It would be easy enough to fill this list of the best Matrix quotes entirely with soundbites from Morpheus, let alone just iconic lines from the first movie, making it almost difficult to narrow it down to just 30 from all three films. Whether it's lines that have been referenced in popular culture at large, to the words that have led to The Matrix series becoming a cult classic, there's plenty to make you nostalgic for Neo's original adventures ahead of The Matrix: Resurrections.
30. "Denial is the most predictable of all human responses" – The Architect (The Matrix Reloaded)
At a point in the trilogy where everything feels quite bleak, this pivotal conversation with The Architect seriously doesn't help. Neither Neo, nor we, can believe our ears at the idea that there have been previous versions of 'The One'. And the ability to save Trinity? Neo's not having it.
29. "Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without" – Merovingian (The Matrix Reloaded)
There's something about this line from the calculated villain that it the Merovingian that feels so allusive to that opening decision offered to Neo by Morpheus. It may to be accompanied by a duo of colored pills, but it certainly harks back to Neo's position as someone who doesn't believe in fate, but in the power to make one's own decisions.
28. "This is my world. My world!" – Agent Smith (The Matrix Revolutions"
It's hard to forget the scene where Neo ends up finally fighting all the versions of Agent Smith, which happens right at the end of the third movie, The Matrix Revolutions. Agent Smith was never going to give up the Matrix without a fight, which causes him to try and stake his claim on it in this line screamed through a torrential rainstorm.
27. "Choice. The problem is choice" – Neo (The Matrix Reloaded)
Ah, there's that word again... choice. Such a prominent theme through the original trilogy, and this line feels like such a poignant one when it comes to understanding how the entire Matrix system works.
26. "Some people go their entire lives without hearing news that good" – Neo (The Matrix Reloaded)
We can't imagine a night of romance is at all enjoyable – or even possible – on the small ship that is the Nebuchadnezzar, so Neo and Trinity's first night alone together when they reach Zion is so utterly desired. Hearing that the ship takes a good day to completely recharge just might be the best news Neo's ever heard because of the amount of time it gives the pair to be together – thus prompting this surprisingly sweet line from the usually stoic hero.
25. "What do all men with power want? More power" – The Oracle (The Matrix Reloaded)
The Matrix has become so dangerous for the Oracle at this point that she's gone into hiding, helped by the martial arts expert, Seraph, who's almost on par with Neo himself. The Oracle knows it's the Merovingian after her, or more specifically her eyes, and also understands what Neo needs to hear in order to take down the Merovingian.
24. "To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human" – Mouse (The Matrix)
In a situation where the real world is exceptionally bleak, Mouse takes his chance to inject a little color by creating "The Woman in the Red Dress". Primarily aimed at training newly freed minds to keep focused in the Matrix in case of Agents, Mouse has also set up opportunities for anyone to spend a little more one-on-one time with his stunning digital creation, which he then offers to Neo – much to the disgust of his fellow ship-mates.
23. "Not like this. Not like this" – Switch (The Matrix)
When Cypher goes rogue and starts taking out the squad from the safety of the Nebuchadnezzar, it's Dozer (and almost Tank) he takes down first before turning his murderous rampage on those crew members still trapped in the Matrix. Apoc goes quick, leaving Switch to cower over his dead body unable to say little more than this now meme-worth line.
22. "Guns. Lots of guns" – Neo (The Matrix)
When Neo starts to realize that maybe he might just be The One, he embarks on a rescue mission to rescue Morpheus from the hands of the Agents. As part of his prep, he asks Tank for "guns. Lots of guns", in a line that's that has become so beloved that it's followed Keanu Reeves into John Wick where he speaks the very same words in The Continental hotel.
21. "We are still here!" – Morpheus (The Matrix Reloaded)
This is the most powerful line in Morpheus' speech to the people of Zion, as they face the biggest attack from the machines yet. Although some are skeptical of his mental state and dogged belief in The One prophecy, he is still asked to rouse the people and does so by giving them the truth. Queue roars of rapturous support followed by possibly the raunchiest party in sci-fi cinema.
20. "What's really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn’t said anything?" – The Oracle
The Oracle's words at this moment still hurt our brains a little bit, because would Neo have even noticed the vase if she hadn't brought it to his attention? We'll never know. It's a throwaway moment at a pivotal point for Neo in the original film, but one of those philosophical conundrums that still stretches the old gray matter.
19. "The body cannot live without the mind" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
The Matrix is a dangerous place for a number of reasons, from seemingly invincible agents constantly hunting you down to the risk of death. After all, as Morpheus explains to Neo in his early runs through the training simulations on the Nebuchadnezzar, if you die in the Matrix, you die in real life too.
18. "I don't like the idea that I’m not in control of my life" – Neo (The Matrix)
There are many entries on this list of best Matrix quotes from Neo's iconic first meeting with Morpheus, but this line sums up Neo's thoughts on fate. It feels even more relevant now than ever, proving that even a movie first released in 1999 can be strikingly timely.
17. "Human beings are a disease. A cancer of this planet" – Agent Smith (The Matrix)
This entire speech from Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith is incredibly powerful. It's just him, left alone with a heavily drugged Morpheus as Smith tries to tease the access codes for mainframe at Zion – the last remaining human city – from Morpheus' mind. It's a lengthy monologue on his reasons for wanting the code, and thus being able to purge the world of the "stink" of the human race.
16. "The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now in this very room" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
For everyone's first and hopefully spoiler-free viewing of The Matrix it's this description of what the Matrix actually is without really understanding it yet that really builds the intrigue. We're as clueless as Neo at this stage, and hanging on Morpheus' every word.
15. "Ignorance is bliss" – Cypher (The Matrix)
Not many people have looked at a steak the way Cypher does at this moment. At a fancy restaurant sitting opposite Agent Smith, he turns traitor and agrees to turn in Morpheus in exchange for re-insertion into the Matrix. Turns out, he's more interested in getting to enjoy food and forget the real world exists than standing by his crew.
14. "What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
Another line from that first meeting of Neo and Morpheus, this is the point where Morpheus really lays out the fact that he knows exactly how Neo is feeling. We're mere minutes from the offering of the red and blue pills, and this is Morpheus luring Neo into making the right choice.
13. "It's the question that drives us, Neo. It's the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did" – Trinity (The Matrix)
After the voice in his computer tells Neo to "follow the white rabbit", Neo meets Trinity for the first time in a noisy club. It's here that she tries to alert him to the danger he's in, teases a meeting with the almost-mythical Morpheus, and finally finds out the answer to the question that is driving him mad – "What is the Matrix?"
12. "Do you think that's air you're breathing now?" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
After Neo absorbs all the knowledge he needs to use kung-fu, Morpheus challenges him to a fight. But after Neo fails to land a hit on Morpheus, he questions his new protege, asking Neo whether he really thinks physical strength and prowess matter in a simulation. It's that moment where he asks Neo whether he thinks he's actually breathing air, with the little pause and the quizzical 'hmm' that follows, that makes this line such a beautiful head-scratcher.
11. "Never send a human to do a machine's job" – Agent Smith (The Matrix)
After the Agents kidnap Morpheus with the intention of hacking into his mind to find the access code for Zion, there's a certain fear that they're running out of time. With Cypher having failed to terminate Morpheus' crew, Agents Smith, Brown, and Jones gather to talk, with Smith uttering this brilliant line.
10. "What was said was for you, and you alone" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
Morpheus' slightly smug smirk as Neo emerges from his conversation with the Oracle says it all. He doesn't need to know what she said to Neo, because Morpheus is already convinced Neo's something special.
9. "Remember... all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
As Neo reaches for the red pill to find out what the Matrix is, Morpheus utters a caution that he's only offering the truth – knowing full well that the real world isn't exactly an easy place to exist. Thankfully, Neo takes the pill regardless.
8. "Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
As Neo learns what is really left of the 'real world', Morpheus gives an amazing speech about the co-dependency of machines and humans. When the sun burnt out it was thought that the machines wouldn't survive without their power source... before they realized that humans could provide a source of energy. Human dependency on machines was completely flipped on its head. Thus, this now-iconic line.
7. "You have to let it all go, Neo - fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind!" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
Leaping from one skyscraper to another without falling to your death... easy right? For Morpheus, yes, but for Neo it's time to learn. Neo's mind might be free from the Matrix now, and yet there's still a long way to go before he can understand how to bend the Matrix's rules to his will. Despite the hopeful onlookers, it turns out everyone falls the first time – even The One.
6. "Goodbye, Mr. Anderson…" – Agent Smith (The Matrix)
Just the way Hugo Weaving says "Miiiister Aaaaanderson" as Agent Smith is iconic on its own, but it's in this moment where you think all is lost that it feels almost cruel. Neo is seemingly dead, shot multiple times by Agent Smith, and for a minute he believes he has one. However, the prophecy comes true...
5. "Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize just as I did that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
Neo has spent the majority of the first film believing that Morpheus got it wrong. After speaking to The Oracle, Neo acts with the idea that he isn't The One because that's what she told him, but then repeatedly does the impossible – including rescuing Morpheus from the Agents. It's after this that Morpheus explains that the Oracle just told him what he needed to hear, to allow Neo to find the path – and walk it – by choice.
4. "There is no spoon" – Spoon Boy (The Matrix)
Listed as nothing more than Spoon Boy in the credits, this young lad has gone down in history as delivering one of the best Matrix quotes of all time. Using his mind to bend a series of spoons in a manner that would make Uri Geller blush, the young 'potential' asks Neo if he's able to do the same, before reminding him that the key to it is realizing that in the Matrix, nothing – even spoons – actually exist.
3. "I know kung-fu" – Neo (The Matrix)
This quote could have easily topped the list of the best Matrix quotes, because it really has transcended beyond the original movie. Not only has this exact moment spawned a thousand memes, but it's even referenced in the fourth Matrix movie, with Neo teasing: "I still know kung-fu".
2. "I can only show you the door, you're the one that has to walk through it" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
Although this moment has become notorious for the visible camera spotted in the doorknob reflection, it's also a great line from Morpheus that sets up the second half of the film. Although he doesn't know it yet, what Neo's about to hear doesn't really matter, it's about Neo finding his own path unburdened by the prophecy, and Morpheus here is just alluding to that.
1. "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" – Morpheus (The Matrix)
Ah, the Alice line. Utterly iconic, and a wonderful way of presenting what is a simple choice on the surface. The blue pill would have ended the movie, and the franchise, right then and there, but it is the red pill that holds the answers to Neo's questions after all. That reflection of the pills and Neo's hand reaching for the red in Morpheus' oh-so '90s shades is also just perfect.
Need a catch-up on everything that's happened in The Matrix so far? Then be sure to check out our The Matrix explained recap. And for something new to watch, check out our picks of the best sci-fi movies of all time.