Royal Tenenbaum
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Quotes for
Royal Tenenbaum (Character)
from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

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The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Eli: [to Richie] I always wanted to be a Tenenbaum, you know?
Royal: [quietly] Me too. Me too.
Eli: It doesn't mean what it used to though, does it?

Royal: Everyone's against me.
Pagoda: It's your fault, man.
Royal: I know but dammit, I want this family to love me.

Royal: Let's shag ass.

Royal: I got a pretty bad case of cancer.
Chas: [yawns] How long you gonna last?
Royal: Not long.
Chas: A month? A year?
Royal: About six weeks. Let me get to the point, the three of you and your mother are all I've got and I love you more than anything.
[Chas scoffs and mock laughs]
Royal: Chas, let me finish here. I've got six weeks to set things right with you and I aim to do it. Will you give me a chance?
Chas: No.
Royal: Do you speak for everyone?
Chas: I speak for myself.

Young Chas Tenenbaum: [about Margot's play] Well, what'd you think, Dad?
Royal: Didn't seem believable to me.
[to Eli]
Royal: Why are you wearing pajamas? Do you live here?
Young Richie Tenenbaum: He has permission to sleep over.
Young Chas Tenenbaum: Well, did you at least think the characters were well developed?
Royal: What characters? This is a bunch of little kids dressed up in animal costumes.
Young Margot Tenenbaum: Good night, everyone.
Royal: Well, sweetie, don't be mad at me. That's just one man's opinion.
[Margot gets up and gathers her presents just as Ethel comes in with the birthday cake and everyone starts singing Happy Birthday, which trails off as she leaves the room. Ethel glares at Royal]
Narrator: He had not been invited to any of their parties since.

Royal: Can we get somebody over here to kill these mice for us?
Margot: No. They belong to Chas. Or anyway he invented them.
Royal: Get him to stick them in a fucking cage or something.

[Richie tells his father Royal he's in love with Margot, his adopted sister]
Royal: Margot Tenenbaum?
Richie: Yeah.
Royal: Well, since when?
Richie: Since always.
Royal: Does she know?
Richie: Uh-huh.
Royal: Well, what does she feel about that?
Richie: I think she feels confused.
Royal: Well, I can understand that, it's probably illegal!
Richie: I don't think so, we're not related by blood.
Royal: That's true. It's still frowned upon. But then, what isn't these days, right?

Royal: Got a minute?
Ethel: [startled] What are you doing here?
Royal: Uh, I need a favour. I want to spend some time with you and the children.
Ethel: Are you crazy?
[she carries on walking]
Royal: Well, wait a minute, dammit!
Ethel: Stop following me!
Royal: Well, I want my family back.
Ethel: Well, you can't have it! I'm sorry for you, but it's too late.
Royal: Well, listen... Baby, I'm dying.
[she stops]
Royal: Yeah, I-I'm sick as a dog. I'll be dead in six weeks. I'm dying.
Ethel: What are you talking about? What's happening? Oh, I'm sorry... I didn't know...
[starts crying]
Ethel: Well, what'd they say? What is the prognosis?
Royal: [trying to comfort her] Take it easy, Ethel. Now, hold on, baby, hold on. Hold on, OK?
[she starts wailing]
Ethel: Where is the doctor?
Royal: Well, look, just wait a second now. Wait a second. OK, uh, listen, I'm not dying... but I need some time. A month or so. OK? I want us to-to...
[she slaps him hard]
Ethel: WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? Are you crazy?
[she walks off]
Royal: Ethel, baby... I am dying.
[she comes back to him]
Ethel: Are you or aren't you?
Royal: What? Dying? Yeah.

Royal: [laying some flowers on the grave of his mother - Helen O'Reilly Tenenbaum, 1899-1954] She was a tough old broad, wasn't she?
Chas: I wouldn't know. Excuse me.
[he starts to head off with his sons Ari and Uzi to visit their mother's grave]
Royal: Oh, that's right, we've got another body buried here, haven't we?

Royal: Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?

[Pagoda stabs Royal]
Royal: That's the last time you put a knife in me! Y'hear me?

Royal: I'm very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a terribly attractive woman.

[Royal motions to Pagoda]
Royal: He saved my life, you know. Thirty years ago. I was knifed at a bazaar in Calcutta, and he carried me to the hospital on his back.
Ari: Who stabbed you?
[Royal motions to Pagoda again]
Royal: He did. There was a price on my head, and he was a hired assassin. Stuck me in the gut with a shiv.

[Royal's fake terminal illness has been exposed and he is being thrown out of the house]
Royal: Look, I know I'm going to be the bad guy on this one, but I just want to say the last six days have been the best six days of probably my whole life.
Narrator: Immediately after making this statement, Royal realized that it was true.

[Royal is telling his children that he and their mother are splitting up]
Young Margot Tenenbaum: Is it our fault?
Royal: No, no. Obviously, we made certain sacrifices as a result of having children, but no, Lord, no.
Young Richie Tenenbaum: Then why'd she ask you to leave?
Royal: I don't really know anymore. Maybe, uh, I wasn't as true to her as I could have been.
Young Chas Tenenbaum: Well, she said...
Royal: Let's just drop it, shall we, Chassie?

Royal: First thing I want to do is take you out to see your grandmother, at some point.
Richie: I haven't been out there since I was 6.
Margot: I haven't been out there at all, I was never invited.
Royal: Well, she wasn't your real grandmother, and I never knew how much interest you had, uh, sweetie. Anyway, you're invited now.
Richie: You know, Rachael's buried out there too.
Royal: Who?
Chas: My wife.
Royal: Oh, that's right, isn't it. Well, we'll have to swing by her grave too.
[Chas slams his book shut and angrily walks out]

Royal: I've always been considered an asshole for about as long as I can remember. That's just my style. But I'd really feel blue if I didn't think you were going to forgive me.
Henry Sherman: I don't think you're an asshole, Royal. I just think you're kind of a son of a bitch.
Royal: Well, I really appreciate that.

Royal: [to Chas] Well... you sued me... twice. Got me disbarred. I don't hold it against you, do I?
[cut to Chas and Royal in court, sitting with their lawyers in front of the Judge]
Judge: And how is it possible for Mr. Tenenbaum to withdraw these funds without your written authorization?
Royal: Objection, Your Honor. Damn it, I...
Royal's Lawyer: Why don't you leave the objections to me, Royal?
Chas: Because I started the corporation when I was a minor. So, my father was the primary signatory on most of my accounts.
[Chas' lawyer whispers in his ear]
Chas: He also stole bonds out of my safety deposit box when I was fourteen.
[Royal looks at Chas, then back at the judge. He chuckles uncomfortably]
Royal: [back in present day, to Chas] You think you could start forgiving me?
Chas: Why should I?
Royal: Because you're hurting me.

Royal: Are you trying to steal my woman?
Henry Sherman: I beg your pardon?
Royal: You heard me, Coltrane.
Henry Sherman: Coltrane?
Royal: What?
Henry Sherman: Did you just call me Coltrane?
Royal: No.
Henry Sherman: You didn't?
Royal: No.
Henry Sherman: Okay.
[he turns away]
Royal: But if I did... you wouldn't be able to do anything about it, would you?
Henry Sherman: You don't think so?
Royal: No, I don't.
Henry Sherman: Listen, Royal, if you think you can just march in here...
Royal: You wanna talk some jive? I'll talk some jive. I'll talk some jive like you never heard!

Royal: You know, Richie, this illness, this closeness to death... it's had a profound affect on me. I feel like a different person, I really do.
Richie: Dad, you were never dying.
Royal: But I'm going to live.

Royal: [Points to Henry] He's not your father.
Margot: Neither are you.

Royal: [outside the hospital, having been refused in to visit Richie] We could shimmy up that gutter, jump over that window ledge, and then pry open that ventilator shaft.
Pagoda: [points] There he is.
[they see Richie getting onto a bus]

Royal: So, what do you think of this big old black buck moving in up there?
Richie: Who?
Royal: Henry Sherman. You know him?
Richie: Yeah.
Royal: Is he worth a damn?
Richie: I believe so.

Margot: You probably don't even know my middle name.
Royal: That's a trick question. You don't have one.
Margot: Helen.
Royal: That was my mother's name.
Margot: I know it was.

Royal: [to Etheline, about Henry] I didn't think so much of him at first. But now I get it, he's everything that I'm not.

Peter Bradley: [interviewing Eli Cash on television] Now, your previous novel...
Eli: Yes, Wildcat.
Peter Bradley: Not a success. Why?
Eli: Well... Wildcat was written in a kind of obsolete vernacular...
[long pause as he starts to become spaced out]
Eli: [whispering] Wildcat... wild... cat... pow... wildcat...
[he gets up]
Eli: I'm gonna go. I'm taking this off and I'm going. Stepping out.
Royal: [watching the television] What the hell kind of way to act is that?
Richie: He's on drugs.

[Chas has told Royal to get out of the house. As Royal gets up to leave he suddenly seems to suffer some kind of 'attack' and falls to the floor]
Chas: Are you OK?
Royal: [with a wooden spoon between his teeth] 'Fuck do you care?

[Henry has gathered the family into Royal's room]
Henry Sherman: Pagoda has something to say.
Pagoda: [points at Royal] He has a cancer.
Henry Sherman: No, he doesn't. I know what stomach cancer looks like. I've seen it. And you don't eat three cheeseburgers a day with french fries if you got it. The pain is excruciating.
Royal: How would you know?
Henry Sherman: My wife had it. Not only is there no Dr. McClure at Colby General, there is no Colby General. It closed in 1974.
Royal: [getting out of bed] Aw, shit, man.
Pagoda: Oh, shit, man.

Royal: Hell of a damn grave. Wish it were mine.

Chas: I've had a rough year, dad.
Royal: I know you have, Chassie.

Royal: Chas has those boys cooped up like a pair of jackrabbits, Ethel.
Ethel: He has his reasons.
Royal: Oh, I know that, but you can't raise boys to be scared of life. You gotta brew some recklessness into them.
Ethel: I think that's terrible advice.
Royal: No, you don't.

Royal: [seeing Ethel with Henry for the first time] Look at that old grizzly bear.

Ethel: Royal, this is Henry Sherman.
Royal: [shaking hands with him] Hey, lay it on me, man.
Henry Sherman: How do you do?
Royal: Not too well, I'm dying.

Ethel: [about Royal's fake terminal illness charade] Were you part of this, Pagoda?
Henry Sherman: Of course he was.
Royal: No... well, yeah, he was, but, I mean, he wasn't *that* involved.

[During a war game with BB guns]
Royal: [on top of a roof, aiming at Chas] Hold it Chassie. Hold it right there.
Young Chas Tenenbaum: What are you doing? You're on my team!
Royal: Ha-ha! There are no teams!
[he shoots at Chas, hitting his hand. Chas screams in pain and shoots back at him. Royal laughs as he ducks out of the way]
Narrator: The BB was still lodged between two knuckles in Chas's left hand.

Narrator: Margot Tenenbaum was adopted at age 2. Her father had always noted this when introducing her.
Royal: [at a dinner party] This is my adopted daughter, Margot Tenenbaum.

Royal: [about Raleigh] You're two-timing him with that bloodsucker Eli Cash. Now, that's just not right, dammit. You used to be a genius.
Margot: No, I didn't.
Royal: Anyway, that's what they used to say.

Ari: Were you in prison?
Royal: Kinda. Minimum security. I got jacked by the IRS. Shall we split?
Ari: Yes, sir.
Royal: No, call me Mr. Tennenbaum.
Ari: OK.
Royal: Oh, I'm kidding. Call me Pappy.