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The Russia House (1990) Poster

Quotes

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Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: So there was a crunch: to save your precious secrets or to trade them for Katya and her family. The easiest decision I ever made.

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Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: I love you. All my failings were preparation for me to you. It's like nothing I have ever known: it's unselfish love, grown up love. You know it is. It's mature, absolute, thrilling love.

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Barley: Who are you, Dante? What do you do for a living?

Dante: I am a moral outcast.

Barley: Well it's always nice to meet a writer.

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Russell: Mr. Blair, we are buying a Picasso, ok? You don't mind an occasional metaphor now and then, do you?

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: Not at all.

Russell: Good. Some people don't like my metaphors; I don't know why, but... Anyway, everyone in this room is buying the same Picasso. It's very rare... medium rare... well done, what the fuck! The bottom line question is: did Picasso paint it? And you're the man who is selling it to us?

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: It is not my Picasso, Russell, it is not my Picasso. And I'm not saying it is a Picasso. And, furthermore, I'm not selling it to you. And, lastly, I don't give a fuck whether you buy it or not.

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Dante: You are very gray today, Barley. My father was sent to prison by gray men. He was murdered by men who wore gray uniforms. Gray men ruined my beautiful profession and take care or they will ruin you too.

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Russell: How the fuck do you peddle an arms race when the only asshole you've got to race against is yourself?

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Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: Any decent church would have burned you bastards years ago.

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Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: Smile, you must smile: they're watching us, your side and my side. We're going to beat them both. I can't save Yakov, nothing can; but you're safe, the children are safe, uncle Matvey's safe. I love you and I won't let you down.

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Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: It was my first good contract: real people for unreal arguments.

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Katya: You have bewitched my family. My children think all you British are Santa Claus in beautiful tweed clothes.

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: There's no Santa Claus. Nobody is what it seems. Except you.

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Walter: [looking around the mess of Barley's apartment] How do you *live* with yourself?

Barley: Actually I don't live with myself. I tend to give myself a pretty wide berth.

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[Russell produces a stack of reports on the analysis of Dante's material]

Clive: And is there a conclusion?

Russell: Clive, there is a conclusion: drop it down the toilet.

Ned: And is that what you think, Russell?

Russell: Well, expert opinion has that this notebook was written very quickly... or very slowly. By a man, or a woman. The writer was right-handed, or he was left-handed. What I think? For "experts," there's no toilet deep enough.

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Barley: Yes, because I prefer Russia. It's as corrupt as America, but there's less bullshit.

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Russell: [to Ned] Dante is going to phone Katya at the hospital. If he does that, will you shut the fuck up? Or stay out of my operation?

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Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: If there is to be a hope we must all betray our country, we have to save each other because all victims are equal and none is more equal than others. It's everyone's duty to start the avalanche.

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Barley: I'm not the man you thought I was.

Dante: You do not have to remind me that man is not equal to his rhetoric.

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Walter: You live in a free society; you have no choice.

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[while training for a covert mission]

Barley: This is fun... Is that why you keep it secret?

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Katya: Glasnost gives everyone the right to complain and accuse, but it doesn't make shoes.

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CIA Interrogator: Have you ever met any jazz musicians you would describe, or who would describe themselves, as anarchists?

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: Hmmm... ah, there was a trombone player, Wilfred Baker.

[the interrogator starts writing]

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: He's the only jazz musician I can think of who is completely devoid of anarchist tendencies.

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Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: You have to think like a hero merely to behave like a decent human being.

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[talking about Western relations with Russia]

Barley: Aren't we supposed to be such good friends now?

Ned: [sarcastically] Oh, my dear lord...

Walter: Because this year it suits them to roll over on their backs and play nice doggie? Because this year they're on the floor anyway? You ninny! All the more reason to spy the living daylights out of them. Kick them in the balls every time they get to their knees.

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Russell: [on the phone with Ned] I've heard the tapes and I've never so much pussy-footing around in my life! Barley needs to tell Katya, 'No more Greta fucking Garbo!' And Dante better shit or get off the pot! We're being pelted with crap on the streets over here!

Ned: Alright, Russell, message understood.

[Hangs up and calls someone over]

Ned: Russell's metaphors are becoming rather scatological.

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Brady: Wasn't Ray the sweetest man you ever met?

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: Ray was a prince.

Brady: Ever play chess with him?

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: As a matter of fact I did.

Brady: Who won?

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: I did.

Brady: So did I.

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Russell: I am an honest-to-God glasnostic. My parents were glasnostics from way back. My children will be raised glasnostic, even though I don't have any children.

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Walter: This is just like school! Dear old, bloody old, school!

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Walter: Reconstruction! Openness! You don't reconstruct the balance of terror and open the ultimate can of worms.

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Russell: The trouble is, a lot of very favorite sons are in danger of having their rice bowls broken, all on account of these goddamn notebooks. The Soviet military effort is stalled, the American military effort is stalled. These notebooks say their rocket motors suck instead of blow, they can't do solid fuel for shit...

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Dante: So, promise me that if I ever find the courage to think like a hero, then you will act like a merely decent human being.

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Clive: Do you believe this nonsense?

Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: I don't know. I believe it when I say it. But you've got to be there: you're taking a leak in some filthy public urinal and the man in the next stall leans across and asks you about God or Kafka or freedom versus responsibility; so you tell him because you know, because you're from the West. And before you've finished shaking your dick you think:"What a great country!" That's why I love them... and they're very fond of me.

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Ned: The issue is: "why"? That's what you're looking for all the time: we trust the motive, we trust the man, and we can trust the material. Why did Dante pick on Katya? Why does he put her life at risk? Why does she let him? Is she a spy?

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Barley: [to Katya] "You are my only country now."

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