Marlon Brando

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The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin
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In a close-up, the audience is only inches away, and your face becomes the stage.

Marlon Brando (3 April 1924 - 1 July 2004) was an American actor, widely regarded as one of the most influential actors of all time.

Sourced

Even today I meet people who think of me automatically as a tough, insensitive, coarse guy named Stanley Kowalski...
  • An actor's a guy, who if you ain't talking about him, ain't listening.
    • The Observer (1956)
  • When they laid down their arms, we murdered them. We lied to them. We cheated them out of their lands. We starved them into signing fraudulent agreements that we called treaties which we never kept. We turned them into beggars on a continent that gave life for as long as life can remember. And by any interpretation of history, however twisted, we did not do right. We were not lawful nor were we just in what we did. For them, we do not have to restore these people, we do not have to live up to some agreements, because it is given to us by virtue of our power to attack the rights of others, to take their property, to take their lives when they are trying to defend their land and liberty, and to make their virtues a crime and our own vices virtues.
    • Speech for the Academy Awards protesting the treatment of American Indians, written by Brando, as it appeared in the New York Times (March 30, 1973)
  • I think awards in this country at this time are inappropriate to be received or given until the condition of the American Indian is drastically altered. If we are not our brother's keeper, at least let us not be his executioner.
    • Speech for the Academy Awards written by Brando as it appeared in the New York Times (March 30, 1973)
  • Bertolucci is extraordinary in his ability to perceive, he's a poet...he is very easy to work for.
  • Chaplin you got to go with. Chaplin is a man whose talents is such that you have to gamble. First off, comedy is his backyard. He's a genius, a cinematic genius. A comedic talent without peer.
  • Kazan is a performer's director, the best director I ever worked with... Most actors don't get any help from directors. Emotional help, if you're playing an emotional part. Kazan is the only one I know who really gives you help.
    • Rolling Stone Issue No. 213 (May 20, 1976) on Elia Kazan
  • Even today I meet people who think of me automatically as a tough, insensitive, coarse guy named Stanley Kowalski. They can't help it, but, it is troubling.
    • Songs My Mother Taught Me (1994)
  • I have always considered my life a private affair and the business of no one beyond my family and those I love. Except for moral and political issues that aroused in me a desire to speak out, I have done my utmost throughout my life, for the sake of my children and myself, to remain silent ... But now, in my seventieth year, I have decided to tell the story of my life as best I can, so that my children can separate the truth from the myths that others have created about me, as myths are created about everyone swept up in the turbulent and distorting maelstrom of celebrity in our culture.
    • Songs My Mother Taught Me (1994)
  • I was surprised as anyone when T-shirts, jeans and leather jackets suddenly became symbols of rebellion. In the film there was a scene in which somebody asked my character, Johnny, what I was rebelling against, and I answered 'Whaddya got?' But none of us involved in the picture ever imagined that it would instigate or encourage youthful rebellion.
    • Speaking about the film The Wild One (1953) in Songs My Mother Taught Me (1994)
  • On the day Kazan showed me the completed picture I was so depressed by my performance that I got up and left the screening room.
    • Speaking of his performance in On the Waterfront (1954). Songs My Mother Taught Me (1994)
    • "If there is a better performance by a man in the history of film in America, I don't know what it is."- Eli Kazan on Brando's performance in On the Waterfront, published in Marlon Brando, Portraits and Film Stills 1946-1995 (1996)
  • The power and influence of a movie star is curious: I didn't ask for it or take it; people gave it to me. Simply because you're a movie star, people empower you with special rights and privileges.
    • Songs My Mother Taught Me (1994)
  • I don't think I was constructed to be monogamous. I don't think it's the nature of any man to be monogamous. Men are propelled by genetically ordained impulses over which they have no control to distribute their seed.
    • 1994 statement, as quoted in Kosher Sex : A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy (2000) by Shmuley Boteach
  • There's a line in the picture where he snarls, "Nobody tells me what to do." That's exactly how I've felt all my life.
    • Marlon Brando, Portraits and Film Stills 1946-1995 (1996) Speaking about the film The Wild One (1953).
  • Hollywood is run by Jews. It is owned by Jews, and they should have a greater sensitivity. They should have greater sensitivity about the issue of people who are suffering because they've [been] exploited. We have seen the nigger, we've seen the greaseball, we have seen the chink, the slit-eyed dangerous Jap. We have seen the wily Filipino. We've seen everything, but we never saw the kike, because they know perfectly well that is where you draw the wagons around.
    • Interview on Larry King Live (April 1996), quoted in Cultural Diversity and the U.S. Media (1998) by Yahya R. Kamalipour and Theresa Carilli, p. 105
  • This picture will try to show the Nazism is a matter of mind, not geography, and that there are Nazis — and people of good will — in every country. The world can't spend its life looking over its shoulder and nursing hatreds. There would be no progress that way.
    • At a press conference for The Young Lions in Berlin; republished in Marlon Brando, Portraits and Film Stills 1946-1995 (1996)
  • Acting is the least mysterious of all crafts. Whenever we want something from somebody or when we want to hide something or pretend, we're acting. Most people do it all day long.
    • New York Times (July 2, 2004)
  • If a studio offered to pay me as much to sweep the floor as it did to act, I'd sweep the floor. There isn't anything that pays you as well as acting while you decide what the hell you're going to do with yourself. Who cares about the applause? Do I need applause to feel good about myself?
    • New York Times (July 2, 2004)
  • The close-up says everything, it's then that an actor's learned, rehearsed behavior becomes most obvious to an audience and chips away, unconsciously, at its experience of reality. In a close-up, the audience is only inches away, and your face becomes the stage.
    • New York Times (July 2, 2004)
  • I suppose the story of my life is a search for love, but more than that, I have been looking for a way to repair myself from the damages I suffered early on and to define my obligation, if I had any, to myself and my species.
    • New York Times (July 2, 2004)
  • When I lie on the beach there naked, which I do sometimes, and I feel the wind coming over me and I see the stars up above and I am looking into this very deep, indescribable night, it is something that escapes my vocabulary to describe. Then I think: 'God, I have no importance. Whatever I do or don't do, or what anybody does, is not more important than the grains of sand that I am lying on, or the coconut that I am using for my pillow.' So I really don't think in the long sense.
    • New York Times (July 2, 2004)

Unsourced

  • Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. The principal benefit acting has afforded me is the money to pay for my psychoanalysis.
  • An actor is at most a poet and at least an entertainer.
  • While I do believe in God, I do not believe in the same way as others, so I would prefer not to swear on the Bible. (being sworn in at his son's murder trial)
  • Agents made me a geek who gets $100,000 per chicken head.
  • He's the kind of guy that when he dies, he's going up to heaven and give God a bad time for making him bald. (on Frank Sinatra)
  • I don't mind that I'm fat. You still get the same money.
  • I don't want to spread the peanut butter of my personality on the moldy bread of the commercial press.
  • If there's anything unsettling to the stomach, it's watching actors on television talk about their personal lives.
  • If you're successful, acting is about as soft a job as anybody could ever wish for. But if you're unsuccessful it's worse than having a skin disease.
  • Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite.
  • The more sensitive you are, the more likely you are to be brutalised, develop scabs and never evolve. Never allow yourself to feel anything because you always feel too much.
  • The only reason I'm in Hollywood is that I don't have the moral courage to refuse the money.
  • To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.
  • Would people applaud me if I was a good plumber?
  • You can sit there and have a universal experience, of fear, of anger, of tears, of love, and I discovered that its the audience, really, that is doing the acting.

Quotations about Brando

  • Simply put, in film acting, there is before Brando, and there is after Brando. And they are like different worlds.
    • Rick Lyman, in The New York Times (July 2, 2004)
  • He gave us our freedom.
  • When the curtain came down at the Ethel Barrymore theater on Dec. 3, 1947, our standards for performance, our expectations of what an actor should offer us in the way of psychological truth and behavioral honesty, were forever changed.
  • Talking about Marlon is like dancing about architecture. When you tell the stories, the stories would be rich. And everybody would laugh a lot. And then say "where does it come from?"
    • Sean Penn on the difficulty of explaining Marlon Brando - "Charlie Rose" (July 2, 2004)

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