Wuthering Heights (1939 film)

1939 film by William Wyler

Wuthering Heights is a 1939 film in which a servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveler the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.

I am torn by Desire... tortured by hate!
Directed by William Wyler. Written by Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht, based on the novel by Emily Brontë.
A Story of Vengeful Thwarted Love.  taglines


  • I want to crawl to her feet, whimper to be forgiven, for loving me, for needing her more than my own life, for belonging to her more than my own soul.


Ellen: She calls him, and he follows her out to the moor.
Lockwood: Oh, he's mad. He's like a madman. He seized me by the collar and dragged me out. You see, I had a dream. I thought I heard a voice calling. I reached out to close the shutter and something touched me, something cold and clinging like an icy hand. And then I saw her, a woman, but then my senses must have become disordered, because the falling snow shaped itself into what looked like a phantom...
Ellen: It was Cathy.
Lockwood: Who is Cathy?
Ellen: A girl who died.
Lockwood: [startled] Oh no, I don't believe in ghosts. I don't believe in phantoms sobbing through the night.
Ellen: Poor Cathy.
Lockwood: I don't believe that life comes back, once it's died, and calls again to the living. No, I don't.
Ellen: Maybe if I told you a story, you'd change your mind about the dead coming back. Maybe you'd know, as I do, that there is a force that brings them back, if their hearts were wild enough in life.

Young Cathy: You're so handsome when you smile...Don't you know that you're handsome? Do you know what I've always told Ellen? That you're a prince in disguise...I said your father was the Emperor of China. Your mother an Indian queen. And it's true Heathcliff. You were kidnapped by wicked sailors and brought to England. But I'm glad they did. Because I've always wanted to know somebody of noble birth.
Young Heathcliff: All the princes I ever read about had castles.
Young Cathy: Of course, they captured them. You must capture one too. [Cathy points up at Peniston Crag] There's a beautiful castle that lies waiting for your lance, Sir Prince.
Young Heathcliff: You mean Peniston Crag?
Young Cathy: Yes.
Young Heathcliff: Aw, that's just a rock.
Young Cathy: If you can't see that that's a castle, you'll never be a prince, Heathcliff. Here, take your lance and charge. [She hands him the riding whip] See that black knight waiting at the drawbridge - Challenge him! Now charge... [After a make-believe struggle] Heathcliff! You killed him. You killed him. You killed the black knight.
Young Heathcliff: He deserved it, for all his wicked deeds.
Young Cathy: Oh it's a wonderful castle. Heathcliff, let's never leave it.
Young Heathcliff: Never in our lives. Let all the world confess, that there is not in all the world a more beautiful damsel than the Princess Catherine of Yorkshire.
Young Cathy: [She curtsies down to serve him] But I - I'm still your slave.
Young Heathcliff: No Cathy. I now make you my queen. Whatever happens out there, here, you will always be my queen.

Cathy: It would be dreadful if Hindley ever found out.
Heathcliff: Found out what? Can't you talk to me once in a while?
Cathy: Shouldn't talk to you at all. Look at you. You get worse every day. Dirty, unkempt, and in rags. Why aren't you a man? Heathcliff, why don't you run away?
Heathcliff: Run away? From you?
Cathy: You could come back to me rich and take me away. Why aren't you my prince like we said long ago? Why can't you rescue me Heathcliff?
Heathcliff: Cathy, come with me now.
Cathy: Where?
Heathcliff: Anywhere.
Cathy: And live in haystacks and steal our food from the marketplaces? No Heathcliff, that's not what I want.
Heathcliff: You just want to send me off. That won't do. I've stayed here and been beaten like a dog, abused and cursed and driven mad, but I stayed just to be near you, even as a dog. And I'll stay 'til the end. I'll live and I'll die under this rock.

Cathy: Go on, Heathcliff. Run away. Bring me back the world.
Heathcliff: I'm going. I'm going from here and from this cursed country both...But I'll be back in this house one day, Judge Linton, and I'll pay you out. I'll bring this house down in ruins about your heads. That's my curse on you. [He spits downward] On all of you.

Cathy: Heathcliff. Is he here?
Ellen: Oh yes, he came back one night last week with great talk of lying in a lake of fire without you. How he had to see you to live. He's unbearable. I wonder where he could be, the scoundrel. Heathcliff? Heathcliff?
Heathcliff: Cathy!
Cathy: Heathcliff!
Heathcliff: Why did you stay so long in that house?
Cathy: Didn't expect to find you here?
Heathcliff: Why did you stay so long?
Cathy: Why? Because I was having a wonderful time. A delightful, fascinating, wonderful time. Among human beings. Go and wash your face and hands Heathcliff. And comb your hair so that I needn't be ashamed of you in front of a guest. [Edgar walks into the room and stands next to Cathy]
Ellen: Heathcliff! What are you doing in this part of the house? Go and look after Mr. Linton's horses.
Heathcliff: Let him look after his own.
Cathy: Heathcliff! [She is restrained by Edgar]
Edgar: I've already done so.
Cathy: Apologize to Mr. Linton at once. [Heathcliff walks out of the room without a word]

Edgar: I simply cannot understand how your brother can allow that beast of a gypsy to have the run of the house.
Cathy: Don't talk about him.
Edgar: Cathy, how can you, a gentle-woman, tolerate him under your roof? A roadside beggar giving himself airs of equality. How can you?
Cathy: What do you know about Heathcliff?
Edgar: All I need or want to know.
Cathy: He was my friend long before you.
Edgar: That blackguard!
Cathy: Blackguard and all. He belongs under this roof and you speak well of him or get out.
Edgar: Are you out of your senses?
Cathy: Get out I said, or stop calling those I love names.
Edgar: 'Those you love?'
Cathy: Yes! Yes!
Edgar: Cathy, what possesses you? Do you realize the things you're saying?
Cathy: I see that I hate you. I hate the look of your milk-white face, I hate the touch of your soft, foolish hands.
Edgar: Some of that gypsy's evil soul has gone into you I think.
Cathy: Yes, it's true!
Edgar: So that beggar's dirt is on you?
Cathy: Yes, yes! Now get out!

Cathy: Forgive me, Heathcliff. Forgive me. Heathcliff. Make the world stop right here. Make everything stop and stand still and never move again. Make the moors never change, and you and I never change.
Heathcliff: The moors and I will never change. Don't you, Cathy.
Cathy: I can't. I can't. No matter what I ever do or say Heathcliff, this is me, now, standing on this hill with you. This is me forever. Heathcliff, when you went away, what did you do? Where did you go?
Heathcliff: I went to Liverpool. One night, I shipped for America on a brigantine going to New Orleans. We were held up by the tide and I lay all night long on the deck, thinking of you, and the years and years ahead without you. I jumped overboard and swam ashore.
Cathy: I think I'd died if you hadn't.
Heathcliff: Cathy, we're not thinking of that other world now.
Cathy: Smell the heather. Heathcliff. [She stands and holds her arms outstretched] Fill my arms with heather. All they can hold. Come on.
Heathcliff: Cathy. You're still my queen.

Heathcliff: You're not gonna sit all evening, simpering in front of him again, listening to his silly talk.
Cathy: Oh I'm not?
Heathcliff: No.
Cathy: Well Heathcliff I am. It's much more entertaining than listening to a stable boy.
Heathcliff: Cathy. Don't you talk like that.
Cathy: I will. Go away. This is my room. It's a ladies room. Not a room for servants with dirty hands to come into with their insulting complaints. Now let me alone.
Heathcliff: Yes. Yes. Tell the dirty stable boy to let go of you. He soiled your pretty dress. But who soiled your heart? Not Heathcliff. Who turns you into a vain, cheap, worldly fool? Linton does. You'll never love him, but you'll let yourself be loved because it pleases your stupid, greedy vanity. Loved by that milksop with buckles on his shoes...
Cathy: Stop it. Stop it and get out. You had your chance to be something else. The people's servant were all you were born to be, a beggar in the center of the road, begging for favors, not earning them but whimpering for them with your dirty hands.
Heathcliff: That's all I've become to you. A pair of dirty hands. Well, have them then. Have them where they belong! [He strikes her across the face with one hand, and then with the other] It doesn't help to strike you.

Ellen: Well, if Master Edgar and his charms and money and parties mean Heaven to you, what's to keep you from taking your place among the Linton angels?
Cathy: I don't think I belong in Heaven, Ellen. I dreamt once that I was there. I dreamt I went to Heaven, and that Heaven didn't seem to be my home. And I broke my heart with weeping to come back to Earth. And the angels were so angry they flung me out into the middle of the heap, on top of Wuthering Heights. And I woke up sobbing with joy. That's it, Ellen. I have no more business marrying Edgar Linton than I have of being in Heaven. But Ellen, Ellen, what can I do?
Ellen: You're thinking of Heathcliff.
Cathy: Who else? He's sunk so low. He seems to take pleasure in being mean and brutal. And yet, he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. And Linton's is as different as frost from fire...Ellen, I am Heathcliff. Everything he's suffered, I've suffered. The little happiness he's ever known I've had too. Oh Ellen, if everything in the world died and Heathcliff remained, life would still be full for me.

Edgar: Well, what brought about this amazing transformation? Did you, uh, discover a gold mine in the New World, or perhaps you fell heir to a fortune?
Heathcliff: The truth is, I remembered that my father was an Emperor of China and my mother was an Indian Queen. [He glances at Cathy, watching her reaction to their childhood make-believe] And I went out and claimed my inheritance. It all turns out just as you suspected Cathy - that I had been kidnapped by wicked sailors and brought to England, that I was of noble birth.
Cathy: Are you visiting here long? I mean, in the village?
Heathcliff: For the rest of my life. I've just bought Wuthering Heights - the house, the stock, and the moors.
Edgar: You mean that Hindley has sold you the estate?
Heathcliff: He's not aware of it as yet. I'm afraid it will be somewhat of a surprise to him when he finds out that his gambling debts and liquor bills were all paid up for him by his former stable boy. Or perhaps he will merely laugh at the irony of it, Mr. Linton.
Cathy: Edgar and I have many neighbors whom we receive with hospitality and friendship. And if you are to be one of them, you're welcome to visit our house, but not with a scowl on your face or an old bitterness in your heart.
Heathcliff: Thank you. It occurs to me that I have not congratulated you on your marriage. I've often thought of it. Allow me to express my delight over your happiness now.

Cathy: You're very grand Heathcliff, so handsome. Looking at you tonight, I could not help but remember how things used to be.
Heathcliff: They used to be better.
Cathy: Don't pretend life hasn't improved for you.
Heathcliff: Life has ended for me. [A long pause] How can you stand here beside me and pretend not to remember? Not to know that my heart is breaking for you. That your face is the wonderful light burning in all this darkness.
Cathy: Heathcliff no, I forbid it.
Heathcliff: Do you forbid what your heart is saying to me now?
Cathy: It's saying nothing.
Heathcliff: It 'tis. I can hear the love of the music. Oh Cathy, Cathy.
Cathy: I'm not the Cathy that was. Can you understand that? I'm somebody else. I'm another man's wife and he loves me. And I love him.
Heathcliff: If he loved you with all the power of his soul for the whole lifetime, he couldn't love you as much as I do in a single day. Not he, not the world. Not even you Cathy can come between us.
Cathy: Heathcliff, you must go away. You must leave this house and never come back to it. I never want to see your face again or listen to your voice again as long as I live.
Heathcliff: You lie. I did come here tonight because you willed it. You willed me here to cross the sea.

Cathy: [about his plan to marry Isabella and neglect her] Oh Heathcliff, you must not do this...she hasn't harmed you.
Heathcliff: You have.
Cathy: Then punish me.
Heathcliff: I'm going to. When I take her in my arms, when I kiss her, when I promise her life and happiness.
Cathy: Oh Heathcliff, if there's anything human left in you, don't do this! Don't make me a partner to such a crime. It's stupid, it's mad!
Heathcliff: If you ever looked at me once with what I know is in you, I would be your slave. Cathy, if your heart were only stronger than your dull fear of God and the world, I would live silently contented in your shadow. But no, you must destroy us both with that weakness you call virtue. You must keep me tormented with that cruelty you think so pious. You've been smug and pleased with my vile love of you, haven't you? Haven't you? Well, after this, you can think of me as something else than Cathy's foolish and despairing lover. You can think of me as Isabella's husband. And be glad for my happiness as I was for yours.

Cathy: [on her deathbed] Heathcliff. Come here.
Heathcliff: Cathy...
Cathy: I was dreaming that I wake up before I die, that you might come and scowl at me once more.
Heathcliff: Cathy...
Cathy: Oh, Heathcliff. Oh how strong you look. How many years do you mean to live after I'm gone? [They passionately hug and kiss each other, finally revealing their truest emotions to each other] Don't, don't let me go. If I could only hold you until we were both dead. Will you forget me when I'm in the earth?
Heathcliff: I could as soon forget you with my own life, Cathy, if you die.
Cathy: Boy, Heathcliff. Come. Let me feel how strong you are.
Heathcliff: Strong enough to bring us both back to life, Cathy, if you want to live.
Cathy: No, Heathcliff, I want to die.
Heathcliff: Oh Cathy, why did you kill yourself?
Cathy: Hold me. Just hold me.
Heathcliff: Oh, and love comfort you. My tears don't love you, Cathy. They blight and curse and damn you!
Cathy: Heathcliff, don't break my heart.
Heathcliff: Oh Cathy, I never broke your heart. You broke it! Cathy! Cathy! You loved me! What right to throw love away for the poor fancy thing you felt for him, for a handful of worthiness. Misery and death and all the evils that God and man could have ever done would never have parted us. You'd be better alone. You wandered off like a wanton, greedy child to break your heart and mine.
Cathy: Heathcliff, forgive me. We've so little time.
Heathcliff: I won't go, Cathy. I'm here. I'll never leave you again.
Cathy: I told you, Ellen. When you went away that night in the rain, I told you I belonged to him, that he was my life, my being.
Ellen: Don't listen to her ravings.
Cathy: It's true. It's true. I'm yours, Heathcliff. I've never been anyone else's.
Ellen: She doesn't know what she's saying. You can still get out. Go before they get here.
Cathy: Take me to the window. Let me look at the moors with you once more. My darling, once more. [Heathcliff carries her in his arms to the window] Heathcliff, can you see the Crag over there where our castle is? I'll wait for you 'til you come.

Ellen: Oh my wild heart! Miss Cathy. She's gone! She's gone!
Dr. Kenneth: You've done your last black deed, Heathcliff. Leave this house.
Edgar: She's at peace now, in Heaven beyond us.
Heathcliff: What do they know of Heaven or Hell, Cathy, who know nothing of life? Oh, they're praying for you, Cathy. I'll pray one prayer with them - I repeat 'til my tongue stiffens - Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest so long as I live on! I killed you. Haunt me, then! Haunt your murderer! I know that ghosts have wandered on the Earth. Be with me always. Take any form, drive me mad, only do not leave me in this dark alone where I cannot find you. I cannot live without my life! I cannot die without my soul!

Ellen: I can still see and hear that wild hour, with poor Heathcliff trying to tear away the veil between death and life, crying out to Cathy's soul to haunt him and torment him 'til he died.
Lockwood: You say that was Cathy's ghost I heard at the window?
Ellen: Not a ghost, but Cathy's love, stronger than time itself, still sobbing for its unlived days and uneaten bread.


  • A Story of Vengeful Thwarted Love.
  • A Poignant Drama Of Chastised Love ! Reckless Hate that made a fighting fury of a stranger!
  • I am torn by Desire... tortured by hate!
  • I am Heathcliff! I love a woman who belongs to another man!... My love was fierce... my hate is burning! I will have vengeance!