10+ Best Chinatown Quotes From The Classic Mystery Movie

Merlyn Mathews
Feb 29, 2024 By Merlyn Mathews
Originally Published on Feb 26, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Young woman traveler with backpack and hat traveling into Chinatown at singapore city downtown.
Age: 0-99
Read time: 4.4 Min

'Chinatown' is a crime, drama genre movie directed by Roman Polanski and produced by Robert Evans, and shot by cameraman Stanley Cortez.

The film was produced on 20 June 1974 and released first in the United States. The film starred characters named Jack Nicholson, Percy Lopes, Faye Dunaway, Catherine among other cast and crew members in the industry.  

The film gained instant recognition and appreciation among the people and runs for close to 130 minutes long. The modern film noir and can be considered a detective story. The setting of the film is in Los Angeles in 1937, Faye Dunaway hires detective Jake Gittes to investigate in this field and to keep an eye on her husband since she suspected him to be involved in an extramarital affair. Noah Cross is one of the main antagonists in the film, he was well recognized because of his mispronunciation of 'Gittes' name as 'Gits'. This was not intentional but a grammatical error from Noah Cross himself. The film revolves around finding out the outcome of this however what adds more dimension to the film is that Jake Gittes the detective is not just involved in the case alone but becomes a part of various other unnecessary things as well which put his life at risk in many instances. Jake Gittes is a central character and the whole film is narrated from his perspective. Throughout the scenes, the audience is aware of the progress of the scenes, but the characters are not. The film won one Oscar and also an Academy Award for its writing.  In and around the same time there were various other directors like Orsen Wells and others directing similar genres of films which were loved and appreciated by the audience equally. The film however is R-rated and hence only suitable for adults to watch.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the best quotes from the 'Chinatown' movie from different characters in the movie. If you like this article, do visit Jack Nicholson quotes and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' quotes.

'Chinatown' Movie Quotes

Roman Polanski also made films like 'Rosemary's Baby' and other films but he considered the movie 'Chinatown' to be his greatest achievement ever. He cast himself in the movie as well by playing the role of a thug who slices Gittes' nose in the film and changed his appearance through variations in hairstyle. Originally it was decided by Roman Polanski that he would make a trilogy of 'Chinatown' movies. However, only the movie titled 'The Two Jakes' was made. This was a sequel to 'Chinatown' and produced in 1990. The third part was not complete and hence it remained an unsuccessful project and with movies that were left. Here are some of the best quotes from the movie 'Chinatown' from J.J. Gittes and other characters.

1."As little as possible."

-J.J. Gittes, 'Chinatown'

2."Evelyn Mulwray: You want to go to the police if I tell you?

J. J. Gittes: I will, if you dont."

-Evelyn Mulwray and J.J. Gittes, 'Chinatown'

3."Ida Sessions: Are you alone?

J.J. Gittes: Isn't everybody?"

-Ida Sessions and J.J. Gittes, 'Chinatown'

4."J.J. Gittes: I said I want the truth!

Evelyn Mulwray: She's my sister and my daughter!"

-Evelyn Mulwray and J.J. Gittes, 'Chinatown'

Quotes From 'Chinatown'

The final scene in the film was written a day before the shoot and although Roman Polanski was doubtful of the outcome since Robert Towne had written a different ending, he figured that his decision to end the film in a particular way was the right choice post the release. Roman Polanski and Towne even had a dispute over it but in the end, Towne agreed that Polanski's decision was the best choice. He was insistent that a shot in the film should be taken in Chinatown itself since most of the shooting in the script mentioned otherwise, and finally an agreement was made and they shot the last scene in Chinatown and it became an iconic scene. Take a look at these quotes from the film 'Chinatown', including the most iconic quotes from different characters.\

Exterior view of the landmark Hawaii Theatre in the city's Chinatown district.

5." I don't get tough with anyone...My lawyer does."

-Evelyn Mulwray, 'Chinatown'

6."You're a very nosy fellow, kitty cat. Huh? You know what happens to nosy fellows? Huh? No? Wanna Guess? Huh? No? okay. They lose their noses."

-Man with Knife, 'Chinatown'

7."I goddamn near lost my nose. And I like it. I like breathing through it."

-Jack Gittes,' Chinatown'

8."Bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water."

-Noah Cross, 'Chinatown'

9."Escobar: So tell me Gittes, How'd you get past the guard?

J.J. Gittes: To tell you the truth, I lied."

-Escobar and J.J. Gittes, 'Chinatown'

10."Walsh: Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown"

-Walsh, 'Chinatown'

11."Next time you lose the whole thing. Cut it off and feed it to my goldfish."

-Man with Knife, 'Chinatown'

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotesfor everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for best 'Chinatown' quotes from the classic mystery movie then why not take a look at 'Die Hard' quotes, or '80s movie quotes.

second image credit: 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

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Written by Merlyn Mathews

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Masters of English Literature

Merlyn Mathews picture

Merlyn MathewsBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Masters of English Literature

As a multilingual content writer, Merlyn's command over multiple languages and her strong academic background in English enhance her writing capabilities. She holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Christ University and a Master's degree in English from the University of Leeds.Her professional journey includes internships at The Lagoon School and The Guardian Newspaper, both in Nigeria, enriching her experience and lending depth to her understanding of diverse work environments. Additionally, her volunteer work with Oxfam and Handout Foundation reflects her dedication to social causes.

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