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A collection of quotes and thoughts by Billy Bob Thornton on movies, fame, fear, flying, crashing, winning, writing, dream, love, devil, sadness and soul

78 Top Billy Bob Thornton Quotes

Quick Facts

Famous As
Actor, Director, Singer-songwriter

Born On

Born In
Hot Springs, Arkansas, U.S.

Billy Bob Thornton is an eminent American filmmaker, musician, songwriter, singer, and actor. He started his acting career in 1992 with a thriller titled ‘One False Move,’ which was also co-written by him. He gained recognition with ‘Sling Blade,’ an independent drama film where he played the lead; he was also the writer and director of the film. He bagged in an ‘Academy Award’ nomination for 'Best Actor' for the same movie and also won an ‘Academy Award’ for 'Best Adapted Screenplay.' He has also received a number of prestigious awards and accolades including ‘President’s Award,’ ‘Screen Actors Guild Award,’ ‘Emmy,’ ‘Golden Globe,’ and a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame.' Read through some notable quotes and sayings by Billy Bob Thornton. Presenting some notable quotes and thoughts by Billy Bob Thornton on grave, life, experience, family, friends, lie, rain, smoking etc.

We didn't have a movie theatre until I was about nine, so I just didn't see them. But, once I got into movies I loved them.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I know that I loved music before I loved movies, simply because I didn't see movies as a kid.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Comedy is harder than drama, because with comedy you're expecting a result..you make them laugh. [If] they ain't laughing then you're screwed.

- Billy Bob Thornton

After you've done 60-something movies, you're always looking for something different.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I know it's boring to say this but I always start with the script. I mean if it's well written and it's a character that I haven't necessarily played before.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Sometimes we don't want the bad guy to get caught because otherwise the story is over. You want to at least see it through to the end.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I've been largely an improvisational actor for most of my career.

- Billy Bob Thornton

If someone is talking to you and tells you that you ought to do something, and you can tell they mean it, those are the scary people. Those are the people you want to watch out for.

- Billy Bob Thornton

You read something and you just feel this makes sense. And sometimes before you even read it you have a feeling that yeah, I'm probably gonna do this one.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I actually am a phobic twitchy sort of nervous guy.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I got in drama class in high school and I only got in there because there were girls and I thought maybe I could make a grade above a C in something.

- Billy Bob Thornton

LA has its own vibe. It has a charm that a lot of people overlook sometimes.

- Billy Bob Thornton

You can't knock a place where you realized your dreams.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I love acting with all my heart and I love music with all my heart.

- Billy Bob Thornton

My songs aren't built around choruses or hooks or anything like that. That's kind of how I write screenplays too.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Sometimes I have songs born out of stories.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Songwriting and screenwriting aren't that different to me.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Usually with film writing I start with characters, and set about writing their story.

- Billy Bob Thornton

People's attention spans are a little shorter these days. Same thing with food and movies.

- Billy Bob Thornton

[The lyrics and melody] usually come a little simultaneously, but I would say the lyrics are first; usually I have the idea for a story in my head, or few lines.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I write songs on guitar and that's about how good of a guitar player I am. I can write songs on it.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I generally have lyrics first, but you can't help that when you're writing lyrics you start to get a melody in your head. So they come kind of simultaneously.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I think Americana music is music that is generally more singer/songwriter oriented. It has more to do with the songwriting. The music, it's more like stories set to music.

- Billy Bob Thornton

When I was coming up in the '80s television, if you were on television that meant either you were a young actor just coming up like I was, or you were an older actor whose career was over and you had to go on television.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I don't see anything wrong with a cell phone. That's great. You have a flat tire in the middle of the night; it works better than digging in your pocket for a quarter and looking for a payphone eight miles down the road.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Life is magical and I guess my thing is I wish that people wanted that magic.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I can't sit through plays and musical theatre. I just want to run up onstage and mess up their hair and turn over the furniture.

- Billy Bob Thornton

These days and times you can't do eclectic records. In the '60s you could, but not anymore.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I figured I would have to tell someone to kiss my ass before it was all over, and I have -- twice.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Anytime you get a chance to play some extreme character, in any direction, it's always a great blessing.

- Billy Bob Thornton

People a lot of times say that you know it must be hard to direct yourself. That's a myth. It's easier to direct yourself. There's no middle man, you know.

- Billy Bob Thornton

You want to know the hardest thing about being smart? What? I pretty much always know what's going to happen next; there's no suspense.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I'm more influenced by novelists than I am by filmmakers.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Usually when you're playing a character, you think a lot about their backstory.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Playing normal-looking characters really intimidatesme. I got into acting to play anyone but me.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I'm as highly insecure as a human can be.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I'm kind of sad and happy all the time. Just kind of like feeling, you know, full of life and confident, and at the same time terrified. I'm all of those things at once.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I never expected to be a movie star. It's not that I didn't want to be, I didn't think about it. I wanted to be an actor.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I'm an actor. I'm not a performer. I'm not like a song and dance guy who can take a cane and a hat and do it. I would just you know. That's why I never did commercials.

- Billy Bob Thornton

A lot of people are doing television now. Great, legendary actors are doing movies on cable and stuff now, and you can't blame them, because they're still doing adult dramas and adult comedies on those stations.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I attribute all my success to ignorance. If you don't ever think about not getting where you want to be, I think it helps you out.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I always wished there was somebody like the Coen Brothers and they appeared. And so yeah, my favorite role that I've ever done was in The Man Who Wasn't There. That's my very favorite character I've ever played.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Somewhere along the line we stopped believing we could do anything. And if we don't have our dreams, we have nothing.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I've never heard of anybody smoking a joint and going on a rampage. It makes you lie around on the floor and look at the ceiling. What's wrong with that?

- Billy Bob Thornton

I believe in running through the rain and crashing into the person you love and having your lips bleed on each other.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I quit flying years ago. I don't want to die with tourists.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I was the fattest baby in Clark County, Arkansas. They put me in the newspaper. It was like a prize turnip.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I've danced one time in my life. It was the most mortifying experience I ever had.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Just the other day, my assistant was on the line with Calvin Klein. Golly, I usually shop at Sears.

- Billy Bob Thornton

When people wear shoes that don't fit them, it says something about their soul. Generally, I think it means they are good people.

- Billy Bob Thornton

If you love somebody let them know every day.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Every couple I know has side-by-side grave plots, but when we do it we're the biggest weirdos on the block.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Tower Records is like a temple to me. I'll stay there for hours. Nobody can shop for records with me. It drives them out of their minds.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Acting is playing - it's actually going out on a playground with the other kids and being in the game, and I need that. Writing satisfies that part of myself that longs to sit in my room and dream.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Marketing is the devil.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Man, I was drowning in sadness. And Angelina, she lifted me right up out of there.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Getting the nomination is like gravy. Winning would be like whatever is better than gravy.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I don't have a fear of flying; I have a fear of crashing.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Movies these days have made killers into funny people. What's that all about? I've got kids and family and friends, and I don't like bad things. I don't think they're funny, and it's irresponsible to make movies that don't show you how that's not good.

- Billy Bob Thornton

My process started when I was born. The process is life experience. I believe that what makes you an artist, or at least an artist who can communicate the ideas that they want to get across, are people that have life experience.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I am fairly embraced by the Hollywood community, and I love making movies and I love acting, but I'm not real crazy about the Hollywood system. So the fact that they embrace me is a shock to me because I tell them to kiss my ass all the time. I don't understand why they haven't thrown me out on my ear. The other thing is I don't participate much. I have very few friends within the movie community. I hang out with some guys I've known forever. They're all broke and eat me out of house and home. But I stay home mostly and I don't go to the parties. Maybe that preserves me.

- Billy Bob Thornton

You know, what's popular? Okay, vampires are very popular. Let me make my vampire movie. I'm not saying you can't make a vampire movie. But if you're going to do one do something crazy. I mean don't just get a bunch of, like I said, models and make them into vampires so you'll get an audience. You know maybe get some ugly vampires for a change.

- Billy Bob Thornton

These days movies are cut very quickly and sort of fragmented and I tend to do slower moving stories where people develop relationships with people. I think I'd probably do a lot better if I lived in Europe - I think it's more of a European sensibility somehow.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Heavy role in the movies that I've done that I have loved and fit my soul; A Simple Plan, Monster's Ball, Sling Blade, One False Move, Bad Santa even. I mean Bad Santa is a comedy, and it's a very dark comedy, and it's become like iconic, you know.

- Billy Bob Thornton

If Michelle Pfeiffer gave Mel Gibson a vial of blood to wear around his neck in a movie you'd think it was terribly romantic, everyone would cry and they'd win awards. But in real life if someone does that they'd be considered weird.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I don't like movies that are shot on green screen much, you know. I mean, I know that's the thing to do, and I know that it's getting. I'll put it this way; David Lean would probably kill himself, you know, again if he knew that people were watching Lawrence of Arabia on a telephone.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Nowadays the movies that people are going to see in the theaters are the big-event movies, like Spider-Man or something, or they're 25-year-old models who are vampires, or they're very broad comedies, or they're standard action movies. So if you're going to work for a studio and do a movie for the budget that the movie needs, those are the kinds of movies you'll be in.

- Billy Bob Thornton

All I'm saying is we got plenty of Texans, and people from Montana, and New Jersey, and Wyoming, or Kansas City. We got plenty of actors. So we don't need some cat from Cardiff-upon-Rosemary-upon-Thyme, or whatever the hell it is, playing people from Montana. And in the reverse, they got plenty of people from Cardiff-upon-Rosemary-upon-Thyme that they don't need our asses coming over there trying to do British accents.

- Billy Bob Thornton

They always say 'Is there going to be a sequel to Bad Santa?' and you know, I mean, a long time ago they would talk about, you know, we're going to do a sequel to that but it was never serious. And they said 'Would you do it?' and I said out of all the movies I've done, that was a lot of fun, and maybe I would do a sequel if it ever came up and it made sense, but I said I don't think that's ever going to happen.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I have been fortunate to get some really good scripts over the years and I haven't turned down anything that I regretted so far. And my manager who I've been with for over 25 years is very good at knowing what I should and shouldn't do a lot of times.

- Billy Bob Thornton

I think I fully commit myself to any role to the extent to which I can. In other words there's some roles that maybe it's just not there, in other words on the page. You know, I mean your job is you need to play the governor and that's what you do. I mean I'm not going to stay up all night if I'm playing a functional role. And I've played a couple of functional roles. And so I'm not going to do anything other, look he's a functional guy. He says hey mister, you forgot your hat.

- Billy Bob Thornton

They were on the set of Bad Santa but I tried to keep the headphones away from them. My kids have seen Sling Blade, they've seen Armageddon, Bandits and Friday Night Lights. They have not seen Monster's Ball, nor will they ever, even when they're sixty [laughter]. I will leave it in my will that they can never see it.

- Billy Bob Thornton

It's the hardest thing in the world to be in a business where it's all about people accepting you, and you have a desperate need to be accepted, and yet you live in a, you operate in a society that's now very unaccepting.

- Billy Bob Thornton

When people are bothering you constantly when you're trying to do just a simple thing that humans do every day but they won't let you do it without bugging you about it, that was a hard thing. Because I became a movie star overnight. From a working actor and working writer to a movie star.

- Billy Bob Thornton

On TV you can, you know you can cram, you know, 30 people into a closet and have an orgy, and then they can all shoot up, and everybody has cigarettes in their nostrils and their ears. They don't care. So yeah, television is amazing right now.

- Billy Bob Thornton

If i knew my life would turn out this way, i would of killed myself a long time ago.

- Billy Bob Thornton

You can write when you're dyslexic, you just can't read it. But I started writing short stories as a child and I found the short story format a real nice one. I love short stories and I love short documentaries or short films of any kind.

- Billy Bob Thornton

Directing takes a good chunk of your life out. It's a very hard thing. As an actor, you go in for a couple of months and do your job, and then you move onto another one. As a director, it's with you for quite some time and you're responsible for the entire thing, whether the results are good or bad, or whether people throw darts at you or put you on a pedestal.

- Billy Bob Thornton