Morgan Freeman was born on June 1, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. He is an American actor known for his many roles in movies as well as his deep and distinctive voice. In this article, we bring you some of the best and most inspiring Morgan Freeman quotes from the man himself and from his famous movie roles.
Morgan Freeman was nominated five times for the Academy Award and won once. He was nominated for his roles in the movies Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, and Invictus. In 2005, he won the award for Actor in a Supporting Role for the movie Million Dollar Baby.
Besides being one of the most known and famous actors to this day, Freeman also directed the 1993 drama movie Bopha! In addition, he founded the production company Revelations Entertainment with business partner Lori McCreary.
Among his many awards, Freeman received the Kennedy Center Honor, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the AFI Life Achievement Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Freeman has also won three Obie Awards for his performances in theatrical productions. This award is regarded as one of the most prestigious honors for recognizing excellence in theatre.
Here is a sneak peek at the quotes in this article:
Table of Contents
- Morgan Freeman Quotes on Life
- Morgan Freeman Quotes on Acting and Movies
- Morgan Freeman Quotes on Theatre
- Morgan Freeman Quotes on God
- Morgan Freeman Quotes from The Shawshank Redemption
- Morgan Freeman Quotes from Invictus
- Morgan Freeman Quotes from Million Dollar Baby
- Morgan Freeman Quotes from Lucy
- Morgan Freeman Quotes from Se7en
- Morgan Freeman Quotes from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- Morgan Freeman Quotes from Lean on Me
- Morgan Freeman Quotes from Bruce Almighty
- Interesting Facts about Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman Quotes on Life
I am going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.
If you live a life of make-believe, your life isn’t worth anything until you do something that does challenge your reality. And to me, sailing the open ocean is a real challenge, because it’s life or death.
Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.
The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.
But I can say that life is good to me. Has been and is good. So I think my task is to be good to it. So how do you be good to life? You live it.
One of the things you can always depend on – this is one of the truths of the universe, and you heard it first from here – whatever we decide we want to do is what we do.
I gravitate towards gravitas.
And some places you been before are so great that you don’t ever mind going back. Some places you been before you don’t ever want to go back, you know, like Montreal in the Winter.
I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.
I always tell my kids if you lay down, people will step over you. But if you keep scrambling, if you keep going, someone will always, always give you a hand. Always. But you gotta keep dancing, you gotta keep your feet moving.
Let me be the first to tell you, drinking alcohol is the worst thing to do in cold weather. Hot soup is the best because the process of digesting food helps to warm you up.
In the harshest place on Earth… love finds a way.
Dr. Martin Luther King is not a black hero. He is an American hero.
Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as our prince of peace, of civil rights. We owe him something major that will keep his memory alive.
Life doesn’t offer you promises whatsoever so it’s very easy to become, ‘Whatever happened to… ?’ It’s great to be wanted. I spent a few years not being wanted and this is better.
I’ve been living with myself all of my life, so I know all of me. So when I watch me, all I see is me. It’s boring.
Was I always going to be here? No I was not. I was going to be homeless at one time, a taxi driver, truck driver, or any kind of job that would get me a crust of bread. You never know what’s going to happen.
I joined the air force. I took to it immediately when I arrived there. I did three years, eight months, and ten days in all, but it took me a year and a half to get disabused of my romantic notions about it.
I like the blues a lot. I grew up on it.
How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.
I find it difficult to watch myself… I find it boring.
Not only do I have to live, right, I have to get some cash for my troubles – it’s a scary thing, and people need to start to think about the messages that they send in the movies.
You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you.
How are we going to get rid of racism? Stop talking about it!
When you have made your choice, it is providence that is your guide. Good, bad, or indifferent. Your fate lies in that.
The best way to confront, or deal with, technological innovation is to keep moving technologically.
Literacy could be the ladder out of poverty.
Don’t be different just for different’s sake. If you see it differently, function that way. Follow your own muse, always.
If you dream you’ve got to dream that it’s going to happen. Remember that. If you dream, you have to imagine that it will actually happen.
Never let pride be your guiding principle. Let your accomplishments speak for you.
Finding joy is probably tantamount to finding yourself and being comfortable in your own skin.
As long as you feel like a victim, you are one.
Fatigue, discomfort, discouragement are merely symptoms of effort.
I once heard a wise man say there are no perfect men. Only perfect intentions.
If you wake up and the snow is knee-deep outside, you are not filled with rage. It’s just something that you’ve got to cope with. If you’re living in a situation, it’s the only situation that you know, and you’ve got to deal with it.
The trick to any profession is making it look easy.
Challenge yourself, it’s the only path which leads to growth.
Don’t be afraid of what you want. This is your time. The barriers are down.
All you have to do is believe, then you will see everything.
If you want to see a miracle, be the miracle.
There are things that I would like to do, but I make a big distinction between liking to do something and wanting to do something. If there’s something that I want to do, I’ve done it. If there’s something that comes up that I want to do, I will do it.
Morgan Freeman Quotes on Acting and Movies
I knew at an early age I wanted to act. Acting was always easy for me. I don’t believe in predestination, but I do believe that once you get where ever it is you are going, that is where you were going to be.
All my life, all my life that I can, as far back as I can remember, I saw my first movie when I was six years old. And since then I wanted to do that. I wanted to be a part of that.
Give me something interesting to play and I’m happy.
As you grow in this business, you learn how to do more with less.
The reason actors, artists, writers have agents is because we’ll do it for nothing. That’s a basic fact – you gotta do it.
Most of the time it’s the role. Sometimes it’s the story and sometimes it just the paycheck. It’s the little movies that come out as stories or the fact that I have work to go out, you know what I’m saying, you can only be out so long without work, you start getting antsy.
If you’re playing somebody who is not you, then you can imagine that you are that person. You can feel like he feels, move like he moves, look like he looks – in your own mind.
It’s what I learn from the great actors that I work with. Stillness. That’s all and that’s the hardest thing.
Once you’ve gotten the job, there’s nothing to it. If you’re an actor, you’re an actor. Doing it is not the hard part. The hard part is getting to do it.
I feel fine, I don’t care who the director is. All you have to do is know what you’re doing – all of us – everybody in the business – that’s all you ask anyone – you know your job, I know mine, let’s go do it.
I do know there are a lot of people who seem to be in my corner, and that’s, of course, wonderful. I’m really more interested in the nomination than in the award, because I think the nomination just puts you within a group of outstanding actors.
Still, it can be more effective to accomplish what you need to accomplish with the minimum effort. Watch Anthony Hopkins. He doesn’t appear to be doing anything. He is so still that you can’t see him working, but you are drawn into his character through his very stillness.
Let me tell you about being executive producer. It is not a job, it’s a title. Don’t go around asking executive producers what they do because they don’t do anything, alright?
And that if you become a star, people are going to go to see you. If you remain an actor, they’re going to go and see the story you’re in.
My approach to acting is that I am totally intuitive. I read the script and I get it. If I don’t get it, I can’t do it.
I’m not intimidated by lead roles. I’m better in them. I don’t feel pressure. I feel released at times like that. That’s what I’m born to do.
Just that working with Clint again is like coming home.
Acting means living, it’s all I do and all I’m good at. If I weren’t getting paid well, I would still be acting in a small troupe somewhere.
I don’t get off on romantic parts. But I often think if I had had my dental work done early on, well, maybe.
It can have an enormous effect because big budget movies can have big budget perks, and small budget movies have no perks, but what is the driving force, of course, is the script, and your part in it.
Is there a movie I think I should have won the Oscar for? Yeah. All of them.
Morgan Freeman Quotes on Theatre
When I was doing theatre, I was very successful at believing that I was great, God’s gift to the theatre.
When I was a teenager, I began to settle into school because I’d discovered the extracurricular activities that interested me: music and theater.
There’s no mystery to it. Nothing more complicated than learning lines and putting on a costume.
Stage is really hard work. You’ve got to do it every night. Not like doing it once and walking away.
Morgan Freeman Quotes on God
I am God. So it’s easy to play him. They say God is in all things. So if God is in me, then I am in God. Therefore, I am God. God does not exist without me.
The highest power is the human mind. That’s where God came from and my belief in God is my belief in myself.
Morgan Freeman Quotes from The Shawshank Redemption
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up, does rejoice.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Every man has his breaking point.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: These walls are funny. First you hate ’em. Then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: In prison, a man will do most anything to keep his mind occupied.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: The boys always go fishing with first-timers, and they don’t stop until they reel one in.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: One day, when I have a long gray beard and two or three marbles rollin’ around upstairs, they’ll let me out.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: The first night’s the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell… and those bars slam home… that’s when you know it’s for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Forty years I been asking permission to piss. I can’t squeeze a drop without say-so.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Andy Dufresne, who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.
Morgan Freeman Quotes from Invictus
Nelson Mandela: Rugby is a very rough game, almost as rough as politics.
Nelson Mandela: The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead.
Nelson Mandela: You criticize without understanding. You seek only to address your own personal feelings. That is selfish thinking, Zindzi. It does not serve the nation.
Nelson Mandela: Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.
Nelson Mandela: We need inspiration Francois. Because in order to build our nation we must exceed our own expectations.
Nelson Mandela: If I cannot change when circumstances demand it, how can I expect others to?
Nelson Mandela: It is a human calculation. If we take away what they cherish; the Springboks, their national anthem, we just reinforce the cycle of fear between us.
Nelson Mandela: The Rainbow Nation starts here. Reconciliation starts here.
Morgan Freeman Quotes from Million Dollar Baby
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: If there’s magic in boxing, it’s the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: Frankie likes to say that boxing is an unnatural act, that everything in boxing is backwards: sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step back… But step back too far and you ain’t fighting at all.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: The body knows what fighters don’t: how to protect itself. A neck can only twist so far. Twist it just a hair more and the body says, “Hey, I’ll take it from here because you obviously don’t know what you’re doing… Lie down now, rest, and we’ll talk about this when you regain your senses.” It’s called the knockout mechanism.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: Some people say the most important thing a fighter can have is heart. Show me a fighter who was nothing but heart and I’ll show you a man waiting for a beating.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: Boxing is about respect. Getting it for yourself, and taking it away from the other guy.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: To make a fighter you gotta strip them down to bare wood: you can’t just tell ’em to forget everything you know if you gotta make ’em forget even their bones… make ’em so tired they only listen to you, only hear your voice, only do what you say and nothing else… show ’em how to keep their balance and take it away from the other guy… how to generate momentum off their right toe and how to flex your knees when you fire a jab… how to fight backin’ up so that the other guy doesn’t want to come after you. Then you gotta show ’em all over again. Over and over and over… till they think they’re born that way.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: All fighters are pig-headed some way or another: some part of them always thinks they know better than you about something. Truth is: even if they’re wrong, even if that one thing is going to be the ruin of them, if you can beat that last bit out of them… they ain’t fighters at all.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: Boxing is an unnatural act. Cos everything in it is backwards. You wanna move to the left, you don’t step left, you push on the right toe. To move right, you use your left toe. Instead of running from the pain – like a sane person would do, you step into it.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: Anybody can lose one fight, anybody can lose once, you’ll come back from this you’ll be champion of the world.
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: …but maybe he didn’t have anything left in his heart. I just hope he found someplace where he could find a little peace. A place set in the cedars and oak trees. Somewhere between nowhere and goodbye. But that’s probably wishful thinking.
Morgan Freeman Quotes from Lucy
Professor Norman: We’re so driven by power and profit.
Professor Norman: Animal life on Earth goes back millions of years. Yet most species only use 3 to 5% of its cerebral capacity. But it isn’t until we reached human beings at the top of the animal chain that we finally see a species use more of its cerebral capacity. 10% might not seem like much, but it’s a lot if you look at all we’ve done with it.
Professor Norman: For primitive beings like us, life seems to have only one single purpose: gaining time. And it is going through time that seems to be also the only real purpose of each of the cells in our bodies. To achieve that aim, the mass of the cells that make up earthworms and human beings has only two solutions. Be immortal, or to reproduce. If its habitat is not sufficiently favourable or nurturing, the cell will choose immortality. In other words, self-sufficiency and self-management. On the other hand, if the habitat is favourable, they will choose to reproduce. That way, when they die, they hand down essential information and knowledge to the next cell. Which hands it down to the next cell and so on. Thus knowledge and learning are handed down through time.
Professor Norman: Can we therefore conclude, that humans are concerned more with having than being?
Professor Norman: You know… If you think about the very nature of life, I mean, on the very beginning, the development of the first cell divided into two cells-the sole purpose of life has been to pass on what was learned. There was no higher purpose. So if you’re asking me what to do with all this knowledge you’re accumulating, I say… Pass it on…
Morgan Freeman Quotes from Se7en
William Somerset: Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I agree with the second part.
William Somerset: If we catch John Doe and he turns out to be the devil, I mean if he’s Satan himself, that might live up to our expectations, but he’s not the devil. He’s just a man.
William Somerset: I just don’t think I can continue to live in a place that embraces and nurtures apathy as if it was virtue.
William Somerset: This isn’t going to have a happy ending.
William Somerset: Even the most promising clues usually only lead to others.
William Somerset: It’s impressive to see a man feeding off his emotions.
William Somerset: Gentlemen, gentlemen… I’ll never understand. All these books, a world of knowledge at your fingertips. What do you do? You play poker all night.
William Somerset: Apathy is the solution… It’s easier to steal what you want than it is to earn it. It’s easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Hell, love costs: it takes effort and work.
Morgan Freeman Quotes from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Azeem: English! English! Behold, Azeem Edin Bashir Al Bakir. I am not one of you, but I fight! I fight with Robin Hood. I fight against a tyrant who holds you under his boot! If you would be free men, then you must fight! Join us now, join Robin Hood!
Azeem: The hospitality in this country is as warm as the weather.
Azeem: Where I come from, we talk to our women. We do not drug them with plants.
Azeem: You whine like a mule. You are still alive.
Azeem: No man controls my destiny… especially not one who attacks downwind and stinks of garlic.
Azeem: Where I come from, Christian, there are women of such beauty, that they can possess a man’s mind so that he would be willing to die for them.
Azeem: You will bring no justice to your father by dying today.
Azeem: Our way lies together, with the speed of Allah.
Azeem: You have saved my life, Christian. Now I will stay with you until I have saved yours, that is my vow.
Morgan Freeman Quotes from Lean on Me
Principal Joe Clark: I want all of you to take a good look at these people on the risers behind me. These people have been here roughly five years, and done absolutely nothing. These people are drug dealers and drug users. They have taken up space. They have disrupted this school. They have harassed your teachers. And they have intimidated you. Well, times are about to change. You will not be bothered in Joe Clark’s school. These people are incorrigible.
Principal Joe Clark: Next time, it may be you. If you do no better than they did, next time it WILL be you. They said this school was dead, like the cemetery it’s built on. But we call our Eastside teams “Ghosts”, don’t we? And what are ghosts? Ghosts are spirits that rise from the dead. I want you to be my ghosts. You are going to lead our resurrection, by defying the expectation that all of us are doomed to failure. My motto is simple: If you do not succeed in life, I don’t want you to blame your parents. I don’t want you to blame the White Man. I want you to blame yourselves. The responsibility is yours!
Principal Joe Clark: Mr. Mayor, on behalf of myself and on behalf of the students of Eastside High, you can tell the State to go to hell!
Principal Joe Clark: You think you run this school? If you could, then I wouldn’t be here, would I? No one talks in my meetings. No one! You take out your pencils and write. I want the names of every hoodlum, drug dealer, and miscreant who’s done nothing but take this place apart on my desk by noon today.
Principal Joe Clark: This is my new Dean of Security, Mr. William Wright. He will be my Avenging Angel, as you teachers reclaim the halls. This is an institution of learning, ladies and gentlemen. If you can’t control it, how can you teach? Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm.
Principal Joe Clark: Now, let me tell you something: The trouble with being a teenager is you don’t know nothing. The problem with teenagers is you THINK you’re smarter than people who’ve already been down the road you’re traveling. You know what I’m trying to say, boy?
Principal Joe Clark: They say one bad apple spoils the bunch. But what about 300? Rotten to the core! Now, you’re right, Mrs. Barrett. This is a war. It’s a war to save 2700 other students, most of whom don’t have the basic skills to pass the state exam.
Principal Joe Clark: Do whatever you have to do to transform and transmogrify this school into a special place where the hearts and souls and minds of the young can rise.
Principal Joe Clark: Are you getting my point, people? Am I getting through to you? Whether we sink or we swim, whether we rise or we fall, WE MEET OUR FATE TOGETHER!
Principal Joe Clark: Self-respect permeates every aspect of your lives. If you don’t have it for yourselves, you’re not gonna get it from anywhere.
Principal Joe Clark: They used to call me Crazy Joe. Well now they can call me Batman!
Morgan Freeman Quotes from Bruce Almighty
God: No matter how filthy something gets, you can always clean it right up.
God: I’m the one. Creator of the heavens and the Earth. Alpha and Omega.
God: Triumph is born out of struggle, faith is the alchemist. If you want pictures like these, you’ll need to use some dark colors.
God: You can’t kneel down in the middle of a highway and live to talk about it, son.
God: You’ve been doing a lot of complaining about me, Bruce. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it.
Interesting Facts about Morgan Freeman
After these inspiring quotes from one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood and the world, here are some interesting facts about Morgan Freeman that may surprise you.
- Morgan Freeman Served in the Air Force – If you’ve read all the quotes above, then you’ve probably stumbled about the one where Freeman said that he joined the Air Force. If not, then know that before Freeman began studying at LA City College, he joined the Air Force and served from 1955 to 1959. He even turned down a partial drama scholarship in order to join and serve.
- Freeman’s First Acting Role was Actually a Punishment – When Morgan Freeman was in junior high, as an attempt to flirt with a girl, he decided to pull a chair out from underneath the girl. A strange form of flirt if you ask me, but as punishment for his actions, Freeman was ordered to participate in the school’s drama department. Maybe this was the push that he himself needed in order to become such a great actor.
- Morgan Freeman Wrote a Cookbook – It seems that Morgan Freeman is not just an actor, he’s a writer too. With help from his friends, he wrote the book Morgan Freeman and Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause (available on Amazon). All the money gathered from sales of the book went to support the hurricane-relief charity, which he himself founded after hurricane Ivan stroke.
- Beehives in His Ranch – Morgan Freeman owns a ranch in Mississippi, and he decided to transform this land to a home for beehives. And so, he keeps no less than 26 beehives there to help them, after learning about the bees decline over the past few years.
- Co-owning a Blues Club – In 2001, Morgan Freeman along with two other friends opened the blues club Ground Zero Blues Club. If you’re interested, above the club you’ll find apartments which are available for rent. Just know that the music and the blues there never stop…
- A Special Place for His Academy Award – In 1998, a friend of Morgan Freeman decided to build him a special cabinet where he will store his Oscar, a he was sure Freeman will win it one day. That day surely came and in 2004 he won the Academy Award for his role in Clint Eastwood’s movie, Million Dollar Baby. And now, the cabinet has an Oscar to hold.
- The French Language is no Stranger to Him – Morgan Freeman studied the French language while he was attending the University of California. He has mastered the language to perfection, that he speaks French fluently.
For more inspiring quotes from famous actors, see our pages dedicated to Charlie Chaplin quotes and John Wayne quotes.