Withnail and I

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Withnail and I is a 1986 film comedy written and directed by Bruce Robinson and starring Richard E. Grant (Withnail), Paul McGann (Marwood, the "I" of the title), Richard Griffiths (Uncle Monty) and Ralph Brown (Danny). The movie, which takes place in England in late 1969, involves the misadventures of a pair of chronically unemployed actors.


  • We've gone on holiday by mistake.
  • I think we've been in here too long. I feel unusual.
  • I demand to have some booze!
  • How can it be so cold in here? It's like Greenland in here. We've got to get some booze. It's the only solution to this intense cold. Something's got to be done. We can't go on like this. I'm a trained actor reduced to the status of a bum. I mean, look at us! Nothing that reasonable members of society demand as their rights! No fridges, no televisions, no phones! Much more of this and I'm going to apply for meals on wheels.
  • We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here and we want them now!
  • Listen, we're bona fide, we're not from London.
  • I'm not having this shag sack insulting me! Let him get his drugs out.
  • (Ranting on a mountain) Bastards! You'll all suffer! I'll show the lot of you! I'm gonna be a sta-a-a-a-ar!
  • Monty, you terrible cunt!
  • I assure you I'm not [drunk], officer, honestly. I've only had a few ales.
  • Black puddings are no good to us. I want something's flesh!
  • Nonsense, this is a far superior drink to meths! The wankers on site don't drink it because they can't afford it!
  • There must and shall be aspirin, or I shall die, here, on this fucking mountainside!
  • These are the sort of windows faces look in at!
  • The only programme I'm likely to get on is the fucking news!
  • I'm in a park and I'm practically dead; what good's the countryside?
  • (He spits out a globule of phlegm) Jesus, look at that. Apart from a raw potato, that's the only solid to have passed my lips in the last 60 hours. I must be ill.
  • All right, this is the plan. We get in there and get wrecked, then we eat a pork pie, then we drop a couple of Surmontil-50s each. That means we'll miss out on Monday but come up smiling Tuesday morning.
  • Free to those who can afford it, very expensive to those who can't.
  • Scrubbers! Scrubbers! Little tarts, they love it!
  • Look at this - accident blackspot? These aren't accidents, they're throwing themselves into the road! Throwing themselves into the road gladly to escape all this hideousness! (Heckles pedestrian) Throw yourself into the road, darling, you haven't got a chance!
  • I feel like a pig shat in my head.
  • Look at my tongue. It's wearing a yellow sock.
  • Don't threaten me with a dead fish!
  • Bastard asked me to understudy Konstantin in The Seagull. I'm not going to understudy anybody. Especially that pimp! Anyway, I loathe those Russian plays. Always full of women staring out of windows, whining about ducks going to Moscow.
  • Right, you fucker, I'm going to do the washing up.
  • (Paraphrasing Hamlet) I have of late — but wherefore I know not — lost all my mirth... and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air — look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire — why, it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties! ...How like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither... nor woman neither.


  • (Voice-over) Thirteen million Londoners have to wake up to this. Murder and All-Bran and rape. And I'm sitting in this bloody shack and I can't cope with Withnail. I must go home at once and discuss his problems in depth.
  • (Voice-over) Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day, and for once I'm inclined to believe that Withnail is right. We are indeed drifting into the arena of the unwell. Making an enemy of our own future.
  • (Voice-over) Speed is like a dozen transatlantic flights without ever getting off the plane. Time change. You lose, you gain. Makes no difference so long as you keep taking the pills. But sooner or later you've got to get out because it's crashing. Then all at once those frozen hours melt out through the nervous system and seep out the pores.
  • (Voice-over) Danny's here. Headhunter to his friends. Headhunter to everyone. He doesn't have any friends. The only people he converses with are his clients, and occasionally the police. The purveyor of rare herbs and proscribed chemicals is back. Will we never be set free?
  • (Voice-over) I could hardly piss straight with fear. Here was a man with 3/4 of an inch of brain who'd taken a dislike to me. What had I done to offend him? I don't consciously offend big men like this. And this one has a definite imbalance of hormone in him. Get any more masculine than him and you'd have to live up a tree.
  • "I fuck arses"? Who fucks arses? Maybe he fucks arses! Maybe he's written this in some moment of drunken sincerity! I'm in considerable danger here, I must get out of here at once.
  • [Contemplating how to kill a chicken for supper] It's got dreadful beady eyes, they stare at you. Best kill it quick before it tries to make friends with us.
  • I'm not from London, you know.
  • Stop saying that, Withnail, of course he's the fucking farmer!
  • A coward you are, Withnail! An expert on bulls you are not!
  • We are not drunks, we are multi-millionaires!
  • You're full of Scotch you silly tool.
  • Jesus Christ! Why have you drugged their onions?!
  • My thumbs have gone weird! I'm in the middle of a bloody overdose! My heart's beating like a fucked clock! I feel dreadful, I feel really dreadful.

Uncle Monty[edit]

  • It is the most shattering experience of a young man's life when one morning he awakes and quite reasonably says to himself, "I will never play the Dane."
  • (referring to his cat) Get that damned little swine out of here! It's trying to get itself in with you. Trying for even more advantage. It's obsessed with its gut. It's like a bloody rugby ball now, it will die, it will die!
  • (referring to his cat) Yet again that oaf has destroyed my day!
  • Oh! you little traitors. I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is a certain je ne sais quoi - oh, so very special - about a firm, young carrot...Excuse me...
  • I mean to have you, even if it must be burglary!
  • Oh my boys, my boys, we are at the end of an age! We live in a land of weather forecasts and breakfasts that set in, shat on by Tories, shovelled up by Labour, and here we are, we three; perhaps the last island of beauty... in the world
  • Here hare here... ...here hare here!
  • Sherry? Oh dear no no... No, I'd be sucked into his trap! One of us has got to stay on guard. He's so mauve, we don't know what he's planning!
  • I often wonder where Norman is now. Probably wintering with his mother in Guildford. A cat, and the rain... Vim under the sink, and both bars on. But old now, old. There can be no true beauty without decay.
  • I'm preparing myself to forgive you. I think you've been punished enough. I think we better release you from the légume, and transfer your talents to the meat.
  • I can never touch meat until it's cooked. As a youth, I used to weep in butchers' shops!
  • Come on lads, let's get home, the sky's beginning to bruise. Night must fall and we shall be forced to camp.
  • Go with it. It's society's crime, not ours.


  • You're looking very beautiful, man. You been away? St Peter preached the epistles to the apostles looking like that.
  • I don't advise a haircut, man. All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. Hair are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos and transmit them directly into the brain. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight.
  • Change down, man, find your neutral space. You got a rush. It will pass. Be seated.
  • If you're hanging on to a rising balloon, you're presented with a difficult decision — let go before it's too late or hang on and keep getting higher, posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope? They're selling hippie wigs in Woolworth's, man. The greatest decade in the history of mankind is over. And as Presuming Ed here has so consistently pointed out, we have failed to paint it black.

Jake The Poacher[edit]

  • I been watching you, especially you, prancing like a tit. You want working on, boy!


Withnail: [reading from the paper] "In a world exclusive interview, 33-year-old shotputter Geoff Woade, who weighs 317 pounds, admitted taking massive doses of anabolic steroids, drugs banned in sport. 'He used to get in bad tempers and act up,' said his wife. 'He used to pick on me. But now he's stopped, he's much better in our sex life and in our general life.'" Jesus Christ, this huge, thatched head with its earlobes and cannonball is now considered sane. "Geoff Woade is feeling better and is now prepared to step back into society and start tossing his orb about." Look at him. Look at Geoff Woade. His head must weigh fifty pounds on its own. Imagine the size of his balls. Imagine getting into a fight with the fucker!
Marwood: Please, I don't feel good.
Withnail: That's what you'd say, but that wouldn't wash with Geoff. No, he'd like a bit of pleading. Add spice to it. In fact, he'd probably tell you what he was going to do before he did it. "I'm going to pull your head off." "Oh no, please, don't pull my head off." "I'm going to pull your head off, because I don't like your head."

Withnail: Have you been at the controls?
Marwood: What are you talking about?
Withnail: The thermostats! What have you done to them?
Marwood: I haven't touched them.
Withnail: Then why has my head gone numb? I must have some booze. I demand to have some booze!

Withnail: You've had an audition. Why can't I have an audition? It's ridiculous. I've been to drama school. I'm good-looking. I tell you, I've a fuck sight more talent than half the rubbish that gets on television. Why can't I get on television?
Marwood: Well, I don't know. It'll happen.
Withnail: Will it? That's what you say. The only programme I'm likely to get on is the fucking news.

Withnail: Where is he? I'm utterly arseholed.
Marwood: We're early. We want to get in there, don't we? Eat some cake. Soak up the booze.

Marwood: What about what's-his-name?
Withnail: What about him?
Marwood: Why don't you give him a call?
Withnail: What for?
Marwood: To ask him about his house.
Withnail: You want me to call what's-his-name and ask him about his house?
Marwood: Why not?
Withnail: All right. What's his number?
Marwood: I've no idea, I've never met him.
Withnail: Well neither have I. What the fuck are you talking about?

Danny: I happened to be looking for a suit for The Coalman two weeks ago. For reasons I can't really discuss with you, he had to go to Jamaica. Got busted coming back through Heathrow. He had a weight under his fez. We worked out it would be very handy karma for him to get hold of a suit. But he's a very low-temperature spade, the Coalman. Goes into court in his caftan and a bell. This doesn't go down at all well. They can handle the caftan but they cannot handle the bell. So there's this judge sitting there in the cape like fucking Batman with this really rather far out-looking hat.
Withnail: Wig.
Danny: No, man. This was more like a long white hat. So he looks at the Coalman and says, "What's all this? This is a court, man. This ain't fancy dress." And the Coalman looks at him and says, "Do you think you look normal, Your Honour?" Cunt give him two years.

Danny: Has he just been busted?
Marwood: No.
Danny: Then why's he wearing that old suit?
Withnail: Old suit?! This suit was cut by Hawke's of Savile Row! Just because the best tailoring you've ever seen is above your fucking appendix doesn't mean anything!
Danny: Don't get uptight with me, man. Because if you do, I'll have to give you a dose of medicine. And if I spike you, you'll know you've been spoken to.
Withnail: You wouldn't spike me, you're too mean. Besides, there's nothing invented I couldn't take.
Danny: If I medicined you, you'd think a brain tumour was a birthday present.
Withnail: I could take double anything you could.
Danny: Very, very foolish words, man.
Marwood: He's right, Withnail, look at him! His mechanism's gone, he's had more drugs than you've had hot dinners.
Withnail: I'm not having this shag sack insulting me! Let him get his drugs out!
Danny: This doll is extremely dangerous; it has voodoo qualities. [takes pill out of doll] Trade: Pheno-dihydrochloride-benzorex. Street: The Embalmer.
Withnail: Balls, I'll swallow it and run a mile!
Danny: Cool your boots, man. This pill's valued at two quid.
Withnail: Two quid? You're out of your mind!
Marwood: That's sense, Withnail.
Withnail: You can stuff it up your arse for nothing and fuck off while you're doing it!

Withnail: Have you got soup? Why don't I get any soup?
Marwood: Coffee.
Withnail: Why don't you use a cup like any other human being?
Marwood: Why don't you wash up occasionally like any other human being?
Withnail: (Appalled) How dare you! How dare you! How dare you call me inhumane?!
Marwood: I didn't call you inhumane. You merely imagined it. Calm down.
Withnail: Right you fucker, I'm going to do the washing up!
Marwood: No, you can't, it's impossible. I swear to you, I've looked into it. Listen to me, listen to me! There are are things in there - there's a teabag growing! You haven't slept in 60 hours, you're in no shape to tackle it. Wait till the morning and we'll go in together.
Withnail: This is the morning. Stand aside!
Marwood: No, you don't understand! I think there may be something living in there.
Withnail: What do you mean, a rat?
Marwood: It's possible, it's possible.
Withnail: Then the fucker will rue the day!

Withnail: Are we there?
Marwood: No we're not, we're here. We're in the middle of a fucking gale. Look out that window, if you see anything, anything at all, tell me.
Withnail: Where's the whiskey?
Marwood: What for?
Withnail: I've got a bastard behind the eyes. I can't take aspirins without a drink. Where's the aspirins?
Marwood: Probably in the bathroom.
Withnail: You mean we've come out here in the middle of fucking nowhere without aspirins?
Marwood: Where are we?!
Withnail: How should I know where we are? I feel like a pig shat in my head!

Withnail: Would it be in bad form to plagiarise a toast?
Monty: Depends entirely on the quality of the wine. In this case, it most certainly would not.
Withnail: In that case, "To a delightful weekend in the country."

Withnail: 'Scuse me. We were wondering if we could possibly purchase a pheasant off of you.
Jake: No. I've got nothing to sell.
Withnail: Come on, old boy. What's in your hump?
Jake: Now look, you. These pheasants are for my pot. These eels here are for his pot. What makes you possibly think I've got anything for your pot?
Withnail: What pot?
Marwood: The cooking pot.

Marwood: Withnail, you bastard, wake up. Wake up, you bastard or I burn this bastard bed down!
Withnail: (Stirring) I deny all accusations. What do you want?
Marwood: I have just narrowly avoided having a buggering. And I've come in here with the express intention of wishing one on you! Having said that, I now intend to leave for London.
Withnail: Hold on, don't let your imagination run away with you...
Marwood: Imagination! I have just finished fighting a naked man! How dare you tell him I'm a toilet trader?!
Withnail: Tactical necessity. If I hadn't told him you were active we'd never have got the cottage.
Marwood: I'd never have wanted it, not with him in it!
Withnail: I never thought he'd come all this way.
Marwood: Monty? He'd go to New York!
Withnail: Calculated risk.
Marwood: What is all this "tactical necessity" and "calculated risk?!" This is me, naked in a corner! And how dare you tell him I love you?! And how dare you tell him you rejected me?! How dare you tell him that?!
Withnail: (Wry smile) Sorry about that. Got a bit carried away. Sort of said it without thinking.
Marwood: (Takes the shotgun) Well let me tell you something, Withnail. If he comes into my room again, it's murder, and you'll be held responsible in law!


  • You are invited to spend an hilarious weekend in the English countryside.
  • If you don't remember the sixties, don't worry — neither did they.

External links[edit]

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