The Human Comedy (film)

1943 film by Clarence Brown

The Human Comedy is a 1943 American comedy-drama film about a teenager who stays at home in small-town Ithaca to support his family while his older brother prepares to go to war.

Directed by Clarence Brown. Written by Howard Estabrook, based on the 1943 novel by William Saroyan.
With All Your Heart...You'll Love It!

Homer Macauley

  • If my brother is killed in this war, I'll spit at the world. I'll hate it forever. I won't be good. I'll be bad. I'll be the worst there is. I'll be the worst that ever lived.

Mr. Macauley

  • I am Matthew Macauley. I have been dead for two years. So much of me is still living that I know now the end is only the beginning. As I look down on my homeland of Ithaca, California, with its cactus, vineyards and orchards, I see that so much of me is still living there - in the places I've been, in the fields and streets and church and most of all in my home, where my hopes, my dreams, my ambitions still live in the daily life of my loved ones.
  • [last line] Ya see Marcus, the ending is only the beginning.

Marcus Macauley

  • [to his fellow soldier Tobey, while they're on KP duty] Oh, we're poor. Always have been. My father was a great man. Not a success. Didn't make any more money than what we needed, ever... He worked in the vineyards, in the packing houses and wineries. If you saw him in the street you'd think he was nobody. But he was a great man. The only thing he cared about was his family. Ma and his kids. He saved up and made a down payment on a harp. Ha! Yeah, nobody plays a harp anymore, but that's what ma wanted, so he got her one. Took him five years to pay for it. We used to think every house had a harp just because we had one. And I thought everybody was great like him, until I got out and met some of them. Oh, they're all right, but they're not great.

Miss Hicks

  • You must remember always to give, of everything you have. You must give foolishly even. You must be extravagant. You must give to all who come into your life. Then nothing and no one shall have power to cheat you of anything, for if you give to a thief, he cannot steal from you, and he himself is then no longer a thief. And the more you give, the more you will have to give.
  • [to Homer Macauley and Hubert Ackley, whom she detained after class] You'll both learn that every man in the world is better than somebody else. And not as good as somebody else. In a democratic state every man is equal to every other man up to the point of exertion. And then every man is free to exert himself to do good or not. To grow nobly, or foolishly. I'm eager for my boys and girls to exert themselves to do good and grow nobly. I want you to understand that each of you will begin to be real men and truly human when in spite of your differences with one another you still respect one another. That's what it means to be civilized.


  • Mrs. Steed: Diana only seems a fool - she isn't really.
  • Willie Grogan: If you behold me lost in the embrace of alcohol, greet me as you pass but make no reference to my condition. I'm rather a sensitive man and I prefer not to be the object of public solicitude.


Librarian: What are you boys looking for?
Lionel: Books.
Librarian: What books are you looking for?
Lionel: All of them.
Librarian: What do you want with them?
Lionel: We wanna look at 'em.
Librarian: Books are for reading.
Lionel: Can't I just Look at 'em?
Librarian: That's not what the public library is for boy, but you can look into them and look at the pictures in them. What do you want the outsides for?
Lionel: I like to. can't I?
Librarian: There's no law against it... Who's this?
Lionel: That's Ulysses. He can't read.
Librarian: Can you?
Lionel: No. But he can't either. That's why we're friends, he's the only other man I know who can't read
Librarian: One day, when you learn to read, you'll find there's a great deal to be said for the inside of books. I've been reading for 70 years and it hasn't been nearly long enough. Now run along and look at the books.
Lionel: Yes ma'am.

Mary Arena: We call it "liquid sunshine".
Quentin Gilford: Well , in Texas, it's rain.

Tom Spangler: What d'ya want me to come to dinner for?
Diana Steed: Because I love you darling.
Tom Spangler: Every time you start that kinda talk, I wanna duck.
Diana Steed: But I do love you darling. And you love me too. You do, don't you? Yes you do.


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