The Talented Mr. Ripley (Film) Quotes


"I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody."

Tom Ripley, narrating

This quote introduces important notions of class and identity. Tom berates himself for his low social standing, and wishes he could assume a life of wealth and culture. Tom goes to extreme measures to become a "somebody", including destroying his true self and hijacking the life of somebody else. This quote also raises ideas regarding falsity and forgery that are central to Tom's character. The sorrowful, self-deprecating tone also indicated Tom's inner turmoil and agitated mindset.

"Well, whatever you do, however terrible, however hurtful, it all makes sense, doesn't it? In your head. You never meet anybody that thinks they're a bad person."

Tom Ripley

This quote emphasizes the subjectivity of ethics, as it argues that people will always find ways to justify their faults and weaknesses. This suggests that Tom lacks remorse for his actions. The introspective tone shows that he has acknowledged that his actions can be interpreted as "terrible" and "hurtful", however he distances himself from these allegations by claiming that what he did essentially "makes sense." This juxtaposition illustrates the extent to which Tom has descended into madness and lost control of reality, as his moral compass is extremely questionable. This is indicative of the moral ambiguity throughout the film, as the reader is left to decide for themselves whether or not Tom's murders were justified.

"I'm going to be stuck in the basement, aren't I, terrible, and alone, and dark. I've lied about who I am, and where I am, and now no-one will ever find me."

Tom Ripley

In this quote, Tom genuinely and emotionally confesses to his crimes. He indicates that he lives in a state of constant fear, regret and self-loathing. The basement metaphor is accurate as it represents how he is confined and trapped by his past. The melancholic tone prompts the viewer to empathize with Tom, as he laments his isolation from society and sanity.

"Who are you? Huh? Some third class mooch? Who are you? Who are you to say anything to me?"

Dickie Greenleaf

This illustrates his sense of entitlement and prejudice towards those in a lower class. Dickie looks down on Tom and questions his identity and self worth, as can be seen through the repetition and rhetorical question "Who are you?" While the superior, condescending tone emphasises Dickie's flawed character, we also empathise with him, as he has been duped and hurt by Tom's false double life. In this way, this one quote captures crucial themes such as wealth, dishonesty and judgement.

"The thing with Dickie... it's like the sun shines on you, and it's glorious. And then he forgets you and it's very, very cold."

Marge Sherwood

Here, Marge confesses one of Dickie's faults: that he easily forgets his close friends. She also reflects on how Dickie's validation causes a person to feel more important and worthwile, as Dickie is excessively charming. The stark contrast between warm and cold emphasises how Dickie's erratic mindset negatively impacts those around you. Marge also confesses that her boyfriend has caused her to feel great sadness and longing, expressed through repetition and the metaphor of coldness.

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