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A collection of top quotes and sayings by Orson Welles on friendship, love, society, cinema, life, love etc.

206 Top Quotes By Orson Welles That Will Touch Your Heart

Quick Facts

Famous As
Actor and Director

Born On

Died On

Born In
Kenosha

Founder / Co Founder
Mercury Theatre

Died At Age

George Orson Welles, known for his innovative works, believed in creating his own visual style, which he advised should be unique, yet relatable.  A successful actor, director, writer and producer, he also believed that work is an expression of life. Indeed, he looked at life through special lenses, which enabled him to see the world differently from most of his fellow beings. Let us now go through some of his unique quotes, which give us an insight into his distinctive mind; be they on his work and creativity, his love for food, his ideas about friendship and love, creativity in peaceful Switzerland as against Italy under Borgias, justice, racial hatred, prohibition and politics, all told in his unique style.

In my real movie-going days, which were the thirties, you didn't stand in line. You strolled down the street and sallied into the theater at any hour of the day or night.

- George Orson Welles

I don't like television when it gets near to photographed plays.

- George Orson Welles

I drag my myth around with me.

- George Orson Welles

As for my style, for my vision of the cinema, editing is not simply one aspect; it's the aspect.

- George Orson Welles

If I had only one film in the world to save, it would be 'Grand Illusion.'

- George Orson Welles

Why spend 18 hours watching someone else's war, when you know how it comes out? We win, and then have to buy all their cars.

- George Orson Welles

Old age is the only disease you dont want to be cured of.

- George Orson Welles

The trouble with a movie is that it's old before it's released. It's no accident that it comes in a can.

- George Orson Welles

The basic and essential human is the woman.

- George Orson Welles

I don't regard my career as something so precious that it comes before my convictions.

- George Orson Welles

I don't think any word can explain a man's life.

- George Orson Welles

I don't pray really, because I don't want to bore God.

- George Orson Welles

We will sell no wine before its time.

- George Orson Welles

I never make my mind up about anything at all, until it's over and done with.

- George Orson Welles

A movie studio is the best toy a boy ever had.

- George Orson Welles

The truth about any man can only be calculated by the sum of everything that has been said about him.

- George Orson Welles

I'm not a walking extra in a Chekhov play; I'm no Slavic gloom or Irish gloom. I mark only the happy hours, like the sundial, because otherwise I would have gone nuts.

- George Orson Welles

I don't take art as seriously as politics.

- George Orson Welles

I discovered at the age of six that everything was a phony, worked with mirrors. Since then, I've always wanted to be a magician.

- George Orson Welles

I'm a lurid character!

- George Orson Welles

It would be so much better if the critics would come, not on first nights, but on last nights, when they could exercise their undoubted flair for funeral orations.

- George Orson Welles

My definition of success is not having things thrown at me!

- George Orson Welles

[The movies] make the sort of comment only a novel can make, an allusion to the world in which people live, the psychological and economic motivations, the influences of the period in which they lived.

- George Orson Welles

You could write all the IDEAS of all the movies, my own included, on the head of a pin.

- George Orson Welles

Hollywood expects you to experiment but on a film that makes money and if you don't make money, you're to blame. Your job is to make money.

- George Orson Welles

A toast, Jedediah, to love on my terms. Those are the only terms anybody ever knows - his own.

- George Orson Welles

When television came along, I'd already done more than 10 years of radio work and I thought everyone would want me. I sat around waiting for the phone to ring - and it didn't.

- George Orson Welles

I don't pray because I don't want to bore God.

- George Orson Welles

Only very intelligent people don't wish they were in politics, and I'm dumb enough to want to be in there.

- George Orson Welles

I must be sincere towards what I am. ... Experimenting is the only thing that fills me with enthusiasm. ... It is the only sphere where I feel really honest and sincere.

- George Orson Welles

I love moving around from town to town. I never got on a train in my life without my spirits rising.

- George Orson Welles

Almost all serious stories in the world are stories of failure with a death in it. But there is more lost paradise in them than defeat.

- George Orson Welles

By nature, I am an experimentalist. I don't believe much in accomplishment.

- George Orson Welles

Cinema as a means of expression fascinates me.

- George Orson Welles

FDR used to say, 'You and I are the two best actors in America'.

- George Orson Welles

There are a thousand ways of playing a good classic. If it were effective, I would play Hamlet on a trapeze.

- George Orson Welles

I have all the equipment to be a politician. Total shamelessness.

- George Orson Welles

I'm a provincial. I live very much like a hermit: reading, listening to music, working in the cutting room, writing, commercial work - which doesn't take up that much time.

- George Orson Welles

One shouldn't ever be conscious of the author as lecturer. When social or moral points are too heavily stressed, I always get uncomfortable.

- George Orson Welles

Husbands should revolt from time to time. Even the best circus-number becomes boring if the beast is too tame.

- George Orson Welles

Computers combine things to make new knowledge at such high speed that we cannot absorb it.

- George Orson Welles

There's no biography so interesting as the one in which the biographer is present.

- George Orson Welles

I'd make my promises now if I wasn't so busy arranging to keep them.

- George Orson Welles

A movie in production is the greatest train set a boy could ever have.

- George Orson Welles

Criticism is the essence of creation.

- George Orson Welles

I would just like to mention Robert Houdin who in the eighteenth century invented the vanishing birdcage trick and the theater matinee - may he rot and perish. Good afternoon.

- George Orson Welles

I dont believe in learning from other peoples pictures. I think you should learn from your own interior vision of things and discover, as I say, Innocently, as though there had never been anybody.

- George Orson Welles

Crooks aren't the worst people, just the stupidest. The fleas of the world.

- George Orson Welles

Human nature is eternal; therefore one who follows his nature keeps his original nature, in the end.

- George Orson Welles

Only in a police state is the job of a policeman easy.

- George Orson Welles

If I don't like somebody's looks, I don't like them.

- George Orson Welles

I'm never certain of a performance - my own or the other actors' - or the script or anything... But to me it seems there's only one place in the world the camera can be, and the decision usually comes immediately.

- George Orson Welles

I've always found it very... sanitary to be broke.

- George Orson Welles

In the theater there are 1,500 cameras rolling at the same time - in the cinema, only one.

- George Orson Welles

A director is someone who presides over a series of accidents.

- George Orson Welles

Hollywood is a gold-plated suburb suitable for golfers, gardeners, assorted middlemen, and contented movies stars. I am none of these things.

- George Orson Welles

The word genius was whispered into my ear, the first thing I ever heard, while I was still mewling in my crib. So it never occurred to me that I wasn't until middle age.

- George Orson Welles

A long-playing full shot is what always separates the men from the boys. Anybody can make movies with a pair of scissors and a two-inch lens.

- George Orson Welles

You're beautful. Yes you are, you're very very beautiful. Extremely beautiful.

- George Orson Welles

It isn't worth it. No money is worth this... [walks out]

- George Orson Welles

The camera is much more than a recording apparatus, it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world.

- George Orson Welles

What's happening now is what happened before, and often what's going to happen again sometime or other

- George Orson Welles

An artist is always out of step with the time. He has to be.

- George Orson Welles

Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing.

- George Orson Welles

Now I'm an old Christmas tree, the roots of which have died. They just come along and while the little needles fall off me replace them with medallions.

- George Orson Welles

I'm one of those fellows so frightened of driving that I go 80 miles an hour - and the more frightened I get, the faster I go.

- George Orson Welles

A poet needs a pen, a painter a brush, and a director an army.

- George Orson Welles

The director is simply the audience. His job is to preside over accidents.

- George Orson Welles

The director is the most overrated artist in the world. He is the only artist who, with no talent whatsoever, can be a success for 50 years without his lack of talent ever being discovered.

- George Orson Welles

I hate women, hate them generally, not in particular but in an abstract way. I hate them because one never really learns anything about them. They are inscrutable.

- George Orson Welles

I look back on my life and it’s 95% running around trying to raise money to make movies and 5% actually making them. It’s no way to live.

- George Orson Welles

Personally, I don't like a girlfriend to have a husband. If she'll fool her husband, I figure she'll fool me.

- George Orson Welles

In my opinion, there are two things that can absolutely not be carried to the screen: the realistic presentation of the sexual act and praying to God.

- George Orson Welles

If I ever own a restaurant, I will never allow the waiters to ask if the diners like their dishes. Particularly when they're talking.

- George Orson Welles

I love informality. I hate dressing up. I hate to be conventional - and I hate every kind of snob.

- George Orson Welles

[I have a] fondness for telling stories, like the Arab storytellers on the marketplace. ... I will never grow tired of [telling] stories [and] I make the mistake of thinking that everyone has the same enthusiasm!

- George Orson Welles

There are three intolerable things in life - cold coffee, lukewarm champagne, and overexcited women.

- George Orson Welles

Paris is the playwright's delight. New York is the home of directors. London, however, is the actor's city, the only one in the world. In London, actors are given their head.

- George Orson Welles

Hollywood is Hollywood. There’s nothing you can say about it that isn’t true, good or bad. And if you get into it, you have no right to be bitter — you’re the one who sat down, and joined the game.

- George Orson Welles

I've spent most of my mature life trying to prove that I'm not irresponsible.

- George Orson Welles

Ignorance sheer ignorance. There is no confidence to equal it. It's only when you know something about a profession that you are timid or careful.

- George Orson Welles

I don't say we all ought to misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could.

- George Orson Welles

There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.

- George Orson Welles

'The Godfather' was the glorification of a bunch of bums who never existed.

- George Orson Welles

Friendship creates only the illusion of not being alone.

- George Orson Welles

Every true artist must, in his own way, be a magician, a charlatan.

- George Orson Welles

The most personal thing I've put in [Touch of Evil] is my hatred of the abuse of police power. It's better to see a murderer go free than for a policeman to abuse his power.

- George Orson Welles

A bad word from a colleague can darken a whole day. We need encouragement a lot more than we admit, even to ourselves.

- George Orson Welles

Future shock is a sickness which comes from too much change in too short a time. It's the feeling that nothing is permanent anymore.

- George Orson Welles

I'm not basically a happy person, but I have all kinds of joy.

- George Orson Welles

The cinema has no boundary; it is a ribbon of dream.

- George Orson Welles

Working is part of life, I don't know how to distinguish between the two... Work is an expression of life.

- George Orson Welles

A writer needs a pen, an artist needs a brush, but a filmmaker needs an army.

- George Orson Welles

A man is not from where he is born, but where he chooses to die.

- George Orson Welles

If there hadn't been women we'd still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girlfriends.

- George Orson Welles

Race hate isn't human nature; race hate is the abandonment of human nature.

- George Orson Welles

I prefer people who rock the boat to people who jump out

- George Orson Welles

We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.

- George Orson Welles

Don’t give them what you think they want. Give them what they never thought was possible.

- George Orson Welles

If everyone worked with wide-angle lenses, I'd shoot all my films in 75mm, because I believe very strongly in the possibilities of the 75mm.

- George Orson Welles