Miller's Crossing script
Synopsis: When the Italian Mafia threatens to kill a crooked bookie (John Turturro), Irish mob boss Leo O'Bannon (Albert Finney) refuses to allow it, chiefly because he's dating the bookie's sister, crafty gun moll Verna Bernbaum (Marcia Gay Harden). Leo's right-hand man, Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne), is also seeing Verna on the sly, and when he's found out is obliged to switch sides, going to work for the Italian mob amidst a dramatically escalating gang war over liquor distribution.

. FADE IN:

CLOSE SHOT A WHISKEY TUMBLER

That sits on an oak side bar under a glowing green bankers

lamp, as two ice cubes are dropped in. From elsewhere in

the room:

Man (off)

I'm talkin' about friendship. I'm talkin' about

character. I'm talkin' about--hell, Leo, I ain't

embarassed to use the word--I'm talkin' about

ethics.

Whiskey is poured into the tumbler, filling it almost to

the rim, as the offscreen man continues.

. . . You know I'm a sporting man. I like to

make the occasional bet. But I ain't that

sporting.

THE SPEAKER:

A balding middle-aged man with a round, open face. He

still wears his overcoat and sits in a leather chair in the

dark room, illuminated by the offscreen glow of a desk

lamp. This is Johnny Caspar.

Behind him stands another man, harder looking, wearing an

overcoat and hat and holding another hat--presumably

Caspar's. This is Bluepoiont Vance.

Caspar (cont'd)

When I fix a fight, say--if I pay a three-to-one

favorite to throw a goddamn fight--I figure I got

a right to expect that fight to go off at three-

to-one. But every time I lay a bet with this

sonofabitch Bernie Bernheim, before I know it the

odds is even up--or worse, I'm betting the short

money. . .

Behind Caspar we hear the clink of ice in the tumbler and a

figure emerges from the shadows, walking away from the

glowing bar in the backgound.

. . . The sheeny knows I like sure things. He's

selling the information I fixed the fight. Out-

of-town money comes pourin' in. The odds go

straight to hell. I don't know who he's sellin'

it to, maybe the Los Angeles combine, I don't

know. The point is, Bernie ain't satisfied with

the honest dollar he can make off the vig. He

ain't satisfied with the business I do on his

book. He's sellin' tips on how I bet, and that

means part of the payoff that should be ridin' on

my hip is ridin' on someone else's. So back we

go to these questions--friendship, character,

ethics.

The man with the whiskey glass has just passed the camera

and we cut to the:

REVERSE:

Another well dressed, middle aged man, behind a large

polished oak desk, listening intently. This is Leo. He is

short but powerfully built, with the face of a man who has

seen things.

The man with the whiskey enters frame and passes Leo to

lean against the wall behind him, where he listens quietly.

Caspar

. . . So its clear what I'm sayin'?

Leo

Clear as mud.

Caspar purses his lips but continues unfazed.

Caspar

It's a wrong situation. It's gettin' so a

businessman can't expect no return from a fixed

fight. Now if you can't trust a fix, what can

you trust? For a good return you gotta go

bettin' on chance, and then you're back with

anarchy. Right back inna jungle. On account of

the breakdown of ethics. That's why ethics is

important. It's the grease makes us get along,

what separates us from the animals, beasts a

burden, beasts a prey. Ethics. Whereas Bernie

Bernheim is a horse of a different color ethics-

wise. As in, he ain't got any. He's stealin'

from me plain and simple.

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Coen brothers

Joel David Coen and Ethan Jesse Coen, collectively referred to as the Coen brothers, are American filmmakers. more…

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"Miller's Crossing" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 23 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/miller's_crossing_714>.

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