M (1931 film)
1931 German drama-thriller directed by Fritz Lang
- We're doing our job because we have a living to make. But this monster has no right to live. He must disappear. He must be exterminated, without pity… without scruples.
- [to Hans Beckert] You talk of rights… You will get your rights. We are all law experts here, from six weeks in Tegel, to fifteen years in Brandenburg.
- Pickpocket with Six Watches: There are more police on the street tonight than whores.
- Children: [singing] Just you wait a little while, the nasty man in black will come. With his little chopper, he will chop you up!
- Beggar: Stop snoring! You'll wake the lice.
- Pregnant Woman: I'm always telling those kids to stop singing that terrible murderer's song… and they do nothing but sing it at the top of their voices all day… As if we hadn't heard enough of that killer.
- Mrs. Beckmann: Oh, leave them alone. As long as they're singing, at least we know they're still there.
- Hans Beckert: And who are you?
- Elderly Lawyer: I have the dubious honor of being your defense counsel. But I am afraid it won't be much use to you.
- Hans Beckert: [horrified] But… but… do you want to kill me then? Murder me, just like that?
- Schränker: We just want to render you harmless. That's what we want. But you'll only be harmless when you're dead.
- Hans Beckert: I demand to be handed over to the jurisdiction of the common law!
- Criminal 1: Quite a performance! That's not bad, that, ha, ha, ha!
- Schränker: That would suit you, wouldn't it?
- Conman: [sarcastically] Anything else you'd like?
- Schränker: So that you can invoke paragraph fifty-one…
- Criminal 2: That's it.
- Schränker: And spend the rest of your life in an institution at the state's expense ... And then you'd escape… or else there'd be a pardon and there you are, free as air, with a pass, protected by the law because of mental illness. Off again chasing little girls. No, no. Very dry. We're not going to let that happen.
- Hans Beckert: I can't help what I do! I can't help it, I can't…
- Criminal: The old story! We never can help it in court!
- Hans Beckert: What do you know about it? Who are you anyway? Who are you? Criminals? Are you proud of yourselves? Proud of breaking safes or cheating at cards? Things you could just as well keep your fingers off. You wouldn't need to do all that if you'd learn a proper trade, or if you'd work. If you weren't a bunch of lazy bastards. But I… I can't help myself! I have no control over this, this evil thing inside of me, the fire, the voices, the torment!
- Schränker: Do you mean to say that you have to murder?
- Hans Beckert: It's there all the time, driving me out to wander the streets, following me, silently, but I can feel it there. It's me, pursuing myself! I want to escape, to escape from myself! But it's impossible. I can't escape, I have to obey it. I have to run, run… endless streets. I want to escape, to get away! And I'm pursued by ghosts. Ghosts of mothers and of those children… they never leave me. They are always there… always, always, always! Except... when I do it, when I… Then I can't remember anything. And afterwards I see those posters and read what I've done, and read, and read… did I do that? But I can't remember anything about it! But who will believe me? Who knows what it's like to be me? How I'm forced to act… how I must, must… don't want to, must! Don't want to, but must! And then a voice screams! I can't bear to hear it! I can't go on! I can't… I can't…