Excerpts from Classic Movie Scripts from 1970's and 80's


"Apocalypse Now"

"Wall Street"

Excerpts from the Motion Picture "Network"
Screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky
Revised - January 14, 1976

Characters: Arthur Jensen & Howard Beale (played by Ned Beatty & Peter Finch)

Arthur Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it, is that clear?! You think you have merely stopped a business deal--that is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is ecological balance!

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There are no Russians. There are no Arabs! There are no third worlds! There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars! Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rubles, rin, pounds and shekels! It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet! That is the natural order of things today! That is the atomic, subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone! ...

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen, and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state–Karl Marx? They pull out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories and minimax solutions and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.

The world is a business, Mr. Beale! It has been since man crawled out of the slime, and our children, Mr. Beale, will live to see that perfect world in which there is no war and famine, oppression and brutality–one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you to preach this evangel, Mr. Beale.

Howard: Why me?

Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.

Howard: I have seen the face of God!

Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.

Howard Beale: 

It's the individual that's finished. It's the single, solitary human being who's finished. It's every single one of you out there who's finished. Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. This is a nation of two hundred-odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter- than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods ...

The whole world is becoming humanoid, creatures that look human but aren’t. The whole world, not just us. We're just the most advanced country, so we're getting there first ...

The whole world's people are becoming mass-produced, programmed, wired, insensate things useful only to produce and consume other mass-produced things, all of them as unnecessary and useless as we are ...

We are right now living in what has to be called a corporate society, a corporate world, a corporate universe. This world quite simply is a vast cosmology of small corporations orbiting around larger corporations who, in turn, revolve around giant corporations–and this whole, endless, ultimate cosmology is expressly designed for the production and consumption of useless things.

Excerpt from the Motion Picture "Apocalypse Now"
Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius
Based on Original Story by Joseph Conrad
Revised 1979

Character: Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall)

I love the smell of napalm in the morning. One time we had a hill bombed for 12 hours. I walked up it when it was all over; we didn't find one of 'em ... not one stinking gook body. They slipped out in the night–but the smell–that gasoline smell–the whole hill– it smelled like ... victory ...

Excerpt from the Motion Picture "Wall Street"
Screenplay by Oliver Stone & Stanley Weiser

Character: Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we're not here to indulge in fantasy but in political and economic reality. America - America has become a second rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. Now, in the days of the free market when our country was a top industrial power, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the men that built this great industrial empire, made sure of it because it was THEIR money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company! ... YOU own the company. That's right, you the stockholder, and you are all being royally screwed over by these, these BUREAUCRATS with their, their steak luncheons, their hunting and fishing trips, their, their corporate jets and golden parachutes! ...

The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be Survival of the Unfittest. Well, in my book, you either do it right or you get eliminated. In the last seven deals that I've been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pretax profit of 12 billion dollars. ... I am not a destroyer of companies! I am a LIBERATOR of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, is that Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms - greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind. And Greed, you mark my words, will ... save ... that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.