Mask (film)

1985 film by Peter Bogdanovich

Mask is a 1985 film about the true story of Rocky Dennis, a teenager with a massive facial skull deformity and a wild mother who attempts to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Written by Anna Hamilton Phelan.
Sometimes the most unlikely people become heroes. Taglines

Rusty Dennis

  • [asked about where is Rocky's true father] Why do you try and call the Pope while you're at it? At least he would be easier to reach.
  • [to the doctor who insisted speaking to Rusty] You know, for 12 years, I've been listening to you guys' bullshit. First you told me that he was gonna be retarded, then you told me that he was gonna be blind and deaf. If I dug his grave every time one of you geniuses told me he was gonna die, I would be eating fuckin' chop suey in China by now! Anything else?
  • [her final line, after finding out that Rocky has passed away in his sleep and she re-tacks his map of Europe] Now you can go anywhere you want, baby.

Rocky Dennis

  • Don't worry, Mr. Simms. I look weird, but otherwise I'm real normal. Everything will be cool. Thanks a lot. See you next week.
  • [to some students who make fun of his face] Hey, what's the matter? Haven't you guys ever seen anybody from the planet Vultern before? Beep-beep-beep! Beep-beep-beep!
  • [repeated line] Make myself well.
  • [Poem] These things are good: ice cream and cake, a ride on a Harley, seeing monkeys on a tree, the rain on my tongue, and the sun shining on my face. These things are a drag: dust in my hair, holes in my shoes, no money in my pocket, and the sun shining on my face.
  • [spending a day with his biker "family" at an amusement park] Hey, Ben, look at this. [Rocky is looking in a funhouse mirror that instead of distorting his face, makes it look like everyone else's]


  • Gar: [realizing Rusty is having a nervous breakdown on the phone] What? Rusty? Ah, shit! [hangs up the phone and leaves the auto garage] It's Rusty.
  • Evelyn: [repeated line] Florence.


Rocky Dennis: [smashing some plates] I hate you going out every night and coming home wasted all the time!
Rusty Dennis: It's none of your goddamn business!
Rocky Dennis: You're my mother!
Rusty Dennis: Well, you're not my warden!

[after Rocky gave an impressive speech on how the Trojan War started]
Eric: That wasn't bad, Dennis. How about you tutor me?
Rocky Dennis: Tutor you?
Eric: Yeah, Cooley almost failed me last year.
Rocky Dennis: OK, but it will cost you three bucks an hour.
Eric: [surprised] Three bucks?
[The classroom falls silent and looks back at the two because of the sudden outburst]
Rocky Dennis: Hey, I don't work for free.
Eric: [kinda tense] It's a deal.

Gar: Rocky, you mom sometimes does the wrong things, but for the right reasons.
Rocky Dennis: You always stick up to her, Gar, and then she pisses you off, and you split. Then you come back.

Rocky Dennis: What's his problem, mom?
Rusty Dennis: Nothing. He just another asshole. You let that negative dreck in and it'll put you away. You can be a chicken shit and die or be a mensch and keep makin' yourself well.

Amusement park. Rocky and his biker family want to go on the bumper cars.
Carnie: I cannot be responsible for anything that happens to the retard.
Gar: Then I cannot be responsible for anything I do to you!
Carnie freezes as Gar grabs him
Gar{controlled voice}: Take the tickets.

Rocky Dennis: Grandma! Grandpa! How are you?
Abe Dennis: Doing great Rocky. Checks out Rocky's baseball card collection of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers Your team is good, but I have always said the backbone of a good team is fielder! Presents Rocky with the rare baseball card he had been searching a long time for
Rocky Dennis: Hey! Thanks so much!

[after an unpleasant visit from her parents, Rusty is about to take a lot of drugs]
Gar: [gets a beer from the fridge] If you're gonna get wasted off that crap, I'm not gonna sit here and babysit you.
Rusty Dennis: [scoffles] You must be confusing me with someone who gives a shit.
Gar: Must be.
Rusty Dennis: [looks at the drugs in her hand and sighs sadly] You know, this just isn't going to work. You're telling me to do things and I'm just gonna end up hating you.
Gar: Oh, come on, baby. You and your old man have been going throught this shit forever. Got to you again, didn't he? Got you ready for another one of those 2-hour screamers. Gets you to the place where I wanna put you through the goddamn wall.
Rusty Dennis: [snaps back] Well, go ahead. Then put me through the goddamn wall. Why should you be different than any other guy I've ever been with.
[Gar clonks the beer bottle down on the table and leaves her]

Diana: Rocky? That is an unusual name.
Rocky: Actually, my true name is Roy. Rocky is just a nickname my mother gave me.
Diana: How did she decide on that?
Rocky: Easy. From the song. Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetops! She said it would not sleep unless I did a lot of rocking!

Diana: Rocky, let me feel you.
Diana senses Rocky's face
Rocky: My mom always told me I was a lion in my past life, but I did not completely leave my old body for this one!


  • They told 16-year-old Rocky Dennis he could never be like everyone else. So he was determined to be better.
  • Sometimes the most unlikely people become heroes.

Main cast

Actor Role
Cher Rusty Dennis
Sam Elliott Gar
Eric Stoltz Rocky Dennis
Estelle Getty Evelyn Dennis
Richard Dysart Abe Dennis
Laura Dern Diana Adams
Micole Mercurio Babe
Harry Carey, Jr. Red
Dennis Burkley Dozer
Lawrence Monoson Ben
Andrew Robinson Dr. Vinton
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