Terence Rattigan

British playwright, screenwriter (1911-1977)

Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan (10 June 191130 November 1977) was an English dramatist and screenwriter. His plays include French Without Tears, The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, The Deep Blue Sea and Separate Tables, all of which have been filmed. Like other proponents of the well-made play he fell out of fashion with the coming of the Angry young men and the kitchen sink drama.

Sir Terence Rattigan


  • Kenneth: If you’re so hot, you'd better tell me how to say she has ideas above her station.
    Brian: Oh, yes, I forgot. It's fairly easy, old boy. Elle a des idées au-dessus de sa gare.
    • French Without Tears, Act I. (1937).
  • When you're between any kind of devil and the deep blue sea, the deep blue sea sometimes looks very inviting.
    • The Deep Blue Sea, Act I. (1952).
  • Let us invent a character, a nice respectable, middle-class, middle-aged, maiden lady, with time on her hands and the money to help her pass it. She enjoys pictures, books, music, and the theatre and though to none of these arts (or rather, for consistency's sake, to none of these three arts and the one craft) does she bring much knowledge or discernment, at least, as she is apt to tell her cronies, she "does know what she likes". Let us call her Aunt Edna.
    • The Collected Plays of Terence Rattigan (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1953) vol. 1, p. xi.
  • A novelist may lose his readers for a few pages; a playwright never dares lose his audience for a minute.
  • Do you know what le vice Anglais – the English vice – really is? Not flagellation, not pederasty – whatever the French believe it to be. It's our refusal to admit to our emotions. We think they demean us, I suppose.
    • In Praise of Love, Act II. (1973).
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