Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
- After all, a lot of people are going to think we are a shocking pair.
- [to his father] You've said what you had to say. You listen to me. You say you don't want to tell me how to live my life? So what do you think you've been doing? You tell me what rights I've got or haven't got, and what I owe to you for what you've done for me. Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you were supposed to do because you brought me into this world, and from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me, like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don't own me! You can't tell me when or where I'm out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules. You don't even know what I am, Dad. You don't know who I am. You don't know how I feel, what I think. And if I tried to explain it the rest of your life, you will never understand. You are 30 years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it's got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the deadweight of you be off our backs! You understand? You've got to get off my back! Dad. Dad. You're my father. I'm your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man. Hmm? Now, I've got a decision to make, hmm? And I've got to make it alone. And I gotta make it in a hurry. So, would you go out there and see after my mother?
- Now, Mr. Prentice, clearly a most reasonable man, says he has no wish to offend me, but wants to know if I'm some kind of a nut. And Mrs. Prentice says that like her husband, I'm a burnt-out old shell of a man who cannot even remember what it's like to love a woman the way her son loves my daughter. And strange as it seems, that's the first statement made to me all day with which I am prepared to take issue. Because I think you're wrong. You're as wrong as you can be.
I admit that I hadn't considered it, hadn't even thought about it, but I know exactly how he feels about her. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that your son feels for my daughter that I didn't feel for Christina. Old? Yes. Burnt out? Certainly. But I can tell you the memories are still there – clear, intact, indestructible. And they'll be there if I live to be 110. Where John made his mistake, I think, was attaching so much importance to what her mother and I might think. Because in the final analysis, it doesn't matter a damn what we think. The only thing that matters is what they feel, and how much they feel for each other. And if it's half of what we felt, that's everything.
As for you two and the problems you're going to have, they seem almost unimaginable. But you'll have no problem with me. And I think that uh, when Christina and I and your mother have some time to work on him, you'll have no problem with your father, John. But you do know – I'm sure you know – what you're up against. There'll be a hundred million people right here in this country who'll be shocked and offended and appalled at the two of you. And the two of you will just have to ride that out. Maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You can try to ignore those people or you can feel sorry for them and for their prejudices and their bigotry and their blind hatreds and stupid fears. But where necessary, you'll just have to cling tight to each other and say screw all those people! Anybody could make a case, and a hell of a good case, against your getting married. The arguments are so obvious that nobody has to make them. But you're two wonderful people who happened to fall in love and happen to have a pigmentation problem. And I think that now, no matter what kind of a case some bastard could make against your getting married, there would be only one thing worse. [Matthew's voice softening] And that would be if – knowing what you two are, knowing what you two have, and knowing what you two feel – you didn't get married.
- [lets his words sink in to everyone, and seeing his wife Christina in tears]
Well, Tillie, when the hell are we gonna get some dinner?
- [the tension immediately disappears and the two families – now united – consummate their union with dinner]
- [to her assistant, Hilary, in the driveway] Now I have some instructions for you. I want you to go straight back to the gallery – Start your motor – When you get to the gallery tell Jennifer that she will be looking after things temporarily, she's to give me a ring if there's anything she can't deal with herself. Then go into the office, and make out a check, for "cash," for the sum of $5,000. Then carefully, but carefully Hilary, remove absolutely everything that might subsequently remind me that you had ever been there, including that yellow thing with the blue bulbs which you have such an affection for. Then take the check, for $5,000, which I feel you deserve, and get – permanently – lost. It's not that I don't want to know you, Hilary – although I don't – it's just that I'm afraid we're not really the sort of people that you can afford to be associated with. [Hilary opens her mouth to say something] Don't speak, Hilary, just... go.
- [to Mr. Drayton] He's right about Joey too. You know that, don't you? Thank God he is. That's the way I feel. Thank God he's right. She's 23 years old, and the way she is is just exactly the way we brought her up to be. We answered her questions. She listened to our answers. We told her it was wrong to believe that white people were somehow essentially superior to black people... or the brown or the red or the yellow ones, for that matter. People who thought that way were wrong to think that way. Sometimes hateful, usually stupid, but always wrong. That's what we said. And when we said it, we did not add "But don't ever fall in love with a colored man."
Mrs. Mary Prentice
- [to Mr. Drayton, on patio] What happens to men when they grow old? Why do they forget everything? I believe those two young people need each other, like they need the air to breathe in. Anybody can see that by just looking at them. But you and my husband are … you might as well be blind men. You can only see that they have a problem. But do you really know what's happened to them? How they feel about each other? I believe ... that men grow old. And when the … when sexual things no longer matter to them, they forget it all. Forget what true passion is. If you ever felt what my son feels for your daughter, you've forgotten everything about it. My husband too. You knew once ... but that was a long time ago. Now the two of you don't know. And the strange thing ... for your wife and me ... is that you don't even remember. If you did, how could you do what you are doing?
- Spencer Tracy – Matt Drayton
- Sidney Poitier – Dr. John Prentice
- Katharine Hepburn – Christina Drayton
- Katharine Houghton – Joanna "Joey" Drayton
- Beah Richards – Mrs. Mary Prentice