100+ Steel Magnolias Quotes You're Gonna Love More Than Your Luggage

Channel Your Inner Ouiser Or Truvy With These 100+ Steel Magnolias Quotes

July 19, 2021 Updated October 20, 2021

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Alamy Photo/Tri Star Pictures

In the canon of great Southern movies, you can’t get much more iconic than Steel Magnolias. Although the cult classic first hit theaters way back in ’89, its popularity endures today — in fact, it only seems to become more beloved as time passes. So, what makes it such a timeless piece of movie history? Partially, we’d imagine, because it centers on a ton of universal touchstones: the bonds of friendship, the pain of loss, the love between a mother and child, the way beauty parlors bring people together in unexpected ways, and, of course, how humor can heal. But while those things draw viewers in, it’s the Steel Magnolias quotes that make this movie a pop culture mainstay.

How many memes featuring Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine) do you see floating around Facebook in a given week? How many times have you cried watching that viral TikTok of Sally Field’s heartbreaking scene after her character, M’Lynn, loses her daughter, Shelby (Julia Roberts)? The dialogue between the film’s circle of friends — Ouiser, M’Lynn, Clairee (Olympia Dukakis), Truvy (Dolly Parton), and Annelle (Daryl Hannah) — is witty, warm, and wildly relatable. Did we mention funny, too? Because, wow, is it funny.

So, slide on your “I Slapped Ouiser Boudreaux” t-shirt and settle in for some quality Southern repartee with these epic Steel Magnolias quotes.

Ouiser Boudreaux Quotes

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  1. “You are a pig from hell.”
  2. “You are evil, and you must be destroyed.”
  3. “Annelle, take your Bible and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.”
  4. “I’m not crazy; I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years!”
  5. “A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
  6. “I’m pleasant. Damn it! I saw Drum Eatenton this morning at the Piggly Wiggly, and I smiled at the son of a bitch ‘fore I couldn’t help myself.”
  7. “This is it, I’ve found it. I’m in hell.”
  8. “This is football. All the people want to hear about are touchdowns and injuries. They don’t give a damn ’bout that grape shit.”
  9. “Don’t try to get on my good side, Truvy. I no longer have one!”
  10. “I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don’t see movies ’cause they’re trash, and they got nothin’ but naked people in ’em! And I don’t read books, ’cause if they’re any good, they’re gonna make ’em into a miniseries.”
  11. “Drum, eat shit and die.”
  12. “What’s the matter with you these days, M’Lynn? You got a reindeer up your butt?”
  13. “There. My secret’s out. I’m having an affair with a Mercedes Benz!”
  14. “The only reason people are nice to me is because I have more money than God.”
  15. “I’m not as sweet as I used to be.”
  16. “You are too twisted for color TV!”
  17. “He is a boil on the butt of humanity.”
  18. “My God, you look different. Have you shrunk?”
  19. (after knocking Clairee off the bench and looking at her hair) “Get your roots done!”
  20. “Somebody’s gotta take ’em. I hate ’em. I try not to eat healthy food if I can possibly help it.”
  21. “I am an old Southern woman, and I am supposed to wear funny clothes, ugly hats, and dig in the dirt. I did not make the rules.”
  22. “Ugh. Leave me alone.”
  23. “I just thought Sammy won’t mind you reading the Bible in bed as long as you’re wearing something inspirational.”
  24. “I hate these stupid neighborhood things.”
  25. “Are you high, Clairee?!”

Clairee Belcher Quotes

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  1. (looking at the mayor’s girdle-less wife dancing) “Looks like two pigs fightin’ under a blanket. “
  2. “Well, you know what they say: If you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”
  3. “Ouiser, you sound almost chipper. What happened today? You run over a small child or something?”
  4. “Ouiser, I’d recognize this penmanship anywhere. You have the handwritin’ of a serial killer.”
  5. (positioning Ouiser in front of a distraught M’Lynn) “Hit this! Go ahead, M’Lynn, slap her! … We’ll sell t-shirts sayin’ ‘I SLAPPED OUISER BOUDREAUX!'”
  6. “Ouiser, this is your chance to do something for your fellow man. Knock her lights out, M’Lynn!”
  7. “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”
  8. “You know I love ya more than my luggage.”
  9. “Ouiser could never stay mad at me — she worships the quicksand I walk on.”
  10. (quoting her nephew) “All gay men have track lightin’. And all gay men are named Mark, Rick, or Steve.”
  11. “They were both high. They’d been smokin’ everything but their shoes.”
  12. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
  13. “Shelby, you scared us. That wasn’t a nice thing to do to your mama. Never say that to a woman who’s marinatin’ 50 pounds of crab claws.”
  14. “I really do love football, but it’s hard to parlay that into a reason to live.”
  15. “I’m just too colorful for words.”
  16. “What would I do with a radio station? Oh, business never interested me. Lloyd took care of all that stuff. Shelby, I hope you and Jackson will be as happy as Lloyd and I were. We had such a good time. Until November. Well, at least he hung on through the state playoffs.”
  17. Clairee Belcher: (trying to do color commentary by discussing the color of the football uniforms) But I love the top — such a vibrant purple. Bob, would you call this color grape or aubergine?”
    Ouiser Boudreaux: “SHUT UP!”
    Clairee Belcher: “What?”
    Ouiser Boudreaux: “You’re makin’ a fool outta yourself, Clairee.”
    Clairee Belcher: “I am not.”

Truvy Jones Quotes

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  1. “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”
  2. “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.”
  3. “There’s so much static electricity in this room, I pick up everything but boys and money.”
  4. “Smile! It increases your face value.”
  5. “Oh, Sammy’s so confused he don’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt.”
  6. “In a good shoe, I wear a size six, but a seven feels so good, I buy a size eight.”
  7. “Louie brought his new girlfriend over, and the nicest thing I can say about her is all her tattoos are spelled correctly.”
  8. “Oh, sweetheart, don’t. Please don’t cry or I will too. I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence.”
  9. “Oh, honey, God don’t care which church you go to, long as you show up!”
  10. “There is no such thing as natural beauty.”
  11. “I’m just screamin’ at my husband; I can do that any time!”
  12. “Now, see, that’s what really melts my butter.”
  13. “I don’t like her. I don’t trust anyone who does their own hair. I don’t think it’s natural.”
  14. “Oh, get with it, Clairee. This is the ’80s. If you can achieve puberty, you can achieve a past.”
  15. “Maybe she’s praying for Marshall and Drew and Belle. Maybe she’s praying for us because we’re gossiping. Maybe she’s praying because the elastic is shot in her pantyhose! She prays at the drop of a hat these days.”
  16. “When it comes to pain and suffering, she’s right up there with Elizabeth Taylor.”
  17. “I can usually spot a bottle job at 20 paces.”
  18. “It takes some effort to look like this.”
  19. “No time for thanks this morning; we’ll be busier than a one-armed paper hanger.”
  20. “A cuppa-cuppa-cuppa? That’s simple; you don’t need to write that down. A cup of flour, a cup of sugar, a cup of fruit cocktail with the juice, and you mix and bake at 350 to a golden bubbly.”

M’Lynn Eatenton Quotes

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  1. (referring to Shelby’s pink wedding decorations) “That sanctuary looks like it’s been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol.”
  2. “You are special, Shelby. There are limits to what you can do.”
  3. (screaming) “I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine! I can jog all the way to Texas and back, but my daughter can’t! She never could! Oh, God! I am so mad I don’t know what I want to do. I wanna know why! I wanna know why Shelby’s life is over! I wanna know how that baby will ever know how wonderful his mother was. Will he ever know what she went through for him? Oh, God, I wanna know why. Why? Lord, I wish I could understand!”
  4. “It’s not supposed to happen this way! I’m supposed to go first. I’ve always been ready to go first. I-I don’t think I can take this.”
  5. “I find it amusing. Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something. I just sat there. I just held Shelby’s hand. There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. Oh, God. I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life, and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.”
  6. “Oh my God, Shelby was right. My hair does look like a brown football helmet!”
  7. “Shelby, as you know, wouldn’t want us to get mired down and wallow in this. We should handle it the best way we know how and get on with it. That’s what my mind says; I just wish somebody would explain it to my heart.”
  8. (after Ouiser belches) “Oh, now that’s attractive, Ouiser.”
  9. “I can’t even begin to think how you make gray icing!”
  10. “If he’s trying to drive me crazy, it’s too late.”

Shelby Eatenton Quotes

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  1. “Pink is my signature color.”
  2. “The one thing that would make me happy is to have a baby. If I could adopt one, I would, but I can’t. I’m going to have a baby, and I wish you’d be happy too.”
  3. “Mama, I don’t know why you have to make everything so difficult. I look at having a baby as the opportunity of a lifetime. Sure, there may be risks involved, but that’s true for anybody. But you get through it and life goes on. And when it’s all said and done, there will be a little piece of immortality with Jackson’s good looks and my sense of style, I hope. Please, please, I need your support. I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
  4. “Mama, you worry too much. In fact, I never worry ’cause I always know you’re worried enough for the both of us. Jackson and I have given this a lot of thought.”
  5. “Well, we went skinny-dipping and we did things that frightened the fish.”
  6. “Remember what Daddy always says: ‘An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure!'”
  7. “Truvy, you know what you need in here? You need a radio — takes the pressure off of everyone feeling they have to talk so much.”
  8. “Relax! You can’t screw up her hair. Just tease it and make it look like a brown football helmet.”
  9. “I just like the idea of growing old with somebody. My dream is to sit on the back porch covered with grandchildren and say ‘no’ and ‘stop that.'”
  10. “Mama, this nail polish is drying way too dark… looks like a stuck pig bled all over my hands.”
  11. “My colors are blush and bashful, Mama.”

The Best of the Rest

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  1. Drum: “Ouiser, can we call a truce long enough for me to get a piece of cake?”
    (Ouiser slices him the tail end of the bleeding armadillo cake)
    Drum: “Aww, thanks, Ouiser. Nothin’ like a good piece of ass.”
  2. Clairee: “I’ve just been to the dedication of the new children’s park.”
    Truvy: “Yeah, how did that go?”
    Clairee: “Janice Van Meter got hit with a baseball. It was fabulous.”
    Truvy: “Was she hurt?”
    Clairee: “I doubt it. She got hit in the head.”
  3. Drum: “Ouiser, you look like hammered shit.”
    Ouiser: “Don’t you talk to me like that!”
    Drum: “Oh, I’m sorry — you look like regular shit.”
  4. Ouiser: “Don’t you expect me to come to one of your churches or one of those tent revivals with all those Bible-beaters doin’ God-only-knows-what! They’d probably make me eat a live chicken.”
    Annelle: “Not on your first visit!”
    Clairee: “Very good, Annelle! Spoken like a true smartass!”
  5. Annelle: “We are in the house of the Lord.”
    Clairee: “Oh, like she cares. Ouiser’s never done a religious thing in her life.”
    Ouiser: “Now, that is not true. When I was in school, a bunch of my friends and I would dress up as nuns and go bar-hoppin’.”
  6. M’Lynn: “Oh, Ouiser, Drum would never point a gun at a lady!”
    Ouiser: “Oh, he’s a real gentleman! I bet he takes the dishes out of the sink before he pees in it!”
  7. Truvy: “Well, these thighs haven’t gone out of the house without lycra on them since I was 14.”
    Clairee: “You were brought up right.”
  8. Ouiser: “I should have never said that in front of Shelby.”
    Clairee: “Ouiser, no one pays any attention to you.”
  9. Annelle: “Are you speaking of our Lord? Is that whose name you’re taking in vain?”
    Sammy: “That’s the one.”
    Annelle: “Well, I’m sorry, Sammy. But I am not about to spend the next 50 years of my life with someone I’m not gonna run into in the hereafter.”
    Sammy: “Oh, Annelle, goddamnit!”
    Annelle: “I think we should pray.”
    Sammy: “Oh, I’d rather eat dirt!”
  10. “Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.” — Annelle
  11. Truvy: “You are playin’ hard to get!”
    Clairee: “At her age, she should be playin’ beat the clock.”
  12. Clairee: “The older you get, the sillier you get.”
    Ouiser: “Yeah, well the older you get, the uglier you get.”
  13. “I didn’t know if you would hire someone who may or may not be married to someone who might be a dangerous criminal.” — Annelle
  14. Annelle: “That is one ugly dog. What kind of dog is that.”
    Clairee: “If it had hair, it’d be a Saint Bernard.”
  15. Ouiser: “Clairee, this is just a gesture. We’re not feedin’ Drum until the end of time.”
    Clairee: “Drum loves pork and beans. Eats ’em with everything.”
    Ouiser: “That explains a lot.”
  16. (to Ouiser) “I heard you got so screwed up you cut your dog out of your will and had an ungrateful nephew put to sleep!” — Drum
  17. M’Lynn: “Shelby, the boys bought the car around.”
    Shelby: “What did they do to it?”
    M’Lynn: “Well, let me put it this way… if you and Jackson want to practice safe sex, you’re all set!”
  18. “It’s in the ‘freezes beautifully’ section of my cookbook.” — Annelle
  19. Jackson: “You want to go through with this. I don’t want to give back all the wedding presents. That VCR alone is worth getting married for, and I love you.”
    Shelby: “If Daddy catches you in here, whether or not I can carry your children will not matter. He will cut your thing off.”
  20. “I got to scare away about five zillion birds this afternoon before Shelby’s reception. If I don’t, I’ll have to deal with my wife, and I make it a point to never deal with my wife.” — Drum