The Big Combo

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The Big Combo

The Big Combo is a 1955 American film noir that follows a tormented police lieutenant, who is on a personal crusade to bring down a sadistic gangster. He's also dangerously obsessed with Brown's girlfriend, his captive lover.

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis. Written by Philip Yordan.
The Most Startling Story The Screen Has Ever Dared Reveal!

Leonard Diamond

  • I know his name. The name of a man who will pick up a phone and call Chicago and New Orleans and say "Hey Bill, Joe is coming down for the weekend. Advance him fifty thousand," and he hangs up the phone and the money's advanced, protection money. A new all night bar opens, with gambling outside city limits. A bunch of high school kids come in for a good time. They get loaded, they get irresponsible, they lose their shirts. Then they get a gun, cause they're worried, they want to make up their losses. And a filling station attendant is dead with a bullet in his liver. I have to see four kids on trial for first degree murder. Look at it. First degree murder, because a certain Mr. Brown picked up a phone.

Mr. Brown

  • So you lost. Next time you'll win. I'll show you how. Take a look at Joe McClure here. He used to be my boss, now I'm his. What's the difference between me and him? We breathe the same air, sleep in the same hotel. He used to own it! [yelling into McClure's sound magnifier in his ear] Now it belongs to me. We eat the same steaks, drink the same bourbon. Look, same manicure. [lifting and pointing at McClure's hand] Same cufflinks. But there's only one difference. We don't get the same girls. Why? Because women know the difference. They got instinct. First is first, and second is nobody.
  • I'm gonna give you a break. I'm gonna fix it, so you don't hear the bullets. [Removes McClure's hearing aid]
  • If they take you to police headquarters, shoot yourself in the head. It'll make everything a lot simpler.

Susan Lowell

  • People tell me all sorts of things. I don't listen.


  • A woman doesn't care how a guy makes a living, just how he makes love.


  • Police Capt. Peterson: You're a cop, Leonard. There's 17,000 laws on the books to be enforced. You haven't got time to reform wayward girls. She's been with Brown three and a half years. That's a lot of days... and nights.
  • Alicia Brown: I'd rather be insane and alive, than sane... and dead.


Rita: When will I see you again?
Leonard Diamond: Well, if I'm not dead, you'll find me where I always am. In jail.

Leonard Diamond: She's under arrest, Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown: What's the charge?
Leonard Diamond: Homicide.
Mr. Brown: That's ridiculous, she wouldn't kill a fly.
Leonard Diamond: She tried to kill herself.
Mr. Brown: Is that a crime?
Leonard Diamond: It happens to be against two laws: God's and Man's. I'm booking her under the second.

Mr. Brown: Now, Bennie, who runs the world? Do you have any idea?
Bennie Smith: Not me, Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown: That's right, not you, but a funny thing, they're not so much different from you, but they've got something. They've got it, and they use it. I've got it. [pointing to McClure] He hasn't. What is it, Benny? What makes the difference...? Hate! Hate is the word, Benny! Hate the man that tries to beat you. Kill 'em, Benny! Kill 'em! Hate him till you see red, and you'll come out winning the big money, and the girls will come tumblin' after. You'll have to shut off the phone and lock the door to get a night's rest.

Leonard Diamond: Do you know Mr. Brown?
Nils Dreyer: I had lunch with him last week. He's a very fine gentleman.
Leonard Diamond: He's a hoodlum.
Nils Dreyer: Because I have lunch with him, that is not a crime. I'll have lunch with anybody, I'm democratic. I'll even have lunch with you.

Mr. Brown: Joe, tell the man I'm gonna break him so fast, he won't have time to change his pants. Tell him the next time I see him, he'll be in the lobby of the hotel, crying like a baby and asking for a ten dollar loan. Tell him that. And tell him I don't break my word.
Leonard Diamond: You must have done something pretty fine to get as high as you are, Mr. Brown. I'm looking into that. I'm gonna open you up, and I'm gonna operate. I hate to think of what I'll find.

Joe McClure: Mr. Brown is a very reasonable man. You don't know him.
Leonard Diamond: Oh, is he? Well I'm not. I intend to make life very difficult for your Mr. Brown.
Joe McClure: You shouldn't talk like that, Lieutenant. You're overstepping your authority.
Mr. Brown: Joe, the man has reason to hate me. His salary is $96.50 a week. The busboys in my hotel make better money than that. Don't you see, Joe? He's a righteous man.

Mr. Brown: Why did you do it, Joe?
Joe McClure: I told you, he pulled a gun on me. What did you want me to do?
Mr. Brown: With your kind of brain, there's nothing else you could do. I'm trying to run an impersonal business. Killing is very personal. Once it gets started, it's hard to stop.

Joe McClure: I guess I'm getting too old to handle a gun.
Mr. Brown: Yeah, maybe you're just getting too old, Joe.

Mr. Brown: Where'd you get that outfit?
Susan Lowell: What's wrong with it?
Mr. Brown: I like you better in white. You've got a dozen white dresses. Why don't you wear them?
Susan Lowell: White doesn't please me anymore.
Mr. Brown: A woman dresses for a man. You dress for me. Go put on something white!

Leonard Diamond: I'll wait until I can put you on trial for murder.
Mr. Brown: Whose murder, Lieutenant?
Leonard Diamond: Mine, if necessary.
Mr. Brown: Don't push too hard.
Leonard Diamond: It's my sworn duty to push too hard.
Mr. Brown: Diamond, the only trouble with you is, you'd like to be me. You'd like to have my organization, my influence, my fix. You can't. It's impossible. You think it's money, it's not. It's personality. You haven't got it, Lieutenant, you're a cop. Slow, steady, intelligent, with a bad temper, and a gun under your arm. And with a big yen for a girl you can't have. First is first, and second is nobody.

Mr. Brown: Book me, Small Change.
Leonard Diamond: Alright, take him out, Sam.
Sam Hill: To the bullpen?
Leonard Diamond: No, back to the gutter.


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