Cloud Atlas (film)

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If God created the world, how do we know what things we can change and what things must remain sacred and inviolable?

Cloud Atlas is a 2012 epic adventure drama film that explores how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

Written and directed by Andy Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Lana Wachowski, adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell.
Everything is connected. (taglines)


  • Bridge a'broken, hide below. Hands a'bleedin', can't let go. Enemy's sleeping, don't slit that throat.
  • We are bound together from womb to tomb.
  • Let Sonmi guide your heart.
  • Trust Sonmi! Keep her warnin' with you, nail it to your memory.


  • I in trouble dead
  • They no hear I. They say “swim away home, nigger”, and throw I in drink
  • I be no fish food Mr. Ewing.
  • Then I stay here... I must. Mr. Ewing saved my life. It my duty.
  • Pain strong, aye....Friends are more strong.

Adam Ewing[edit]

  • And thus it was when I made the acquaintance of Dr. Henry Goose the man I hoped might cure me of my affliction.
  • If God created the world, how do we know what things we can change and what things must remain sacred and inviolable?
  • My parasite writhes at night, igniting spasms of pain, while visions and voices, obscene and monstrous, haunt me.
  • I've begun to fear that I may never hold my beloved Tilda in my arms again.
  • I don't know what I would have done had our paths not crossed.

Haskell Moore[edit]

  • There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well.

Henry Goose[edit]

  • The weak are meat and the strong do eat.
  • A tiger cannot change his stripes.
  • This beach was once a cannibals banqueting hall. Where the strong gorged on the weak, but the teeth sir they spat out like you or I would expel a cherry stone. Do you know the price a quarter pound of these will earn?

Isaac Sachs[edit]

  • Proposition: I have fallen in love with Luisa Rey. Is this possible? I just met her, and yet...I feel like something important has happened to me.
  • Belief, like fear or love, is a force to be understood as we understand the theory of relativity, and principles of uncertainty. Phenomena that determine the course of our lives. Yesterday, my life was headed in one direction. Today, it is headed in another. Yesterday, I believe I would never have done what I did today. These forces that often remake time and space, they can shape and alter who we imagine ourselves to be, begin long before we are born, and continue after we perish. Our lives and our choices, like quantum trajectories, are understood moment to moment, at each point of intersection, each encounter, suggest a new potential direction.
  • Do you ever think that the universe is against you?

Luisa Rey[edit]

  • Question one: What secret in Sixsmith's report would be worth killing him for? Question two: Is it reasonable to believe that they would kill again to protect that secret? And if so, question three: What the fuck am I doing here?
  • You have to do whatever you can't not do.
  • My father braved booby-trapped marshes and the wrath of generals for his journalistic integrity. What kind of daughter would I be if I bailed when things got a little tough?
  • Nice to know the age of chivalry isn't dead.


  • If you fall I catch you.

Mr. Meeks[edit]

  • I know. I know.
  • Don't leave me here!
  • Are there no true Scotsmen in the house? Those there English gerrunts are tramplin' all over my God-given rights! They've used me and my pals most direly. And we are in need of a wee bit of assistance!

Robert Frobisher[edit]

  • Sixsmith, I do hope you will be able to find it in your heart to forgive me.
  • My dearest Sixsmith, I shot myself through the roof of my mouth this morning, with Vyvyan Ayrs' Luger. A true suicide is a paced disciplined certainty. People pontificate, 'suicide is a coward's act'. Couldn't be further from the truth. Suicide takes tremendous courage.
  • Don't let them say I killed myself for love. Had my infatuations, but we both know in our hearts who is the sole love of my short, bright life.
  • I understand now that boundaries between noise and sound are conventions. All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. One may transcend any convention, if only one can first conceive of doing so.
  • A half-finished book is, after all, a half-finished love affair.
  • I believe there is a another world waiting for us, Sixsmith. A better world. And I'll be waiting for you there.
  • At this point in my life, all I know, Sixsmith, is that this world spins from the same unseen forces that twist our hearts.


  • Honor Thy Consumer
  • If I had remained invisible, the truth would have stayed hidden. I couldn't allow that.
  • Truth is singular. Its "versions" are mistruths.
  • I believe death is only a door, when it closes, another opens. If I care to imagine heaven. I would imagine a door opening. And behind it, I would find him there, waiting for me.
  • You can maintain power over people, as long as you give them something. Rob a man of everything, and that man will no longer be in your power.
  • Knowledge is a mirror, and for the first time in my life, I was allowed to see who I was, and who I might become.
  • To be is to be perceived. And so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other. The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds that go on apportioning themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own; from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness we birth our future.

Timothy Cavendish[edit]

  • While my extensive experience as an editor has led me to a disdain for flashbacks and flash forwards and all such tricksy gimmicks I believe that if you, dear Reader, can extend your patience for just a moment, you will find that there is a Method to this tale of Madness.
  • In the darkness, I suddenly saw the light. Blood has always trumped water. If the Hogginses brutes wanted to turn this into a family affair, they'd find the Cavendish clan more than ready for the task at hand.
  • Freedom. The fatuous jingle of our civilization. But only those deprived of it have the barest inkling of what it really is.
  • We cross and recross our old tracks like figure skaters.
  • What is a critic but one who reads quickly, arrogantly, but never wisely?
  • My thoughts? If I'm honest, I admit that the obvious emotions like shock and horror flew as Finch had, here and gone... While deep down, I experienced a nascent sense of a silver lining to this most tragic turn.
  • I was for the briefest of moments... Cinderella and all memory of past misfortune receded in the rearview mirror of my dream come true.

Timothy Cavendish and Yoona~939[edit]

  • I will not be subjected to criminal abuse.

Vyvyan Ayrs[edit]

  • Composing is a crusade. Sometimes you slay the dragon. Sometimes it slays you.
  • You must have misheard me, I said I had a melody not a malady!


  • Lonesome night. Babbits bawlin', wind bitin' the bone. Wind like this full of voices. Ancestry howlin' at you, yibberin' stories. All voices tied up into one. One voice different, one voice whisperin' out there, spyin' from the dark. That fangy devil Ol' Georgie hisself. Now you hear up close and I'll yarn you about the first time we met, eye to eye.
  • Nay, this life all rot n' luck n' no smilin' in some yarnin'. In rear's time, I ever fessed the secret of Sloosha's Hallow. Adam, my bro' by law, n' his son n' me be trekkin' back from Honokaa Market. It was Adam's custom to kowtow his ancestry with offerin's n' honorin's. Suddenwise, that fangy devil's eyes, I felt'em.
  • Prescients come barterin' twice a year, their ships creep-crawlin' on waves, just floatin' on the Smart o' the Old Uns.
  • Why words slink n' slide off a tongue, when we need them most? If my tongue'd been more bold, could I have stopped all that diresomes about to happen?
  • Now kin n' bros n' half-strangers, yay, even the Abbess, all come knockin', to gape in wonderment like Sonmi herself was sittin' in our kitchen.
  • Questions about Prescients n' their whoahsome Ship poured thick n'fast... No one queried what fusion engine was... cos they didn't want to look stoopit in front o' the gatherin'. True really was, Meronym answered the questions, but no answer ever quenched your curio. All o' that answerin' done was teach everyone to not trust her, nay, not a flea...
  • ...goats, and so do herders, they're known for housing temper.
  • True-true.


Javier: What are you reading?
Luisa Rey: Old letters.
Javier: Why do you keep reading them?
Luisa Rey: I don't know. Just trying to understand something.
Javier: What?
Luisa Rey: Why we keep making the same mistakes... over and over.
Javier: Maybe you should ask... Megan.
Luisa Rey: What?
Javier: Do you know a Megan?

Vyvyan Ayrs: That's it! The music from my dream.
Robert Frobisher: I call it the "Cloud Atlas Sextet".

Archivist: And what if no one believes this truth?
Sonmi~451: Someone already does.

Haskell Moore: There is a natural order to this world, and those who try to upend it do not fare well. This movement will never survive, if you join them you and your entire family will be shunned. At best you will exist at pariah to be spat at and beaten, at worse to be lynched or crucified. And for what, for what, no matter what you do it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.
Adam Ewing: What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?

Vyvyan Ayrs: You are naive, Robert.
Robert Frobisher: I am anything but.
Vyvyan Ayrs: There is a gulf between these chairs.
Robert Frobisher: What you want is no different from what I want. The gulf is an illusion.

Zachry: You think someone gonna hear your prayer, come down from the sky?
Meronym: Perhaps. Perhaps one day.
Zachry: One day ain't but a flea o' hope.
Meronym: Yay, and fleas ain't so easy to rid.

Meronym: Thank you Zachry. You savin' me twice, ain't ya?
Zachry: “You fall, I'll catch you.”

Sixsmith: That's a very peculiar birthmark.
Luisa Rey: Yeah. My little comet. My mother was sure it was cancer, she wanted me to get it removed, but... don't know. I kinda like it.
Sixsmith: I knew someone who had a birthmark that was... similar to that.
Luisa Rey: Really? Who was it?
Sixsmith: Someone I cared about very much.

Timothy Cavendish: Er, Perhap-perhaps... er, we could moot a provisional a basis for on-going negotiation.
The Hogginses: Okeydokey. What sum we gonna moot? Fifty K will do for starters.
Timothy Cavendish: Fifty sounds reasonable.
The Hogginses: Tomorrow afternoon.
Timothy Cavendish: Tomorrow afternoon?
The Hogginses: Cash, no bollocks, no checks. Old fashioned money.
Timothy Cavendish: Gentlemen... The Law says…
The Hogginses: The Law?! What the law do for Felix fockin' Finch?

Autua: Mister Ewing, no fear. No harm, no shout. Please. My name Autua. You know I... see Maori whip I... You know I.
Adam Ewing: What do you want?
Autua: You help, Mr. Ewing. If you no help, I in trouble dead.
Adam Ewing: Well you are already very much in “in trouble dead”

Archivist: The report said Commander Chang was killed in the assault.
Sonmi~451: That is correct.
Archivist: Would you say that you loved him?
Sonmi~451: Yes I do.
Archivist: Do you mean you are still in love with him?
Sonmi~451: I mean that I will always be.
Archivist: In your revelation you you spoke of the consequences of a individuals life rippling throughout eternity. Does this mean you believe in a afterlife? Of a heaven or hell?
Sonmi~451: I believe death is only a door, when it closes, another opens. If I care to imagine heaven. I would imagine a door opening. And behind it, I would find him there, waiting for me.
Guard: Thank you sir.
Archivist: If I may ask one last question. You had to know this union scheme was doomed to fail.
Sonmi~451: Yes.
Archivist: Then why did you agree to it?
Sonmi~451: This is what General Apis asked of me.
Archivist: What? To be executed?
Sonmi~451: If I had remained invisible, the truth would have stayed hidden. I couldn't allow that.
Archivist: And what if no one believes this truth?
Sonmi~451: Someone already does.

Quotes about Cloud Atlas[edit]

  • Even as I was watching "Cloud Atlas" the first time, I knew I would need to see it again. Now that I've seen it the second time, I know I'd like to see it a third time — but I no longer believe repeated viewings will solve anything. To borrow Churchill's description of Russia, "it is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." It fascinates in the moment. It's getting from one moment to the next that is tricky.
    Surely this is one of the most ambitious films ever made. The little world of film criticism has been alive with interpretations of it, which propose to explain something that lies outside explanation. Any explanation of a work of art must be found in it, not taken to it.
  • Clouds do not really look like camels or sailing ships or castles in the sky. They are simply a natural process at work. So too, perhaps, are our lives. Because we have minds and clouds do not, we desire freedom. That is the shape the characters in "Cloud Atlas" take, and how they attempt to direct our thoughts. Any concrete, factual attempt to nail the film down to cold fact, to tell you what it "means," is as pointless as trying to build a clockwork orange.
    But, oh, what a film this is! And what a demonstration of the magical, dreamlike qualities of the cinema. And what an opportunity for the actors. And what a leap by the directors, who free themselves from the chains of narrative continuity. And then the wisdom of the old man staring into the flames makes perfect sense.
    • Roger Ebert, in his review of Cloud Atlas (24 October 2012)


  • Death, Life, Birth...
  • Future, Present, Past...
  • Love, Hope, Courage...
  • Everything is connected.


External links[edit]

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Cloud Atlas quotes at the Internet Movie Database