Where would any of us be without the endless counsel, patience and wisdom of our mothers? Probably just sitting around on the couch, watching old movies in our PJs. Luckily, however, there are enough great mum characters in film history to learn from instead. Just kidding, mums, we’d truly be lost without you.
All the same, here are some of the most memorable quotes from the most iconic movie moms.
The best advice from movie moms
Maria Portokalos (Lainie Kazan) in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)From the movie that made everyone feel a little bit Greek and caused a huge spike in Windex sales, comes this gem of a metaphorical life-lesson, from mother to daughter: “Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants."Gold Circle Films
Rachel Flax (Cher) in Mermaids (1990)There's leading by example, and there's leading by bad example. In Mermaids, Cher's free-spirited mother character hits her daughter with this bit of advice on the family's genetic libido. “Charlotte, I know you're planning a celibate life, but with half my chromosomes, I think that might be tough."Orion Pictures
Kate McAllister (Catherine O'Hara) in Home Alone (1990)Catherine O'Hara rules with tough love in Home Alone when her son Kevin is being all 'Macaulay Culkin' and whining about his siblings. “Then maybe you should ask Santa for a new family," she quips. Ok, so maybe she isn't the best example of stalwart motherhood—the whole premise of the franchise is based on bad parenting—but when push comes to shove, Kate McAllister proves willing to go the distance (literally) to get back to her son. “No. No, No, No, No Way. This is Christmas. The season of perpetual hope. And I don't care if I have to get out on your runway and hitchhike. If it costs me everything I own, if I have to sell my soul to the devil himself, I am going to get home to my son."Hughes Entertainment
Mrs. Potts (Angela Lansbury) in Beauty and the Beast (1991)Let's face it, Mrs. Potts was basically the Beast's mom, too. Not only can she dance and sing—impressive for a piece of porcelain with no arms or legs—but she also has the best answer for little Chip's persistent questions about the birds and the bees: silence.Walt Disney Pictures
Mrs. Doubtfire (Robin Williams) in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)Who says dads can't be moms? Seriously, this is 2015 after all. And even if Mrs. Doubtfire was eventually revealed to her (his?) children, she still went on to pass on her wisdom to the whole country on her TV show: “There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there's love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you'll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you, poppet, you're going to be all right… bye-bye."Blue Wolf
Leigh Ann Touhy (Sandra Bullock) in The Blind Side (2009)Sometimes, the best way to get a point across is with a good old-fashioned threat—especially when dealing with boys of a certain age. Sandra Bullock doesn't beat around the bush when she catches her adopted son ogling a girl: “I want you to have a good time, but if you get a girl pregnant out of wedlock, I will crawl into the car, drive up to Oxford and cut off your penis." Alcon Entertainment
Momma Gump (Sally Fields) in Forest Gump (1994)The most obvious “box of chocolates" reference is, of course, very wise, but Forrest's mother doles out even deeper advice in the classic movie (and even more in the book) like this heartbreakingly simple and truthful statement: “Death is just a part of life."Paramount Pictures
Molly Weasley (Julie Walters) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)Molly Weasley dispenses this example of a mother's love in one of the most shocking phrases in the entire Harry Potter series. “Not my daughter, you bitch." It's not exactly advice, but the younger Weasleys get the lesson: nobody messes with a mother's children.Warner Bros.
Mama Fratelli (Anne Ramssey) in The Goonies (1985)Not all valuable lessons come from a place of good intention, and not all mothers are kind, loving souls. Mama Fratelli from the 80s adventure flick, The Goonies, was all too happy to teach the neighbourhood rapscallions a lesson in manners…at the point of a switchblade. “The only thing we serve is tongue. Do you boys like tongue?"Warner Bros.
Nancy Huff (Mary Steenburgen) in Step Brothers (2011)While mothers certainly know that you can catch more flies with honey, Nancy Huff, mother to John C. Riley's Brennan in Step Brothers, knows that sometimes you've got to give it to them straight. “Brennan, Denise called and she said she can't spend New Years Eve with you because she's not your girlfriend she's your therapist."Columbia Pictures
Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) in Terms of Endearment (1983)This entire movie is one lesson in acceptance after another. Still, there's always a place for a little wit, especially when it's coming from your mother-in-law [to her less-than-loyal son-in-law]:" Raising three children, working full-time and chasing women requires a lot more energy than you have. You know, one of the nicest qualities about you has always been that you recognized your weaknesses. Don't lose that quality now just when you need it most!"Paramount Pictures