In the Line of Fire

1993 film directed by Wolfgang Petersen

In the Line of Fire is a 1993 film about Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan, who couldn't save Kennedy, but who's determined not to let a clever assassin take out the current president.

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Written by Jeff Maguire.
An assassin on the loose. A president in danger. Only one man stands between them...

Mitch Leary

  • What did happen to you that day? Only one agent reacted to the gunfire, and you were closer to Kennedy than he was. You must have looked up at the window of the Texas Book Depository, but you didn't react. Late at night, when the demons come, do you see the rifle coming out of that window, or do you see Kennedy's head being blown apart? If you'd reacted to that first shot, could you have gotten there in time to stop the big bullet? And if you had - that could've been your head being blown apart. Do you wish you'd succeeded, Frank? Or is life too precious?
  • [last words, left on Frank's answering machine] Hello, Frank. By the time you hear this, it'll be over. The President is most likely dead, and so am I. I wonder, Frank, did you kill me? Who won our game? Not that it really matters, for among friends like you and me, it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game, and now the game is done and it's time to get on with your life. But I worry, that you have no life to get on with Frank. You're a good man, and good men like you and me are destined to travel a lonely road. Goodbye, and good luck.

Frank Horrigan

  • [at the Lincoln Memorial] Well, Abe? ...Damn. Wish I could have been there for you, pal.
  • For years, I've been listening to all these idiots on barstools with all their pet theories on Dallas. How it was the Cubans, or the C.I.A., or the white supremacists, or the Mob. Whether there was one weapon, or whether there was five. None of that's meant too much to me. But Leary, he questioned whether I had the guts to take that fatal bullet. God, that was a beautiful day. The sun was out, been raining all morning, the air was... First shot, sounded like a firecracker. I looked over, I saw him, I could tell he was hit. I don't know why I didn't react. I should have reacted. I should have been running flat out. I just couldn't believe it. If only I'd reacted, I could have taken that shot. And that would have been alright with me.


Mitch Leary: [on phone] Frank?
Frank Horrigan: Yeah?
Leary: Frank Horrigan, the Secret Service agent?
Horrigan: Yeah, what'd I win?
Leary: My God, that really was you in my apartment this afternoon!
Horrigan: [turns off stereo] McCrawley?
Leary: Why not call me Booth?
Horrigan: Why not Oswald?
Leary: Because Booth had flair, panache - a leap to the stage after he shot Lincoln.

Mitch Leary: Frank, you of all people, I want you to understand because we both USED to think this country was a very special place...
Frank Horrigan: You don't know what I used to think!
Leary: Oh, but you know about me? Do you have any idea what I've done for God and country? Some pretty FUCKING HORRIBLE things! I don't even remember who I was before they sunk their claws into me!
Horrigan: They made you into a real monster, right?
Leary: That's right and now they want to destroy me because we can't have monsters roaming the quiet countryside, now can we?
Horrigan: What do you see when you're in the dark, and the demons come?
Leary: I see you, Frank. I see you standing over the grave of another dead president.
Horrigan: That's not going to happen. I'm onto you.
Leary: Forget it, Frank. I am willing to trade my life for his. I am smart, and I am willing, and that is all it takes. That president is coming home from California in a box.
Horrigan: Where in California?
Leary: Uh, the address? Come on, Frank. I'll keep you in the game, but I'm not going to throw it for you.

Frank Horrigan: I want you to give yourself up.
Mitch Leary: So I can live a long and fruitful life?
Horrigan: We can work something out.
Leary: Fuck you. Don't fucking lie to me. I have a rendezvous with death, and so does the President, and so do you if you get too close.
Horrigan: You have a rendezvous with my ass, motherfucker!
Leary: Frank. Do you know how easily I could kill you, Frank? Do you know how many times I've watched you go in and out of that apartment? You're alive because I have allowed you to live. So you show me some goddamn respect!

[Frank is arguing with the Chief of Staff after a false alarm]
White House Chief of Staff Harry Sargent: The president came off looking like a coward on national television.
Frank Horrigan: I thought he came off all right. You're the one that came off looking like a damn coward.
Sargent: This is a just a joke to you?
Horrigan: No, you're a joke to me, Harry! You have no idea what we do around here!
Bill Watts: That's enough, Horrigan!
Sargent: You call me Harry one more time, you'll be busting counterfeiters in Alaska! You keep him away from the president, away from the White House, and you sure as hell better keep him away from me!
Watts: Don't talk to the White House Chief of Staff like that.
Horrigan: I don't work for him.
Watts: No, you work for me. At least you did. You're off my detail.

[Mitch has taken Frank to an elevator]
Mitch Leary: Do you believe in the nobility of suicide?
Frank Horrigan: No. But if you wanna blow your goddamn head off, go ahead, be my guest.
Mitch Leary: Nicely put, except I don't want to leave this miserable world alone.
Lilly Raines: West tower, do you have a shot?
Sniper: Negative, too dark. Target unclear.
Leary: It's better to die with a friend, don't you think Frank?
Horrigan: A friend? You're a damn killer, you sick bastard.
Leary: Don't talk to me like that! I saved your life. You owe me.
Horrigan: I don't owe you shit.
Leary: I was always honest and fair with you.
Horrigan: Go ahead and shoot. Go ahead. [the other agents hear him on the ground floor]
Agent Chavez: It's Frank. [to people reacting at the audio] Quiet! Quiet!
Horrigan: Come on, dammit.
Raines: Frank are you talking to me?
Horrigan: [trying to keep talking to Leary] Well, what are you waiting for?
Leary: What am I waiting for? I'm waiting for you to show me some goddamn gratitude. [aims pistol as Horrigan moves back] Without me, you'd still just be another sad-eyed, piano-playing drunk. I brought you into this game. I let you keep up with me. I made you a goddamn hero today.
Horrigan: You didn't make me anything.
Leary: I redeemed your pathetic, shitty life.
Horrigan: I just did my job. You're the one with the fucking pathetic life. Go ahead and shoot, dammit.
Raines: They can't see inside. If they fire, you'll be hit.
Leary: I want you to thank me first, Frank.
Horrigan: Shut up and shoot.
Raines: All right, Frank.
Leary: [kneels to him] All right, Frank.
Raines: Shooters, standby to fire. Wait for my command.
Leary: Sleep well, my friend.
Horrigan: Just one thing: Aim high.
Leary: What?
Raines: Aim high.
Horrigan: NOW!
Raines: Fire!
Leary: [finally sees that Horrigan was on the radio the whole time] You bastard! [snipers shoot]

Frank Horrigan: Take my hand. If you don't, you'll die.
Mitch Leary: You want to save me, Frank?
Frank Horrigan: To be completely fair and honest with you, no. But it's my job.

[last lines]
Frank Horrigan: I'll bet you that brown pigeon down there flies off before the white one.
Lilly Raines: How do you know?
Frank Horrigan: I know things about pigeons, Lilly.


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