The 21 Best Raymond Chandler Quotes

We mark the great writer’s milestone 126th birthday with his finest hard-boiled lines

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Throughout his decades at the typewriter, Raymond Chandler almost single-handedly crafted the pulp fiction genre with novels such as The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye and The Lady In The Lake as well as numerous screenplays. His most famous creation, picaresque private detective Philip Marlowe, has been portrayed on screen by the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, Robert Mitchum and a sensational Elliott Gould. As the saying goes “You only get one 126th birthday” so we thought there's no better time to celebrate our favourite quotes from crime's most influential author.

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1 | “The French have a phrase for it. The bastards have a phrase for everything and they are always right. To say goodbye is to die a little.”
  - The Long Goodbye

2 | “From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.” 
- The High Window

3 | “Dead men are heavier than broken hearts”
The Big Sleep

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4 | “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”
- Farewell, My Lovely

5 | “She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket”
- Farewell, My Lovely

6 | “I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.”
- Philip Marlowe’s Guide To Life

7 | “Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” 
- The Big Sleep

8 | “Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.”
(Interview)

9 | “I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings.” 
- The Big Sleep

10 | “It could have been a beautiful friendship,” Beifus said with a sigh. “Except for the ice pick, of course.”
The Little Sister

11 | “Some days I feel like playing it smooth. Some days I feel like playing it like a waffle iron.” 
- Trouble Is My Business

12 | “She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.”
- The Little Sister

13 | “I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn’t need a gun, you’d better take one along that worked.”
- The Long Goodbye

14 | “It got dark and the rain-clouded lights of the stores were soaked up by the black street.”
- The Big Sleep

 

 

15 | “I decided I could lose nothing by the soft approach. If that didn't produce for me—and I didn't think it would—nature could take its course and we could bust up the furniture.”
– The Lady In The Lake

16 | “I was in the deep water. It was dark and unclear and the taste of the salt was in my mouth.”
- The Little Sister

17 | “If I had a razor, I'd cut your throat - just to see what ran out of it."
– The Big Sleep

18 | “There ain't no clean way to make a hundred million bucks.... Somewhere along the line guys got pushed to the wall, nice little businesses got the ground cut out from under them... Decent people lost their jobs.... Big money is big power and big power gets used wrong. It's the system.” 
- The Long Goodbye

19 | “Had my books been any worse I would not have been invited to Hollywood and if they had been any better I would not have come.”
(Interview)

20 | “I smelled of gin. Not just casually, as if I had taken four or five drinks of a winter morning to get out of bed on, but as if the Pacific Ocean was pure gin and I had nosedived off the boat deck. The gin was in my hair and eyebrows, on my chin and under my chin. It was on my shirt. I smelled like dead toads.” 
- The Lady In The Lake

21 | “The English may not always be the best writers in the world, but they are incomparably the best dull writers.” 
- The Simple Art Of Murder


Let us know what we've missed in the comments


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