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In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.
[Repeated line] Ulysses Everett McGill: Damn! We're in a tight spot!
Pomade Vendor: I can get the part from Bristol. It'll take two weeks, here's your pomade. Ulysses Everett McGill: Two weeks? That don't do me no good. Pomade Vendor: Nearest Ford auto man's Bristol. Ulysses Everett McGill: Hold on, I don't want this pomade. I want Dapper Dan. Pomade Vendor: I don't carry Dapper Dan, I carry Fop. Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, I don't want Fop, goddamn it! I'm a Dapper Dan man! Pomade Vendor: Watch your language, young feller, this is a public market. Now if you want Dapper Dan, I can order it for you, have it in a couple of weeks. Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, ain't this place a geographical oddity. Two weeks from everywhere!
Tommy Johnson: I had to be up at that there crossroads last midnight, to sell my soul to the devil. Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, ain't it a small world, spiritually speaking. Pete and Delmar just been baptized and saved. I guess I'm the only one that remains unaffiliated.
Ulysses Everett McGill: What'd the devil give you for your soul, Tommy? Tommy Johnson: Well, he taught me to play this here guitar real good. Delmar O'Donnell: Oh son, for that you sold your everlasting soul? Tommy Johnson: Well, I wasn't usin' it.
Pete: I've always wondered, what's the devil look like? Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Pete, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail, and he carries a hay fork. Tommy Johnson: Oh, no. No, sir. He's white, as white as you folks, with empty eyes and a big hollow voice. He likes to travel around with a mean old hound. That's right.
Pete: Wait a minute. Who elected you leader of this outfit? Ulysses Everett McGill: Well Pete, I figured it should be the one with the capacity for abstract thought. But if that ain't the consensus view, then hell, let's put it to a vote. Pete: Suits me. I'm voting for yours truly. Ulysses Everett McGill: Well I'm voting for yours truly too. [Everett and Pete look at Delmar for the deciding vote] Delmar O'Donnell: Okay... I'm with you fellas.
[first lines] Ulysses Everett McGill: Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?
Delmar O'Donnell: Care for some gopher? Ulysses Everett McGill: No thank you, Delmar. A third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without beddin' 'er back down. Delmar O'Donnell: Oh, you can have the whole thing. Me and Pete already had one apiece. We ran across a whole... gopher village.
Delmar O'Donnell: Gopher, Everett?
Pete: You miserable little snake! You stole from my kin! Ulysses Everett McGill: Who was fixin' to betray us. Pete: You didn't know that at the time. Ulysses Everett McGill: So I borrowed it until I did know. Pete: That don't make no sense! Ulysses Everett McGill: Pete, it's a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.
Washington Hogwallop: Mrs. Hogwallop up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T.
[singing] Ulysses Everett McGill: I am a man of constant sorrow, I've seen trouble all my days. I bid farewell to old Kentucky, the place where I was born and raised. Delmar O'Donnell, Pete: The place where he was born and raised. Ulysses Everett McGill: For six long years I've been in trouble, no pleasure here on Earth I've found. For in this world I'm bound to ramble, I have no friends to help me out. Delmar O'Donnell, Pete: He has no friends to help him out. Ulysses Everett McGill: Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger, my face you never will see no more. But there is one promise that is given, I'll meet you on God's golden shore. Delmar O'Donnell, Pete: He'll meet you on God's golden shore.
[after the *FOUR* soggy bottom boys finish recording "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow"] Ulysses Everett McGill: Woo! Hot Damn, son I believe you did sell your soul to the devil. Lund: Woooooooo-wee. Boy, that was a miiiighty fine a-pickin' and a-singin'. I'll tell you what, you come on in here and sign these papers here and I'm a gonna you ten dollars a piece. Ulysses Everett McGill: Uh, okay sir. But Murt and Aloysius will have to sign Xes as only four of us can write.
Blind Seer: You seek a great fortune, you three who are now in chains. You will find a fortune, though it will not be the one you seek. But first... first you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril. Mm-hmm. You shall see thangs, wonderful to tell. You shall see a... a cow... on the roof of a cotton house, ha. And, oh, so many startlements. I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the obstacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward. Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation.
Homer Stokes: Those boys desecrated a burning cross!
Pappy's Staff: The reason he's pullin' our pants down. Pappy's Staff: Gonna paddle a little behind. Pappy's Staff: Ain't gonna paddle it - gonna kick it, real hard. Pappy's Staff: No, I believe he's gonna paddle it. Pappy's Staff: I don't believe that's a proper characterization. Pappy's Staff: Well, that's how I'd characterize it. Pappy's Staff: I believe it's more of a kickin' sitcheyation.
George Nelson: Cows! I hate cows worse than coppers! [fires his Tommy gun at them] Delmar O'Donnell: Oh, George... not the livestock.
Pappy O'Daniel: And furthermore, by way of endorsing my candidacy, the Soggy Bottom Boys are gonna lead us all in a rousing chorus of "You Are My Sunshine." [Applause. Pappy turns away from the mike, towards Everett] Pappy O'Daniel: [no-nonsense] Ain't you, boys? Ulysses Everett McGill: Governor, it's one of our favorites. Pappy O'Daniel: Son... you're gonna go far.
Pete: Well I'll be a sonofabitch. Delmar's been saved. Delmar O'Donnell: Well that's it, boys. I've been redeemed. The preacher's done warshed away all my sins and transgressions. It's the straight and narrow from here on out, and heaven everlasting's my reward. Ulysses Everett McGill: Delmar, what are you talking about? We've got bigger fish to fry. Delmar O'Donnell: The preacher says all my sins is warshed away, including that Piggly Wiggly I knocked over in Yazoo. Ulysses Everett McGill: I thought you said you was innocent of those charges? Delmar O'Donnell: Well I was lyin'. And the preacher says that that sin's been warshed away too. Neither God nor man's got nothin' on me now. C'mon in boys, the water is fine.
Ulysses Everett McGill: I like the smell of my hair treatment; the pleasing odor is half the point.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Me an' the old lady are gonna pick up the pieces and retie the knot, mixaphorically speaking.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, you lying... unconstant... succubus! Vernon T. Waldrip: Whoa, whoa, whoa! You can't swear at my fiancé! Ulysses Everett McGill: Oh, yeah? Well, you can't marry my wife!
Pappy O'Daniel: Sounded to me like he was harboring a hateful grudge against the Soggy Bottom Boys on account of their rough and rowdy past. Looks like Homer Stokes is the kind of fellow who wants to cast the first stone. [boos] Pappy O'Daniel: Well, I'm with you folks. I'm a forgive-and-forgettin' Christian, and I say, if their rambunctiousness, and misdemeanoring, is behind them... [turns away from the mike, towards Everett] Pappy O'Daniel: [no-nonsense] It is, ain't it, boys? Ulysses Everett McGill: Uh, yes sir, it is.
George Nelson: [after Nelson has robbed the bank] Thank you folks! And remember, Jesus saves, but George Nelson withdraws! [laughs] George Nelson: Go fetch the auto voiture, Pete. Woman In Bank: [whispering] Is that "Babyface" Nelson? George Nelson: Who said that? [pause] George Nelson: What ignorant, low down, slanderizin, son of a bitch said that? [goes up to woman] George Nelson: My name is George Nelson, get me? Delmar O'Donnell: She didn't mean nothin by it, George. George Nelson: [noticeably upset] George Nelson! Not "Babyface"! You remember, and you tell your friends! I'm George Nelson! Born to raise hell! [Nelson points his Tommy Gun towards the ceiling and fires it, and the bank patrons jump]
Pete: The Preacher said it absolved us. Ulysses Everett McGill: For him, not for the law. I'm surprised at you, Pete, I gave you credit for more brains than Delmar. Delmar O'Donnell: But they was witnesses that seen us redeemed. Ulysses Everett McGill: That's not the issue Delmar. Even if that did put you square with the Lord, the State of Mississippi's a little more hard-nosed. [laughs] Ulysses Everett McGill: Baptism! You two are just dumber than a bag of hammers!
Ulysses Everett McGill: The treasure is still there boys, believe me. Delmar O'Donnell: But how'd he know about the treasure? Ulysses Everett McGill: I don't know Delmar. The blind are reputed to possess sensitivities compensating for their lack of sight, even to the point of developing paranormal psychic powers. Now, clearly seeing into the future would fall into neatly into that category; its not so surprising then that an organism deprived of its earthly vision... Pete: He said we wouldn't get get it. He said we wouldn't get the treasure we seek on account of our ob-stac-les. Ulysses Everett McGill: Well what the hell does he know, he's just an ignorant old man?
Delmar O'Donnell: You work for the railroad, Grampa? Blind Seer: I work for no man. Delmar O'Donnell: Got a name, do you? Blind Seer: I have no name. Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, that right there may be the reason you've had difficulty findin' gainful employment. You see, in the mart of competitive commerce...
Delmar O'Donnell: Can't you see it, Everett? Them sirens did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a... horny toad. Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete. It's me - Delmar. Everett... Ulysses Everett McGill: Delmar. What the... Delmar O'Donnell: What are we gonna do? Ulysses Everett McGill: I'm not sure that's Pete. Delmar O'Donnell: Of course it's Pete. Look at him.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Deceitful, two-faced she-woman. Never trust a female Delmar, remember that one simple precept and your time with me will not have been ill spent. Delmar O'Donnell: Ok, Everett. Ulysses Everett McGill: Hit by a train! Truth means nothing to a woman, Delmar. Triumph of the subjective. You ever been with a woman? Delmar O'Donnell: Well, I... I... I gotta get the family farm back before I can start thinking about that. Ulysses Everett McGill: That's right, if then. Believe me Delmar, woman is the most fiendish instrument of torture ever devised to bedevil the days of man.
Siren, Siren, Siren: [singing] Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / You and me and the devil makes three / Don't need no other lovin' baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Come and lay your bones on the alabaster stones / And be my ever lovin' baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Your momma's gone away and your daddy's gone to stay / Didn't leave nobody but the baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Everybody's gone in the cotton and the corn / Didn't leave nobody but the baby // You're a sweet little baby / You're a sweet little baby / Honey in the rock and the sugar don't stop / Gonna bring a bottle to the baby // Don't you weep pretty baby / Don't you weep pretty baby / She's long gone with the red shoes on / Gonna meet another lovin' baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / You and me and the devil makes three / Don't need no other lovin' baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / You and me and the devil makes three / Don't need no other lovin' baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Your momma's gone away and your daddy's gone to stay / Didn't leave nobody but the baby // Go to sleep you little baby / Go to sleep you little baby / Come and lay your bones on the alabaster stones / And be my ever lovin' baby
Ulysses Everett McGill: You can't display a toad in a fine restaurant like this! Why, the good folks here would go right off the feed! Delmar O'Donnell: I just don't think it's right keeping him under wraps like we's ashamed of him. Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, if it is Pete, I am ashamed of him! Way I see it, he got what he deserved, fornicating with some whore of Babylon. These things don't happen for no reason, Delmar. It's obviously some kinda judgment on his character. Delmar O'Donnell: Well, the two of us was fixin' to fornicate!
Ulysses Everett McGill: I detect, like me, you're endowed with the gift of gab.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Tommy, what you ridin' there? Tommy Johnson: Uh... Roll top desk!
Delmar O'Donnell: They... left... his... heart!
Homer Stokes: [as Grand Kleagle at a KKK rally] Brothers! Oh, brothers! We have all gathered here, to preserve our hallowed culture and heritage! We aim to pull evil up by the root, before it chokes out the flower of our culture and heritage! And our women, let's not forget those ladies, y'all. Looking to us for protection! From darkies, from Jews, from papists, and from all those smart-ass folks say we condescended from monkeys!
Ulysses Everett McGill: [riding past a chain gang, Everett and Delmar see Pete] Pete got a brother? Delmar O'Donnell: Not that I'm aware. Ulysses Everett McGill: Heat must be getting to me.
Homer Stokes: The color guard is colored!
Ulysses Everett McGill: I'll tell you what I am - I'm the damn paterfamilias! You can't marry him!
Ulysses Everett McGill: Pete's cousin turned us in for the bounty. Pete: The hell you say! Wash is kin! Washington Hogwallop: Sorry, Pete, I know we're kin, but they got this depression on. I got to do for me and mine. Pete: I'm gonna kill you, Judas Iscariot Hogwallop!
Soggy Bottom Customer: Do you have the Soggy Bottom Boys performing "Man of Constant Sorrow"? Record Store Clerk: No ma'am. We got a new shipment in yesterday. Sorry, but we just can't keep 'em on our shelves.
Ulysses Everett McGill: I am the only daddy you got! I'm the damn paterfamilias! Wharvey Gal: But you ain't bona fide!
Homer Stokes: These boys is not white! These boys is not white! Hell, they ain't even old timey!
Big Dan Teague: So long boys. See you in the funny papers.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, I guess hard times flush the chump. Everybody's lookin' for answers... Where the hell's he goin'? [as Delmar runs out to be baptized] Pete: Well, I'll be a son of a bitch. Delmar's been saved!
Pappy O'Daniel: Shake a leg Junior! Thank God your mammy died givin' birth. If she'd have seen you, she'd have died o' shame.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Ain't you gonna introduce us, Pete? Pete: I don't know their names. I seen 'em first!
Penny Wharvey McGill: Vernon here's got a job. Vernon's got prospects. He's bona fide. What are you?
Pete: Do not seek the treasure!
Man with Bullhorn: All right, boys! It's the authorities! We got you surrounded! Just come on out and grabbin' air! And don't try nothing fancy! Your sityeachin is purty nigh hopeless!
Pete: Well hell, it ain't square one! Ain't nobody gonna pick up three filthy, unshaved hitch-hikers, and one of them a know-it-all that can't keep his trap shut. Ulysses Everett McGill: Pete, the personal rancor reflected in that remark I don't intend to dignify with comment. But I would like to address your general attitude of hopeless negativism. Consider the lilies of the goddamn field or... hell! Take at look at Delmar here as your paradigm of hope. Delmar O'Donnell: Yeah, look at me.
Penny Wharvey McGill: The only good thing you ever did for the gals was get hit by that train!
Ulysses Everett McGill: I'm not sure that's Pete. Delmar O'Donnell: Of course it's Pete! Look at him!... We gotta find some kind of wizard to change him back.
[about to be hung] Ulysses Everett McGill: It ain't the law! Sheriff Cooley: The law? The law is a human institution.
Pete: You ruined my life! [while being choked] Ulysses Everett McGill: I do apologize about that Pete.
Delmar O'Donnell: I'm gonna visit those foreclosing son-of-a-guns at the Indianola Savings & Loan, slap that money on the barrelhead and buy back the family farm. You ain't no kind of man if you ain't got land.
George Nelson: Jesus saves, George Nelson withdraws!
Lund: Now, what can I do you for Mr. French? French: How can I lay a hold of them Soggy Bottom Boys? Lund: Soggy Bottom? I don't precisely recollect them. French: They cut a record in here a few days ago, was an old-timey harmony thing with a guitar accom... accomp... Lund: Oh here, here, here, I remember them! They was colored fellas, I believe. French: Uh huh. Lund: Yessuh, they're a fine bunch a boys. They sang in the yonder can and skeedadled. French: Well that record is goin' through the goddamned roof. They playin' it as far away as Mobile. Lund: Naw? French: Whole damn state's goin' apey. Lund: Well it was a powerful air. French: Hot damn, we gotta find them boys and sign 'em to a big fat contract. Hells Bells, Mr. Lund, if we don't the goddamned competition will. Lund: Ohhhh mercy! Yes we got to beat that competition.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Say, uh, Cousin Wash, I suppose it'd be the acme of foolishness to inquire if you had a hair net. Washington Hogwallop: Got a bunch in yon bureau, Mrs. Hogwallop's as a matter of fact [sniff] Washington Hogwallop: . Help y'self... I won't be needin' 'em.
[Discussing how to counter Homer Stokes' campaign for governor] Junior O'Daniel: We could hire our own midget, even shorter than his. Pappy O'Daniel: Wouldn't we look like a bunch of Johnny-come-latelies, bragging on our own midget, doesn't matter how stumpy.
Homer Stokes: And I say to you that the great state a Mississippi cannot afford four more years a Pappy O'Daniel - four more years a cronyism, nepotism, racialism and service to the Innarests! The choice, she's a clear 'un: Pappy O'Daniel, slave a the Innarests; Homer Stokes, servant a the little man! Ain't that right, little fella?
Homer Stokes: This band of miscreants, this very evening, interfered with a lynch mob in the performance of its duty.
Ulysses Everett McGill: So you're against me now too? Is that how it is boys? The whole world, God almighty, and now you.
Pappy O'Daniel: Holey moley! These boys are a hit! Junior O'Daniel: But Pappy, they's integrated!
Ulysses Everett McGill: I don't get it, Big Dan.
Pete: Crazy! No one's ever gonna believe we're a real band. Ulysses Everett McGill: No, it's gonna work. I just gotta get close enough to talk to her. Takin' off with us has got more future than marryin' a guy named Waldrip. I'm Goddamned bona fide! Delmar O'Donnell: Everett, my beard itches.
Penny Wharvey McGill: I've spoken my piece and counted to three. Ulysses Everett McGill: She counted to three. Goddamit! She counted to three. Sonofabitch!
[last lines] Penny Wharvey McGill: Well, we need that ring. Ulysses Everett McGill: Well that ring is at the bottom of a pretty durn big lake. Penny Wharvey McGill: Uh-uh. Ulysses Everett McGill: A 9,000 hectare lake. Penny Wharvey McGill: I don't care if it's 90,000... Ulysses Everett McGill: But honey... Penny Wharvey McGill: that lake was not my doing. Ulysses Everett McGill: Of course not honey... Penny Wharvey McGill: I counted to three, honey. Ulysses Everett McGill: No, wait, honey! Finding one little ring in the middle of all that water is one hell of a heroic task!
Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, as soon as we get ourselves cleaned up and we get a little smellum in our hair, why, we're gonna feel 100% better about ourselves and about life in general.
Homer Stokes: Is you is, or is you ain't, my constituency?
Homer Stokes: And so, we gonna hang us a negro!
[as a noose is flung over Pete] Sheriff Cooley: Stairway to heaven. We shall all meet by and by.
Big Dan Teague: You don't say much my friend, but when you do it's to the point, and I salute you for it.
Washington Hogwallop: I slaughtered this horse last Tuesday. I think it's startin' to turn.
Delmar O'Donnell: We thought you was a toad! Pete: What? Delmar O'Donnell: [leaning in, speaking slower] We thought you was a toad!
Pappy O'Daniel: I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! You don't tell your pappy how to court the electorate. We ain't one-at-a-timin' here. We're MASS communicating!
Delmar O'Donnell: Friend? Some of your foldin' money's come unstowed.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Why are you telling our gals that I was hit by a train? Penny Wharvey McGill: Lots of respectable people have been hit by trains. Judge Hobbie over in Cookville was hit by a train. What was I gonna tell them, that you got sent to the penal farm and I divorced you from shame? Ulysses Everett McGill: Uh, I take your point. But it does put me in a damn awkward position, vis-a-vis my progeny.
Delmar O'Donnell: Jacking up banks. I can see how a fella'd derive a whole lot of pleasure and satisfaction out of it.
Pete: Since we been followin' your lead, we ain't got nothing but trouble.
Delmar O'Donnell: Hey mister! I don't mean to be tellin' tales out of school, but there's a feller in there that'll pay you ten dollars if you sing into his can.
Ulysses Everett McGill: I was not hit by a train. Damnit, I am the paterfamilias!
Big Dan Teague: Thank you boys for throwin' in that fricassee. I'm a man of large appetite, and even with lunch under my belt, I was feelin' a mite peckish. Ulysses Everett McGill: It's our pleasure, Big Dan.
Pappy O'Daniel: Moral fibre? I invented moral fibre! Pappy O'Daniel was displaying rectitude and high-mindedness when that egghead you work for was still messing his drawers!
Delmar O'Donnell: Everett, I never figured you for a paterfamilias. Ulysses Everett McGill: Oh-ho, yes, I have spread my seed.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, it didn't look like a two-horse town, but try finding a decent hair jelly.
Interrogator: Talk, you un-Reconstructed whelp of a whore!
Big Dan Teague: Thank you for the conversational hiatus. I generally refrain from speech durin' gustation. I find it course and vulgar. Where were we? Delmar O'Donnell: Makin' money in the service of the Lord. Big Dan Teague: Heh, you don't say much, friend, but when you do, it's to the point and I salute you for it!
Ulysses Everett McGill: [Upon being startled awake] Mmmm. How's my hair?
Delmar O'Donnell: Them syreens did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.
[Last Lines] Blind Seer: [sings] Oh, bear me away on your snow white wings to my celestial home
Washington Hogwallop: Mrs. Hogwallop up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T. Ulysses Everett McGill: She musta been lookin' for answers. Washington Hogwallop: Possibly. Good riddance as far as I'm concerned. I do miss her cookin' though. Delmar O'Donnell: This stew's awful good. Washington Hogwallop: [examining his fork] You think so? I slaughtered this horse last Tuesday... I'm afraid she's startin' to turn.
Pete: My pa always said "Never trust a Hogwallop!"
Woolworths Manager: [to Ulysees after he's thrown out of Woolworths] Stay out of Woolworths!
Ulysses Everett McGill: Yessir, the South is gonna change. Everything's gonna be put on electricity and run on a paying basis. Out with old spiritual mumbo-jumbo, the superstition and the backward ways. We're gonna see a brave new world where they run everyone a wire and hook us all up to the grid. Yessir, a veritable age of reason - like they had in France. And not a moment too soon...
Ulysses Everett McGill: The old tactician has got a plan. For the transportation that is, I don't know how I'm gonna keep my coiffure in order. Pete: How's this a plan? How we gonna get a car? Ulysses Everett McGill: Sell that. I figure it can only have painful association for Wash. Pete: [reading] "To Washington Bartholomew Hogwallop, from his loving Cora. Amor Fidel... is." Ulysses Everett McGill: It was in his bureau. I figure it'll fetch us enough cash for a good used auto-voiture, and a little left over besides.
Pappy O'Daniel: You soft headed son of a bitch.
Pappy O'Daniel: Furthermore, in the second Pappy O'Daniel administration, these boys is gonna be my *brain* trust. Delmar O'Donnell: What's that mean, Everett?
Ulysses Everett McGill: Jesus! Can I count on you people? Delmar O'Donnell: Sorry, Everett.
George Nelson: I'm George Nelson, and I'm feeling ten feet tall!
Big Dan Teague: I'm gonna propose you a proposition!
Delmar O'Donnell: where's the happy little tire swing?
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