It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since fictional football player Rod Tidwell (Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr.) demanded that sports agent Jerry McGuire (Tom Cruise) “Show me the money!” but it’s true.
Jerry McGuire premiered in December 1996 and is the fifth highest grossing romantic drama of all time. In addition to Cruise and Gooding, the movie starred Renee Zellweger as Jerry’s love interest and single mom Dorothy Boyd and introduced child actor Jonathan Lipnicki as her young son Ray.
In honor of the movie’s 20th anniversary, here are the top 20 lines/moments that made this movie so memorable.
1. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP OUT!” – Jerry
After a middle-of-the-night epiphany, hot shot sports agent Jerry writes a long and impassioned mission statement and delivers it to his entire office. He immediately has second thoughts about his manifesto but it’s too late. The damage is done and his career at the agency is over. As he leaves his office, he wants to let his colleagues know the he is not going to flip out, but alas, he is flipping out.
2. “I just want to be inspired.” – Dorothy
This is the reason single mother Dorothy gives for leaving her paying job to go work with Jerry. She believes in Jerry even though he has trouble believing in himself.
3. “Show me the money!” – Rod
After Jerry abruptly quits his big corporate sports agency job, he frantically scrambles to get any of his clients to come with him. Only Rod is willing to think about it and only if Jerry will show him the money.
4. “Show me the money.” – Jerry
Rod wants to make sure that Jerry really understands what he needs to do if he wants to continue being his agent. Jerry not only has to agree, he has to shout the phrase several times into the phone with feeling (and also shout “I love black people” and “You’re my m&**F%&&”) before Rod finally agrees to sign with him.
5. “It’s the ‘Kwan'” – Rod
The “Kwan” is a word Rod made up to describe everything he is looking for — respect, community and dollars too — the package. It is up to Jerry, who Rod dubs “the ambassador of the kwan” to make sure that Rod got all these things he deserved.
6. “Did you know the human head weighs 8 pounds?” – Ray
Precocious Ray utters this fact to Jerry during an interesting fact exchange.
7. “Don’t cry at the beginning of a date. Cry at the end, like I do.” – Laurel
Dorothy is so nervous before her big date with Jerry that she starts crying. Big sister Laurel, who has had some bad luck with men, tries to calm her down with this pessimistic but sage advice.
8. “Towel?” – Jerry
Having a serious discussion when your client is naked is a little distracting. Jerry asks Rod, “Towel?” but Rod says, “No, I air dry.”
9. “Help me… help you. Help me, help you.” – Jerry
Being Rod Tidwell’s agent is not easy. Rod’s outrageous behavior and difficult demands make it hard for Jerry to do the job. An exasperated Jerry utters this phrase to Rod.
10. “You are hanging on by a very thin thread and I dig that about you!” – Rod
Jerry is losing it. His life and career are falling apart in front of Rod’s eyes. Rather than being concerned, Rod sees it as a good thing because it means Jerry will just fight harder for him.
11. “I love him. I love him for the man he wants to be. And I love him for the man he almost is.” – Dorothy
Dorothy knows Jerry is not perfect. But she loves him. Not just for who he is today, but the who he is striving to be — even if so far he has not yet become that person.
12. “I feel for you, man. But a real man wouldn’t shoplift the pootie from a single mom.” – Rod
Rod is trying to lend Jerry a sympathetic ear regarding his love life drama. But he also keeps it real by telling Jerry that playing with the heart of a single mom is way uncool.
13. “I’m sorry, I’m just a little pregnant here.” – Marcee Tidwell
Jerry’s not the only one getting anxious. Rod’s wife Marcee is pregnant. She’s worried about Rod’s contract and about Rod getting hurt. While it’s not possible to be a “little” pregnant but no one is going argue with a hormonal Marcee.
14. “What you have is my whole word and it is stronger than oak.” – Matt Cushman
Matt Cushman, father of top college football prospect “Cush,” promises Jerry that they don’t need to have a signed contract between him. Matt says his word is stronger than oak — but as it turns oak is not so strong after all.
15. “It’s not ‘show friends’ its ‘show business.'” – Bob Sugar
That’s how former work colleague Bob Sugar explains turning on Jerry.
16. “You see this jacket I’m wearing, you like it? Because I don’t really need it. Because I’m cloaked in failure.” – Jerry
After realizing that Jerry has lost “Cush” and has made a total mess of his life, Jerry has a pity party for himself. This line is part of a larger speech where Jerry outlines his many missteps to Rod and questions why Rod has stayed with him. To which Rod replies …
17. “Well boo f-ing hoo.” – Rod
Rod perfect response to Jerry’s impassioned pity party speech.
18. “What do you want from me? My soul?” – Jerry
An exasperated Jerry asks this question rhetorically to Dorothy. Her reply, “Why not? I deserve that much” illustrates how much this woman has grown since she agreed to quit her job to work for Jerry. She realizes that Jerry is lucky to have her and if he doesn’t know that, then she won’t be with him.
19. “You complete me.” – Jerry
Whoa! Jerry finally realizes how lucky he is to have Dorothy in his corner. He says this in a heartfelt, somewhat babbling, long plea to Dorothy … that she interrupts by saying “shut up” and then explaining …
20. “You had me at hello.” – Dorothy
Jerry didn’t need to say anything else to win her back.