The Butler – Quotes


Click here to read SPM’s review/discussion of Lee Daniel’s The Butler.

Martin Luther King, Jr.:  Darkness cannot drive our darkness.  Only light can do that. 

Earl Gaines to son, Cecil:  Don’t you lose your temper with that man.  This is his world and we just living in it.

I don’t think God meant for people to not have a family.

Cecil:  Back in Macon, I’m a house n*****, a good one.
[He gets slapped.]
Cecil’s boss:  Don’t ever use that word.  It’s a white man’s word, full of hate.

Cecil’s boss:  Look ‘em in the eyes. See what it is they want.  Wee what it is they need.  Anticipate.

Cecil’s boss:  We’ve got two faces:  us, and the ones we put on for them.

Maynard:  Are you political, Mr. Gaines?
Cecil:  No, sir.
Maynard:  Good.  We have no tolerance for politics in the White House.

LOVE leader:  We’re gonna form an army and our weapon is love.

Cecil:  Mamie Till stuff?  Ain’t no good gonna come of that.

Cecil:  Why couldn’t Louis see that the President made things better for us?

Gandhi has illustrated that a man can pull himself out of segregation with patience, persistence, intelligence, discipline and a little bit of a sense of humor.

At the sit-ins:  We would like to be served, please.

Toast:  To serving our country.

Louis:  There’s something special going on here, Dad.
Cecil:  What’s so special about another colored man, jaded?

JFK to Cecil:  You know, I never really understood what you all went through until I saw that.  My brother said these kids have, uh…, have changed his mind.  They’ve changed mine too.

Those who do nothing are inviting shame.

Cecil:  The last time I saw that much blood was the day my Daddy died.  Mrs. Kennedy refused to change her clothes so that they could see what they done to her husband.

Gloria:  You and the president can kiss my a**.  I don’t care what happens in the white man’s house.  I can what happens in this house.

The black domestic defies racial stereotyping by being hardworking and trustworthy…having a strong worth ethic and dignified character. …Though subservient, they are subversive without even knowing it.

Cecil:  The whole world was changing and I didn’t know where I fit in.

Louis:  Sidney Poitier is the white man’s puppet for what they want us to be.
Cecil:  He’s breaking down barriers!

Cecil:  All puffed up with your hat on your head…  You don’t even feel you need to go to school though I gave you the money.

Gloria to Louis:  Everything you are and everything you have is because of that butler.

Charlie:  You fight your country.  I want to fight FOR my country.

Cecil:  Vietnam took my boy, and I didn’t understand why we were there in the first place.

Cecil:  years started to drift by, but the pain in my heart never did.  Through it all, Louis and I never spoke.

Cecil:  Mr. Warner, for all the time I’ve been here, the black help still receive a smaller salary than the white boy.

Nancy Reagan to Cecil: You’re the man that got [the black help] raises and promotions.

Cecil about the White House dinner:  I wish we were there for real instead of for show.

Cecil:  Nothing seemed right to me after that state dinner.  Got all confused.

Cecil:  Louis was never a criminal.  He was a hero, fighting to save the soul of our country.

Cecil:  I had always loved serving, but it just felt different now.  I didn’t know an old man could feel so lost. That’s how I felt.

Cecil:  America always turned a blind eye to our own back yard.  We look out to the world and judge… the concentration camps…when these camps went on right here for 200 years.

Ronald Reagan:  Sometimes I’m not sure I’m on the right side of this civil rights issue.
Cecil:  Sometimes I think I’m scared of what it really means, but I’m trying not to be so scared anymore.

Look through your eye. See what it is that they want.  See what it is that they need.  Anticipate.