In Cold Blood (film)

1967 film by Richard Brooks

In Cold Blood is a 1967 film about two drifters who elude police after a botched robbery results in the brutal murder of a rural family. In the end they come to terms with their own mortality and the repercussions of their vile atrocity.

Directed and written by Richard Brooks, based on the book by Truman Capote.

Dick Hickock

  • Doctors. They made a dwarf out of me. Doctors and lawyers. What do they care? Ever see a millionaire fry in the electric chair? Hell, no. There's two kinds of laws, honey: One for the rich and one for the poor.

Perry Smith

  • It doesn't make sense. I mean what happened. It had nothing to do with the Clutters. They never hurt me. They just happened to be there. I thought Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman... I thought so right up to the time I cut his throat.
  • When it first began.... Who knows when anything really begins? When Dick first told me the plan, it didn't even seem real. Then, the closer we got, the more real it became. Like the crazy stunt had a life of its own and nothing could stop it. Like I was reading a story...and I had to know what was gonna happen. How it would end.
  • I despise people who can't control themselves.
  • I'd like to apologize, but... who to?

Alvin Dewey

  • Someday, somebody will explain to me the motive of a newspaper. First, you scream, "Find the bastards." Till we find them, you want to get us fired. When we find them, you accuse us of brutality. Before we go into court, you give them a trial by newspaper. When we finally get a conviction, you want to save them by proving they were crazy in the first place.


  • Mercy for them. The killers. How fortunate that their amicable attorneys were not present at the Clutter house on that fateful evening. How very fortunate for them that they were not present that evening to plead mercy for the doomed family, because otherwise, they would have found their corpses too. If you allow them life imprisonment, they will be eligible for parole in 7 years. That is the law. Gentlemen, 4 of your neighbors were slaughtered like hogs in a pen by them. They did not strike suddenly in the heat of passion, but for money. They did not kill in vengeance, they planned it for money. And how cheaply those lives were bought. $40. $10 a life. They drove 400 miles to come here. They brought their weapons with them. [picks up a shotgun] This shotgun. [picks up a knife] This dagger. '[picks up a rope] This is the rope they hogtied their victims with. [picks up a vile of blood]]] This is the blood they spilled. Herb Clutter's. They who had no pity, now ask for yours. They who had no mercy, now ask for yours. They who shed no tears, now ask for yours. If you have tears to shed, weep not for them, weep for their victims. [picks up a copy of the Holy Bible] From the way the Holy Bible was quoted here today, You might think the word of God was written only to protect the killers, but they didn't read you this: Exodus 20:13: "Thou shalt not kill." Or this: Genesis 9:12: "Who so sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."


Nancy Clutter: Daddy, you know Jolene? I promised to teach her how to bake a cherry pie.
Herb Clutter: Sounds serious.
Nancy Clutter: She insists on today.
Herb Clutter: That makes it practically a catastrophe.

Perry: It's true! Really true! We're on our way and never coming back. Never! And no regrets.
Dick: For you. You're leaving nothing. What about my old man... and my mother? They'll still be there when my checks start bouncing.
Perry: It's nice the way you think about your folks.
Dick: Yeah! I'm a real thoughtful bastard.

Perry: That was stupid - stealin' a lousy pack of razor blades! To prove what?
Dick: It's the national pastime, baby, stealin' and cheatin'. If they ever count every cheatin' wife and tax chiseler, the whole country would be behind prison walls.

Dick: Where are the black stockings?
Perry: They didn't have black.
Dick: Stop someplace else.
Perry: Where?
Dick: A Catholic hospital.
Perry: Sure. We'll just barge in like it was a goddamn five-and-dime.
Dick: Sister, sweetie, we gotta have some black stockings to hide our face.
Perry: Okay, forget it. Anyway, nuns are bad luck.
Dick: Kind of sexy, though.
Perry: You wouldn't think so if you'd lived in one of those orphan homes... with those black widows always at you. Always sneaking up in the dark, spying while you sleep. Hitting you with a flashlight for wetting the bed. That's the first time I was saved by the yellow bird.
Dick: The what?
Perry: Sort of a parrot. Taller than Jesus. Brilliant yellow, like a sunflower. It attacked those nuns like an avenging angel. The nuns begged for mercy. But the yellow bird slaughtered them anyway. Then the bird folded me in its wings...and lifted me up to paradise.
Dick: That's one hell of a bird to have on your side.
Perry: Anyway, that's why I have an aversion to nuns...and God and religion.
Dick: Forget it. Black stockings are a waste of time. No one's gonna remember us because we're leaving no witnesses.

Dick: Next move... Mexico. Once we beat it out of the country.
Perry: On what? $43 and a smile and bullshit.
Dick: You guessed it, chief. It's the smile that does it. Like it says in the commercials, the family that sticks together lives forever.

Reporter: They say Nancy's boyfriend is the prime suspect.
Alvin Dewey: Is that what they say?
Reporter: Well, he was the last one to see them alive.
Alvin Dewey: Except for the killers.

Reporter: What about Perry? Don't you get along?
Dick: Nobody can get along with him. There's five guys waiting here for the big swing. Little Perry's the only one yapping against capital punishment.
Reporter: Don't tell me you're for it?
Dick: Hell, hanging's only getting revenge. What's wrong with revenge? I've been revenging myself all my life. Sure. I'm for hanging. Just so long as I'm not the one being hanged.

Perry: When you hit the end of the rope... your muscles lose control. I'm afraid I'll mess myself.
Prison Guard: It's nothing to be ashamed of. They all do it.

Alvin Dewey: Coming?
Reporter: What for? What does it add up to, anyway?
Alvin Dewey: Well, four innocent and two guilty people murdered. Three families broken. Newspapers have sold more papers. Politicians will make more speeches. Police and parole boards will get more blame. More laws will be passed. Everybody will pass the buck. And then, next month, next year... the same thing will happen again.
Reporter: Well, maybe this will help to stop it.
Alvin Dewey: Never has.


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