The Big Sleep Quotes

I watched the classic noir The Big Sleep last night. It was pretty great. As with many of the old Howard Hawks films, I find myself sitting up in my chair to catch all of the lightning fast dialog.

Here’s a great collection from IMDB of some of the best tidbits:


Carmen Sternwood
: You’re not very tall are you?
Philip Marlowe: Well, I, uh, I try to be.


Eddie Mars: Convenient, the door being open when you didn’t have a key, eh?
Philip Marlowe: Yeah, wasn’t it. By the way, how’d you happen to have one?
Eddie Mars: Is that any of your business?
Philip Marlowe: I could make it my business.
Eddie Mars: I could make your business mine.
Philip Marlowe: Oh, you wouldn’t like it. The pay’s too small.


General Sternwood: Do you like orchids?
Philip Marlowe: Not particularly.
General Sternwood: Ugh. Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.


Philip Marlowe: Oh, Eddie, you don’t have anybody watching me, do you? Tailing me in a gray Plymouth coupe, maybe?
Eddie Mars: No, why should I?
Philip Marlowe: Well, I can’t imagine, unless you’re worried about where I am all the time.
Eddie Mars: I don’t like you that well.


Vivian: How did you find her?
Marlowe: I didn’t find her.
Vivian: Well then how did you-…
Marlowe: I haven’t been here, you haven’t seen me, and she hasn’t been out of the house all evening.


Vivian: So you do get up, I was beginning to think you worked in bed like Marcel Proust.
Marlowe: Who’s he?
Vivian: You wouldn’t know him, a French writer.
Marlowe: Come into my boudoir.


Vivian: Speaking of horses, I like to play them myself. But I like to see them workout a little first, see if they’re front runners or comefrom behind, find out what their whole card is, what makes them run.
Marlowe: Find out mine?
Vivian: I think so.
Marlowe: Go ahead.
Vivian: I’d say you don’t like to be rated. You like to get out in front, open up a little lead, take a little breather in the backstretch, and then come home free.
Marlowe: You don’t like to be rated yourself.
Vivian: I haven’t met anyone yet that can do it. Any suggestions?
Marlowe: Well, I can’t tell till I’ve seen you over a distance of ground. You’ve got a touch of class, but I don’t know how, how far you can go.
Vivian: A lot depends on who’s in the saddle.


Vivian: You go too far, Marlowe.
Marlowe: Those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he’s walking out of your bedroom.


Marlowe: You know what he’ll do when he comes back? Beat my teeth out, then kick me in the stomach for mumbling.


Vivian: You’ve forgotten one thing – me.
Philip Marlowe: What’s wrong with you?
Vivian: Nothing you can’t fix.
[last lines]


General Sternwood: How do you like your brandy, sir?
Philip Marlowe: In a glass.


[after a kiss]
Vivian: I liked that. I’d like more.


Philip Marlowe: She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up.


Vivian: I don’t like your manners.
Marlowe: And I’m not crazy about yours. I didn’t ask to see you. I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners, I don’t like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings. I don’t mind your ritzing me drinking your lunch out of a bottle. But don’t waste your time trying to cross-examine me.


Philip Marlowe: My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains! You know, you’re the second guy I’ve met today that seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the tail.


Vivian: Why did you have to go on?
Marlowe: Too many people told me to stop.


General Sternwood: You may smoke, too. I can still enjoy the smell of it. Hum, nice state of affairs when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy. You’re looking, sir, at a very dull survival of a very gaudy life, crippled, paralyzed in both legs, barely I eat and my sleep is so near waking it’s hardly worth a name. I seem to exist largely on heat like a new born spider.


Vivian: So you’re a private detective. I didn’t know they existed, except in books, or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors. My, you’re a mess, aren’t you?


General Sternwood: If I seem a bit sinister as a parent, Mr. Marlowe, it’s because my hold on life is too slight to include any Victorian hypocrisy. I need hardly add that any man who has lived as I have and indulges for the first time in parenthood at my age deserves all he gets.


Philip Marlowe: You made a mistake. Mrs. Rutledge didn’t want to see me.
Norris: I’m sorry, sir. I make many mistakes.


Philip Marlowe: Hmm.
General Sternwood: What does that mean?
Philip Marlowe: It means, hmm.


General Sternwood: You knew him too?
Philip Marlowe: Yes, in the old days, when he used to run rum out of Mexico and I was on the other side. We used to swap shots between drinks, or drinks between shots, whichever you like.
General Sternwood: My respects to you, sir. Few men ever swapped more than one shot with Sean Regan.


Philip Marlowe: I know he was a good man at whatever he did. No one was more pleased than I when I heard you had taken him on as your… whatever he was.


General Sternwood: I assume they have all the usual vices, besides those they’ve invented for themselves.


Philip Marlowe: Thanks for the drink, General.
General Sternwood: I enjoyed your drink as much as you did, sir.


Norris: Are you attempting to tell me my duties, sir?
Philip Marlowe: No, just having fun trying to guess what they are.


Vivian: Do you always think you can handle people like, uh, trained seals?
Philip Marlowe: Uh-huh. I usually get away with it too.
Vivian: How nice for you.


[in a bookstore]
Philip Marlowe: You do sell books, hmm?
Agnes Lowzier: What do those look like, grapefruit?
Philip Marlowe: Well, from here they look like books.


[making a prank phone call]
Philip Marlowe: What can I do for you? I can do what? Where? Oh, no, I wouldn’t like that. Neither would my daughter.


Philip Marlowe: I can do what? Where? Oh no, I wouldn’t like that. Neither would my daughter.
[hangs up]
Philip Marlowe: I hope the sergeant never traces that call.


Philip Marlowe: You wanna tell me now?
Vivian: Tell you what?
Philip Marlowe: What it is you’re trying to find out. You know, it’s a funny thing. You’re trying to find out what your father hired me to find out, and I’m trying to find out why you want to find out.
Vivian: You could go on forever, couldn’t you? Anyway it’ll give us something to talk about next time we meet.
Philip Marlowe: Among other things.


Taxi Driver: If you can use me again sometime, call this number.
Philip Marlowe: Day and night?
Taxi Driver: Uh, night’s better. I work during the day.


Eddie Mars: Your story didn’t sound quite right.
Philip Marlowe: Oh, that’s too bad. You got a better one?
Eddie Mars: Maybe I can find one.


Philip Marlowe: Did I hurt you much, sugar?
Agnes Lowzier: You and every other man I’ve ever met.


Philip Marlowe: How’d you happen to pick out this place?
Vivian: Maybe I wanted to hold your hand.
Philip Marlowe: Oh, that can be arranged.


Philip Marlowe: You the guy that’s been tailing me?
Harry Jones: Yeah, the name’s Jones. Harry Jones. I want to see you.
Philip Marlowe: Swell. Did you want to see those guys jump me?
Harry Jones: I didn’t care one way or the other.
Philip Marlowe: You could’ve yelled for help.
Harry Jones: If a guy’s playing a hand, I let him play it. I’m no kibitzer.
Philip Marlowe: You got brains


Agnes Lowzier: Is Harry there?
Philip Marlowe: Yeah, yeah, he’s here.
Agnes Lowzier: Put him on, will you?
Philip Marlowe: He can’t talk to you.
Agnes Lowzier: Why?
Philip Marlowe: Because he’s dead.


Agnes Lowzier: Well, so long, copper. Wish me luck. I got a raw deal.
Philip Marlowe: Hey, your kind always does.


Philip Marlowe: What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever seen a gun before? What do you want me to do, count three like they do in the movies?


Philip Marlowe: Let me do the talking, angel. I don’t know yet what I’m going to tell them. It’ll be pretty close to the truth.


Carmen Sternwood: You’re cute.
Philip Marlowe: I’m getting cuter every minute.


Carmen Sternwood: Is he as cute as you are?
Philip Marlowe: Nobody is.


Philip Marlowe: Somebody’s always giving me guns.


Vivian: So you’re a private detective. I didn’t know they existed, except in books, or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors. My, you’re a mess, aren’t you?
Philip Marlowe: I’m not very tall either. Next time I’ll come on stilts wear a white tie and carry a tennis racket.
Vivian: I doubt if even that will help.


Vivian: What will your first step be?
Philip Marlowe: The usual one.
Vivian: I didn’t know there was a usual one.
Philip Marlowe: Well sure there is, it comes complete with diagrams on page 47 of how to be a detective in 10 easy lessons correspondent school textbook and uh, your father offered me a drink.
Vivian: You must’ve read another one on how to be a comedian.


Philip Marlowe: I collect blondes and bottles.


Carmen Sternwood: You’re cute. I like you.
Philip Marlowe: Yeah, what you sees nothing, I got a Balinese dancing girl tattooed across my chest.

1 Comment

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One response to “The Big Sleep Quotes

  1. The Gurftastic Blog

    Yeah, The Big Sleep is awesome. Double Bonus points to Lebowski for being a homage. I didn’t know you were a closet Noir fan… You know that I like wet my bed every night dreaming of Noir films… we should geek out. Also, can I have like all of my DVDs back?

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