Four Friends (film)

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I love you like the Pilgrim loves the Holy Land,
Like the wayfarer loves his wayward ways,
Like the immigrant that I am loves America,
And the blind man the memory of his sighted days.

Four Friends is a 1981 American drama film about four working-class kids in a small industrial town who go their separate ways after high school in the innocence of 1961 and come together again at the end of the turbulent Sixties.

Directed by Arthur Penn. Written by Steve Tesich.
All the boys love Georgia...and Georgia loves all the boys!

Georgia[edit]

Without style you're dead ducks, kiddos.
  • I swear to God, Mr. Lucas, when I hear music something happens to me and I either have to move, or scream my head off or something. Something's in my blood, sir, and I don't know what it is, but I know that if I can't dance I'd die.
  • These middle class minds! They don't know what passion is — what ecstasy is! What it's like to be possessed! I'm going to be a famous dancer, I am, I just know it.
  • Our Danilo will maybe be a famous poet one day — and I definitely will be a famous dancer! And we're all going to do wonderful things! And if anyone disagrees they can leave. School's ending, kiddos, and it's out into this world with us all. We are poised and ready to fly.

Danilo[edit]

  • I love you like the Pilgrim loves the Holy Land,
    Like the wayfarer loves his wayward ways,
    Like the immigrant that I am loves America,
    And the blind man the memory of his sighted days.
    • Love poem to Georgia, recited early in the story by her, and later by him on a television quiz show.

David[edit]

Let's make a promise to each other. The minute that first man lands that first foot on the moon, that very instant — you'll think of me — and I, if such things are possible, I will think of you.
  • I was losing my old friends, and I wasn't making any new ones. I walked around looking sad and miserable, hoping that everyone would recognize what a tragic figure I was.

Louie[edit]

  • Sometimes I can actually see the whole Universe, the galaxies, the stars, the planets — and yes, when stars collide it's out of loneliness. They're out there orbiting in the void, and they collide, as if to embrace.
    God, I hope I'm alive when we land on the moon. … Let's make a promise to each other. The minute that first man lands that first foot on the moon, that very instant — you'll think of me — and I, if such things are possible, I will think of you..
  • Too bad! — now I'm hooked.

Dialogue[edit]

Whenever you feel the evil influence of the middle class muddling your soul, you'll say these two words and you'll be a free spirit again: "Isadora Duncan."
"Do you know what we've never done?"
"A lot of things."
"You got it, kiddo!"
Georgia: I was born on the very hour on the very day and the very hour that a Isadora Duncan died. Her soul is inside of me. If you don't believe me, I never want to see you again. Any of you, again, NEVER!
Danilo: But she died in 1927!
Georgia: So what? It took her soul fifteen years to find someone like me.

Georgia: Whenever you feel the evil influence of the middle class muddling your soul, you'll say these two words and you'll be a free spirit again: "Isadora Duncan."
David: Isadora Duncan. Isadora Duncan! Who's Isadora Duncan?
Tom [leaping over a fence, as if incredulous at the question]: Who's Isadora Duncan? [shrugs, affirming he doesn't know either].
Georgia: She was the greatest dancer who ever lived. And she was killed in just such a car.
Danilo: Actually it was a Bugatti.
Georgia: You and your facts. I can't understand how you can write poems to me and still cling to facts.

Danilo, Tom and David: [singing "Georgia on My Mind" along with the radio, as they pick up Georgia in David's new car]: Just an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind!
David: Where to?
Georgia: Let's find someplace so beautiful that we have to stop. And if we can't find it, let's just keep going.

Georgia: Shouldn't you be at work?
Danilo: I called in sick.
Georgia: Then you should call a doctor.
Danilo: I'm fine.
Georgia: Then you should be at work.

Georgia: I don't love Tom. I saw David — don't love him either. I wanted to love all three of you! But, I can't. It's just you. SHIT! Just you — Oh, Christ — it's you. You.
Danilo: Me? Ha!
Georgia: It's not funny!
Danilo: You know what? I wish I had two lives — I wouldn't mind living one without you.
Georgia: Man, you're not the only one.
Danilo: Well, we're not making peace, are we?
Georgia: Peace?! Never. [they both stubbornly hold back, and then embrace in tears] Why does everything take so long?

Danilo [to his father as his parents are about to journey back to Yugoslavia]: Are we just gonna keep this up?
Mr. Prozor: What is it you are suggesting?
Danilo: I don't know — I've never even seen you smile.
Mr. Prozor: [long pause] When you were born I smiled.
Danilo: Well I guess I wasn't paying attention — that slipped by me.
Mr. Prozor: When you were born … I … took off my hat and I … beat on the table with it! And I'm almost sure … I was smiling … [pauses, smiles in remembrance, and he and his wife and Danilo all laugh]
Danilo: That looks good on you Papa!

Georgia: Do you know what we've never done?
Danilo: A lot of things.
Georgia: You got it, kiddo!

Quotes about Four Friends[edit]

Some critics have said the people and events in this movie are not plausible. I don't know if they're denying the movie's truth, or arguing that from a 1980s point of view the '60s were just a bad dream. Or a good one. ~ Roger Ebert
  • To get quickly to the point, Four Friends is the best film yet made about the sixties, that harrowed time of war, prosperity, and broken promises, of turning on and dropping out to colors described as psychedelic, when establishment came to be written with a capital "E." … It's a film that embraces the looks, sounds, speech, and public events of the sixties, but not in the way of a documentary. It has the quality of legend, a fable remembered.
    The title is somewhat misleading, for although Four Friends is about the coming of age of three young men and the young woman they each love in turn, it's principally the story of Danilo Prozor (Craig Wasson). Danilo is the Yugoslavian-born son of immigrant parents, who arrives in this country in 1948 at the age of twelve and spends the next decade and a half sorting out the reality of America from his dream of it … Danilo never refers to this country as the United States but always as America — it's not a political union but a concept from childhood. …Four Friends is about ordinary people, but not ordinary people who speak a predictable, commonplace vernacular. They take leaps into the unknown and occasionally come up spouting what sounds like rubbish, which is part of the film's extraordinary style and what separates it from a kind of fiction that aspires to do nothing more than reproduce actuality.
    Mr. Wasson is very fine in a long difficult role that, I assume, is the beginning of a major film career, but then there's not a shabby performance in the picture.
    Four Friends … is one of Mr. Penn's most deeply felt achievements, ranking alongside Bonnie and Clyde, Alice's Restaurant, and Little Big Man. For Mr. Tesich, it is another original work by one of our best young screenwriters.
    • Vincent Canby, in NYT Critic's Choice review in The New York Times (11 December 1981)
  • Somewhere in the middle of My Dinner With Andre, Andre Gregory wonders aloud if it's not possible that the 1960s were the last decade when we were all truly alive — that since then we've sunk into a bemused state of self-hypnosis, placated by consumer goods and given the illusion of excitement by television. Walking out of Four Friends, I had some of the same thoughts. This movie brings the almost unbelievable contradictions of that decade into sharp relief, not as nostalgia or as a re-creation of times past, but as a reliving of all of the agony and freedom of the weirdest ten years any of us is likely to witness. … The movie is ambitious. It wants to take us on a tour of some of the things that happened in the 1960s, and some of the ways four midwestern kids might have responded to them. It also wants to be a meditation on love, and on how love changes during the course of a decade. … The wonder is not that Four Friends covers so much ground, but that it makes many of its scenes so memorable that we learn more even about the supporting characters than we expect to. … this is a movie that remembers times past with such clarity that there are times it seems to be making it all up. Did we really say those things? Make those assumptions? Live on the edge of what seemed to be a society gone both free and mad at once? Some critics have said the people and events in this movie are not plausible. I don't know if they're denying the movie's truth, or arguing that from a 1980s point of view the '60s were just a bad dream. Or a good one.
  • A charming, heartfelt, sometimes insightful look at four friends who form strong bonds while in high school in the early 1960s, and then desperately cling to that love during the turbulent social upheavals that marked the end of the decade. Unfortunately, Four Friends attempts to cover so much ground that at times the film becomes frustratingly muddled. … Though Four Friends runs out of gas toward the end, it's filmed with obvious love for the characters and features outstanding performances from the underrated Wasson, Thelen and Simon. Well worth seeing.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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