Deborah Gelly
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Quotes for
Deborah Gelly (Character)
from Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

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Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Noodles: You've been around. Where'd you learn them "parlez-vous francais" dishes? Who's teaching you that stuff?
Deborah Gelly: You mean a sugar daddy, who tries to teach me how to act? I read books. I want to know everything. Doesn't it make sense to have plans?
Noodles: Yeah, it does. What about me? Am I in any of these plans?

Noodles: Well, at least you recognized me. That's something.
Deborah Gelly: [sardonic] Actresses have good memories.

Deborah Gelly: Where were you?
Noodles: I was out of town.
Deborah Gelly: Have you been back long?
Noodles: A couple of days.
Deborah Gelly: Are you staying?
Noodles: [sits down] That depends...

[In 1968, Noodles meets a familiar figure in heavy make-up... ]
Noodles: Hello, Deborah.
[For a long time, Deborah is silent and still]
Noodles: Aren't you gonna say anything?
Deborah Gelly: What is someone supposed to say after... after more than thirty years?
Noodles: Well, how about "How're you doing? You look good." Or, "I was hoping I'd never see you again."
Deborah Gelly: I never thought I would. There's a difference.

[Deborah orders her maid Margo to leave her alone with Noodles]
Noodles: She called you Miss... you never got married?
Deborah Gelly: No.
Noodles: Do you live alone?
Deborah Gelly: No.

Deborah Gelly: Why do you want to see me?
Noodles: Two reasons. I wanted to see if you did the right thing, turning me down to be an actress.
Deborah Gelly: Well?
Noodles: You did. You're terrific.
[Disregarding the wrinkles on Deborah's face, Noodles gazes at a theatre poster of "Anthony and Cleopatra," which Deborah had just acted in]
Noodles: "Age cannot wither her..." It's like the play was written for you.
Deborah Gelly: What was the other reason?
Noodles: The other reason is... to decide whether I should go to a party tomorrow night.
[Deborah is slightly amused by this answer]
Deborah Gelly: A party?
Noodles: Yeah, on Long Island. A Secretary Bailey.
[Deborah gives a slight but unmistakeable start]
Deborah Gelly: Do you know Secretary Bailey?
Noodles: No, but I was invited anyway.
Deborah Gelly: If you don't know each other, why were you invited?
Noodles: I don't know. I thought you might know why.
Deborah Gelly: Me? Why me?
[Noodles gets up and walks over to Deborah]
Noodles: Because you know him.

Noodles: What does Bailey want from me?
Deborah Gelly: You came to ask me that?
Noodles: Why'd he send me an invitation?
Deborah Gelly: I don't know! I don't know! I don't know! Why should I know about your invitations? What do you want? Why did you come here? I know nothing! I know nothing!
Noodles: Now you're a lousy actress...

Noodles: Who is Secretary Bailey?
Deborah Gelly: Secretary Bailey is a rich businessman. He came to the United States as an immigrant and made a lot of money in San Francisco and L.A., where he's lived for 30 years.
Noodles: I know all that, it's all in the papers. What else is there?
Deborah Gelly: He married a very wealthy woman, they had a child. She died when the child was born. A few years ago he went into politics, moved here.
Noodles: That's history, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about now.
Deborah Gelly: Right now he's in trouble.
Noodles: Just say you've been living with him all these years. And that you're his lover.

Deborah Gelly: Age can wither me, Noodles. We're both getting old. All that we have left now are our memories. If you go to that party on Saturday night, you won't have those anymore. Tear up that invitation.

Deborah Gelly: Noodles... you're the only person that I have ever...
Noodles: Ever what?
Noodles: Go ahead, ever what?
Deborah Gelly: ...that I ever cared about. But you'd lock me up and throw away the key, wouldn't you?
Noodles: Yeah. Yeah, I guess so.
Deborah Gelly: Yeah... and the thing is, I probably wouldn't even mind.
Noodles: So?
Deborah Gelly: So... I got to get to where I'm going.
Noodles: And where's that?
Deborah Gelly: To the top.
Noodles: Now you sound just like Maxie. You's both alike, that's why you hate each other.

Deborah Gelly: There's an exit back this way. Noodles, go through it. Keep walking. Don't turn around. Please, Noodles, I'm begging you, please.

[Noodles meets a young man, the spitting image of Max]
Deborah Gelly: This is Secretary Bailey's son. His name is David, just like yours.

Deborah Gelly: I'm leaving tomorrow to go to Hollywood. I wanted to see you tonight to tell you.

[in 1931, Noodles meets Deborah]
Deborah Gelly: Aren't you going to say hello?
Noodles: Hello.
[Moe cues a band to play the "Amapola" tune]
Noodles: Your brother's a real friend. He's a romantic. Max tell you I was getting out today?
Deborah Gelly: Max? No.
Noodles: You remembered yourself?
Deborah Gelly: No, Moe, it's always Moe.
Noodles: Yeah. You weren't counting the days?
Deborah Gelly: Of course I was. 4344, 4343... I lost track at 3000.
Noodles: That wasn't my choice. Yes, it was. It still is. Did you come here to welcome me back at least?
Deborah Gelly: I still live here. I was on my way out, Moe said I should say hello.
Noodles: I hope Moe didn't have to bend your arm or anything.
Deborah Gelly: No. Welcome back, Noodles.
Max: [calling] Hey, Noodles!
Noodles: You dancing?
Deborah Gelly: Every night at the Palace Theatre. I've made some progress since I danced here among the brooms and the empties. You can come spy on me if you like... if you have time.
Noodles: Every night.
Max: Noodles!
Deborah Gelly: Go on, Noodles, your mother's calling you.
Deborah Gelly: It's good to see you again, Noodles.
[leaves]
Noodles: my pleasure...

[In 1932, Noodles takes Deborah out to dinner]
Deborah Gelly: Been waiting long?
Noodles: All my life.

Deborah Gelly: You dancing?
Noodles: You asking?
Deborah Gelly: I'm asking.
Noodles: I'm dancing.
[they dance]

Young Noodles: Who're YOU calling a cockroach?
Young Deborah: So what are you? You're filthy! You make me sick! You crawl up toilet walls just like a roach! So what are you?
[Noodles grabs Deborah]
Young Deborah: Let go!
Young Noodles: I make you sick, huh? Then how come you showed me your tush?
Young Deborah: To a roach! Go look at yourself, David Aaronson!

[as Deborah dances to a record of "Amapola", she catches Noodles spying on her in the bathroom]
Young Deborah: Get down off of there, roach! That record's just like Ex-Lax - every time I put it on, you have to go to the bathroom!

[a romantic moment between Noodles and Deborah is interrupted]
Young Deborah: Somebody's there!
Young Noodles: There ain't nobody. It's Max.
Young Deborah: So that's who it was...
Young Max: Noodles!
Young Deborah: [smiling maliciously] Go on, run. Your mother's calling you.
Young Max: Noodles!
Young Noodles: Just gonna go see what he wants...
[leaves]

[Deborah cleans up the bar while the rest of the family is out. Noodles walks in]
Young Deborah: What are you doing?
Young Noodles: Give me a drink.
Young Deborah: We're closed. Nice people don't drink on Pesach, they go to the synagogue.
Young Noodles: So what are YOU doing here?
Young Deborah: Somebody's got to keep an eye on the place. There are a lot of thieves out there. One could get into your house.
Young Noodles: Especially if you leave the door open.
Young Deborah: You can pray here too. Here or in the synagogue, to God it's the same difference. Come over here and sit down...

[Noodles is spying on Deborah as she dances]
Young Deborah: Fats, you better spray the toilet! I saw a cockroach in there!

Young Deborah: [to Noodles, reading the Torah] "My beloved is white and ruddy. His skin is as the most fine gold. His cheeks are as a bed of spices." Even though he hasn't washed since last December. "His eyes are as the eyes of doves. His body is as bright ivory. His legs are as pillars of marble." In pants so dirty they stand by themselves. "He is altogether lovable." But he'll always be a two-bit punk... so he'll never be my beloved. What a shame.