J. Edgar Hoover
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Quotes for
J. Edgar Hoover (Character)
from J. Edgar (2011)

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J. Edgar (2011)
J. Edgar Hoover: Find Agent Purvis. He is to be demoted or, better yet, fired.

J. Edgar Hoover: What's important at this time is to re-clarify the difference between hero and villain.

J. Edgar Hoover: No one freely shares power in Washington, D.C.

J. Edgar Hoover: McCarthy was an opportunist not a patriot.

Albert Osborne: Is that all, Mr. Hoover? I have a 2:30 class to teach.
J. Edgar Hoover: No, you don't. Consider your pay doubled; you now work for your country. Congratulations, Dr. Osborne.

J. Edgar Hoover: Do I kill everything that I love?

[first lines]
J. Edgar Hoover: Let me tell you something. The SCLC has direct Communist ties. Even great men can be corrupted, can't they? Communism is not a political party. It is a disease. It corrupts the soul, turning men, even the gentlest of men, into vicious evil tyrants.

J. Edgar Hoover: I don't need to tell you that, what determines a man's legacy is often what isn't seen.

Agent Stokes: Is it a date?
J. Edgar Hoover: I think so, I think so. I'm going to show her my old card catalog system at the Library of Congress.

J. Edgar Hoover: It's time we at least have one thing the bad guys don't.
Clyde Tolson: Decorating skills?

J. Edgar Hoover: It's easy to be the expert if you're the only person in the world with any interest.
Clyde Tolson: He does also claim he can tell as much from a cut of wood as a doctor can from an autopsy.
J. Edgar Hoover: Ah.
Clyde Tolson: He has, um, social difficulties.
J. Edgar Hoover: He is mentally ill, isn't he?
Clyde Tolson: He's only as mad as you are - sir.

Congressman: But your agency is already one of the most well-funded in Washington, is it not?
J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, that is true sir, but our car and bank robbery recoveries totaled 6.5 million last year, and our budget is only, well, 2 million. Unlike other departments in Washington, we actually run a profit.

J. Edgar Hoover: [to his doctor] If you ever denigrate me in front of my staff like that again, I'll have you railroaded out of your profession. You understand?

[J. Edgar Hoover approaches secretary Helen Gandy for the first time in the hall]
Head Secretary: Good morning, John.
J. Edgar Hoover: Good morning.
Head Secretary: Mr. Palmer has asked that you attend the emergency meeting today.
J. Edgar Hoover: Miss Gladwell, please remember... It's Mr. Hoover.
Head Secretary: Two o'clock. Don't be too early this time. It's as rude as being tardy.
J. Edgar Hoover: And who is this lovely addition to the secretarial pool.
Head Secretary: Helen, introduce yourself.
Helen Gandy: Pleased to meet you Mr. Hoover. I'm Helen Gandy.
J. Edgar Hoover: Pleased to meet you Miss Gandy. Welcome to the department of justice. You can notify Mr. Palmer that I will attend.
Helen Gandy: Of course.
[the two walk separate ways with a smile on their face]

[J. Edgar Hoover and Helen Gandy are on a date in the public library]
J. Edgar Hoover: Well, would you like to stay here, or go somewhere else?
Helen Gandy: It's up to you.
Helen Gandy: [Edgar chuckles and makes an attempt to kiss Helen] Mr. Hoover. I'm not sure where you think this is headed.
J. Edgar Hoover: Right, of course. Miss Gandy.
[Edgar holds out his hand to hers and gets on one knee]
J. Edgar Hoover: I know we've only known each other a brief time, but you would make the finest of companions. Your strength, and your character, and your education.
Helen Gandy: Are you poking fun at me?
J. Edgar Hoover: No. No, no, no. No, no, of course not.
Helen Gandy: Then please, Mr. Hoover, stand up.
J. Edgar Hoover: I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't share this with any of the other women at the typing pool.
Helen Gandy: No, of course not.
J. Edgar Hoover: All right. May I ask what - what - what particular flaw you seem to find in my character?
Helen Gandy: No. We just met.
J. Edgar Hoover: Right, of course. But I believe that I am a fast and accurate judge of character. We've gone out three times, but I don't need more. Most people do, but I don't. I see people right off for what they are. And please, call me Edgar. It's what my mother uses.
Helen Gandy: Edgar?
J. Edgar Hoover: Yes?
Helen Gandy: Can you keep a secret?
J. Edgar Hoover: Yes. Of course. You have my word.
Helen Gandy: I'm not interested in getting married. My work comes first.
J. Edgar Hoover: Hmm. Then perhaps you would consider a position as my personal secretary.
Helen Gandy: [chuckles and nods] Yes.
J. Edgar Hoover: [Edgar smiles] Shall we.

[J. Edgar Hoover meets the child actress, Shirley Temple, at the movie house in front of reporters]
Reporter: Miss Temple!
Shirley Temple: Mr. Hoover, I was wondering if you would join my police force.
J. Edgar Hoover: Why, yes, Miss Temple. If you agree to be an honorary G-Woman and give me one little kiss.
Shirley Temple: I don't know if your wife would approve, Mr. Hoover.
J. Edgar Hoover: But, you see, I still live with my mother.
[both chuckle]
Shirley Temple: Oh, Okay!
[Miss Temple kisses him on the cheek under the flash of cameras]

[Edgar looks out his balcony window at the newly elected President Richard Nixon, who drives down the crowded street of American citizens]
J. Edgar Hoover: [narrating] When morals decline and good men do nothing, evil flourishes. Every citizen has a duty to learn of this that threatens his home, his children. A society uninterested and unwilling to learn from the past is doomed. We must never forget our history. We must never lower our guard. Even today, there are organizations that have America as their prime target. They would destroy the safety and the happiness of every individual and thrust us into a condition of lawlessness, immorality that passes the imagination.

[J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson discuss over dinner about the first time they ever met]
Clyde Tolson: Edgar... you can lie to everyone else, the whole world, for you own sake... and for the sake of the bureau, but you cannot lie to me.
J. Edgar Hoover: I should've never given you your job, Clyde. You know that? You weren't even qualified. You remember the day you came in for your interview.
Clyde Tolson: I do.
J. Edgar Hoover: You walked into my office and you fixed my window, you picked up my handkerchief. You handed it to me. You remember why I was sweating, Clyde?
Clyde Tolson: It's because you were exercising.
J. Edgar Hoover: No, I was... I was sweating because I... I knew at that very moment...
[Clyde hands Hoover his handkerchief from the dinner table]
J. Edgar Hoover: ... I knew at that very moment that I... I needed you. And I've never needed anyone else in my entire life. Not like that. So I began to perspire.
Clyde Tolson: I know.
Clyde Tolson: [Edgar grabs for his stomach and gasps] Edgar, are you all right?
J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, yes it's - it's just indigestion, Clyde. Let's go to dinner tomorrow night, shall we? Our old corner booth.
Clyde Tolson: Perhaps if I feel better.
J. Edgar Hoover: Yes. And you must - you must. We have a great many things to discuss. And now I can't trust anyone else at the bureau right now. I can only depend on you.
Clyde Tolson: [Edgar walks up to Clyde and holds onto his hand, kissing is forehead] Thank you, Edgar.
J. Edgar Hoover: [Edgar leaves the handkerchief in Clyde's hand] Good night, Clyde.
Clyde Tolson: Good night, Edgar.
[Edgar walks off and Clyde holds Edgar's handkerchief to his cheek]

[J. Edgar Hoover arrives home to go to bed]
J. Edgar Hoover: [narrating] The very essence of our democracy is rooted in a belief in the worth of the individual. That life has meaning that transcends any man-made system, that love is the greatest force on earth... far more enduring than hatred or the unnatural divisions of mankind.

[last lines]
J. Edgar Hoover: Funny how even the dearest face will fade away in time, but most clearly I remember your eyes with a sort of teasing smile in them and the feeling of that soft spot just northeast of the corner of your mouth.

[later in the night Annie Hoover passes away, Edgar is alone in his bedroom and wakes up to grab his rosary]
Annie Hoover: [in the air he hears his mothers voice] Stay strong, Edgar.
[Edgar then goes to the mirror as his mother helped teach him to, to get over his childhood stutter, holding out and dressing into his mothers shirt]
Annie Hoover: [again in the air Edgar hears his mothers voice] You stay strong, Edgar.
J. Edgar Hoover: [Edgar screams out and tears apart his rosary in a frantic shiver] Stay strong! Uhh!
[Edgar finally collapses in tears and curls himself in a ball]


Nixon (1995)
J. Edgar Hoover: There's already been one radical in the White House. I don't believe it could survive another.

J. Edgar Hoover: I want to see him.
Clyde Tolson: He works in the kitchen, Edgar.
J. Edgar Hoover: Not the boy, idiot. Nixon!


Chaplin (1992)
J. Edgar Hoover: I sometimes wonder if you people realize the responsibility you carry. To my way of thinking, motion pictures are potentially the most influential form of communication ever invented. And there's no control over them. Your message reaches everyone, everywhere.
Mary Pickford: Message?
J. Edgar Hoover: Of course. Mr. Chaplin here reaches millions who only have to see. And when they see a mockery being made of our immigration services, I'd call that a message.
Charlie Chaplin: Yes, well, as you've already said, Mr. Hoover, motion pictures are for the people. Most of the people work for a living, and they don't make much money doing it. It gives them pleasure to see officialdom and the upper classes getting a kick up the backside. Always has, and it always will. And if that can change things, so much the better.
[to Mary Pickford, in a better pronounced, less cockney voice]
Charlie Chaplin: Bet-ter.
Mary Pickford: He's improving.

J. Edgar Hoover: We're too generous. We're too open. Now if we don't watch out, if we don't take steps now, impose some new discipline, some decency, then we're in trouble, deep trouble. And I know it's not fashionable to say this. We're celebrating, everyone thinks it's okay. But democracy carries a price tag. And I just happen to think that one of the most misguided promises we ever made was inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. One that I predict will lead this country into all kinds of trouble: Give us your poor, your huddled masses... Now we have to stop this before it goes too far. Our conception of America does not include, was never meant to include, this kind of scum.


Public Enemies (2009)
J. Edgar Hoover: John Dillinger held up a bank for $74,000 while you failed to arrest Nelson.
Melvin Purvis: Sir, I take full responsibility. And I would like to make a request. That we transfer men with special qualifications to augment the staff here in Chicago. There are some former Texas and Oklahoma lawmen currently with the Bureau in Dallas.
J. Edgar Hoover: I thought you understood what I'm building. A modern force of professional young men of the best sort.
Melvin Purvis: I'm afraid our type cannot get the job done.
J. Edgar Hoover: Excuse me, I cannot hear you.
Melvin Purvis: Our type cannot get the job done.
J. Edgar Hoover: [dropping the hint more insistently] I cannot hear you.
Melvin Purvis: [more firmly] Our type cannot get the job done. Without qualified help, I would have to resign this appointment. Otherwise, I am leading my men to slaughter.

[Hoover is at a Senate Appropriation Committee hearing]
Senator Kenneth McKellar: Why do we need this?
J. Edgar Hoover: Because criminals flee in fast automobiles across state lines, thereby defeating local jurisdiction because there is no federal police force to stop them.
Senator Kenneth McKellar: By my tally, your bureau wants to spend more taxpayer's dollars catching crooks, than what the crooks you catch stole in the first place.
J. Edgar Hoover: Well that's ridiculous. The Bureau has apprehended kidnappers and bank robbers who have stolen up to and in excess of...
Senator Kenneth McKellar: Really?
[Hoover stops midsentence]
Senator Kenneth McKellar: How many have you apprehended?
J. Edgar Hoover: We have arrested and arraigned 213 wanted felons.
Senator Kenneth McKellar: No, I mean *you*, Director Hoover.
J. Edgar Hoover: Well, as Director, I administer.
Senator Kenneth McKellar: How many have you arrested, personally?
[long pause as Hoover stares at McKellar]
J. Edgar Hoover: I have never arrested anybody.
[Other men in the chamber gasp in shock]
Senator Kenneth McKellar: You've never arrested anybody?
J. Edgar Hoover: Well of course not. I'm an administrator...
Senator Kenneth McKellar: With no field experience. You are shockingly unqualified, aren't you, sir? You have never personally conducted a criminal investigation in the field in your life. I think you're a front. I think your prowess as a lawman is a myth, created from the hoopla of headlines by Mr. Suydam, your publicist there. Crimebuster? G-Man? You're setting yourself up as a Czar? That's running wild in my estimation.
J. Edgar Hoover: A *crime* is what runs wild...
Senator Kenneth McKellar: If this country requires a bureau such as yours, I question whether you are the person fit to run it.
J. Edgar Hoover: [getting angry] Well I will not be judged by a kangaroo court of venal politicians...
Senator Kenneth McKellar: Your appropriation increase is denied.
[taps his gavel, signifying the end of the session; Hoover and his aides get up and leave]
J. Edgar Hoover: Feed the following to Walter Winchell: "McKellar is a Neanderthal, and he is on a personal vendetta to destroy me." We will not contest him in his committee. We need to fight him on the front page. Where's John Dillinger?


Selma (2014)
J. Edgar Hoover: Mister President, you know we can shut men with power down, permanently and unequivocally.


"Boardwalk Empire: Farewell Daddy Blues (#4.12)" (2013)
Director J. Edgar Hoover: During the course of investigating the seditious activities of Marcus Garvey, James M. Tolliver, special agent with the Bureau of Investigation, was murdered in Atlantic City, New Jersey, by an unidentified colored male. Dr. Valentin Narcisse assisted the Bureau in apprehending the suspect. He further agreed in a private conversation with Director Hoover to provide ongoing secret intelligence regarding Mr. Garvey with particular concern to his radical agenda and his ties to foreign powers.
Valentin Narcisse: Why would he do that?
Director J. Edgar Hoover: To demonstrate his commitment to the values of his adopted land.
Valentin Narcisse: Brother Garvey is a hero devoted to the liberation of a great people.
Director J. Edgar Hoover: But you are not. You are just a peddler and a pimp sitting in a jail cell.
Valentin Narcisse: I am a businessman and a follower of Christ.
Director J. Edgar Hoover: You agree to cooperate, you can go on pretending to be anything you want. You don't, and I will make sure you never see daylight in America again.
Valentin Narcisse: [muttering to himself] Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Director J. Edgar Hoover: I cannot hear you.
Valentin Narcisse: I said yes.
Director J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, what?
Valentin Narcisse: Yes...
[with disgust]
Valentin Narcisse: ... sir.