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Hud, Directed by Martin Ritt

Paramount Pictures, May 28, 1963 (US)

Screenplay: Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr., based on the novel Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry

Starring: Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal, and Brandon de Wilde

Step out the front door and some son-of-a-bitch stands there, blockin’ the way. After years of living alone with Dad, though, I learned to get to where I’m going. Chase the poor sap the hell off the property. It’s probably the only lesson I learned from him worth sharin’.

Homer Bannon (Melvyn Douglas): You’re an unprincipled young man, Hud.

Hud Bannon (Paul Newman): Well, don’t let that worry you none. You got enough for the both of us.

People talk grand ’bout what knowledge they gather out on the ranch. Always spoutin’ words of wisdom, even if nobody’s askin’. They look up toward the blue sky and white clouds and yammer on about a higher power. They talk about herding cattle as if the cows was their best friend. Welcome to God's country. Me, I see a whole lotta empty space that’s done nobody no good, scattered with mounds of shit.

Keep from steppin’ in piles of shit. There’s smarts to pass onto yer younger ones. Way to avoid it is never trust that a steaming lump ain’t far from your feet. Right, Old Man?

Now, here I go, tryin’ to set the rules. We got enough rules. Drive on the right side of the road. Pay taxes. Honor thy father. Damn! What do I know about rules, ’cept things ain’t so cut-and-dry in a world where a daddy can disrespect his son or a brother’s gone and judgment’s restin’ on the porch.

Hud: Hell, I always say the law was meant to be interpreted in a lenient manner. And that’s what I try to do. Sometimes I lean to one side of it. Sometimes I lean to the other.

I’m no stockyard cattle, obeyin’ and fallin’ in line for slaughter. Traveling too close to the pack is the fastest trip to the meat hook, and when you prod along with your nose stuck up another’s ass, you’re bound to get a whiff-a somethin’ funky. I seen it happen: a whole herd wiped out from foot-and-mouth. Don’t wanna listen? Fine, but I speak the truth. This bull’s not afraid of raising his own foot to his trap. My heels are clean.

Hud: You know something, Fantan, this world is so full of crap a man’s gonna get into it sooner or later, whether he’s careful or not.

That’s enough outta me. I’ll mind my own, but chew on the advice. Then, move outta my path.