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 thing an actor owes his public is not to bore them.
An actor is at most a poet and at least an entertainer.
Would people applaud me if I were a good plumber?
I don't know what people expect when they meet me. They seem to be afraid that I'm going to piss in the potted palm and slap them on the ass.
I put on an act sometimes, and people think I'm insensitive. Really, it's like a kind of armour because I'm too sensitive. If there are two hundred people in a room and one of them doesn't like me, I've got to get out.
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.
[on one of his most famous characters, Stanley Kowalski from "A Streetcar Named Desire"] Kowalski was always right, and never afraid. He never wondered, he never doubted. His ego was very secure. And he had the kind of brutal aggressiveness that I hate. I'm afraid of it. I detest the character.
I don't want to spread the peanut butter of my personality on the mouldy bread of the commercial press.
The most repulsive thing you could ever imagine is the inside of a camel's mouth. That and watching a girl eat octopus or squid.
With women, I've got a long bamboo pole with a leather loop on the end. I slip the loop around their necks so they can't get away or come too close. Like catching snakes.
If there's anything unsettling to the stomach, it's watching actors on television talk about their personal lives.
[on Frank Sinatra] 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 his unforgettable role as Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather"] I went home and did some rehearsing to satisfy my curiosity about whether I could play an Italian. I put on some makeup, stuffed Kleenex in my cheeks and worked out the characterization first in front of a mirror, then on a television monitor. After working on it, I decided I could create a characterization that would support the story. The people at Paramount saw the footage and liked it, and that's how I became the Godfather.
[when asked how he spent his time away from the camera] People ask that a lot. They say, "What did you do while you took time out?", as if the rest of my life is taking time out. But the fact is, making movies is time out for me because the rest, the nearly complete whole, is what's real for me. I'm not an actor and haven't been for years. I'm a human being - hopefully a concerned and somewhat intelligent one - who occasionally acts.
Regret is useless in life. It's in the past. All we have is now.
Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. Quitting acting is a sign of maturity.
[on the impact of "The Godfather"] I'd gotten to know quite a few mafiosi, and all of them told me they loved the picture because I had played the Godfather with dignity. Even today I can't pay a check in Little Italy.
Acting is an empty and useless profession.
[on his characterization of Terry Malloy in "On the Waterfront"] [The role] was actor-proof, a scene that demonstrated how audiences often do much of the acting themselves in an effectively told story.
[on directing] I did it once. It was an ass-breaker. You work yourself to death. You're the first one up in the morning... I mean, we shot that thing ["One-Eyed Jacks"] on the run, you know. You make up the dialog the scene before, improvising, and your brain is going crazy.
[on the Academy Awards, to Connie Chung after his Best Supporting Actor nomination for "A Dry White Season"] That's a part of the sickness in America, that you have to think in terms of who wins, who loses, who's good, who's bad, who's best, who's worst... I don't like to think that way. Everybody has their own value in different ways, and I don't like to think who's the best at this. I mean, what's the point of it?
[on the Academy Awards, Connie Chung TV interview, 1990] What do I care? I've made all the money I need to make. I won a couple of Academy Awards if I ever cared about that. I've been nominated I don't know how many times and I'm in a position of respect and standing in my craft as an actor in this country. So what the hell, I don't need to gild the lily.
[after accepting the Best Actor Oscar for "On the Waterfront" at the 27th Academy Awards ceremony] I can't remember what I was going to say for the life of me. I don't think ever in my life that so many people were so directly responsible for my being so very, very happy.
If the vacuum formed by Dr. [Martin Luther King's] death isn't filled with concern and understanding and a measure of love, then I think we all are really going to be lost here in this country.
[on Malcolm X] He was a dynamic person, a very special human being who might have caused a revolution. He had to be done away with. The American government couldn't let him live. If 23 million blacks found a charismatic leader like he was, they would have followed him. The powers that be couldn't accept that.
It is a simple fact that all of us use the techniques of acting to achieve whatever ends we seek... Acting serves as the quintessential social lubricant and a device for protecting our interests and gaining advantage in every aspect of life.
It seems to me hilarious that our government put the face of Elvis Presley on a postage stamp after he died from an overdose of drugs. His fans don't mention that because they don't want to give up their myths. They ignore the fact that he was a drug addict and claim he invented rock 'n' roll when in fact he took it from black culture; they had been singing that way for years before he came along, copied them and became a star.
I'm one of those people who believes that if I'm very good in this life I'll go to France when I die.
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.
A movie that I was in, called "On the Waterfront": there was a scene in a taxicab, where I turn to my brother, who's come to turn me over to the gangsters, and I lament to him that he never looked after me, he never gave me a chance, that I could have been a contender, I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum... "You should of looked out after me, Charley." It was very moving. And people often spoke about that, "Oh, my God, what a wonderful scene, Marlon, blah blah blah blah blah." It wasn't wonderful at all. The situation was wonderful. Everybody feels like he could have been a contender, he could have been somebody, everybody feels as though he's partly bum, some part of him. He is not fulfilled and he could have done better, he could have been better. Everybody feels a sense of loss about something. So that was what touched people. It wasn't the scene itself. There are other scenes where you'll find actors being expert, but since the audience can't clearly identify with them, they just pass unnoticed. Wonderful scenes never get mentioned, only those scenes that affect people.
Most people want those fantasies of those who are worthy of our hate - we get rid of a lot of anger that way; and of those who are worthy of our idolatry. Whether it's Farrah Fawcett or somebody else, it doesn't make a difference. They're easily replaceable units, pick 'em out like a card file. Johnnie Ray enjoyed that kind of hysterical popularity, celebration, and then suddenly he wasn't there anymore. The Beatles are now nobody in particular. Once they set screaming crowds running after them, they ran in fear of their lives, they had special tunnels for them. They can walk almost anyplace now. Because the fantasy is gone. Elvis Presley - bloated, over the hill, adolescent entertainer, suddenly drawing people into Las Vegas - had nothing to do with excellence, just myth. It's convenient for people to believe that something is wonderful, therefore they're wonderful.
If Wally [Wally Cox] had been a woman, I would have married him and we would have lived happily ever after.
America has been good to me, but that wasn't a gift.
I have eyes like those of a dead pig.
The only reason I'm in Hollywood is that I don't have the moral courage to refuse the money.
Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite.
I don't mind that I'm fat. You still get the same money.
This is a false world. It's been a struggle to try to preserve my sanity and sense of reality taken away by success. I have to fight hard to preserve that sense of reality so as to bring up my children.
I always enjoyed watching John Wayne, but it never occurred to me until I spoke with Indians how corrosive and damaging and destructive his movies were - most Hollywood movies were.
[on John Wayne's 1971 interview with Playboy magazine] That doesn't need a reply, it's self-evident. You can't even get mad at it; it's so insane that there's just nothing to say about it. He would be, according to his point of view, someone not disposed to returning any of the colonial possessions in Africa or Asia to their rightful owners. He would be sharing a perspective with B.J. Vorster if he were in South Africa. He would be on the side of Ian Smith. He would have shot down Gandhi [Mohandas K. Gandhi], called him a rabble rouser. The only freedom fighters he would recognize would be those who were fighting Communists; if they were fighting to get out from under colonial rule, he'd call them terrorists. The Indians today he'd call agitators, terrorists, who knows? If John Wayne ran for President, he would get a great following... I think he's been enormously instrumental in perpetuating this view of the Indian as a savage, ferocious, destructive force. He's made us believe things about the Indian that were never true and perpetuated the myth about how wonderful the frontiersmen were and how decent and honorable we all were.
Everybody ought not to turn his back on the phenomenon of hatred in whatever form it takes. We have to find out what the anatomy of hatred is before we can understand it. We have to make some attempt to put it into some understandable form. Any kind of group hatred is extremely dangerous and much more volatile than individual hatred. Heinous crimes are committed by groups and it's all done, of course, in the name of right, justice. It's John Wayne. It's the way he thinks. All the crimes committed against Indians are not considered crimes by John Wayne.
I don't see anybody as evil. When you start seeing people as evil, you're in trouble. The thing that's going to save us is understanding. The inspection of the mind of Eichmann [Adolf Eichmann] or Himmler [Heinrich Himmler]... Just to dispense with them as evil is not enough, because it doesn't bring you understanding. You have to see them for what they are. You have to examine John Wayne. He's not a bad person. Who among us is going to say he's a bad man? He feels justified for what he does. The damage that he does he doesn't consider damage, he thinks it's an honest presentation of the facts.
Three or four times, I've pulled a gun on somebody. I had a problem after Charles Manson, deciding to get a gun. But I didn't want somebody coming in my house and committing mayhem. The Hillside Strangler victims - one of the girls was found in back of my Los Angeles house. My next-door neighbor was murdered, strangled in the bathroom. Mulholland Drive is full of crazy people. We have nuts coming up and down all the time.
 Homosexuality is so much in fashion it no longer makes news. Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences and I am not ashamed. I have never paid much attention to what people think about me. But if there is someone who is convinced that Jack Nicholson and I are lovers, may they continue to do so. I find it amusing.
I know I'm not an easy person to get along with, I'm no walk in the park.
[on Burt Reynolds] I disagree with the thought process of people like him, who is a totally narcissistic person who epitomizes everything wrong with being a celebrity in Hollywood.
[on "Cheyenne Autumn"] That was worse than any other film, because it didn't tell the truth. Superduper patriots like John Ford could never say that the American government was at fault. He made the evil cavalry captain a foreigner. John Ford had him speak with a thick accent, you didn't know what he was, but you knew he didn't represent Mom's apple pie.
You're not going to call The Rolling Stones artists. I heard somebody compare them - or The Beatles - to Bach [Johann Sebastian Bach]. It was claimed they had created something as memorable and as important as Bach, Haydn [Joseph Haydn], Mozart [Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart] and Schubert [Franz Schubert]. I hate rock 'n' roll. It's ugly. I liked it when the blacks had it in 1927.
Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.
Humphrey Bogart played himself in every movie. Clark Gable always played Clark Gable.
Regrets belong to the past.
[on Hollywood] A cultural boneyard.
[on Dustin Hoffman] I believe that he has talent. He ought to get away from this rather nervous character that he's played since "Midnight Cowboy". Then we'd really be able to see that he's a complete actor.
The good directors that I've worked with will say I'm a good guy. The other fellows will say I'm a bad guy.
[on Marilyn Monroe] Marilyn was a sensitive, misunderstood person, much more perceptive than was generally assumed. She had been beaten down, but had a strong emotional intelligence -- a keen intuition for the feelings of others, the most refined type of intelligence. We had an affair and saw each other intermittently until she died in 1962. It's been speculated that she had a secret rendezvous with [Robert F. Kennedy] that week and was distraught because he wanted to end an affair between them. But she didn't seem depressed to me, and I don't think that if she was sleeping with him at the time she would have invited me over for dinner. I'm sure she didn't commit suicide. I have always believed that she was murdered.
At Paramount, I sat at lunch with John Wayne. I couldn't even talk.
Do you remember when Marilyn Monroe died? Everybody stopped work, and you could see all that day the same expressions on their faces, the same thought: "How can a girl with success, fame, youth, money, beauty... how could she kill herself?" Nobody could understand it because those are the things that everybody wants, and they can't believe that life wasn't important to Marilyn Monroe, or that her life was elsewhere.
Most New York and Beverly Hills psychoanalysts are a little crazy themselves, as well as highly motivated to separate patients from their money while making their emotional problems worse.
[on Lee Strasberg] An ambitious, selfish man who exploited the people who attended the Actors Studio, and he tried to project himself as an acting oracle and guru. Some people worshipped him, but I never knew why.
I bumped into Marilyn Monroe at a party. While other people drank and danced, she sat by herself in a corner almost unnoticed, playing the piano.
I come from a long line of Irish drunks.
If given the choice between Kenneth Branagh's production of "Henry V" or Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The Terminator", there's hardly a question of where most television dials would be turned. If the expenditure of money for entertainment in America is any indication of taste, clearly the majority of us are addicted to trash.
When I saw "The Godfather" the first time, it made me sick; all I could see were my mistakes and I hated it. But years later, when I saw it on television from a different perspective, I decided it was a pretty good film.
[on Al Pacino] I didn't say much to Pacino when we were making "The Godfather", but I not only consider him one of the best actors in America, but in the world. I never meant anything more in my life.
I had a great deal of respect for Don Corleone; I saw him as a man of substance, tradition, dignity, refinement, a man of unerring instinct who just happened to live in a violent world and who had to protect himself and his family in this environment. I saw him as a decent person regardless of what he had to do, as a man who believed in family values and was shaped by events just like the rest of us.
On "The Godfather", I had signs and cue cards everywhere -- on my shirt sleeves, on a watermelon and glued to the scenery. Not memorizing lines increased the illusion of reality and spontaneity.
News is business. And, uh, people sell news, and unfortunately people in my position are in the public eye, are sellable commodities, but they're not any different than Kleenex or Dial Soap or anything else. And uh, so if we find something out that's about your sex life, or something you do with your fingernails after you cut them off, if you smoke the grime from your navel, then... then... that's big news. That's important... But anyway, it doesn't matter. Because, finally, you know... I've found that people really don't believe all the nonsense they read. And they look at you when they meet you, and wonder if it's true, but they finally make a decision based on what their experience with you personally is.
A lot of the old movie stars couldn't act their way out of a box of wet tissue paper, but they were successful because they had distinctive personalities. They were predictable brands of breakfast cereal: on Wednesdays we had Quaker Oats and Gary Cooper; on Fridays we had Wheaties and Clark Gable. They were off-the-shelf products you expected always to be the same, actors and actresses with likable personalities who played themselves more or less the same role the same way every time out.
Everyone on a movie deserves an award - not just one person.
I know it can be hard for a troubled kid like James Dean to have to live up to sudden fame and the ballyhoo Hollywood created around him. I saw it happen to Marilyn Monroe and I also knew it from my own experience. In trying to copy me, I think Jimmy was only attempting to deal with these insecurities, but I told him it was a mistake.
Acting is an illusion, a form of histrionic slight of hand, and in order to carry it off, an actor must have intense concentration. Before I go into a scene, I study it, almost psychoanalyze it. Then I discuss it with the director and then rehearse it. When actual shooting commences, I put in earplugs to screen out the extraneous noises that inevitably prick at one's concentration.
With so much prejudice, racial discrimination, injustice, hatred, poverty, starvation and suffering in the world, making movies seemed increasingly silly and irrelevant.
Food has always been my friend. When I wanted to feel better or had a crisis in my life, I opened the icebox.
I hated authority and did everything I could to defeat it by resisting it, subverting it, tricking it and outmaneuvering it. I would do anything to avoid being treated like a cipher.
If I hadn't been an actor, I've often thought I'd have become a con man and wound up in jail.
An actor's a guy who, if you ain't talking about him, ain't listening.
I'm just another son-of-a-bitch sitting in a motor home on a film set and they come looking for Zeus.
[on his regret at not appearing in the movie version of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"] I know more about being a homosexual than Paul Newman. It's very clear to me that Tennessee Williams modeled Alexandra Del Lago after Tallulah Bankhead. I surely know how to appear opposite a Tallulah character better than Newman.
[on working with David Niven on "Bedtime Story"] Working with David was the only time I ever looked forward to filming. I just couldn't wait to wake up each morning and go to work so he could make me laugh.
I'm often amused when I read American history and I read what great things America was going to be, what great things we were going to produce, the magnificent life we were going to have. We were determined to be an impressive and strong nation that needed a lot of people and a lot of land. And all those people who came: "Give us your great unwashed." Well, we got all the great unwashed there were. From every prison we certainly got a lot of scum and dummies. We didn't get the cream of the crop. We got people from the lowest echelons of society who couldn't make it or weren't happy where they were. Or who were taken from Africa, brought to America in chains and turned into animals.
I think Robert F. Kennedy really, finally, cared; he realized that all of the rhetoric had to be put down into some form of action. That's perhaps the reason they killed him. They don't care what you say, you can say as much as you want to, provided you don't do anything. If you start to do something and your shuffling raises too much dust, they will disestablish you. That's what happened to Martin Luther King.
If you have enough money, you can do anything. You can even get a President shot. All you have to do is hire Sam Giancana, Sirhan Sirhan. You can get anybody killed for a can of beer. Hire some dumbo hit man, pay him $50,000. You can hire a 17-year-old kid, he'll be out in the streets in two or three years.
"The Godfather" said that a man with a briefcase can steal more money than a man with a pistol.
Mothers feel about their children the way husbands feel about women. It's 'my' kid. Women who are in the women's movement, some of them say they are not their husband's possession, but then they'll unconsciously refer to their child as a possession. They use the same kind of language about their children as they would hate for their husbands to use about them.
I don't know Woody Allen, but I like him very much. I saw "Annie Hall" -- enjoyed it enormously, He's an important man. Woody Allen can't make any sense out of this world and he really tells wonderful jokes about it. Don't you think it was remarkable that his time came to get his door prize at the Academy Awards and he stayed home and played his clarinet? That was as witty and funny a thing as you could do.
Bob Hope will go to the opening of a phone booth in a gas station in Anaheim, provided they have a camera and three people there. He'll go to the opening of a market and receive an award. Get an award from Thom McAn for wearing their shoes. It's pathetic. It's a bottomless pit. A barrel that has no floor. He must be a man who has an ever-crumbling estimation of himself. He's constantly filling himself up. He's like a junkie -- an applause junkie, like Sammy Davis Jr.. Sammy desperately longs to be loved, approved of. He's very talented.
[on Lily Tomlin] Good God, is she angry. Whew! She gives me the impression of somebody incandescent with rage that comes out in this crinkle-eyed smiling face. Acid. She's funny, but all of her humor comes from anguish, rage and pain. Don Rickles, too. Most humor does.
I liked "High Anxiety". Mel Brooks makes me laugh. They had a Laurel and Hardy festival on television; boy, I laughed at that. It went on all night long; I was up half the night laughing.
[on Charles Chaplin] A remarkable talent but a monster of a man.
If an actor can't improvise, then perhaps the producer's wife cast him in that part. You wouldn't be in the film with such a person. Some actors don't like it. Laurence Olivier doesn't like to improvise; everything is structured and his roles are all according to an almost architectural plan.
[on "Last Tango in Paris"] I don't know what that film's about. So much of it was improvised. [Bernardo Bertolucci] wanted to do this, to do that. I'd seen his other movie, "The Conformist", and I thought he was a man of special talent. And he thought of all kinds of improvisations. He let me do anything. He told me the general area of what he wanted and I tried to produce the words or the action.
[on the taxi cab scene in "On the Waterfront"] People often spoke about that, "Oh, my God, what a wonderful scene, Marlon, blah blah blah blah blah." It wasn't wonderful at all. The situation was wonderful. Everybody feels like he could have been a contender, he could have been somebody, everybody feels as though he's partly bum, some part of him. He is not fulfilled and he could have done better, he could have been better. Everybody feels a sense of loss about something. So that was what touched people. It wasn't the scene itself.
[on acting] I don't put it down. But I resent people putting it up.
[on claims he defamed Italian-Americans with his portrayal of "The Godfather"] I played an Irishman who was a freak psychopath (in "The Nightcomers") and I didn't get any letters from any Irish-American organizations. It would have been difficult to make "The Godfather" with an eighth Chinese, a quarter Russian, a quarter Irish and an eighth Hispanic. Very difficult to take those people to Sicily and call them O'Houlihan.
We've somehow substituted craft for art and cleverness for craft. It's revolting! It's disgusting that people talk about art and they haven't got the right to use the word. It doesn't belong on anybody's tongue in this century. There are no artists. We are businessmen. We're merchants. There is no art. Pablo Picasso was the last one I would call an artist.
Mao Tse-tung was the last giant.
I don't think any movie is a work of art.
A prostitute can give you all kinds of wonderful excitement and inspiration and make you think that nirvana has arrived on the two-o'clock plane, and it ain't necessarily so.
Acting is just hustling.
George Bernard Shaw said that thinking was the greatest of all human endeavors, but I would say that feeling was. Allowing yourself to feel things, to feel love or wrath, hatred, rage.
People will like you who never met you, they think you're absolutely wonderful; and then people also will hate you, for reasons that have nothing to do with any real experience with you. People don't want to lose their enemies. We have favorite enemies, people we love to hate and we hate to love. If they do something good, we don't like it. I found myself doing that with Ronald Reagan. He is anathema to me. If he does something that's reasonable, I find my mind trying to find some way to interpret it so that it's not reasonable, so that somewhere it's jingoist extremism.
If you've made a hit movie, then you get the full 32-teeth display in some places; and if you've sort of faded, they say, "Are you still making movies? I remember that picture, blah blah blah." And so it goes. The point of all this is, people are interested in people who are successful.
What people are willing to do in front of a public is puzzling. I don't understand why they do it. I guess it makes them feel a little less lonely. I always found it distasteful and not something I cared to do.
I just don't believe in washing my dirty underwear for all to see, and I'm not interested in the confessions of movie stars.
[on his refusal to talk about Marilyn Monroe's death] It's disemboweling a ghost.
Ask most kids about details about Auschwitz or about how the American Indians were assassinated as a people and they don't know anything about it. They don't want to know anything. Most people just want their beer or their soap opera or their lullaby.
I'm not going to lay myself at the feet of the American public and invite them into my soul. My soul is a private place. And I have some resentment of the fact that I live in a system where you have to do that.
You can say something in a certain spirit, with a smile, but when it appears in print, there's no smile.
[on American Indians] 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.
[on Charles Chaplin] 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.
[To his cast on the set of "One-Eyed Jacks"] I don't know how this film is going to end. But I want a scene where someone gets shot in the back. Who wants to be the shooter? Who wants to be the shootee?
[To his cast and crew on the set of "One-Eyed Jacks"] I've got to have clouds, not a clear sky, before we can go on shooting.
[on Hollywood] A small-minded little town in the middle of nowhere.
[observation, 1952] One more film and I will have my pile. My mother and father are taken care of. I have eight hundred head of cattle on my ranch in Nevada. This ["Viva Zapata!"] should soon bring me an income of $80,000 a year. That will be enough. Any acting I do will be on the stage.
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.
[on Burt Reynolds] He's the epitome of everything that's disgusting about the thespian. He worships at the temple of his own narcissism.
If you want something from an audience, you give blood to their fantasies. It's the ultimate hustle.
I'm not a film fanatic. If I never saw another movie in my life, it wouldn't bother me. Acting is what I do to make money, but it's certainly not my life-style. Compared to world affairs, to peace conferences, making a movie is absolutely nothing!
To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.
[on Leonardo DiCaprio] He looks like a girl.
[before directing "One-Eyed Jacks"] I want to make a frontal assault on the temple of clichés.
[after directing "One-Eyed Jacks"] I don't feel it's what I set out to do. In my film, everybody lied, even the girl. The only one who told the truth was the Karl Malden character. Paramount made him out to be the heavy, a liar. Now the characters in the film are black and white, not gray and human as I planned them.
I am myself, and if I have to hit my head against a brick wall to remain true to myself, I will do it.
[To Bernardo Bertolucci about his role in "Last Tango in Paris"] Never again will I make a film like this one. For the first time, I have felt a violation of my innermost self. It should be the last time.
I too have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed. I'd never paid much attention to what people think about me. Deep down, I feel a bit ambiguous.