[narrating] Janie's a pretty typical teenager. Angry, insecure, confused. I wish I could tell her that's all going to pass, but I don't want to lie to her.

Lester Burnham

Carolyn Burnham: Don't you mess with me, mister, or I'll divorce you so fast it'll make your head spin!
Lester Burnham: On what grounds? I'm not a drunk, I don't fuck other women, I've never hit you, I don't mistreat you... I don't even try to touch you since you've made it so abundantly clear how unnecessary you consider me to be! But I did support you when you got your license, and some people might think that entitles me to half of what's yours. So, turn off the light when you come to bed!

You don't get to tell me what to do ever again.

Lester Burnham

[narrating] I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn't a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time... For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars... And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined my street... Or my grandmother's hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper... And the first time I saw my cousin Tony's brand new Firebird... And Janie... And Janie... And... Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday.

Lester Burnham

Lester Burnham: Remember those posters that said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life?" Well, that's true with every day except one: the day that you die.

Colonel Frank Fitts: Where did you get that?
Ricky Fitts: From my job.
Colonel Frank Fitts: Don't lie to me. Now, I saw you with him.
Ricky Fitts: You were watching me?

Colonel Frank Fitts: What did he make you do?
Ricky Fitts: Oh, Dad, you don't really think that me and Mr. Burnham were...
Colonel Frank Fitts: Don't you laugh at me. Now, I will not sit back and watch my only son become a cock-sucker.
Ricky Fitts: Jesus, what is it with you?
Colonel Frank Fitts: I swear to God, I will throw you out of the house and never look at you again.
Ricky Fitts: You mean that?
Colonel Frank Fitts: You're damn straight I do. I'd rather you were dead than be a fuckin' faggot.
Ricky Fitts: You're right. I suck dick for money.

Colonel Frank Fitts: Boy, don't start.
Ricky Fitts: Two thousand dollars - I'm that good.
Colonel Frank Fitts: Get out.
Ricky Fitts: And you should see me fuck. I'm the best piece of ass in three States.
Colonel Frank Fitts: Get out. I don't ever want to see you again.
Ricky Fitts: What a sad old man you are.

Lester Burnham: I am sick and tired of being treated like I don't exist. You two do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it, and I don't complain.
Carolyn Burnham: Oh, you don't complain? Then I must be psychotic, then! What is this? Yeah, let's bring in the laugh-meter and see how loud it gets.
Lester Burnham: [throws the asparagus plate at the wall] Don't interrupt me, honey! Oh, yeah, and one more thing, from now on we're going to have alternate dinner music because frankly - and I don't think I'm alone here - I'm getting tired of this Lawrence Welk shit.

Carolyn Burnham: Are you trying to look unattractive?
Jane Burnham: Yes.
Carolyn Burnham: Well, congratulations. You've succeeded admirably.

Carolyn Burnham: Uh, whose car is that out front?
Lester Burnham: Mine. 1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car I've always wanted and now I have it. I rule!

Carolyn Burnham: Lester, you're going to spill beer on the couch.
Lester Burnham: Relax, it's just a couch!
Carolyn Burnham: This is a $4,000 sofa, upholstered in Italian silk. It is not just a couch.
Lester Burnham: [screaming] It's just a couch!

FREE Movie Newsletter

American Beauty Quotes

Angela Hayes: Jane, he's a freak!
Jane Burnham: Then so am I! And we'll always be freaks and we'll never be like other people and you'll never be a freak because you're just too... perfect!

Brad: [reading Lester's job assessment] "My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men's room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that doesn't so closely resemble Hell." Well, you have absolutely no interest in saving yourself.
Lester Burnham: Brad, for 14 years I've been a whore for the advertising industry. The only way I could save myself now is if I start firebombing.