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It's discouraging to make a mistake, but it's humiliating when you find out you're so unimportant that nobody noticed it.
Chuck Daly
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Pleasantville is a 1998 film about two modern-day teenagers who find themselves suddenly inside a 1950's sitcom where their influence begins to change that complacent world profoundly.

Written and directed by Gary Ross.

David Wagner/Bud Parker

  • You can't do this Jennifer! He doesn't exist! You can't do this to someone who doesn't exist!
  • [to Bill Johnson] Look, you can't always like what you do. Sometimes you just do it because it's your job. And even if you don't like it, you just gotta do it anyway.
  • That's just the point! It's inside you and you can't stop something that's inside you!
  • [To George] I know you miss her, I mean, you told me you did. But maybe it's not just the cooking or the cleaning you miss. Maybe it's something else. Maybe you can't even describe it. Maybe you only know it when it's gone. Maybe it's like there's a whole piece of you that's missing too. Look at her, dad. Doesn't she look pretty like that? Doesn't she look just as beautiful as the first time you met her? Do you really want her back the way she was? Doesn't she look just wonderful? Now don't you wish you could tell her that?

Jennifer Wagner/Mary Sue Parker

  • [on the phone] ...I know, I know -- He's just like so FINE... I'm still like, "Omigod." [pause] It was amazing, Daph...I'm like: "Well my Mom'll be out of town." And he's like "Well then, maybe we could--you know..." And I'm like "Yeah, sure." And he's like "Well, cool."... I know, he's just so smart. [pause] I don't know. Maybe that black thing I just got. [pause] It is not slutty Daph, it's fun. [pause] Well, "hello?" He's not coming over here to study...I know. Well, I'm jealous of you too sometimes.
  • [Arriving in Pleasantville] Oh, God! I'm pasty!
  • [To David] Oh God, we are. We're stuck in like 'Nerdville'. I always knew you'd pay a price for this. I knew you couldn't be so hopelessly geek-ridden for so long without suffering some really tragic consequences.
  • I did the slut thing, David. It got kinda old.
  • You're like the coolest brother in the world.

George Parker

  • Bud, your sister's a little older now and she's naturally going to start going out with boys. But she's a fine young woman and she would never do anything for us to be concerned about.
  • Honey? I'm home!
  • Where's my dinner?

Big Bob

  • People, people.... I think we all know what's going on here. Up until now everything around here has been, well, pleasant. Recently certain things have become unpleasant. It seems to me that the first thing we have to do is to separate out the things that are pleasant from the things that are unpleasant.
  • George, why don't you and Burt take the lead on this. Why don't you put together kind of an "Un-Pleasant Activities Committee?
  • Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.

Bill Johnson

  • Where am I going to see colors like that? Must be awfully lucky to see colors like that. I bet they don't even know how lucky they are.
  • I didn't mean to hurt anybody. I just have to paint... I have to... Maybe I could paint something different. Maybe I could use less colors or something... Or just -- you know -- certain colors. Maybe you could pick them before hand and then they wouldn't bother anybody...

TV Repairman

  • I know how I'd feel if mine went out. Almost like losing a friend.
  • Those aren't your cookies Bud.
  • Ya think this is a toy? Ya think this is your own little goddamn coloring book?!
  • You don't deserve this place! You don't deserve to live in this paradise!


Kimmy: [referring to David] Omigod, it's so mortifying. I can't believe you're like related to him.
Jennifer: Only on my parent's side.
Kimmy: I know, but you're like...twins and stuff. You must be from like, the cool side of the uterus.

David/Bud: What the hell happened?!
TV Repairman: Sorry, you can't talk like that here.

David/Bud: We're supposed to be in school.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: We're supposed to be at home, David. We're supposed to be in color!

Jennifer/Mary Sue: What's outside of Pleasantville?
Miss Peters: What?...I don't understand...
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Outside of Pleasantville... What's at the end of Main Street?
Miss Peters: Oh, Mary Sue. You should know the answer to that. The end of Main Street is just the beginning again.

David/Bud: One date, Jen--that's all I'm asking. If you don't go out with this guy we could throw their whole universe out of whack. Besides, I thought you liked him.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: It's too weird David. This place is giving me the creeps. Did you know all the books are blank?
David/Bud: What?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: I looked in the library. They got covers with nothing inside them.
David/Bud: What were you doing in a Library?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: I got lost.

Skip: I sure am glad you said you'd come out with me tonight Mary Sue.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Well "gee whiz" Skip. I sure am glad you asked me.
Skip: I don't know if I ever said this to you before, but, well... I think you're just about the keenest girl in the whole school...
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Really Skip? The keenest?
Skip: Oh yeah.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Gosh. I hardly know what to say.

Skip: [on Lover's Lane] ...Sure is pretty.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: [staring at him] Oh yeah.... Gorgeous.
Skip: To be honest Mary Sue. I didn't think you'd want to come here until we'd been pinned for a little while.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Oh, Skip. You can "pin" me any time you want to. Or maybe I should just "pin" you.
Skip: Oh, that's silly Mary Sue. How could you possibly pin me?

Jennifer/Mary Sue: So what's the big deal? Oh. Okay. They're like not good at basketball anymore. Like--omigod, what a tragedy.
David/Bud: You don't understand. You're messing with their UNIVERSE.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Well maybe it needs to be messed with. Did that ever like--occur to you? You know, they don't want to be like this, it's just that nobody ever helped them before.
David/Bud: You have no right to do this.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Well if I don't who will?
David/Bud: They're happy like this.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: David, nobody's happy in a Poodle skirt and a sweater set. [pause] You like all this don't you? I mean, you don't think it's just like dorky or funny or something... you really like it. Oh God! I am so personally horrified to be your sister right now.
David/Bud: I just don't think we have the right to..
Jennifer/Mary Sue: David, let me tell you something. These people don't want to be geeks. They want to be "attractive." They've got a lot of potential, they just don't know any better.

Betty Parker: Mary Sue?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Yeah?
Betty: What goes on up at Lover's Lane?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: What do you mean?
Betty: Well, you hear these things lately... kids spending so much time up there. Uh, is it holding hands? That kind of thing?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Yeah! That and...
Betty: What?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: It doesn't matter.
Betty: No, I wanna know.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Well, sex.
Betty: Oh. What's sex?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: You sure you want to know this?
Betty: Yes.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Okay. You see Mom... When two people like each other very much....
Jennifer/Mary Sue: You okay?
Betty: Yes...It's just that....
Jennifer/Mary Sue: What?
Betty: Well... Your father would never do anything like that.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Oh. Hmm.... Well, Mom...there's ways to "enjoy" yourself without Dad.

David/Bud: What's going on?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Um... They like wanna ask you a question... I didn't know how to handle it. So....
David/Bud: Sure. [to the others] How you doin'? You wanted to ask me something?
Tommy: How'd you know about the fire?
David/Bud: What?
Tommy: How'd you know how to put it out and all?
David/Bud: Oh. Well--where I used to live...That's just what firemen did.
[the kids all murmur together]
Tommy: And where's that?
David/Bud: Um...Out-side of Pleasantville.
Tommy: What's outside of Pleasantville?
David/Bud: Look it doesn't matter. It's not important.
Tommy: What's outside of Pleasantville?
David/Bud: It's really not important.
Margaret: What's outside of Pleasantville?
David/Bud: Um... Well...There are some places where the road doesn't go in a circle. There are some places where it keeps on going.
Margaret: Keeps going...
David/Bud: Well, yeah -- it all just keeps going. Roads...rivers...
Will: Like the "Mighty Mississippi."
David: What?
[Will holds up a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn]
Will: "It was big 'n brown n' kept goin' an' goin' as far you could see."
David/Bud: [to Jennifer/Mary Sue] I thought the books were blank?
Will: They were.
Jennifer/Mary Sue: Okay look, this like--wasn't my fault. They asked me what it was about and I like didn't remember 'cause we had it back in tenth grade. But I told them what I DID remember, and the next thing I knew the pages had filled in.
David/Bud: The pages filled in?
Jennifer/Mary Sue: But like only up to the part about the raft, because I didn't read any farther.
Tommy: Do you know how it ends?
David/Bud: Well, yeah...I do.
Margaret: So how does it end?
David/Bud: Well--see.... they're both running away--Huck and the slave.... And... They go up the river.... But--in trying to get free..... they sort of see that they're free already....
[the pages fill in by themselves, completing the book]

Gus: Look at 'em, Burt. It's spreadin' all over the place. Look at the color on her books.
Burt: Look at the color on her sweater. I mean goin' up to that lake all the time is one thing, but now they're going to a library? I mean what's next?
Bob: Oughtta be havin' an ice cream soda. That's where they oughtta be.
Burt: You're right, Bob... Somebody oughtta do somethin' about that. ...Soon.

Bob: [in the bowling alley] What happened? Are you alright? What is it?
George: Rain.
Bob: Real rain?
[George nods]
Bob: Oh my God.... Are you alright?
George: I came home like I always do. And I came in the front door. And I took off my coat. And I put down my briefcase and I said "Honey. I'm home."
[The men all nod in recognition.]
George: ...Only no one was there. So I went into the kitchen and I yelled it again. "Honey--I'm home." But there was no one there either. No wife. No lights. No dinner.
[The men all gasp]
George: So I went to the oven you know--because I thought maybe she had made me one of those "TV dinners..." But she hadn't. She was gone. And I looked and looked and looked -- but she was gone.
Bob: It's gonna be fine George. You're with 'us' now.
Gus: What do we do Bob?
Bob: Well--we'll be safe for now--thank goodness we're in a bowling alley--but if George here doesn't get his dinner, any one of us could be next. It could be you Gus, or you Burt, or even you Ralph.... That's real rain out there gentlemen. This isn't some little "virus" that's going to "clear up on it's own." There's something happening to our town and I think we can all see where it comes from.
Bob: My friends, this isn't about George's dinner or Burt's shirt. It's a question of values. It's a question of whether we're gonna hold onto the values that have made this place great. So the time has come to make a decision. Are we in this alone, or are we in it together?

Bob: This is not the answer people. No matter how upset we may get, or how frustrated we may be, we're not gonna solve our problems out in the street. It's just the wrong way to do it. We have to have a "Code of Conduct" we can all agree to live by. Now, I asked George and Burt here to sketch out some ideas--and I think they've done a terrific job. If we all agree on these then we can take a vote and I think we'll start to move in the right direction. "ONE: All public disruption and acts of vandalism are to cease immediately. TWO: All citizens of Pleasantville are to treat one another in a courteous and 'pleasant' manner...
[The kids are hiding in the ruined malt shop]
Lisa Anne: "Courteous and Pleasant manner." That doesn't sound too bad.
David/Bud: "THREE: The area commonly known as Lover's Lane as well as the Pleasantville Public Library shall be closed until further notice. FOUR: The only permissible recorded music shall be the following: Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Jack Jones, the marches of John Phillips Sousa or the Star Spangled Banner. In no event shall any music be tolerated that is not of a temperate or "pleasant" nature."
Kids: Oh my gosh.... No....
David/Bud: "FIVE: There shall be no public sale of umbrellas or preparation for inclement weather of any kind. SIX: No bedframe or mattress may be sold measuring more than 38 inches wide. SEVEN: The only permissible paint colors shall be BLACK, WHITE or GRAY, despite the recent availability of certain alternatives. EIGHT: All elementary and high school curriculums shall teach the "non-changist" view of history--emphasizing "continuity" over "alteration." Wow.

George: You know, your mom went out.
David/Bud: Went out?
George: Yeah.
David/Bud: When?
George: Three days ago.
George: What happened Bud? One minute everything was fine and the next... What went wrong?
David/Bud: Nothing went wrong... People change.
George: People change?
David/Bud: Yeah.
George: How?
David/Bud: How? Well... Sometimes they realize that what they thought they needed isn't what they need anymore... Sometimes they see that what they're scared of -- they don't need to be scared of anymore. Sometimes they just... let go.
George: Can they change back?
David/Bud: I don't know. I think that's harder.

Bob: [to David/Bud and Bill]] You are charged with descration of a public building and the intentional use of prohibited paint colors in violation of The Pleasantville Code of Conduct and "Laws of Common Decency." Do you admit that on the night of May 1 you did consciously and willfully apply the following FORBIDDEN paint colors to the North Wall of the Pleasantville Police Station: Red, Pink, Vermilion, Puce, Chartreuse, Umber, Blue, Aqua, Ox Blood, Green, Peach, Crimson, Yellow, Olive and Magenta?
David/Bud: Yes I do. Where's our lawyer?
Bob: We prefer to keep these proceedings as "pleasant" as possible. I don't think a lawyer will be necessary.
David/Bud: You don't have a right to do this. I mean, I know you want it to stay "Pleasant" around here, but, there are so many things that are so much better: like Silly... or Sexy... or Dangerous... or Wild... or Grief... And every one of those things is in you all the time if you just have the guts to look for them.
Bob: Okay -- that's enough!
David/Bud: I thought I was allowed to defend myself.
Bob: You're not allowed to lie.
David/Bud: I'm not lying. See those faces back there. They're no different than you are. They just happened to see something inside them that you don't want to look at.

David/Bud: C'mon. Everyone's turning colors. Kids are making out in the street. No one's getting their dinner--hell, you could have a flood any minute....Pretty soon you could have the women going off to work while the men stayed home and cooked....
Bob: That's not going to happen!
David/Bud: But it could happen.
Bob: No it couldn't!

David's Mom: How'd you get so smart all of a sudden?
David: I had a good day.


  • Pleasantville - It's Just Around the Corner
  • Nothing is as simple as Black and White.


External links

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