Film Noir: From Heroes to Heels, Favorite Film Noir Quotes

17 Great Film Noir quotes featuring quotes from classic Noir filmsGuest blogger Karen Burroughs Hannsberry writes:

Film noir, arguably, offers some of the best quotes in all cinema. Along with noir’s distinctive characters, shadowy presentations, labyrinthine plot tangles, and cynical, hopeless tone, it is the hard-boiled dialogue that makes it such a fascinating era of filmmaking. Here’s Part 1 of my favorite noir quotes — from the mouths of the gents . . .

“I just wanna be somebody.” Richard Widmark in Night and the City (1950).

“I don’t think I’ll have to kill her. Just slap that pretty face into hamburger meat, that’s all.” Sterling Hayden in The Killing (1956).

“I never confuse business with sentiment. Unless it’s extremely profitable, of course.” Clifton Webb in The Dark Corner (1946).

“Nobody’s your pal now. You’re dead. Lay down.” John Kellogg in Johnny O’Clock (1947).

“You knew when a woman loves you like that, she can love you with every card in the deck and then pull a knife across your throat the next morning.” Van Heflin in Johnny Eager (1942).

“Did you ever want to forget anything? Did you ever want to cut away a piece of your memory or blot it out? You can’t, you know.” Tom Neal in Detour (1945).

“What a beautiful picture. Moonlight. Sagebrush. My wife with a stranger.” Vincent Price in The Las Vegas Story (1952).

“For 16 years I’ve been a cop. For 16 years I’ve been living in dirt and take it from me, some of it’s bound to rub off on you. You get to hate people. Everyone you meet.” Edmond O’Brien in Shield for Murder (1954).

“Go on, sit in any chair you wanna sit in. . . . I want you to consider yourself my guest. We’ll have a couple of drinks. And then I’m gonna knock your teeth out.” William Bendix in The Glass Key (1942).

“Decency and integrity are fancy words, but they never kept anybody well fed. And I’ve got quite an appetite.” Howard Duff in Shakedown (1950).

“For a nickel, I’d grab him. Stick both thumbs right in his eyes. Hang on ‘til he dropped dead.” Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death (1947).

“Mice. They’re all for ya as long as you’re in the chips. I never seen a dame yet that’s still around when you hit the skids.” Wallace Ford in The Set-Up (1949).

“I want him to be fully conscious. I don’t like to shoot a corpse. I want to see the expression on his face when he knows it’s coming.” Raymond Burr in His Kind of Woman (1951).

“In your crowd, a polite ‘no’ is enough. In mind, it isn’t. The only kind of a ‘no’ they understand is from the end of a gun.” Steve Cochran in The Damned Don’t Cry (1950).

“I don’t like gambling very much. I don’t like being at the mercy of those little white squares that roll around and decide whether you win or lose. I like to have the say-so myself.” Lawrence Tierney in Born to Kill (1947).

“Flossie had looks, brains, and all the accessories. She was better than a deck with six aces. But I regret to report that she also knew how to handle a gun. My gun.” John Hoyt in Brute Force (1947).

Jack Early: Quite an appetite

“If I ever catch you around here again, they’ll have to pick you up with a sieve.” Victor Mature in I Wake Up Screaming (1942).

What’s your favorite film noir quote? Let us know in the comments!

Karen Burroughs Hannsberry is the author of Shadows and Satin, a blog devoted to her two cinematic passions: pre-Code Hollywood and the film noir era.  She has written two books on film noir, Femme Noir:  Bad Girls of Film and Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir, and is the editor-in-chief of the bimonthly, hard copy film noir newsletter, The Dark Pages.