Study Guide

Rain Man Quotes

  • Language and Communication

    CHARLIE: Who the hell are you? Huh? Whoa, wait a second. Where are you going?
    RAYMOND: Thirteen minutes to Judge Wapner and The People's Court.
    CHARLIE: Hold it, wait a second, I wanna ask you a question.

    In this early interaction, Charlie and Ray have just met, and Charlie is trying to figure out who Ray is… and why he knows the family car so well. However, Ray is one-track about getting back inside to watch Wapner, and isn't really engaging with the conversation. Of course, Charlie is being just as one-track in really just bulldozing ahead in the conversation to get the information he needs.

    DR. BRUNER: Raymond has a problem communicating and learning. He can't even express himself or probably even understand his own emotions in a traditional way.

    Here, Doctor Bruner is explaining Ray's unique challenges to Charlie. Charlie really doesn't seem to get it—probably because he's not really listening and just thinking about the money that Ray inherited instead of him. Like we mentioned, Charlie's communication skills aren't really the best, either.

    SUSANNA: Put it back! He said not to touch the books!
    RAYMOND: Not to touch books.
    CHARLIE: You like Shakespeare, Ray?
    RAYMOND: I don't know.
    CHARLIE: Did you read all this?
    RAYMOND: I don't know.
    CHARLIE: You don't know.
    RAYMOND: Vern?
    CHARLIE: Did you read Macbeth?
    RAYMOND: I don't know. Vern?
    CHARLIE: You read Hamlet?
    RAYMOND: I don't know. Vern?
    CHARLIE: You read the Twelfth Night?
    SUSANNA: Stop it!
    RAYMOND: Yes.
    CHARLIE: Yes?
    RAYMOND: Yes.
    CHARLIE: You read all these stories that are in this book, and you don't know if you read the book?
    RAYMOND: I don't know. V-E-R-N.
    CHARLIE: You don't know?
    VERN: Maybe you'd better put it back.

    When Charlie first sees Ray's room at the hospital, he's shocked to learn that his brother, who doesn't communicate well, has read all of these books. Then, he's even more confused by the fact that Ray doesn't seem to know he's read the books. Charlie is pretty aggressive in asking about Ray's reading habits, and between that—and the fact that Charlie's touching all his things—Ray is getting super nervous. But, once again, Charlie is just being a bull(y)dozer and doesn't really care about how what he's saying or doing makes anyone feel.

    SUSANNA: Charlie, you're his brother! His brother! They tell you today for the first time that you have a brother, and I don't see in your face one little reaction. I'm not saying joy. I'm saying something.
    CHARLIE: Just take it easy—you don't know what I'm going through here.
    SUSANNA: What are you going through? What are you going through? Because I don't know. Because you don't tell me anything! You just give me lies! Lies! Lies!
    CHARLIE: Lies? What lies? What lies?
    SUSANNA: This thing that Dr. Bruner asked you to bring him here, this is bullshit. I know it's not true. So why don't you tell me why, why is he here?
    CHARLIE: Because I'm pissed at him.
    SUSANNA: At who?
    CHARLIE: At my father.
    SUSANNA: You're pissed at your father, and you bring Raymond here. Why?
    CHARLIE: I don't know why. 'Cause I got him and they want him!
    SUSANNA: This makes no sense!
    CHARLIE: Raymond was left all the money and I got nothing.
    SUSANNA: How much?
    CHARLIE: $3 million, the inheritance. Every penny of it.
    SUSANNA: So?
    CHARLIE: So, I'm gonna keep him 'til I get my half! I deserve that!

    Here, Susanna is going after Charlie for not really ever expressing his feelings—and for lying when he does communicate. She's realized that Charlie kidnapped Ray, contrary to what he initially said went down at Wallbrook… so, she's not too happy with his "communication" skills just now.

    CHARLIE: Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray, you are never gonna solve it. You know why you're never gonna solve it? 'Cause it's not a riddle, man. And if you understood that—if you understood that it's funny—you know, you might get better.

    Charlie and Ray end up bonding eventually, and Charlie finally gets how to relate to/communicate with Ray and address his needs (in terms of communication and everything else). Here, he's trying to get Ray to understand Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first" as a joke rather than a riddle/honest question—and if Ray just "got" stuff like that, Charlie suggests, he could "get better."

    His thoughts don't really indicate a deep understanding of autism or how it works (and some might argue the whole movie has that issue), but the point is that he's trying to help Ray get a deeper understanding of language and its nuances/double-meanings, which would in turn help him out socially.

    CHARLIE: I like having you for my big brother.
    RAYMOND: Yeah. C-H-A-R-L-l-E. C-H-A-R-L-l-E. Main man.

    Ray had previously liked to spell out the name of a guy at Wallbrook named Vern, whom he called his "main man." But at the end of the movie, he's started doing that same ritual with his brother's name. He uses the spelling to show a connection to/affection for a person, and it's about as close to saying "I love you" as Ray seems to get.

  • Family

    CHARLIE: I'm sorry about the weekend, hon.
    SUSANNA: Charlie, the weekend.
    CHARLIE: Look, I told you before, we had a falling out a long time ago. My mother died when I was two. It was just him and me. We, you know, just didn't get along.

    Early in the film, Charlie's father dies, and he and Susanna have to forego a weekend trip to go to the funeral in Cincinnati. Here, Charlie is explaining some of the sad backstory to his family. It seems that he and Papa Babbitt lost Charlie's mom when Charlie was quite young, and they never quite got along… and hadn't talked in a long time. Sad times.

    SUSANNA: You were his only child. You came along when he was... what, forty-five or something? He probably thought he was never going to have a son, so he had to love you. I think you're exaggerating. You were his child, his son, his blood. Anyway, in these pictures here, he doesn't look like a man who doesn't love his son.

    Susanna is trying to convince Charlie that his perception that his father didn't really care about him is off. She's looking at old photos of them and trying to use them as evidence for her point, but Charlie isn't really having any of it.

    CHARLIE: Tenth grade, I'm sixteen years old, and for once, I bring home a report card, and it's almost all A's. I go to my old man, "Can I take the car out?" You know, take the guys out in the Buick, sort of a victory drive. He says, "No." I take it anyway, I steal the keys, I sneak it out.
    SUSANNA: You took the car with no permission?
    CHARLIE: Yes.
    SUSANNA: Why? Why then?
    CHARLIE: Because I— I deserved it. Nothing I did was good enough for this guy. Don't you understand that?

    Whoo-boy. Charlie clearly felt pretty entitled as a kid—really, do good grades really mean that you "deserve" to drive a vintage car that doesn't actually belong to you? But we do feel for Charlie a little bit, too, since it sounds like he felt like he could never please his father, which is part of why he wanted some recognition in the form of car privileges.

    CHARLIE'S FATHER (VIA THE WILL): And I remember, too, the day you left home, so full of bitterness and grandiose ideas. So full of yourself. And being raised without a mother, the hardness of your heart is understandable as well. Your refusal to even pretend that you loved or respected me, all these I forgive. But your failure to write, to telephone, to reenter my life in any way, has left me without a son. I wish you all I ever wanted for you. I wish you the best.

    I hereby bequeath to my son, Charles Sanford Babbitt, that certain Buick convertible, the very car that, unfortunately, brought our relationship to an end.

    Despite supposedly "forgiving" his son in the letter read with his will, the elder Babbitt certainly throws in a lot of digs in there… and leaving Charlie the car that broke up their relationship reeks more of "slap in the face" than "Hey, son, wish we could have worked things out." Not exactly the nicest way to end things, right?

    DR. BRUNER: Mr. Babbitt, I knew your father since you were two years old.
    CHARLIE: The year my mother died.
    DR. BRUNER: Look, I'm trustee of the fund, but this hospital receives nothing from that.
    CHARLIE: That hardly seems fair. Maybe that's something we could discuss.
    DR. BRUNER: I took on this burden out of loyalty to your father. That's where my loyalty ends.
    CHARLIE: And you think I should feel a little of that loyalty?
    DR. BRUNER: I think you feel cheated out of your birthright. By a man who had difficulty showing love. And I think if I were in your shoes, I'd probably feel the same.
    CHARLIE: I was hoping that we could talk, that you would explain my father's side of it, help me understand the right in what he's done…

    After the reading of the will, Charlie goes to Wallbrook to find out why his dad left the majority of his estate (all the cash, that is) to a doctor there in a trust for someone else. Here, he and Doctor Bruner are discussing that trust and Charlie's troubled family history, and Doctor Bruner is being cagey about the identity of the beneficiary. Clearly, Charlie is still pretty upset about getting cut out of the will.

    SUSANNA: Charlie, you're his brother! His brother! They tell you today for the first time that you have a brother, and I don't see in your face one little reaction. I'm not saying joy. I'm saying something.
    CHARLIE: Just take it easy—you don't know what I'm going through here.
    SUSANNA: What are you going through? What are you going through? Because I don't know. Because you don't tell me anything! You just give me lies! Lies! Lies!
    CHARLIE: Lies? What lies? What lies?
    SUSANNA: This thing that Dr. Bruner asked you to bring him here, this is bullshit. I know it's not true. So why don't you tell me why, why is he here?
    CHARLIE: Because I'm pissed at him.
    SUSANNA: At who?
    CHARLIE: At my father.
    SUSANNA: You're pissed at your father, and you bring Raymond here. Why?
    CHARLIE: I don't know why. 'Cause I got him and they want him!
    SUSANNA: This makes no sense!
    CHARLIE: Raymond was left all the money and I got nothing.
    SUSANNA: How much?
    CHARLIE: $3 million, the inheritance. Every penny of it.
    SUSANNA: So?
    CHARLIE: So, I'm gonna keep him 'til I get my half! I deserve that!

    Here, Charlie's sudden "interest" in his brother/family is revealed as nothing more than greed. As Susanna mentions, he didn't even seem to have a reaction to hearing that he had a brother… so, yeah, it was easy for her to see through Charlie's story about the doctor "asking" Charlie to take Ray.

    CHARLIE: I like having you for my big brother.
    RAYMOND: Yeah. C-H-A-R-L-l-E. C-H-A-R-L-l-E. Main man.

    By the end of the film, though, Charlie and Raymond have really come a long way, where Charlie seems to have embraced his "big brother," and Ray calls Charlie his "main man."

  • Money

    CHARLIE'S FATHER (VIA THE WILL): As for my home and all other property, real and personal, these shall be placed in trust in accordance with the terms of that certain instrument executed concurrently herewith.
    CHARLIE: What does that mean, the last part, what does that mean?
    LAWYER: It means that the estate, in excess of $3 million after expenses and taxes, will go into a trust fund for a beneficiary to be named in this document.
    CHARLIE: Who is that?
    LAWYER: I'm afraid I can't tell you that.
    CHARLIE: Who controls the money? You? You control the money?
    LAWYER: No. He's called a trustee.

    When Charlie goes to the reading of his father's will, he learns that his father has cut him out of the money part of his estate, leaving him only the car that busted up their relationship and some rose bushes. As you might imagine, the very money-focused Charlie is not happy.

    CHARLIE: He got $3 million, but he didn't get the rose bushes. I got the rose bushes. I definitely got the rose bushes.

    As you might imagine, Charlie is super annoyed at his father's will. He doesn't yet know who this unnamed trustee is who got the balance of his father's fortune… but he's clearly not pleased to be saddled with the rose bushes while the money goes elsewhere.

    CHARLIE: Does he know how much money he's been left?
    DR. BRUNER: No. He doesn't understand the concept of money.
    CHARLIE: He doesn't understand the concept of money. He's just inherited $3 million and he doesn't understand the concept of money? Well, that is fucking poetic, don't you think?

    Once Charlie has found out about Ray's existence/identity as the beneficiary of the trust, he's quick to pick up on the irony that Ray doesn't even really understand how money works—and now he has a boatload of it, while Charlie (who clearly thinks he'd be a better recipient for that cash) gets none.

    SUSANNA: Charlie, you're his brother! His brother! They tell you today for the first time that you have a brother, and I don't see in your face one little reaction. I'm not saying joy. I'm saying something.
    CHARLIE: Just take it easy—you don't know what I'm going through here.
    SUSANNA: What are you going through? What are you going through? Because I don't know. Because you don't tell me anything! You just give me lies! Lies! Lies!
    CHARLIE: Lies? What lies? What lies?
    SUSANNA: This thing that Dr. Bruner asked you to bring him here, this is bullshit. I know it's not true. So why don't you tell me why, why is he here?
    CHARLIE: Because I'm pissed at him.
    SUSANNA: At who?
    CHARLIE: At my father.
    SUSANNA: You're pissed at your father, and you bring Raymond here. Why?
    CHARLIE: I don't know why. 'Cause I got him and they want him!
    SUSANNA: This makes no sense!
    CHARLIE: Raymond was left all the money and I got nothing.
    SUSANNA: How much?
    CHARLIE: $3 million, the inheritance. Every penny of it.
    SUSANNA: So?
    CHARLIE: So, I'm gonna keep him 'til I get my half! I deserve that!

    Here, Susanna finally calls BS on Charlie's story that he's taken Raymond at Doctor Bruner's request—and gets Charlie to admit that he's basically holding Raymond ransom until he gets the $1.5 million he thinks he's owed.

    CHARLIE: What good is $3 million to him? That money is only just gonna sit there for the rest of his life, and I need that money. You know I need that money.
    SUSANNA: Yeah, you need them, so it's hardly like stealing, no? And when it's over, what happens to Raymond?
    CHARLIE: He'll go back to Wallbrook or a better place—with the money, I will put him in a better place. What difference does it make? He is gonna be just the same.
    SUSANNA: Only you have his money.
    CHARLIE: His money? His money? That man was my father too. What about my fucking half? Where's my fucking half? I'm entitled to that money!
    SUSANNA: You kidnapped this man!
    CHARLIE: I did not take him. I did not take him. I took my half.
    SUSANNA: Charlie, you're crazy.
    CHARLIE: Yeah, it runs in the family.

    Charlie is so delusional/crazed by greed that he thinks that, naturally, half of Ray's inheritance belongs to him (even though it wasn't left to him). Of course, it helps that he clearly doesn't think of Ray as a human being who has rights, etc., but mostly he is just thinking about the fact that he needs the money, and so he deserves it—kind of like he thought he deserved the family car all those years ago.

  • Guilt and Blame

    CHARLIE: Just take it easy! What is my crime here, huh? What is my goddamn crime?
    SUSANNA: Your crime is that you use people. You use people! You're using Raymond, you're using me. You use everybody.
    CHARLIE: I'm using Raymond?

    When Susanna calls Charlie on being a user, particularly with his brother, he's not willing to admit it—or accept blame for any of his behavior in the wake of his father's death. He continues to believe he is the one who's been wronged.

    CHARLIE: What is this? What are you writing? What the fuck is this? "Serious—Serious injury list: Charlie Babbitt"? "Serious injury list'? Are you fuckin' kidding me?
    RAYMOND: Number 18 in 1988. Squeezed and pulled and hurt my neck in 1988.
    CHARLIE: Squeezed and pulled and hurt your neck in 1988?

    Here, Charlie is learning that Ray keeps a diary of bad things that people do to him… and because Charlie has been rough with him, he records that Charlie has harmed him. Naturally, instead of feeling guilty/apologizing, Charlie just becomes enraged.

    RAYMOND: Scary! Hot! Scary bad! Scary bad! Scary!
    CHARLIE: What's scary about it?
    RAYMOND: Hot water burn baby! Water!
    CHARLIE: "Hot water burn baby"? What baby? Me?
    RAYMOND: Yeah. Yeah.
    CHARLIE: Easy, easy.

    Apparently, Ray also remembers the bad stuff he's done to others—and he was involved in some kind of accident/incident that almost hurt Charlie when Charlie was a baby. In fact, we soon learn, that incident led to his departure for Wallbrook.

    CHARLIE: … I'm sorry about that. I got a little carried away. I got a little hot, okay, Ray? I'm sayin' that I'm sorry, and I just want you to know that I am sorry. I'm apologizing. I got a little carried away. The money. I got a little greedy.

    There are a couple of things going on here. On the surface level, Charlie is simply apologizing for turning Ray loose on the roulette wheel, where they lost… but really, on a much more profound front, he's apologizing for getting "hot" and "greedy" the entire movie, when he was being impatient with Ray and using him as a bargaining chip to get money out of Doctor Bruner.

    CHARLIE: It's funny, I just realized I'm not pissed off anymore. My father cut me out of his will. You were his friend, you probably knew he tried to contact me a few times over the years. I never called him back. I was a prick. And hey, if he was my son and didn't return my calls, I'd have written him out, fuck him.

    Charlie also takes some more blame when he talks to Doctor Bruner about his relationship with Ray/his father. Even though he's still fighting to keep Ray at this point, now it's for the right reasons—and he tells Bruner that he's no longer trying to fight his father's will, having accepted that his dad had every reason to be legit upset with him. Again: a big sign of growth in Charlie's character.