John F. Kennedy
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Quotes for
John F. Kennedy (Character)
from PT 109 (1963)

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Thirteen Days (2000)
Kenny O'Donnell: That's going to be tough - you know how these guys are about their chains of command.
President Kennedy: Listen, you tell 'em those chains of command end at one place: *me*.

President Kennedy: Bobby, you gotta go in there and you gotta make them understand... that we have to have an answer tomorrow... because Monday, we go to war.

President Kennedy: Well, who the hell authorized this missile test?
Robert Kennedy: Who do you think? God knows what this is gonna communicate to the Soviets!
Kenny O'Donnell: Communicate with the Soviets? We can't communicate with the Pentagon - and it's just across the goddamn river!

President Kennedy: Dean, how does this all play out?
Dean Acheson: Your first step sir, will be to demand that the Soviet withdraw the missiles within 12 to 24 hours. They will refuse. When they do you will order the strikes, followed by the invasion. They will resist and be overrun. They will retaliate against another target somewhere else in the world, most likely Berlin. We will honor our treaty commitments and resist them there, defeating them per our plans.
President Kennedy: Those plans call for the use of nuclear weapons. So what is the next step?
Dean Acheson: Hopefully cooler heads will prevail before we reach the next step.

President Kennedy: Acheson's scenario is just, it's unacceptable, and he's got more experience than anybody.
Kenny O'Donnell: There is no expert on the subject; I mean, there is no wise old man. There's - shit, there's just us.
President Kennedy: The thing is that Acheson's right, 'cause talk alone's not gonna accomplish anything.
Kenny O'Donnell: Well, let's bomb the shit out of 'em! Everybody wants to. I mean, even you, I mean, even me, right? It sure would feel good.

Robert F. Kennedy: Jack, I'm as conniving as they come, but a sneak attack is just wrong.
Kenny O'Donnell: Listen, things are happening too fast - I mean, this is starting to smell like the Bay of Pigs all over again.
President Kennedy: Well, tonight, listening to Taylor and Acheson, I kept seeing Lemnitzer and Dulles, telling me all I had to do was sign on the dotted line, and the invasion would succeed, and Castro -
[pauses in a wave of pain and sits down]
President Kennedy: - and Castro would be gone, just, easy, just like that.

President Kennedy: What do you want, Kenny?
Kenny O'Donnell: I want you to sit down.
President Kennedy: Well, I'm not gonna sit down!
Kenny O'Donnell: I want you to sit down, loosen your tie, take a minute...
President Kennedy: I haven't got a a minute!
Kenny O'Donnell: You're the President of the United States. They can wait for you.

President Kennedy: Well, things can't get much worse.
Kenny O'Donnell: Oh, I don't know; we could have to go down to Lyndon's ranch again, dressed up as cowboys, shoot deer out of the back of his convertible.
President Kennedy: That *was* a bad day... Hell, I thought there'd be... more good days.

President Kennedy: I'll tell you one thing, Kenny. Those brass hats have one big advantage. That is, if we do what they want us to do, there's none of us gonna be alive to tell them they were wrong.

Kenny O'Donnell: You sleeping?
President Kennedy: No, not much. I slept last night, though, you know, and, geez, when I woke up, I just, somehow I'd forgotten that all this had happened, you know? You know, then, of course, I remembered, and I just wished for a second that somebody else was president.
Kenny O'Donnell: You mean that?
President Kennedy: I said for a *second*.

President Kennedy: Say one of those ships resists inspection, and we shoot out its rudder, and board... they shoot down one of our planes, in response. So we bomb their anti-aircraft sites, and in response to that... they attack Berlin. So we invade Cuba.
President Kennedy: So they fire their missiles... and we fire ours.

President Kennedy: Goddamn it! How the goddamn hell could this happen? I'm gonna have Powell's head on a platter - next to LeMay's. Kenny, you hear me give the order to go to DEFCON 2? 'Cause I remember giving the order to go to DEFCON 3 but, y'know I must be suffering from amnesia! I've just been informed our nuclear forces are at DEFCON 2.
Gen. Max Taylor: They were limited, Mr. President. The orders were limited to our strategic forces...
President Kennedy: Max!
Gen. Max Taylor: the continental United States. General LeMay is correct. Technically, SAC has the statutory authority...
President Kennedy: [slams fist] *I* have the authority! I am the commander in chief of the United States, and I say when we go to war!

Kenny O'Donnell: I got a bad feeling about what's going on in there!
President Kennedy: In the morning I'm taking charge of the blockade from the situation room and Macnamara is gonna set up shop at the flagpot at the Pentagon and keep an eye on things there.
Kenny O'Donnell: Good. Because you've got armed boarders climbing onto Soviet ships, and shots being fired across bows!
President Kennedy: I know. I know.
Kenny O'Donnell: Well, what about these low level flights?
President Kennedy: We need the flights.
Kenny O'Donnell: They're starting them when?
President Kennedy: An hour.
Kenny O'Donnell: An hour. You realize what you're letting yourself in for?
President Kennedy: Kenny, no, we need the flights, because the minute that first missile becomes operational we gotta go in there and destroy it.
Kenny O'Donnell: Fair enough. But Castro's on alert and we're flying attack planes over their sites, on the deck! There's no way for them to know we're carrying cameras, not bombs.
President Kennedy: God damn it!
Kenny O'Donnell: They're gonna be shot at, plain and simple.

President Kennedy: [addressing the NPIC photograph analyst] Okay - let's have it.
NPIC Photo Interpreter: Gentlemen, as most of you now know, a U-2 over Cuba Sunday morning took a series of disturbing photographs. Our analysis at NPIC indicates that the Soviet Union has followed up its conventional weapons build-up in Cuba with the introduction of surface-to-surface, medium-range ballistic missiles, or MRBMs. Our official estimate at this time is that the missile system is the SS-4 'Sandal'. We do not believe that the missiles are as yet operational. Iron Bark reports that the SS-4 can deliver a 3-megaton nuclear weapon 1,000 miles. So far we've identified 32 missiles serviced by about 3400 men, undoubtedly all Soviet personnel. Our cities and military installations in the southeast as far north as Washington, D.C., are in range of these weapons, and in the evnt of a launch would have only five minutes of warning.
General Marshall Carter: Five minutes, gentlemen.
Gen. Max Taylor: In those five minutes, they could kill 80 million Americans - and destroy a significant percentage of our bomber bases, degrading our retaliatory options. The Joint Chiefs' consensus, Mr. President, is that this signals a major doctrinal shift in Soviet thinking - to a first-strike policy. It is a massively destabilizing move.
Robert Kennedy: How long until they're operational?
NPIC Photo Interpreter: General Taylor can answer that question better than I can.
Gen. Max Taylor: GMAC - Guided Missiles Intelligence Committee - estimates 10-14 days. A crash program could limit that time. However, I must stress that there may be more missiles - that we don't know about. We need more U-2 coverage.
President Kennedy: Gentlemen, I want first reactions here. Assuming for the moment that Khruschev has not gone off the deep end - and intends to start World War III - what are we looking at?
Dean Rusk: Mr. President, I believe my team is in agreement. If we permit the introduction of nuclear missiles to a Soviet satellite nation in our hemisphere, the diplomatic consequnces will be too terrible to contemplate. The Russians are trying to show the world they can do whatever they want, wherever they want, and we're powerless to stop them. If they succeed...
Robert Kennedy: It'll be Munich all over again.
Dean Rusk: Yes. Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive. And the Soviets will be emboldened to push us even harder. Now we must remove the missiles one way or another. Now it seems to me the options are either some combination of international pressure & action on our part, til they give in - or - we hit them. An air strike.

President Kennedy: You know, last summer I read a book, The Guns of August. I wish every man on that blockade line had read that book. It's World War One; there's thirteen million killed; it was all because the militaries of both alliances believed they were so highly attuned to one another's movements and dispositions, they could predict one another's intentions, but all their theories were based on the last war. And the world and technology had changed, and those lessons were no longer valid, but it was all they knew, so the orders went out, couldn't be rescinded. And your man in the field, his family at home, they couldn't even tell you the reasons why their lives were being destroyed.
President Kennedy: But why couldn't they stop it? What could they have done? Here we are, fifty years later. Think if one of their ships resists the inspection, and we shoot out its rudder, and board. They shoot down one of our planes, in response, so we bomb their anti-aircraft sites in response to that, and they attack Berlin, so we invade Cuba.
President Kennedy: And they fire their missiles... And we fire ours.

President Kennedy: [Kenny eats a piece of the president's breakfast as the president reads the newspaper] I was eating that.
Kenny O'Donnell: No, you weren't.
President Kennedy: I was.
Kenny O'Donnell: No, you weren't.
President Kennedy: I was... I was... Bastard.

President Kennedy: You know they think I froze in there.
Robert Kennedy: You didn't freeze.
Kenny O'Donnell: You did exactly what you should've done - you stayed out of the corner. You didn't decide.

President Kennedy: You know, there's something... immoral about abandoning your own judgment... We just can't let this get out of hand. And we're gonna do whatever we have to do to make this come out right.

General Curtis LeMay: You're in a pretty bad fix, Mr. President.
President Kennedy: What did you say?
General Curtis LeMay: You're in a pretty bad fix.
President Kennedy: Well, maybe you haven't noticed: You're in it with me.

President Kennedy: Have you canceled Chicago and the rest of the weekend yet?
Kenny O'Donnell: You don't show for Chicago, everyone'll know there's something going on.
President Kennedy: I don't care! Just cancel...
Kenny O'Donnell: Forget it!
[Kennedy glares at him]
Kenny O'Donnell: I'm not calling and canceling on Daley!
[Kennedy glares again]
Kenny O'Donnell: You call and cancel on Daley!
President Kennedy: You're scared to cancel on Daley?
Kenny O'Donnell: You're damn right I'm scared.
President Kennedy: Well I'm not.
Kenny O'Donnell: [to Bobby] Watch this.
[cut to Kennedy's arrival in Chicago]

President Kennedy: [summarizing their options] So quarantine, or air strike?
Adlai Stevenson: [clears throat] There, uh, there is a third option. With either course we undertake the risk of nuclear war, so it seems to me that maybe one of us in this room should be a coward... so, I guess I'll be. A third course is to strike a deal: We trade Guantanamo and our missiles in Turkey; get them to pull their missiles out. We employ a back channel; we attribute the idea to U Thant. U Thant then raises it at the UN.
President Kennedy: I don't think that's possible, Adlai.

Kenny O'Donnell: I need a minute.
President Kennedy: Kenny, no.
Kenny O'Donnell: A minute.
[they enter the Oval Office]
President Kennedy: Look, I don't want a god-damn pep talk; you're not the Harvard quarterback anymore. We're on the brink here! They're trying to second-guess me into World War III - well it's not gonna happen!
Kenny O'Donnell: What did you think Congress was gonna do?
President Kennedy: Well, I, you know...
Kenny O'Donnell: Offer you unconditional support? Kiss your Catholic ass? They don't think we even deserve to be here.
President Kennedy: Well, what the hell do you think?
Kenny O'Donnell: Well, I think we haven't been that impressive today; they have good reason to question our judgment.

President Kennedy: Boy, there is a lot of noise out there, Kenny.
Kenny O'Donnell: You know what you're doing, Mr. President. You're gonna make the best call you can, and you know they're gonna second-guess you. So what? We're just gonna have to take our beatings as we go... So what are we gonna do now?
President Kennedy: I'm going on TV... You know, maybe the American people will go with me, even if their elected representatives won't.
Kenny O'Donnell: You wear something nice for the TV - make sure Jackie picks it!

President Kennedy: [watching accusations at the UN on TV] What is it that Sun Tzu says? "Wars are moral contests and they're won in the temples before they're ever fought."
[listens to the UN accusations for a moment]
President Kennedy: It's right here - it's right here! This is where we turn it around! You call Adlai - you tell him to stick it to this son of a bitch!

President Kennedy: [Responding to a possible back-channel Soviet proffer] So they'll remove the missiles, and we'll pledge not to invade Cuba or destabilize Castro, or assist anyone who plans on doing so.
Robert Kennedy: I think this may be our first real message from Khruschev.

Kenny O'Donnell: [calling from the FBI office] They know each other, Jack - Khruschev and Fomin were war buddies.
President Kennedy: You sure?
Kenny O'Donnell: Don't take it to court, but we've got good circumstantial evidence.
President Kennedy: Well, you're there - I mean, what's your instinct? I gotta move on this.
Kenny O'Donnell: [pause] My gut's telling me that Khruschev's turning to a trusted old friend to carry his message.
President Kennedy: Ok - we're going.

Kenny O'Donnell: [reading Khruschev's message] It's ten pages of sentimental fluff, but he's saying it right here - he'll remove the missiles in return for a no-invasion pledge.
John McCone, CIA Director: Mr. President, our early analysis says this probably was written by Khruschev himself. It's a first draft; it shows no signs of being polished by the foreign ministry. In fact, it probably wasn't even approved by the Politburo, as they wouldn't the emotionalism go by. The analysts say it was written by someone under considerable stress.
[all chuckle]
President Kennedy: Glad to know we're not alone.

President Kennedy: [the president has just ordered the military to prepare for the air strikes] Well, gentlemen, if anybody's got any great ideas, now's the time.

President Kennedy: You know, it's been a long two weeks and, uh - or whatever - but I'd like to thank you all; I think you all did a great job, and I just think - I don't think we should be gloating too much, 'cause it was just as much a victory for them as it was for us... Enjoy your morning.

President Kennedy: [dictating] Dear Mr. and Mrs. Anderson: I was deeply shocked when advised your son was lost on an operational mission on Saturday, October 27th, 1962. Your son rendered distinguished and dedicated service to his country throughout his career. He was admired and respected for his courage and his professional skill by all with whom he served. His tragic loss will be deeply felt and a grateful nation will be forever in his debt.

President Kennedy: [last lines]
President Kennedy: What kind of peace do we seek? am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living. Not merely peace in our time but peace for all time. Our problems are manmade - therefore, they can be solved by man. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.

President Kennedy: [talking about the missiles in Turkey] It's a goddamn trial balloon, Kenny!
Kenny O'Donnell: Well, somebody better publicly deny it! Because there's only one way the world's gonna read this: we sell out one of our friends for our own safety!
President Kennedy: [angrily yanks his tie off] Fuck!

President Kennedy: [after a combative meeting with Congress] If they want this goddamn job, they can have it. It's no great joy to me.

President Kennedy: [President Kennedy addressing the nation on television] Good evening my fellow citizens, this government as promised has maintained the closest surveillance on the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba, within the past week unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island, the purpose of these bases can be none other to provide a nuclear strike capability against the western hemisphere, acting therefore in the defense of our own security and under the authority entrusted to me in The Constitution, I have directed the following initial steps be taken immediately, first, to halt this offensive build up a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment on shipment to Cuba is being initiated, all ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port, will it found cargos of offensives weapons will be turned back, second, I've directed the continued and increased close surveillance of Cuba and it's military buildup, should these military continue to build up further action will be justified, I've directed the armed forces to prepare for any eventualities and third, it shall be the policy of this nation regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the western hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union

Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) (VG)
John F. Kennedy: [when he runs low on ammo in zombie mode] The gun gauge is on E.

Fidel Castro: [indicating Nixon] And why is he here? He lost!
John F. Kennedy: As I always say, forgive your enemies, but remember their names.

John F. Kennedy: Do not pray for easy lives, my friends. Pray to be stronger men.

"Clone High: Escape to Beer Mountain: A Rope of Sand (#1.1)" (2002)
JFK: My abs are so firm, you can grate cheese on em!

Gandhi: [to JFK] Party at your place on Friday, right? Rockin!
Abe: Yeah, psyched for the rager, JFK... dog!
JFK: I will see you there, and by will, I mean won't! Hahaha!
JFK: [walks out, comes back in] 'Cause you're not invited. I, uh, wasn't sure if I was clear earlier. So, uh, you're not. Invited, that is.
JFK: [walks out, comes back in] To my party!
JFK: [walks out, comes back in] Forgot to wash my hands!

JFK: [Abe is standing in a rowboat with JFK like Dawson's Creek] Get off my dingy!
JFK: [Cleo's head pops up from JFK's lap] Not you!

PT 109 (1963)
Charles 'Bucky' Harris: Good afternoon, sir. Crew's compartment ready for inspection. Harris, Gunner's Mate Second, standing by.
Cmdr. C.R. Ritchie: Good afternoon.
[He looks around, and then opens one of the lockers. On the inside of the door is a picture of a luscious pin-up girl]
Cmdr. C.R. Ritchie: Somebody's kid sister?
Charles 'Bucky' Harris: Sorry, sir.
Lt. John F. Kennedy: He's very sorry, sir.
Cmdr. C.R. Ritchie: Oh, no, no. Don't apologize... the most seaworthy thing I've seen on this boat.

Ens. Leonard J. Thom: [reporting aboard the PT109] Mr. Kennedy? Ensign Leonard Thom, your exec.
[they exchange salutes]
Lt. John F. Kennedy: Oh, hi. Glad to meet you, Leonard.
[they shake hands]
Lt. John F. Kennedy: Welcome aboard.
Ens. Leonard J. Thom: [looking around the boat] How long did they give you to put it in shape?
Lt. John F. Kennedy: Well, we've used about half the time just talking right here.

"Clone High: Election Blu-Galoo (#1.2)" (2002)
Principal Scudworth: And on this podium, captain of the football team and el capitan of the futbol team, JFK!
JFK: I can't see due to the glare from Mena Suvari's enormous forehead.

Marilyn Manson: Next question is for JFK. How do you respond to the criticizm that, unlike Abe and myself, you won't put yourself at risk of physical harm in order to gain approval?
JFK: That is a uh good question scary androgynous white guy! And I would like to reply by uh taking my shirt off!
Abe Lincoln: My bare-chested opponent raises a good point but is avoiding the fact that Extreme Blue is mad-packed with all 9 essential nutramites to fortify your x-zone.
JFK: May I respond to that?
Marilyn Manson: Yes you may.
JFK: Abe's a tot muncher!
Abe Lincoln: Oh yeah? For my rebuttal I'd like to dramatically gesture to this giant death-defying skateboard ramp behind me.

Legend Movie 2 (2011)
JFK: They tried to kill me! But I will kill them! I will kill them all! And I shall take over the world!

JFK: Now, instruct me on how to take over all time with the DeLorean!
Dave: Well, I'm not too sure we want to do that...
Steven: [innocently] All you need to do is drive the car up to...
Steven: ...88 miles per hour.
JFK: Aha! Now all you need to do is give me the DeLorean.
Steven: Hey, dude, do you do voiceovers, because your voice is pretty awesome to be honest with you.
Dave: Forget that, Steven! RUN!

Killing Kennedy (2013) (TV)
John F. Kennedy: There are men dying on those beaches, right now. I'm suppose to be the most powerful man in the world and I... I'm impotent. Well, I'll tell you what, this is the last time anyone's gonna make a decision like that for me.

"Clone High: A Room of One's Clone: The Pie of the Storm (#1.9)" (2003)
Marie Antoinette: [unenthused] Welcome to the Grassy Knoll. Try our new smoothie with pomagranate juice.
JFK: Can I try that with melons? And Coconuts?
Gandhi: Can I have some yams?
JFK: Hey get your own jokes. The booby bit is MINE!
JFK: Can I have some "cans" of milk.
Gandhi: Yeah and some "jugs" of cream.
JFK: Alright you just brought yourself a knuckle massage!
[Crowd begins to chant fight]
Abe: A fight? Guys? GUYS? My conflict mediation seminar taught us how to reslove conflict.
JFK: [JFK punches Gandhi in the chin] I've got your "berries" right here and by berries I mean my foot in your berries.
JFK: Pun thief.
Joan of Arc: I never thought hell could be this pink.
Cleopatra: [opens up a drawer in her jewelry box] You can put your stuff in here. If we're going to share a room I need you to sign this.
[produces a form]
Cleopatra: It's a non-disclosure agreement. It phrohibits you from discussing such things as my pre-morning make-up face and my mid-moring bowel movement.

"Red Dwarf: Tikka to Ride (#7.1)" (1997)
John F. Kennedy: I, ah, have had plenty of time to reflect on my days in the White House. In all important respects I believe I did a good job. It was right to plan the pull-out of Vietnam, ah, to fight for civil rights and ah, to fight Congress to ah, put a man on the moon. It was uh, wrong, however, to, ah, act like an irresponsible jackass with all those women, and allow my enemies to wreak havoc on our nation.
Lister: But I can help, man. I mean, Mr. President, man. I mean, sir?
John F. Kennedy: How, ah, can you help?
Lister: Well, come with us back to Dallas, November '63. Be a second gunman. The gunman behind the grassy knoll.
John F. Kennedy: You mean... assassinate *myself*?
Lister: Yeah. It'll drive the conspiracy nuts crazy but, they'll never figure it out.
John F. Kennedy: But I, ah, still have a future here. Jackie left me, but, ah, when I get out I can, ah, still make a contribution to the world.
Lister: You see this airport; "Idlewild Airport"? In our reality they renamed it "JFK", after you. Where I come from, you're a liberal icon. And that's the person you should be. But if you're be that person, you're gonna have to sacrifice your life.
John F. Kennedy: And only then will my reputation be restored in history?
Lister: Mmm-hmm. And I can get a smeggin' curry.
John F. Kennedy: [wistfully] Ask not what your country can do for you... ask what you can do for your country.
Lister: Hey, that'd make a pretty neat speech, that.
John F. Kennedy: It did. Heh.

"The Twilight Zone: Profile in Silver/Button, Button (#1.20)" (1986)
President Kennedy: [after his life is saved by a time traveler, JFK gives a speech to a Harvard class - in 2172] Let the record show that in any age - good or bad - there are men of high ideals. Men of courage! Men who do more than that for which they are called upon! You will not always know their names. But let their deeds stand as monuments, so that when the human race is called to judgment, we may say, "This too was humanity!"

"Clone High: A.D.D.: The Last 'D' Is for Disorder (#1.3)" (2002)
Cleopatra: [to Joan] Oh, sorry, I didn't see you there.
JFK: I did but I didn't say anything.

Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013/I)
John F. Kennedy: [watching the Birmingham Campaign] I don't know what country i'm looking at.

"Saturday Night Live: Madonna/Simple Minds (#11.1)" (1985)
John F. Kennedy: Bobby, eh, we better give eh, Elvis some of these eh, sleeping pills eh , we might need a few hours to get away.
Bobby Kennedy: Right.
[takes the pills, looks at the label]
Bobby Kennedy: We can't Jack, they're addictive.
John F. Kennedy: Just do it.

"Clone High: Plane Crazy: Gate Expectations (#1.7)" (2002)
Gandhi: G Spot rocks the G spot. G Spot rocks the G Spot.
JFK: Wow... that rhymed... say hello to the next Bubba Sparxxx!

"The Simpsons: Duffless (#4.16)" (1993)
[during the 1960 vice-presidential debates on TV]
John F. Kennedy: I would like to take this opportunity to express my fondness for Duff beer.
Richard Nixon: Uh, I'd also like to express my fondness for that particular beer.
Homer: The man never drank a Duff in his life.