Sam Spade
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Quotes for
Sam Spade (Character)
from The Maltese Falcon (1941)

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The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Sam Spade: I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble.

Brigid O'Shaughnessy: I haven't lived a good life. I've been bad, worse than you could know.
Sam Spade: You know, that's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere.

Wilmer Cook: Keep on riding me and they're gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
Sam Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

Sam Spade: Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.
Kasper 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.

Sam Spade: Haven't you tried to buy my loyalty with money and nothing else?
Brigid O'Shaughnessy: What else is there I can buy you with?

Spade: When a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it. And it happens we're in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed, it's-it's bad business to let the killer get away with it, bad all around, bad for every detective everywhere.

Spade: We didn't exactly believe your story, Miss Wonderly. We believed your 200 dollars. I mean, you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right.

Bryan: Who killed Thursby?
Sam Spade: I don't know.
Bryan: Perhaps you don't, but you could make an excellent guess.
Sam Spade: My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, and an assistant district attorney and a stenographer.
Bryan: Why shouldn't you, if you have nothing to conceal?
Sam Spade: Everybody has something to conceal.
Bryan: I'm a sworn officer of the law, 24 hours a day, and neither formality nor informality justifies you withholding evidence of crime from me. Except, of course, on constitutional grounds.
Sam Spade: [ranting] Now, both you and the police have as much as accused me of being mixed up in the other night's murders. Well, I've had trouble with both of you before. And as far as I can see my best chance of clearing myself of the trouble you're trying to make for me, is by bringing in the murderers all tied up. And the only chance I've got of catching them, and tying them up, and bringing them in, is by staying as far away as possible from you and the police, because you'd only gum up the works.
[turns to stenographer]
Sam Spade: You getting this all right, son, or am I goin' too fast for ya?
Stenographer: No, sir, I'm getting it all right.
Sam Spade: Good work.

Kasper Gutman: You're a close-mouthed man?
Sam Spade: Nah, I like to talk.
Kasper 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.
[sits back]
Kasper Gutman: Now, sir. We'll talk, if you like. I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.
Sam Spade: Swell. Will we talk about the black bird?

Sam Spade: [impatiently] Now, let's *talk* about the black bird.
Kasper Gutman: Let's. Mr. Spade, have you any conception of how much money can be got for that black bird?
Sam Spade: No.
Kasper Gutman: Well, sir, if I told you... If I told you *half*... you'd call me a liar.
Sam Spade: No, not even if I thought so.

Sam 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?

Sam Spade: When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it.

Joel Cairo: You always have a very smooth explanation ready.
Sam Spade: What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?

Sam Spade: You're good. You're very good.

Spade: I hope you're not letting yourself be influenced by the guns these pocket-edition desperadoes are waving around, because I've practiced taking guns from these boys before; so we'll have no trouble there.

Sam Spade: You killed Miles and you're going over for it.

[last lines]
Detective Tom Polhaus: [picks up the falcon] Heavy. What is it?
Sam Spade: The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.
Detective Tom Polhaus: Huh?

Sam Spade: 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.

Brigid O'Shaughnessy: He has a wife and three children in England.
Sam Spade: They usually do, though not always in England.

Brigid O'Shaughnessy: Mr. Archer was so alive yesterday, so solid and hearty...
Sam Spade: Stop it. He knew what he was doing. Those are the chances we take.
Brigid O'Shaughnessy: Was he married?
Sam Spade: Yeah, with ten thousand insurance, no children, and a wife that didn't like him.

Brigid O'Shaughnessy: Help me.
Sam Spade: You won't need much of anybody's help. You're good. Chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like 'Be generous, Mr. Spade.'
Brigid O'Shaughnessy: I deserve that. But the lie was in the way I said it, not at all in what I said. It's my own fault if you can't believe me now.
Sam Spade: Ah, now you are dangerous.

Brigid O'Shaughnessy: I do know he always went heavily armed, and that he never went to sleep without covering the floor around his bed with crumpled newspapers, so that nobody could come silently into his room.
Sam Spade: You picked a nice sort of a playmate.
Brigid O'Shaughnessy: Only that sort could have helped me, if he'd been loyal.

Joel Cairo: I am prepared to pay five thousand dollars for the figure's return. Do you have it?
Sam Spade: No.
Joel Cairo: But if it isn't here, why did you risk serious injury to prevent my searching for it?
Sam Spade: Why should I sit around here and let people come in and stick me up?
Joel Cairo: But certainly it is only natural that I try to save the owner such a considerable expense if possible.

Sam Spade: People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you'll be polite.

Joel Cairo: I certainly wish you would have invented a more reasonable story. I felt distinctly like an idiot repeating it.
Sam Spade: Don't worry about the story's goofiness. A sensible one would have had us all in the cooler.

Sam Spade: All we've got is that maybe you love me and maybe I love you.
Brigid O'Shaughnessy: You know whether you love me or not.
Sam Spade: Maybe I do. I'll have some rotten nights after I've sent you over, but that'll pass.

Sam Spade: You're a good man, sister.

Sam Spade: Haven't you anything better to do than to keep popping in here early every morning and asking a lot of fool questions?
Lt. Dundy: And gettin' a lot of lyin' answers!
Sam Spade: Take it easy.

Sam Spade: Here.
[hands him Wilmer's guns]
Sam Spade: You shouldn't let him go around with these on him, he might get himself hurt.
Kasper Gutman: Well, well, what's this?
Sam Spade: A crippled newsie took 'em away from him. I made him give 'em back.

Sam Spade: You gotta convince me that you know what this is all about, that you aren't just fiddling around hoping it'll all... come out right in the end!

Sam Spade: [after disarming Wilmer] This'll put you in solid with your boss.

Sam Spade: Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be.

[first lines]
Sam Spade: Yes, sweetheart?
Effie Perine: There's a girl wants to see you. Her name's Wonderly.
Sam Spade: Customer?
Effie Perine: I guess so. You'll want to see her anyway. She's a knockout.
Sam Spade: Shoo her in, Effie darling, shoo her in.

Brigid O'Shaughnessy: What would you do if I didn't tell you? Something wild and unpredictable?
Spade: I might.

Sam Spade: If you kill me, how are you going get the bird? And if I know you can't afford to kill me, how are you going to scare me into giving it to you?
Kasper Gutman: Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill.
Sam Spade: Yes, that's... That's true. But, there're none of them any good unless the threat of death is behind them. 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.
Kasper Gutman: That's an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides. Because, as you know, sir, in the heat of action men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and let their emotions carry them away.
Sam 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.
Kasper Gutman: By gad, sir, you are a character.

Sam Spade: You don't have to trust me as long as you can persuade me to trust you.

Sam Spade: [to Effie] You're a good man, sister.

Lt. 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'd blame you much - man that killed your partner. But that won't stop me from nailing ya.
Sam Spade: Fair enough

Wilmer Cook: Keep askin' for it and you're gonna get it... plenty. I told you to shove off... shove off.
Sam Spade: People lose teeth talkin' like that. You wanna hang around, you'll be polite.


The Maltese Falcon (1931)
Sam Spade: Holy wars? I'll bet that was a great racket!

Casper Gutman: You're a close-mouthed man, sir.
Sam Spade: No, I like to talk.
Casper Gutman: We'll talk if you like. And I'll tell you right now that I'm a man who likes to talk to a man who likes to talk.

Sam Spade: Say, what's on your mind beside your hat?

Casper Gutman: You are here, Mr. Spade, as Miss Wonderly's representative?
Sam Spade: No, I'm here looking out for myself.

Sam Spade: [Asking operator for telephone exchange] Berkeley double o seven.

Sam Spade: Listen, Dundy, it's a long time since I burst into tears because a policeman didn't like me.

Sam Spade: Come on in, precious.
Police Lt. Dundy: [walking in] Who were you expecting, darling?
Sam Spade: You, sweetheart.

Ruth Wonderly: I know I haven't any right to ask you to help me blindly. But I do ask it. Oh, be generous, Mr. Spade.
Sam Spade: You won't need much of anybody's help. You're pretty good. As a matter of fact, you're very good. It's chiefly your eyes, I think, and the throb you get in your voice when you say, "Oh, be generous, Mr. Spade."

Effie Perrine: Sam, it's a gorgeous new customer.
Sam Spade: Gorgeous?
Effie Perrine: A knockout.
Sam Spade: Send her right in, honey.
Effie Perrine: [to the off-screen customer] Will you step in, please?
[Joel Cairo walks in.]

Sam Spade: I don't care who loves who! I won't play the sap! I won't walk in Thursby's, and I don't know how many others' footsteps! You killed Miles and you're going over for it.


Satan Met a Lady (1936)
Valerie Purvis: I remember you. You're the other man.
Ted Shayne: That's me, sister. I've often been named as the other man.

Ted Shayne: Find anything in the divan?
Anthony Travers: Only a few hairpins and some loose change.
Ted Shayne: [holding out hat] Come across!

Anthony Travers: Then you have the trumpet?
Ted Shayne: No.
Anthony Travers: But you know where it is?
Ted Shayne: Nope.
Anthony Travers: What? You've just inveigled me into telling you what it is. I say that's a pretty rotten trick, old boy. That's not cricket!

Ted Shayne: Telling you anything would be like contributing to the delinquency of a minor.