What We Can Learn From Famous Movie Phone Calls

In an age where email and text messages rule our communications, it’s easy to forget how important the phone call was and still is. While we might chat with friends over text or email, our most important business is still typically conducted over the phone. The art of the phone call, though, is something that is frequently featured on the big screen. Calls can provide context for a scene, create tension or explore a developing relationship between two characters. We can all learn important lessons from these famous movie phone calls:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The Lesson: Confidence is everything.

Ferris Bueller is one of cinema’s favorite teenagers, and it’s not hard to see why. The 1986 comedy classic features a plethora of goofy gags and heartfelt moments. One of the most memorable is Ferris’ phone call to his high school principal, Mr. Rooney. To ditch classes for the day, Ferris must convince Rooney that he’s ill. Rather than lay it on thick with fake coughs, Ferris takes a more direct approach. Instead of asking for permission to stay home, Ferris simply requests that his sister be allowed to bring home his assignments.

The scene is just one of the many strategies Ferris employs to take the day off of school, but it’s one of the most effective. During the call, Ferris is polite and to the point, wasting no time to make his meaning clear. It’s something we can all learn from. The next time you’re chatting on the phone – even if you might have a bit of an ulterior motive, like Ferris – project confidence and you’re likely to get your way.

The Ring

The Lesson: What you say has consequences.

The Ring forces audiences to imagine what they might do if they had only one week to live. That week is announced, of course, by a phone call. After characters in the movie view a cursed videotape, their phone rings, eerily warning them that they have “seven days.” While the description seems silly on paper, the execution is anything but. The trill of an unexpected phone call can scare anyone, especially after watching The Ring.

So what do we take away from the horror favorite? For starters, avoid mysterious videotapes and use your caller ID every time the phone rings. But we also learn that words have consequences. The brief phone call made by the ghostly spirit in the movie is short, simple and threatening. This sends the plot propelling forward, creating extreme anxiety in both the viewers and characters onscreen. Similarly, the conversations we have over the phone in our daily lives can have equally as frightening consequences. By saying what you mean and understanding the potential ramifications of your words, you can avoid a spooky outcome.

Mean Girls

The Lesson: Your words can come back to haunt you.

Fans of the 00s classic Mean Girls will remember this scene as one of the funniest and most cringeworthy parts of the film. The frenemies, played by Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams and Lacey Chabert conduct a four-way phone call that reveals the true allegiances of the friend group. The girls viciously and hilariously insult one another, not realizing they have an audience. The scene sets up the third and final act of the film, in which the girls turn on each other in new and funny ways.

This call highlights the danger and excitement of three and four-way calling, something that has largely gone away in the modern era. Something that will likely never go away, though, is the idea that someone is listening in on your phone conversations. Whether you’re speaking to a disgruntled customer who wants a refund or advising a caller to avoid a certain competitor, there’s always a chance that your words can be used against you at a later time.

When Harry Met Sally

The Lesson: Long-lasting relationships are built over the phone.

The romantic comedy is a genre beloved across generations, and virtually everyone agrees that When Harry Met Sally is one of the best of its kind. Though the boy meets girl plot is hardly original, the realistic conversations had between the two leads helps set it apart from other movies like it. Whether chatting in a diner, on a road trip or while walking through the park, Harry and Sally embody chemistry. Their late-night chat on the phone as they watch Casablanca together is especially memorable. Audiences get the feeling that these two are not just best friends, but actually may indeed be soulmates.

The scene highlights the importance of both tone and honesty when talking on the phone. While much of Harry and Sally’s relationship is built up in person, their phone conversation takes it to the next level. For all the benefits a face to face chat can have, phone calls can be just as important for building relationships. We would all do well to remember that when we’re answering a call.

At MAP Communications, we’ve studied the art of the phone call and consider ourselves experts. Harness our expertise for your company and ensure every conversation with a client or customer is handled politely, efficiently and with the kind of care necessary to build a long-lasting relationship.