Inspired by Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig’s Beware of Pity, The Grand Budapest Hotel is an energetic film with a quirky sense of humor and a distinct color palette. The bright interiors of the titular hotel are the setting for much drama between concierge Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), his lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori), and the hotel’s other staff and patrons. The plot thickens when Gustave H is accused of murdering an elderly dowager (Tilda Swinton), leading him to flee across the (fictional) country of Zubrowka with Zero. Amid the action, moments of lighthearted humor, budding friendship, and first love between Zero and Agatha (Saoirse Ronan).
The script is memorable for its tongue-in-cheek dialogue and deadpan humor, as well as shreds of philosophical wisdom. Penned by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, the screenplay won numerous awards, including a BAFTA, and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. Here are sixteen great quotes from The Grand Budapest Hotel.
- Mr. Moustafa: [Monsieur Gustave H] was, by the way, the most liberally perfumed man I had ever encountered. The scent announced his approach from a great distance and lingered for many minutes after he was gone.
- Mr. Moustafa: I began to realize that many of the hotel’s most valued and distinguished guests came for him. It seemed to be an essential part of his duties… But I believe it was also his pleasure. The requirements were always the same. They had to be rich, old, insecure, vain, superficial, blonde, needy. Author: Why blonde? Mr. Moustafa: Because they all were.
- M. Gustave: Experience? Zero: Hotel Kinsky, Kitchen Boy: six months. Hotel Berlitz, Mop and Broom Boy: three months. Before that I was a skillet scrubber. M. Gustave: Experience – zero … Education? Zero: I studied reading and spelling. I started primary school – I almost finished- M. Gustave: Education – zero … Family? Zero: Zero.
- M. Gustave: Dear God, what have you done to your nails? … This diabolical varnish; the color is completely wrong! Madam D: Oh, really? Don’t you like it? M. Gustave: It’s not that I don’t like it; I am physically repulsed.
- M. Gustave: How fast can you pack? Zero: Five minutes. M. Gustave: Do it, and bring a bottle of the Pouilly-Jouvet ‘26 in an ice bucket with two glasses, so we don’t have to drink the cat piss they serve in the dining car.
- M. Gustave: You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed, that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant … Oh, f*ck it.
- M. Gustave: You’re looking so well, darling, you really are. They’ve done a marvelous job. I don’t know what sort of cream they’ve put on you down at the morgue but I want some. Honestly, you look better than you have in years. You look like you’re alive.
- Kovacs: Did he just throw my cat out the window?
- M. Gustave: Give me a few squirts of L’air de Panache, please, will you? Can I not get a squirt, even? Zero: I forgot the L’air de Panache M. Gustave: Honestly, you forgot the L’air de Panache? I don’t believe it. How could you? I’ve been in jail, Zero! Do you understand how humiliating this is?
- M. Gustave: How is our darling Agatha? Zero: “Twas first light when I saw her face upon the heath; and hence did I return, day by day, entranced: tho’ vinegar did brine my heart, never…” M. Gustave: Very good. I’m going to stop you there because the alarm has sounded but remember where we left off because I insist you finish later.
- M. Gustave: Rudeness is merely an expression of fear. People fear they won’t get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower.
- M. Gustave: Serge X, missing. Deputy Kovacs, also missing. Madame D, dead. Boy With Apple, stolen. By us. Dmitri and Jopling, ruthless, cold-blooded savages. Gustave H, at large. What else? Zero: Zero, confused. M. Gustave: Zero, confused, indeed. The plot thickens, as they say. Why, by the way? Is it a soup metaphor?
- M. Gustave: What is a lobby boy? A lobby boy is completely invisible, yet always in sight. A lobby boy remembers what people hate. A lobby boy anticipates the client’s needs before the needs are needed. A lobby boy is, above all, discreet to a fault. Our guests know that their deepest secrets, some of which are frankly rather unseemly, will go with us to our graves. So keep your mouth shut, Zero.
- M. Gustave: There’s really no point in doing anything in life because it’s all over in the blink of an eye, and the next thing you know, rigor mortis sets in.
- M. Gustave: Well, Hello there, chaps. Soldier: Documents, please. M. Gustave: With pleasure … It’s not a very flattering portrait, I’m afraid. I was once considered a great beauty.
- M. Gustave: You can’t arrest him simply because he’s a bloody immigrant; he hasn’t done anything wrong! Stop it! Stop, damn you! … You filthy, goddamn, pockmarked, fascist a**holes! Take your hands off my lobby boy!