All About Eve

All About Eve quotes

78 total quotes (ID: 25)

Addison DeWitt
Birdie Coonan
Eve Harrington
Karen Richards
Lloyd Richards
Margo Channing
Multiple Characters


Bill Sampson: The theatah, the theatAh - what book of rules says the theater exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London, Paris, or Vienna? Listen, junior. And learn. Want to know what the theater is? A flea circus. Also opera. Also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy, a one-man band - all theater. Wherever there's magic and make-believe and an audience - there's theater. Donald Duck, Ibsen, and the Lone Ranger. Sarah Bernhardt and Poodles Hanneford, Lunt and Fontanne, Betty Grable, Rex the Wild Horse, Eleanora Duse - they're all theater. You don't understand them, you don't like them all - why should you? The theater's for everybody - you included, but not exclusively - so don't approve or disapprove. It may not be your theater, but it's theater for somebody, somewhere...It's just that there's so much bourgeois in this ivory green room they call the theater. Sometimes it gets up around my chin.


Bill: To be a good actor or actress or anything else in the theatre means wanting to be that more than anything else in the world.
Eve: [softly] Yes, yes it does.
Bill: It means concentration of desire or ambition, and sacrifice such as no other profession demands. And I'll agree that the man or woman who accepts those terms can't be ordinary, can't be just someone. To give so much for almost always so little.
Eve: So little. So little, did you say? Why, if there's nothing else, there's applause. I've listened backstage to people applaud. It's like, like waves of love coming over the footlights and wrapping you up. Imagine. To know, every night, that different hundreds of people love you. They smile, and their eyes shine. You've pleased them. They want you. You belong. Just that alone is worth anything.

Bill: The gong rang, the fight's over. Calm down.
Margo: I will not calm down.
Bill: Don't calm down.
Margo: You're being terribly tolerant, aren't you?
Bill: I'm trying terribly hard.
Margo: But you needn't be. I will not be tolerated and I will not be plotted against.
Bill: Here we go.
Margo: Such nonsense. What do you all take me for - Little Nell from the country? Been my understudy for over a week without my knowing it, carefully hidden no doubt.
Bill: I am sick and tired of these paranoiac outbursts...For the last time, I'll tell it to you. You've got to stop hurting yourself and me and the two of us by these paranoiac tantrums...You're a beautiful and an intelligent woman, and a great actress. A great actress at the peak of her career. You have every reason for happiness...but due to some strange, uncontrollable, unconscious drive, you permit the slightest action of...a kid like Eve to turn you into an hysterical, screaming harpy. Now, once and for all, stop it!
Margo: I'll admit I may have seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a ****tail, like a salted peanut.

Bill: We started talking. She wanted to know about Hollywood. She seemed so interested.
Margo: She's a girl of so many interests.
Bill: A pretty rare quality these days.
Margo: A girl of so many rare qualities.
Bill: So she seems.
Margo: So you've pointed out so often. So many qualities so often. Her loyalty, efficiency, devotion, warmth, and affection, and so young. So young and so fair.
Bill: I can't believe you're making this up...Of course it's funny. This is all too laughable to be anything else. You know what I feel about this age obsession of yours. And now this ridiculous attempt to whip yourself up into a jealous froth because I spent ten minutes with a stage-struck kid.
Margo: Twenty.
Bill: Thirty minutes, forty minutes, what of it?
Margo: Stage-struck kid! She's a young lady of quality. And I'll have you know I'm fed up with both the young lady and her qualities. Studying me as if I were a play or a blueprint, how I walk, talk, think, act, sleep.
Bill: Now, how can you take offense at a kid trying in every way to be as much like her ideal as possible?
Margo: Stop calling her a kid. As it happens, there are particular aspects of my life to which I would like to maintain sole and exclusive rights and privileges.
Bill: For instance what?
Margo: For instance you.
Bill: This is my cue to take you in my arms and reassure you. But I'm not going to. I'm too mad...
Margo: [interrupting] Guilty.
Bill: ...Mad! Darling, there are certain characteristics for which you are famous onstage and off. I love you for some of them in spite of others. I haven't let those become too important. They're part of your equipment for getting along in what is laughingly called our environment. You have to keep your teeth sharp, all right. But I will not have you sharpen them on me - or on Eve.
Margo: What about her teeth? What about her fangs?
Bill: She hasn't cut them yet, and you know it! So when you start judging an idealistic, dreamy-eyed kid by the barroom benzedrine standards of this megalomaniac society, I won't have it. Eve Harrington has never by a word, a look, or a suggestion indicated anything to me but her adoration for you and her happiness at our being in love. And to intimate anything else doesn't spell jealousy to me. It spells out paranoiac insecurity that you should be ashamed of.
Margo: Cut! Brilliant! What happens in the next reel? Do I get dragged off screaming to the snake pit?

Bill: ...you did it. With work and patience, you'll be a good actress if that's what you want to be.
Eve: [purring] Is that what you want me to be?
Bill: I'm talking about you and what you want.
Eve: So am I.
Bill: What have I got to do with it?
Eve: Everything.
Bill: Names I've been called, but never Svengali. Good luck.
Eve: Don't run away, Bill.
Bill: From what would I be running?
Eve: You're always after truth on the stage. What about off?
Bill: I'm for it.
Eve: Then face it. I have. Ever since that first night here in this dressing room.
Bill: When I told you what every young actress should know?
Eve: When you told me that whatever I became it would be because of you...
Bill: Makeup's a little heavy.
Eve: ...and for you.
Bill: You're quite a girl.
Eve: You think?
Bill: I'm in love with Margo. Hadn't you heard?
Eve: You're all kinds of things.
Bill: I'm only human, rumors to the contrary. And I'm as curious as the next man.
Eve: Find out.
Bill: The only thing - what I go after, I want to go after. I don't want it to come after me. Don't cry. Just score it as an incomplete forward pass.

Margo: [to Eve] And please stop acting as if I were the Queen-Mother.
Eve: I'm sorry, I didn't...
Bill: Outside of a beehive, Margo, your behavior would hardly be considered either queenly or motherly.
Margo: You're in a beehive, pal. Didn't you know? We're all busy little bees, full of stings, making honey, day and night. [To Eve] Aren't we, honey?
Karen: Margo, really.
Margo: Please don't play governess, Karen. I haven't your unyielding good taste. I wish I could have gone to Radcliffe too, but father wouldn't hear of it. He needed help behind the notions counter. I'm being rude now, aren't I? Or should I say, ain't I?
De Witt: You're maudlin and full of self-pity. You're magnificent.
Lloyd: How about calling it a night?
Margo: And you, posing as a playwright, a situation pregnant with possibilities and all you can think of is everybody go to sleep.

Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night. Note: ranked #9 in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.

Lloyd: For once to write something and have it realized completely. For once not to compromise.
Karen: Lloyd Richards! You are not to consider giving that contemptible little worm the part of Cora.
Lloyd: Now just a minute.
Karen: Margo Channing's not been exactly a compromise all these years. Why, half the playwrights in the world would give their shirts for that particular compromise.
Lloyd: Now just a minute.
Karen: It strikes me that Eve's disloyalty and ingratitude must be contagious.
Lloyd: All this fuss and hysteria because an impulsive kid got carried away by excitement and the conniving of a professional manure-slinger named De Witt. She apologized, didn't she?
Karen: On her knees, I've no doubt. Very touching. Very Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Lloyd: That bitter cynicism of yours is something you've acquired since you left Radcliffe.
Karen: That cynicism you refer to I acquired the day I discovered I was different from little boys.

Bill: Many of your guests have been wondering when they may be permitted to view the body. Where has it been laid out?
Margo: It hasn't been laid out. We haven't finished with the embalming. As a matter of fact, you're looking at it - the remains of Margo Channing, sitting up. It is my last wish to be buried sitting up.
Bill: Wouldn't it be more natural for you to be taking a bow?

Old Actor: [about Eve] We know her humility, her devotion, her loyalty to her art, her love, her deep and abiding love for us, for what we are and what we do, the theater. She has had one wish, one prayer, one dream - to belong to us. Tonight, her dream has come true. And henceforth, we shall dream the same of her.

De Witt: And tomorrow morning, you will have won your beachhead on the shores of immortality.
Eve: Stop rehearsing your column. Isn't it strange, Addison? I thought I'd be panic-stricken, want to run away or something. Instead, I can't wait for tonight to come, to come and go.
De Witt: Are you that sure of tomorrow?
Eve: Aren't you?
De Witt: Frankly, yes.
Eve: It will be a night to remember. It will bring me everything I've ever wanted. The end of an old road. The beginning of a new one.
De Witt: All paved with diamonds and gold?
Eve: You know me better than that.
De Witt: It's paved with what, then?
Eve: Stars...Plenty of time for a nice long nap. We rehearsed most of last night.
De Witt: You could sleep now, couldn't you?
Eve: Why not?
De Witt: The mark of a true killer. Sleep tight, rest easy, and come out fighting.
Eve: Why did you call me a killer?
De Witt: Oh, did I say killer? I meant champion. I get my boxing terms mixed.

De Witt: But if I may make a suggestion...I think the time has come for you to shed some of your humility. It is just as false not to blow your horn at all as it is to blow it too loudly.
Eve: I don't think I have anything to sound off about.
De Witt: We all come into this world with our little egos, equipped with individual horns. Now if we don't blow them, who else will?
Eve: Even so, one pretty good performance by an understudy - it'll be forgotten by tomorrow.
De Witt: It needn't be.

Margo: Bill's in love with Margo Channing. He's fought with her, worked with her, and loved her. But ten years from now, Margo Channing will have ceased to exist. And what's left will be - what?
Karen: Margo, Bill is all of eight years younger than you.
Margo: Those years stretch as the years go on. I've seen it happen too often.
Karen: Not to you, not to Bill.
Margo: Isn't that what they always say?...About Eve, I've acted pretty disgracefully toward her too.
Karen: Well,...
Margo: Don't fumble for excuses, not here and now with my hair down. At best, let's say I've been oversensitive to her...to the fact that she's so young, so feminine and so helpless, too so many things I want to be for Bill. Funny business, a woman's career. The things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman. There's one career all females have in common - whether we like it or not: being a woman. Sooner or later, we've got to work at it, no matter how many other careers we've had or wanted. And, in the last analysis, nothing is any good unless you can look up just before dinner or turn around in bed - and there he is. Without that, you're not a woman. You're something with a French provincial office or a - a book full of clippings, but you're not a woman. Slow curtain. The End.

Max Fabian: She loves me like a father. Also, she's loaded.

Bill: The so-called art of acting is not one for which I have a particularly-high regard...But you may quote me as follows. Quote: 'Tonight, Miss Margo Channing gave a performance in your ****amamie play the like of which I have never seen before and expect rarely to see again.' Unquote....I shall propose the toast. Without wit. With all my heart. To Margo. To my bride-to-be.
Margo: Glory, Hallelujah.