Angels in America
Angels in America is an award winning 2003 HBO miniseries adapted from the play of the same name by the American playwright Tony Kushner, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Kushner adapted his original text for the screen, and Mike Nichols directed.
The Problem with Louis
- Belize: You know what your problem is, Louis? Your problem is that you are so full of piping hot crap that the mention of your name draws flies.
I'm a Mormon.
- Harper: I'm a Mormon.
- Prior: I'm a homosexual.
- Harper: Oh. In my church we don't believe in homosexuals.
- Prior: In my church we don't believe in Mormons.
I Can't Believe You're a Mormon
- Louis: I can't believe you're a Mormon. I can't believe I spent three weeks in bed with a Mormon.
- Joe Pitt: Good morning. [he ruffles Louis' hair and gets up]
- Louis: I can't believe you didn't tell me.
- Joe: I did.
- Louis: Yeah, after I asked. I thought you were a Protestant or something.
- Joe: Well, I'm not.
- Louis: But you're a lawyer! A serious lawyer!
- Joe: The chief clerk of the chief justice of the Supreme Court is a Mormon, Louis.
When Your Heart Breaks, You Should Die
- Harper Pitt: I don't understand why I'm not dead. When your heart breaks, you should die. But there's still the rest of you. There's your breasts and your genitals... They're amazingly stupid, like babies or faithful dogs. They don't get it, they just want him. Want him.
Was It Legal?
- Roy Cohn: Yeah, you heard of Ethel Rosenberg. Maybe even read about her in the history books. Well, if it wasn't for me, Joe, Ethel Rosenberg would be alive today, writing some personal-advice column for Ms. Magazine. She isn't. Because, during the trial, Joe, I was on the phone every day talking with the judge. Every day, doing what I do best — talking on the telephone. Making sure that that timid Yid nebbish on the bench did his duty to America, to history. That sweet, unprepossessing woman, two kids, boo-hoo-hoo, reminded us all of our little Jewish mamas. She came this close to getting life. I pleaded till I wept to put her in the chair. Me, I did that. I'd have fucking pulled the switch if they let me. Why? Because I fucking hate traitors. Because I fucking hate communists. Was it legal? Fuck legal! Am I a nice man? Fuck nice! They say terrible things about me in The Nation? Fuck The Nation! You want to be nice or you want to be effective?! You want to make the law, or be subject to it? Choose!
- Angel: My wrath is as fearsome as my countenance is splendid!
There are no Angels in America
- Louis: There are no gods here, no ghosts and spirits in America, there are no angels in America, no spiritual past, no racial past, there's only the political, and the decoys and the ploys to maneuver around the inescapable battle of politics.
I'm no Good at Tests, Martin. I'd Rather Cheat
- Roy Cohn: Yea, AZT. I want my own private stash, Martin. Of serious, honest-Abe medicine that I control here in the room with me. No placebos. No, I'm no good at tests, Martin. I'd rather cheat. So, send me my pills with a get-well bouquet, pronto, or I'm gonna ring up CBS and sing Mike Wallace a song. You know the ballad of adorable Ollie North and his secret Contra slush fund. You only think you know all I know. I don't even know what all I know. Half the time I just make it up and it still turns out to be true! We learned that trick in the fifties.
- Angel: [To Prior] The stiffening of your penis is of no consequence!
The Polestar of Human Evil
- Louis: I don't believe you! Not Roy Cohn! He's like...the polestar of human evil. He's the worst human being who ever lived. He's not human, even.
Hung up on words
- Roy Cohn: Your problem, Henry, is that you are hung up on words, on labels: "gay", "homosexual", "lesbian." You think they tell you who a person sleeps with, but they don't tell you that. Like all labels, they refer to one thing and one thing only: Where does a person so identified fit in the food chain? In the pecking order. Not ideology or sexual taste, but something much simpler: clout. Who owes me favors. Not who I fuck or who fucks me, but who will pick up the phone when I call. To someone who doesn't understand this, homosexual is what I am because I sleep with men, but this is wrong. Homosexuals are not men who sleep with other men. Homosexuals are men who, in 15 years of trying, can't get a croissant anti-discrimination bill through City Council. They are men who know nobody, and who nobody knows. Now, Henry, does that sound like me?
- Henry: No.
- Roy Cohn: No. I have clout — lots! I pick up that phone, dial 15 numbers, and guess who's on the other end of the line? In under five minutes, Henry.
- Henry: The President.
- Roy Cohn: Better — his wife.
- Henry: I'm impressed.
- Roy Cohn: I don't want you to be impressed, Henry — I want you to understand. This is not sophistry, and this is not hypocrisy. This is reality. I have sex with men, but unlike nearly every other man of which this is true, I bring the guy I'm screwing to Washington, and President Reagan smiles at us and shakes his hand, because what I am is defined entirely by who I am. Roy Cohn is not a homosexual. Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man who fucks around with guys.
I Hate America
- Belize: I hate America, Louis. I hate this country. Nothing but a bunch of big ideas and stories and people dying, and then people like you. The white cracker who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word 'free' to a note so high nobody can reach it. That was deliberate. Nothing on Earth sounds less like freedom to me. You come to room 1013 over at the hospital, Louis, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean. I live in America, Louis. I don't have to love it. You do that. Everybody’s gotta love somethin'.
My New Deal Pinko Parents Would Never Forgive Me
- Louis: I'm not saying Kaddish for him. The drugs, okay, fine, sure. But no fucking way am I praying for him. My New Deal pinko parents in Schenectady would never forgive me. They're already so disappointed. He's a fag, he's an office temp. Now look, he's praying for Roy Cohn.
What Kind of a Homosexual are You Anyway?
- Belize: Look at that heavy sky out there.
- Louis: Purple.
- Belize: Purple? What kind of a homosexual are you anyway? That's not purple, Mary, that color up there... is mauve.
- Prior: Out of my way, I wanna meet my replacement [pushes past Belize into Joe Pitt's office] Oh, God.
- Joe: Yes, can I help you?
- Prior: [stares] I'm a prophet.
- Joe: What?
- Prior: PROPHET! PROPHET! I PROPHESY, I HAVE SIGHT, I SEE! What do you do?
- Joe: [slightly stunned] I'm a clerk.
- Prior: Oh, big deal, a clerk? You, what, you file things? You better be keeping a file on the hearts you break. That's all that counts in the end. You'll be having bills to pay in the world to come. You and your friend, the Whore of Babylon. Sorry, wrong room.
- Prior: [back outside with Belize] He's the Marlboro Man!
- [After Belize goes inside to look]
- Prior: Home on the range!
- Belize: Chaps and spurs.
- Prior: Mega-butch! He made me feel beyond nelly, like I've got wispy daisies sprouting out my ears.
After This Misery Ends
- Roy Cohn: [delirious, under the impression that Belize is the Angel of Death] Can I ask you something, sir?
- Belize: "Sir"?
- Roy Cohn: What's it like? After?
- Belize: After...?
- Roy Cohn: This misery ends?
- Belize: Hell or heaven?
- Roy Cohn: [laughs]
- Belize: Like San Francisco.
- Roy Cohn: A city! Good! I was worried... it'd be a garden. I hate that shit.
- Belize: Mmmm. Big city. Overgrown with weeds, but flowering weeds. On every corner a wrecking crew and something new and crooked going up catty corner to that. Windows missing in every edifice like broken teeth, gritty wind, and a gray high sky full of ravens.
- Roy Cohn: Isaiah.
- Belize: Prophet birds, Roy. Piles of trash, but lapidary like rubies and obsidian, and diamond-colored cow spit streamers in the wind. And voting booths. And everyone in Balenciaga gowns with red corsages, and big dance palaces full of music and lights and racial impurity and gender confusion. And all the deities are creole, mulatto, brown as the mouths of rivers. Race, taste and history finally overcome. And you ain't there.
- Roy Cohn: And Heaven?
- Belize: That was Heaven, Roy.
- Roy Cohn: The fuck it was!
- Angel: Greetings Prophet! The great work begins! The Messenger has arrived!
- "The great work begins" was first written by psychoanalyst Carl G. Jung in 1918, and can be found in The Red Book\Liber Novus page 211. This line appears, contained within the introduction, under the header The Way To the Self, in which Jung includes a dialogue between the unconscious self and the Soul:
- Self: What induces you to keep me awake?
- Soul: Now is no time to sleep, but you should be awake and prepare important matters in nocturnal work. The great work begins.
The Kindness of Strangers
- Prior: I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
- Hannah Pitt: Well, that's a stupid thing to do.
We Won't Die Secret Deaths
- Prior: This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won't die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come.
- Prior: [to Louis] You cry, but you endanger nothing in yourself. It's like the idea of crying when you do it. Or the idea of love.