V for Vendetta (film)
V for Vendetta is a 2006 film set in a dystopian future United Kingdom, where V, a mysterious radical anarchist wearing a Guy Fawkes costume, works to bring down an oppressive fascist government, profoundly affecting the people he encounters. It was released in theatres March 17, 2006.
- Directed by James McTeigue. Written by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski, and adapted from the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
- See also: V for Vendetta (for quotes from or about the original comic book series).
V's Introduction To Evey
- V: Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valourous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition! The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.
V's Speech To England
- V: Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologise for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of everyday routine—the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well, certainly, there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable. But again, truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago, a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words—they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.
- Vi veri veniversum vivus vici ~ (By the power of truth, I while living have conquered the universe)
- "Remember, remember
The fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."
But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes, and I know that, in 1605, he attempted to blow up the houses of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught. He can be killed and forgotten. But four hundred years later an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed firsthand the power of ideas. I've seen people kill in the name of them; and die defending them. But you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it or hold it. Ideas do not bleed, it cannot feel pain, and it does not love. And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man. A man who made me remember the fifth of November. A man I will never forget.
- Are you like a crazy person?
- After V has just saved her from the Fingermen and finished his verbose introduction
- God is in the rain.
- 'A fake ID works a lot better than a Guy Fawkes mask.
- I worried about myself for a while. But one day I was at a market and a friend, someone I'd worked with at the BTN, got in line behind me. I was so nervous that when the cashier asked me for my money I dropped it. My friend picked it up and handed it to me. She looked me right in the eye and didn't recognise me. I guess whatever you did to me worked better than I'd ever have imagined.
- No one will ever forget that night, and what it meant to this country. But I will never forget the man, and what he meant to me.
- I remember them arguing at night. Mum wanted to leave the country. Dad refused. He said if we ran away, they would win. Win, like it was a game.
- Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.
- I wish I believed that was possible. But every time I've seen this world change, it's always been for the worse.
- Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free.
- I shall die here. Every inch of me will perish. Every inch but one. An inch... It is small, and fragile, and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the worlds turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.
- It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologised to no one.
- So I read that the former United States is so desperate for medical supplies that they have allegedly sent several containers filled with wheat and tobacco. A gesture, they say, of good will. You want to know what I think? Well you're listening to my show so I will assume you do. I think it's high time we let the colonies know what we really think of them. I think it's payback time for a little tea party they threw for us a few hundred years ago. I say we go down to the docks tonight and dump that crap where everything from the Ulcered Sphinctre of Arse-erica belongs. Who's with me? Who's bloody with me? Did you like that? USA; Ulcered Sphinctre of Arse-erica. I mean, what else can you say? Here was a country that had everything, absolutely everything, and now, 20 years later, is what? The world's biggest leper colony. Why? Godlessness. Let me say that again: Godlessness. It wasn't the war they started. It wasn't the plague they created. It was judgement. No-one escapes their past. No-one escapes judgement. You think he's not up there? You think he's not watching over this country? How else can you explain it? He tested us and we came through. We did what we had to do. Islington. Enfield. I was there. I saw it all. Immigrants, Muslims, homosexuals, terrorists, disease-ridden degenerates. They had to go! Strength through unity, unity through faith! I'm a God-fearing Englishman and I am goddamn proud of it!
- The moral of this story ladies and gentlemen is "Good guys win, bad guys lose, and as always, England prevails!"
- V: I can assure you, I mean you no harm.
- Evey: Who are you?
- V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask.
- Evey: Oh, I can see that.
- V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation, I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
- Evey: Oh, right.
- V: But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona.
- Evey: Are you like a crazy person?
- V: I am quite sure they will say so. But to whom may I ask am I speaking?
- Evey: I'm Evey.
- V: Evey? E-V — of course you are.
- Evey: What do you mean by that?
- V: It means I, like God, do not play with dice and don't believe in coincidence. Are you hurt?
- Evey: What is this place?
- V: It's my home- I call it the Shadow Gallery.
- Evey: It's beautiful...where did you get all this stuff?
- V: Oh, here and there, most of it from the vaults of the Ministry of Objectionable Materials.
- Evey: Can I ask about what you said on the telly?
- V: Yes.
- Evey: Did you mean it?
- V: Every word.
- Evey: You really think that blowing up parliament is going to make this country a better place?
- V: There's no certainty, only opportunity.
- Evey: I think you can be pretty certain that if anyone does show up, Creedy will black-bag everyone of them.
- V: People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
- Evey: And you are going to make that happen by blowing up a building?
- V: The building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by the people. Alone, a symbol is meaningless, but with enough people, blowing up a building can change the world.
- Evey: I wish I believed that was possible, but every time I see the world change it's always been for the worse.
- Evey: V, yesterday I couldn't find my ID. You didn't take it, did you?
- V: Would you prefer a lie or the truth?
- Evey: [Stands, gesturing toward the TV, which has just finished an announcement of Lewis Prothero's death] Did you have anything to do with that?
- V: Yes, I killed him.
- Evey: You..? Oh God.
- V: You're upset.
- Evey: I'm upset? You just said you killed Lewis Prothero!
- V: I might have killed the Fingermen who attacked you, but I heard no objection then.
- Evey: What?
- V: Violence can be used for good.
- Evey: What are you talking about?
- V: Justice.
- Evey: Oh... I see.
- V: There's no courtroom in this country for men like Prothero.
- Evey: And are you going to kill more people?
- V: Yes.
- V: What was done to me was monstrous.
- Evey Hammond: Then they created a monster.
- Evey: [reading inscription on mirror] Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici...
- V: "By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe".
- Evey: Personal motto?
- V: From Faust.
- Evey: That's about trying to cheat the devil, isn't it?
- V: It is.
- Evey: Is everything a joke to you, Gordon?
- Gordon Dietrich: Only the things that matter.
- [Gordon pops a champagne bottle]
- Evey: What is this all about?
- Gordon: I'm celebrating.
- Evey: Celebrating what?
- Gordon: I think this could be the best show we've ever done.
- Gordon: [on the television] Very good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Listen. We've got an extraordinary show for you tonight. You're not going to believe it. As a matter of fact, I don't think I do. Would you please give a warm welcome to our own Chancellor, Adam Sutler!
- [God Save the Queen plays on the background as an impersonator of Adam Sutler enters]
- Mother: No way!
- Girl with Spectacles: It can't be!
- Gordon: We threw out the censor-approved script, and shot a new one I wrote this morning.
- Evey: Oh, my god.
- [Cuts to the audience applaud on being taunted by the fake Sutler's soldiers. Evey chokes on her champagne]
- Gordon: Chancellor, Chancellor, Chancellor. I understand you've been under tremendous strain lately since the beginning of this whole terrorism business, and we thought it would be a nice idea to try and help you relax. Girls?
- [Dietrich's girls arrive with a humidor, from where the fake Sutler takes a cigar. Another girl offers him a glass of milk]
- Fake Sutler: Ah! Warm milk. There's nothing better.
- Gordon: I understand you enjoy a glass every night, Chancellor.
- Fake Sutler: Since I was a boy.
- [The real Sutler was sitting in his bunker whilst watching, holding a glass of milk]
- Fake Sutler: But you're wrong, Mr Dietrich. The terrorist was never a serious concern.
- Gordon: Oh, really?
- [A prankster dressed as V ties the fake Sutler's shoelaces together, whilst replacing his cigar with an exploding one]
- Girl with Spectacles: It's him!
- Gordon: Chancellor, Chancellor, are you saying that he's not still alive and active?
- Fake Sutler: The terrorist has been neutralised.
- [The cigar explodes as the fake Sutler huffs from it]
- Gordon: Oh, my God, look! The terrorist!
- Fake Sutler: The terrorist!
- [The camera pans to the fake V among the musicians, scraping a washboard]
- Fake Sutler: Get him!
- [Sutler walks toward the fake V, but having been shoe-laced, stumbles]
- Gordon: Oh, dear!
- [As Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax" plays, the show plays a high-speed chase of V, the girls, and the soldiers, whilst the fake Sutler still struggles to get off from being shoe-laced. An actor in a gorilla suit appears randomly. Gordon then throws a banana peel, and the fake V slips on it, and is tackled by the fake Sutler's soldiers]
- Fake Sutler: At last! And now, for all the world to see!
- [The fake Sutler approaches the fake V, now restrained by the soldiers. He unmasks the fake V, who was revealed to be another Sutler impersonator]
- Fake V/Sutler: Unhand me! I am your Chancellor!
- Fake Sutler: How dare you! I am your Chancellor!
- Fake V/Sutler: Imposter!
- [The two fake Sutlers tackle each other in a farcical fight]
- Fake V/Sutler: Soldiers! That man is a terrorist!
- Fake Sutler: I order you to shoot that traitor!
- Fake V/Sutler: Liar!
- Fake Sutler: Faker!
- Fake V/Sutler: Fraud!
- Fake Sutler: Ready...
- Fake V/Sutler: Aim...
- Fake Sutlers: [together] FIRE!
- [The soldiers shoot both fake Sutlers. The curtain closes, and as Gordon bows down to the audience, another fake V sneaks in from the cyclorama, snickering as he holds a cigar. The real Sutler shatters the glass of milk in his hand as he watched]
- [Evey is allowed to leave her prison unexpectedly and finds she was actually in V's lair the whole time]
- V:[Entering] Hello, Evey.
- Evey: ..You...it was you...
- V: [quietly] Yeah.
- Evey: [gestures behind her] That wasn't real... Is Gordon-?
- V: I'm sorry, but Mr Deitrich's dead. I thought they'd arrest him, but when they found a Qur'an in his house, they had him executed.
- Evey: [whispers] Oh, God..
- V: Fortunately, I got to you before they did.
- Evey: You got to me? You did this to me... You cut my hair... You tortured me... You tortured me! Why?
- V: You said you wanted to live without fear. I wish there'd been an easier way, but there wasn't.
- Evey: [whispers] Oh, my God!
- V: I know you may never forgive me, but nor will you ever understand how hard it was for me to do what I did. Every day, I saw in myself everything you see in me now. Every day, I wanted to end it. But each time you refused to give in, I knew I couldn't.
- Evey: [shouting angrily] You're sick! You're evil!
- V: You could have ended it, Evey. You could have given in, but you didn't. Why?
- Evey: Leave me alone! I hate you!
- V: That's it! See, at first, I thought it was hate too. Hate was all I knew. It built my world, imprisoned me, taught me how to eat, how to drink, how to breathe! I thought I'd die with all the hate in my veins. But then something happened. It happened to me, just as it happened to you.
- Evey: Shut up! I don't want to hear your lies!
- V: Your own father said that artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie, but because you believed it, you found something true about yourself.
- Evey: No...
- V: What was true in that cell is just as true now. What you felt in there has nothing to do with me.
- Evey: I CAN'T FEEL ANYTHING ANYMORE!
- V: Don't run from it, Evey. You've been running all your life.
- Evey: [Gasping heavily] I can't... can't breathe... Asthma... When I was little... [Collapses while V catches her]
- V: Listen to me, Evey. This may be the most important moment of your life. Commit to it. They took your parents from you. They took your brother from you. They put you in a cell and took everything they could take except your life. And you believed that was all there was, didn't you? The only thing you had left was your life, but it wasn't, was it?
- Evey: [Sobbing] Oh... please...
- V: You found something else. In that cell, you found something that mattered more to you than life. Because when they threatened to kill you unless you gave them what they wanted... you told them you'd rather die. You faced your death, Evey. You were calm. You were still. Try to feel now what you felt then.
- Finch: I want to ask a question, Dominic. I don't care if you answer me or not. I just want to say this aloud... The question I want to ask is about St Mary's and Three Waters. The question that's kept me up for the last 24 hours, the question I have to ask, is: What if the worst, the most horrifying, biological attack in this country's history was not the work of religious extremists?
- Dominic: Well, I don't understand. We know it was. They were caught. They confessed.
- Finch: And they were executed, I know. And maybe that's really what happened. But I see this chain of events, these coincidences... and I have to ask: What if that isn't what happened? What if someone else unleashed that virus? What if someone else killed all those people? Would you really want to know who it was?
- Dominic: Sure.
- Finch: ... Even if it was someone working for this government? That's my question. If our own government was responsible for what happened at St Mary's and Three Waters... if our own government was responsible for the deaths of almost a hundred thousand people... would you really want to know?
- Delia Surridge: [Wakes in an apparently empty room] It's you, isn't it? You've come to kill me.
- V: [From the shadows] Yes.
- Delia: [Lets out a sob] Thank God...
- Delia: After what happened, after what they did, I thought about killing myself. But I knew that one day you'd come for me. I didn't know what they were going to do. I swear to you. Read my journal.
- V: What they did was only possible because of you.
- Delia: Oppenheimer was able to change more than the course of a war. He changed the entire course of human history. Is it wrong to hold on to that kind of hope?
- V: I've not come for what you hoped to do. I've come for what you did.
- Delia: It's funny. I was given one of your roses today. I wasn't sure you were the terrorist until I saw it. What a strange coincidence that I should be given one today.
- V: There are no coincidences, Delia. Only the illusion of coincidence. I have another rose [Takes one out], and this one is for you. [hands it to her]
- Delia: Are you going to kill me now?
- V: I killed you 10 minutes ago. [Holds up a small hypodermic needle] While you slept.
- Delia: [Frightened] Is there any pain?
- V: No.
- Delia: Thank you. [Pauses briefly] Is it meaningless to apologise?
- V: Never.
- Delia: [Quietly] I'm so sorry. [Dies]
- Evey Hammond: My father was a writer. You would've liked him. He used to say that artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.
- V: A man after my own heart.
- [On the night of November 5th, High Chancellor Sutler has recorded a speech that is being played on television. As a series of rooms, pubs, etc. that are shown to be empty imply, close to no one is watching. Deep within the long-abandoned London Underground, Party Leader Creedy's Fingermen are searching for V at their previously-agreed-on rendezvous point.]
- Sutler: My fellow Englishmen: tonight, our country, that which we stand for, and all we hold dear, faces a grave and terrible threat.
- Fingerman: Area's clean sir.
- Sutler: This violent and unparalleled assault on our security will not go undefended.
- Fingerman: Where is he?
- Sutler: Or unpunished.
- V: [Revealing himself] Penny for the guy.
- Sutler: Our enemy is an insidious one, seeking to divide us and destroy the very foundation of our great nation.
- V: I've kept my side of the bargain, but, have you kept yours?
- Creedy: Bring him down.
- Sutler: Tonight, we must remain steadfast. We must remain determined. But most of all, we must remain united.
- [Sutler is dragged from his bunker by Creedy's men]
- Sutler: Those caught tonight in violation of curfew will be considered in league with our enemy and prosecuted as a terrorist without leniency or exception. Tonight, I give you my most solemn vow: that justice will be swift, it will be righteous, and it will be without mercy.
- Dominic: We're under siege here. The whole city's gone mad.
- Finch: That's exactly what he wants. Chaos. The problem is that he knows us better than we know ourselves. That's why I went to Larkhill last night.
- Dominic: That's outside quarantine.
- Finch: I had to see it. There wasn't much left. But when I was there it was strange – I suddenly had this feeling that everything was connected. It was like I could see the whole thing; one long chain of events that stretched back to before Larkhill. I felt like I could see everything that had happened, and everything that was going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern, laid out in front of me, and I realised that we were all part of it, and all trapped by it.
- Dominic: So do you know what's going to happen?
- Finch: No. It was a feeling. But I can guess. With so much chaos, someone will do something stupid. And when they do, things will turn nasty. And then, Sutler will be forced do the only thing he knows how to do. At which point, all V needs to do is keep his word. And then...
- Dominic: I went by Parliament. Never seen anything like it — tanks, antiaircraft, infantry — it makes you wish that no one would show up tonight. But if they do, what do you think will happen?
- Finch: What usually happens when people without guns stand up to people with guns.
- V: [confronting a helpless Sutler] At last, we finally meet. I have something for you, chancellor. A farewell gift. For all the things you've done, for the things you might have done, and for the only thing you have left. [places a rose in Sutler's coat] Goodbye, Chancellor. Mr Creedy?
- Creedy: Disgusting. [Creedy executes Sutler with his revolver] Now that's done with. It's time to have a look at your face. Take off your mask.
- V: No.
- [Creedy nods and two Fingermen approach V; one tries to remove his mask, but V kills them both]
- Creedy: Defiant until the end, huh? You won't cry like him, will you? You're not afraid of death. You're like me.
- V: The only thing that you and I have in common, Mr Creedy, is we are both about to die.
- Creedy: [scoffs] How do you imagine that's going to happen?
- V: With my hands around your neck.
- Creedy: Bollocks. What are you going to do? We've swept this place. You've got nothing. Nothing but your bloody knives and your fancy karate gimmicks. We have guns!
- V: No. What you have are bullets and the hopes that when your guns are empty, I'm no longer standing. Because if I am, you'll all be dead before you've reloaded.
- Creedy: That's impossible! [Raises his revolver and thumbs back the hammer] Kill him.
- [Creedy and his men open fire on V. After their guns are empty, with many rounds fired, V starts to keel, but then straightens and inhales deeply]
- V: My turn.
- [V keeps his word and kills all of Creedy's 12 remaining men with his knives, while Creedy frantically reloads his revolver]
- Creedy: [Starts shooting the approaching V] Die! Die! Why won't you die?! [His gun clicks empty] Why won't you die?
- V: Beneath this mask, there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask, there is an idea, Mr Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof!
- [V grabs Creedy by the neck, lifts him up and pins him to the fence; within seconds there is a sickening snap, and Creedy goes limp. V pulls off a steel breastplate full of punctures (which he was wearing to prevent the bullets from puncturing his organs) and staggers away, bleeding to death from his wounds.]
- [Evey and Finch stand watching Parliament erupt in explosions of fireworks while Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" plays over the loudspeakers]
- Finch: Who was he?
- Evey: He was Edmond Dantès. And he was my father. And my mother... my brother... my friend. He was you, and me. He was all of us.
Quoted from other sources
- Remember, Remember or Please to remember
The fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
- Traditional English verse recited for Guy Fawkes Night
- The multiplying villainies of nature do swarm upon him...
[skipping four of the original lines] Disdaining fortune with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution...
- I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.
- We are oft to blame in this. 'Tis too much proved that with devotion's visage and pious action we do sugar o'er the devil himself.'
- And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
- Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
The form of my intent.
- People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
- Remember, remember the 5th of November.
- FREEDOM! FOREVER!
- Strength through unity, unity through faith!
- England prevails.
- Ideas are bulletproof.
- There are ideas in this film. The most pointed is V's belief: "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." I am not sure V has it right; surely in the ideal state governments and their people should exist happily together. Fear in either direction must lead to violence. But V has a totalitarian state to overthrow, and only a year to do it in, and we watch as he improvises a revolution.
- Brutal, audacious and very slippery, V for Vendetta is the ballsiest major studio release I've ever seen… Vendetta is as rousing, engaging and devious as only the best propaganda can be — a call to rebellion that dares to question our respect for authority and gives us a masked terrorist and his manipulated prodigy as our heroes. And unlike other political thrillers that seem content to simply wallow their dissatisfaction with the state of the world, Vendetta demands that we take personal responsibility for our actions and for the administrations that we allow to come into power... Vendetta is a thematic powderkeg... Straight up, this is as invigorating, challenging and moving a film as one can hope to expect, especially from a major studio (and the first). Don't miss the movie of the year.
- The dark and stylized V for Vendetta is visually exhilarating, provocative and disturbing. Set in a slightly futuristic world (London in 2020), Vendetta is an action thriller that also stimulates thought... Despite its disparate influences, Vendetta feels captivatingly original. The multilayered film can be appreciated strictly as an action thriller or for its deeper message about personal responsibility, political oppression and revolutionary change. One powerful theme centers on the notion that ideas live forever, their power undiminished even as those who espouse them die.
- Natalie Portman – Evey Hammond
- Hugo Weaving – V
- Stephen Rea – Eric Finch
- Stephen Fry – Gordon Dietrich
- John Hurt – Chancellor Adam Sutler