Between overconfident criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, stoic DEA agents, and, of course, Heisenberg himself, when it comes to quoting Breaking Bad, the well never runs dry. So much of Breading Bad’s dialogue is still ingrained in fans’ memories, even eight years after the show has ended.
As the show is filled with so many colorful characters own with their own vernacular and way of speaking, there’s so much variety in the dialogue. From one-liners hyping themselves up, to words of wisdom from characters who have seen hell on Earth, the dialogue in Breaking Bad (and to a lesser extent, Better Call Saul,) is an amalgam of depraved humor and emotional heft.
“My Best Advice Is To Tread Lightly”
The first of many incredible quotes from season 5B, and the perfect end to “Blood Money,” this quote is essentially Walter all but telling Hank that he is, in fact, Heisenberg.
Of all the quotes in the show, the “Tread lightly” line is the biggest mic drop, and it essentially kicked off a war between Hank and Walter that turned out to be the best chess game on TV. What made it more jaw dropping is that Hank was somebody that Walt looked up to and somewhat lived in fear of for so long, but the line marks the moment that the roles were reversed.
“You Two Suck At Peddling Meth”
One of Saul Goodman’s most memorable quotes surprisingly comes in one of his earliest episodes. “Mandala” features yet another instance of Jesse and Walt wrecking Saul’s head, and he frustratingly replies with the hilarious line.
What makes it so funny, and even disturbing, is that he talks about dealing a class-A drug so casually, and it’s coming from a lawyer pretending to be Jewish. But what makes it even better is that, despite it being such a ridiculous way of saying it, Saul is completely right. The whole ordeal is ludicrous and scatter-brained, but that’s exactly why Saul is one of the best Breaking Bad characters.
“Just Because You Shot Jesse James Don’t Make You Jesse James”
In the early episode of season 5, “Hazard Play,” when Jesse, Walt, and Mike are trying to set up a business together, Mike loses his cool when Walter tries to build the business too quickly. The quote refers to how Walter killed Gustavo Fring, who had such a huge meth empire, and he accuses Walter of getting too big for his boots.
The quote is so great because Walt can tell people that he’s the danger all that he wants, but there’ll always be Mike to shoot down the seemingly self-fulfilling prophecy of his. It’s one of many quotes from Mike that isn’t just a one-liner, but sound life advice too, even for viewers not trying to run a meth empire.
“Say My Name”
In yet another scene where Walter proves that Heisenberg’s blue crystal is the gold standard of meth, he is so full of himself that he makes Declan, a potential buyer, say his alias back to him.
Though Breaking Bad doesn’t glamorize drugs dealing in the slightest, and, for the most part, it makes Walter look terrible for his actions, there’s no denying that the whole scene oozes coolness. The quote is so iconic that the episode is even named after it. And it gets even better when Walter says, “You’re goddamn right,” after Declan calls him Heisenberg. On top of that, the quote is responsible for one of the funniest Breaking Bad memes too.
“Fight Me And Die”
Gustavo Fring is very specific with his words, and sometimes he very rarely says anything. In “Box Cutter” the Los Pollos Hermanos founder slit Victor’s throat with the very tool the episode is named after, all without saying a single word.
It makes the lines of dialogue that the character does have really pop. Why use so many words when just a few will do? Fring is so to the point with his words, and it’s the reason why fans love Gustavo Fring. The quote, which is found in “Salud,” the most blunt threat there has ever been, and as he says it with such maliciousness, it’s the single best example of how volatile Fring is behind the unthreatening yellow Los Pollos Hermanos uniform.
“My Name Is ASAC Schrader, And You Can Go F*** Yourself”
With Hank’s death being a major plot twist of “Ozymandias,” he gets one final badass line, and it’s Hank Schrader down to a tee. Fans wanted nothing more than to see Hank take down Jack, the Nazis, and Heisenberg, but as there were always going to be fatalities with the show wrapping up, Hank’s death was inevitable.
However, as ABC only allow their shows to use the F-bomb so many times per season, the writers of the show made the perfect decision to give it to Hank. And as both the audience and the character knew that he was going to get shot as soon as Jack decided to stop toying with him, Hank never begged for his life and he went out like a hero, confidently putting forth the uncompromising quote.
“No More Half Measures”
In “End Times,” the penultimate episode of season 4, Mike has a deep conversation with Walt in which he tells him, “No more half measures.” It’s advice that Walt completely misconstrues, and the reason it’s so impactful for fans is because those four small words are the catalyst for what happens in “Face Off.”
That advice encourages Walt to poison Brock, kill Gustavo Fring, and essentially go to war with everyone in the Meth business, which is basically everything Mike was advising against, and the sentiment is echoed throughout season 5 too. Just as was the case with the Jesse James line, Mike’s best quotes aren’t just cool throwaway lines, but life advice that fans can take to the grave.
“Yeah, B****! Magnets!”
In the entire five seasons, Jesse had never been more right than in “Live Free or Die,” when he came up with the idea to use magnets to erase data from a laptop, and upon a successful test run, he yells, “Yeah, b****! Magnets!” It might just be three small words, but the quote is perfect because it couples Jesse’s two best running gags, his wild ideas and his love of the B-word. And given that it was Jesse who spearheaded the idea, not Walter, it felt great seeing him not being patronised during the science projects for once, as he so rarely gets a win in the show.
“I’m Not In The Meth Business, I’m In The Empire Business”
This quote comes after a long speech Walter gives about why he continues to peddle meth despite having enough money for several lifetimes, which is because he missed out on running an empire with Grey Matter.
The simple sentence sums it all up. Heisenberg wants an empire, and it’s a mindset that so other drug dealers have. When the show first started, creator Vince Gilligan explained that the show was about a guy who goes from Mr. Chips to Scarface, and this quote just proves that the transition is complete. And there are so many parallels between this statement and so many other characters in the show, as Gustavo Fring started the same way. It seems like running a drug business is almost like a drug itself, as anyone involved can’t get enough.
“I Am The One Who Knocks”
This whole scene in “Cornered” is full of more memorable quotes than most shows have in an entire series, as it also sees Walter say, “I am not in danger, Skyler, I am the danger,” which is iconic in itself. But it’s topped off when he fearfully exclaims, “I am the one who knocks!” It’s Walter’s most iconic scene in Breaking Bad, and it came just as he was starting lose control of the power he had of those around him. Walter is his own hype-man, as the quote is equal parts desperation and confidence, and no other line has ever been repeated more.