The Boys in the Band (1970 film)

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The Boys in the Band is a 1970 American drama film in which tempers fray and true selves are revealed when a heterosexual is accidentally invited to a homosexual party.

Directed by William Friedkin. Written by Mart Crowley, based on his play.
Today is Harold's birthday. This is his present.taglines


  • It's just that, today, I finally realized that I was raised to be a failure. I was groomed for it. [...] Today, I finally began to see how some of the other pieces of the puzzle relate to them. Like why I never finished anything I've started in my life. My neurotic compulsion to not succeed.


  • There's one thing to be said about masturbation: you certainly don't have to look your best.
  • Donald, you are a real card-carrying cunt.
  • Show me a happy homosexual and I'll show you a gay corpse.
  • I just didn't think I could survive another hangover, that's all. Didn't think I could get through one more morning-after ick attack. [...] Icks. Anxiety. Guilt. From that split second when your eyes pop open, and you say, "My God, what did I do last night?" And then suddenly, zap. Total recall. [...] And then that struggle to survive until lunchtime, when you have a double bloody mary. That is, if you've waited till lunch. And then you're half pissed and useless for the rest of the afternoon. So you hang on till cocktail time. And by then, you're ready for what the evening holds, which hopefully is another party, where the whole goddamn cycle starts all over again. Yeah, well, I've been on that merry-go-round long enough. And I either had to get off or die of centrifugal force.
  • It's not always like it happens in plays. Not all faggots bump themselves off at the end of the story.
  • You must never call anyone called Michael, Mickey. Those of us who are named Michael get very nervous about it.
  • I feel like Old Man River. I'm tired of living and I'm scared of dying.


  • Who is she? Who was she? Who does she hope to be?
  • Your lips are turning blue. You look like you've been rimming a snowman.
  • Beware the hostile fag. When he's sober, he's dangerous. When he drinks, he's lethal.
  • You're a sad and pathetic man. You're a homosexual and you don't want to be, but there's nothing you can do to change it. Not all the prayers to your god, not all the analysis you can buy in all the years you've go left to live. You may one day be able to know a heterosexual life if you want it desperately enough. If you pursue it with the fervor with which you annihilate. But you'll always be homosexual as well. Always Michael. Always. Until the day you die.


  • Who do you have to fuck to get a drink around here?


Michael: You're stoned and you're late. You were supposed to arrive at this location at eight thirty dash nine o'clock.
Harold: What I am, Michael, is a 32 year-old, ugly, pock marked Jew fairy, and if it takes me a little while to pull myself together, and if I smoke a little grass before I get up the nerve to show my face to the world, it's nobody's god-damned business but my own. And how are you this evening?

Michael: What's more boring than a queen doing a Judy Garland imitation?
Donald: A queen doing a Bette Davis imitation.

Donald: Well, am I stunning?
Michael: You're absolutely stunning. You look like shit, but I'm absolutely stunned.

Michael: Oh Harold, he's beautiful.
Harold: Yeah, beautiful. He has unnatural natural beauty. Not that that means anything.
Michael: It doesn't mean everything.
Harold: Keep telling yourself that as your hair drops out in handfuls.
Michael: Faggots are worse than women about their age. They think their lives are over at 30. Physical beauty is not all that goddamn important.
Harold: Of course not, how could it be? It's only in the eye of the beholder. And it's only skin deep.
Michael: Only skin deep.
Harold: Only skin deep. And it's transitory too. It's terribly transitory. Oh, yes. It's too bad about this poor boy's face. It's tragic. He's absolutely cursed. How could his beauty ever compare with my soul? And although I've never seen my soul, I understand from my mother's rabbi that it's a knockout. I, however, cannot seem to locate it for a gander. And if I could... I'd sell it in a flash... for some skin-deep, transitory, meaningless beauty.

Michael: Forgive him, father, for he know not what he do.
Harold: Michael, you don't know what side of the fence you're on. Say something pro-religion, you're against it. Deny god, you're against that. One might say you have some problem in that area. You can't live with it, and you can't live without it. You hang on to that great insurance policy called the Church.
Michael: That's right, I believe in God. And if it turns out there isn't one, okay, nothing's lost. But if it turns out there really is, I'm covered. Right, I'm one of those truly rotten Catholics who gets drunk, sins all night, and then goes to mass the next morning.

Harold: I keep my grass in the medicine cabinet in the Band Aid box. Somebody told me it's the safest place. If the cops arrive, you can always lock yourself in the bathroom and flush it down the john.
Hank: Very cagey.
Harold: Makes more sense to where I was keeping it: in the oregano jar in the spice rack. I kept forgetting it and accidentally turning my hateful mother on with a salad. But I think she liked it. No matter what meal she comes over for, even if it was breakfast, she says [in his mother's voice] "Let's have a salad!"

Michael: What's so fucking funny?
Harold: Life. Life's a goddamn laugh riot.

Harold: And they're minding their own business.
Michael: And you mind yours Harold! I'm warning you!
Harold: Are you now? You warning me? Me? I'm Harold. I'm the one person you don't warn, Michael, because you and I are a match. And we tread very softly with each other, because we both play each other's game too well. I know this game, you're playing. I know it very well, and I play it very well. You play it very well too, but you know what? I'm the only one who's better at it than you are. I can beat you at it, so don't push me. I'm warning you.

Michael: Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I didn't go around announcing I was a faggot.
Donald: Well, that must have been before speech replaced sign language!

Michael: What is he - a psychiatrist or a hairdresser?
Donald: Actually he's both. He shrinks my head and then combs me out.

Michael: Ah, life is such a grand design - spring, summer, fall, winter, death. Whoever could have thought it up?
Donald: No one we know, that's for sure.

Michael: Hank and Larry are lovers. Not just roommates, bedmates. Lovers... No man has a roommate after he's 30 years old. If they're not lovers, they're sisters.
Hank: Yes, Alan. Larry is my lover.
Alan: But you're married.
Michael: I think you said the wrong thing. Don't you just love that quaint little idea? If a man is married, he's automatically heterosexual. Alan, Hank swings both ways... but with a decided preference.

Michael: Do you know what it means to be in the closet?
Emory: Don't, Michael. It won't help to explain what it means.
Michael: He already knows what it means. He knows very, very well what a closet queen is. Don't you, Alan?
Alan: Michael, if you're insinuating that I'm homosexual, I can only say that you're mistaken.
Michael: Am I? What about Justin Stuart? What about Justin Stuart? You were in love with him. That's what about him. And that's who you're gonna call.
Alan: Justin and I were very good friends. That's all.
Michael: According to Justin, the friendship was quite passionate.
Alan: What do you mean?
Michael: I mean that you slept with him in college... several times.
Alan: That's not true.
Michael: Several times. Once is youth. Twice, a phase maybe. Several times, you like it.

Donald: Did he ever tell you why he was crying on the phone? What it was he had to tell you?
Michael: No. It must have been that he'd left Fran. Or maybe it was something else, and he changed his mind.
Donald: Uh, maybe so. I wonder why he left her.
Michael: As my father said to me when he died in my arms... "I don't understand any of it. I never did." Turn the lights off when you leave.


  • Today is Harold's birthday. This is his present.
  • Extraordinary. Groundbreaking. Controversial.
  • He's unnaturally, naturally beautiful and he's just one of Harold's birthday presents!


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