The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 film about Sam Spade, a private detective, who gets involved in a murderous hunt for a valuable statuette. The screenplay was written by the film's director, John Huston, but a great deal of the dialogue for the movie was taken almost directly from the Dashiell Hammett novel it is based on. There had been two previous films based on the novel, in 1931 and (as Satan Met a Lady) in 1936.
- We didn't exactly believe your story, Miss O'Shaughnessy; we believed your two hundred dollars...I mean, you paid us more than if you'd been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right.
- My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, and an assistant district attorney, and a stenographer.
- Six-two and even, they're selling you out, Sonny. (said to Wilmer as Gutman and Cairo are silently discussing turning him over to the police.)
- When a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it. And it happens we're in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed, it's-it's bad business to let the killer get away with it, bad all around, bad for every detective everywhere.
- When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it.
- I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble.
- People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you'll be polite.
- You're a good man, Sister.
- Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be.
- Ah. That's wonderful sir, wonderful. I do like a man who tells you right out he's looking out for himself. Don't we all? I don't trust a man who says he's not.
- I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously, unless you keep in practice.
- I distrust a man who says "when." If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does.
- Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding.
- By Gad, sir, you are a character. There's never any telling what you'll say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing.
- These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Wells' history, but history nevertheless.
- I couldn't be fonder of you if you were my own son. But, well, if you lose a son, it's possible to get another. There's only one Maltese Falcon.
- To Wilmer
- Brigid: You've got to trust me, Mr. Spade. Oh, I'm so alone and afraid. I've got nobody to help me if you won't help me. Be generous, Mr. Spade. You're brave. You're strong. You can spare me some of that courage and strength surely. Help me, Mr. Spade. I need help so badly. I've no right to ask you, I know I haven't, but I do ask you. Help me.
- Spade: You won't need much of anybody's help. You're good. It's chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like "Be generous, Mr. Spade."
- Brigid: I deserve that. But the lie was in the way I said it. Not at all in what I said. It's my own fault if you can't believe me now.
- Spade: [smiling] Now you are dangerous.
- Brigid: What would you do if I didn't tell you? Something wild and unpredictable?
- Spade: I might.
- Brigid: I don know he always went heavily armed, and that he never went to sleep without covering the floor around his bed with crumpled newspaper, so that nobody could come silently into his room.
- Spade: You picked a nice sort of a playmate.
- Brigid: Only that sort could have helped me, if he'd been loyal.
- Cairo: You always have a very smooth explanation...
- Spade: What do you want me to do - learn to stutter?
- Gutman: We begin well, sir. I distrust a man who says "when". If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does. Well, sir, here's to plain speaking and clear understanding. [They drink.] You're a close-mouthed man.
- Spade: No, I like to talk.
- Gutman: Better and better. I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously unless you keep in practice.
- Spade: Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.
- Gutman: Yes sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk.
- Polhaus: [lifting the fake falcon] It's heavy. What is it?
- Spade: The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.
- Note: bolded line is ranked #14 in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.
- Wilmer: Keep on riding me and they're gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
- Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.
- A story as explosive as his blazing automatics!
- A guy without a conscience! A dame without a heart!
- He's as fast on the draw as he is in the drawing room!
- He's a Killer When He Hates!