Movie Reviews

The Little Mermaid: The 25 Best Quotes


  • Though many of The Little Mermaid’s most iconic lines come from its songs, there are many more great quotes in the movie.
  • The 2023 movie uses some of the best-known 1989 Little Mermaid quotes in new ways.
  • While there are many inspirational The Little Mermaid quotes for young audience members, there are also numerous fun lines for adults to remember.

The Little Mermaid is a true Disney classic and Little Mermaid quotes are some of Disney’s most memorable. The 1989 animated feature has become part of the Disney princess lineup that received a live-action remake. 2023’s live-action The Little Mermaid expands on the 1989 story with more songs and more backstory for its characters. The Little Mermaid features Ariel, a stubborn, headstrong, and motivated princess, who is determined to become part of the human world.

While there aren’t many people flipping around with fins in everyday life, many of the movie’s main themes are applicable to viewers of every kind, offering beauty and inspiration as well as some fun one-liners. Some of the most memorable lines from the movies are courtesy of the soundtracks. Also, many of the best Little Mermaid quotes from the 1989 original are still present in the 2023 live-action remake as well, demonstrating their staying power.

The Little Mermaid
(1989) and
The Little Mermaid
(2023) are both available to watch on Disney+.

25 “I Don’t See How A World That Makes Such Wonderful Things Could Be Bad.”

Ariel, 1989 & 2023

Although no world is perfect, this Little Mermaid quote reminds viewers that no reality is all bad. Just as there were wonderful things about life under the sea, there are also wonderful things about the world above. Ariel admires all the interesting inventions she finds from humanity that wind up underwater.

Ariel remembers that it’s important to keep an open mind and find the good where it lives in every situation. This particular line from Ariel appears in both movies because it leads into Ariel’s most famous song, “Part Of Your World.”

The ballad involves Ariel lamenting that she wants to be out of the sea, but her wish all begins because she’s so fascinated by the remnants of the human world she finds. It shows the accepting and optimistic side of her that makes her so endearing even if her decisions are not always wise.

24 “But Who Cares, No Big Deal. I Want More!”

Ariel, 1989 & 2023

Halle Bailey's Ariel in The Little Mermaid (2023)

The objects of the human world that Ariel finds fascinate and excite her. She gets to learn a little more about human culture and feel a little closer to them. However, while they might help convince her that humans are wonderful and intriguing, it is not enough to satisfy her curiosity.

During the opening moments of the iconic Disney song “Part Of Your World,” Ariel goes through her collection of human items only to determine they are not what she really wants. Ariel can perhaps seem a bit naive for thinking humans are great just because they make interesting things.

However, this line is a reminder that she is more intelligent than that and that the material things do not matter in the end. It makes her impressive collection of items a little sad because, with each new one she adds, she is reminded that she is no closer to being part of their world.

23 “Most People Around Here Have Too Many Words And Nothing To Say.”

Prince Eric, 2023

Halle Bailey's Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King's Eric lit by candlelight in The Little Mermaid.

The Disney princes throughout the year have often been somewhat dull characters, but Eric is a greatly expanded character in the 2023 live-actionThe Little Mermaid remake. Because of that, he gets some great Little Mermaid quotes that he didn’t have in the original movie. He bonds with Ariel over their interest in the uncharted waters and aquatic history.

Despite Ariel not being able to converse with him initially, he’s okay with a quieter companion during his day. As he points out to Ariel, many of the people he converses with tend to talk at him instead of with him. They talk about nothing of worth, and Eric wants more meaningful connections, which he is able to achieve simply by spending time with Ariel, showing her where he lives, and sharing his interests with her.

22 “He Looks Kinda Hairy And Slobbery.”

Scuttle, 1989

Max the dog smiling on a boat in The Little Mermaid

Scuttle is one of the great comedic relief characters in Disney history and a perfect companion to Ariel in this adventure. While Flounder and Sebastian make up the sensible and caring allies in Ariel’s life, Scuttle is a lot of fun for his absent-minded ways in the original animated movie.

It is especially funny when he sells himself as being knowledgeable in the human world only to prove time and time again that is not the case. Not only is Scuttle wrong about each of the human objects Ariel brings to him and what they are used for, he doesn’t seem to understand what humans are.

When Ariel comes up to the surface and finds Eric’s boat, she secretly watches him. Ariel swoons to Scuttle about how beautiful Eric is. However, Scuttle assumes she is talking about Eric’s messy dog Max and expresses his unimpressed opinion.


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21 “We Got No Troubles. Life Is The Bubbles, Under The Sea.”

Sebastian, 1989 & 2023

Sebastian looking worried and Ariel smiles in the animated Little Mermaid

Sometimes, it’s inspiring to just be happy, the way Sebastian is as he urges Ariel to give up on her dreams of the surface. While an undersea life isn’t what Ariel wants, it’s perfect for Sebastian, and it’s clear how much he loves it. He doesn’t understand how much she longs to see the surface at this point in her story, which is why he’s so encouraging of loving the life she already has.

Reveling in the favorite things about one’s life is a great lesson to learn from Sebastian. As he points out in the song, there is a lot for Ariel to appreciate about the life she lives. There’s no one trying to cook her fish friends and there is an entire ocean of creatures for her to spend time with and make music with.

20 “Gravity Feels Like An Undertow Pulling Me Down.”

Ariel, 2023

Ariel petting Max the dog while human in The Little Mermaid (2023)

Some people complain that Disney live-action remakes don’t add anything new to the story, but The Little Mermaid remake attempts to expand the classic. One of the great additions is the music. One of the new songs is “For The First Time,” a song sung in Ariel’s head when she arrives on land with legs unable to speak. Ariel is amazed by the human world, as she expected to be, but she’s also overwhelmed by it, and the song helps to illustrate that.

This particular Little Mermaid quote equates Ariel experiencing the effect of gravity with an undertow pulling someone deeper into the water. It’s a great way for the audience to understand how overwhelmed Ariel is. As a mermaid, she hasn’t had to contend with something like gravity, and she doesn’t have the same freedom she might have originally envisioned.

19 “Isn’t This Great? The Salty Sea Air, The Wind Blowing In Your Face. A Perfect Day To Be At Sea!”

Prince Eric, 1989

Prince Eric smiling while at sea in The Little Mermaid animated movie

In a similar vein to Ariel’s interest in human objects and Sebastian’s love of the sea, Prince Eric loves to revel in his favorite hobby, sailing the sea. It is part of the ways in which he and Ariel are connected, being drawn to each other’s world without even knowing it.

This is cemented very quickly in the animated movie as Eric is introduced while sailing on the high seas and loving every moment of it. As a prince, he has so much power at his disposal and could enjoy the riches of his position with a life of ease.

However, he wants to get out on the ocean and explore. Stopping to smell the roses, or, the sea salt as the case may be, is an important part of being happy and truly feeling alive. Plus, engaging with the things he loves eventually brings Eric his true love. It is an inspirational idea in the animated The Little Mermaid.

18 “Time May Change The Shoreline, But Time Will Not Change Me.”

Prince Eric, 2023

Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid hanging on to rope.

In addition to Eric’s character being expanded in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid, he also gets his own song called “Wild Uncharted Waters.” The song alone gives the audience more insight into the character than most of the animated movies. Eric sings about his hopes and his dreams, which include exploring the very areas of the ocean most people are afraid to explore.

Though Eric has an adventurous spirit, his mother, who adopted him after a shipwreck, wants very badly to keep him on the ground and off of the water. Eric knows that he’ll never be satisfied if he simply sits at home and follows royal commands, leaving his family’s subjects to go out on the ocean alone. He knows himself well enough to know that the longing for adventure will never die, and that’s something he shares with Ariel when he meets her. It’s part of why they’re such a good match.

17 “Watch And You’ll See, Someday I’ll Be Part Of Your World.”

Ariel, 1989 & 2023

Flounder swimming behind Ariel in the grotto when she sings "Part of Your World" in the animated The Little Mermaid

Ariel knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to go after it. That kind of attitude is truly inspiring. Although her path takes her through a lot of hardship, and she really has to fight hard to get to the place she longs for, she never gives up.

Her goals might lead her to make some unfortunate decisions, like trusting Ursula, but she wants to prove that the human world is good and that Eric is good, so badly, that she’s willing to take some big risks.

Ariel’s can-do attitude shines in this Little Mermaid quote, which comes from The Little Mermaid’s most famous song like a few other Ariel quotes here. The effectiveness of this song within the storytelling of the movie led Disney to adopt the trend of using similar “I want songs” in their animated musicals which led to future hits like “Once Around the Riverbed” from Pocahontas and “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.

16 “Getting Cold Fins?”

Ariel, 1989 & 2023

Flounder from The Little Mermaid in live action

A variation of this line appears in both of Disney’s versions of The Little Mermaid. It’s courtesy of Ariel teasing Flounder while the two are out exploring a shipwreck. While Ariel is adventurous and Flouder loves tagging along, he gets scared much easier than she does. Ariel’s idea of “cold fins” shows that humans and merpeople have similar turns of phrase despite keeping their worlds so separate from one another.

Of course, the line also demonstrates Ariel’s sense of humor, teasing her friend for being afraid which is easy for her because of her fearless attitude. While Flounder ends up being wise to be afraid as they end up running into a shark, Ariel proves herself to be the kind of adventurous friend who can talk him into anything, no matter how scared he is.

15 “If You Want To Cross A Bridge, My Sweet, You’ve Got To Pay The Toll.”

Ursula, 1989 & 2023

Ursula over cauldron in The Little Mermaid

Most of Ursula’s best lines in The Little Mermaid come from one of Disney’s best villain songs, “Poor Unfortunate Souls” since outside of the song, Ursula’s lines mostly consist of her promising to get back at Triton. Again, Ursula’s line here occurs in both movies as she attempts to lure Ariel into her trap. It also demonstrates the common phrases used among humans and mermaids.

Mermaids wouldn’t really have a use for a bridge the way humans would on land, but Ursula is also, for some reason, well-versed in the world of humans. She’s able to walk into the human world as Vanessa without the same complications that Ariel has, and she seems to have a good understanding of both the merpeople culture she’s been expelled from and the humans above the surface. This Little Mermaid quote proves that.

14 “The Seaweed Is Always Greener In Somebody Else’s Lake.”

Sebastian, 1989 & 2023

Sebastian in The Little Mermaid standing in a shell, smiling.

“Under the Sea” has gone down as one of the greatest Disney animated songs of all time. Sebastian sings it to Ariel with the help of countless over sea creatures, in an attempt to show off the great life they have in the ocean and how she needs to stop concerning herself with the surface world. This is an underwater twist on ‘the grass is always greener.’ However, whatever the greenery is exactly, the message stands, coveting what someone else has will not ever bring joy.

It’s important to look at what is around each one of us and what we have, instead of focusing on the things that are missing. This is one of the most inspirational lines from The Little Mermaid, even if it does come from the middle of a song in which a crab is convincing a mermaid to avoid following her own dreams.

13 “Someone’s Gotta Nail That Girl’s Fins To The Floor.”

Sebastian, 1989 & 2023

Sebastian the Crab in Disney's The Little Mermaid

It is not hard to feel sorry for Sebastian in this movie which is why he is one of the most entertaining characters. There is a sense that he is an important figure in King Triton’s circle, operating as his right-hand and trusted advisor. So to be given the task of looking after Triton’s rebellious young daughter is certainly beneath him and Sebastian’s frustration with the job can be seen throughout the movie.

Sebastian pulls out all the stops in convincing Ariel that the life she has under the sea is a great one. However, in a hilarious moment at the end of his fun and vibrant rendition of “Under the Sea”, Sebastian realizes that Ariel left at some point. His dismayed reaction to having put in all that effort for nothing shows that his patience with this young mermaid is beginning to wear thin.


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12 “First, We Got To Create The Mood.”

Sebastian, 1989

Eric & Ariel Boat Ride During Kiss The Girl In The Little Mermaid.jpg

Though Sebastian tries his hardest to keep Ariel away from the surface world, once she has agreed to Ursula’s deal, he is fully committed to helping her win Prince Eric’s heart and avoid having her soul taken.

Just as with his attempts to sway Ariel to life in the ocean, Sebastian decides to use his musical talents to help push the romance between Ariel and Eric along more quickly. Though he is a worried and stressed crab most of the time, Sebastian quickly shows that he knows something about romance as well.

He takes a more elegant approach to setting the right mood for Ariel and Eric by singing the song “Kiss the Girl.” It is funny to see Sebastian suddenly changing his demeanor with the suggestion that he is a romantic at heart despite all of his professionalism at other times.

11 “Now Look At Me, Wasting Away To Practically Nothing.”

Ursula, 1989 & 2023

Ariel scared as Ursula swims around her in The Little Mermaid

Melissa McCarthy’s performance in The Little Mermaid is one of the highlights of the remake. However, it should be acknowledged that a big part of what makes it so memorable is how much McCarthy is clearly influenced by Pat Carroll’s performance in the original movie.

Both McCarthy and Carroll are having a lot of fun exploring Ursula as a menacing villain yet one who is also funny in her overly dramatic and campy way. During her introduction scene in both movies, Ursula laments the situation she is in after being banished.

As she eats a helpless prawn, she dramatically sprawls herself out and suggests she is struggling to even keep herself fed. It is a terrific introduction to the character, showing that she has convinced herself she is the one suffering from this banishment, but in reality, she just misses the power.

10 “You Shouldn’t Have Had To Give Up Your Voice To Be Heard.”

King Triton, 2023

Javier Bardem as King Triton underwater in The Little Mermaid (2023)

King Triton doesn’t have as much screen time as the likes of Ariel, Eric, and Ursula, but he still gets some very important moments in both the original Disney animated movie and the live-action remake. This particular Little Mermaid quote from King Triton in the remake is a poignant one. Ariel spends a lot of energy trying to convince others that the human world isn’t as bad as they think it is.

No one will listen to her when she tries to explain that just as all merpeople aren’t the same, neither are all humans. King Triton only realizes the error he’s made in not listening to her when she disappears, giving up her voice to live among humans. If her family had listened to her instead of dismissing Ariel as childish and not understanding how dangerous the human world was, she might never have had to give up her voice in the first place.

9 “Have I Ever Been Wrong? I Mean, When It’s Important!”

Scuttle, 1989 & 2023

Scuttle is a little bit of a bird-brain, but his heart is in the right place, especially when it counts in the 1989 movie. This quote reminds the viewers that even if they get it wrong a lot, they can still step up to the plate and get it right when the chips are down. This line reminds viewers that, like Scuttle, it’s important to trust themselves when it really counts. Even if others are dubious or don’t think they can be trusted, trusting one’s self is a crucial part of success.

In the 2023 version of the story, Scuttle is a female and not a seagull, but the personality of the bird (and many of the bird’s lines) remains the same. Scuttle even has this same line when trying to tell Ariel and Sebastian that Vanessa is really Ursula. Despite Scuttle’s many mistakes about what different human items, like forks, are really for, Scuttle is a true friend who is always going to tell the truth if able to.

8 “…Give Them An Inch, They Swim All Over You.”

Sebastian, 1989 & 2023

The live-action crab Sebastian floating in the water in The Little Mermaid

Sebastian is the long-suffering advisor to King Triton and his stressed-out attitude makes him a hilarious supporting character. Though he wants to help the king, he ends up relegated to being Ariel’s supervisor. Initially, he believes in Triton’s strict hold on his youngest daughter. Lines like this one are in agreement with the King, showing Triton that he understands why the King doesn’t want to bend.

Interestingly, this line has two different beginnings in the Disney film. In the animated movie, Sebastian says, “Teenagers, give them an inch…” In the live-action version, however, he says “children” instead of teenagers. It’s a way of reminding the audience that Ariel is younger than she might appear to them. Though she is making a lot of her own decisions and growing up, Sebastian and Triton still see her as a little mermaid.

7 “Yes, I’ve Had The Odd Complaint, But On The Whole, I’ve Been A Saint.”

Ursula, 1989 & 2023

Ursula may be the villain of this tale, but on the whole, she has some inspirational facets to her. For one, Ursula never apologizes for who she is and what she needs to do. She has a playful attitude about how evil she is, presenting herself as a misunderstood victim and puts the blame on everyone else. She hilariously downplays her evil acts as “complaints” before insisting she is good for the most part.

There’s no explanation in either of the movies as to why Ursula is banished, or just what makes her decide to get revenge on Triton. Plenty of fans have their theories, and Melissa McCarthy’s take on the character after playing her in live-action is that Ursula is misunderstood. Ursula lives most of her life in isolation, thought of as evil by her people, so it’s entirely possible that McCarthy is right and her revenge scheme has more to it.

6 “I’m Trying To Reach Out To Other Cultures So We Don’t Get Left Behind.”

Eric, 2023

Eric and Ariel peeking around a gate in The Little Mermaid (2023)

Eric’s interest in “uncharted waters” is seen as something that could get him into trouble. His mother thinks he’s undertaking adventures needlessly. While Eric does have that love for adventure and that pull to the sea, he also points out that his adventures aren’t for selfish reasons.

Every time Eric pushes farther out on the ocean away from his home, he reaches out to the people who live in the new places he visits. His rooms are full of items from his travels, but his mind is also full of how his thirst for adventure can help his home.

He trades with other cultures and sees how they’ve made progress in their communities to bring their ideas for innovation back home. It’s one of the many ways the live-action version of The Little Mermaid improves on Eric’s character. It could also set up a story for The Little Mermaid sequel if it ever happens.

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