The dialogue in Breaking Bad is the baseline for what makes the show so enjoyable. It’s smart and funny. It is packed with a lot a punch. There are very few things that are said that don’t mean more than what it first appears as. It is also one of the most quoted pieces of modern pop-culture. It suddenly doesn’t seem inappropriate to yell “Bitch!” at someone or gruffly tell them to “apply yourself.” It was difficult to narrow the list to only seven, as there are so many great ones, but we felt these were the best of the best.
7. How Walt Lives His Life:
“To hell with your cancer. I’ve been living with cancer for the better part of a year. Right from the start, it’s a death sentence. That’s what they keep telling me. Well, guess what? Every life comes with a death sentence, so every few months I come in here for my regular scan, knowing full well that one of these times – hell, maybe even today – I’m gonna hear some bad news. But until then, who’s in charge? Me. That’s how I live my life.” – Walter White
This may be the most honest Walt has been the entire series, and it was to a total stranger in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. He is angry he has cancer, but that has never let him hold back in the two years we have known him. While it seems like an inspirational quote on the surface, Walt has lost the desire to live, and he really doesn’t care when the cancer comes back. At points in the timeline, Walt actually wishes that the cancer would come back; he has enough money to leave his family. Walt’s Heisenberg alter-ego is his way of coping with the cancer. He’s created this “big bad” persona that always has an answer to an issue that arrives, the anti-Walt, if you will, but it’s really just a coping mechanism that helps him feel in control of his cancer.
6. The Chemistry Must be Respected:
Walt: “You believe I have some proprietary kind of selfishness about my own formula? Some sort of overweening pride that you think simply overwhelms me, clouds my judgment?”
Gus: “But it doesn’t?”
Walt: “Absolutely not. I simply respect the chemistry. The chemistry must be respected.”
In this scene, Walt finds out that Jesse has been entrusted in taking over Gus’ operation and been manufacturing Walt’s signature blue meth. Offended by this, Walt convinces Gus that Jesse is nothing but a burn-out junkie that must be “supervised” during cooks and that a quality of “more or less that he has come to expect” is still not Heisenberg Level (although, technically, Heisenberg level is only 92%). Walt gets very snobby and denies that there is any conceit in his words, but simply that he is so in love with Chemistry that he could not bear to have this product cooked by anybody less-deserving. Gus cleverly sees right through all the bullshit, as he was just letting Jesse cook the product to lure Walt back. Gus shows Walt the lab and convinces Walt that he needs to be a man and provide for his family, forever setting Walt back on the bad path for the remainder of the show.
5. ASAC Schrader is Really the Smartest Guy We Know:
“You want me to beg? You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see—he made up his mind ten minutes ago.” – ASAC Hank Schrader
It was silly for Walt to ever think that he could pay the Aryan’s off when they still had the opportunity to sack a DEA agent, who they know would have gotten them all arrested eventually. Hank knew that with these types of criminals, when they have that chance and get 80 million dollars for free, they are going to jump on it. And his words to Walt were the things we all have wanted to say to Walt. He is so smart, but the entire show has been too stupid to see… well pretty much everything. His judgment has always been clouded by his family or his pride. And as we find out, he cannot have both.
4. You Knew the “Empire Business” Would Make the Cut:
“Jesse, you asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I’m in the empire business.” – Walter White
So back to the pride thing… Walt’s still butt-hurt that Gretchen and Elliott “screwed” him out of Grey Matter Technologies, a company that Walt helped build, but ultimately walked out on because of some weird relationship with he and Gretchen. Anyway, his own pride kept him from staying with Gray Matter and his own pride is what keeps him as Heisenberg. When Drew Sharp is murdered, it’s the end for Mike and Jesse. They want to sell the methylamine and be done for good, something that they are well-justified in doing after dissolving the body of a teenager. Walt has this delusion that the drug empire he has built will be a fair substitute for the one that he missed out on with Gretchen, and refusing to give up the methylamine to Jesse and Mike add one more crack to the mirror image of Walter White.
3. You Also Knew “Say My Name” Would Make the Cut:
Walt: “Now, say my name”
Walt: “You’re God damn right.”
There goes that pride thing again! At this point in the series, Walt has a major hard-on for himself. He’s murdered the drug kingpin of Albuquerque and established himself as the all-powerful Heisenberg, with a ruthlessness as fine-tipped as his product. After convincing a hesitant Mike to make a new deal for the methylamine, Walt meets up with Declan, the kingpin of Phoenix. We don’t know anything about Declan, but we do know that Phoenix is supposed to be a bigger player than ABQ in the meth game, so this dude is a big deal. Walt doesn’t care; he’s taken on the Cartel for Christ’s sake. He nixes the original deal and tells Declan, a presumably-dangerous man Walt has never met, that he now works for him. When Declan laughs at the idea, not knowing who Walt is, Walt elaborates. “I’m the man that killed Gus Fring.” Ahhh, snaps! He proceeds to make Declan his bitch by making him say Walt’s street name.
2. It’s How We All Feel, Jesse:
“I am not turning down the money! I’m turning down you! You get it?! I want nothing to do with you! Ever since I met you, everything I ever cared about is gone! Ruined, turned to shit, dead, ever since I hooked up with the great Heisenberg!” – Jesse Pinkman
It’s a surprise that this quote only comes half-way through the third season. Jesse had been through a lot up to that point, losing both Combo and Jane, not to mention having murdered a man. And while Walt saved him from Hank at the junkyard, there was nobody around to stop Hank from beating the ever-living crap out of Jesse at his own home. In what some could call a two-season long bitch-fest, Jesse breaks down in his hospital bed and refuses to work with Walt ever again. It’s a tragic statement so vivid that, no matter how you end up feeling about Jesse (we love him, btw), you can’t help but feel sorry for him. He has had everything taken away from him since beginning his time working with Walt. Unfortunately, money overrules foresight, as Jesse goes back to work with Walt. As everybody in Breaking Bad will eventually discover, this quote applies to more than just Jesse.
1. Knock, Knock. Who’s there?:
“You clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in: I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!” – Walter White
If there was one line of Breaking Bad that sums up the entire show, it’s this one right here. Skyler wakes up Walt and asks him about Gale Boetticher, she is frightened at the notion that the people Walt work with killed Gale and may do the same to Walt. She is sincerely worried about Walt and her family, pleading with Walt to turn himself in, that he was obviously in need of help and in way too deep. Walt, not one to allow anybody to make him seem weak, barks back at Skyler and makes himself look like a cold-hearted killer. In essense, his own arrogance destroys a family dynamic that was barely there in the first place.
Thanks for reading our Top Breaking Bad quotes. There was so many more we wanted to add, but we didn’t want to double dip moments by mentioning them more than once in our Breaking Bad Week articles. Stay tuned tomorrow for our Funniest Breaking Bad Moments article in the meantime (isn’t it hard to remember a time when this show was actually funny?), but in the mean time, let us know what your favorite quote from the show was below!
All media credited to AMC Television unless otherwise stated.