The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon quotes

50 total quotes (ID: 776)

Brigid O'Shaughnessy
Joel Cairo
Multiple Characters
Sam Spade


My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, and an assistant district attorney, and a stenographer.


When a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it. And it happens we're in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed, it's-it's bad business to let the killer get away with it, bad all around, bad for every detective everywhere.

(To Effie Perrine) You're a good man, sister.

(To Brigid O'Shaughnessy) You're good, you're very good.

Kasper Gutman: Well, Wilmer, I'm sorry indeed to lose you, but I want you to know I couldn't be fonder of you if you were my own son. Well, if you lose a son, it's possible to get another. There's only one Maltese falcon. When you're young, you simply don't understand these things.

Cairo: [after Spade disarms him] This is the second time that you've laid hands on me.
[Spade forcibly grabs Cairo and slaps him three times]
Spade: When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it!

Gutman: That would amount to a vastly greater sum.
Spade: How much greater?
Gutman: Who knows? Should we say a hundred thousand? Would you believe me if I name a sum that seems a probable minimum?
Spade: Why not?
Gutman: What would you say to a quarter of a million?
Spade: And you think the dingus is worth a million, huh?...That's a lot of dough....Minimum, huh? What's the maximum?
Gutman: The maximum I refuse to guess. You'd think me crazy. I don't know. No telling how high it could go, sir. It is the one and only truth about it.

Spade: Now give me all of it fast. When you first came to my office, why did you want Thursby shadowed?
Brigid: I told you, Sam. I thought he was betraying me and I wanted to find out.
Spade: That's a lie...You wanted to get rid of him before Jacobi came with the loot so you wouldn't have to split it with him. Isn't that so? What was your scheme?
Brigid: I thought if he knew someone was following him, he'd be frightened into going away.
Spade: Miles wasn't clumsy enough to be spotted the first night. You told Thursby he was being followed.
Brigid: I told him. I told him. Yes, but please believe me, Sam. I wouldn't have told him if I thought Floyd would kill him.
Spade: If you thought he wouldn't kill Miles, you were right, angel. Miles hadn't many brains but he'd had too many years experience as a detective to be caught like that by a man he was shadowing up a blind alley with his gun in his hip and his overcoat buttoned. But he'd have gone up there with you, angel. He was just dumb enough for that! He would have looked you up and down and licked his lips and gone, grinning from ear to ear. And then you could have stood as close to him as you liked in the dark and put a hole through him with a gun you got from Thursby that evening. The police will be here any minute. Now talk!
Brigid: Oh, why do you accuse me?
Spade: This isn't the time for that school girl act. We're both of us sitting under the gallows. Now, why did you shoot Miles?
Brigid: I didn't mean to at first. Really, I didn't. But when I found out that Floyd couldn't be frightened, I...oh, I can't look at you and tell you this... [hiding her head in her hands]
Spade: You thought Thursby would tackle Miles, and one or the other of them would go down. If Thursby was killed, you were rid of him. If it was Miles, you'd see that Thursby was caught and set up for it, isn't that right?
Brigid: [sobbing] Something like that.
Spade: When you found that Thursby wasn't going to tackle him, you borrowed his gun and did it yourself, right? And when you heard Thursby was shot, you knew Gutman was in town, and you knew you needed another protector, somebody to fill Thursby's boots. So you came back to me.
Brigid: Yes. But oh, sweetheart. It wasn't only that. I'd have come back to you sooner or later. From the very first instant I saw you, I knew...
Spade: Well, if you get a good break, you'll be out of Tehachapi in 20 years and you can come back to me then. I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck...Yes, angel, I'm gonna send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you.

Miss Wonderly's sister ran away from New York with a fellow named Floyd Thursby. They're here in San Francisco. Miss Wonderly is seeing Thursby and has a date to meet him tonight. Maybe he'll bring the sister with him. The chances are he won't. Miss Wonderly wants us to find the sister, get her away from him and back home...If - after we've found her - she still doesn't want to leave him, well, we have ways of managing that.

Sorry I got up on my hind legs, boys, but you fellas tryin' to rope me made me nervous. Miles gettin' bumped off upset me, and then you birds crackin' foxy, but it's all right now, now that I know what it's all about.

I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble.

We, we didn't exactly believe your story, Miss, uh...What is your name, Wonderly or Leblanc?...We didn't exactly believe your story, Miss O'Shaughnessy; we believed your two hundred dollars...I mean, you paid us more than if you'd been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right.

Miss O'Shaughnessy is an operative in my employ since yesterday...Cairo is an acquaintance of Thursby's. He came into my office late this afternoon and hired me to find something that Thursby was supposed to have on him when he was bumped off. It, uh, looked funny to me, the way he put it, so I wouldn't touch it. Then he pulled a gun on me. Well, that's neither here nor there unless we start proffering charges against each other. Anyway, Miss O'Shaughnessy and I discussed the matter and we decided to find out exactly how much he knew about Miles' and Thursby's killings so we asked him to come up here. Now maybe we did put the questions to him a little roughly. You know how that is, Lieutenant. But we didn't hurt him enough to make him cry for help.

Aw, don't you know that you're being kidded?...When I heard the buzzer, I said to Miss O'Shaughnessy and Cairo here, I said, 'There's the police again. They're getting to be a nuisance. When you hear them going, one of you scream and then we'll see how far along we can string 'em until they tumble.'...Don't be a sap. That gun was a plant. It was one of mine. Too bad it was only a .25 or maybe you could prove that was the gun that Miles and Thursby were shot with.

Hey, what's this bird, this falcon that everybody's all steamed up about?