Ideas lose themselves as quickly as quail, and one must wing them the minute they rise out of the grass, or they are gone.Thomas F. Kennedy
Agent Rupert Anderson
- [to Deputy Pell] Make no mistake about it. I'll cut your head clean off and not give a damn how it reads in the report sheet!
- They want me to say, "Let us not forget that two white boys also died helping negros help themselves." They want me to say, "We mourn with the mothers of these two white boys." But the state of Mississippi won't even allow these white boys to be buried in the same cemetary as this [points to coffin] negro boy. I say, "I have no more love to give! I have only anger in my heart today, and I want you to be angry with me! That I am sick and I am tired, and I want you to be sick and tired with me! I-I-I am sick and tired of going to the funerals of black men who have been murdered by white men! And I-I am sick and tired of the people of this counrty who continue to allow these things to happen!" What is an unalienable right if you are a negro? What does it mean, Equal Treatment under the law? What-what does it mean, Liberty and justice for all? Now I say to these people, "Look at the face of this young man, and you will see the face of a black man. But if you look at the blood shed, it is red! It is like yours! It is JUST... LIKE... YOURS!"
- Ward: Some things are worth dying for.
- Anderson: Down here, things are different; here, they believe that some things are worth killing for.
- Mayor Tilman: Fact is, we got two cultures down here: a white culture, and a colored culture. Now, that's the way it always has been, and that's the way it always will be.
- Anderson: Rest of America don't see it that way, Mr. Mayor.
- Sheriff Ray Stuckey: Rest of America don't mean jack shit. You in Mississippi now.
- Sheriff Ray Stuckey: Do you like baseball, do you, Anderson?
- Anderson: Yeah, I do. You know, it's the only time when a black man can wave a stick at a white man and not start a riot.
- Frank Bailey: Now you listen here, you cornholin' fucker. You tell your queer-loving nigger bosses that they ain't never gonna find those civil rightsers! So you might as well pack up and go back where you came from and...
- [Anderson grabs his crotch hard, Bailey screams in pain]
- Anderson: [while grabbing Bailey by the balls] Now you listen here, Shitkicker! Don't you go confusin' me with some whole other body. You must be thinkin' with your dick if you think we're gonna just walk away from this. We're gonna stay 'till this gets done. [after opening his coat and exposing his gun he turns to Deputy Pell] How 'bout you, Deputy. That gun of yours just for show or do you get to shoot people once in a while? [Releases his grip on Bailey, then takes a swig of beer] Thanks for the beer.
- Ward: Just don't lose sight of whose rights are being violated!
- Anderson: Don't put me on your perch, Mr. Ward.
- Ward: Don't drag me into your gutter, Mr. Anderson!
- Anderson: These people are crawling out of the SEWER, MR. WARD! Maybe the gutter's where we outta be!
- Mrs. Pell: It's not good for you to be here.
- Anderson: Why?
- Mrs. Pell: It's ugly. This whole thing is so ugly. Have you any idea what it's like to live with all this? People look at us and only see bigots and racists. Hatred isn't something you're born with. It gets taught. At school, they said segregation what's said in the Bible... Genesis 9, Verse 27. At 7 years of age, you get told it enough times, you believe it. You believe the hatred. You live it... you breathe it. You marry it.
- Clayton Townley: [addressing a large crowd of white-only people] I love Mississippi.
- Audience: YAY!
- Clayton Townley: THEY! They hate Mississippi! They hate us because we represent a shining example of successful segregation. These Northern students, with their Communist, atheist bosses, and their wish to destroy us this week, has taken a terrible blow. This week, their cause has been crippled. This week, these federal policeman you see around here prying into our lives, violating out civil liberties have learned that they are powerless against us if every single Anglo-Saxon Christian one of us stands together!
- Deputy Pell: You got no right to be here. This is a political meeting.
- Ward: Doesn't smell that way to me, Deputy.
- Deputy Pell: It's a damn political meeting, Hoover Boy.
- Ward: Oh, it looks like a political meeting, but smells more like Klan to me... with or without the Halloween costumes.
- Gene Hackman - Agent Rupert Anderson
- Willem Dafoe - Agent Alan Ward
- Frances McDormand - Mrs. Pell
- Brad Dourif - Deputy Clinton Pell
- R. Lee Ermey - Mayor Tilman
- Gailard Sartain - Sheriff Ray Stuckey
- Stephen Tobolowsky - Clayton Townley
- Michael Rooker - Frank Bailey
- Pruitt Taylor Vince - Lester Cowans
- Badja Djola - Agent Monk
- Kevin Dunn - Agent Bird
- Frankie Faison - Eulogist