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Movies

  • The words 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies.

  • Economy, speed, nervousness, and desperation produce the final wasteful, semi-incoherent movies we see.

  • When a picture can't make it on its own, the producers pull in a 'controversial' message — the way a couple whose marriage is falling apart decide to have a baby.

  • Movies have been doing so much of the same thing — in slightly different ways — for so long that few of the possibilities of this great hybrid art have yet been explored.

  • Movies are our cheap and easy expression, the sullen art of displaced persons.

  • ... movies are so rarely great art, that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.

  • ... it's an ugly, stupid instant movie [You Are What You Eat] made by people who substitute promotion for talent and technique. It's the aesthetic equivalent of mugging the audience.

  • We learn to settle for so little, we moviegoers.

  • When I see those ads with the quote 'You'll have to see this picture twice,' I know it's the kind of picture I don't want to see once.

  • The movie [Song of Norway] is of an unbelievable badness; it brings back clichés you didn't know you knew — they're practically from the unconscious of moviegoers. You can't get angry at something this stupefying; it seems to have been made by trolls.

  • ... tasteful and colossal are — in movies, at least — basically antipathetic.

  • At the movies, we are gradually being conditioned to accept violence as a sensual pleasure. The directors used to say they were showing us its real face and how ugly it was in order to sensitize us to its horrors. You don't have to be very keen to see that they are now in fact desensitizing us.

  • There seems to be an assumption that if you're offended by movie brutality, you are somehow playing into the hands of the people who want censorship. But this would deny those of us who don't believe in censorship the use of the only counter-balance: the freedom of the press to say that there's anything conceivably damaging in these films — the freedom to analyze their implications. ... How can people go on talking about the dazzling brilliance of movies and not notice that the directors are sucking up to the thugs in the audience?

  • If you're afraid of movies that excite your senses, you're afraid of movies.

  • [On directing:] We're the storytellers. We're the children under the bed, reading our picture books, and moving our little people around and making them talk.

  • All agree that it is wrong to be bound to Hollywood; though no one has suspected that the bonds, instead of money or fleshpots or easy work, might be the joys of shared effort. I give something which, though my own, becomes part of something beyond me; and Hollywood's pull for me becomes the pull felt by the member of any order.

  • ... I thought movie making might be for the twentieth century what cathedral building was for the Middle Ages.

  • A movie is a guess at an echo. We guess at the reverberation of its impact upon an audience.

  • The art of these Fifties movies was in sustaining forever the moment before sex.

  • Subtlety being an intellectual asset, film directors rightly conceive that it would be lost upon their audiences.

    • Agnes Repplier,
    • "The Unconscious Humor of the Movies," Times and Tendencies ()
  • Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "The Imagination of Disaster" (1965), Against Interpretation ()
  • Cinema is a kind of pan-art. It can use, incorporate, engulf virtually any other art: the novel, poetry, theater, painting, sculpture, dance, music, architecture. Unlike opera, which is a (virtually) frozen art form, the cinema is and has been a fruitfully conservative medium of ideas and styles of emotions.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "A Note on Novels and Films" (1961), Against Interpretation ()
  • [On Hollywood:] ... in this business, nice is just another word for stupid. Nice and a nickel will buy you a phone call.

  • Virtue has its own reward but not at the box office.

    • Mae West,
    • in George Eells and Stanley Musgrove, Mae West ()
  • And what movies we saw! All the actors and actresses whose photographs I collected, with their look of eternity! Their radiance, their eyes, their faces, their voices, the suavity of their movements! Their clothes! Even in prison movies, the stars shone in their prison clothes as if tailors had accompanied them in their downfall.

  • Films tend to argue in favor of whatever they show.

  • ... movies have mirrored our moods and myths since the century began. They have taken on some of the work of religion.

  • The motion picture is like journalism in that, more than any of the other arts, it confers celebrity. Not just on people — on acts, and objects, and places, and ways of life. The camera brings a kind of stardom to them all. I therefore doubt that film can ever argue effectively against its own material: that a genuine antiwar film, say, can be made on the basis of even the ugliest battle scenes ... No matter what filmmakers intend, film always argues yes.

  • People have been modeling their lives after films for years, but the medium is somehow unsuited to moral lessons, cautionary tales, or polemics of any kind.

  • Most movies are not very good. Most people know it and like to see them anyway.

  • Though films become more daring sexually, they are probably less sexy than they ever were. There haven't been any convincing love scenes or romances in the movies in a while. (Nobody even seems to neck in theaters any more.) ... when the mechanics and sadism quotients go up, the movie love interest goes dead, and the film just lies there, giving a certain amount of offense.

  • It [scene in The Killing of Sister George] is the longest, most unerotic, cash-conscious scene between a person and a breast there has ever been, on screen and outside a surgeon's office.

  • I wouldn't say when you've seen one Western you've seen the lot; but when you've seen the lot you get the feeling you've seen one ...

  • [On Alfred Hitchcock:] Hitch is a gentleman farmer who raises goose flesh.

  • ... there were some initial difficulties when the director first told me the disappointing news that if the film was to have any semblance of reality at all there would have to be moments when other people were on screen at the same time I was.

  • The [film] business is run by men, and they're basically interested in their own species, and they're not so interested in women belonging to the human race.

  • The [film] industry is an ecosystem that's sick.

  • The wonderful thing about films is how they can be understood by so many different people on so many different levels.

  • Look at the parts the Oscar-nominated actresses played this year: hooker, hooker, hooker, hooker, and nun.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • Today film is the primary medium in which the creative arts are united. Together the writer, musician, artistic director, and actor have made film the means with which to capture the innuendoes as well as the raw reality of human experience. Films are projecting, and perhaps creating, man's images of the future more powerfully than any other medium of expression. Born of technology, films have become a potent influence over the majority of people because of their effective combination of the visual and the audible elements.

    • Nell Eurich,
    • "The Humanities Face Tomorrow," in Alvin Toffler, ed., Learning for Tomorrow ()
  • I used to be prejudiced against directors, but now I'm bigoted against them.

  • The film was so typically American that it left nothing to thought.

  • Hollywood provides ready-made fantasies or daydreams; the problem is whether these are productive or nonproductive, whether the audience is psychologically enriched or impoverished.

  • South Sea natives who have been exposed to American movies classify them into two types, 'kiss-kiss' and 'bang-bang.'

  • Other than life experience, nothing left a deeper imprint on my formative self than the movies.

  • ... great villains make great movies.

  • Every sacred cow in the business has to do with economics.

  • It is not as mirrors reflect us but, rather, as our dreams do, that movies most truly reveal the times. If the dreams we have been dreaming provide a sad picture of us, it should be remembered that — like that first book of Dante's Comedy — they show forth only one region of the psyche. Through them we can read with a peculiar accuracy the fears and confusions that assail us — we can read, in caricature, the Hell in which we are bound. But we cannot read the best hopes of the time.

  • Audiences will get just as tired of people wrestling on a bed as they did of Tom Mix kissing his horse.

  • The motion picture is the people's Art ...

  • The older one gets in this profession, the more people there are with whom one would never work again.

  • I've always wanted two lives — one for the movies, one for myself.

  • ... it's difficult in Hollywood to be allowed to try anything. It's all a terrible compromise. There is no time for art. All that matters is what they call box office.

  • I'll watch a movie only if it meets the following criteria: 1. It has to have at least two women in it. 2. Who talk to each other. 3. About something besides a man.

    • Alison Bechdel,
    • who credits friend Liz Wallace for it, although it has become known as "The Bechdel Test" since it appeared in Dykes to Watch Out For ()
  • Arch had always suspected that any movie without horseflesh and long shots of the Badlands was arty and possibly subversive.

  • ... Hollywood's old trick: repeat a successful formula until it dies.

  • His [Roger Vadim's] announced messianic urge is to eliminate all sense of guilt about the human body and all erotic complexes, a not unlaudable aim which possibly would be more attainable if he made better pictures.

    • Helen Lawrenson,
    • "Jane Fonda: All You Need Is Love, Love, Love," Latins Are Still Lousy Lovers ()
  • [On filmmaking:] Cardinal rule: It's a youth business.

  • My sense of Los Angeles was very New York provincial, as in 'all those people are crazy out there' (which they are), and stupid (which they're not), and immoral (it's more interesting than that).

  • My goal has been to learn how to get movies made without losing sight of the reasons I began. I have had to learn to recognize the insidious nature of the beast without becoming one.

  • Ego problems are endemic in every walk of life, but in the movie business egomaniacs are megalomaniacs.

  • ... with all these tentpoles, franchises, reboots and sequels, is there still room for movies in the movie business?

  • ... people only ever offer you a great deal of money for rubbish. The greater the number of noughts on the cheque, the greater the crapular content of the movie; the better the work, the less you're paid.

  • Entertainment must be a satisfying emotional experience, a stirring of the heart. We need all kinds of young men and women. Those people with an artist's eye and an executive's brain that we term directors. Those wrestlers with their souls and typewriters known as authors. The beggars on horseback called actors and actresses.

    • Hedda Hopper,
    • in Hedda Hopper and James Brough, The Whole Truth and Nothing But ()
  • The geniuses who conduct the motion-picture business killed glamour when they decided that what the public wanted was not dream stuff, from which movies used to be made, but realism.

    • Hedda Hopper,
    • in Hedda Hopper and James Brough, The Whole Truth and Nothing But ()
  • There are two cinemas: the films we have actually seen and the memories we have of them.

    • Molly Haskell,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Popcorn in Paradise ()
  • Movies both reflect and create social conditions, but their special charm is to offer fantasy clothes as virtual reality, a world where people consume without the tedium of labor. Characters float in a world where the bill never comes due ... and we wonder why we're a debtor nation!

    • Molly Haskell,
    • "Selling of Desire," in Roger Rosenblatt, ed., Consuming Desire ()
  • Perhaps making movies is a step toward being able to move backward and forward and in and out of linear time.

  • Films don't cause violence, people do. Violence defines our existence. To shield oneself is more dangerous than trying to reflect it.

  • The love that passeth all understanding is in the movies.

  • Producers come in two varieties, those that want to be loved and those that want to be feared.

  • In this era of affluence and of permissiveness, we have, in all but cultural areas, bred a nation of overprivileged youngsters, saturated with vitamins, television and plastic toys. But they are nurtured from infancy on a Dick-and-Jane literary and artistic level; and the cultural drought, as far as entertainment is concerned, sets in when they are between six and eight.

  • Do you know what makes a movie work? Moments. Give the audience half a dozen moments they can remember, and they'll leave the theatre happy.

  • Moments. A couple of moments that people remember, that they can take with them, is what makes a good movie.

  • [On Bull Durham:] I left the theater haunted by this tragic tale of forbidden love. Not the love of a woman for a man. The love of a woman for baseball. [Annie Savoy] was forced to settle for the great feminine trade-off: If you can't be it, sleep with a man who can. Hence her long career as a glorified groupie of the hometown team. They wouldn't let her pitch balls, so she balled pitchers instead.

    • Kathy Maio,
    • in Sojourner: The Women's Forum ()
  • By far and away the most common representation of the single woman in films is as the Shriveled-Up Spinster. She starts out shriveled and continues to shrivel throughout the movie, until she collapses into nothingness. As a symbol of society's contempt for nonconforming (unmarried, child-free) women, she is so widely accepted that she is the stereotype of choice for portraying women who live alone.

  • The rich will always be with us. Especially on our movie screens.

  • ... I loved The Wind in the Willows. ... Walt Disney should be sued for cheapening it as he did. Imagine it, Mickey Mousing all those nice characters. I'm surprised he didn't do it with the New Testament.

    • Tasha Tudor,
    • in Tasha Tudor and Richard Brown, The Private World of Tasha Tudor ()
  • Movies elevate our sights, enlarge our imagination. Film, like poetry, is one of our heart's most subtle agents. It reminds us of what we know, helps us stretch and change.

  • One cannot overstate the potential for hysteria on a movie set. Everyone always acts as if making the movie is as important as eradicating malaria.

  • The plot of a movie is its motor. It is not an accident that people call pictures 'vehicles' for stars. A vehicle has to move. A plotless story is like an expensive car with a wonderful body design, luxurious seats, upholstery, headlights (production, direction, cast) — and no motor under its hood. That is why it gets nowhere.

    • Ayn Rand,
    • 1949, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand ()
  • Black and white are the most ravishing colors of all in film.

  • Movies have now reached the same stage as sex — it's all technique and no feeling.

  • ... movies [used to be] seen in movie theatres, and a whole gorgeous ritual went along with seeing them. The subsidiary pleasures — dressing up, standing in line with strangers and friends, the smell of popcorn, holding hands in the dark — still exist, but more and more often movies are seen on smaller and smaller and more private screens. It used to be the case that when you were at a movie, you were 100 per cent there, in the velvety darkness watching lives unfold in flickering light (unless you were making out). But televisions, DVD players, the rest: you were never totally committed to what they showed; you were always cheating on them, chatting and wandering away, fast-forwarding and rewinding ...

  • If it's true that Art is patience, the cinema is the most sublime of all the arts.

  • The film is a machine for seeing more than meets the eye.

    • Iris Barry,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Popcorn in Paradise ()
  • We are all actors now. ... Everyone in America now explains a moment in their lives by saying, 'It was like a scene out of ...'

  • Delay and indecision are first weapons in the armory of moviemakers.

  • ... in the annals of tearjerkers about losing a child, there is no movie to match Terms of Endearment. People who have never lost a child weep uncontrollably. People who have never had a child weep uncontrollably. It's like the nuclear weapon of dead children cinema.

  • The sheer gutlessness of the people who make the decisions at the major Hollywood studios — and I want you to quote me — is terrifying ... It makes one feel that to try to make a career in motion pictures is kamikaze work.

  • E.T., phone home.

  • The world comes second hand — fifth hand — to us and the illusion that it is fresh because it is shown as a picture of an actual place or is given as a 'true account' by some reporter who claims to have been 'there' divides man into incalculable parts without any true center.

  • Over the airways, in movies, experiences have come to be dogmatized to certain kinds of experience at the cost of all others.

  • In my films I always wanted to make people see deeply. I don't want to show things, but to give people the desire to see.

    • Agnès Varda,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Popcorn in Paradise ()
  • I live in cinema. I feel I've lived here forever.

  • The so-called film star's lot is an infantile and precarious one ...

  • It would have been more logical if silent pictures had grown out of the talkies instead of the other way around.

  • Two things always look better in the movies, Melinda. Mental institutions and war.

  • Movie failures are like the common cold. You can stay in bed and take aspirin for six days and recover. Or you can walk around and ignore it for six days and recover.

  • There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much fun as doing it oneself, and there is nothing half so boring as watching other people do it. Making films, that is.

  • ... romance is overrated as a career builder, for it is at the box office and not on the casting couch where one ultimately succeeds. Sex whispers, but money talks.

  • [On location in the Mojave desert for endless weeks for Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments:] Who do you have to sleep with to get off this picture?

    • Olive Deering,
    • in Tony Randall and Michael Mindlin, Which Reminds Me ()
  • Cinema is like dream.

  • Good art is art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views.

    • Mary Schmich,
    • in "Long After Credits, 'Titanic' Stays With Viewers," Chicago Tribune ()
  • I talked to so many men. I walked into room after room after room of men who got to sit around and discuss whether they thought this movie was something that would appeal to women.

  • Film uses you as long as you can last. And that depends on your will and your talent, your luck and your perseverance.

    • Lauren Bacall,
    • in Fran Weil, "Woman of the Year," Playbill ()
  • The female body has always been a key building block of cinema — a raw material fed into the machine of the movies, as integral to the final product as celluloid itself.