Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.

— Billy Wilder

The most valuable Billy Wilder quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.

94

A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant and a bastard.

68

My Aunt Minnie would always be punctual and never hold up production, but who would pay to see my Aunt Minnie?

59

You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning.

59

An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles together in the dark -- that is critical genius.

43

Eighty percent of a picture is writing, the other twenty percent is the execution, such as having the camera on the right spot and being able to afford to have good actors in all parts.

39

If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

34

The only pictures worth making are the ones that are playing with fire.

32

The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

30

I never overestimate the audience, nor do I underestimate them.

I just have a very rational idea as to who we’re dealing with, and that we’re not making a picture for Harvard Law School, we’re making a picture for middle-class people, the people that you see on the subway, or the people that you see in a restaurant. Just normal people.

24

The best director is the one you don't see.

24

Make subtlety obvious.

21

About Billy Wilder

Quotes 65 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Director
Birthday October 16

Don't be too clever for an audience. Make it obvious. Make the subtleties obvious also.

18

They've tried to manufacture other Marilyn Monroes and they will undoubtedly keep trying. But it won't work. She was an original.

17

I am big. It's the pictures that got small.

15

I, you know, am all over the place — every category of pictures I have made, good, bad or indifferent. I could not make, like Hitchcock did, one Hitchcock picture after another. … I wanted to do a Hitchcock picture, so I did `Witness for the Prosecution,’ then I was bored with it, so I moved on.

14

If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you.

13

Shoot a few scenes out of focus. I want to win the foreign film award.

12

Hollywood didn't kill Marilyn Monroe, it's the Marilyn Monroes who are killing Hollywood.

11

A bad play folds and is forgotten, but in pictures we don't bury our dead.

When you think it's out of your system, your daughter sees it on television and says, My father is an idiot.

9

My English is a mixture between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archbishop Tutu.

9

God save me from myself.

9

[on pop idol Donny Osmond] He has Van Gogh's ear for music.

8

I met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my life, but you - you're twenty minutes.

8

What critics call dirty in our pictures, they call lusty in foreign films.

7

The ultimate trick is to convince, persuade.

Every single person out there is an idiot, but collectively they're a genius.

7

It was a hot afternoon and I can still remember the smell of honeysuckle all along the street. How can I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle?

7

I'd worship the ground you walked on if only you walked in a better neighborhood.

6

The forest of Compiegne. Look at it. Like a kind grandmother dozing in her rocking chair. Old trees practicing curtsies in the wind because they still think Louis XIV is king.

6

[about the Hotel Marmont on Sunset Blvd.

, a piece of Hollywood history] I would rather sleep in a bathroom than in another hotel.

4

When Chaplin found a voice to say what was on his mind, he was like a child of eight writing lyrics for Beethoven's Ninth.

4

You know, that stuff about pink elephants, that's the bunk.

It's little animals. Little tiny turkeys in straw hats. Midget monkeys coming through the keyholes.

4

I'm delighted with it, because it used to be that films were the lowest form of art. Now we've got something to look down on.

4

I hate that word. It's return--a return to the millions of people who've never forgiven me for deserting the screen.

4

On Ernst Lubitsch: He could do more with a closed door than other directors could do with an open fly.

4

I had one life. And what did I do? Wasted it in some palooka preliminaries in Spain, just before Hitler and Chamberlain warm up for the main event.

3

France is a place where the money falls apart in your hands but you cannot tear the toilet paper.

2

Ever notice how these European trains always smell of eau de cologne and hard boiled eggs?

2

Now, what is it which makes a scene interesting? If you see a man coming through a doorway, it means nothing. If you see him coming through a window - that is at once interesting.

1

If there's anything I hate more than not being taken seriously, it's being taken too seriously.

1

France is the country where the money falls apart and you can't tear the toilet paper.

1

Well, nobody's perfect.

0

Marilyn was mean. Terribly mean. The meanest woman I have ever met around this town. I have never met anybody as mean as Marilyn Monroe or as utterly fabulous on the screen.

0

She was an absolute genius as a comedic actress, with an extraordinary sense for comedic dialogue. It was a God-given gift. Believe me, in the last fifteen years there were ten projects that came to me, and I'd start working on them and I'd think, 'It's not going to work, it needs Marilyn Monroe.' Nobody else is in that orbit; everyone else is earthbound by comparison.

0

If something smells bad, why put your nose in it?

0

An actor entering through the door, you've got nothing.

But if he enters through the window, you've got a situation.

0

One's too many and a hundred's not enough.

0

If you don't like what you're doing, it's unlikely anyone else will either, so be sure you are happy with your own work first.

0

Love is the hardest thing in the world to write about.

So simple. You've got to catch it through details, like the early morning sunlight hitting the gray tin of the rain spout in front of her house. The ringing of a telephone that sounds like Beethoven's "Pastoral." A letter scribbled on her office stationery that you carry around in your pocket because it smells of all the lilacs in Ohio.

0
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