Here is our pick of the best quotes from Gus Van Sant’s classic drama, based on the Oscar winning screenplay written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, following unrecognized math genius, Will Hunting (Matt Damon), who after facing a crisis, is offered help by a renowned professor, Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård), to study advanced mathematics and attend therapy sessions with psychiatrist, Sean (Robin Williams), to help him find direction in his life.
'Trust. Very important in a relationship.' - Sean (Good Will Hunting) Click To Tweet
Will: See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in fifty years, you’re going to start doing some thinking on your own. And you’re going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don’t do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a f***ing education you could’ve got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.
Clark: Yeah, but I will have a degree, and you’ll be serving my kids fries at a drive through on our way to a skiing trip.
Will: Yeah, maybe. Yeah, but at least I won’t be unoriginal.
[talking through glass window at Dunkin Donuts]
Will: Do you like apples?
Will: Yeah? Well, I got her number! How do you like them apples?
Sean: I thought about what you said to me the other day. About my painting. I stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me. I fell into a deep peaceful sleep, and I haven’t thought about you since. You know what occurred to me?
Sean: You’re just a kid. You don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about.
Will: Why, thank you.
Sean: It’s alright.
Sean: [to Will] So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo. You know a lot about him. Life’s work. Political aspirations. Him and the pope. Sexual orientation. The whole works, right? But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seeing that. If I ask you about women, you’ll probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. I ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right? “Once more into the breach, dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, and watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. If I asked you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes. Feeling like God put an angel on Earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in a hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you.
Sean: I look at you. I don’t see an intelligent, confident man. I see a cocky, scared s**tless kid. But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my f***ing life apart.
Sean: [to Will] You’re an orphan, right? You think I’d know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don’t give a s**t about all that. Because, you know what? I can’t learn anything from you I can’t read in some f***ing book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. And I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that, do you, sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
'You don't know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself.' - Sean (Good Will Hunting) Click To Tweet
Will: This girl is like, you know, beautiful. She’s smart. She’s fun. She’s different from most of the girls I’ve been with.
Sean: So call her up, Romeo.
Will: Why? So I can realize she’s not that smart. That she’s f***ing boring? You know, I mean, you don’t… This girl’s like f***ing perfect right now. I don’t want to ruin that.
Sean: Maybe you’re perfect right now. Maybe you don’t want to ruin that. But I think that’s a super philosophy, Will. That way, you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody.
Sean: My wife used to fart when she was nervous. She had all sorts of wonderful idiosyncrasies. You know, she used to fart in her sleep.
Sean: Just thought I’d share that with you. One night it was so loud, it woke the dog up. She woke up and go like, “Was that you?” I said, “Yeah.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her. Oh, God.
Will: [laughing] She woke herself up?
Sean: Yes. Oh, Christ. But, Will, she’s been dead two years, and that’s the s**t I remember. It’s wonderful stuff, you know? Little things like that. Yeah, but those are the things I miss the most. Those little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. That’s what made her my wife. Boy, and she had the goods on me too. She knew all my little peccadillos.
Sean: You’re not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense. This girl you met, she isn’t perfect either. But the question is, whether or not you’re perfect for each other. That’s the whole deal. That’s what intimacy is all about. Now you can know everything in the world, sport, but the only way you’re finding out that one is by giving it a shot. You certainly won’t learn from an old f***er like me. Even if I did know, I wouldn’t tell a pi**-ant like you.
Will: Yeah, why not? You told me every other f***ing thing. Jesus Christ. F***ing talk more than any shrink I ever seen in my life.
Sean: I teach this s**t. I didn’t say I knew how to do it.
Will: You ever think about getting remarried?
Sean: My wife’s dead.
Will: Hence the word remarried.
Sean: She’s dead.
Will: Yeah. Well, I think that’s a super philosophy, Sean. I mean, that way, you could actually go through the rest of your life without ever really knowing anybody.
Sean: Time’s up.
'People call these things imperfections, but they're not. That's the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds.' - Sean (Good Will Hunting) Click To Tweet
Will: Oh, you know, I read your book last night.
Sean: Oh, so you’re the one.
Will: And you don’t regret meeting your wife?
Sean: Why? Because of the pain I feel now? Oh, I got regrets, Will. But I don’t regret a single day I spent with her.
Will: So when did you know like that she was the one for you?
Sean: October 21st, 1975.
Will: Jesus Christ. You know the f***ing day?
Sean: Oh, yeah. Because it was game six of the World Series. Biggest game in Red Sox history.
[after Sean tells the story of how how met his wife]
Will: I don’t care if Helen of Troy walks into the room!
Sean: Oh, Helen of Troy!
Will: That’s game six ! Oh, my God. And who were these f***ing friends of yours? They let you get away with that?
Sean: They had to.
Will: What did you say to them?
Sean: I just slid my ticket across the table. I said, “Sorry, guys. I got to see about a girl.”
Will: [laughs] “I got to go see about a girl?”
Sean: Yes! I had to.
Will: That’s what you said? And they let you get away with that?
Sean: Oh, yeah. They saw it in my eyes that I meant it.
Will: You’re kidding me?
Sean: No, I’m not kidding you, Will. That’s why I’m not talking right now about some girl I saw at a bar twenty years ago, and how I always regretted not going over and talking to her. I don’t regret the eighteen years I was married to Nancy. I don’t regret the six years I had
to give up counseling when she got sick. And I don’t regret the last years when she got really sick. And I sure as hell don’t regret missing a damn game. That’s regret.
Will: Wow! Would have been nice to catch that game though.
Sean: I didn’t know Pudge was going to hit a home run.
Skylar: What if I said I would not sleep with you again until you let me meet your friends?
Will: I’d say it’s like 4:30 in the morning. They’re probably up.
[he picks up the phone and dials]
Skylar: Oh, my God. Men are shameless. If you’re not thinking with your wiener, then you’re acting directly on its behalf.
Will: You bet. And on behalf of my wiener, can I get like an advance payment?
Skylar: What is your obsession with this money? My father died when I was thirteen, and I inherited this money. You don’t think every day I wake up, and I wish that I could give it back. That I would give it back in a second if it meant I could have one more day with him. But I can’t, and that’s my life, and I deal with it. So don’t put your s**t on me when you’re the one that’s afraid.
Will: I’m afraid? What am I afraid of? What the f*** am I afraid of?
Skylar: You’re afraid of me. You’re afraid that I won’t love you back! You know what? I’m afraid too! F*** it! I want to give it a shot! And at least I’m honest with you.
[after Will’s admitted he’s an orphan and he was physically abused as a child]
Skylar: I want to hear, because I want to help you. Because I want to be with you.
Will: Help me? What the f***? What do I got, a f***ing sign on my back that says, “Save me”?
Will: Do I look like I need that?
Skylar: No! God, I just want to be with you, because I love you!
Will: Don’t bulls**t me! Don’t bulls**t me!
Skylar: I love you.
Will: Don’t you f***ing bulls**t me!
Skylar: I love you. I want to hear you say that you don’t love me. Because if you say that, then I won’t call you, and I won’t be in your life.
[she kisses his forehead]
Will: I don’t love you.
'You'll have bad times, but that'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to.' - Sean (Good Will Hunting) Click To Tweet
[after Lambeau puts out the fire on the math proof paper Will set on fire]
Lambeau: You’re right, Will. I can’t do this proof. But you can. And when it comes to that, it’s only about just a handful of people in the world who can tell the difference between you and me. But I’m one of them.
Lambeau: Yeah, so am I. Most days I wish I never met you. Because then I could sleep at night. I wouldn’t have to walk around with the knowledge that there was someone like you out there.
Lambeau: I didn’t have to watch you throw it all away.
Will: Why shouldn’t I work for the NSA? That’s a tough one. But I’ll take a shot. Say I’m working at the NSA and somebody puts a code on my desk. Something no one else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it, and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself, because I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa, or the Middle East. And once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels are hiding. Fifteen hundred people that I never met, never had no problem with, get killed. Now the politicians are saying, “Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area,” because they don’t give a s**t. It won’t be their kid over there getting shot, just like it wasn’t them when their number got called, because they were off touring the National Guard. It’ll be some kid from Southie over there taking shrapnel in the a**. He comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from, and the guy who put the shrapnel in his a** got his old job, because he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so that we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course, the oil companies used a little skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They’re taking their sweet time bringing the oil back, of course. Maybe they even took the liberty to hire an alcoholic skipper, who likes to drink martinis and f***ing play slalom with the icebergs. It ain’t too long till he hits one, spills the oil, and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy’s out of work, he can’t afford to drive, so he’s walking to the f***ing job interviews, which sucks because the shrapnel in his ass is giving him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile, he’s starving, because every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they’re serving is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I’m holding out for something better. I figure, f*** it. While I’m at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe, and join the National Guard? I can be elected president.
Sean: You feel like you’re alone, Will?
Sean: Do you have a soul mate?
Will: Define that.
Sean: Somebody who challenges you.
Will: Uh, Chuckie.
Sean: No, Chuckie’s family. He’d lie down in f***ing traffic for you. I’m talking about someone who opens up things for you, touches your soul.
Will: I got…
Will: I got plenty.
Sean: Well, name them.
Will: Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Frost, O’Connor, Kant, Pope, Locke.
Sean: That’s great. They’re all dead.
Will: Not to me they’re not.
Sean: You don’t have a lot of dialogue with them. You can’t give back to them, Will.
Will: Not without some serious smelling salts and a heater.
Sean: What are you passionate about? What do you want? I mean, there are guys who work their entire life laying brick so their kids have a chance at the opportunities you have here.
Will: I didn’t ask for this.
Sean: No. You were born with it, so don’t cop out behind, “I didn’t ask for this.”
Will: What do you mean, cop out? What’s wrong with laying brick?
Will: There’s nothing wrong. That’s somebody’s home I’m building.
Sean: Right. My dad laid brick, okay? Busted his a** so I could have an education.
Will: Exactly. That’s an honorable profession.
Will: What’s wrong with fixing somebody’s car? Someone will get to work the next day because of me. There’s honor in that.
Sean: Yeah, there is, Will. There is honor in that. And there’s honor in, you know, taking that forty minute train ride, so those college kids could come in in the morning and their floors are clean, and their wastebaskets are empty. That’s real work.
Will: That’s right.
Sean: That’s right. And that’s honorable. I’m sure that’s why you took that job. I mean, for the honor of it. I just have a little question here. You could be a janitor anywhere. Why did you work at the most prestigious technical college in the whole f***ing world? Why did you sneak around at night and finish other people’s formulas, that only one or two people in the world could do, and then lie about it? Because I don’t see a lot of honor in that, Will.
Sean: So what do you really want to do?
Will: I want to be a shepherd.
Will: I want to move up to Nashua, and get a nice little spread, get some sheep and tend to them.
Sean: Maybe you should go do that.
Sean: You know, if you’re going to jerk off, why don’t you just do it at home with a moist towel?
Will: Why are you kicking me out, Sean? I mean, you’re lecturing me on life? Look at you, you f***ing burnout. What winds your clock?
Sean: Working with you.
Will: Where’s your soul mate? You want to talk about soul mates? Where is she?
Will: That’s right. She’s f***ing dead! She f***ing died, and you just cash in your chips, and you walk away?
Sean: Hey, at least I played a hand.
Will: Oh, you played a hand and you lost. You lost a big f***ing hand! And some people will lose a big hand like that and have the sack to ante up again!
Sean: Look at me. What do you want to do?
Sean: You and your bulls**t. You got a bulls**t answer for everybody. But I ask you a very simple question, and you can’t give me a straight answer. Because you don’t know. I’ll see you, Bo-peep.
Will: F*** you.
Sean: You’re the shepherd.
'You'll never have that kind of relationship in a world where you're always afraid to take the first step, because all you see is every negative thing ten miles down the road.' - Sean (Good Will Hunting) Click To Tweet
Chuckie: Look, you’re my best friend. So don’t take this the wrong way. But in twenty years, if you’re still living here, coming over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still working construction, I’ll f***ing kill you. That’s not a threat. That’s a fact. I’ll f***ing kill you.
Will: What the f*** are you talking about?
Chuckie: Look, you’ve got something none of us have.
Will: Oh, come on. Why is it always this? I mean, I f***ing owe it to myself to do this or that. What if I don’t want to?
Chuckie: No, no, no. No, f*** you. You don’t owe it to yourself. You owe it to me. Because tomorrow I’m going to wake up, and I’ll be fifty, and I’ll still be doing this s**t. That’s alright. That’s fine. I mean, you’re sitting on a winning lottery ticket. You’re too much of a pu**y to cash it in, and that’s bulls**t. Because I’d do f***ing anything to have what you got. So would any of these f***ing guys. It’d be an insult to us if you’re still here in twenty years. Hanging around here is a f***ing waste of your time.
Chuckie: [to Will] Let me tell you what I do know. Every day I come by your house, and I pick you up. And we go out, and have a few drinks, and a few laughs, and it’s great. You know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb, and when I get to your door. Because I think maybe I’ll get up there, and I’ll knock on the door, and you won’t be there. No, “Goodbye.” No, “See yoou later.” No nothing. You just left. I don’t know much, but I know that.
Sean: Why does he hang out with those retarded gorillas, as you call them? Because any one of them, if he asked them to, would take a f***ing bat to your head. Okay? That’s called loyalty.
Lambeau: Yeah, that’s very touching.
Sean: And who’s he handling? He pushes people away before they have a chance to leave him. It’s a defense mechanism, alright? And for twenty years, he’s been alone because of that.
Sean: Why are you still so f***ing afraid of failure?
Lambeau: It’s about my medal, isn’t it? Oh, God. I could go home and get it for you. You can have it.
Sean: Oh, please don’t. You know what? You can shove the medal up your f***ing a**, alright? Because I don’t give a s**t about your medal, because I knew you before you were a mathematical god. When you were pimple-faced, and homesick, and didn’t know what side of the bed to pi** on.
Lambeau: Yeah, you were smarter than me then, and you’re smarter than me now. So don’t blame me for how your life turned out, it’s not my fault.
Sean: I don’t blame you! It’s not about you, you mathematical d**k! It’s about the boy!
[referring to the file on Will]
Sean: Hey, Will, I don’t know a lot. You see this? All this s**t? It’s not your fault.
Will: Yeah, I know that.
Sean: Look at me, son. It’s not your fault.
Will: I know.
Sean: No. It’s not your fault.
Will: I know.
Sean: No, no, you don’t. It’s not your fault. Hmm?
Will: I know.
Sean: It’s not your fault.
[tears start rolling down Will’s face]
Sean: It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
Will: Don’t f*** with me.
Sean: It’s not your fault.
[Will pushes Sean back]
Will: Don’t f*** with me, alright? Don’t f*** with me, Sean, not you.
[Will starts sobbing]
Sean: It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
[Will embraces Sean as he sobs]
Will: My God! My God, I’m so sorry. My God!
Sean: F*** them, okay?
[as they’re hugging goodbye]
Will: Hey, does this violate the patient-doctor relationship?
Sean: Nah. Only if you grab my a**.
[Sean reads the note from Will]
Will: Sean, if the professor calls about that job, just tell him, “Sorry, I had to go see about a girl.” Will.
Sean: Son of a b**ch. He stole my line.
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