Carnal Knowledge

1971 film by Mike Nichols

Carnal Knowledge is a 1971 film about the sexual and emotional confusion of two men from their Amherst College days in the fifties through the Kennedy sixties, up to the Vietnam era.

Directed by Mike Nichols. Written by Jules Feiffer.


  • Is this an ultimatum? Answer me, you ball-busting, castrating, son of a cunt bitch! Is this an ultimatum or not?
  • You want a job? I got a job for you. Fix up this pigsty! You get a pretty goddammed good salary for testing out this bed all day! You want an extra fifty dollars a week, try vacuuming! You want an extra hundred, make this goddammed bed! Try opening some goddammed windows! That's why you can't stand up in here, the goddammed place smells like a coffin!
  • Why don't you leave me?... For God's sake, I'd almost marry you if you'd leave me.
  • Women today are better-hung than the men.
  • At one time, it was great what we had... the kidding around. It can't have a natural time span. Affairs can't dissolve in a good way. There's always got to be poison. I don't see why, I really don't see why!
  • Alright, where the fuck is my shoehorn? This place is a mess! There's not any food in the house, half the time you look like you fell out of bed! You spend more time in bed than any other human being past the age of 6 months than I ever heard of!


Jonathan: If you had a choice...
Sandy: Yeah?
Jonathan: Would you rather love a girl, or have her love you?
Sandy: I want it mutual.
Jonathan: I mean if you couldn't have it mutual.
Sandy: You mean would I rather be the one who loves, or is loved?
Jonathan: Yeah.
Sandy: It's not that easy a question. But, I think I'd rather be in love.
Jonathan: Me too.

Sandy: Looks aren't everything, you know.
Jonathan: Believe me, looks are everything.

Bobbie: The reason I sleep all day is because I can't stand my life!
Jonathan: What life?
Bobbie: Sleeping all day!
Bobbie: I need a life.
Jonathan: Get a job!
Bobbie: I don't want a job. I want you.
Jonathan: I'm taken, by me. Get out of the house, do something useful, Goddammit.

Jonathan: Sandy, do you wanna get laid?
Sandy: Please.

Jonathan: Talk about the pot and the kettle. When I caught wind of your checkered past, I felt like a celibate.
Bobbie: You made me tell you.
Jonathan: Sure. I twisted your arm.
Bobbie: It got you hot!
Jonathan: Something has to.

Jonathan: Do you always answer a question with a question?
Susan: Do you always date your best friend's girlfriend?

Bobbie: Marry me, Jonathan! Please, please!
Jonathan: You're trying to kill me.

Louise: I don't think we're gonna have any trouble tonight. You're a real man, a kind man.
Jonathan: I'm not kind.
Louise: I don't mean the weak kind the way so many men are. I mean the kindness that comes from enormous strength, from an inner power so strong that every act, no matter what, is more proof of that power. That's what all women resent. That's why they try to cut ya down, because your knowledge of yourself and them is so right, so true, that it exposes the lies by which they, every scheming one of them, live by. It takes a true woman to understand that the purest form of love is to love a man who denies himself to her - a man who inspires worship, because he has no need for any woman, because he has himself. And who is better, more beautiful, more powerful, more perfect... you're getting hard... more strong, more masculine, extraordinary, more... bust. It's rising, it's rising... more virile, domineering, more irresistible. It's up - in the air...


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