Orson Welles, fully George Orson Welles

Welles, fully George Orson Welles

American Actor, Director, Writer and Producer in Theater, Radio and Film

Author Quotes

I spend... twenty times more for you people than any other commercial I've ever made. You are such pests! Now what is it you want? In your... depths of your ignorance, what is it you want? Whatever it is you want, I can't deliver, 'cause I just don't see it.

I'm not rich. Never have been. When you see me in a bad movie as an actor (I hope not as a director), it is because a good movie has not been offered to me. I often make bad films in order to live.

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.

Create your own visual style... let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.

He is as unaffected as Albert Einstein.

I drag my myth around with me

I started at the top and worked my way down.

I'm not very fond of movies. I don't go to them much.

My father once told me that the art of receiving a compliment is, of all things, the sign of a civilized man. He died soon afterwards, leaving my education in this important matter sadly incomplete; I'm only glad that, on this, the occasion of the rarest compliment he ever could have dreamed of, that he isn't here to see his son so publicly at a loss. In receiving a compliment, or in trying to, the words are all worn out by now. They're polluted by ham and corn. And, when you try to scratch around for some new ones, it's just an exercise in empty cleverness. What I feel this evening, is not very clever. It's the very opposite of emptiness. The corny old phrase is the only one I know to say it: my heart is full; with a full heart, with all of it, I thank you. This is Samuel Johnson, on the subject of what he calls contrarieties: "there are goods, so opposed that we cannot seize both, and, in trying, fail to seize either. Flatter not yourself, he says, with contrarieties. Of the blessings set before you, make your choice. No man can, at the same time, fill his cup from the source, and from the mouth of the Nile." For this business of contrarieties has to do with us. With you, who are paying me this compliment, and for me, who has strayed so far from this hometown of ours. Not that I am alone in this, or unique, I am never that; but there are a few of us left in this conglomerated world of us who still trudge stubbornly along this lonely rocky road; and this is in fact our contrariety. We don't move nearly as fast as our cousins on the freeway; we don't even get as much accomplished just as the family sized farm can't possibly raise as many crops or get as much profit as the agricultural factory of today. What we do come up with has no special right to call itself better it's just.. different. No if there's any excuse for us it all, it's that we're simply following the old American tradition of the maverick, and we are a vanishing breed. This honor I can only accept in the name of all the mavericks. And also, as a tribute to the generosity of all the rest of you; to the givers, to the ones with fixed addresses. A maverick may go his own way but he doesn't think that it's the only way, or ever claim that it's the best one, except maybe for himself. And don't imagine that this raggle-taggle gypsy-o is claiming to be free. It's just that some of the necessities to which I am a slave are different from yours. As a director, for instance, I pay myself out of my acting jobs. I use my own work to subsidize my work (in other words I'm crazy). But not crazy enough to pretend to be free. But it's a fact that many of the films you've seen tonight could never have been made otherwise. Or, if otherwise, well, they might have been better, but certainly they wouldn't have been mine. The truth is I don't believe that this great evening would ever have brightened my life if it wasn't for this: my own, particular, contrariety. Let us raise our cups, then, standing as some of us do on opposite ends of the river, to what really matters to us all: to our crazy, beloved profession, to the movies — to good movies, to every possible kind.

Criminals are never very amusing. It's because they're failures. Those who make real money aren't counted as criminals. This is a class distinction, not an ethical problem.

Hollywood died on me as soon as I got there

I feel I have to protect myself against things. So I'm pretty careful to lose most of them.

I suppose you are a fool to do it [express a political view as an artist], but if you happen to be more interested in the political question, than the size of your audience, then it doesn't matter.

In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

Nobody gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck.

Criticism is the essence of creation.

Hollywood expects you to experiment but on a film that makes money and if you don't make money, you're to blame. Your job is to make money.

I hate it when people pray on the screen. It's not because I hate praying, but whenever I see an actor fold his hands and look up in the spotlight, I'm lost. There's only one other thing in the movies I hate as much, and that's sex. You just can't get in bed or pray to God and convince me on the screen.

I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.

In my opinion, there are two things that can absolutely not be carried to the screen: the realistic presentation of the sexual act and praying to God.

Nobody who takes on anything big and tough can afford to be modest.

Did you ever stop to think why cops are always famous for being dumb? Simple. Because they don't have to be anything else.

Hollywood is a gold-plated suburb suitable for golfers, gardeners, assorted middlemen, and contented movies stars. I am none of these things.

I hate television. I hate it as much as I hate peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts.

I think I made, essentially, a mistake, staying in movies. But it’s a mistake I can’t regret, because it’s like saying, ‘I shouldn’t have stayed married to that woman, but I did because I love her. I would’ve been more successful if I hadn’t been married to her…’ You know?

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Welles, fully George Orson Welles
Birth Date
Death Date

American Actor, Director, Writer and Producer in Theater, Radio and Film