HomeAesthetic QuotesTop 50 Billy Wilder Quotes

Top 50 Billy Wilder Quotes

Billy Wilder was an acclaimed director, screenwriter, and producer in Hollywood’s Golden Age. His remarkable career spanned decades, and his works are still studied and discussed today. His wit, intelligence, and insight were legendary among those who knew him, and he left behind a wealth of memorable quotes. Here we have compiled some of the most famous Billy Wilder quotes that capture his unique style and wisdom.

Top 50 Billy Wilder Quotes

1. “If you don’t like what you’re doing, it’s unlikely anyone else will either, so be sure you are happy with your own work first.” — Billy Wilder

2. “An actor entering through the door, you’ve got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you’ve got a situation.” — Billy Wilder

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3. “If there’s anything I hate more than not being taken seriously, it’s being taken too seriously.” — Billy Wilder

4. “If you’re going to tell people the truth, be funny or they’ll kill you.” — Billy Wilder

5. “It was a hot afternoon and I can still remember the smell of honeysuckle all along the street. How can I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle?” — Billy Wilder

6. “I’ve met a lot of hardboiled eggs in my time, but you’re twenty minutes.” — Billy Wilder

7. “The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.” — Billy Wilder

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8. “Eighty percent of a picture is writing, the other twenty percent is the execution, such as having the camera on the right spot and being able to afford to have good actors in all parts.” — Billy Wilder

9. “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” — Billy Wilder

10. “I’m not happy. I’m not happy at all.” — Billy Wilder

11. “Make subtlety obvious.” — Billy Wilder

12. “I would rather sleep in a bathroom than in another hotel.” — Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder I would rather sleep in a bathroom than in another hotel

13. “You know, that stuff about pink elephants, that’s the bunk. It’s little animals. Little tiny turkeys in straw hats. Midget monkeys coming through the keyholes.”
— Billy Wilder

14. “I hate that word. It’s return – a return to the millions of people who’ve never forgiven me for deserting the screen.” — Billy Wilder

15. “The forest of Compiegne. Look at it. Like a kind grandmother dozing in her rocking chair. Old trees practicing curtsies in the wind because they still think Louis XIV is king.” — Billy Wilder

16. “Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.” — Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder Develop a clean line of action for your leading character

17. “Money makes even bastards legitimate.” — Billy Wilder

18. “The ultimate trick is to convince, persuade. Every single person out there is an idiot, but collectively they’re a genius.” — Billy Wilder

19. “Everyone in the audience is an idiot, but taken together, they’re a genius.” — Billy Wilder

20. “Now, what is it which makes a scene interesting? If you see a man coming through a doorway, it means nothing. If you see him coming through a window – that is at once interesting.” — Billy Wilder

21. “When Chaplin found a voice to say what was on his mind, he was like a child of eight writing lyrics for Beethoven’s Ninth.” — Billy Wilder

22. “God save me from myself.” — Billy Wilder

23. “You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning.” — Billy Wilder

24. “The Austrians are brilliant people. They made the world believe that Hitler was a German and Beethoven an Austrian.” — Billy Wilder

25. “Don’t be too clever for an audience. Make it obvious. Make the subtleties obvious also.” — Billy Wilder

26. “Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.” — Billy Wilder

27. “Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” — Billy Wilder

28. “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” — Billy Wilder

29. “Well, nobody’s perfect.” — Billy Wilder

30. “If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.” — Billy Wilder

31. “A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant and a bastard.” — Billy Wilder

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32. “On Ernst Lubitsch: He could do more with a closed door than other directors could do with an open fly.” — Billy Wilder


33. “Marilyn was mean. Terribly mean. The meanest woman I have ever met around this town. I have never met anybody as mean as Marilyn Monroe or as utterly fabulous on the screen.” — Billy Wilder

34. “Hollywood didn’t kill Marilyn Monroe, it’s the Marilyn Monroes who are killing Hollywood.” — Billy Wilder

35. “The best director is the one you don’t see.” — Billy Wilder

36. “I just always think, ‘Do I like it?’ And if I like it, maybe other people will come and like it too.” — Billy Wilder

37. “If something smells bad, why put your nose in it?” — Billy Wilder

38. “One’s too many and a hundred’s not enough.” — Billy Wilder

39. “Shoot a few scenes out of focus. I want to win the foreign film award.” — Billy Wilder

40. “You’re as good as the best thing you’ve ever done.” — Billy Wilder

41. “I don’t go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons.” — Billy Wilder

42. “An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles together in the dark – that is critical genius.” — Billy Wilder

43. “France is a place where the money falls apart in your hands but you can’t tear the toilet paper.” — Billy Wilder

44. “The only pictures worth making are the ones that are playing with fire.” — Billy Wilder

45. “I have ten commandments. The first nine are, thou shalt not bore. The tenth is, thou shalt have right of final cut.” — Billy Wilder

46. “Happiness is working with Jack Lemmon.” — Billy Wilder

47. “My English is a mixture between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archbishop Tutu.” — Billy Wilder

48. “I just made pictures I would’ve liked to see.” — Billy Wilder

49. “We are on the track of something absolutely mediocre…” — Billy Wilder

50. “I’d worship the ground you walked on if only you walked in a better neighborhood.” — Billy Wilder

Final Thoughts

Finally, Billy Wilder was a man of immense talent and wit. His quotes are timeless and still relevant today, inspiring us to think more deeply about life and our place in it. Whether it’s the power of kindness or the importance of resilience, Wilder’s words remind us that life is an ongoing journey filled with joys and sorrows. In a world where snappy comebacks are all too common, we can learn something valuable from Billy Wilder’s wisdom.

Melissa J. Queenhttp://selfcarequotes.com/
Hi, I'm Melissa, The Co-Founder of this blog. I enjoy researching quotes and I want other people to know about them, so that can be a shared experience. Let’s share some of the pieces we have collected from this blog.

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