20 Most Inspiring Quotes From The Greatest Showman


  • Barnum’s drive to be the “greatest showman” led to the creation of a found family for his performers.
  • Characters in the film showcase the value of uniqueness and celebrating differences in a world full of judgment.
  • The movie’s key message is to redefine the world around oneself rather than changing to fit in with societal expectations.



The Greatest Showman took the world by surprise upon its release by being a musical with incredible set pieces and a story that was instantly relatable despite the period setting. The film made over $400 million worldwide, and there was more to it than just Hugh Jackman’s star power. The story is a fictional account of P.T. Barnum’s (Jackman) desire to put together a show bringing outsiders into the spotlight. Becoming the “greatest showman” becomes an all-consuming drive for him.

There are life lessons galore in the story, and these are all relayed to the viewer through dialogue and song lyrics. The filmmakers did a marvelous job of making the audience understand what the characters were going through, and providing a wonderfully diverse viewpoint from Barnum’s cast of performers. Since the release of the movie, its popularity has continued to soar thanks to the impact of the songs present and the film’s overall theme.

The Greatest Showman is available to stream on Disney+

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20 “The World Was Ashamed Of Us. You Gave Us A Real Family”

Keala Settle as Lettie Lutz

Keala Settle as Lettie Lutz smiling in The Greatest Showman

The importance of family, especially found families, is central to The Greatest Showman, and it’s from the creation of a found family for the performers in P.T. Barnum’s show that many of the most inspirational quotes stem. Since the performers are cruelly labeled as “freaks” by the rest of the world, they’d spent the majority of their lives isolated and shunned by those around them. While Barnum profits from their talents and unique qualities, he also provides something irreplaceable for them in return.

As Lettie reminds Barnum during one of his moments of self-doubt, the fact that he’s making a profit doesn’t diminish the value of what he’s provided for his performers.

As Lettie reminds Barnum during one of his moments of self-doubt, the fact that he’s making a profit doesn’t diminish the value of what he’s provided for his performers. Unlike the rest of the world, Barnum was never ashamed of his “freaks”, and was proud of each and every one of them. What’s more, by seeing the value of what they each had to offer, he brought them together and gave them something they’d never experienced — a real caring, nurturing family.

19 “Everyone’s Got An Act”

Zendaya As Anne Wheeler

Zendaya with pink hair in The Greatest Showman

Playing Anne Wheeler in The Greatest Showman was a career-defining moment for Zendaya, and she’s also responsible for some of the most inspirational quotes in the movie. Among them is when she tells Zac Effron’s Phillip Carlyle that “everyone’s got an act” when he tries to explain that, since he’s not a performer in the show, he doesn’t have an act of his own and is, essentially, talentless.

Carlyle’s self-perception here is why this is such an inspirational The Greatest Showman quote. While Anne Wheeler’s comment, especially due to Zendaya’s delivery, seems to be teasing Carlyle at first (and could cynically be seen as her implying that he’s a liar or fraud due to the use of the word “act”), that’s not the true meaning. Anne Wheeler’s comment is explaining to Carlyle that everyone has something unique about them and something to offer — if the world is a stage, then everyone has an “act” that’s valuable and entertaining.

18 “Take The World And Redefine It”

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum

Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum outside his museum in The Greatest Showman

Of all the songs in The Greatest Showman, “Come Alive” is inarguably one of the most inspirational. The musical number, which is an ensemble piece between Hugh Jackman’s P.T. Barnum, Keala Settle’s Lettie, Daniel Severidge’s Lord of Leeds, and Zendaya’s Anne Wheeler, is full of lines that are incredibly inspiring when taken on their own. However, one that stands out among the others is from Hugh Jackman’s first pre-chorus verse – “take the world and redefine it”.

This simple instruction speaks for the core philosophy and themes behind much of The Greatest Showman’s central message. All of the characters in the movie don’t fit in with the world around them. This P.T. Barnum quote encourages the idea that, rather than changing oneself to fit in to what the world expects, the better option is to redefine the world one finds themselves in — which is exactly what he and all of the performers in his show do by making their unique talents and physical oddities into profitable entertainment.

17 “Everyone Is Special And Nobody Is Like Anyone Else. That’s The Point Of My Show.”

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum

Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum looking shocked

This inspiring quote from The Greatest Showman comes when P.T. Barnum explains exactly why he chose to put on a travelling “freak show”. To Barnum, the performers in his show don’t just exist to be gawped at by audiences, but there’s actually a strong emotional message that he’s trying to convey with his acts. Barnum understands that everyone is unique, everyone has something to offer, and no two people are alike.

While the idea that everyone is unique is one many often pay lip-service too, the amount of prejudice and judgment in the world proves how few take it to heart.

This is just as controversial an idea today as it was in the 19th century, but Barnum stating it so plainly makes for an incredibly inspirational line of dialogue in The Greatest Showman. While the idea that everyone is unique is one many often pay lip-service too, the amount of prejudice and judgment in the world proves how few take it to heart. With his show, Barnum proves just what can be achieved when these differences are celebrated and encouraged.

16 “They’re Laughing Anyway, Kid, So You Might As Well Get Paid.”

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum

Hugh Jackman as PT Barum helping to dress Sam Humphrey as Charles Stratton aka General Tom Thumb in The Greatest Showman

This moment comes in The Greatest Showman when P.T. Barnum meets and invites Tom Thumb to be a part of his show. Tom is hesitant about the idea at first, and skeptical of Barnum’s intentions. He believes Barnum simply wants someone for audiences to laugh at and ridicule, and he has no hesitation in telling the Showman this. Barnum then replies with this inspirational observation which, while it could be seen as cynical at first, is actually incredibly powerful.

P.T. Barnum is under no illusions that Charles Stratton, the man who would take the stage name Tom Thumb due to his height, was and would likely always be the subject of ridicule in the cruel world they both inhabit. Barnum points this out to Tom and, in doing so, makes him realize that the way others saw him due to his differences could become Stratton’s greatest asset.

15 “… Watch My Girls Grow Up. The Show Must Go On.”

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum


This was the moment P.T. Barnum completed his character development, as he finally understood what really brought him happiness. With the circus now in full force, he happened upon the realization that he’d only ever needed the company of his wife and daughters. He spent the entire movie with an intense drive to put on the greatest show, to make stars of the outsiders, and to chase the love of an audience.

A lot of times people tend to forget that they make a living for their families. Barnum accepted this and handed the reins over to his investor and partner Phillip before leaving the show to be with his family. The line offers a passing of the torch, but it also offers a reminder that there has to be a balance between one person’s dream and their life with their family.

14 “It Is Hard To Understand Wealth And Privilege When You’re Born To It.”

Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind

the greatest showman jenny lind Cropped

Jenny was placed as something of an antagonist in The Greatest Showman, but she might have been misunderstood all along. After all, she was pretty lonely the whole time, and people had this idea that she was happy because she was wealthy and talented. Though Jenny uses this line as a dig at Charity, Barnum’s wife who comes from a privileged background, the sentiment still stands.

That’s a common theme in The Greatest Showman, as those who strive for their success become more fulfilled.

This quote proves that being born into wealth can be a disadvantage for someone, as it doesn’t provide the person with the context of what it means to struggle and persevere. Looking at it this way, it proves that earning wealth and success is far more valuable than inheriting it. That’s a common theme in The Greatest Showman, as those who strive for their success become more fulfilled.

Collage of Rebecca Ferguson in color with a closeup of her in the background in black and white in The Greatest Showman
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13 “Trust Me, They Don’t Know It Yet, But They’re Going To Love You.”

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum

Hugh Jackman at the center of The Greatest Showman cast performing in the center ring of a circus tent

Barnum was something of a man of words, as he could encourage anyone to go along with his plans using his rhetorical skills. He was great at pitching his ideas to those around them, pulling them into his show, and making dreamers of everyone. Still, that doesn’t mean those words were misguided, with Barnum mainly providing the right push these people needed to put themselves out there.

This motivational quote from The Greatest Showman can easily apply to any situation where people are unwilling to take a chance simply because they don’t know how things will turn out. It’s a reminder to not be afraid and to be one’s self. It also manages to assuage the doubts of Barnum’s performers, as all of them had been the subject of scorn and ridicule prior to becoming acts on his stage. He’s promised them a future when the world’s perception of them would be completely different, and he certainly delivers.

12 “Do These Smiles Seem Fake? It Doesn’t Matter Where They Come From. The Joy Is Real.”

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum

Hugh Jackman smiling as PT Barnum

If there’s one obstacle that P.T. Barnum had to overcome more often than any other when it came to his show, it was skepticism. There are many doubters who believe that he has somehow pulled the wool over his audience’s eyes with his acts, but Barnum is quick to point out that — even though he hasn’t — it’s a moot point, since the joy his show brings people is and always would be 100% genuine.

Sometimes people are embarrassed to enjoy things society tells them are supposed to be lame or unbecoming — or something they should have grown out of. But this quote manages to put things into perspective. Smiles come from what brings people joy. After all, why should it matter what others think when a person’s own joy is what’s important? In the film, Barnum was criticized for using unorthodox means to gain his fame, but he had this to say in his defense, and it made perfect sense.

11 “Don’t Start Acting Sensible Now.”

Keala Settle as Lettie Lutz

Keala Settle as Lettie in a blue dress in a room full of people in The Greatest Showman

While most of the inspirational moments in The Greatest Showman come from P.T. Barnum, there are also many points when he needs a bit of a boost himself, and Lettie manages to deliver some of the movie’s most inspirational lines during them. At some point, going with the flow is all one can do, even if it seems like it just won’t work. When P.T. Barnum had lost his spirit, he got the encouragement to pick himself up from his circus crew.

Going by the rules of society hadn’t done the characters any good, and it was only by going against the status quo that they achieved success.

Here, The Greatest Showman’s most likable character, Lettie, told him that it was too late to start thinking rationally, especially when being seemingly unrealistically optimistic had gotten them this far. It makes sense too, since thinking outside the box can do wonders. Going by the rules of society hadn’t done the characters any good, and it was only by going against the status quo that they achieved success. Sometimes, being sensible and logical doesn’t allow someone to achieve their dreams.

10 “So Why Don’t We Rewrite The Stars?”

Zac Efron as Phillip Carlyle and Zendaya as Anne Wheeler


Not only was this one of the best songs in the movie with the best replay value, but its chorus began with the message of inclusion the film wanted. The love story between these two characters should be perfectly normal when applied to the landscape of today, but in the period setting, their ethnicity made it impossible to be in a relationship. Anne and Phillip didn’t just come from two different worlds but were looked at very differently by society. Anne is considered one of the “freaks,” while Phillip is accepted by society.

This is why “Rewriting the Stars” has such a big impact, since it means these two want to be together despite the universe — at the time — telling them they don’t have a chance. While it was still a struggle for them following this song, they did become a couple by the end of the movie, which only adds to the uplifting story of The Greatest Showman.

9 “You Don’t Need Everyone To Love You, Just A Few Good People.”

Michelle Williams as Charity Barnum

Michelle Williams as Charity in Greatest Showman

Objectively, one of the best characters in the whole film was Charity Barnum. She was the quintessential wife who didn’t flinch in supporting her family for even a moment. While P.T. Barnum had a lot of maturing to do, Charity was always someone who understood the important things in life. She wanted her husband, whom she had loved since childhood, to achieve his dreams, but she also supported him when his dreams weren’t bringing in crowds or money.

Here, she gave out such an honest truth that it places things in a remarkable context. It makes no difference if someone has adoration from millions of people—not when they don’t mean anything to you. Having the love and support of those whom one loves is what’s most important. While Barnum chases the love of the audience, he grows further from his family, until her advice finally sinks in for him.

8 “A Man’s Station Is Limited Only By His Imagination.”

Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind

Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind gesturing while on stage in Greatest Showman

This particular The Greatest Showman quote comes from Rebecca Ferguson’s Jenny Lind when giving a toast to P.T. as he has just embarrassed his wife’s parents at a society function. It’s said in an effort to smooth the awkward moment over for the crowd, but it also applies to Barnum’s path in the entire movie. Everything that took place within the movie happened for the wrong reasons, as P.T. Barnum tried to win the world, so he wouldn’t feel like a failure, but what truly drove him was his imagination; he just didn’t realize it.

Imagination is boundless, and nothing is stopping someone from wanting whatever they desire.

What he did know, though, was that he wanted to achieve what people didn’t give him a shot at achieving, and these kinds of goals can only be attainable if a person forgets what reality tells them and dares to dream big. After all, imagination is boundless, and nothing is stopping someone from wanting whatever they desire.

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7 “Comfort, the Enemy of Progress.”

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum


This particular Barnum quote is said to Phillip right before he begins a literal song and dance to convince Phillip to invest in the circus. Before meeting Barnum, Phillip’s life is one of comfort and very little challenge, and that drastically changes when he takes a risk. There are millions of people out there who’d like to be somewhere else rather than where they are today, but the level of security one has with their current situation denies them the push they need to achieve more.

When someone gets comfortable in one place, they’re effectively bound there. It’s only by stepping out of that zone that someone opens themselves up for new experiences, and it is only through learning new ideas that they can make progress in life. A risk-taker will always see and experience more than one who’s remained in the same place forever.

6 “The World Is Changing, And I Refuse To Be A Part Of Yours.”

Zac Efron as Phillip Carlyle

Anne and Phillip going to the theater in The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman confirms, whether legally or simply due to societal pressure, that being involved romantically between two races was a big no-no. Even though Phillip was shown to be interested in Anne right from the start, he kept wanting to keep things quiet. He would hold her hand when no one was looking and make an effort to include her in big show meetings and gradually came to understand that love shouldn’t be something hidden.

In the end,this The Greatest Showman quote was Phillip’s moment of triumph, when he told his father flatly that the world wasn’t the same anymore, and if his parents weren’t going to change, then he didn’t want to be associated with their manner of thinking. In the grand scheme of things, people like Phillip are needed to break societal barriers, so the world can become more accepting.

5 “When You’re Careless With Other People, You Bring Ruin Upon Yourself.”

Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind

Jenny Lind leaning toward PT Barnum in a sitting room in The Greatest Showman

Jenny Lind falls for P.T. Barnum while she’s touring on his behalf. She sees his theatricality and his ability to climb the social ladder from nothing as something they have in common, and she shines under his attention. It deeply hurts her when she tries to pursue a romantic relationship with him, but Barnum denies her. Her quote is said in a moment of anger, but it is still appropriate.

If one continues to exploit others for their own gains, they won’t be left with anyone in their corner when it matters most.

Jenny’s line reminds the audience that they should treat others with respect. If one continues to exploit others for their own gains, they won’t be left with anyone in their corner when it matters most. In the end, everyone wants respect more than they want fame or money, and the person who provides respect to people of all kinds is a person deserving to be a winner.

4 “No One Ever Made A Difference By Being Like Everyone Else.”

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum

Hugh Jackman as P. T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman

This quote from The Greatest Showman is an extension of several of the movies’ core themes and messages, namely the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone and the value of one’s uniqueness and differences from others. While inspiring, it’s also something of a warning against emulating others instead of being authentic to one’s true self.

If someone thinks that emulating someone else who is successful is going to hand them success of their own, then they’re in for a very rude awakening down the line. It’s by being different and standing out among the crowd that they can become an icon. If they do what every other person in the world is doing, then how can they expect to be singled out when the time comes for praise? The people who made an impact are those who dared to be different.

3 “I Wish For Happiness Like This Forever.”

Michelle Williams as Charity Barnum

Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams on a rooftop in The Greatest Showman

It’s the simple things that show just how wonderful life can be, and few fictional characters understand this more than those in The Greatest Showman. There are those people who have just about everything one can think of, but those same people can’t say with certainty that they are happy in life. Some people don’t have much of anything when it comes to material value, but they have the widest smiles of all.

At some point, a person needs to evaluate what they want from life and what the benchmark for their happiness is. Once they realize this, then they’ll want their happiness to remain ever-present — the same way Charity was deeply appreciative of hers. She didn’t need the money or the adoration that her husband chased, but loved the moments like sitting on the roof with her daughters and watching shadows play on sheets from a candle in a can.

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2 “This Is Me!”

Keala Settle as Lettie Lutz

Keala Settle extending her arms while performing in The Greatest Showman Keala Settle in The Greatest Showman

Of all the musical numbers in The Greatest Showman, “This Is Me” wasn’t just there to be catchy and sell tickets (though it certainly did that); this sentiment is what the whole movie was about. The people who worked at P.T.’s circus were what the public deemed as freaks, but it was these people who sang loud and proud of who they were.

The idea here is that a person will always be called something they’re not by people who don’t understand them, but rising above that and drowning those insults down is truly winning in life.

Rather than be bogged down by societal perceptions, they embraced the card that was dealt them by fate. The idea here is that a person will always be called something they’re not by people who don’t understand them, but rising above that and drowning those insults down is truly winning in life. It’s a celebratory song for a visually stunning movie that allows the viewer to walk away with a little more confidence. Other than “Rewrite The Stars,” “This Is Me” is the most-remembered song and lyric from The Greatest Showman.

1 “The Noblest Art Is That Of Making Others Happy.”

Hugh Jackman As P.T. Barnum

Hugh Jackman in his red coat as PT Barnum in The Greatest Showman poster

While it might not be known for sure what makes someone a “good” person, what everyone will attest to is that a person who has been deemed to be “good” makes others happy. Although every person in the world has a degree of selfishness in them, the people who are remembered even after they’re gone are those who took the time for others.

This P.T. Barnum quote does hit close to home, since people tend to forget what’s important in the world. If they want to leave a legacy, then remember to make people happy—there’s nothing not noble about that. The real history of P.T. Barnum might not be quite as much of a fairy tale as the movie, but he did make it his mission to entertain and make others happy, as this quote in the closing credits of The Greatest Showman reminds the audience.

The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman tells the incredible true story of P.T. Barnum and his famous circus. The film chronicles the rise of Barnum (Hugh Jackman) from a penniless dreamer to a wealthy and well-respected gentleman, establishing his circus with the help of playwright Philip Carlyle (Zac Efron). Telling Barnum’s unbelievable story in a musical format, The Greatest Showman showcases all the highs and lows of the infamous character’s professional life.

Release Date December 20, 2017 Director Michael Gracey Writers Jenny Bicks , Michael Arndt , Bill Condon Cast Zac Efron , Hugh Jackman , Zendaya , Natasha Liu Bordizzo , Rebecca Ferguson , Michelle Williams , Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Runtime 1h 45m Budget 84 million


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