Terms of Endearment

1983 film directed by James L. Brooks

Terms of Endearment is a 1983 film about the often stormy relationship between Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma.

Directed by James L. Brooks. Written by James L. Brooks, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry.
Come to laugh, come to cry, come to care, come to terms.

Aurora Greenway

  • [about Flap] He can't even do the simple things, like fail locally.
  • [to Vernon] Don't worship me until I've earned it.
  • [to Melanie] Gorgeous isn't everything.
  • [to Flap] Raising three children, working full-time, and chasing women requires a lot more energy than you have. You know, one of the nicest qualities about you has always been that you recognized your weaknesses. Don't lose that quality now just when you need it the most.

Emma Greenway Horton

  • [to Aurora] Momma, that's the first time I stopped hugging first. I like that.

Garrett Breedlove

  • [Lying in the surf after being thrown from the car] If you wanted to get me on my back, all you had to do was ask me.


Garrett: You're just going to have to trust me about this one thing. You need a lot of drinks.
Aurora: To break the ice?
Garrett: To kill the bug that you have up your ass.

Garrett: [on their first date] Aurora...
Aurora: Yes?
Garrett: You're not fun, by any chance, are you?
Aurora: I don't really think we should think about that right now. [pause] Impatient boys sometimes miss dessert!

Sam: You're a very rude young woman. I know Douglas from the rotary, and I can't believe he'd want you treating customers so badly.
Cashier: I don't think I was treating her badly.
Sam: Then you must be from New York.

Sam: Emma, I haven't made love to a woman . . . in almost three years.
Emma: How come?
Sam: My wife has a disc problem. And she can't take having . . . any weight on her.
Emma: Sam, I hope you don't mind me asking you this, but . . . have you ever thought of - of your wife getting on - on top?
Sam: Oh, she wouldn't do that.
Emma: She may surprise you.
Sam: No, I don't think so. It would be so unlike her.
Emma: Did you ask?
Sam: About 600 times.

Aurora: [Arriving back from their first date] Would you like to come in?
Garrett: I'd rather stick needles in my eyes.
Aurora: Everything would have been just fine, you know, if you hadn't gotten drunk. I was... I... I just didn't want you to think I was like one of your other girls.
Garrett: Not much danger in that unless you curtsy on my face real soon.
Aurora: Garrett! What is it that makes you so insistent on shocking and insulting me? I mean, I really hate that way of talking. You must know this. Why do you do it?
Garrett: I'll tell you, Aurora. I don't know what it is about you, but you do bring out the devil in me.

Garrett: [before sex] I like the lights on.
Aurora: Then go home and turn them on.

Emma: [after talking on the phone with Flap Horton] Flap accepted the job at Kearney, Nebraska. I go back. We're gonna move in a week.
Patsy: Emma, I don't know why you don't leave him.
Emma: Honestly, I don't know, either. He's cute.

Dr. Maise: We do more and more on an outpatient basis. We shouldn't need to take her back, unless the illness escalates.
Aurora: But you're not telling me anything.
Dr. Maise: What are you confused about?
Aurora: How is she?
Dr. Maise: I tell people to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Aurora: And they let you get away with that?

Patsy: Emma, this is Lizbeth.
Emma: [shakes hands with her] Oh, hi, Elizabeth.
Lizbeth: Hi. It's Lizbeth.
Emma: Isn't that what I said?
Lizbeth: No, you said "Elizabeth" with an e. It's Lizbeth.
Emma: Oh, two names? Liz Beth?
Lizbeth: Oh no, one. Lizbeth.
Emma: Lizbeth?
Lizbeth: Never mind.
The others laugh.
Patsy: And this is Jane.
Emma: Thank heavens!

Aurora: [to workmen hanging her paintings] Careful there. Those are worth more than you'll ever make in your lifetime.
Everyone stares at her.
Emma: [sighs] I grew up with it my whole life. You can take it for a couple of minutes.

Aurora: I just don't want to fight anymore.
Emma: What do you mean? When do we fight?
Aurora: When do we fight? You amaze me. I always think of us as fighting.
Emma: That's just from your end. That's 'cause you're never satisfied with me.

Tommy: Are you getting well?
Emma: Look, I'm sorry about this but I can't help it, and I can't talk to you for too long or I'll get real upset. I want you to make a lot of friends. And I want you to be real nice to the girls 'cause they're gonna be real important to you, I swear.
Tommy: I'm not afraid of girls. What makes you think that?
Emma: Well, you may be later on.
Tommy: I doubt it.
Teddy: Why don't you shut up? Shut up!
Tommy: You shut up!
Emma: Ted, give me a kiss, come on. Tommy, you be sweet. Be sweet. And stop tryin' to pretend like you hate me. I mean, it's silly.
Tommy: I like you.
Emma: Okay then, will you listen especially close?
Tommy: What?
Emma: Listen real hard?
Tommy: I said "what?"
Emma: I know you like me. I know it. For the last year or two, you've been pretending like you hate me. I love you very much. I love you as much as I love anybody, as much as I love myself. And in a few years when I haven't been around to be on your tail about something or irritating you, you could... remember that time that I bought you the baseball glove when you thought we were too broke. You know? Or when I read you those stories? Or when I let you goof off instead of mowing the lawn? Lots of things like that. And you're gonna realize that you love me. And maybe you're gonna feel badly, because you never told me. But don't - I know that you love me. So don't ever do that to yourself, all right?

Aurora: Do you have any reaction at all to my telling you I love you?
Garrett: I was just inches from a clean getaway.


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