Quotes / Boardwalk Empire

Nucky Thompson: We all have to decide for ourselves how much sin we can live with.

Nucky: I recall that I was once [alive, before Prohibition]. Till then, I was a simple, run-of-the-mill crook... a corrupt city official. And I was happy. Plenty of money, plenty of friends, plenty of everything. Then suddenly, plenty wasn't enough.

    open/close all folders 

    Season 1 

Nucky Thompson: First rule of politics, kiddo: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Mickey Doyle: Enough with the bohunk cracks. The name's Doyle now.
Nucky Thompson: What?
Mickey Doyle: I changed it. I'm not Mickey Kuzick no more. (...)
Nucky Thompson: "A rose by any other name..."
Mickey Doyle: What's that supposed to mean?
Nucky Thompson: Read a fucking book.

Jimmy Darmody: What the fuck was that?
Al Capone (in a worried, almost childish tone): The fucking deeeers!!

Jimmy Darmody: All I want is an opportunity.
Nucky Thompson: This is America, ain't it? Who the fuck's stopping you?

Jimmy Darmody: You can't be half a gangster, Nucky. Not anymore.

Lucy Danziger: "Screaming?" WE WERE FUCKING, EDDIE! FUCKING!

Arnold Rothstein: There was a man once... I don't recall his name... frequented the billiard parlors downtown. He made a comfortable living wagering whether he could swallow certain objects, billiard balls being a specialty. He'd pick a ball, take it down his gullet to here, then regurgitate it back up. And one evening I decided to challenge this man to a wager... 10,000 in cash for him to do the trick with a billiard ball of my choosing. Now he knew I'd seen him do this a dozen times, so I can only surmise that he thought I was stupid. We laid down the cash and I handed him the cue ball. He swallowed it down. It lodged in his throat and he choked to death on the spot. What I knew and he didn't was that the cue ball is 1/16th of an inch larger than the other balls... just too large to swallow. Do you know what the moral of this tale is, Mr. Yale?
Frankie Yale: Don't eat a cue ball?
Arnold Rothstein: The moral of this story is that if I'd cause a stranger to choke to death for my own amusement, what do you think I'll do to you if you don't tell me who ordered you to kill Colosimo?

Nucky Thompson: Wanna be a gangster, kid? Go be a gangster. But if you want to be a gangster in my town, then you'll pay me for the privilege.

Chalky White (to his all black henchmen): Let's go. Open it up. I'ma do a bottle count as soon as we're done. And for every drop goes missing, I'ma take a drop of blood out of one of y'all asses.
Nucky Thompson: Simon Legree.
Chalky White: I don't give a fuck they agree or not.

Gillian Darmody: I thought you could do anything.
Nucky Thompson: I'm not God, Gillian.
Gillian Darmody: Now you tell me.

Agent Sebso: We just broke about 12 laws!
Nelson Van Alden: Down here? What laws?

(after a witness talks back in Yiddish)
Nelson Van Alden: What language is that?
Mrs. Fishbaum: It's gutter German. Yiddish.
Nelson Van Alden: What'd he say?
Mrs. Fishbaum: I can't.
Dentist: Mrs. Fishbaum!
Nelson Van Alden: Word for word. This is a federal investigation.
Mrs. Fishbaum: He said you should fuck your grandmother... with your faggot penis.
Eric Sebso: Little faggot penis.

(witness dies during interrogation)
Nelson Van Alden: And the angel said: that who worships the beast, shall drink from the wine of the wrath of God. And he shall torment with fire in the presence of the Lamb.
Eric Sebso: Wasn't he Jewish?

Chalky White: I was born in Elgin, Texas. My daddy taught himself the carpenter trade doing for the black folk there. And I tell you, anything that man put his hand to... table, chair, wedding chest... he make that wood sing. Now one day a man, Mr. T. O. Purcell, come round. He a white man, own his own store, a stable, hotel. He say to my daddy, "I hears you the finest carpenter in Elgin." My daddy tell him, "well, I can't say one way or the other, but I knows a bit about somethin'." So Mr. T.O. Purcell take my daddy to this house he was building... biggest house in town. They walk in there, say, "this here gonna be the library. What you think 'bout that?" My daddy say, "Well, I thinks you need some bookcases." "Well then, that's what I want you to make me." 10 month my daddy work there. And then when he finished, he bring me round. "Mr. Purcell, this here my boy. I'd like to show him what I done." "Well, come on in through the front door." Just like that. (snaps fingers) And we did. When I seen them bookcases all carved with scroll and flowers, baskets of fruit, little angels floating in the corner, that was the most beautiful thing I ever seen. About a month later another man come round. "I seen what you did for T.O. I can't let that old dog top me. You come round my house and I'll show you what I need." My daddy go with him to the edge of town. Wasn't nothing there but six white men, twelve foot of rope, and the pepper tree they hung him from. (unfolds a cloth parcel) 'Tis here ma daddy tools.
KKK leader: What are you going to do with them?
Chalky White: Well... I ain't buildin' no bookcase.

Margaret Schroeder: Maybe your cunny isn't the draw you think it is.

Margaret Schroeder: Is he nice to you, Mr. Kessler?
Eddie Kessler: Nucky? Yes, he is nice. Mr. Thompson is a very nice man.
Nucky Thompson: [to Luciano] You trying to sass me, you greasy cocksucker?

Margaret Schroeder: I would be honored to name my child after you.
Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson: Enoch? You couldn't possibly be so cruel.

Jimmy Darmody: I think you'd agree that Greektown belongs to us now. (shoots Sheridan in the head)

Isabelle Jeunet: I thought you could be helpful.
Lucy Danziger: Oh, she is. Aren't you, Mrs McDougal?
Margaret Schroeder: Schroeder.
Lucy Danziger: Is that Irish for "bitch"?

Arnold Rothstein: You know what the nice thing about the Bronx Zoo is, Charlie? There are bars between you and the monkeys.

Lucien D'Alessio: Oh! Oh, fucking tough guy! Are you going to shoot me for mouthing off?
Nucky Thompson: We all have to decide for ourselves how much sin we can live with.

Bill Fallon: It's speculation, innuendo, and, if I remember my law school Latin, a steaming pile of horseshit.
Arnold Rothstein: Is that the legal term?

Richard Harrow: Sometimes I forget what I look like. Then I pass a mirror and I remember. I stare sometimes at my face and I can't recall who I was before.

(after Margaret shows doubts on the validity of Ed Bader, a construction businessman, as candidate for Mayor)
Nucky Thompson: Take Andrew Johnson. From tailor to president.
Margaret Schroeder: Wasn't he impeached?

Nelson Van Alden: (realizing that Sebso is dead) THOU HAST FULFILLED, THE JUDGEMENT OF THE WICKED!!!

    Season 2 

Richard Harrow (to Jimmy Darmody): How does it feel, to have everything?

Gillian Darmody: You know when Jimmy was a baby and I would change his diaper... I used to kiss his little winkie.

(after mistaking Margaret for the help, Nucky's wife, and Katy's mother, all in a row)
Owen Sleater: Quite dark all of a sudden... in this hole I just dug for myself...

Mickey Doyle: From the tiny acorn grows the mighty elk.
Jimmy Darmody: If you had a brain, you'd be dangerous.
Mickey Doyle: Hn-hn-hn-hn

Nucky Thompson: What are your talents, Mr. Sleater?
Owen Sleater: Making people stop.
Nucky Thompson: Stop what?
Nelson Van Alden: Do you wish to appear in this spectacle?
(Lucy mumbles)
Nelson Van Alden: Please speak up.
Lucy Danziger: Yes! I wish to appear!
Nelson Van Alden: Well, that can't be, because you are carrying a child which is a sacred charge from the Lord and an economic agreement between us.

Gillian Darmody: I didn't spend my life getting gropped by a bunch of drunks to end in a goddam poorhouse.

Eli Thompson (to Gillian): "Jimmy and you". That's exactly... The two of you and... and him [the Commodore]?! None of that's normal! It never was!

Gillian Darmody (to the Commodore, after he has been paralyzed by a stroke): Do you remember when we met? I'll never forget your smile. Jimmy sometimes, he has it. I look at him and I see you. That first night, how you plied me with wine... Why, I'd never felt such a sensation. We were downstairs. And I'd fallen asleep on the divan. You carried me to the bedroom, went to say good night to your guests. And I laid there in bed, dreaming of the waves. I'd been on the beach that day. Suddenly I felt a crushing feeling. I couldn't breathe. I opened my eyes to find you atop me. Your breath smelling of whiskey and tobacco. One hand covering my mouth and the other groping at me. Do you remember that? Still, sometimes when I sleep, it wakes me with a start. Do you remember that night? (Gillian slaps him) I asked you a question. (Gillian slaps him again, repeatedly)

Chalky White: Where the damn Hoppin' John...?

Lenore White: Please, excuse my husband's country ways.
Samuel Crawford: I completely unders...
Owen Sleater: Why did you not shoot me?
Richard Harrow: I may yet.

Manny Horvitz: We got a deal. But just so we are clear, my icebox is filled with pieces of fellahs who tried to fuck me over.

Owen Sleater: I shouldn't be in your room at all. But what's the point in doing something half wrong?

Arnold Rothstein: Iíve made my living, Mr. Thompson, in large part as a gambler. Some days I make twenty bets, some days I make none. There are weeks, sometimes months in fact, when I don't make a bet at all, because there is simply no play. So I wait. Plan. Marshal my resources. And when I finally see an opportunity and there is a bet to make, I bet it all.

Nelson Van Alden: I brought lemons.

Jimmy Darmody: It's hard to believe that things have changed so much in a year.
Lucky Luciano: Sure, Meyer started shaving.

IRA member: And you invented it, Mr. Thompson.
Nucky Thompson: Excuse me?
IRA member: The "Thompson Gun"?
Nucky Thompson: No. Just a happy coincidence.

Nucky Thompson: Van Alden? The man's a bigamist!
Bill Fallon: Technically, an adulterer. With a son by your mistress... let's not go deep into there.

Mickey Doyle: I put this whole operation together. And what do I receive? A poke up my ass.
Nelson Van Alden: Painful.

Angela Darmody: You want money? He can make a lot of money! He has lots of it!
Manny Horvitz: The most valuable thing in your life, darling? Your health. Your husband did this to you. (shoots Angela in the head)

Gillian Darmody: We'll have to have a funeral, of course. It's important for everything to look right. There won't be many people anyway, she didn't have a very "wide" circle, did she? Poor girl. The other one, she wasn't local. They are looking for some family. Not our concern. We need to consider Tommy. I told him: "Mommy went away for a few days, to paint". Well, that buys us a little time. I think, tell me I'm wrong, we'll say she went to live with her friends in Paris. And she wants her little boy to stay here, where she knows he'll be safe. With his daddy, who works so hard, and his mee-mah, who loves him so very much. And you know what? A month from now, I don't mean to sound cold, he won't even remember who she w...
(Jimmy gets up from his seat and begins to choke Gillian)
Jimmy Darmody: I'll remember! I'll remember! I'll remember. I'll remember. I'll remember.

Arnold Rothstein: Flip a coin. When it's on the air, you will know what side you want it to fall on.

Nucky Thompson: (after shooting Jimmy) You don't know me James. You never did. I am not seeking forgiveness! (shoots him again)

    Season 3 

Dean O'Banion (to Al Capone, after being told his son is deaf): Oh, and say hello to your boy. Or at least... wave.

Al Capone (to Dean O'Banion later, cornering him in his flower shop): What's that? I didn't hear you.

(Nucky has just announced that he will only sell alcohol to Rothstein)
Gyp Rosetti: See, that makes sense. Chink I know, runs a laundry, tells me '23 is the year of the pig.
Nucky Thompson: This is a business decision, Mr Rosetti.
Gyp Rosetti: I come down all the way here, put up with car trouble...
George Remus: We all got the same news.
Gyp Rosetti: Yeah but we ain't all in the same fucking boat. I'm getting squeezed on all sides here...
(Frankie Yale says "Let it be" in Italian)
Gyp Rosetti: No, fuck you, Frank! Your fucking rat-hole bar and your warehouse in Canarsie? I don't see you doing me any favors amico. And you, (turns to Rothstein) you smug kike midget, creeping around like a fucking dentist with the ether.
Lucky Luciano: Why don't you watch your fucking step?
Gyp Rosetti: Why don't you go sit in the corner, short-pants? (turns to Nucky) And then there is you. A fucking breadstick in a bow-tie. You pasty-faced, cocksucking...
Nucky Thompson: You must be tired Mr Rosetti. That can make a man irritable. You need some rest.
Gyp Rosetti: I need 500 cases of rum!
Nucky Thompson: You and your men. My guests at the Ritz.
Gyp Rosetti: What, you think I can't float my own hotel room?
Nucky Thompson: I'm making a goodwill gesture. Accept it or not.
Gyp Rosetti: Oh, how about I make one too?
Owen Sleater: You'll not do it here.
Gyp Rosetti: I'll shit you out like yesterday sausage, you bog-trotting prick.
Nucky Thompson: You are making my decision very easy.
Gyp Rosetti: Nobody here can take a joke.

Eli Thompson: Let me ask you something, Mickey. How the fuck are you still alive?

Nucky Thompson: You are a man who can find an insult in a bouquet of roses [...] I learned a long time ago not to take things personally.
Gyp Rosetti Everyone's a person, though, right? So how else could they take it? (later that day) Nothing's personal? What the fuck is life if it's not personal?!!

(Richard Harrow drags a terrified Mickey Doyle into Nucky's office, while pointing a gun to his head)
Mickey Doyle: I didn't do it! I didn't do it! I didn't kill Manny Horvitz!
Nucky Thompson: Whoever said you did?!
Richard Harrow: He said it.
Mickey Doyle: I was only blowing smoke, okay?! Shooting my mouth off just to keep things lively. I never went near him. I swear.
Richard Harrow: He's telling the truth.
Nucky Thompson: How do you know?
Richard Harrow: How do you think?
Nucky Thompson: ...Jesus.
Mickey Doyle: Could you ask him... to put the gun away? Pleeease?!

Richard Harrow (reassuring Nucky): Jimmy was a soldier. He fought, he lost.

Arnold Rothstein: Mr Doyle, why am I talking to you?
Mickey Doyle: 'Cause... you called me?
Arnold Rothstein: But why am I calling you? Why is that even occurring? If I had my liquor on the timely basis that your employer promised... if in fact I could reach your employer, who, now seems to think... acceptable business practice is to disappear for days on end, this conversation would not be taking place. And that would make me... very happy.
Mickey Doyle: Yeah. I understand... Listen, Mr. Rothstein...
Arnold Rothstein: I want what I paid for. I want it now. And I don't ever want to find myself chatting with you again.
Mickey Doyle: Of course.
Arnold Rothstein: Is that clear?

Mickey Doyle: That Rothstein, warm as a lizard.

Mickey Doyle: What do you think?
Eli Thompson: What do I think? That you are fucking idiot!

Arnold Rothstein (to Nucky): Do you think I entered this arrangement because I value your companionship? You are a convenience. Of geography, and supply. You promised a quantity and a price. You have failed to deliver. And now, owing to your inability to manage your own affairs, in New Jersey, a state I have little interest in or affection for, you expect me to start a war, in New York, where things actually matter?!

Nucky Thompson: This is...
Margaret Schroeder: Miss Kent. Your friends call you Billie.
Billie Kent: Guess that won't be happening over here.

Eddie Cantor: Lucy Danziger. Ever heard of her?
(Billie negates)
Eddie Cantor: The next one won't know a goddam thing about you either.

Owen Sleater: There's word from Mr. Rothstein: Four fatalities...none of them Gyp Rosetti.

Inquiring Senator: Mr. Mellon, are we talking about gross incompetence in the Justice Department, or widespread corruption?
Andrew W. Mellon: It is my understanding that human nature leaves ample room for both.

Nucky Thompson: What do you do for fun, Esther?
Esther Randolph: I run naked through the pages of the US Criminal Code.

Joe Masseria: I can't control you. I can't rely on you. And I can't afford you.
Gyp Rosetti: It's Easter Sunday, Joe.
Joe Masseria: Also April Fools.
Gyp Rosetti: Then what are we joking about?
Joe Masseria: I'm not joking.
(Maseria gets up, as do his men behind Gyp's back)
Gyp Rosetti: Nucky Thompson. Arnold Rothstein.
Joe Masseria: Eh. What about them?
Gyp Rosetti: They are not losing sleep over 20 blocks on the Westside. They're working together. They're building something a lot bigger than you and me!
Joe Masseria: Let them do what they want.
Gyp Rosetti: Because you think you got what you have, right? But not for long! Things are changing. The Luciano kid...
Joe Masseria: Oh! I'll straigthen him up. You don't worry.
Gyp Rosetti: He's not like you and me! Look who he works for, Joe! They're building something and it don't include us! Who's gonna own this business, uh? Heebs and Micks and backstabbing fucks that don't respect where they come from. After all the blood we put unto it?! What about us, uh?! What happens to us?! You do what you got to do with me but you're gonna be in a war wether you like it or not.
Joe Masseria: Ah, you gonna save me, huh?
Gyp Rosetti: Give me your blessing. Let me finish what I started, but with enough juice this time to make it stick. I'll bring you Thompson...
Joe Masseria: And what do I care about...
Gyp Rosetti: And I'll bring you Rothstein. Luciano and the kikes he runs with, I'll kill them all. And when I do, they are not gonna call you "Joe the Boss" no more. They are gonna call you "Joe the King".
(Masseria sits back with Rosetti)

(before the incineration of Roger, whose body Gillian is passing as Jimmy's)
Gillian Darmody: You wish to say something Mr. Harrow? You and my son were close.
Richard Harrow: Jimmy deserved better than this.

George Remus: Remus doesn't get arrested! Not in his home, nor anywhere! Remus has paid! Remus has kept receipts!
Esther Randolph: What receipts?
George Remus: From Jess Smith. Daugherty's man.
Esther Randolph: Then Randolph would like to see them.

Gyp Rosetti: Everything of mine is bigger than Nucky's.

Paul Sagorsky (to Julia, after finding her with Richard): I'm still your father, and I won't let you spread your legs for some sideshow freak!
(Richard tackles Sagorsky, takes off his mask and forces him to look at his Nightmare Face)
Richard Harrow: Would you pay a dime to see this?

Eli Thompson: I cut a deal.
Nucky Thompson: With Torrio?
Eli Thompson: With him.
(Al Capone walks to the front)
Al Capone: We've been on the road for 18 hours. I need a bath, some chow... and then you and me sit down, and we talk about who dies. Huh?

Mayor Edward Bader: Let's get something straight. Nucky Thompson does not run this city: I do!
(everybody in the audience bursts out laughing)

Gyp Rosetti: I got the hotel. I got his casino. I got his warehouse.
Joe Masseria: You no have Nucky Thompson.

Joe Masseria: Everybody dies but not everyone keeps their promises.
Gyp Rosetti: I'm gonna keep mine, Joe.
(Joe looks at a clock in the wall, chuckles and sets it correctly)
Joe Masseria: Now you know what time it is.

Gillian Darmody: And you must miss your little ones.
Gyp Rosetti: Huh?
Gillian Darmody: Your two daughters.
Gyp Rosetti: Oh, yeah yeah. Yeeahh.
Gillian Darmody: How old are they?
Gyp Rosetti: 16 and 14. I think.

Arnold Rothstein (answering the phone): Mr Doyle.
Mickey Doyle: Mr Rothstein, am I disturbing you?
Arnold Rothstein: Yes.

Richard Harrow: Tommy, close your eyes.

Rosetti's man: That guy with the mask. What the fuck was that?!

Gyp Rosetti (impersonating Nucky Thompson): Relax, it's a party. I'm making a big decision. From now on, I'm only selling hooch every other Thursday! Because I have important friends. I'm an important person. I have important garters, holding up my very important socks! Do you have any idea who the fuck I am? Do you? Do you! ... I'm Barney Google! With the googoogoogly eyes! And I never, ever, take anything PERSONAL!

Gillian: Nucky, you came... I was good... I went upstairs like you said... But the man, he did a very bad thing to me... *cries*

    Season 4 

Arnold Rothstein: All of manís troubles come from his inability to sit quietly in a room by himself.

(Gillian and a man are ostensibly discussing the sale of her house, but suddenly...)
Client: I guess I have to ask how much?
Gillian Darmody: It's not really the amount, is it? It's what you get for it.
Client: But it's still a number.
Gillian: Thirty. If you want me to put it in my mouth, it'd be another ten.

June Thompson: Who are these other fellas?
Willie Thompson: There's Flitch and Dobby. Tip. Henry. Everyone calls him Bucket.
Eli Thompson: These are boys or ponys?

Eddie Kessler (to a reluctant Mayor Bader): Mr Thompson is part of everything. He is in the sky and sea. He is in the dreams of children at night. He is all that there is... forever.

Chalky White: What you doing in the private rooms, Doctor?
Valentin Narcisse: What choice am I offered? The Libyan performs in your club. The Libyan serves in your club. But the Libyan may not attend your club.

Frederick Elliot: Who are you? Who is this child?
J. Edgar Hoover: You can address me as Acting Director Hoover.
Frederick Elliot: Acting Director of what?
J. Edgar Hoover: The Bureau of Investigation.
Frederick Elliot: What is this?

Valentin Narcisse: A thing mixed is a thing weakened.

Willie Thompson: I... I'm Eli's son. We've met a few years ago.
(Mickey shrugs)
Willie Thompson: Well, I'm at college now.
Mickey Doyle: Boola-boola.
Clayton: That's Yale. We go to Temple.
Mickey Doyle: Funny, you don't look Jewish.

Sally Wheet: Anybody saying money doesn't buy happiness, doesn't know where to shop.

Valentin Narcisse: The downfall of the Libyan, Mr Purnsley, is what we used to call a duppy in the islands. A duppy is a vampire who sucks the blood from his people, lays them low. This duppy gad about as if he in a brier patch, waiting for Master to ring the dinner bell. Our people flourish when they are able to be the angels of their better natures. This duppy, this nigger, is what will happen unless there are Libyans prepared to instruct him in the uplift of the race.

Nelson Van Alden (in his usual deadpan manner): There is a time for levity. I do have a sense of humor.

Nucky Thompson: Whatever occurred, it's over. But every now and then, you'll think about the terrible thing that happened to a boy whose face you can't quite remember. I promise, you can live with it.
Willie Thompson: Is that what you do?
Nucky Thompson: You're going to graduate. We'll get you into another school if that is necessary. It's not important now. You worry about what other people might say. You worry about someone you call a friend. None of that matters. The only thing you can count on is blood. The blood that's in your veins and the blood that's in mine. The people who discount you, they don't know who you are. The rage you feel - listen to me careful - it's a gift. Use it. But don't let anyone see it. Know that I'm watching over you. Show me the person you intend to be.

Phil: Relax!
Nelson Van Alden: I am relaxed.
(Van Alden shoots three men in the head, then licks the blood off his lip)

Valentin Narcisse: Where I come from there are no such things as niggers, Mr. Thompson, and I refuse to be treated like one.

Nelson Van Alden: I didn't kill Stu. Al Capone did. But I have killed other men. The one you know about, the three that attacked me, and my partner.
Dean O'Banion: Your what?
Nelson Van Alden: I was a Prohibition Agent. I drowned him with my bare hands. My name isn't Mueller. I'm not legally married to my wife. I used to believe in God, but now I don't believe in anything at all.

Nucky: I did it for the family.
Eli: You don't have a family. I do. Now you want that, too. Nothing will fill that hole you got inside. Don't you know that yet?

     Season 5 

Nucky: I want... to leave something behind.

Nucky: Get yourself ahead. What else can you do? For what, though, huh? For what? No one ever talks about that. No one ever asks.

(Nucky is warning Maranzano about an ambitious Luciano)
Nucky: He'll come for me again and then he'll come for you.
Maranzano: When one sits on the throne, that is to be expected. I do not take such things personally.
Nucky: What's more personal than a man trying to kill you?
Maranzano: Fides. Trust. Loyalty. The foundation of the Roman Empire.
Nucky: We waited for you John. For quite some time.
Torrio: Nucky?! I called. Didn't you get the message?
Nucky: Actually I did. And now I have a message for you and the two pissants you're in league with. I will not rest until I see you in your graves.

Chalky: All a dream to begin with. Ain't nobody ever been free.

(Al Capone saying goodbye to his son as he's to be arrested)
Al Capone: You keep to your lessons. Be a good boy. Remember, all I did was for you. To leave you with something better. And that can't be for nothing.

Nucky: I was a bellboy. Carried people's bags. First time I was tipped a nickel, I thought the world is a marvelous place. But a dime, a dime would be better. And when I got the dime, I thought a quarter.

Gillian: Mrs. Thompson said you want to be good. But you don't know how.

Nucky pulls out a wad of bills.
Joe Harper: Is that your answer for everything?
Nucky: No, it's just the best one I got.