The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon quotes

50 total quotes (ID: 776)

Brigid O'Shaughnessy
Joel Cairo
Multiple Characters
Sam Spade


Gutman: We begin well, sir. I distrust a man who says 'when'. If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does. Well, sir, here's to plain speaking and clear understanding. [They drink.] You're a close-mouthed man.
Spade: No, I like to talk.
Gutman: Better and better. I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously unless you keep in practice. Now, sir, we'll talk if you like. I'll tell you right out - I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.
Spade: Swell. Will we talk about the black bird?
Gutman': [chuckling] You're the man for me, sir. No beating about the bush, right to the point. Let's talk about the black bird, by all means. But first, answer me a question. Are you here as Miss O'Shaughnessy's representative?
Spade: Well, there's nothing certain either way. It depends.
Gutman: It depends on? Maybe it depends on Joel Cairo.
Spade: Maybe.
Gutman: The question is, then, which you represent. It'll be one or the other.
Spade: I didn't say so.
Gutman: Who else is there?
Spade: There's me.
Gutman: Ah. That's wonderful sir, wonderful. I do like a man who tells you right out he's looking out for himself. Don't we all? I don't trust a man who says he's not.


Gutman: Yes, sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this you can buy ten dollars of talk. And they're more of us to be taken care of now.
Spade: That may be, but I've got the falcon.
Cairo: [sternly] ...you may have the falcon, but we certainly have you.

Iva: Sam, did you kill him?
Spade: Who put that bright idea in your head?
Iva: Well, I thought you said if it wasn't for Miles, you'd --- Be kind to me, Sam!
Spade: [smiles broadly, laughs, and claps his hands mockingly] You killed my husband, Sam. Be kind to me.

Polhaus: [lifting the fake falcon] It's heavy. What is it?
Spade: The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of. Note: bolded line is ranked #14 in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.

Polhaus: It's tough, him getting it like that, ain't it? Miles had his faults just like any of the rest of us, but I guess he must have had some good points too, huh?
Spade: I guess so.

Spade: [smiling] You are a liar.
Brigid: I am. I've always been a liar.
Spade: Don't brag about it. Was there any truth at all in that yarn?
Brigid: Some...not very much...Oh, I'm - I'm so tired, so tired of lying and making up lies, not knowing what is a lie and what's the truth.

Spade: By the way, where were you the night Miles was murdered?
Iva: Home. [He disagrees by shaking his head.] I was!
Spade: No, but if that's your story, it's all right with me.

Spade: Give them Cairo.
Gutman: [chuckling] Well, by gad, sir.
Cairo: [incensed] And suppose we give them you or Miss O'Shaughnessy? How about that, huh?
Spade: You want the falcon. I've got it. The fall guy's part of the price I'm asking. As for Miss O'Shaughnessy, if you think she can be rigged for the part, I'm perfectly willing to discuss it with you.

Spade: How bad a spot are you actually in?
Brigid: As bad as could be.
Spade: Physical danger?
Brigid: I'm not heroic. I don't think there's anything worse than death.
Spade: Then it's that?
Brigid: It's that as surely as we're sitting here - unless you help me.
Spade: Who killed Thursby? Your enemies or his?
Brigid: I don't know. His, I suppose. I'm afraid, I don't know.

Spade: I'm in this up to my neck, Gutman. I've got to find somebody - a victim - when the time comes. If I don't, I'll be it. Let's give 'em the gunsel. He actually did shoot Thursby and Jacobi, didn't he? Anyway, he's made to order for the part, look at him. Let's give him to 'em.
Gutman: [bursting out laughing] By gad, sir, you are a character, that you are. There's never any telling what you'll say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing.

Spade: I've never seen Thursby dead or alive.
Dundy: Well, you know me, Spade. If you did it, or if you didn't, you'll get a square deal from me and most of the breaks. Don't know as I blame you much - a man that kills your partner, but that won't stop me from nailing ya.
Spade: Fair enough. [toasting] Success to crime!

Spade: If you kill me, how are you gonna get the bird? And if I know you can't afford to kill me, how are you gonna scare me into giving it to you?
Gutman: Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill.
Spade: Yes, that's, that's true. But - they're none of 'em any good unless the threat of death is behind them - do you see what I mean? If you start something, I'll make it a matter of your having to kill me or call it off.
Gutman: [chuckling] That's an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. 'Cause as you know, sir, in the heat of action, men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and that their emotions carry them away.
Spade: Then the trick from my angle is to make my play strong enough to tie you up, but not make you mad enough to bump me off against your better judgment.
Gutman: By gad, sir, you are a character.

Spade: Let's go someplace where we can talk.
Cairo: No, no, no. Our private conversations have not been such that I'm anxious to continue them. Forgive my speaking so bluntly, but it is the truth.
Spade: You mean last night? What else could I do? I had to throw in with her. I don't know where the bird is and neither do you. She does. How are we gonna get it if I don't play along with her?
Cairo: You always have a very smooth explanation ready, huh?
Spade: What do you want me to do - learn to stutter?

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.

Spade: Uh-huh. Now, let's talk about the black bird.
Gutman: Lets. Mr. Spade, have you any conception of how much money can be got for that black bird?
Spade: No.
Gutman: Well, sir, if I told you - if I told you half, you'd call me a liar.
Spade: No, not even if I thought so. But you tell me what it is and I'll figure out the profit.
Gutman: [chuckles] You mean you don't know what that bird is?
Spade: Oh, I know what it's supposed to look like. And I know the value in human life you people put on it.
Gutman: She didn't tell you what it is? Cairo didn't either?
Spade: He offered me ten thousand for it.
Gutman: [dismissively] Ten thousand. Dollars, mind you, not even pounds. Do they know what that bird is, sir? What is your impression?
Spade: Oh, there's not very much to go by. Cairo didn't say he did and he didn't say he didn't. She said she didn't, but, uh, I took it for granted she was lying.
Gutman: Not an injudicious thing to do. If they don't know, I'm the only one in the whole wide, sweet world who does.
Spade: Swell. When you've told me, that'll make two of us.
Gutman: Mathematically correct, sir, but I don't know for certain that I'm going to tell you.
Spade: Oh, don't be foolish. You know what it is and I know where it is. That's why I'm here.
Gutman: Well, sir, where is it? You see, I must tell you what I know but you won't tell me what you know. That's hardly equitable, sir. No, no, I don't think we can do business along those lines.
Spade: [violently angry] Now think again and think fast. I told that gunsel of yours you'd have to talk to me before you're through. I'm telling you now, you'll talk to me today or you are through! [throwing his drink to the floor] What are you wasting my time for? I can get along without you! And another thing: Keep that gunsel out of my way when you're makin' up your mind! I'll kill him if you don't, I'll kill him!
Gutman: [calmly] Well, sir, I must say you have a most violent temper.
Spade: [leaving] Think it over. You've got till 5 o'clock, then you're either in or out! For keeps!