Burt Reynolds Quotes

1. I can sing as well as Fred Astaire can act.  

2. I've always gotten along well with Texans. You've got to. 

3. Jay Leno is wonderful and a good friend, but it will always be the Carson show to a lot of people.

4. Marriage is about the most expensive way for the average man to get laundry done.

5. My movies were the kind they show in prisons and airplanes, because nobody can leave.

6. The moment you grab someone by the lapels, you're lost.

7. You can only hold your stomach in for so many years.

8. (on Paul Thomas Anderson) Most filmmakers today have no sense of the history of our business, but he knows every shot John Ford made. And he doesn't lack for confidence. He really knew which shots he wanted to make. I remember the first shot in "Boogie Nights", which is one of the longest shots in history. And I, being the irascible old type I am sometimes, said: "Have you timed this? Is this longer than "Citizen Kane" ?" And he said: "Oh, yes. It's three seconds longer."

9. (on young filmmakers) Having done 300 television shows and almost 60 movies, I'm tired of having guys who are younger than some sandwiches I've had, telling me to turn left at the couch. There's no appreciation of actors and no sense of history.

10. (on Sally Field) I haven't seen her in 10 years and I'd like to very much. Because I'd like to tell her in person what I didn't know then. That is, how incredibly unselfish she was in terms of the time she spent with me. You know, inside that little body of hers is one of the strongest people I've ever met. What I didn't ever appreciate enough, until I had Quinton, was what it means to have a child and say to somebody else: "I'll be with you", away from my child. And now I know what an incredible gift that was.

11. (on Bill McKinney, with whom he worked in "Deliverance") I thought the other guy, Bill McKinney, was a little bent. I used to get up at five in the morning and see him running nude through the golf course while the sprinklers watered the grass. A strange dude, he moved to L.A. after "Deliverance" and worked in a lot of pictures of Clint Eastwood. He always played sickos, but he played them well. With my dark sense of humor, I was kind of amused by him. But as we got closer to the rape scene, I caught him staring at Ned Beatty in an odd, unnerving way. Ned would see it, and look away.

12. (on the rape scene in "Deliverance") The day before we shot the scene I noticed (Bill McKinney) hovering beside Ned (Ned Beatty) and sat down between them. I wanted him to see I was Ned's friend. No different than in the script. Then I asked him how he planned to handle the rape scene. McKinney turned out to be a pretty good guy who just took "The Method" way too far. Staring straight at Ned, he whispered: "I've always wanted to try that. Always have." Ned shouted: "John! Oh, John!". In his brilliance, Boorman (John Boorman) reassured Ned but also brought in several additional cameras, knowing Ned wasn't going to give him a second, third or fourth take. Ned was only going to do the brutal scene once. When it came down to shooting it, ("Herbert Cowboy Coward") and McKinney were hands-down brilliant. Scared the shit out of everybody who saw the movie. People crawled out of the theatre. None of that creepy "squeal, piggy, piggy" stuff was in the script. But McKinney, I swear to God, really wanted to hump Ned. And I think he was going to. He had it up and he was going to bang him. It's the first and only time I have ever seen camera operators turn their heads away. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I ran into the scene, dove on McKinney, and pulled him off. Boorman, hot on my tracks, helped hold him down. Ned, who was crying from both rage and fear, found a big stick and started beating him on the head. Half a dozen guys grabbed Ned and pulled him away. We separated the two of them and let things cool off.

13. (on his Oscar nomination) I'm stunned that I'm in this category, which I think is the toughest category, but then why shouldn't I? It's my category. But there are guys there that, it's not bad enough that there's brilliant actors, but one's that been knighted, you know? It's unbelievable to me. And George C. Scott is right, unless we all played the same role, it really isn't quite fair. I may streak again. I have no idea what my reaction will be, all I know is I'll go in with no expectations.

14. (on his character in "Waterproof") He's a 73-year-old Jewish grocery store owner on a street that's entirely African-American. He's the only holdout. He's not moving. Tough old guy. I'm finding out to my own surprise, that I can do things I didn't think I could.

15. (on "Boogie Nights") It's obvious why someone, I think, would be afraid of this project and I thought I had some baggage in terms of a lot of people who grew up with movies like I did would wonder why I would even be near a film like that. I also felt like this thing will either crash and burn, be the biggest disaster of all time or the most talked about film of the year. Quite honestly I needed a jump start and so it was a brave choice. I kept turning it down and then getting reassurances that we had humanity. And the humanity was I was a surrogate father for damaged goods and the first day we read, I was astounded at the talent, these young actors who I hadn't worked with, some of 'em I didn't know. Incredible. And about 10-15 minutes into the reading Mark Wahlberg came over and sat down beside me and he said: "How ya doin' Dad?" It stayed like that, the relationship stayed like that through the whole film.

16. (when asked about happiness) I am happy. I was just talking to a very savvy casting director, who's been around for a long time, who said: "I'm so happy for you!" and I knew he was. I said, I wish this would never end. I wish there was never an award, a rush party, I don't want to join the fraternity. I just wanna go on with the rush part.

17. (After his nomination for "Boogie Nights")  My being nominated this year is no comeback story because I simply refused to go away.

18. (on Dinah Shore) One of the greatest ladies I ever knew was Dinah Shore and she taught me right away if you can't laugh at yourself, you have no business in this business. If I have any class - and that's probably debatable - it's due to Dinah.

19. (on the stunt scenes he did for his thriller "Crazy Six") I told them: "Look, I can do this. I can still fall; I just can't get up!" But the character is dead, anyway!

20. (on the 1970s) It was an astounding kind of time and I've often said to people: "If I met you between '73 and '78, I'm sorry, I don't remember three or four of those years". You're on such a fast track and you're up in such heady air you can't breathe, how the hell are you gonna smell the flowers if you can't breathe anyway? That's why it's wonderful to happen now, when you don't expect it and if you live through it and come out the other side, you are so much more appreciative. I think, not to sound too serious as you get older, I think you're a better person for it.

21. Friends come in herds and they leave in herds. Hollywood loves an adventure, but you have to hit bottom. Then they love to save you and be a part of it. Or think they're a part of it.

22. (on his longtime fans) First of all, it's usually a sea of blue hair and I'm grateful and thankful that they're still alive and around. I hope they understand that they are responsible for true joy. But the people in the seats were saying, put him in there, and those are the ones that, if I ever win anything, they are more responsible than any producer in Hollywood, because, they never, never walked away.

23. (on playing an aging Jewish shopkeeper in "Waterproof") It's a real challenge. I just hope Billy Crystal doesn't get P.O.'d.

24. (Interview in McCall's magazine) You get to a certain age, where you know you can't go over the wall, but I'll never get to the age where I can't go through it.

25. I am beginning to think there's a lot of nice people around in this business.

26. (on his career's phases and the Oscar) I've gone through every single career phase of getting to this point. If they give the award for being old, not giving up and for loving acting almost as much as loving life, then it's definitely mine.

27. (on his strengths and weaknesses) I regret that I do not have the dignity of Ricardo Montalban, the class of Dean Martin, or the humour of Bill Cosby. I DO have the heart of a lion.

28. (on his success in Hollywood) The only way you can hurt anyone in this business is by succeeding and hurting their pocket book maybe or just smiling and not giving up.

29. (on his career mistakes) All of the younger actors keep coming up to me and asking me where all of the land mines are because they know I've stepped on them all.

30. (on his comeback) If you hold on to things long enough, they get back into style. Like me.

31. (In 1981) My acting is a bit like basketball. Most females in my films come off very well. I give great assist. And if I'm lucky, I even score.

32. (on marriage) I'm terrified of marriage. I'm terrified of not doing something so important and at the same time I think you shouldn't rush into these things.

33. (on the Oscar nomination) I'd shot all night and was staying at the Banff Springs Resort Hotel in Canada, which is absolutely gorgeous. It looks like a castle, but it was built in the 1800s and at 4 o'clock in the morning you think you're in "The Shining", you expect Jack Nicholson to jump out. The hallway is a mile long. I came back and there was a crew there. They said: "Would you mind?" and I thought: "You mean, you want me to sit there and if I'm not nominated, you guys go home?" And I actually have to give you the chair back and everything. And everybody said: "No, no, you gotta do it". I'm sittin' in this chair thinking: "Well, I'm very calm…" I got this little thing in my ear and I'm hearing them announcing the nominations. Well, of course they announced them alphabetically and, unless you're Maud Adams, you know you're gonna be late. It just seemed like forever and then, when I heard it, I (was) dumbstruck for lack of a better word.

34. (on his friends who called him after the Oscar nomination) It was, well, the people that didn't leave when I was dying of AIDS and then had a miraculous recovery. It was the people that have been around forever as friends. It was Angie Dickinson, it was Ann-Margret, Jon Voight, Charles Durning, a whole lot of people that aren't in the industry who are very good friends and 500 stunt men, I work with their grandsons now. Then you realize how long you've been doing this.

35. (on "Larry King Live", talking about the great parts he turned down) There are no awards in Hollywood for being an idiot.

36. (after he heard that "Smokey and the Bandit" was the favorite film of director Alfred Hitchcock) I have had people who were very intellectual and my heroes, that have quietly said to me: "I loved "Smokey and the Bandit"!" And I said: "It's alright because so did 150 million other people!" I'm thrilled that Mr. Hitchcock felt that way and I convey to his daughter that, needless to say, he was the best.

37. (on his character on "The Crew") I knew which character I wanted to play because I understand this guy very well. He goes from being perfectly sane to, within a quarter of a second, choking you to death and banging your head against the floor. I've played wise-guys before, but I've never played a wise-guy who is as demented. There's a reason why they call him "Bats".

38. (on the upcoming roles he is picking) I'm finally choosing a role for the right reason. It's not about the location ("Jamaica? I'll take it!") or the leading lady. It's about the words. I know I'll never be No. 1 again, but I'll be a working actor. And this time, I'll be a grownup. It's time. We have a saying in the South: "No man's a man until his father tells him he is!" Well, mine never told me and that was a problem. But my son did.

39. (on his financial setbacks) I trusted my manager with my money during my illness. Now I was broke. Money woes stayed with me. I grabbed whatever pictures were offered. Admittedly films like "Malone", "Rent-a-Cop" and "Switching Channels", all made between the end of 1986 and the middle of 1987, helped my bank account. But they were making me part of an endangered species, an old actor. However, there are times when you can be artistic, and times when you have to be realistic.

40. (on "Sharky's Machine") Author Sidney Sheldon first mentioned William Diehl's novel "Sharky's Machine" to me at a party. Soon afterward Clint Eastwood sent me a copy of the same best-selling book with a note saying: "This is "Dirty Harry" in Atlanta!" Discovering it combined elements of two of my favorite movies: "Laura" and "Rear Window", I persuaded newly formed partners Orion Pictures and Warner Brothers to acquire the screen rights for me. The kind of film Robert Aldrich would've been great at, I knew from the get-go I had to direct. Granted complete creative control, for me only the third time this had happened, I assembled my cast. The film had one of the best crews I've ever worked with. Let me just say this about Charles Durning. He may be America's finest working actor today. Right down to the soundtrack, a jazz fiend, I called my own list of all-stars. The picture opened at the end of the year to critical reviews that were beyond my expectations. But when even the New York Time's Vincent Canby also got it, I was bowled over. The reviews made me a hot director.

41. Women are my drugs and alcohol. When I'm involved with one woman, I'm involved with one woman. Period. But between romances, I am carnivorous.

42. There are three stages of an actor's career. Young, old, and "You look good'"

43. I'm going to retire hopefully like Cary Grant did. I'll be on stage telling a story, everyone's going to applaud and laugh and then I'll drop like a rock.

44. Sean Connery had said he wanted more money and left and Cubby Broccoli (Albert R. Broccoli) came to visit me and said: "We want you to play James Bond". And I said, in my infinite wisdom: "An American can't play James Bond. It just can't be done". Now, in the middle of the night, you hear me wake up in this cold sweat going: "Bond, James Bond!

45. (on "Deliverance" author/co-star James Dickey) He's the kind of man that, after he has had 4 martinis, makes you want to drop a grenade down his throat.

46. (on longtime girlfriend Sally Field) You know, I never told Sally that I loved her. I should have done that.

47. (on his divorce from Loni Anderson) I'm paying the third highest alimony and child support in the world. And the only two ahead of me are sheiks.

48. (on Goldie Hawn) Goldie is one of the sharpest ladies I've ever worked with. She doesn't miss a thing. She's my greatest audience. She laughs at all my stories and in the right places, too.

49. (on Frank Capra) He was my favorite director. Woody Allen and I once sat in a restaurant and picked five pictures we'd take to an island. And much to my shock, he didn't take a Capra picture and I took two. He took three Ingmar Bergman movies.

50. (on Marlon Brando) As an actor, he is a genius and even when he's dull he's still much better than most actors at the top of their form. But he has preserved the mentality of an adolescent. It's a pity. When he doesn't try and someone's speaking to him, it's like a blank wall: in fact, it's even less interesting because behind a blank wall you can always suppose that there's something interesting there.

51. (on Peter Bogdanovich) You're talking about a man who did something quite extraordinary. He was a film critic. He then went and made "The Last Picture Show", which won a few nominations for the Academy Award. He was very resented for that. Not openly, but deep down inside, the critics said…kill.

52. (on Sally Field) She's tough, she's gritty, she's got a great sense of humor and she gets prettier every day.

53. I've had a tremendous amount of fun making fun of myself! As to my legacy, it's the kids that I have taught. I love this business so very much that I want to share my knowledge about it. The young actors that I have taught, I hope they think of me as a good teacher like "Charles Nelson Reilly". Being a good teacher. I'll take that over being a good actor any day!

54. If you've as many films as I have, and missed as many opportunities as I have to do good work and been pissed off about it, you say: "Well, now you've got to start getting it right". If you get a chance, you really want to cook. And the tragedy is, when you finally feel that way about yourself, about your work, nobody wants you to give you a chance. And that happens to a lot of actors. But I'm feeling very wanted these days, so there must be something in the air.

55. (About Sally Jo Wagner, who worked for most of her life at the Burt Reynolds Theatre) She was my hero. I've never met anyone that was braver than this little lady. During all of the years I knew her, I never once heard her complain about her condition or the pain she most obviously suffered. She never asked for anything and, if you offered, she would turn it around and do something twice as profound for you. She was the best of friends with some of my best friends like Ossie Davis and Charles Nelson Reilly. Everyone loved her but none more than me.

56. (about Ossie Davis) I want so badly someday to have his dignity. A little of it anyway.

57. (after the death of his friend Dom DeLuise) As you get older, and start to lose people you love, you think about it more, and I was dreading this moment. Dom always made you feel better when he was around and there will never be another like him. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much.

58. (talking about losing his friend Dom DeLuise) Will I miss him? Yes, every time I laugh…every time I smile and every time I think of the kindness from one actor to another. A great big piece of my heart is gone. It seems to be a cliché these days to say someone is irreplaceable, but for me, Dom is.

59. (about friends who stood by him through his life) With people like Johnny Carson and Clint Eastwood, if you are honest and candid with them, they know you just want to be their friend. Johnny has a sensitive, vulnerable spot in him, and he showed that to me and I never analyzed it. I was just grateful for it. And with Clint, well, he only says about four or five words a year, and when he does, he's funny and wonderfully warm and everyone now realizes how intelligent he is. Elizabeth Taylor is a phenomenal friend. Again, she's been worked over pretty good, so when she is with someone who has also been in quicksand, there isn't anything held back. And I liked Dolly Parton from the beginning because I was raised in the South and always have had a great passion for it. I told her after an interview I did with several of the Grand Old Opry stars that she was going to be a major star. I just didn't know which medium it would be in. She looked at me, and Dolly being Dolly, said: "When?"

60. (commenting on the number of Indians he's played in his career) The only Indian I haven't played is Pocahontas.

61. (about his "spaghetti western" "Navajo Joe") They hacked up an old wig and glued it on my head. I looked like Natalie Wood.

62. When I worked with Willie Nelson - who is just about the nicest man I've ever worked with in my life - I thought: "If I'd have been gay, it would've saved me millions, just because we'd still be happily married."

63. If I want to be up for an Academy Award, I'm either going to have to play a tour de force of some kind or have a tracheotomy just before the nominations.

64. A woman mistook me for Brando. I (tried to) dissuade her but she kept coming back insisting I was Brando.

65. (It's no wonder then that Reynolds skipped Thursday's Hollywood premiere after-party for The Dukes of Hazzard, opening Friday.) I'd rather be shot in the leg…Ninety percent of the people there have nothing to do with the picture.

66. When an actor marries an actress they both fight for the mirror.

What do you think of Burt Reynolds quotes?

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  1. That's a huge collection...some of them are very witty ones... Thanks for sharing


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