Look Back in Anger (1959) Poster

Richard Burton: Jimmy Porter



  • Alison Porter : I suppose none of this could ever really have worked. I do love you Jimmy, I shall never love anyone as I love you, but I can't go on, I can't take part in all this suffering, I can't.

    Jimmy Porter : It's no good fooling about with love you know. You can't fall into it like a soft job without dirtying up your hands. It takes muscle and guts. If you can't bear the thought of messing up your nice, tidy soul, you better give up the whole idea of life and become a saint, because you'll never make it as a human being. It's either this world... or the next.

  • Jimmy Porter : Anyone who doesn't like jazz has no real feeling for music, or people.

    Helena Charles : Rubbish.

  • Jimmy Porter : Ladies and gentlemen, a little recitation entitled 'she was only a gravediggers daughter but she loved lying under the sod'.

  • Jimmy Porter : Hardly a moment when I'm not watching, wanting you. Nearly 2 years in the same room as you and I still can't stop my sweat breaking out when I see you do something as ordinary as cooking or leaning over the ironing board. Trouble is... you get used to people, even their trivialities become indispensable to you.

  • Jimmy Porter : Shall I tell you the truth about her? She is a cow. I wouldn't mind that so much only she's in great danger of becoming a sacred cow as well.

  • Jimmy Porter : Have you ever seen anybody die?

    Helena Charles : No I haven't.

    Jimmy Porter : For 12 months I watched my father die, I was 10. He'd come back from the war in Spain. All my mother could think was that she'd married someone who was always on the wrong side. Perhaps she pitied him but I was the only one who cared.

  • Jimmy Porter : [singing]  Don't be afraid to sleep with your sweetheart, just because she's better than you.

  • Cliff Lewis : Don't think I'll stay much longer.

    Jimmy Porter : Why not?

    Cliff Lewis : I don't know, sweet store's alright but I'd like to try something else. You're highly educated, it suits you, but I need something a bit better.

  • Jimmy Porter : What made you come to this bloody country anyway?

    Kapoor : I came because in India I was an outcast, an untouchable.

  • Jimmy Porter : I didn't know about the baby. I don't exactly relish the idea of pain and suffering but it wasn't my first loss you know.

    Alison Porter : It was mine.

  • Jimmy Porter : Remember that time we first met, grisly party. Didn't really notice me at all. I couldn't take my eyes off you all evening. You seemed to have such a wonderful relaxation of spirit. I knew that was what I wanted. Then after we were married I realised it wasn't relaxation after all. To relax you've got to sweat your guts out. You, you never had a hair out of place or a bead of sweat anywhere. I know I'm a lost caues but I thought if you loved me it didn't really matter.

    Alison Porter : It does matter, I was wrong. I don't want to be neutral, I want to be a lost cause. Don't you understand - it's gone, that helpless human being inside my body. I thought it was so safe and secure in there but its gone. All I wanted was to die. I was in pain and all I could think about was you and what I'd lost.

  • Jimmy Porter : Nigel and Alison, they're what they sound like, sycophantic, phlegmatic and pusillanimous.

    Cliff Lewis : Big words.

    Jimmy Porter : Shall I tell you what they mean?

    Cliff Lewis : No not interested, don't want to know.

    Jimmy Porter : Soapy, stodgy and dim.

  • Jimmy Porter : Do you know brother Nigel?

    Cliff Lewis : No I don't.

    Jimmy Porter : You never heard so many well-bred commonplaces come from beneath the same bowler hat, the platitude from outer space, that's brother Nigel.

  • Jimmy Porter : I'm sorry.

    Alison Porter : Get out.

    Jimmy Porter : You think I did it on purpose?

    Alison Porter : Clear out of my sight!

  • Cliff Lewis : 14lbs of jelly babies, what do you want to get all them for?

    Jimmy Porter : Kids have got a craze on.

    Cliff Lewis : They better have.

  • Jimmy Porter : I'm getting hungry.

    Cliff Lewis : You're a bloody pig.

    Jimmy Porter : You're like a sex maniac only with you it's food - you'll end up in the News of the World, you wait - James Porter, 25, was bound over last night after pleading guilty to interfering with a small cabbage and a tin of beans. The accused said he hadn't been feeling well for some time and had been having blackouts.

  • Jimmy Porter : Look down your nose at her once more...

    Alison Porter : I just couldn't bear to be touched.

    Jimmy Porter : You made that perfectly plain.

  • Mrs. Tanner : What do you *really* want, Jimmy?

    Jimmy Porter : Everything... nothing.

  • Jimmy Porter : What friend?

    Alison Porter : Helena Charles, I meant to say, she telephoned, she's playing at the theatre next week.

    Jimmy Porter : I see, she said 'can I come over' and you said 'My husband Jimmy, if you'll pardon my using such a dirty word, will be delighted to see you, he'll kick your teeth in'.

  • Helena Charles : I think you're a very tiresome young man.

    Jimmy Porter : Oh dear, oh dear, my wife's friends. Pass Lady Bracknell the cucumber sandwiches.

  • Jimmy Porter : What about you, do you want to come?

    Alison Porter : I'm going out with Helena.

    Alison Porter : That's not a direction, its an affliction.

  • Jimmy Porter : I must say it's pretty dreary living in the American age, apart from if you're an American of course.

  • Jimmy Porter : Are you a good actress?

    Helena Charles : Oh really!

    Jimmy Porter : Since we're going to have you for 2 solid weeks I only hope its going to be worthwhile, that it adds to the sum of human happiness.

  • Jimmy Porter : You know mummy and I took a quick look at each other and from then on the age of chivalry was dead.

    Cliff Lewis : Don't brawl boyo, it won't do any good.

    Jimmy Porter : Why not, it's the only thing I'm good at.

  • Jimmy Porter : If you slap me, by God I'll lay you out.

    Helena Charles : You would, you're the type.

    Jimmy Porter : You bet I'm the type, the type that hates physical violence.

  • Jimmy Porter : Going out, on a Sunday evening this time, where have you got to be?

    Helena Charles : She's coming with me to church.

    Jimmy Porter : You're doing what? When I think of what I did, what I had to endure!

  • Helena Charles : Shut up - you've no right to talk about her mother like that.

    Jimmy Porter : I've every right haven't I. She's an old cow and she should be dead. Well, what's the matter, why don't you spring to her defense? If someone said that about me she'd react soon enough - she'd spring into a well-known lethargy and say nothing.

  • Jimmy Porter : Well, what's the matter with you?

    Helena Charles : I just feel quite sick, that's all. Sick with contempt and loathing.

  • Jimmy Porter : She's taken you with her and you're so bloody wet you've let her do it.

    Alison Porter : All I want is a little peace.

  • Jimmy Porter : I want to be there when your face is rubbed in the mud. There's nothing else I can hope for any more, there's nothing else I want anymore.

    Helena Charles : There's a call for you downstairs.

    Jimmy Porter : Can't be anything good.

  • Jimmy Porter : You just sit there and do nothing.

    Cliff Lewis : That's right, I just sit here.

    Jimmy Porter : What sort of a man are you.

    Cliff Lewis : I'm not the district commissioner you know.

  • Jimmy Porter : I learned at an early age what it is to be angry. Angry. Helpless.

  • Jimmy Porter : [Last words]  Don't let yourself down.

  • Helena Charles : If you'd stop thinking about yourself for just one moment, I'll tell you something I think you ought to know. You wife is going to have a baby!


    Helena Charles : Well? Doesn't that mean anything? Even to you?

    Jimmy Porter : [pause]  If you'd permit me to interrupt your... female wisdom, there's something perhaps you ought to know. I don't care! I don't care if she's going to have a baby. I don't care if it has 2 heads!


    Jimmy Porter : Well, do I disgust you? Go on, slap my face! I just came back from seeing somebody I love very much go through the sordid process of dying. And you expect me to be overcome with awe because some stupid, cruel girl is going to have a BABY?


    Jimmy Porter : Now the performance is over. Now leave me alone - and get out, you evil-minded little virgin!

  • Helena Charles : How was it?

    Jimmy Porter : It was a funeral... no flowers, no word, no sign...

    Helena Charles : What do you mean?

    Jimmy Porter : I mean Alison... the injustice of it is about perfect - the wrong people going hungry, the wrong people being loved, the wrong people dying.

  • Jimmy Porter : Why do we spend half Sunday reading the newspapers?

  • Cliff Lewis : It's not the same, is it?

    Jimmy Porter : Of course not, it's never the same you idiot. Today's meal is always different from yesterday's, the last woman is always different from the one before.

  • Helena Charles : Sorry he's gone.

    Jimmy Porter : So am I. He's sloppy and irritating but he's got a good heart, you can forgive someone almost anything for that.

    Helena Charles : I love you.

    Jimmy Porter : Perhaps you do, perhaps it means something to have your General lie back in your arms though he's heartily sick of the whole campaign. Tired, hungry and dry.

  • Helena Charles : God Jimmy, what's going to become of us?

    Jimmy Porter : I don't know.

  • Helena Charles : You know what Alison once said, you were born out of your time. I think I know what she means - sometimes I think you feel you're still in the middle of the French Revolution. Oh Jimmy, can't you give up that sweet shop and do something else?

    Jimmy Porter : Such as?

    Helena Charles : I don't know, there are so many things that you could do.

    Jimmy Porter : Such as being a literary gent - Porter the lion of the pen club, laughing Porter the tv panelist, Lord Porter leaving no.10. The personality of Porter - lets examine it, that glittering meteoric cause. While the rest of the world is being blown to bits around us what matters - me, me me.

  • Cliff Lewis : My feet hurt.

    Jimmy Porter : Try washing your socks.

  • Jimmy Porter : All because I want something from that girl I know in my heart she's incapable of giving.

  • Jimmy Porter : What do you say we get out of this place and start from scratch, what do you say?

    Helena Charles : I'd say that's wonderful.

    Jimmy Porter : Come on, we'll do that. We'll get pleasantly tiddly, then I'll take you home and make such love to you as you'll forget about anything at all.

    Helena Charles : Let's go and have a drink.

  • Jimmy Porter : You ever seen anybody die?

    Alison Porter : No, I haven't.

    Jimmy Porter : For 12 months, I watched my father die when I was ten years old. He'd come back from the war in Spain, you see. All my mother could think was that she was married to somebody who was on the... on the wrong side in all things. Perhaps she pitied him. I was the only one who cared. Hour upon hour... I sat in that little room. And he would talk, you know. Pour out all that was left of his life to a small, frightened boy who could barely understand half of what he said. All I could feel was the despair, and the bitterness, the sweet, sickly smell of a dying man. See, I learned at an early age what it is to be angry... Angry. Helpless.

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