Sterling Hayden Poster

Quotes (25)

  • Incredible, really--how I got away with it; parlaying nine years at sea into two decades of posturing.
  • To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
  • There's nothing wrong with being an actor, if that's what a man wants. But there's everything wrong with achieving an exalted status simply because one photographs well and is able to handle dialogue.
  • I have yet to invest the first dime because I don't believe in unearned income. The question is inevitable: "If you don't believe in taking what you don't earn, then how could you be reconciled to the astronomical figures [you make]?" I never was. Furthermore, I couldn't stand the work.
  • [on his films] Bastards, most of them, conceived in contempt of life and spewn out onto screens across the world with noxious ballyhoo; saying nothing, contemptuous of the truth, sullen and lecherous.
  • [on why he hated acting] Because, in the final analysis, an actor is only a pawn--brilliant sometimes, rare and talented, capable of bringing pleasure and even inspiration to others, but no less a pawn for that.
  • [on his fling with Communism] What did I care for labor? For racial discrimination? For civil liberties and the war between the classes? Oh, I cared in my own fashion. I cared just enough to embrace these things as props, flailing away night after night at semi-drunken parties.
  • I wonder whether there has ever before been a man who bought a schooner and joined the Communist Party all on the same day.
  • [on quitting the Communist Party] I'd rather be wrong on my own than be right on somebody else's say-so.
  • I'm not a member of the Party. I'm not under the discipline or influence of the Party, not that I know of. What's more, I never was, even when I was a member.
  • I did nothing in 1947, for which Paramount paid me $70,000.
  • [on acting] You don't need talent to star in a motion picture. All you need is some intelligence AND the ability to work freely in front of the lens. Why do I always freeze? I went through the war. I jumped out of bombers. I played kick-the-can with E-boats when all we had was a lousy 40-foot dragger with six machine guns and a top speed of six knots. Yet whenever I get a closeup in a nice warm studio, I curl up and die.
  • [on confessing his Communist ties] I don't think you have the foggiest notion of the contempt I have had for myself since the day I did that thing . . . It's the one thing in my life that I'm categorically ashamed of.
  • [to producers at end of each picture] When you took me, who did you REALLY want for the picture?
  • [after shooting Johnny Guitar (1954)] There is not enough money in Hollywood to lure me into making another picture with Joan Crawford. And I like money.
  • It seems to me the people in the [Communist] Party not only know what's going on in the world but they have the guts to determine a course of action . . . In Yugoslavia . . . when the going got rough and it was time to be counted, it was the Communists who stood up and fought.
  • I started at the top and worked my way down.
  • I don't think there are many other businesses where you can be paid good money and not know what you're doing.
  • If I had the dough I'd buy up the negative of every film I ever made . . . and start one hell of a fire.
  • [on The Long Goodbye (1973)] That was first thing I ever did that I could actually stand to watch on screen--the first time I wasn't acutely mortified.
  • I work when I get broke or when something comes along that has some integrity or guts.
  • What confuses me is I ain't all that unhappy. So why do I drink, I don't know.
  • [on director Stanley Kubrick] By the time of [Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)] he had become very human--maybe it was the power that came with successes like Lolita (1962)--for he is now very strong. My first day was torture. I was nervous, scared, did 48 takes. I expected Kubrick to explode but instead he was gentle, calmed me, convinced me that the fear in my eyes would help the character.
  • [on director Bernardo Bertolucci] Bertolucci is not like most directors I've worked with; there's something beautiful, crazy, special about him. He's funny, too. He operates like a writer. No one knows what he's going to do. Several million dollars are riding on him alone. He has the power, he goes ahead, upsets those who plan schedules, takes his own time, follows his own genius.
  • [to documentary filmmaker, Raul daSilva, who spent the next two years of his life (1973-75) on the film Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1975), which received six international film festival prizes and universal critical acclaim] You should make a film from [Samuel Taylor Coleridge]'s "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", really, it's about the sanctity of all life on Earth . . . we need it now.