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A Civil Action (film) Quotes

A Civil Action (film) is a television show that first aired in 1970 . A Civil Action ended its run in 1970.

It features Scott Rudin, Robert Redford, and Rachel Pfeffer as producer, Danny Elfman in charge of musical score, and Conrad L. Hall as head of cinematography.

A Civil Action (film) is recorded in English and originally aired in United States. Each episode of A Civil Action (film) is 115 minutes long. A Civil Action (film) is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

The cast includes: John Travolta as Jan Schlichtmann, William H. Macy as James Gordon, Kathleen Quinlan as Anne Anderson, Robert Duvall as Jerome Facher, Sydney Pollack as Al Eustis, Tony Shalhoub as Kevin Conway, John Lithgow as Judge Walter J. Skinner, and Željko Ivanek as Bill Crowley.

A Civil Action (film) Quotes

John Travolta as Jan Schlichtmann

  • (John Travolta) "The appeals process is even more byzantine than the trial it's appealing, takes longer, costs more, it's outcome even less promising, only five cases in fifty will win an appeal, the odds are as easy to calculate as they are discouraging, they're ten to one against, just about any bet at any table at any casino anywhere in the world is better than that, I have the evidence but no longer the resources or the gambling spirit to appeal the decision in the Beatrice case, I have no money, no partners as far as I can tell, no clients anymore, the Woburn case has become what it was when it first came to me, an orphan, I'm forwarding it onto you and all its unwieldiness, even though I know you might not care to adopt any more than I did at first, if you decide to take it on, I hope you will be able to succeed where I have failed, if you calculate success and failure as I always have, in dollars and cents divided neatly into human suffering the arithmetic says I failed completely, what it doesn't say, if I could somehow go back, knowing what I know now, knowing where I'd end up if I got involved with these people, knowing all the numbers, all the odds, all the numbers, I'd do it again."
  • (Bankruptcy Judge) "Mr. Schlichtmann? Mr. Schlichtmann?"
  • (John Travolta) "I'm sorry. Yes."
  • (Bankruptcy Judge) "The purpose of these questions is not to embarass or humiliate you but rather to verify the information you've declared as your assets."
  • (John Travolta) "I understand."
  • (Bankruptcy Judge) "Because what you're asking your creditors to believe with this petition is -- well, it's hard to believe."
  • (John Travolta) "I know."
  • (Bankruptcy Judge) "That after 17 years of practising law all you have to show for it is 14 dollars in a checking account a portable radio?"
  • (John Travolta) "That's correct."
  • (Bankruptcy Judge) "Where did it all go?"
  • (John Travolta) "The money?"
  • (Bankruptcy Judge) "The money, the property, the personal belongings, the things one acquires in one's life, Mr. Schlichtmann. The things by which one measures one's life. What happened?"
  • (John Travolta) "Do me a favour, Gordon, will you? Shut up."
  • (William H. Macy) "What?"
  • (John Travolta) "I'm so tired of hearing you moan about money all the time. This isn't about money anymore."
  • (William H. Macy) "No?"
  • (John Travolta) "No."
  • (William H. Macy) "What's it about? What's it about, Jan?"
  • (Željko Ivanek) "Look, let's all --"
  • (William H. Macy) "No, I want to know. I want to know why I gave up my house for. My credit. My life. Would you take 10 million dollars right now?"
  • (John Travolta) "Yes."
  • (William H. Macy) "But you won't take eight?"
  • (John Travolta) "No."
  • (William H. Macy) "No. So at 10 million dollars this is some sort of uh -- a, a mythic struggle but at eight it's just another lawsuit."
  • (John Travolta) "If they're willing to pay eight, Gordon, then it's not enough, is it?"
  • (William H. Macy) "Oh, that makes sense."
  • (John Travolta) "It makes perfect sense."
  • (William H. Macy) "So, the only thing you accept is what they're not willing to give us. Listen to yourself. I for one am sick of listening to you. I've lost enough because of you."
  • (John Travolta) "You wouldn't have anything to lose it if it wasn't for me. Everything you have I got for you."
  • (William H. Macy) "I don't have anything, Jan. What do I have? I've got a couple of bucks and some, some bus transfers. I've got a saving account from when I was 12 years-old. Here. There's 37 dollars in here. With interest, after 25 years there's probably 47 dollars, take it. Add it to the war chest. Use it to fight injustice. Stand up for principles with that. Go down in flames with it for all I care. Only next time, "next time", that's a laugh; ask us if we want to go down with you."
  • (John Travolta) "This is the defendant's plan."
  • (John Lithgow) "No, it's my plan."
  • (John Travolta) "It's Facher's plan, right from the beginning."
  • (John Lithgow) "It's my plan."
  • (John Travolta) "He told me, he threatned me."
  • (John Lithgow) "IT'S MY PLAN."
  • (John Travolta) "Personal injury law has a bad reputation they call us "ambulance chasers", "bottom feeders", "vultures that prey on the misfortunes of others", if that's true why do I lay awake at nights worrying about my clients why does their pain become my pain? I wish I could find some way not to empathize, it'd be a lot easier"
  • (Radio Talk Show Host) "Speaking with Jan Schlichtmann personal injury attorney and according to Boston Magazine one of Boston's Ten Most Eligible Bachelors, let's go back to the phones: Woburn you're on the air"
  • (Kathleen Quinlan) "Hello, Mr. Schlichtmann it's Ann Anderson how come you never called me? My son died of leukemia two years ago and your firm is handling the case, the reason why I'm calling you there is because my phone calls haven't been returned in a few weeks, I have an idea, why don't you come up to Woburn one of these days and meet these people whose "pain is your pain"?"
  • (John Travolta) "Let me picture how they happened, she called and she cried you felt sorry for her so you cried, now she's mad at me now that makes sense?"
  • (Tony Shalhoub) "This is a good case, an orphan but a good one, twelve deaths over fifteen years from leukemia eight of them children its statically unusual it's a very small town they think it has something to do with the city's drinking water which they say has always tasted funny, there's a report from state inspectors that water from two city wells is contaminated or was before they shut them down with something called Trichloroethylene"
  • (John Travolta) "The lawyer who shares his client's pain, in my opinion, does his client such a grave disservice, he should have his license to practice law taken away. It clouds his judgment. And that's a beneficial to his client as a doctor who recoils at the sight of blood."
  • (John Travolta) "It's like this. A dead plaintiff is rarely worth as much as a living, severely-maimed plaintiff. However, if it's a long slow agonizing death, as opposed to a quick drowning or car wreck, the value can rise considerably. A dead adult in his 20s is generally worth less than one who is middle aged. A dead woman less than a dead man. A single adult less than one who's married. Black less than white. Poor less than rich. The perfect victim is a white male professional, 40 years old, at the height of his earning power, struck down in his prime. And the most imperfect? Well, in the calculus of personal injury law, a dead child is worth the least of all."
  • (John Travolta) "Ms. Anderson, our firm is very small, three attorneys that's it, which means we can only take on so many cases at once and we have to be very careful on the ones we do take because we can't afford to lose, our clients pay nothing, we pay everything, and the only we get paid back if we win or settle, you want an apology, and there's nothing more than I'd like to do, to get you that apology, but from who? Who's going to apologize to you and pay me? There has to be a defendant and one with very deep pockets, this is not an inexpensive case to try."
  • (John Travolta) "The odds of a plaintiff's lawyer winning in civil court are two to one against. Think about that for a second. Your odds of surviving a game of Russian roulette are better than winning a case at trial. 12 times better. So why does anyone do it? They don't. They settle. Out of the 780,000, only 12,000 or 11/2 percent ever reach a verdict. The whole idea of lawsuits is to settle, to compel the other side to settle. And you do that by spending more money than you should, which forces them to spend more money than they should, and whoever comes to their senses first loses. Trials are a corruption of the entire process and only fools who have something to prove end up ensnared in them. Now when I say prove, I don't mean about the case, I mean about themselves."
  • (John Travolta) "So what are you saying? You want to get out now and cut our losses, you want to get out now and throw away? What was it?"
  • (William H. Macy) "1.4 million dollars"
  • (John Travolta) "Well, I don't know what to tell you because there's things I need to prove and I can't do that not spending money"
  • (William H. Macy) "We have to go see uncle Pete"
  • (John Travolta) "25 million dollars cash, and another 25 million dollars to establish a research foundation, to study the links between hazard wastes and illness, and 1.5 million dollars per family, annually for thirty years."
  • (John Travolta) "Lawsuits are war, it's as simple as that ad they begin the same way the declaration: the compliant, when you're a small firm and their a big one steep in history and wealth as they always are, with their Persian carpets on the floor and their Harvard diplomas hanging on the wall, it's easy to be intimidated, don't be, that's what they want, that's what they expect, like all bullies that's how they win, I don't run away from bullies."
  • (John Travolta) "I can appreciate the theatrical value of several dead kids, I mean, I like that. Obviously, that's good. That is all this case has going for it. That's not enough. Get rid of it."
  • (John Travolta) "Don't worry about it, everything's under control."

William H. Macy as James Gordon

  • (William H. Macy) "No, let me stop you right there, I don't need to hear it, from a financial stand point, I can tell you right now this not a sound investment, "probable" is just a euphemism for "unproven", to prove something like this, you need new medical research, is that the business we're in? The medical research business? and you have to ask yourself why is this case an orphan? Why has it been from kicked from firm to firm until it ended up on your desk?"
  • (William H. Macy) "Mrs. Anderson, you're looking at four guys who are broke. We lost everything trying this case."
  • (Kathleen Quinlan) "How can you even begin to compare what you've lost, to what we've lost."
  • (William H. Macy) "You'll never guess what I did last night. You'll like this. I pledged $200 to a tele-evangelist. I'm not kidding. He said, "Give and ye shall receive." I called him right up. I know, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Gordon's losing it. He's falling apart. He's probably buying lottery tickets." I bought a few, I'll admit it. I know. But, seriously, the jackpot's $45 million. That's just this week. You should see the lines out there."
  • (Uncle Pete) "Is that a gun?"
  • (William H. Macy) "What? This? No. No, this is for you."
  • (William H. Macy) "My Krugerrands. I've had them forever. I want you to have them. And -- this is the deed to my house. And here is Conway's and Crowley's and Jan's. See? I come bearing gifts. We really need the money."
  • (William H. Macy) "Every dollar is a dollar we don't have, we're floating on credit, without a net"
  • (John Travolta) "Mortgaged my house, I don't care"
  • (William H. Macy) "I have, and Kevin's, and Bill's and mine, and I've cashed in our retirement plan, and our life insurance policies, it's gone"

Sydney Pollack as Al Eustis

  • (Sydney Pollack) "You've never been here before? What kind of "Harvard man" are you?"
  • (John Travolta) "The Cornell kind."
  • (Sydney Pollack) "Let's be honest I can afford to pay you almost anything you ask for, it's not the money, it's what a settlement that says, it says we're guilty, and that says to every two bit personal injury lawyer in Boston, "hey, let's all run up to Woburn, and sign up every jerk with a head cold", creates a shark effect, and that I can't afford, give me a number."
  • (John Travolta) "I'm not going to negotiate with myself Al, I'm going to throw out numbers that you'll say no to them, you'll have to come up with them."
  • (Sydney Pollack) "Eight million."
  • (John Travolta) "I can't go to the families with that, I can't go to them empty handed."
  • (Sydney Pollack) "Since when is eight million dollars empty handed? Eight million dollars is a lot of money."
  • (John Travolta) "I owe them more than that."
  • (Sydney Pollack) "What do you owe them? You owe them your career? You owe them that much? Don't do it, don't go for broke on this one."

John Lithgow as Judge Walter J. Skinner

  • (John Lithgow) "Now the matter before us seems to be a simple one."
  • (John Travolta) "Your honor I'm sorry but I don't think it's a simple."
  • (John Lithgow) "May I hear it?"
  • (John Travolta) "No, because the true intention is to place me under a cloud of impropriety in your court room right from the beginning, what they're saying with this motion is that they know the law and I don't that their real lawyers and I'm not they're just trying to humiliate me."
  • (John Lithgow) "You are a personal injury lawyer are you not? I think you'll survive that."
  • (John Travolta) "You see? Its starting already."
  • (John Lithgow) "No you've started already."
  • (John Travolta) "No I'm on the defensive and their the defendants."
  • (John Lithgow) "Do you think I can at least hear this motion before you tell me what it's really about?"
  • (John Travolta) "Of course."
  • (John Lithgow) "with respect to W.R. Grace the jury has Answered "yes" to question one regarding Trichloroethylene contamination requiring we continue the proceedings against Grace to a second stage of this trial in regard to Beatrice the jury has answered "no" to question one and all its points pertaining to contamination which renders questions two and three inapplicable thus, ending the case against Beatrice"

Robert Duvall as Jerome Facher

  • (Robert Duvall) "What's your take?"
  • (John Travolta) "They'll see the truth."
  • (Robert Duvall) "The truth? I thought we were talking about a court of law. Come on, you've been around long enough to know that a courtroom isn't a place to look for the truth."
  • (Robert Duvall) "Now the single greatest liability a lawyer can have is pride. Pride -- Pride has lost more cases than lousy evidence, idiot witnesses and a hanging judge all put together. There is absolutely no place in a courtroom for pride."
  • (Robert Duvall) "If I were you I'd make it a point in that lunch hour I'd find a place that's quiet and peaceful and I'd be away from all the noisiness and insanity, have a sandwich read a magazine maybe listen on a radio to a game at Fenway if it was playing at the time and I'd make sure everyone knew that I didn't want to be disturbed in that hour of solitude because that would be my time my own private time which no one if they had any sense of any self-preservation at all would dare interrupt if I were you."

Kathleen Quinlan as Anne Anderson

  • (Kathleen Quinlan) "When I stand on my front porch I can see all the houses where children have died, none of us are interested in money that's not why we're doing this, what we want is to know what happened and we want an apology from whoever did this, I want somebody to come to my house and say "we're responsible we did this, we didn't mean it, but we did it and we're sorry""

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