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Favorite Voice-Over Narrations


The two that spring immediately to my mind are Leonardo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries and Edward Norton in Fight Club.
I was recently in an independent comedy-drama about post-high school indecision. It's called Generation Why.

See the trailer here:

"By the time I grew up, there was thirty billion a year in cargo moving through Idlewild Airport and believe me, we tried to steal every bit
of it...It was an even bigger money-maker than numbers, and Jimmy was in charge of it all. Whenever we needed money, we'd rob the
airport. To us, it was better than Citibank."


But also Barry Lyndon, Sunset Blvd., Dogville, Manderlay, Badlands, Little Big Man, The Killing, Amélie, To Kill A Mockingbird, Rebecca, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, A Clockwork Orange, Trainspotting, Taxi Driver, The Big Lebowski, The Thin Red Line, The Age of Innocence, Jules & Jim, Casino, Bull Durham, Last Year at Marienbad, The Royal Tenenbaums, Apocalypse Now, The Hudsucker Proxy, Tom Jones, Days of Heaven, Raising Arizona, Million Dollar Baby and on and on and on.
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

In the Beginning...

A Scanner Darkly, Fred

Something big is definitely going down in this house. This rundown, rubble-filled house with its weed patch yard and cat box that never gets emptied. What a waste of a truly good house. So much could be done with it. A family and children could live here. It was designed for that. Such a waste. They ought to confiscate it and put it to better use. I'm supposed to act like they aren't here. Assuming there's a "they" at all. It may just be my imagination. Whatever it is that's watching, it's not human, unlike little dark eyed Donna. It doesn't ever blink. What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does it see into me, into us? Clearly or darkly? I hope it sees clearly, because I can't any longer see into myself. I see only murk. I hope for everyone's sake the scanners do better. Because if the scanner sees only darkly, the way I do, then I'm cursed and cursed again. I'll only wind up dead this way, knowing very little, and getting that little fragment wrong too.

Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I'm surprised no-one's mentioned Harrison Ford's voice over in Blade Runner...Oh, wait, no, I'm not surprised at all...

Ar3d's Avatar
how on Jim Carrey? hee.. seriously, i think it will better if every movies has narration that say or give some details regarding on the story. sounds like in transformers movie. he..

Almost 30 years ago, I heard a voiceover that I've never been able to forget. It was in Terence Malick's film, "Days of Heaven," and the voiceover was delivered by the little girl with a Brooklyn accent. Her name wa Linda Manz, and her work was truly wonderful. She went on to make a few other films, but this was by far her best.

Carl Larsen

morgan freeman - shawshank redemption
"Get Busy Livin or Get Busy Dyin"

All good responses, specially the Goodfellas post. I always loved Christian Bale's voice over narration for American Psycho. Man, he perfected that New York yuppie accent brilliantly. Sounds like he's proper taking the piss out of them, lol

Morgan Freeman in Shawshank was amazing.

M. Emmet Walsh in Blood simple. WAY COOL!!!
Stuff the turkeys!

Hello Salem, my name's Winifred. What's yours
definately fight club and the royal tenenbaums,
stand by me
interview with a vampire
charlie and the chocolate factory
the opposite of sex

and definately brief encounter

I thought Sir Anthony Hopkins was A great choice for The Grinch, I mean who better to replace Karloff than Hannibal Lector. "Well Hello Clarice."
We are both the source of the problem and the solution, yet we do not see ourselves in this light...

I ain't gettin' in no fryer!
morgan freeman - shawshank redemption
Yes! Couldn't agree more. Of course, nowadays...Laurence Fishburne is taking over as "The Voice". No worries.

Although the days of James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman are slowly passing by, I have to say their voices are a couple of the more powerful out there.
"I was walking down the street with my friend and he said, "I hear music", as if there is any other way you can take it in. You're not special, that's how I receive it too. I tried to taste it but it did not work." - Mitch Hedberg

The absolute best movie narration I've ever experienced was that by virtually unknown actor Gil Stratton who played a minor character in and did the narration for the great POW film, Stalag 17, in 1953. Stratton played Cookie, the go-for and closest thing to a friend of prison wheeler-dealer Sefton (played by William Holden). So we get the story through Cookie's recollections--not being a major participant, he didn't see everything or know everything, but he was a keen observer of what went on around him such as when the "Geneva man" from the Red Cross provides the prisoners with several boxes of ping-pong balls, which Cookie hints, really turned out useful later on. Great narration! Held the whole film together.

And speaking of Bill Holden, don't forget his voice-over opening of Sunset Blvd. (1950) as we're watching his dead body floating in that swimming pool! Good stuff!

Richard Basehart was a primary character and narrator of Moby Dick (1956). Both the book and the film open with the same line, "Call me Ishmael," and Basehart then proceeds to recite Melville's wonderful description of all trickles of water leading first to streams, then creeks, and rivers, and finally to the sea, drawing adventurers along with them.

The World War II film, Battle Cry also benefitted from a strong narration by James Whitmore, a really good actor with a great voice.

Another great voice that would seem to have been perfect for narration was that of Orson Welles. He did a good job in narrating the classic Western, Duel in the Sun (1946) but was less impressive, I thought, as narrator for Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part One.

Everybody knows Spencer Tracy narrated How the West Was Won (1962). But how many remember that James Cagney narrated two films during his retirement, between his last starring role in One, Two, Three (1961) and his featured part in Ragtime (1981). Would you believe Cagney narrated The Ballad of Smokey the Bear (1966) and Arizona Bushwhackers (1968), which I remember as a bad B-grade movie by Audey Murphy. Of course, Cagney's the guy who brought war hero Murphy to Hollywood and helped him get a start in the movies, so that might explain it.

John Hurt doing the voice over for
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

So many good movies, so little time.

Double Indemnity (1944)

How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?

Suddenly it came over me that everything would go wrong. It sounds crazy, Keyes, but it's true, so help me. I couldn't hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man.

Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money - and a woman - and I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman. Pretty, isn't it?

"Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others."- Groucho Marx

What about the voice-over Narrations in Road to Perdition?
I think it was O.K. but could have been done better.

When people ask me if Michael Sullivan was a good man, or if there was just no good in him at all, I always give the same answer. I just tell them... he was my father.