Watchmen (film)

2009 neo-noir superhero film directed by Zack Snyder
Justice is coming to all of us.
Tonight, a comedian died in New York. Somebody knows why. Somebody knows.

Watchmen is an American superhero film released in 2009, based on the 1986 comic book limited series Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Set in an alternate 1985, the film follows a group of former vigilantes as tensions heighten between the United States and the Soviet Union while an investigation of an apparent conspiracy against them uncovers something even more grandiose and sinister.

Directed by Zack Snyder. Written by David Hayter and Alex Tse.
See also: Watchmen

Rorschach/Walter KovacsEdit

Meeting with Dreiberg left bad taste in mouth; a flabby failure who sits whimpering in his basement. Why are so few of us left active, healthy, and without personality disorders?
None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you... you're locked in here with me!
  • Rorschach's journal, October 12th 1985. Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city's afraid of me. I've seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood. And when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up around their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll whisper "No." Now the whole world stands on the brink staring down into bloody hell. All those liberals, and intellectuals, and smooth-talkers; and all of a sudden nobody can think of anything to say. Beneath me, this awful city, it screams like an abattoir full of retarded children. And the night reeks of fornication and bad consciences.
  • Hurm. [repeated line]
  • [As the Owlship careens out of control] Daniel... Do not wish to interfere with operation of ship, but perhaps you should pull up sharply...
  • [discovering that the victim of murder was The Comedian.] Tonight, a comedian died in New York. Somebody knows why... somebody knows.
  • Rorschach's journal, October 13th 1985. 8:30pm. Meeting with Dreiberg left bad taste in mouth; a flabby failure sits whimpering in his basement. Why are so few of us left active, healthy, and without personality disorders? The First Nite Owl runs an autorepair shop. The first Silk Spectre is a bloated, aging whore dying in a California rest resort. Dollar Bill got his cape stuck on a revolving door where he got gunned down. Silhouette... murdered, a victim of her own indecent lifestyle. Mothman is in an asylum in Maine. Even Adrian Veidt. Possible homosexual? Must investigate further. Only two names remain on my list. Both share private quarters at Rockefeller Military Research Center. I shall go to them. I shall go tell the indestructible man that someone plans to murder him.
  • Took a lot of effort to get in here to see you. I'm not leaving... [teleported away by Dr. Manhattan] ...until I've had my say.
  • Edward Blake, The Comedian, born 1918, buried in the rain. Murdered. Is that what happens to us? No time for friends? Only our enemies leave roses. Violent lives ending violently. Blake understood. Humans are savage in nature. No matter how much you try to dress it up, to disguise it. Blake saw society's true face. Chose to be a parody of it, a joke. I heard a joke once. Man goes to doctor, says he's depressed. Life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says "Treatment is simple. The great clown, Pagliacci, is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up". Man bursts into tears. "But doctor", he says, "I am Pagliacci." Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.
  • Men get arrested. Dogs get put down.
  • God didn't kill that little girl. Fate didn't butcher her. Destiny didn't feed her to those dogs. If God saw what any of us did that night, he didn't seem to mind. From then on I knew; God doesn't make the world this way, we do.
  • None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you... you're locked in here with me!
  • [on being unmasked] Give me back my face!
  • [on the whereabouts of his mask] Where's my face?!
  • Your turn, doctor. Tell me! [He slides his mask back down over his face] What do YOU see?
  • [Final line to Dr. Manhattan who's about to kill him] DO IT!
  • [to Dr. Manhattan] Suddenly you discover humanity. Convenient. [takes off mask] If you had cared from the start, none of this would have happened.
  • [to Nite Owl II in Veidt's office] Ancient Pharaohs looked forward to the end of the world. Believed cadavers would rise to reclaim hearts from golden jars. Hurm. Must currently be holding breath in anticipation.
  • Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon.
  • [Final line of the film] Rorschach's journal. October 12, 1985. Tonight, a comedian died in New York.

Nite Owl II/Dan DreibergEdit

What happened to the American dream?
  • [Surveying the carnage after the Comedian has broken up one of the "Keene Act Riots" by gleefully shooting rioters] We were supposed to make the world a better place! What the hell happened to us?!...[quiet and broken] ...What happened to the American dream?
  • Okay, no, listen: I've had it with that! God, who do you think you are, Rorschach? You live off people while insulting them, and nobody complains because they think you're a goddamned lunatic!
  • Watchmen are over.
  • Just like the good old days. Whatever happened to them?

Silk Spectre II/Laurie JuspeczykEdit

  • Your finger is like licking a battery.
  • I'm used to going out at 3 A.M. and doing something stupid.
  • People's lives take them strange places. They do strange things, and sometimes they can't talk about them... I know how that is.
  • Oh my God...I'm on Mars.

Doctor Manhattan/Dr. Jon OstermanEdit

I can change almost anything...but I can't change human nature.
  • Janey, don't leave me! Don't leave me!
  • My father was a watch maker. He abandoned it when Einstein discovered time is relative. I would only agree that a symbolic clock is as nourishing to the intellect as a photograph of oxygen to a drowning man.
  • I feel fear for the last time.
    • As his human body is about to be destroyed.
  • They call me "Doctor Manhattan". They explain the name has been chosen for the ominous associations it will raise in America's enemies. They are shaping me into something gaudy. Something lethal.
  • I am tired of Earth. These people. Tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
  • It's too late now. Always has been. Always will be.
  • All we ever see of stars is their old photographs.
  • In my opinion, the existence of life is a highly overrated phenomenon.
  • Why would I save a world I no longer have any stake in?
  • When you left me, I left Earth. Does that not show you I care?
  • I've walked across the surface of the sun, seen events so tiny and so fast that they hardly can be said to have occurred at all. But you, Adrian...are just a man. And the world's smartest man poses no more threat to me than does its smartest termite.
  • I can change almost anything...but I can't change human nature.
  • Miracles. Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold. I've longed to witness such an event, and yet I neglect that in human coupling, millions upon millions of cells compete to create life, for generation after generation until, finally, your mother loves a man: Edward Blake, the Comedian, a man she has every reason to hate, and out of that contradiction, against unfathomable odds, it's you — only you — that emerged. To distill so specific a form, from all that chaos; it's like turning air into gold. A miracle. Now dry your eyes, and let's go home.

The Comedian/Edward BlakeEdit

What happened to the American dream? It came true. You're looking at it!
  • You know, mankind's been trying to kill each other off since the beginning of time; now, we finally have the power to finish the job. Ain't nothing gonna matter once those nukes start flying; we'll all be dust. [sets fire to a map of the United States.] And Ozymandias here will be the smartest man on the cinder.
  • (After Rorschach tells him that justice matters) Justice is coming to all of us. No matter what the fuck we do.
  • It's a joke. It's all a fuckin' joke.
  • God help us all.
  • (While shooting gleefully into a crowd of rioters, Nite Owl asks him what happened to the American Dream) What happened to the American dream? It came true! You're looking at it!
  • (Dr. Manhattan tells him that he sounds bitter over American victory in Vietnam) Me? Bitter? Fuck no. I think it's hilarious.
  • I've done some bad things. I did bad things to women. I shot kids. You know, in 'Nam. But that was FUCKING WAR! But this? I've never seen anything like this. And here I am, spilling my guts to one of my archenemies. The truth is, you're the closest thing to a friend I've got. What the fuck does that say?

Ozymandias/Adrian VeidtEdit

  • The only person with whom I felt any kinship with died three hundred years before the birth of Christ. Alexander of Macedonia, or Alexander the Great, as you know him.
  • Well, it was unprecedented. I wanted... needed to match his accomplishments, and so I resolved to apply antiquity's teaching to our world, today. And so began my path to conquest. Conquest not of men, but of the evils that beset them.
  • What, in life, does not deserve celebrating?
  • Dan, grow up. My new world demands less obvious heroism. Your schoolboy heroics are redundant. What have they achieved? Failing to prevent Earth's salvation is your only triumph.
  • Of course, my moral safeguards gave me pause at the necessary sacrifice. A few key regions around the globe - New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Hong Kong - disintegrated in an instant. Fifteen million people killed by Dr. Manhattan himself. The world's punishment for flirting with World War III.
  • You see, the Comedian was right. Humanity's savage nature will inevitably lead to global annihilation. So in order to save this planet, I had to trick it. With the greatest practical joke in human history.
  • " Do that ", Rorschach? I'm not a comic book villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my masterstroke to you if there were even the slightest possibility you could affect the outcome? I triggered it 35 minutes ago.


An ordinary burglar, kill the Comedian? Ridiculous.
Laurie: I'm sorry Dan, I invite you out for a few laughs... but there don't seem to be many laughs around these days.
Dan: What do you expect? The Comedian's dead.

Laurie: Hey, you remember that guy? The one who pretended to be a supervillain so he could get beaten up? What was his name..? Captain Carnage.
Dan: Yeah he was one for the books.
Laurie: You're telling me! I remember, I caught him coming out of this jeweller's. I didn't know what his racket was. I start hitting him and I think "Jeez! He's breathing funny! Does he have asthma?
Dan: He tried that with me, only I'd heard about him, so I just walked away. He follows me down the street… broad daylight, right, screaming "Punish me! PUNISH ME!" I'm like "No! Get lost!"
Laurie: What ever happened to him?
Dan: Well, he pulled it on Rorschach, and Rorschach dropped him down an elevator shaft.
[Pause. They both start laughing]
Laurie: Oh, God, I'm sorry, that isn't funny.
Dan: Maybe a little

Rorschach: An ordinary burglar, kill the Comedian? Ridiculous.
Dan: I heard he'd been working for the government since '77, knocking over Marxist republics in South America. Maybe it was a political killing or something?
Rorschach: Maybe. Maybe someone's picking off costumed heroes.
Dan: You don't think that's a little paranoid?
Rorschach: That what they say about me now? Paranoid?

Dan: Look, I don't like what you're implying. And I like being followed even less.
Rorschach: Maybe I was keeping an eye on you. In case someone's gunning for masks.
Dan: You were never that sentimental.
Rorschach: Attack on one is an attack on all of us.
Dan: What do you suggest we do about it?
Rorschach: Retribution.
Dan: Watchmen are over.
Rorschach: Says Tricky Dick.
Dan: Says me.

Laurie: Jon thinks that there's gonna be a nuclear war.
Dan: What if that's why someone wants us out of the way? So we can't do anything to stop it?

Doctor Manhattan: Why would I save a world I no longer have any stake in?
Laurie: Then do it for me. If you ever cared.
Doctor Manhattan: When you left me, I left Earth. Does that not show you that I care?

The Comedian: This is all bullshit.
Ozymandias: You know, for a guy who calls himself "The Comedian", I can never tell when you're joking.
The Comedian: "Watchmen". That's the real joke. It didn't work fifteen years ago, it sure as hell ain't gonna work now just 'cause you wanna keep playing Cowboys and Indians.
Nite Owl II: Maybe we should agree on "no drinking at meetings"? [Comedian snorts] Look, Rorschach and I have made real headway on the gang problem by working together.
Rorschach: With a group this size, it seems like a publicity stunt. [pointedly] Not in it for the ink.
Ozymandias: We can do so much more. We can save this world. [the Comedian scoffs. Ozymandias looks at him pointedly] With the right leadership.
The Comedian: And that'd be you, right Ozzy? I mean, hell, you're the smartest man on the planet.
Ozymandias: It doesn't take a genius to see the world has problems.
The Comedian: Yeah, but it takes a room full of morons to think they're small enough for you to handle. You people, you hear Moloch's back in town, you get your panties all in a bunch... You think catching him matters?
Rorschach: [steps forward, angrily] Justice matters! [Nite Owl stops him]
The Comedian: [laughs] Justice? Justice is coming for all of us, No matter what the fuck we do. You know, mankind's been trying to kill each other off since the beginning of time; now, we finally have the power to finish the job. Ain't nothing gonna matter once those nukes start flying; we'll all be dust. [sets light to a display of the United States] And Ozymandias here will be the smartest man on the cinder. [walks away, laughing]

The Comedian: Goddamn, I love working on American soil, Dan. Ain't had this much fun since Woodward and Bernstein.
Nite Owl II: How long can we keep this up?
The Comedian: Congress is pushing through some new bill that's gonna outlaw masks. Our days are numbered. Till then, it's like you always say: we're society's only protection.
Nite Owl II: From what?
The Comedian: You kidding me? From themselves.
Nite Owl II: We were supposed to make the world a better place! What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American dream?
The Comedian: "What happened to the American Dream"? It came true! You're looking at it!

Dan: So, I've been thinking... I feel that we have an obligation to our fraternity; I think we oughta spring Rorschach.
Laurie: ...What?
Dan: Someone set him up. And this whole cancer thing, with Jon... It just doesn't make sense; You didn't get it.
Laurie: Yeah, but breaking into a maximum security prison is a little different than putting out a fire.
Dan: Yeah, you're right - it'll be more fun.

Sally: Hello?
Hollis: Sally.
Sally: [surprised] Hollis?
Hollis: Yeah.
Sally: [laughs] Yes, Hollis Mason, Jesus! All this time you've had my number, and you wait until our sunset year to use it?
Hollis: Well, it seemed like a special occasion, Sal.
Sally: What?
Hollis: The TV is reporting - there was a tenement fire last night. There were trapped people, rescued by airship... And, uh, they say the pilot was, uh, dressed like an owl. And it seems he had a sexy woman with him.
Sally: [surprised] Laurie? My daughter, Laurie? [Hollis chuckles] I can't get over Laurie back in costume! Maybe she'll finally thank me for getting her started in the first place!
Hollis: [laughs] You know, Sal... From the sound of your voice, you're sounding younger than ever.
Sally: Oh, well bless you, Hollis... But that's probably just senility.
[Someone knocks on the door]
Hollis: Well,it's been great talking with you, Sal.. But, uh, someone's knockin'.
Sally: Well, don't get too misty-eyed, thinking about old times. [they chuckle] You take care now, Hollis.
Hollis: You too.

Rorschach: We need to squeeze people.
Dan: [sarcastic] Sure. Why don't we just pick names out of a phone book?
Rorschach: You've forgot how we do things, Daniel. You've gone too soft. Too trusting. Especially with women.
Dan: Okay, no, listen: I've had it with that! God, who do you think you are, Rorschach?! You live off people while insulting them, and nobody complains because they think you're a goddamn lunatic! [uncomfortable beat. Rorschach approaches Dan, who sighs] I'm sorry. I... I shouldn't have said that, man.
Rorschach: Daniel... You are a good friend. [extends his hand and Dan takes it.] I can be...difficult with me sometimes...
[Dan notices Rorschach is still grasping his hand and pulls it off with the other]
Dan: Forget it. It's okay, man. Let's do it your way.

[After The Comedian shoots a pregnant Vietnamese girl for slicing him with a broken bottle]
Doctor Manhattan: She was pregnant, and you gunned her down.
The Comedian: Yeah, well you know what, you watched me do it. You could have turned the gun into steam, the bullets into mercury, the bottle into goddamn snowflakes, but you didn't, did you? You really don't give a damn about human beings. You're drifting out of touch, Doc. God help us all.

[Rorschach enters Doctor Manhattan's lab]
Doctor Manhattan: [continuing his work unfazed] Good evening, Rorschach.
Rorschach: Doctor Manhattan. You know why I'm here.
Doctor Manhattan: Yes... [powers up device] but you're going to leave disappointed.
Laurie: Rorschach! [enters room] You shouldn't be here. You're a wanted man.
Rorschach: Nice to see you too, Silk Spectre.
Laurie: I have a real name I've been using a couple years now. Try it.
Rorschach: Whatever you say... Laurie.

Adrian: [Nixon finishes his speech on Veidt's TVs] Do you see? It's your super powers retreating from war. I've saved the Earth from hell. We both have. This is as much your victory as it is mine. Now we can return. Do what we were meant to.
Rorschach: We were meant to exact justice! Everyone's gonna know what you've done...
Adrian: Will they? By exposing me, you would sacrifice the peace so many died for today.
Dan: Peace based on a lie.
Adrian: But peace! Nonetheless.
Jon: ...He's right. Exposing Adrian would only doom the world to nuclear destruction again.
Laurie: No... we can't do this.
Jon: On Mars, you taught me the value of life. If we hope to preserve it here, we must remain silent.
Rorschach: Keep your own secrets...
[The others look as Rorschach leaves, then Jon and Adrian make eye contact]
Dan: Don't even think about it. [goes after Rorschach] Rorschach! Wait!
Rorschach: [turns] Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon. That's always been the difference between us, Daniel. [leaves the building]
Adrian: I've made myself feel every death... see every innocent face I've murdered to save humanity. [turns to Jon] You understand, don't you?
Jon: Without condoning... or condemning. I understand.

[Outside of Karnak; Dr. Manhattan confronts Rorschach before he can leave]
Rorschach: Out of my way. People have to be told!
Doctor Manhattan: You know I can't let you do that.
Rorschach: Suddenly, you discover humanity. Convenient. [takes off mask] If you had cared from the start, none of this would have happened.
Doctor Manhattan: I can change almost anything. But I can't change human nature.
Rorschach: Of course you must protect Veidt's new utopia. What's one more body amongst the foundations? [pause] Well, what are you waiting for? Do it. [Manhattan hesitates] DO IT!
[Dr. Manhattan raises his hand and kills Rorschach]
Nite Owl: [horrified] NO!!!


  • Who Watches the Watchmen?
  • Justice is coming to all of us. No matter what we do.
  • It's the end of the superhero as we know it.
  • This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.
  • I am used to going out at 3am and doing something stupid.
  • The existence of life is a highly overrated phenomenon.


About Watchmen (film)Edit

  • Q: You drew these panels that were full of carnage and bloody streets, and they're not in the movie. How did you feel as an artist, about not being able to see the actual destruction?
A: It relates to the whole question about violence in the whole thing. I think the consequences of violence should be shown graphically, just to show that violence is unpleasant. It isn't just [that] you get a little spot of blood, and then you put a band aid on it and you're all better.
  • A: All in all, using 9/11 as an excuse to change the ending of the movie doesn't sit right with me - especially since the film already shows a little girl in a dog's mouth and plenty of gore earlier in the film. Why spend so much time remaining true to the book, only to drop the ball in the final act? I sympathize with film-makers who have to work with the studios, but they could have tried harder to meet them halfway. Perhaps it didn't have to be as graphic as the novel, but there must have been some way the filmmakers could have demonstrated the lives that had been taken. The loss of those images creates more confusion, and dilutes the seriousness of the movie's grand finale.
  • A: The ending of the book shows just piles of corpses, bloody corpses in the middle of Times Square, people hanging out of windows just slaughtered on a massive scale. To do that in a comic book, and release it in 1985, is different from doing it real life, in a movie, and seeing all of these people brutally massacred in the middle of Times Square post 2001. That's a legitimate concern, and one that I shared.
  • Q: So the studio had reservations about the ending, because of September 11 and because people wouldn't be ready for it. But weren't you worried about changing the ending, as someone who loved the graphic novel?
A: Well no, because what I did, the way I sort of convinced myself - And I don't really know what it looks like, because I've only seen a rough cut of the film, without all the FX in the end - But what I did was say, "What if they were all blown into the Hiroshima shadows, which are already set up in the book?" Then you can see the death on a grand scale, you see all the particles floating in the air, but it's not so ugly. It's almost beautiful in its way. This destruction that is done in an artistic way, and it's also fed by the themes of the book and set up in there.
  • David Hayter's screenplay was as close as I could imagine anyone getting to [a film version of] Watchmen. That said, I shan't be going to see it. My book is a comic book. Not a movie, not a novel. A comic book. It's been made in a certain way, and designed to be read a certain way.
    • Alan Moore in "Watchmen: An Oral History", Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly, (2005-10-21).
  • There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one’s getting hurt. That’s not us. What is that message? That’s it’s okay that there’s this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone? That’s what Watchmen was about in a lot of ways too. There was a scene, that scene where Dan and Laurie get mugged. They beat up the criminals. I was like the first guy, I want to show his arm get broken. I want a compound fracture. I don’t want it to be clean. I want you to go, ‘Oh my God, I guess you’re right. If you just beat up a guy in an alley he’s not going to just be lying on the ground. It’s going to be messy.

External linksEdit

  Encyclopedic article on Watchmen (film) at Wikipedia

  Creator     Alan Moore  
  Comics     Watchmen · Before Watchmen  
  Adaptations     Film · The End Is Nigh  
  Parodies     Watchmensch