The Butler Quotes

(Page 2)

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[Kennedy and Jackie are watching news on TV regarding mistreatment of Freedom Riders, not only by citizens, but by the authorities as well; Cecil puts piece of paper with a pen on the coffee table in front of Kennedy]
Cecil Gaines: Here you are, Mr. President. I’ll wait for your signature.
[in anger as he watches how the Freedom Riders are being mistreated as they are getting arrested]
John F. Kennedy: I don’t know what country I’m looking at!
[as the news continues on the TV we then see that Louis and Carol are in fact in the middle of the chaos as the police are attacking them]


[at the Gaines house, Gloria is sat on the couch with Howard watching the news on TV about the Freedom Riders]
Howard: Hey, Louis man, that little nigger might be onto somethin’.
[Howard strokes Gloria’s arm with one finger intimately]
Gloria Gaines: Stop calling him a nigger, cause he ain’t no nigger.
Howard: What’s wrong, baby?
Gloria Gaines: What’s wrong with me, is…is this.butler-11
Howard: What are you talkin’ about?
Gloria Gaines: This is what’s wrong with me. And you know what?
Howard: You used to like wrong.
Gloria Gaines: This is wrong. This is wrong.
Howard: It ain’t been wrong yet.
Gloria Gaines: I can’t do this to Cecil.
Howard: We ain’t doin’ it to Cecil. I’m doin’ it to you.
Gloria Gaines: I want you out of my house.
Howard: Why do you think God brought us next to each other?
Gloria Gaines: God ain’t got nothin’ to do with this.
Howard: He put you right next door to me. You always talkin’ about how lonely you are without Cecil being at the White House and you need a man that can appreciate the love and the woman that you are like I do.
Gloria Gaines: I want your number runnin’ ass up out of my house, off of my sofa, right now.
[Howard leans in to kiss her but Gloria pushes him away]
Gloria Gaines: I’m…I’m through! I told you.


Howard: Let me make a demonstration for you.
Gloria Gaines: Don’t come here with this bullshit crazy talk.
Howard: It’s not.
[Howard laughs and takes two clothes hangers]
Howard: This is you, right? You got your direction that you’re movin’.
[he starts spinning on of the hangers]
Gloria Gaines: What you doin’ with my hangers?
Howard: This is you, and this is me.
[he starts spinning the other hanger in the opposite direction]
Howard: Now, we seem like we don’t fit at all, we’re just crash into each other. But when you line things properly, like God puttin’ you next door to me, everything kind of works out…even if you slow down. I get you.
Gloria Gaines: You need to get your little ass up out of my house.
Howard: We need each other.
Gloria Gaines: What I need is my husband, and not to be layin’ up here in the gutter with you.


[Kennedy is lying on the floor of his bedroom when Cecil walks in with a tray]
John F. Kennedy: On average, how many pills do you think I a day, Cecil?
Cecil Gaines: About hundred and three, sir.
John F. Kennedy: Help me up.
Cecil Gaines: Mr. President.
[Cecil gives Kennedy a hand and helps him rise up off the floor]
John F. Kennedy: I know your son is a Freedom Rider. He’s in prison right now in Birmingham with Martin Luther King.
Cecil Gaines: You uh…you know how he is, sir?
John F. Kennedy: I’m guessing he’s pretty beat up. But based on his record, you must be used to it.
[Kennedy takes a seat on the couch]
John F. Kennedy: Cecil, he’s been arrested sixteen times over the past two years.butler-12
Cecil Gaines: Yes, sir.
[Cecil turns to give Kennedy his glass of water and pill]
Cecil Gaines: Will that be all, sir?
John F. Kennedy: Yeah, that’s it.
[Cecil turns and starts walking towards the door]
John F. Kennedy: You know, I never understood what you all really went through…until I saw that.
[Cecil stops]
John F. Kennedy: My brother says he’s kids have uh…changed his heart.
[Cecil turns to look at Kennedy]
John F. Kennedy: They’ve changed mine too.


[we see Kennedy on TV giving his speech on Civil Rights]
John F. Kennedy: The fires of discord are burning in every city, North and South. Where legal remedies are not at hand, redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades and protests. I am, therefore, asking the Congress to enact legislation giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public; hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments. This seems to me to be an elementary right. Its denial is an arbitrary indignity that no American in 1963 should have to endure, but many do. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all. Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly…
[news footage of Kennedy being assassinated are then shown]


[after Kennedy is assassinated Cecil is sat on the floor of the staff changing room at the White house crying when Carter enters]
Carter Wilson: Hey. Hey, Cecil. Cecil, what’s wrong?
[Cecil doesn’t reply and looks dazed]
Carter Wilson: Cecil. Cecil.
Cecil Gaines: They blew his…head off.
Carter Wilson: Who are you talking about?
Cecil Gaines: Kennedy.
[Carter drops the tray in his hand and runs out of the changing room, Cecil continues crying; later we see Jackie sat in the White House still wearing her blood-soaked clothes]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] They killed him. They killed him.
[as Jackie is sat crying, Cecil enters the room]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Mrs. Kennedy refused to change her clothes so that everybody could see what they did to her husband. The last time I saw that much blood was the day my Daddy was killed.
[Cecil silently picks up some items on the floor that are in front of Jackie, he then watches her as she continues to cry]
Cecil Gaines: Please tell me how I could help you.
[Jackie rises and walks out of the room]


[at the Gaines house, Gloria decides to get rid of everything in Louis’ bedroom when Charlie enters the room]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Ma, what you doin’?
Gloria Gaines: Here, why don’t you take this box and put it in the basement? Make sure you label it ‘trophies’.
[she hands the box full of trophies to Charlie]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): This is Louis’ stuff, Ma. You know he gonna be pissed.
Gloria Gaines: I don’t care nothin’ about Louis getting pissed. I’m the one pissed, he ain’t been here in three years.
[Gloria walks out of the room carrying a box full of Louis’ things]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Why you pissed, Mama?


[Cecil returns home from work and finds Gloria getting rid of Louis’ things, he holds up a necktie]
Cecil Gaines: It belonged to the President. Mrs. Kennedy gave me. It belonged to the President.
[Gloria just looks at Cecil]
Cecil Gaines: Gloria, the President was killed.
Gloria Gaines: I’m really sorry about the President, I really am. But you and that White House can kiss my ass. I don’t care what goes on in that house, I don’t care what goes on in this house.
[she walks out of the room, Cecil walks over the bed and sit down placing Kennedy’s tie on the bed, just then he sees Gloria enter the room and walk over to him, he rises, goes over to her and they start kissing and then later we see them in bed laughing and talking]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] I knew that Gloria had been unhappy for some time now. I knew that’s probably why she drank. She wanted me to get along better with Louis, I didn’t know how. I couldn’t. I could cut back them long hours at the White House. And I did just that.
[later as they lie in bed together]
Gloria Gaines: How many pairs of shoes she got?
Cecil Gaines: She got about a hundred and twenty-five.
Gloria Gaines: A hundred and twenty-five pairs of shoes.
Cecil Gaines: Yeah. She got them lined from the blacks all the way to the whites.


[1964 – The Johnson Administration; Lyndon B. Johnson is in his room getting ready with Cecil in the room]
Lyndon B. Johnson: And I’ll tell you what, next time there’s a light on in an empty room I’ll fire every sorry son of a bitch in this house. I mean it, Cecil! I’ll go back to Texas and run the country from a dirty shack if I have to, is that what you want? Who do you think pays the Goddamn bills around here? I don’t, but you know what I mean.
[Cecil starts turning out the lights as Johnson starts walking out the room]
Cecil Gaines: Yes, sir.
[Johnson turns back to Cecil]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Here. I almost forgot.
[he holds out a silver pin]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Lady Bird and I want you to have this.
[Cecil takes the pin]
Lyndon B. Johnson: I gave you a rise.
Cecil Gaines: Thank you, sir.


[one evening, Cecil and Gloria are over at James’ house with Carter, Gloria and James’ wife, Helen are dancing with James and Cecil watching them as they play cards; James calls out to Carter]
James Holloway: Negro! Get down here! Back there stinking up my bathroom.
[Carter enters wearing a wig and dancing like James Brown]
James Holloway: What you doin’?
[he finishes doing his James Brown dance as the other watch and laugh]
Helen Holloway: Give me my wig!
[Helen grabs off the wig on Carter’s head]
Helen Holloway: What’s wrong with you?! That’s my good wig!
[Carter goes over and joins Cecil and James at the table playing cards]
Cecil Gaines: We got the spades up.


[Helen and Gloria talk in the living room as James, Cecil and Carter play cards at the dining table]
Helen Holloway: James told me that Dr. King told the President that we would be going to the streets down South for our right to vote.
[to James]
Helen Holloway: Didn’t you, baby?
James Holloway: What?
Helen Holloway: Didn’t you tell me that Dr. King told the President that we was going down South for our right to vote? Now, I ain’t make that up.
Cecil Gaines: Is that what you heard?
Helen Holloway: That Dr. King ain’t no joke. His little militant ass.
James Holloway: She talkin’ too damn much.
Cecil Gaines: I know somebody’s talkin’.
[suddenly the Holloway’s parrot squeaks out loud]
James Holloway: Shut up.
[James throws something at the bird]
Helen Holloway: Leave my bird alone.
Gloria Gaines: Well, you know them three kids got killed down there tryin’ to get colored folks register to vote.
Cecil Gaines: That’s why I didn’t want Louis to go down there, that’s what I was tryin’ to tell you.
James Holloway: Well, you shouldn’t have sent him down there.
Cecil Gaines: I know.
Gloria Gaines: Well, he is down there now, and there ain’t nothin’ we can do about it.


Helen Holloway: The only reason the President sent the FBI, cause two of them were white.
James Holloway: Now, who told you that?
Cecil Gaines: Yeah, who told her that?
James Holloway: Where did you hear that? I didn’t tell you that.
Helen Holloway: It was in one of them colored newspapers from Baltimore. Is that alright with you?
James Holloway: See, she gettin’ smart now.
[Cecil laughs]
Gloria Gaines: Honey, you think the President ought to do somethin’ about the Voting Rights Bill?
Cecil Gaines: President Johnson passed the greatest piece of Civil Rights legislation since Lincoln freed the slaves. It’s goin’ to be very difficult to pass another bill anytime soon.
Carter Wilson: That’s it.
Cecil Gaines: You see how my wife quizzes me?
James Holloway: I get it every day.
Cecil Gaines: Only you gotta know how much to say when you cross the line.
James Holloway: You deal with your woman, I’ll deal with mine.
Gloria Gaines: At least you tell your wife what’s goin’ on over there.
Carter Wilson: Aces!
[Carter places his cards on the table]
James Holloway: Damn!
Carter Wilson: You can’t be a king in your own castle, you hit the strip joint. That’s what I say.


James Holloway: Hey, uh…did you hear about your neighbor, Howard?
[there’s a moment’s silence and then parrot squeaks again]
James Holloway: The guy down on 8th Street, caught him in bed with his wife. Shot him dead, shot him in the back.
Carter Wilson: That’s it. That’s all of it.
Cecil Gaines: I don’t know, maybe…maybe he got what he deserved.


[as Johnson is sitting on the toilet, Cecil and three of his administrative staff wait outside the door listening to his instructions]
Lyndon B. Johnson: You sorry sap asses gotta realize the Negro ain’t gonna take it no more. Some tired countries have tinderboxes. Goddamn tinderboxin’, nigger rage just waitin’ to explode. Now, I want you all to get on the phone and call N-double A-C and call whoever else will listen to your sorry asses and help me keep them niggers off the street!
[two of his staff leave to do as instructed]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Buck, I smell your ass from here! What the hell are you waitin’ for?!
[Buck walks off leaving only Cecil waiting outside the bathroom door, Johnson then gives a constipated strain]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Jesus Christ! Cecil, give me some of that Goddamn prune juice.
[Cecil picks up the glass of prune juice and takes a step inside the bathroom to discreetly hand it to Johnson]


[1965 – Malcolm X Speaking Tour; after having attended one of Malcolm X’s talks]
Louis Gaines: I’m not sure what to make of Malcolm X.
Carol Hammie: I know what to make of him. He got a better plan in place than Dr. King.
Louis Gaines: If someone puts their hands on you, put them in the cemetery. Is that a better plan?
[two of Louis and Carol’s friends are walking with them]
Clara May: We’ve got to go.
Carol Hammie: Alright. Bye Clara May.
Clara May: Good night.
Louis Gaines: Good night.
[Clara May and her boyfriend walk away; to Carol]
Louis Gaines: I mean…
[Louis shrugs his shoulder as they continue to walk]
Carol Hammie: You’re just mad because he was talkin’ about your Daddy.
Louis Gaines: What?
Carol Hammie: When he was sayin’ all that stuff about house Negroes, I saw you get mad.
Louis Gaines: My Daddy is not a house Negro.
[there’s a moment’s silence as they walk]
Carol Hammie: He’s a butler, ain’t he?
Louis Gaines: Don’t talk about my Dad. I don’t talk about your Dad, alright?
Carol Hammie: That’s cause my Daddy’s proud of what I’m doin’.
[suddenly they hear a shooting noise in the distance and they make a run for it and hide in an ally, Louis looks out in the street and sees no one following them]
Louis Gaines: Alright?
[Carol nods her head, Carol and Louis look at each other for a moment before they kiss]


[Carter and James are at church, Carter looks behind him to see Gloria entering without Cecil]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Everybody went to church to raise money for the kids down in the South, but I didn’t go. I wouldn’t give no money for my son to be killed.
[old news footage of African Americans in the South being gathered and beaten are shown]butler-13
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] Once again them kids got beaten. This one was so bad that the press called it ‘Bloody Sunday’.
[Johnson sits on his bed in his room watching the TV showing news footage of the beatings when Cecil enters the room]
Lyndon B. Johnson: How are your boys, Cecil?
[Cecil hesitates before answering]
Cecil Gaines: I don’t know how my oldest is, Mr. President. I believe he might be in the South, and you know sometime I feel like we’re livin’ in two different worlds. I just want to keep him safe.


[Carter, James and Lorraine watch Johnson on TV giving his speech on Voting Rights Acts]
Lyndon B. Johnson: Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes…
Carter Wilson: Negroes? Since when did he start calling us Negroes? That nigger uses the word nigger more than I use it.
[Lorraine laughs as they continue to watch Johnson’s speech]
Lyndon B. Johnson: …but really it’s all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.


[1968 – Memphis, Tennessee; Martin Luther King and some of the Freedom Riders, including Louis and Carol are at Hotel watching the TV showing news of the Vietnam War breaking out and the protesters of people against it]
Freedom Rider: Dr. King, you might want to lie down.
Martin Luther King Jr.: President Johnson is making a tragic error in Vietnam.
[he walks over to one of the beds in the room; to one of the Freedom riders sitting on the bed]
Martin Luther King Jr.: Move over.
Louis Gaines: Why shouldn’t we fight in Vietnam?
Martin Luther King Jr.: The Viet Cong don’t call us niggers for one.
[he takes his shoes off]
Martin Luther King Jr.: Seriously, how many of your parents support the war?
[two of the Freedom Rider along with Louis raise their hand]
Martin Luther King Jr.: Well, my Lord.
[to Louis]
Martin Luther King Jr.: Well why do your parents support it?
Louis Gaines: We haven’t spoken about it specifically, I just know they do.
Martin Luther King Jr.: Well, what do your Daddy do?
Louis Gaines: He’s a butler.
Martin Luther King Jr.: The black domestic play an important role in our history.
Louis Gaines: I didn’t tell you that to make fun of me.
Martin Luther King Jr.: Young brother, the black domestic defy racial stereotype about being hard working and trustworthy.
[we see as Cecil and James serving Johnson and his wife dinner at the White House]
Martin Luther King Jr.: It slowly tares down racial hatred because it’s an example of a strong work ethic and dignified character. Now while we perceive the butler to be mainly subservient, in many ways they are subversive, without even knowing it.


[Cecil opens the door to R.D. Warner’s office]
R.D. Warner: Come in, Cecil.
Cecil Gaines: How do you do, Mr. Warner?
[Cecil enters and shuts the door]
Cecil Gaines: Thank you for seeing me.
[Cecil walks over and stands in front of Warner’s desk, he hesitates a moment before speaking]
Cecil Gaines: Since the colored…the black staff does just as much work as the white staff, I believe that our salaries should reflect our service, sir.
R.D. Warner: Black staff?
[Cecil nods his head]
Cecil Gaines: I also feel that we should have opportunities of advancement. No black houseman has ever been promoted to the engineers office.
R.D. Warner: You’re very well liked here, Cecil. But if you’re unhappy with your salary or position then I suggest you seek employment elsewhere.
Cecil Gaines: With all due resp…
R.D. Warner: Don’t let that Martin Luther King shift all your breaches out. Just remember where I found you.
[Cecil hesitates, looking unsure]
Cecil Gaines: Yes, sir.
[Warner ignores him and looks at the magazine on his desk]
Cecil Gaines: Excuse me.
[Cecil turns, walks over to the door and opens it]


[we see Martin Luther King standing on the balcony of his hotel room, then we hear Walter Cronkite report on King’s assassination]
Walter Cronkite: Dr. Martin Luther King, the apostle of non-violence in the civil rights movement has been shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee. Police have issued an all-points bulletin for a well dressed young white man seen running from the scene…butler-14
[Cecil listens to the report on the radio as he drives home that evening, he then gets stuck as a riot breaks out on the road and he starts walking home]
Cecil Gaines: [voice over] I didn’t know if I was gonna get home alive. It was the first time I felt like I didn’t belong in my own neighborhood. The whole world was changing and I didn’t know how to fit in.
[we see Louis and Carol watching Jesse Jackson talking about King’s death to the media, Louis cries as he watches]
Jesse Jackson: The white people’s best friend is dead. The black people’s leader, our Moses, the once in a four hundred or five hundred year leader has been taken from us by hatred and bitterness. Even as I stand at this hour, I…I cannot even allow hate to enter my heart at this time, for it was sickness, not meanness, that killed him.


[one day as Gloria is sewing in Louis’ old room, she hears Louis]
Louis Gaines: Mom, my room’s pink.
[she looks up and sees Louis standing in the room wearing a leather jacket and a beret; later that night Louis and Carol are having dinner with Gloria and Cecil]
Gloria Gaines: Make sure you get some more of my sweet potatoes, Carol.
Carol Hammie: Hm.
Gloria Gaines: I use orange juice when I make ’em, that’s what makes ’em tart. How long y’all been datin’?
Carol Hammie: We’re just friends.
Louis Gaines: Five years.
[Louis and Carol look at each other and there’s an awkward silence]
Gloria Gaines: Is um…all the rest of the students, are they gettin’ involved in politics too?
Louis Gaines: There’s been a division, kind of a split, Mom. A few of them, like John Lewis, they’re still…
Gloria Gaines: Oh, I love John Lewis.
Cecil Gaines: How do you know who John Lewis is?
Gloria Gaines: Cause, honey, I read Jet magazine. I’m not just sittin’ up there sewing for you all day.
Carol Hammie: You know, I’m sick and tired of getting thrown in jail.
Cecil Gaines: Yeah, well, that makes two of us, don’t it?


Louis Gaines: Dr. King’s philosophy ultimately got him murdered. It worked when we started, but now it’s time to take the next step, which is politics.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Well, so y’all goin’ to the White House now? Dad, Louis is goin’ to the White House.
[to Louis, referring to his see through shirt]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): You know they ain’t gonna let you in with them nipples out.
[Louis chuckles]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Maybe one, but not both of ’em.
Louis Gaines: Shut up. No, we’re…we’re more grassroots, one on one with the community. Although we have started our own political party.
[looking at Carol]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): What’s your party? Do you like to party? I like to party. What’s your party called?
Carol Hammie: The Black Panther Party.
Cecil Gaines: What kind of name is that? What does that stand for?
Carol Hammie: We provide free breakfast for children, free medical clinics, free clothin’, self defense classes.
Gloria Gaines: Why y’all need self defense?
Louis Gaines: We ain’t gettin’ beaten no more.


Gloria Gaines: Me and your Daddy saw a wonderful movie the other night, it reminded me so much of you.
Louis Gaines: Oh, yeah?
[Gloria nods; to Cecil]
Gloria Gaines: What was the name of that movie, honey?
Cecil Gaines: In the Heat of the Night.
Gloria Gaines: In the Heat of the Night with Sidney Poitier. Lord, Sidney Poitier, I love Sidney Poitier…
Louis Gaines: Sidney Poitier is a white man’s fantasy of what he wants us to be.
Cecil Gaines: But his movies have him fight for equal rights.
Louis Gaines: Only in a way that’s acceptable to the white status quo.
Cecil Gaines: Oh.
Louis Gaines: And the brother can’t act.
Cecil Gaines: What are you talkin’ about? He just won the Academy Award. He’s breaking down barriers for all of us.
Louis Gaines: By being white, by acting white. Sidney Poitier is nothing but a rich Uncle Tom.
[Gloria looks upset at this comment]


[to Louis]
Cecil Gaines: Look at you, you’re all puffed up. With your hat on your head, comin’ here, sayin’ whatever you want. Your girlfriend belching at the table. You don’t even feel you gotta go to school even though I gave you the money. You need to go. Yep. Louis, I need you to get out of my house.
Louis Gaines: What?
[suddenly Cecil jumps up and shouts at Louis moving to hit him]
Cecil Gaines: Get the hell out of my house!
[Gloria comes in between trying to stop Cecil hitting Louis]
Gloria Gaines: No, no, no!
Cecil Gaines: Get on out!butler-16
Gloria Gaines: No, no, no! Cecil, no!
Cecil Gaines: I can’t take this no more!
Gloria Gaines: We ain’t seen this boy! We ain’t seen this boy! Now, everybody just sit down!
[to Cecil]
Louis Gaines: I’m sorry, Mr. Butler! I didn’t mean to make fun of your hero!
[suddenly Gloria slaps Louis hard in the face knocking him against the wall]
Gloria Gaines: Everything you are and everything you have is because of that butler. Now you take that triflin’ little low class bitch and get out of this house.
[Louis looks at Gloria for a moment before walking out, Carol follows him and leaves]


[after Louis and Carol leave, Gloria, Cecil and Charlie sit back down at the dinner table]
Charlie Gaines (15-18): I like Sidney Poitier, Daddy. Guess who we had come to dinner?
Cecil Gaines: Eat your dinner, Charlie.
Charlie Gaines (15-18): Carol came to dinner.
Gloria Gaines: Hush, Charlie.


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Total Quotes: 103



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