Meet Joe Black

1998 American film directed by Martin Brest

Meet Joe Black is a 1998 film about a media mogul who acts as a guide to Death, who takes the form of a young man to learn about life on Earth, and in the process falls in love with his guide's daughter.

Directed by Martin Brest. Written by Ron Osborn, Jeff Reno, Kevin Wade, and Bo Goldman.
No one can die - while he loves! taglines

William Parrish

  • Don't blow smoke up my ass, you'll ruin my autopsy.
  • When I introduce you, and I tell them who you are, I don't think anyone will stay for dinner.
  • Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. I say fall head over heels, find someone you can love like crazy and who'll love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head and you listen to your heart and I'm not hearing any heart. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love - well, you haven't lived a life at all. But You have to try, because if you haven't tried, you haven't lived... Stay open, who knows? Lightning could strike.
  • I thought I was going to sneak away tonight. What a glorious night! Every face I see is a memory. It may not be a perfectly... perfect memory. Sometimes we've had our ups and downs, but we're all together, And you're mine, for a night. And I'm going to break precedence and tell you my one candle wish: that you would have a life as lucky as mine, where you can wake up one morning and say, "I don't want anything more." 65 years... Don't they go by in a blink?
  • My wife turned me on to cold lamb sandwiches. Not as chewy as roast beef. Not as boring as chicken. She knew stuff like that.
  • You never know, lightning could strike.
  • I want you to sing with rapture and dance like a dervish.
  • You're not Death. You're just a kid in a suit.
  • Thank you, Drew. Yeah. I did enjoy—or rather I was interested in meeting John Bontecou, yesterday. And—impressive, I suppose. But... But, it did get me to thinking. See, I started in this business because this is what I wanted to do. I knew I wasn't going to write the great American novel, but I also knew there was more to life than buying something for a dollar and selling it for two. I'd hoped to create something, something which could be held to the highest standards. And what I realized was I wanted to give the news to the world, and I wanted to give it unvarnished. The more we all know about each other, the greater the chance we will survive. Sure, I want to make a profit. You can't exist without one. But John Bontecou is all profit. Now if we give him license to absorb Parrish Communications, and he has his eye on a few others after us, in order to reach the world you will have to go through John Bontecou. And not only will you have to pay him to do this, far more important, you'll have to agree with him. Reporting the news is a privilege and a responsibility, and it is not exploitable. Parrish Communications has earned this privilege. John Bontecou wants to buy it. As your Chairman, I urge you to agree this company is not for sale.

Joe Black

  • Easy Bill, you'll give yourself a heart attack and ruin my vacation.
  • Thank you for loving me.
  • I can't believe you people. I come for you, and you want to stay, I let you stay and you want to go.
  • Make no mistake, should you choose to test my resolve in this matter, you will be looking at an outcome that will have a finality that is beyond your comprehension, and you will not be counting the days, or the months, or the years, but millenniums, in a place with no doors.
  • You got enough nice pictures?
  • Hello Bill.
  • Do you have any peanut butter?


  • Allison: I should have my head examined again.
  • Susan Parrish: Love, passion, obsession, all those things you told me to wait for, well, they've arrived. What are you afraid of, Dad? That I'll fall head over heels for Joe? Well, I have.
  • Jamaican Woman: It nice it happen to you. Like you come to the island and had a holiday. Sun didn't burn you red-red, just brown. You sleep and no mosquito eat you. But the truth is, it bound to happen if you stay long enough. So take that nice picture you got in your head home with you, but don't be fooled. We lonely here mostly too. If we lucky, maybe, we got some nice pictures to take with us.


William Parrish: Hello? Is anyone here? [Louder] I said is anyone here?
Death: [Bill's voice] Quiet down
William Parrish: Where are you?
Death: I'm here
William Parrish: What is this a joke, right? Some kind of elaborate practical joke? Heh, at my fortieth reunion we delivered a casket to the class presidents hotel room and uh--
Death: Quiet
William Parrish: [Backing out of library]
Death: Where are you going, Bill?
William Parrish: I uh...
Death: The great Bill Parrish at a loss of words? The man from whose lips fall "rapture" and "passion" and "obsession"? All those admonitions about being "deliriously happy, that there is no sense in living your life without" all the sparks and energy you give off, the rosy advice you dispense in round pear shaped tones.
William Parrish: What the hell is this? [Creaking, a shape appears in faded window] Who are you?
Death: Just think of millenniums, multiplied by eons, compounded by time without end. I've been around that long. But it's only recently your affairs here have piqued my interest. Call it boredom. The natural curiosity of me, the most lasting and significant element in existence has come to see you.
William Parrish: About what?
Death: I want to have a look around before I take you.
William Parrish: Take me where?
Death: It requires competence wisdom and experience, all those things they say about you in testimonials. And you’re the one.
William Parrish: The one to do what?
Death: Show me around, be my guide. And in return you get...
William Parrish: I get what?
Death: Time. Minutes, days, weeks, let's not get encumbered by detail, what matters is that I stay interested. [Pause] Yes...
William Parrish: 'Yes' what?
Death: 'Yes' is the answer to your question.
William Parrish: What question?
Death: Oh Bill, come on. The question. The question you've been asking yourself with increased regularity, at odd moments, panting through the extra game of handball, when you ran for the plane in Delhi, when you sat up in bed last night and hit the floor in the office this morning. The question that is in the back of your throat, choking the blood to your brain, ringing in your ears over and over as you put it to yourself.
William Parrish: 'The question'...
Death: Yes Bill. The question. [Moves from behind the glass into shadowy area] The question.
William Parrish: ...'Am I going to die?'
Joe Black: [Steps out of the shadows, appearing as Joe Black for the first time] Yes.

William Parrish: You want me to be your guide?
Joe Black: You fit the bill, Bill.

Joe Black: I want to be friends.
Susan Parrish: I have many friends.
Joe Black: I have none.

William Parrish: [Walking along a crowded sidewalk] You know, I got to thinking. With you here and seemingly occupied, how's your work going, I mean, elsewhere?
Joe Black: While you were shaving this morning, you weren't just shaving.
William Parrish: What do you mean?
Joe Black: You were hatching ideas, making plans, arriving at decisions, right?
William Parrish: Yeah, I guess so
Joe Black: So you get the concept. While part of you is doing one thing, another part of you is doing another, perhaps even attending to the problems of your work. Correct?
William Parrish: Of course
Joe Black: So you understand the idea. Congratulations, Bill. Now multiply that by infinity, take that to the depth of forever, and you still will barely have a glimpse of what I'm talking about. [Bill stops, Joe keeps walking, Bill takes Joes arm and stops him from getting hit by a car...again]

Drew: ...the truth is, joining John Bontecou is every bit as certain as death and taxes.
Joe Black: Death and taxes?
Drew: Yes.
Joe Black: Death and taxes?
Drew: Yes.
Joe Black: What an odd pairing.

William Parrish: You know about money, don't you?
Joe Black: It can't buy happiness?

Jamaican woman: Obeah.
Joe Black: [Jamaican accent] Rahtid. Obeah evil. I not evil, woman.
Jamaican woman: And what you is then?
Joe Black: I from that next place.
Jamaican woman: You waitin' here to take us? Like you is the bus driver to there?
Joe Black: No, man, I on 'oliday.
Jamaican woman: Some spot you pick. [Groans faintly] The pain. Pain is bad, bad.
Joe Black: I don't have nothin' to do with these things, you know.
Jamaican woman: Make it go away.
Joe Black: Doctor Lady make it alright.
Jamaican woman: Uh-uh. Not this pain. This pain go through and through me. Make it go away.
Joe Black: I can't, sister.
Jamaican woman: You can, mister. Take me to that next place.
Joe Black: It's not your time now.
Jamaican woman: Make it time!
Joe Black: You can't fool with the way things got to be.
Jamaican woman: [Whimpering] Please...
Joe Black: [Pauses] Close your eyes. Go on, sister. [Puts his hands on her, woman smiles and opens her eyes slowly] Soon.

Drew: And who would've thought... you, an IRS agent.
Joe Black: Death and Taxes.

Susan Parrish: Tell me you love me now.
Joe Black: I love you now. I love you always.

Joe Black: I don't care, Bill. I love her.
William Parrish: How perfect for you - to take whatever you want because it pleases you. That's not love.
Joe Black: Then what is it?
William Parrish: Some aimless infatuation which, for the moment, you feel like indulging - it's missing everything that matters.
Joe Black: Which is what?
William Parrish: Trust, responsibility, taking the weight for your choices and feelings, and spending the rest of your life living up to them. And above all, not hurting the object of your love.
Joe Black: So that's what love is, according to William Parrish?
William Parrish: Multiply it by infinity, and take it to the depth of forever, and you will still have barely a glimpse of what I'm talking about.
Joe Black: Those were my words.
William Parrish: They're mine now.

William Parrish: You're at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong woman!
Joe Black: Are you threatening me?
William Parrish: Yeah, I certainly hope so.

William Parrish: It's hard to let go, isn't it?
Joe Black: Yes it is, Bill.
William Parrish: Well, that's life. What can I tell you?

Susan Parrish: What will we do now?
The Man from the Coffee Shop: It'll come to us.

William Parrish: Should I be afraid?
Joe Black: Not a man like you.


  • No one can die - while he loves!
  • He's Expecting You.
  • Meet Joe Black: Sooner or Later Everyone Does.


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