Carlito’s Way

One of my favorite movie scenes, at the beginning of Brian De Palma’s, Carlito’s Way.

Courtroom Scene

Pacino: Now I ain’t sayin’ that my way would have been different had my mother been alive when I was a kid, ’cause that’s all you hear in the joint. “I didn’t have a chance.” No. Bullshit. I was already a mean little bastard while my mother was alive, and I know it. But I learned about women from her.

Mazursky: Mr. Brigante, there are cases on the court’s docket for this morning. Why am I listening to this?

Penn: Your Honor, Mr. Brigante is understandably excited having been vindicated after five years of incarceration.

Mazursky: There’s no vindication here, counselor. Or absolution, or benediction, or anything other than an incredible convergence of circumstances which you’ve exploited to your client’s benefit.

Penn: Your Honor, these circumstances that you speak of include illegal wiretaps and tainted evidence.This is a classic “fruit of the poisoned tree” situation. I think after five years of unjust incarceration it’s reasonable to request Mr. Brigante be indulged his right to speak.

Mazursky: Okay, Mr. Brigante, I’m all ears.

Pacino: Your Honor with all due respect past and present, and without further to-do. Let me assure this court that I am through walkin’ on the wild side. That’s all I’ve been tryin’ to tell you. I have been sick with the social ills known in the ghetto but my time in the sterling correctional facilities of Green Haven and Sing Sing has not been in vain. I’ve been cured!

Born again, like the Watergaters. I know you heard this rap before. Your Honor, I mean it. This is the truth. I changed. I changed and it didn’t take no 30 years like Your Honor thought, but only five. That’s right, sir. Five years. And look at me. Completely rehabilitated reinvigorated, reassimilated, and finally gonna be relocated.

And I want to thank a lot of people for that. I look over there and I see that man there, Mr. Norwalk. I want to thank you, sir, for making the tapes in an illegal fashion. I would like to thank the Court of Appeals for reversing you, Your Honor. And I want to thank Almighty God, without whom no case gets tossed.

Mazursky: I can’t believe this.

Pacino: I must have forgot. How could I forget my dear, close friend and lawyer David Kleinfeld, who never gave up on me through everything, thick and thin. Why don’t you just stand up?

Penn: I’m sorry.

Mazursky: Mr. Brigante!

Pacino: Davey Kleinfeld.

Mazursky: You’re not accepting an award. Court of Appeals’ decision and the District Attorney’s unfortunate investigative techniques now devolve upon me the painful duty of unleashing upon society a reputed assassin and convicted purveyor of narcotics.

Pacino: No. Never convicted on no dope.

Mazursky: The indictment is dismissed. Prisoner is discharged. Call the next case.

An article which describes Pacino’s preparation for the scene.

About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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