Quotes from the Movie All the Kings Men

Why have they used every dirty method known to make sure I'm not elected County Treasurer? Well, I'll tell ya why - because they're afraid of the truth, and the truth is this. They're trying to steal your money. Yeah, I said steal. The County Commissioners rejected the low bid on the schoolhouse. Why? Well, they'll tell ya the reason is the job will be done better. The County Commissioners would have you believe that they're interested in public welfare. They're interested in welfare, sure, but it's their own.

Willie Stark

I'm gonna run and you're not gonna stop me. I'm gonna run even if I don't get a single vote.

Willie Stark

My friends. I have a speech here. It's a speech about what this state needs. There's no need in my telling you what this state needs. You are the state and you know what you need. You over there, look at your pants. Have they got holes in the knees? Listen to your stomach. Did you ever hear it rumble for hunger? And you, what about your crops? Did they ever rot in the field because the road was so bad you couldn't get 'em to market? And you, what about your kids? Are they growing up ignorant as dirt, ignorant as you 'cause there's no school for 'em? No, I'm not gonna read you any speech. [He casts his speech away behind him] But I am gonna tell you a story. It's a funny story so get ready to laugh....Get ready to bust your sides laughin', 'cause it's sure a funny story. It's about a hick. A hick like you, if you please. Yeah, like you. He grew up on the dirt roads and the gully washes of a farm. He knew what it was to get up before dawn and get feed and slop and milk before breakfast, and then set out before sunup and walk six miles to a one-room, slab-sided schoolhouse. Aw, this hick knew what it was to be a hick, all right. He figured if he was gonna get anything done, well, he had to do it himself. So he sat up nights and studied books. He studied law, because he thought he might be able to change things some - for himself and for folks like him. Now I'm not gonna lie to ya. He didn't start off thinkin' about the hicks and all the wonderful things he was gonna do for 'em. Naw, naw, he's done it all thinkin' of number one. But something came to him on the way. How he could do nothin' for himself without the help of the people. That's what came to him. And it also came to him with the powerful force of God's own lightning back in his own county when the school building collapsed 'cause it was built of politics' rotten brick. It killed and mangled a dozen kids. But you know that story. The people were his friends because he'd fought that rotten brick. And some of the politicians down in the city, they knew that, so they rode up to his house in a big, fine, shiny car and said as how they wanted him to run for governor...And he swallowed it. He looked in his heart and he thought, in all humility, how he'd like to try and change things. He was just a country boy who thought that even the plainest, poorest man can be governor if his fellow citizens find that he's got the stuff for the job. All those fellows in the striped pants, they saw that hick and they took him in...Now, listen to me, you hicks. Yeah, you're hicks too, and they fooled you a thousand times, just like they fooled me. But this time, I'm gonna fool somebody. I'm gonna stay in this race. I'm on my own and I'm out for blood. Now listen to me, you hicks! Listen to me, and lift up your eyes and look at God's blessed and unfly-blown truth. And this is the truth. You're a hick, and nobody ever helped a hick but a hick himself!...I'm the hick they were gonna use to split the hick vote. Well, I'm standin' here now on my hind legs. Even a dog can learn to do that. Are you standin' on your hind legs? Have you learned to do that much yet?

Willie Stark

Money, I don't need money. People give me things...because they believe in me.

Willie Stark

I have nothing to hide - I'll make a deal with the devil if it will help me carry out my program. But believe me, there are no strings attached to those deals.

Willie Stark

Do you know what good comes out of?...Out of bad. That's what good comes out of. Because you can't make it out of anything else. You didn't know that, did you?

Willie Stark

There's a time to talk and there's a time to act. I think the time to act is right now, and with your support, I not only will win, but I will do all of the things I promise. I need your help - oh, I need it badly, but I'm not gonna beg for it. In the name of this state, which we love, in the name of the governor in whose house we meet, I demand it.

Willie Stark

I'm going to build a hospital, the biggest that money can buy, and it will belong to you. Any man, woman, or child who is sick or in pain can go through those doors and know that everything will be done for them that man can do. To heal sickness, to ease pain, free - not as a charity but as a right. And it is your right, do you hear me? It is your right. And it is your right that every child should have a complete education. That any man that produces anything can take it to market without paying toll, and no poor man's land or farm can be taxed or taken away from him. And it is the right of the people that they shall not be deprived of hope.

Willie Stark

I'll tell you what you are. You're scared. You sat in that big easy chair of yours for thirty years and played at being a judge. And all of a sudden, I came along and put a bat in your hand and I said, 'Go ahead, judge, start swinging,' and you did, and you had a wonderful time. But now you're scared. You don't want to get your hands dirty. You want to pick up the marbles, but you don't want to get your hands dirty. Look at my whole program, Judge. How do ya think I put that across?...You're not by any chance thinkin' of going over to McMurphy's boys, are ya?

Willie Stark

Jack, there's something on everybody. Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption.

Willie Stark

You know, Judge, dirt's a funny thing. Some of it rubs off on everybody.

Willie Stark

They tried to ruin me but they are ruined. They tried to ruin me, because they did not like what I have done. Do you like what I have done? Remember, it is not I who have won, but you. Your will is my strength, and your need is my justice, and I shall live in your right and your will. And if any man tries to stop me from fulfilling that right and that will, I'll break him. I'll break him with my bare hands, for I have the strength of many.

Willie Stark

Could have been whole world - Willie Stark. The whole world - Willie Stark. Why does he do it to me - Willie Stark? Why?

Willie Stark

As I watched him shake his big fist and listened to his words boom out across that field, I had the feeling that here was a man with a will of iron. I had the feeling that Willie Stark would neither be steered away nor scared away from his purpose. I had the feeling that in Willie Stark, Kanoma County had found that rare thing: an honest man with courage.

Jack Burden

It was separated from the mainland by a body of water. For the first time, I wondered if it wasn't separated by more than that.

Jack Burden

Just tell 'em you're gonna soak the fat boys and forget the rest of the tax stuff...Willie, make 'em cry, make 'em laugh, make 'em mad, even mad at you. Stir them up and they'll love it and come back for more, but, for heaven's sakes, don't try to improve their minds.

Jack Burden

But Willie wasn't drifting. He knew where he was going. He had his foot in the door and he kept right on pushing to get in. He had lost the election, but he had won the state - and he knew it, and the people knew it. They were all hopping on his bandwagon, even Tiny Duffy. Yup, Willie came back like he said he would...

Jack Burden

Willie was right. He'd learned how to win. He spent a lot of money doing it. An awful lot of money. I was beginning to wonder where he got it from. There were rumors throughout the state that Willie was making deals with all kinds of people, strange deals...The second time out, it wasn't a campaign, it was a slaughter. It was Saturday night in a mining town. Yup, Willie came back like he said he would. He came back and he took me with him.

Jack Burden

What if it is his bribe? He swept the old gang out of office. What if they hollered like stuck pigs? He jammed through bill after bill and the people got what they wanted...He started to build the roads, schools, power dams, to change the face of the state from one end to the other. His methods? Politics is a dirty game and he played it rough and dirty. Willie's little black book was a record of sin and corruption. And me, Jack Burden, I kept the book and added up the accounts. Clown, show-off, playboy they yelled at him. Building football stadiums, fiercely proud of his son who played...He said he was building up a private army, but he was building, always building, always playing up to the crowd, letting them trample on tradition. Well, tradition needed trampling on. The crowds loved it, and Willie loved it, and so did I.

Jack Burden

I kept saying to myself that Willie was wrong about the judge. If there was anything left at Burden's Landing, it was honor. I had to believe that.

Jack Burden

Will I find anything, Judge? Will I? I didn't find it all at once. It takes a long time to go through old courthouse records and musty deeds, a very long time. But it wasn't too hard for me. I was well trained in research, especially this kind. I found what I didn't want to find.

Jack Burden

Now he had us all, me, Anne, and Adam. Now we all worked for him.

Jack Burden

The chips were down and Willie knew it. He was fighting for his life. He roared across the state making speech after speech and all of them adding up to the same thing. It's not me they're after, it's you. Willie hollered FOUL. Willie knew if you hollered long enough, hard enough, and loud enough, people begin to believe you. Just in case they didn't, he organized spontaneous demonstrations....In case anyone hollered back, he organized spontaneous slugging. Willie pulled every trick he ever knew - and added a few more...And always the trail led to one place, to Burden's Landing and the Judge.

Jack Burden

You've been framed, you poor sap...Oh you decoy, you wooden-head decoy, and you let 'em. You know what you are? Well, you're the goat. You are the sacrificial goat. You are a sap because you let 'em...They didn't have to pay a sap like you. Oh no. You were so full of yourself and hot air. All you wanted was a chance to stand up on your hind legs and make a speech, 'My Friends. My Friends, What This State Needs is a Good Five-Cent Cigar'.

Sadie Burke

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