Best Quotes from Paul Thomas Anderson Movies


Last year around this time, I put together a post featuring the best Wes Anderson quotes. I was rewatching some of Anderson’s films, and Bottle Rocket made me laugh; that was the inspiration. It’s been one of my most successful posts over the last year, weirdly enough, so I thought I’d so more.

Digging into quotes from Paul Thomas Anderson films brought a lot less zaniness and quite a few more merciless monologues. Just take a look below: particularly once we get to Magnolia, most of what makes PTA’s dialogue pop is the monologues he writes for memorable characters like Frank T.J. Mackey, Daniel Plainview, Lancaster Dodd, and Earl Partridge.

But there’s some funny stuff in the mix, too. Really, this Anderson is an underrated wordsmith. I hope you enjoy reading some of his best quotes:

Hard Eight

John Finnegan: “I will fuck you up if you fuck with me, ok? I know three kinds of Karate: Jujitsu, Aikido, and regular Karate.”

Sydney: “You know the first thing they should’ve taught you at hooker school? You get the money up front!”

Sydney: “Never ignore a man’s courtesy.”

Boogie Nights

Floyd Gondolli: “I like simple pleasures, like butter in my ass, lollipops in my mouth. That’s just me. That’s just something that I enjoy.”

Little Bill: “My fucking wife has an ass in her cock over in the driveway, alright? I’m sorry if my thoughts aren’t with the photography of the film we’re shooting tomorrow, Kurt, OK?”

Reed Rothchild: “Have you seen that Star Wars movie?”
Eddie Adams: “Yeah, I’ve seen it four times.”
Reed Rothchild: “You know, people tell me I kind of look like Han Solo.”

Young Stud: [wailing] “I, I think she did too much coke.”
Colonel James: “Oh, you think so, doctor?”

Rahad Jackson: “Oh, that’s Cosmo… he’s Chinese.”

Jack Horner: “Don’t just ram it in there like that, this is not a hole in the wall pal, it’s Rollergirl.”

Jack Horner: “Do these characters have a name?”
Dirk: “The guy’s name is Brock Landers.”
Reed Rothchild: “And his partner is Chest Rockwell.”
Jack Horner: “Those are some great names.”

Colonel James: “I’m looking forward to seeing you in action. Jack says you’ve got a great big cock.”
Eddie Adams: “Well, I don’t know, I guess so.”
Colonel James: “May I see it?”
Eddie Adams: “Really?”
Colonel James: “Please!”
[stares as Eddie lowers his shorts]
Colonel James: “Thank you, Eddie!”
Eddie Adams: “No problem.”
[the Colonel continue to stare as Eddie walks away]


Narrator: “And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that this is not just ‘Something That Happened.’ This cannot be ‘One of Those Things… ‘ This, please, cannot be that. And for what I would like to say, I can’t. This Was Not Just A Matter Of Chance. Ohhhh. These strange things happen all the time.”

Linda Partridge: “Fuck you, too. Don’t call me “lady”. I come in here, I give these things to you, you check, you make your phone calls, look suspicious, ask questions. I’m sick. I have sickness all around me and you fucking ask me about my life? “What’s wrong?” Have you seen death in your bed? In your house? Where’s your fucking decency? And then I’m asked fucking questions. What’s… wrong? You suck my dick. That’s what’s wrong. And you, you fucking call me “lady”? Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on both of you.”

Frank T.J. Mackey: “You will not control me! No! You will not take my soul! No! You will not win this game! Because it’s a game, guys. You want to think it’s not, huh? You want to think it’s not? Go back to the schoolyard and you have that crush on big-titted Mary Jane. Respect the cock. You are embedding this thought. I am the one who’s in charge. I am the one who says yes! No! Now! Here! Because it’s universal, man. It is evolutional. It is anthropological. It is biological. It is animal. We… are… men!”

Earl Partridge: “Do me a personal favor.”
Phil Parma: “Go fuck myself?”
Earl Partridge: “Yeah, you got it.”

Quiz Kid Donnie Smith: “And no, it is not dangerous to confuse children with angels!”

Earl Partridge: “I loved her so. And she knew what I did. She knew all the fucking stupid things I’d done. But the love… was stronger than anything you can think of. The goddamn regret. The goddamn regret! Oh, and I’ll die. Now I’ll die, and I’ll tell you what… the biggest regret of my life… I let my love go. What did I do? I’m sixty-five years old. And I’m ashamed. A million years ago… the fucking regret and guilt, these things, don’t ever let anyone ever say to you you shouldn’t regret anything. Don’t do that. Don’t! You regret what you fucking want! Use that. Use that. Use that regret for anything, any way you want. You can use it, OK? Oh, God. This is a long way to go with no punch. A little moral story, I say… Love. Love. Love. This fucking life… oh, it’s so fucking hard. So long. Life ain’t short, it’s long. It’s long, goddamn it. Goddamn. What did I do? What did I do? What did I do? What did I do? Phil. Phil, help me. What did I do?”

Punch-Drunk Love

Barry: “I’m lookin’ at your face and I just wanna smash it. I just wanna fuckin’ smash it with a sledgehammer and squeeze it. You’re so pretty.”
Lena: “I want to chew your face, and I want to scoop out your eyes and I want to eat them and chew them and suck on them.”

Barry: “Healthy Choice and American Airlines got together and put this promotion: If you buy any 10 Healthy Choice products, they will reward you with 500 frequent flier miles; with this special coupon, they’ll up it to 1,000 miles. So, I think they are trying to push their teriyaki chicken which is $1.79, but I went to the supermarket and I looked around and I saw that they had pudding… for 25¢ a cup… comes in packages of four. But insanely… the barcodes… are on the individual cups! So, quarter a cup, say you bought $2.50 worth. That’s worth 500… with the coupon it’s 1,000 miles. It’s a marketing mistake but I’m taking advantage of it. If you were to spend $3,000, that would get you a million frequent flier miles. You would never have to pay for a ticket the rest of your life.”
Lena: “You… you bought all that pudding so that you could get frequent flier miles?”

Barry: “I wanted to ask you something because you’re a doctor… I don’t like myself sometimes. Can you help me?”
Walter: “Barry, I’m a dentist. What kind of help do you think I could give you?”

Dean Trumbell: “SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP! Shut up; will you SHUTUP SHUTUP! SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUTUP… SHUTUP!” (Note: Words don’t do this scene justice. Click here to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman at his best.)

There Will Be Blood

Plainview: “Stop crying, you sniveling ass! Stop your nonsense. You’re just the afterbirth, Eli.”
Eli Sunday: “No…”
Plainview: “You slithered out of your mother’s filth.”
Eli Sunday: “No.”
Plainview: “They should have put you in a glass jar on a mantlepiece. Where were you when Paul was suckling at his mother’s teat? Where were you? Who was nursing you, poor Eli? One of Bandy’s sows? That land has been had. Nothing you can do about it. It’s gone. It’s had.”

Plainview: “Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? Watch it. Now, my straw reaches acroooooooss the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I… drink… your… milkshake! I drink it up!”

Plainview: “Ladies and gentlemen? Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much for visiting with us this evening. Now, I’ve traveled across half our state to be here and to see about this land. Now, I daresay some of you might have heard some of the more extravagant rumors about what my plans are; I just thought you’d like to hear it from me. This is the face. There’s no great mystery. I’m an oilman, ladies and gentlemen. I have numerous concerns spread across this state. I have many wells flowing at many thousand barrels per day. I like to think of myself as an oilman. As an oilman, I hope that you’ll forgive just good old-fashioned plain speaking. Now, this work that we do is very much a family enterprise; I work side by side with my wonderful son, H.W. – I think one or two of you might have met him already – and, uh, I encourage my men to bring their families, as well. Of course, it makes for an ever so much more rewarding life for them. Family means children; children means education; so, wherever we set up camp, education is a necessity, and we’re just so happy to take care of that. So let’s build a wonderful school in Little Boston. These children are the future that we strive for and so they should have the very best of things. Now something else, uh… and please don’t be insulted if I speak about this – bread. Let’s talk about bread. Now to my mind, uh, it’s an abomination to consider that any man, woman or child in this magnificent country of ours should have to look upon a loaf of bread as a luxury. We’re gonna dig water wells here and, uh, water wells means irrigation. Irrigation means cultivation. We’re gonna raise crops here where before it just simply wasn’t impossible. You’re going to have more grain than you know what to do with. Bread will be coming right out of your ears, ma’am. New roads, agriculture, employment, education – these are just a few of the things we can offer you, and I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that if we do find oil here – and I think there’s a very good chance that we will – this community of yours will not only survive, it will flourish.”

Eli Sunday: “Get out of here, ghost. Get out of here, ghost. Get out. Get out of here, ghost. Get out of here, ghost. Get out of here, ghost. Get out of here, and don’t you dare turn around and come back, for if you do, all the armies of my boot will kick you in the teeth, and you will be cast up and thrown in the dirt and thrust back to Perdition! And as long as I have teeth, I will bite you! And if I have no teeth, I will gum you! And as long as I have fists, I will bash you! Now, get out of here ghost! Get out of here, ghost! Get out of here, ghost!”

The Master

Lancaster Dodd: “If you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest of us know, will you? For you’d be the first person in the history of the world.”

Freddie Quell: “What do you do?”
Lancaster Dodd: “I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and a theoretical philosopher. But above all, I am a man, a hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you.”

Peggy Dodd: “And this is where we are at. At the lowest level. To have to explain ourselves, for what? For what we do, we have to grovel? The only way to defend ourselves is to attack. If we don’t do that we will lose every battle that we are engaged in. We will *never* dominate our environment the way we should unless we attack! And the city, city’s just noise. I know the city. I know its rotten secrets, its filthy lies and secrets. They… invited us here and welcomed us. Only to throw us down. And kick us out. It’s a grim joke.”

Freddie Quell: “Well, I’m sorry if I got out of hand last night. It was cold and…”
Lancaster Dodd: “Don’t apologize. You’re a scoundrel. And as a scientist and a connoisseur, I have no idea the contents of this remarkable potion. What’s in it?”
Freddie Quell: “Secrets.”

Clark: “I don’t think Freddie is as committed to the cause as the cause is committed to him.”

Lancaster Dodd: “If you leave me now, in the next life you will be my sworn enemy. And I will show you no mercy.”

Inherent Vice

Sortilège: “Well Mornin’ Sam, like a bad luck planet in today’s horoscope, here’s the old hippie-hating mad dog himself in the flesh: Lieutenant Detective Christian F. “Bigfoot” Bjornsen. SAG member, John Wayne walk, flat top of Flintstone proportions and that evil, little shit-twinkle in his eye that says Civil Rights Violations.”

Jade: “Hi, I’m Jade welcome to Chick Planet Massage, please take a look at today’s pussy eater’s special which is good all day until closing time.
Doc Sportello: How much is it?”
Jade: “$14.95”
Doc Sportello: “Well, now that $14.95 actually is reasonably priced but I’m actually trying to locate this guy who works for Mr. Wolfmann.”
Jade: “Oh, does he eat pussy?”
Doc Sportello: “A fella by the name of Glenn Charlock?”
Jade: “Oh sure, Glenn! He comes in here. He eats pussy.”

Aunt Reet: “He’s technically Jewish but wants to be a Nazi.”

Doc Sportello: “Did I hit you?”

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