where he says it — upon first seeing Morpheus jump from one rooftop to another — is used for the same purpose as the "Bill & Ted" meme.

Speaking of Morpheus, he is the source of another "Matrix" meme, which may be used more often. It's a close-up of actor Lawrence Fishburne's face, and the template usually begins with "What if I told you...," followed by some patronizingly obvious statement. Not surprisingly, a movie as rich and deep as "The Matrix" has inspired a number of memes, but for many fans of the film (and sarcasm in general), "Whoa" and "What if I told you" are the most common.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Another meme that was probably among the first generation of internet memes as we know them today is the "Condescending Wonka." The image captures the moment from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," where Gene Wilder leans on his hand and flashes a smirk that is made to look like someone who is not just feigning interest, but wants you to know he's feigning interest. The classic version of the meme usually has a "Oh, so you did 'something,' tell me more about that" type of a template.

It's not the only meme from the legendary family film, though. Another common — and equally patronizing — one is the gif of Wonka pretending to be disappointed at Mike Teevee's avoidance of his instructions, with Wonka half-heartedly saying "Stop. Don't. Come back." Veruca Salt throwing a temper tantrum is a gif that is often used to accuse people of doing that very thing and there are a few other memes that reference Grandpa Joe, the Oompa-Loompas, and the rest of the kids. 2005's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" has its own set of memes as well. But "Condescending Wonka" remains the most commonly used, and has earned its permanent spot in the meme hall of fame. 

The Big Lebowski

Most of the movies on this list have one or two memes that are more widely used than any other from the film. In the case of "The Big Lebowski," however, that is not the case. In fact, it's almost tough to even narrow it down to a top five most used memes from the movie. Theres a quizzical Jeff Bridges stirring his drink, John Goodman wondering if he's "the only one around here," Sam Elliot raising an eyebrow to show that you're a "special kind of stupid," chill Jeff Bridges noting "that's just like your opinion, man," and the list goes on and on. 

While deciding which Coen Brothers film is the best is an almost impossible task, it's not hard to see clearly that "The Big Lebowski" is their most meme-ed movie by a long shot. After all, a "Big Lebowski" meme really ties the internet together, and this is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps


Sometimes, a movie that came out well before most people were even on the internet comes back full force to enter heavy meme rotation. One of the biggest examples of this is the 1995 comedy "Friday," which stars Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. "Bye Felicia" is legendary, and is used both with its accompanying image from the movie of Ice Cube saying it, and in people just saying or typing it on its own. It's a classic kiss-off line that has taken on a life of its own, and it seems like it's going to live on for generations to come.

While there are a few "Friday"-inspired memes, the other most common one has Ice Cube and Chris Tucker leaning back in their seats and exclaiming, "Damn!" This is used both as a static image and in gif form, and has a variety of applications. Chris Tucker has proven his overall meme-able quality thanks to his character Ruby Rhod in "The Fifth Element," so it's no surprise that his presence in "Friday" has contributed to the movie's viral life on the internet. Sometimes, longevity comes from simplicity, and these "Friday" memes prove that all you need is a "bye" or a "damn" to stay relevant.


Batman and Batman-adjacent movies in general are very common inspirations for memes, and the character of the Joker in particular has proven to be beloved in the meme world. And while this list has contained various franchises taken as a whole — and will likely be doing so with future Batman movies — the 2019 movie "Joker" deserves its own solo mention. Above all else, Joaquin Phoenix dancing down the steps has become one of the most meme-ed moments of any movie released in the last five years, and has been used for a variety of purposes and contexts. 

However, that isn't the meme from "Joker" that earned this film its own individual entry on our list. A still from the character on the fictional talk show in one of the movie's most iconic scenes is also often used by people wanting to express an unpopular opinion, typically followed by "...and I'm tired of pretending it's not." Other moments from the film — such as Joker pulling his mouth wide into a smile, standing in an elevator, and having one of his uncontrollable laughing spells – have also gotten plenty of mileage from meme generators. 

Mean Girls

Teenagers are often the ones to put phrases into pop culture (or at least make them popular), so it's no surprise that "Mean Girls" — a movie about popular teenagers — is chock full of long-lasting memes. After all, memes are all about trying to make something trendy or viral, so not surprisingly, one of the most common ones from "Mean Girls" is of Gretchen Wieners trying to make "fetch" happen. On the other end of the spectrum, a frequently used rejection meme is Gretchen snapping "you can't sit with us!" or Damian screaming "she doesn't even go here!" 

Regina George asking "why are you so obsessed with me?" is perfect for the often self-absorbed world of social media. Karen Smith earnestly showing off her various talents — like how she can put her whole fist in her mouth, use her special "fifth sense," and the unorthodox way she can predict the weather — are often meme-ed more or less as is. But perhaps the most enduring "Mean Girls" meme is the "Get in loser, we're..." one, which sometimes accompanied by a picture of Regina, Gretchen, and Karen in a car, and sometimes not.


Gen Z has grown up not really knowing a world before memes and as such, have often been at the forefront of creating and perpetuating them. So, it stands to reason that things from their own childhood have become common meme inspiration and remained popular over the years. Gen Z is defined as those born in the late '90s, so 2001's "Shrek" and its subsequent sequels were some of the biggest movies of their childhood and for many, a first "favorite movie." It should come as no surprise then that "Shrek" memes are absolutely everywhere.

The character of "Shrek" is a meme unto himself, with countless gifs, YouTube videos, and TikToks showing people dressed as him, manipulating images of him, making intentionally bad computer animation of him, doing "Shrek"-themed ASMR, and so much more. Shrek often has little or nothing to do with the context of the thing, but he's just sort of become the ubiquitous default character to build a meme or joke around. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of traditional memes featuring him, Donkey, Fiona, Lord Farquaad, and more — but for an entire generation of meme-makers, "Shrek" is just where you start when you have an idea for a funny internet thing.

Star Wars series

One of the funniest memes around sees Anakin and Padmé from the "Star Wars" prequels sitting in a field, talking about how Anakin is going to change the world "for the better, right?" In this meme, Anakin says something, Padme responds smiling, as she makes sure he doesn't mean what she thinks he does. He looks back blankly, and she asks the question again — this time with a worried look. It has a lot of uses and people have really gotten creative with it, often swapping out the characters and putting different ones in, while keeping the template the same.

Of course, there are many, many more memes from the galaxy far, far away. Every trilogy is well-represented, as is every character. From "you were the chosen one!" to "the sacred texts!" to memes that play with Yoda's tendency to invert the subject and the predicate of a sentence when he speaks, "Star Wars" memes have an almost endless amount of uses and there is one for just about any possible situation. As more "Star Wars" movies and TV series are made, the universe of "Star Wars" memes will only continue to expand. 

The Lord of the Rings series

One does not simply discuss memes from movies without bringing up one of the OG movie-based memes. Sean Bean may be more recently known for the memes that feature variations of "Brace yourselves, winter is coming" from "Game of Thrones," but he first achieved meme immortality when his Boromir from "Lord of the Rings" first began being used to tell people that "one does not simply" do whatever it is they want to do.

Of course, that is one of the literally dozens of memes that have been inspired by both the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" movie trilogies. Basically, every major character has at least one recurring meme to their name, from Gandalf to Frodo, Sam, Gimli, Legolas, Gollum, Elrond, and more. Initially, a lot of "Lord of the Rings" memes were actually about the movies and characters themselves, and there is certainly plenty of meme fodder there. But just as many are applied to other situations. Which approach is best? All of them at once, we suppose.

Despicable Me/Minions series

It's not entirely clear how the Minions started ending up on touching, sentimental, and downright sad memes. Having a Minion holding a flower next to a saying about how to deal with the loss of a loved one seems kind of odd, but such is the prevalence of those babbling little yellow creatures that they've taken on a life of their own. Anything is better than those gaudy, flashing, glittery, flower gifs from the MySpace days that used to accompany such things, we suppose.

The Minions aren't only used in these surprising ways, however. Memes related to both the "Despicable Me" series and the movie "Minions" are just as often funny as they are emotional. A gif of a Minion looking confused or laughing often do the trick nicely to express these basic human reactions. Gru is also used for some classic memes, with the four-paneled "Gru's plan" meme being among the most popular. 

The Room

Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" is basically "Meme: The Movie." While Wiseau has retroactively embraced the audience reaction to the movie as a comedy, most who were involved with the film insist that Wiseau was intending it to be a very serious drama. Either way, it has developed into full-blown cult classic status, and just about any random five-second clip from the movie can be turned into one of the funniest memes you've ever seen.

Almost every "The Room" meme focuses on some moment in the film where Wiseau displays ... questionable acting choices. From his ridiculously over-the-top "You are tearing me apart, Lisa!" to his awkward and jarring transition into "Oh hi, Mark!," "The Room" is one of those movies where there isn't even any need to add anything to make it meme-worthy. People have definitely done so, with hilarious results — and Wiseau himself often shares some of the best ones to his own YouTube channel and social media profiles. You have to hand it to him for being such a good sport, at least. 

Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe came around and became the go-to source for comic book movie-related memes, Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy was carrying most of that load all by itself. Tobey Maguire's face is on most of them, from him crying to him dancing during his "goth" phase in "Spider-Man 3." Other characters get in on the action as well, with J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson laughing being among the favorite laughing reaction gifs around.

Sure, Spider-Man as a character has been in plenty of memes. There are a handful of great ones from the old animated series, as well as plenty from both the Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland movie eras. Time will tell if the MCU Spider-Man memes eventually outnumber and overtake the Sam Raimi ones. But there are already so many of the latter out there that it doesn't seem likely, and those just seem to have a more timeless feel to them. 

The entire Marvel Cinematic Universe

Speaking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would be impossible to narrow down which movies to include on this list without them taking over completely. So, in the interest of keeping things interesting as well as fair, it's being condensed into one single entry. From the release of 2008's "Iron Man" to "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness," MCU movies are always meme-ed immediately. Sometimes they have already been meme-ed to death before they are even released, with countless memes made based simply on the trailers.

Obviously, the intentionally funny MCU moments are some of the most commonly used for meme inspiration. But that's not to say that serious or even tragic moments aren't also widely meme-ed, which often directly poke fun at the seriousness of said moments. There are entire lists that have 50+ instances of memes that come from just a single MCU image or gif. While it's not really possible to actually count them all or even make a remotely accurate estimate, it's not a stretch to say that there are probably millions of MCU-based memes floating around the internet right now, with likely millions more to come. 

The Dark Knight trilogy

Sure, there are a decent number of memes that focus on the original run of "Batman" movies that started with the 1989 Tim Burton film and went through 1997's "Batman & Robin." But Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight trilogy" seems to be the source of the vast majority of Batman movie memes on the internet, with many of them focusing on Heath Ledger's Joker. Not only does he have his own variation of "that escalated quickly," but everything from referencing his "why so serious?" to just using his image to say things that he didn't say in the movie at all have been rampant since the movie's release and continue through this day.

"The Dark Knight" memes go well beyond the Joker. Michael Caine's Alfred gets a lot of memes as well, including having another image or quote followed by him saying "Some men just want to watch the world burn." Alfred crying in "The Dark Knight Rises" is also used a lot, sometimes without words and just as a jokey response to a faux-sad moment. Christian Bale isn't the source of that many of the memes, but he's got a few, including being used in many of the "the hero we needed/the hero we deserved" memes. 

The Wolf of Wall Street

"The Wolf of Wall Street" is the source of a surprising number of memes, considering the fact that it's not exactly a comedy. Leonardo DiCaprio laughing on a yacht is seen quite often as both an image and a gif, and both with and without accompanying captions. There is also the gif of him biting his fist, which is a common sight under things that people find ... enticing, as it were. Sometimes the meme of DiCaprio in a chair pointing at a TV screen is falsely attributed to "The Wolf of Wall Street," but that one actually comes from "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Even though his scene was brief, Matthew McConaughey is also part of two very common "The Wolf of Wall Street" memes. One is a gif of him beating his chest that has a variety of uses, and another is him talking about rookie numbers and how they need to be pumped up. It's even funnier when you know what he's actually referring to in the film, but it's just as entertaining even on its own and as a great way to tell someone they need to step up their game on something. 

The Princess Bride

One of the most-quoted movies of all-time is "The Princess Bride," so naturally, it's also one of the most meme-ed movies of all time. Not long after people starting making gifs from movies, people started sharing Inigo Montoya's iconic "Hello, my name is..." speech, and it was more than meme-worthy all on its own. Ditto for Vizzini saying "Inconceivable!," as well as Inigo's response of "You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means."

All of those moments still live on as image and gif reactions on the internet without any alterations because they still fit so many situations perfectly. But they have also been meme-ed, as have various other moments from the film — from "As you wish!" to "Anybody want a peanut?" There are probably a whole generation of kids who were familiar with "The Princess Bride" memes long before they saw the movie or could even name it, but hopefully, they eventually sought it out. Arguably, this is one of the best side effects of movie memes, which can introduce a whole new generation or audience to classics that still stand the test of time.