Captain America: The First Avenger

2011 film directed by Joe Johnston

Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 Marvel Cinematic Universe film about a man who, after being deemed unfit for military service, volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals.

I don't like bullies. I don't care where they're from.
Directed by Joe Johnston. Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
Avenge. taglines
See also:
Captain America
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014 film)

Steve Rogers / Captain America

  • I can do this all day. [First says after being repeatedly knocked down by a bully]
  • Nothing. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn. [When the Red Skull asks what's so special about him]

Col. Chester Phillips

General Patton has said that wars are fought with weapons, but they are won by men. We are going to win this war because we have the best men. And because they are gonna get better.
The serum amplifies everything inside, so good becomes great; bad becomes worse. This is why you were chosen. Because the strong man who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows... compassion.
Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing. You will stay who you are, not a perfect soldier, but a good man.
You've been asleep, Cap. For almost 70 years. … You gonna be okay?
  • General Patton has said that wars are fought with weapons, but they are won by men. We are going to win this war because we have the best men. And because they are gonna get better. Much better. The Strategic Scientific Reserve is an Allied effort made up of the best minds in the free world. Our goal is to create the best army in history. But every army starts with one man. At the end of this week, we will choose that man. He will be the first in a new breed of super-soldier. And they will personally escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell.
  • If you have something to say, right now's a perfect time to keep it to yourself.
  • Johann Schmidt belongs in a bug house. He thinks he's a god and he's willing to blow up half the world to prove it, starting with the USA.
  • [after Steve shares a farewell kiss with Peggy, then looks at him] I'm not kissing you!

Johann Schmidt/Red Skull

  • [observing a wooden Norse carving] Yggdrasil. Tree of the world. Guardian of wisdom. And fate, also. [opens a wooden draw, revealing the Tesseract] And the Führer digs for trinkets in the desert...
  • [testing the Tesseract's power with Arnim Zola] I have not come all this way for safety, Doctor.
  • YOU ARE FAILING!!! We are close to an offensive network that will shake the planet, and yet we are continually delayed because you cannot outwit a simpleton with a shield!
  • [standing before his army] Tomorrow, HYDRA will stand master of the world, borne to victory on the wings of the Valkyrie. Our enemies' weapons will be powerless against us. If they shoot down one plane, hundreds more will rain fire upon them! If they cut off one head, two more shall take its place. Hail HYDRA.


[Steve attempts to enlist yet again; he is in the middle of his physical when Dr. Abraham Erskine walks in]
Erskine: So... you want to go overseas? Kill some Nazis?
Steve: Excuse me?
Erskine: Dr. Abraham Erskine. I represent the Strategic Scientific Reserve.
Steve: Steve Rogers. [introduces himself and shakes his hand] Where are you from?
Erskine: Queens. 73rd Street and Utopia Parkway. Before that, Germany. This troubles you?
Steve: No.
Erskine: [he looks into his files] Where are you from, Mr. Rogers? Is it New Haven? Or Paramus? Five exams in five different cities.
Steve: That might not be the right file.
Erskine: No, it's not the exams I'm interested in. It's the five tries. But you didn't answer my question. Do you want to kill Nazis?
Steve: Is this a test?
Erskine: Yes.
Steve: I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies. I don't care where they're from.
Erskine: Well, there are already so many big men fighting this war. Maybe what we need now is a little guy. I can offer you a chance. Only a chance.
Steve: I'll take it.
Erskine: Good. So where is the little guy from? Actually?
Steve: Brooklyn.
Erskine: [he stamps his form with 1A] Congratulations, soldier.

[Col Phillips argues with Dr. Erskine over Steve Rogers' selection]
Phillips: You don't win wars with niceness, Doctor. [takes a grenade and pulls the pin] You win wars with guts. [tosses it to where the candidates are training] Grenade!
Steve: [dives on the grenade as the soldiers scatter] Get away! Get back! [they soon realize it's just a training grenade and are amazed at Steve's bravery] Is this a test?
Phillips: [embarrassed; to Dr. Erskine] He's still skinny. [walks away]

Steve: Why me?
Erskine: I suppose that is the only question that matters. [Displaying a bottle of schnapps] This is from Augsburg, my city. So many people forget that the first country the Nazis invaded was their own. You know, after the last war, my people struggled. They felt weak... they felt small. And then Hitler comes along with the marching, and the big show, and the flags, and the-and the... And he hears of me, my work, and he finds me. And he says "You. You will make us strong." Well, I am not interested. So he sends the head of HYDRA, his research division, a brilliant scientist by the name of Johann Schmidt. Now, Schmidt is a member of the inner circle and he is ambitious. He and Hitler share a passion for occult power and Teutonic myth. Hitler uses his fantasies to inspire his followers. But for Schmidt, it is not fantasy. For him, it is real. He has become convinced there is a great power hidden in the earth, left here by the gods, waiting to be seized by a superior man. So when he hears about my formula and what it can do, he cannot resist. Schmidt must become that superior man.
Steve: Did it make him stronger?
Erskine: Yeah. But... there were other... effects. The serum was not ready. But more important, the man. The serum amplifies everything inside, so... good becomes great. Bad... becomes worse. This is why you were chosen. Because the strong man who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows... compassion.
Steve: Thanks. I think.
Erskine: [gesturing toward the schnapps] Get it, get it. Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing. You will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.
Steve: To the little guys. [both men clank their glasses]
Erskine: [just realizing the schnapps could sabotage the test and takes it before Steve drinks it] No, no, wait, wait. What am I doing? No, you have procedure tomorrow. No fluids.
Steve: [Erskine pours Steve's schnapps into his own glass] Okay, we'll drink it after.
Erskine: No, I don't have procedure tomorrow. Drink it after? Drink it now. [drinks the schnapps]

[HYDRA spy Heinz Kruger takes a boy hostage; throws him into the harbor. Steve, chasing the spy, hesitates.]
Hostage child: Go get 'im! I can swim.

[After Steve catches HYDRA spy Heinz Kruger]
Steve: Who the hell are you?!
Heinz Kruger: The first of many. Cut off one head, [bites down a cyanide pill] two more shall take its place. Hail HYDRA! [froths at the mouth before he dies]

[Three SS officers visit Schmidt's HYDRA facility, but he is slighted by their constant complaints]
SS General Roeder: The Führer is not accustomed to being ignored, Herr Schmidt. He funds your research because you promised him weapons.
SS General Schneider: You serve at his pleasure. He gave you this facility as a reward for your injuries.
Schmidt: Reward? Call it what it is, exile. I no longer reflect his vision of Aryan perfection.
Roeder: You think this is about appearances? Your HYDRA division has failed to produce so much as a rifle in over a year. And we had learned through local intelligence you had mounted a full-scale incursion into Norway.
Schneider: The Führer feels, how does he put it? "The Red Skull has been indulged long enough!"
Schmidt: Gentlemen... you have come to see the results of our work, hmm? Let me show you. [shows them to his lab] Hitler speaks of a Thousand-Year Reich, but he cannot feed his armies for a month. His troops spill their blood across every field in Europe, but still he is no closer to achieving his goals. [pulls sheet off a Tesseract-powered laser cannon]
Roeder: And I suppose you still aim to win this war through magic?
Schmidt: Science, but I understand your confusion. Great power has always baffled primitive men. HYDRA is assembling an arsenal to destroy my enemies in one stroke, wherever they are, regardless of how many forces they possess, all in a matter of hours.
Roeder: Your enemies?
Schmidt: My weapons contain enough destructive power to decimate every hostile capital on Earth. Quite simply, gentlemen, I have harnessed the power of the gods.
Schneider: Thank you, Schmidt.
Schmidt: For what?
Schneider: For making it clear how obviously mad you are.
SS Major Hutter: [studies a map of all European capitals to be targeted, and sees one particular place] Berlin is on this map!
Schmidt: So it is. [aims the cannon at the SS officers]
Hutter: You will be punished for your insolence! You will be brought before the Führer himself! [Schmidt kills him and Schneider]
Roeder: [cornered at the locked door] SCHMIDT! [gets vaporized by laser blast]
Schmidt: My apologies, Doctor, but we both knew HYDRA could grow no further in Hitler's shadow. Hail HYDRA.
HYDRA Scientists: Hail HYDRA!
Dr. Arnim Zola: [Schmidt looks to him and Zola reluctantly says] Hail HYDRA!

[Steve meets Col Phillips in Italy; Philips is not pleased to see him]
Phillips: Well, if it isn't "the Star-Spangled Man With A Plan". What is your plan today?
Steve: I need the casualty list from Azzano.
Phillips: You don't get to give me orders, son.
Steve: I just need one name, Sergeant James Barnes from the 107th.
Phillips: [To Peggy] You and I are gonna have a conversation later that you won't enjoy.
Steve: Please tell me if he's alive, sir. B-A-R-
Phillips: I can spell. I have signed more of these condolence letters today than I would care to count. But the name does sound familiar. I'm sorry.
Steve: What about the others? Are you planning a rescue mission?
Phillips: Yes, it's called "winning the war."
Steve: But if you know where they are, why not at least--
Phillips: They're 30 miles behind the lines through some of the most heavily fortified territory in Europe. We'd lose more men than we'd save. But I don't expect you to understand that because you're a chorus girl.
Steve: I think I understand just fine.
Phillips: Well, then, understand it somewhere else. If I read the posters correctly, you got someplace to be in 30 minutes.
Steve: [looks on the map to see where the HYDRA base is located] Yes, sir, I do.

[After Steve captures Arnim Zola]
Col. Chester Phillips: Sit down. [puts down a tray of food at a table]
Dr. Arnim Zola: What is this?
Col. Chester Phillips: Steak.
Dr. Arnim Zola: [suspicious] What is in it?
Col. Chester Phillips: [matter-of-factly] Cow! [sits] Doctor, do you realize how difficult it is to get hold of a prime cut like that out here?
Dr. Arnim Zola: I don't eat meat.
Col. Chester Phillips: Why not?
Dr. Arnim Zola: It disagrees with me.
Col. Chester Phillips: How about cyanide? Does that give you the rumbly tummy too? [casually starts eating the steak himself] Every HYDRA agent that we've tried to take alive has crunched a little pill before we could stop him - but not you. So, here’s my brilliant theory: you want to live.
Dr. Arnim Zola: You're trying to intimidate me, Colonel.
Col. Chester Phillips: I bought you dinner! [slides a piece of paper to him]
Dr. Arnim Zola: [reading] "Given the valuable information he has provided, and in exchange for his full cooperation, Dr. Zola is being remanded to Switzerland..."
Col. Chester Phillips: I sent that to Washington this morning. Of course, it was encoded. You guys haven’t broken those codes, have you? That would be awkward.
Dr. Arnim Zola: Schmidt will know this is a lie.
Col. Chester Phillips: He's gonna kill you anyway, Doc. You're a liability. You know more about Schmidt than anyone. And the last guy you cost us was Captain Rogers' closest friend, so I wouldn't count on the very best of protection. It's you or Schmidt. That's just the hand you've been dealt.
Dr. Arnim Zola: Schmidt believes he walks in the footsteps of the gods.
Col. Chester Phillips: Hm!
Dr. Arnim Zola: Only the world itself will satisfy him.
Col. Chester Phillips: You do you realize that's nuts, don't you?
Dr. Arnim Zola: The sanity of the plan is of no consequence.
Col. Chester Phillips: And why is that?
Dr. Arnim Zola: Because he can do it!
Col. Chester Phillips: What's his target?
Dr. Arnim Zola: His target... is everywhere.

[Captain America is captured by HYDRA and brought before Red Skull]
Red Skull: Arrogance may not be a uniquely American trait, but I must say, you do it better than anyone. But there are limits to what even you can do, Captain. Or did Erskine tell you otherwise?
Captain America: He told me you were insane.
Red Skull: He resented my genius and tried to deny me what was rightfully mine, but he gave you everything. So... what made you so special?
Captain America: Nothin'. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn. [Red Skull beats him brutally, but is unmoved by it] I can do this all day.
Red Skull: Of course you can, of course, but unfortunately, I am on a tight schedule. [He puts a gun to Rogers' head, but the Howling Commandos break in through the windows]
Captain America: So am I! [breaks free of his guards and attacks the Skull]

[Captain America enters the control room of the Red Skull's plane. He moves toward the controls, but turns around to block a shot from Red Skull]
Red Skull: You don't give up, do you?
Captain America: Nope! [They fight; Captain America eventually loses his shield and takes cover from the Skull's shots]
Red Skull: You could have the power of the gods! Yet you wear a flag on your chest and think you fight a battle of nations! I have seen the future, Captain! There are no flags!
Captain America: Not my future!

[Captain America takes control of the Red Skull's plane and peaks over the radio]
Captain America: Come in, this is Captain Rogers, do you read me?
Jim Morita: Captain Rogers, what is your--[Peggy interrupts]
Peggy Carter: Steve, is that you? Are you alright?
Captain America: Peggy, Schmidt's dead!
Carter: What about the plane?
Captain America: That's a little bit tougher to explain.
Carter: Give your coordinates, I'll find you a safe landing site.
Captain America: There's not gonna be a safe landing. But I can try and force it down. [Col. Phillips signals Jim Morita and they leave the room.]
Carter: I'll get Howard on the line, he'll know what to do.
Captain America: There's not enough time. This thing's moving too fast and it's heading for New York. I got to put her in the water.
Carter: Please, don't do this. We have time. We can work it out.
Captain America: Right now, I'm in the middle of nowhere. If I wait any longer, a lot of people are gonna die. Peggy, this is my choice. [He puts his compass with her picture on one of the controls as he dives the plane down to the ice below] Peggy?
Carter: I'm here.
Captain America: I'm gonna to need a rain check on that dance.
Carter: All right. A week, next Saturday, at the Stork Club.
Captain America: You got it.
Carter: 8:00 on the dot. Don't you dare be late. Understood?
Captain America: You know, I still don't know how to dance.
Carter: I'll show you how. Just be there.
Captain America: We'll have the band play something slow. I'd hate to step on your-[radio goes to static]
Carter: Steve? Steve? [Colonel Phillips is nearby as a tear drops down Peggy's face] Steve?

[Upon discovering where he is, Steve runs out into modern-day Times Square and is very shocked and confused; he is approached by Nick Fury and many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents]
Nick Fury: At ease, soldier!
Steve Rogers: Who are you?
Fury: Colonel Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. You would have known us as the Strategic Scientific Reserve.
Rogers: Where am I?
Fury: 46th and Broadway. Look, I'm sorry about that little show back there, but we didn't know what your mental state might be, so we thought it best to break it to you slowly.
Rogers: Break what?
Fury: You've been asleep, Cap. For almost 70 years.
Rogers: How am I alive?
Fury: Well, to be honest with you, we don't really know. My docs say it was suspended animation. Could be Dr. Erskine's formula, the extreme cold. I don't know.
Rogers: What about the war? Did we win?
Fury: Hell, yes. Unconditional surrender. Taking down HYDRA was a big part of that. But the world hasn't changed all that much. There's still a lot of work to be done. A soldier's work. The world can still use a man like you, Cap. There's a place here for you. [Steve is silent with shock] You gonna be okay?
Rogers: Yeah. Yeah, I just... I had a date.

[Post-credits scene: Steve is pummeling a punching bag in a gym and in anger knocks it off its chain, sending it flying across the room when Fury enters the gym]
Fury: Trouble sleeping?
Rogers: You're here with a mission, sir?
Fury: I am.
Rogers: Trying to get me back in the world?
Fury: Trying to save it.

About Captain America: The First Avenger

  • Question: Are you aware, that in some parts of the world, the bullies are the Americans?
CE: Oh is that what you think? How dare you! This interview is over! [Laughter]
These are the political questions that I’m going to have to field, but the movie isn’t trying to be a flag waving film. It’s the way that the character was created, we can’t change the fact that he was created in America. There was no confusion in the 40s as to who the evil power was. We can all agree that Nazis are bad.
Obviously at this time there will be varying political opinions but that’s the way it’s going to go. We’re not trying to say that this movie is pro-America, this is about a man who stands up for the thing in his heart that is good. It’s not about his allegiance to a certain country, it’s about his allegiance to values and character. This film could be called Captain Good, he just happens to be from America.
  • Q: How much of the forties did you want to consciously incorporate into Steve Rogers – certainly the good aspects like that old school earnest heroism, but also maybe the bad side as well — like some of that initial prejudiced reaction when you first see Jim Morita?
Evans: I don’t have that reaction. Captain America, he doesn’t see color. (laughs) We weren’t trying to bring that back. What a crazy question! In no way did I approach the character and say, “You know what Steve Rogers could use? A little racism. A little of that 40s racism. Let’s sprinkle a little bit of that in.”
Q: It’s something that was there in the 40s. It is different.
Evans: Oh sure, but I don’t think in any way did I approach this and say, in no way would I think that the character would be more fleshed out by letting that bubble up to the surface.
  • Steve Rogers is a guy who, at the heart of it, has a very simple mission. He just wants to serve his country and do the right thing. And Chris comes off as basically a really good human being. He can wear his heart on his sleeve when he needs to.
  • I was mildly familiar with the comic book, but I wasn’t a fan of the comic, which I sort of see as an advantage in a way, because it lets me be a little more objective about what works and what doesn’t. I mean I wasn’t familiar with it, but once I decided to do it, I read every Captain America comic that I could get and I sort of researched where he came from and where he started and the various iterations of him over the decades. I wanted the origin of the film to be based on a comic book, but I didn’t want to have it be in your face the way some of them are, you know?
  • Well the Marvel guys have a system that works really well and it’s the way that I wish the studios worked. They hire a filmmaker and they understand the film that the filmmaker wants to make and then they help them make it. If there is anything that does not fit into the Marvel Universe, they will say, “You are going slightly outside of the lines here.” In CAPTAIN AMERICA there wasn’t anything that they were uncomfortable with. It’s all based on the character of Steve Rogers and who this guy is. He’s this kid who is constantly rejected, he wants to fight for his country, nobody wants him… That’s the heart of the story. As long as you don’t mess with that template, you can pretty much do anything. They let me add stuff that was hugely expensive, but it related to the story and it helped tell the story. The whole thing with zip lining down to the train was not in the original script at all and that whole sequence just needed something to sort of give it an action beat to start it. There were all kinds of stuff like that. They let me do all kinds of things that were not in the script, were not probably in the budget, but they could also recognize that “Hey that is making the story cooler. Let’s do it.” It was really great. It was like a dream job in a way. They were very supportive.


  • Discover the origin of the first avenger.
  • Avenge.
  • When patriots become heroes.