The Fisher King

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I only knew that you were thirsty.

The Fisher King is a comedy-drama film made in 1991 about a radio shock-jock who tries to find redemption by helping a homeless man whose life he inadvertently shattered.

Directed by Terry Gilliam. Written by Richard LaGravenese.
A Modern Day Tale About The Search For Love, Sanity, Ethel Merman And The Holy Grail. (taglines)


  • I'm a knight on a special quest.
  • It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king. Now while he is spending the night alone he's visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the Holy Grail, symbol of God's divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, "You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men." But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so he reached into the fire to take the grail, and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded. Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its reason. He had no faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn't love or feel loved. He was sick with experience. He began to die. One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn't see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king, "What ails you friend?" The king replied, "I'm thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat". So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement, "How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?" And the fool replied, "I don't know. I only knew that you were thirsty." It's very beautiful, isn't it?
  • Jack, I may be going out on a limb here, but you don't seem like a happy camper.
  • What were the crusades? The pope's publicity stunt?
  • [singing] Lydia, Oh Lydia. Say have you met Lydia? Lydia that Tattooed Lady!

Jack Lucas[edit]

  • It's important to think. It's what separates us from lentils.
  • I told you about these people. They're evil, Edwin. They must be stopped.
    • Advice to a disturbed listener on his Radio program.
  • You ever read any Nietzsche? Nietzsche says there's two kinds of people in the world: people who are destined for greatness like Walt Disney... and Hitler. Then there's the rest of us, he called us "the bungled and the botched." We get teased. We sometimes get close to greatness, but we never get there. We're the expendable masses. We get pushed in front of trains, take poison aspirin... get gunned down in Dairy Queens.
    • Drunk, and talking to a Pinocchio doll, reminiscing about the attack on diners in a restaurant which his words provoked.
  • I wish there was some way I could just pay the fine and go home.
  • Some billionaire's got the Holy Grail in his library on Fifth Avenue.
  • I'm hearing horses! Parry will be so pleased!


Jack Lucas: Where would King Arthur be without Guinevere?
Parry: Happily married, probably.
Jack Lucas: Well, that's a bad... that's a bad example.

Jack Lucas: I don't mean to be flippant or to enrage you or anything, but you're a psychotic man.
Parry: I know.
Jack Lucas: A very nice psychotic man.
Parry: Thank you.

Jack Lucas: Do you still believe in God?
Anne Napolitano: Oh! You gotta believe in God! But I don't believe that God created Man in His image. 'Cause most of the shit that happens is because of men. Naw, I think men was made in the Devil's image, and women were created outta God. 'Cause, after all, women can have babies, which is kinda like creating. And which also accounts for the fact that women are so attracted to men. 'Cause let's face it, the Devil is a helluva lot more interesting. I've slept with some saints in my day, and believe me, I know what I'm talking about. Egh-boy! So, the whole point of life, the whole point of life, I think, is for men and women to get married so that God and the Devil can get together — and work it out. Not that we have to get married or anything. God forbid.

Lydia: I have never been through a dating period.
Anne Napolitano: It's a disgusting process. You haven't missed a thing.

Quotes about The Fisher King[edit]

  • However funny it is, however outrageous it is, is based on pain, on a tragedy, on loss.
    • Terry Gilliam, as quoted in "Dreams: The Fisher King" edited by Phil Stubbs
  • Parry is a man with a previous life that was so damaged that he had to create another personality. ... It's like post-traumatic stress syndrome: Some people respond to traumatic or tragic events by withdrawal; some even create other personalities. Parry is a creation — somewhat Don Quixote, somewhat Groucho Marx — but he's a creation designed to avoid a past event.
    • Robin Williams, as quoted in "Dreams: The Fisher King" edited by Phil Stubbs


  • A Modern Day Tale About The Search For Love, Sanity, Ethel Merman And The Holy Grail.
  • A good, old-fashioned story of guilt, poverty, love, madness and free video club membership.
  • Some called him a hero. Some called him the most dangerous man in America


External links[edit]

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