Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Dimiter D. Marinov, Mike Hatton, Don Stark, Sebastian Maniscalco, P. J. Byrne, Brian Stepanek, Iqbal Theba
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Drama film directed and co-written by Peter Farrelly. Based on a true story set in America in 1962, the story follows Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a working-class Italian-American bouncer who takes on a job as a chauffeur for Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class African-American pianist on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South. Confronted with racism, danger, as well as unexpected humanity and humor, the mismatched pair are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.
Our Favorite Quotes:'It takes courage to change people’s hearts.' - Oleg (Green Book) Click To Tweet 'You never win with violence. You only win when you maintain your dignity.' - Don Shirley (Green Book) Click To Tweet 'The world's full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.' - Tony Lip (Green Book) Click To Tweet
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 36)
[answering a call]
Tony Lip: Yeah?
Jules Podell: Hey, Lip. Some guy called over here, a doctor. He’s looking for a driver. You interested?
Tony Lip: Yeah.
Jules Podell: They’re interviewing guys tomorrow afternoon.
Tony Lip: They said a doctor needed a driver.
Dr. Don Shirley: That’s all they told you?
Tony Lip: Yeah.
Dr. Don Shirley: Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Dr. Don Shirley: Have you ever driven professionally before?
Tony Lip: Yeah. Sanitation. Garbage trucks. Plus I drive my boss home at night. But I could drive anything. Limos, tow trucks, snow plows, whatever.
Dr. Don Shirley: I see. What other experience do you have?
Tony Lip: I worked a lot of joints. The Wagon Wheel, Peppermint Lounge, Copa.
Dr. Don Shirley: In what capacity?
Tony Lip: What do you mean?
Dr. Don Shirley: What did you do there?
Tony Lip: Uh, public relations.
Dr. Don Shirley: Well, first of all, Tony, I’m not a medical doctor. I’m a musician.
Tony Lip: You mean like songs?
Dr. Don Shirley: Yes. And I’m about to embark on a concert tour, the majority of which will be down South.
Tony Lip: Atlantic city?
Dr. Don Shirley: No. The Deep South. First we’re starting in the Midwest, and then we’re taking a hard left. Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and on down through the Delta. Do you foresee any issues in working for a black man?
Tony Lip: No!
Dr. Don Shirley: You’re quite sure you can leave your family for that long?
Tony Lip: Depends on what you’re paying.
Dr. Don Shirley: A hundred dollars a week, plus room and board. But let me be crystal clear, I’m not just hiring a chauffeur. I need someone who can handle my itinerary, be a personal assistant. I need a valet. I need someone who can launder my clothes, shine my shoes…
[Tony gets up to leave]
Tony Lip: Good luck, Doc.
[Tony turns and starts walking towards the door]
Dr. Don Shirley: Tony. I had my record label ask around town to find me the right man. Your name came up more than once. You’ve impressed several people with your innate ability to handle trouble. And that is why I called and inquired about your availability.
Tony Lip: Okay, here’s the deal. I got no problem being on a road with you, but I ain’t no butler. I ain’t ironing no shirts, and I’m not polishing nobody’s shoes. You need somebody to get you from point A to point B? You need someone to make sure there’s no problems along the way, and believe me, you in the Deep South, there’s going to be problems. So if you want me, it’s a buck and a quarter a week. Or go hire the little Chink that just pranced out of here, see how far you get.
Dr. Don Shirley: Well, Mr. Vallelonga, thank you for stopping by.
Dolores: I want you to write me a letter every chance you get.
Tony Lip: I can’t write letters.
Dolores: Yes, you can.
Tony Lip: I can’t write.
Dolores: Takes you five minutes. Promise me.
Tony Lip: It’s embarrassing. They ain’t going to be no good.
Dolores: It’s a lot cheaper than calling long distance, Tony. Promise me you’re going to write.
Tony Lip: I promise.
Dr. Don Shirley: Could you put out the cigarette please?
Tony Lip: Why?
Dr. Don Shirley: I can’t breath back here.
Tony Lip: What are you talking about? The smoke’s going into my lungs. I’m doing all the work here.
Dr. Don Shirley: Thank you.
Tony Lip: You speak German, huh?
Dr. Don Shirley: That was Russian.
Tony Lip: Yeah, I was stationed in Germany in the army. I could pick up a little bit of what you were saying there.
Tony Lip: Hey, when I was in the army I knew a guy from Pittsburgh, except he called it Tits-burgh. He said all the women there have huge tits.
Dr. Don Shirley: That’s absurd. Why would women in Pittsburgh have larger breasts than, say, women in New York?
Tony Lip: Guess we’ll find out, huh?
Tony Lip: You know, when you first hired me, my wife went out and bought one of your records. The one about the orphans.
Dr. Don Shirley: Orphans?
Tony Lip: Yeah. Cover had a bunch of kids sitting around a campfire?
Dr. Don Shirley: Orpheus.
Tony Lip: Yeah.
Dr. Don Shirley: Orpheus in the Underworld. It’s based on a French Opera. And those weren’t children on the cover, those were demon in the bowels of hell.
Tony Lip: No shit. Must have been naughty kids.
Dr. Don Shirley: We will be attending many events before and after the concerts, interacting with some of the wealthiest and most highly educated people in the country. It is my feeling that your diction, however charming it may be in the tri-state area, could use some finessing.
Tony Lip: You mean diction, like in what way?
Dr. Don Shirley: Like in the only way the word is ever used.
Tony Lip: Okay.
Dr. Don Shirley: Your intonation, inflection, your choice of words.
Tony Lip: I got my own problems, now I got to worry about what people think about the way I talk?
Dr. Don Shirley: There are simple techniques I can teach you that are quite effective. I can help you.
Tony Lip: I don’t need no goddamn help. People don’t like the way I talk, they can go take a shit.
Dr. Don Shirley: The profanity is another issue.
Tony Lip: Afanabla! Why you breaking my balls?
Dr. Don Shirley: Because you can do better. Mr Vallelonga.
Dr. Don Shirley: As the guest of honor, I will be introduced when entering these intimate events. You will be introduced as well. In my humble opinion, Vallelonga may be difficult to pronounce. So, I was thinking Valle would be more appropriate. Tony Valle. Short and sweet.
Tony Lip: Uh, nah. If they got a problem with Vallelonga, they can call me Tony Lip.
Dr. Don Shirley: These are genteel people. Tony the Lip may be a little worldly for them.
Tony Lip: Well, then it’s Tony Vallelonga. All these high-class people, so much smarter than me, with their intelligence and speaking abilities, you’re telling me they can’t pronounce my name? They don’t like it, they can shove it up their ass, I’ll just wait outside.
Dr. Don Shirley: A sound compromise.
[writing a letter to Dolores]
Tony Lip: [voice over] Dear Dolores, how are you? I am fine.
[we see Dolores reading the rest of the letter to their children]
Dolores: “I’m eating real good, hamburgers mostly, so don’t worry about me not eating good. I saw Dr. Shirley play the piano tonight. He don’t play like a colored guy. He plays like Liberace, but better. He’s like a genius I think. When I look at him in the rear-view mirror, I can tell he’s always thinking about stuff in his head. I guess that’s what geniuses do, but it don’t look fun to be that smart. I miss you very, very much.”
Dr. Don Shirley: So where did this Tony the Lip moniker come from?
Tony Lip: It’s not Tony the Lip. It’s Tony Lip. One word. I got it when I was a kid because my friends said I was the best bullshit artist in the Bronx.
Dr. Don Shirley: Why are you smiling?
Tony Lip: What do you mean?
Dr. Don Shirley: It doesn’t bother you that your friends, the people closest to you, consider you a liar?
Tony Lip: Who said liar? I said bullshit artist.
Dr. Don Shirley: And what’s the difference?
Tony Lip: Because I don’t lie. Ever. I’m just good at talking people into, you know, doing things they don’t want to do, by bullshitting them.
Dr. Don Shirley: And you’re proud of that?
Tony Lip: Well, it got me this job.
[reading the road sign]
Tony Lip: Kentucky Fried Chicken. In Kentucky! When’s that ever going to happen?
[eating the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky]
Tony Lip: I think this is the best Kentucky Fried Chicken I ever had. But I guess it’s fresher down here, right?
Dr. Don Shirley: I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with your appetite.
Tony Lip: No, I got the bucket so you could have some.
Dr. Don Shirley: I’ve never had fried chicken in my life.
Tony Lip: Who are you bullshitting. You people love the fried chicken, the grits, and the colored greens. I love it too. The n***o cooks used to make it all time when I was in the army.
Dr. Don Shirley: You have a very narrow assessment of me, Tony.
Tony Lip: Yeah, right? I’m good.
[offering a fried chicken to Don]
Tony Lip: Hey, you want some or not?
Dr. Don Shirley: No.
Tony Lip: Here. Come on. Tell me that don’t smell good?
Dr. Don Shirley: It…
Tony Lip: Huh?
Dr. Don Shirley: It smells okay. I prefer not to get grease on my blanket.
[in a mocking voice]
Tony Lip: Ooh, I’m going to get grease on my blankie. Come on, have a piece. It ain’t going to kill you. Come on. Take it, eat.
Dr. Don Shirley: No.
Tony Lip: Take it. I’m going to throw it in the back.
Dr. Don Shirley: Don’t you dare.
Tony Lip: Then you better take it.
Dr. Don Shirley: How? Do you have plates or utensils?
Tony Lip: Bah fongool! Eat it with your hands, that’s how you’re supposed to.
Dr. Don Shirley: I can’t do that.
Tony Lip: Eat it. Come on. Take it. I got to drive, ten and two on the wheels. Come on. Take it. Take it. Come on.
[Don takes it]
Tony Lip: There you go. Huh?
Dr. Don Shirley: I can’t do this Tony.
Tony Lip: Eat the goddamn thing. Jesus.
[Don takes a bite of the chicken]
Tony Lip: What, no good?
Dr. Don Shirley: It just seems so unsanitary.
Tony Lip: Who gives a shit, just relax and enjoy it.
Tony Lip: You know, My father used to say, “Whatever you do, do it a hundred percent. When you work, work. When you laugh, laugh. When you eat, eat like it’s your last meal.”
[he offers Don a piece of fried chicken]
Tony Lip: You want another piece? Here, have a breast. Delicious. Take it. There you go.
[Don takes it]
Dr. Don Shirley: What do we do about the bones?
[he throws the bones out the car window]
Tony Lip: We do this. This is what we do.
[Don does the same]
Tony Lip: There you go.
[they both laugh, then Tony throws out his soda cup, we then see the car reversing to where the cup is]
Tony Lip: What’s the big deal, Doc? The squirrels will eat it anyway.
Dr. Don Shirley: Pick it up, Tony.
Tony Lip: Nature takes care of the earth.
Dr. Don Shirley: Pick it up.
[Tony reluctantly picks up the cup]
Tony Lip: Ah, jeez.
Tony Lip: I don’t get it. How does he smile and shake their hands like that? If they tried to pull that outhouse shit on me, I’d piss right on their living room floor.
George: Don’t do that.
Oleg: We have many concert dates left.
Tony Lip: Yeah. So?
Oleg: You realize we are contractually obliged to perform them.
Tony Lip: Of course I do. You don’t play, we don’t get paid. What’s your point?
Oleg: Ugly circumstances are going to happen again. So control yourself.
Tony Lip: Don’t lecture me, you rat.
Oleg: Dr. Shirley could’ve stayed up north getting rear-end kissed at Park Avenue parties for three times money, but he ask for this.
Tony Lip: Why?
[Oleg walks off]
Dr. Don Shirley: What on God’s green earth are you doing?
Tony Lip: A letter.
Dr. Don Shirley: Looks more like a piecemeal ransom note. May I?
[Tony gives Don the letter he’s writing and Don reads it]
Dr. Don Shirley: “Dear, Dolores…”
Dr. Don Shirley: D-E-A-R, this is an animal.
[continues reading the letter]
Dr. Don Shirley: “I’m meeting all the highly leading citizens of the town. People that use big words, all of them, but you know me, I get by. I’m a good bullshitter.”
Dr. Don Shirley: Two T’s in bullshitter.
[continues reading the letter]
Dr. Don Shirley: “As I’m writing this letter, I’m eating potato chips, and I’m starting to get thirsty. I washed my socks and dried them on the TV. I should have brung the iron.”
Dr. Don Shirley: You know this is pathetic, right?
[referring to Tony writing to his wife]
Dr. Don Shirley: Tell me what you’re trying to say.
Tony Lip: I don’t know. You know, how I miss her and shit.
Dr. Don Shirley: Then say that, but do it in a manner that no one else has ever done it before, and without the profanity. Something like, um, put this down. “Dear Dolores…”
Tony Lip: Oh, God, no.
Dr. Don Shirley: “D-E-A-R, Dolores. When I think of you, I’m reminded of the beautiful plains of Iowa.”
Tony Lip: What planes?
Dr. Don Shirley: The plains. P-L-A-I-N-S. Those big fields we saw.
Tony Lip: Oh. Yeah, those were nice.
[reads out loud what he’s writing]
Tony Lip: “Plains. Which what they call big fields around here.”
Dr. Don Shirley: Tony, no expounding.
Tony Lip: A what?
Dr. Don Shirley: Just write what I say.
Tony Lip: No good.
[he crosses out what he just wrote]
Dr. Don Shirley: “The distance between us is breaking my spirit.”
[Tony says out loud as he writes]
Tony Lip: “Between us.”
Dr. Don Shirley: “My time and experiences without you are meaningless to me. Falling in love with you was the easiest thing I’ve ever done.”
Tony Lip: “Falling in love with you…” This is very fucking romantic.
[we see Dolores reading the rest of Tony’s letter]
Tony Lip: [voice over] … was the easiest thing I have ever done. Nothing matters to me but you. And everyday I’m alive I’m aware of this. I loved you the day I met you. I love you today, and I will love you to rest of my life.
[we’re back to Tony and Don]
Tony Lip: So can I put the, “P.S. Kiss the kids?”
Dr. Don Shirley: A P.S.?
Tony Lip: Yeah, like at the end.
Dr. Don Shirley: That’s like clanging a cowbell at the end of Shostakovitch’s seventh.
Tony Lip: Right, so that’s good.
Dr. Don Shirley: It’s perfect, Tony.
Dr. Don Shirley: They were wrong for the way they treated me, and you rewarded them.
Tony Lip: I was hired to get you from one show to the next. How I do it shouldn’t matter to you.
Dr. Don Shirley: I just wish you hadn’t paid them off.
Tony Lip: I did what I had to do. You know, if this got out, it would kill your career.
Dr. Don Shirley: Okay, Tony. I need you to stop it with the phony altruism and concern for my career.
Tony Lip: What the hell does that mean?
Dr. Don Shirley: You were only thinking about yourself back there because you know if I miss a show it’ll come out of your pocket book.
Tony Lip: Of course I don’t want you to miss a show, you ungrateful bastard! You think I’m doing this for my health? Tonight I saved your ass, so show a little appreciation maybe. Besides, I told you never to go nowhere without me!
Dr. Don Shirley: I assumed you’d want this to be the exception.
Tony Lip: I don’t know. Personally I think if you stuck to that classic stuff it would’ve been a big mistake.
Dr. Don Shirley: A mistake? Performing the music I trained my entire life to play?
Tony Lip: Trained? What are you, a seal? People love what you do. Anyone can sound like Beethoven, or Joe Pan, or them other guys you said. But your music, what you do, only you can do that.
Dr. Don Shirley: Thank you, Tony. But not everyone can play Chopin. Not like I can.
Louie Venere: Got to admit, Lip’s letters, they are not bad.
Rudy Vallelonga: Well, it’s in the family. They say our great, great, great grandfather helped Da Vinci with the Sixteen Chapel.
Johnny Venere: You mean Michelangelo?
Rudy Vallelonga: Right.
Johnny Venere: What does Michelangelo have to do with writing letters?
Rudy Vallelonga: I’m just saying, we’re an arty family.
[as they have both been thrown in jail]
Dr. Don Shirley: As my mother always said, “What kind of brand new fool are you?!” Look at them over there. Take a good look at the officer you hit. Look at him. He’s over there having a grand old time, chatting up with his pals, enjoying a nice cup of coffee. And where are you? In here, with me, who did nothing. Yet I’m the one who’s pays the price. I’m the one who’s going to miss the Birmingham show.
Tony Lip: Hey, I’m going to lose a lot of money, too, if you don’t play Birmingham.
Dr. Don Shirley: So that little temper tantrum, was it worth it, hm? You never win with violence, Tony. You only win when you maintain your dignity. Dignity always prevails. And tonight, because of you, we did not.
Dr. Don Shirley: You shouldn’t have hit him.
Tony Lip: I didn’t like the way he was treating you, making you stand out in the rain like that.
Dr. Don Shirley: Please, you hit him because of what he called you. I’ve had to endure that kind of talk my entire life, you should be able to take it for at least one night.
Tony Lip: What, I can’t get mad at that stuff that he was saying because I ain’t black? Christ, I’m blacker than you.
Dr. Don Shirley: Excuse me?
Tony Lip: You don’t know shit about your own people, what they eat, how they talk, how they live. You don’t even know who Little Richard is.
Dr. Don Shirley: Oh, so knowing who Little Richard is makes you blacker than me? Oh, Tony, I wish you could hear yourself sometimes, you wouldn’t talk so damn much.
Tony Lip: Bullshit! I know exactly who I am. I’m the guy who lived in the same neighborhood in the Bronx my entire life, with my mother, my father, my brother, and now my wife and kids. That’s it, that’s who I am. I’m the asshole who has to hustle every goddamn day to put food out on table. You, Mr. Big Shot, you live on top of a castle traveling around the world doing concerts for rich people. I live on the streets, you sit on a throne. So, yeah, my world is way more blacker than yours!
Dr. Don Shirley: Pull over.
Tony Lip: What?
Dr. Don Shirley: Pull over.
Tony Lip: I ain’t pulling over!
Dr. Don Shirley: Stop the car, Tony!
[Tony stops the car and Don gets out and starts walking in the rain]
Tony Lip: What? What are you doing?! Doc? Doc, what the hell are you doing? Doc, get back in the car!
Dr. Don Shirley: Yes, I live in a castle! Tony. Alone! And rich white people pay me to play piano for them, because it makes them feel cultured. But as soon as I step off that stage, I go right back to being just another n****r to them. Because that is their true culture. And I suffer that slight alone, because I’m not accepted by my own people, because I’m not like them either! So if I’m not black enough, and if I’m not white enough, and if I’m not man enough, then tell me Tony, what am I?!
Tony Lip: Doc, thanks for helping me with the letters. You’re really good at writing them.
Dr. Don Shirley: My pleasure, Tony.
Tony Lip: You know, when you get home, maybe you should write one to your brother?
Dr. Don Shirley: He knows where I am if he ever wants to reconnect.
Tony Lip: I wouldn’t wait. You know, the world’s full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.
Tony Lip: You know, Doc, something’s been eating at me this whole trip.
Dr. Don Shirley: Hm?
Tony Lip: That Tittsburgh was a major disappointment. I didn’t notice any difference at all. Did you?
Dr. Don Shirley: Good night Tony.
Tony Lip: Tell you, I don’t know why he puts up with that shit.
Oleg: Six years ago, in 1956, Nat King Cole was invited to perform at the Municipal Auditorium here in Birmingham. Mr. Cole was the first negro asked to play at a white establishment in this city. As soon as he started playing, a group of men attack him for playing white people’s music. They pulled him off stage, beat him badly.
Tony Lip: Jesus Christ!
Oleg: You asked me once why Dr. Shirley does this. I tell you, because genius is not enough. It takes courage to change people’s hearts.
Tony Lip: What’s going on?
Dr. Don Shirley: This gentleman says that I’m not permitted dine here.
Tony Lip: No, you don’t understand, he’s playing tonight, he’s the main event. Come on.
Maitre D’: I’m sorry, but it is the policy of the restaurant.
Graham Kindell: Everything alright?
Tony Lip: Uh, no, it’s not alright. This guy is saying Dr. Shirley can’t eat here.
Graham Kindell: Oh, well, I apologize, but these are longstanding traditions. Club rules. I’m sure you understand.
Dr. Don Shirley: No, I do not understand.
Graham Kindell: I’m sorry.
Tony Lip: Wait a minute, are you telling me the bozos and this band, and all these people that came here to see him play, they can eat here, but the star of the show, the talking spot of honor, he can’t?
Graham Kindell: I’m afraid not.
Dr. Don Shirley: Tony, are you hungry?
Tony Lip: Does Betty like butter? Er?
Tony Lip: I like what you did back there, Doc. You stood up for yourself. It’s like your friend the President says, “Ask not your country what you could do for it, ask what you do for yourself.” You know?
[as they are driving in the snow]
Tony Lip: This could get bad, Doc.
Dr. Don Shirley: Yes. It’s a shame we don’t have something to protect us on our journey. Oh, I know. Why don’t you put your lucky rock up on the dash, Tony? Come on Tony, we need all the help we can get.
[Tony puts his rock on the dash]
Dr. Don Shirley: Thank you. I feel safer already.
Tony Lip: You’re a prick, you know that?
[as Tony returns home]
Johnny Venere: Look who it is, Shakespeare’s home!
[after embracing Dolores]
Dolores: Are you hungry?
Tony Lip: I’m starving!
[last lines; after Don comes to Tony’s apartment for Tony’s family dinner]
Dr. Don Shirley: You must be Dolores.
Dr. Don Shirley: Buon natale. Thank you for sharing your husband with me.
[Dolores embraces Don]
Dolores: Thank you for helping him with the letters.
[they both laugh]
Total Quotes: 36
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