Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail (1998)

‘You’ve Got Mail’ Turns 25 — Here Are 25 Memorable Quotes From the Classic Rom-Com

You’ve Got Mail remains one of the most beloved rom-coms to come from a decade overflowing with genre competitors — Notting Hill, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Clueless, Pretty Woman, Shakespeare in Love, The Wedding Singer, and so on forevermore. The film follows a struggling boutique bookseller (Meg Ryan) and the owner of a corporate Foxbooks Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), who just moved in across the street. When they meet online, they begin an intense and anonymous internet romance blithely unaware of each other’s true identities. When Joe learns that he’s involved with his business competitor, he must come to reconcile his newfound feelings of admiration with his existing contempt. 

Celebrated for the palpable chemistry between Hanks and Ryan, their dynamic remains a cornerstone of the film’s success: Their on-screen rapport is electric — blending humor, tenderness, and an anticipation-building romantic tension. The characters’ witty banter and gradual realization of their feelings for each other contribute to the film’s emotional resonance. The film is set in New York City during fall, drawing viewers into its cozy and charming atmosphere. Vibrant colors and bustling streets enter the frame, imparting a sense of nostalgia and familiarity. And who could forget the glorious soundtrack to accompany the narrative — hits like “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” “Rockin’ Robin,’ “Dreams,” “Over the Rainbow,” and “Splish Splash” all make their way into the heartfelt and humorous triumph. So, to celebrate 25 years on December 18, 2023, here are the 25 most memorable quotes from the modern classic. 

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

“I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.”

“I would give anything for you to be here in person.”

“The odd thing about this form of communication is that you’re more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.”

“People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened.”

“I live in the West Village. My favorite color is gray. I’m an expert in French 18th-century furniture. Want to have dinner?”

“I turn on my computer. I wait patiently as it connects. I go online. My breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail.”

“Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”

“I lead a small life. Valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?”

“What is so wrong with being personal, anyway?”

“It’s not ‘what’ they are like, it’s ‘who’ they are that matters.”

“It’s like you’re sending out this signal into the abyss, and then one day, the abyss sends you back a signal, and suddenly, it’s not an abyss anymore.”

“I love daisies.”

“Goodnight, my sweet prince.”

“Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee.”

“I hear nothing, not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you.”

I guess it’s hard for people who are so used to things the way they are – even if they’re bad – to change. ‘Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.”

“The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

“When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”

“I was decorating my Christmas tree and stringing cranberries, while you were decorating your dog and stringing her popcorn.”

“Oh, that caviar is a garnish!”

“It’s really not good for me to be thrown out of places, although I admit most of the time it’s deserved.”

“So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book when shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

“Joe, just call me Joe. The ‘Mr. Fox’ thing is right out of The Shop Around the Corner, and I’ve been wanting to tell you for days.”


About the author

Josh Lezmi

Josh is an entertainment writer and editor at Thought Catalog.