The Iceman Cometh

Synopsis: It's 1912 and the patrons of 'The Last Chance Saloon' have gathered for their evening of whiskey to contemplate their lost faith and dreams, when Hickey (Lee Marvin) arrives. Hickey is out to convince everyone that he can help them all find peace of mind by ridding them of the foolish dreams and by bringing them back to reality. Hickey is working especially hard on Larry Slade (Robert Ryan) a former anarchist who has lost his will for life and is awaiting the eventuality of death. Larry is not affected by the cajolings of Hickey but his young companion Parritt (Jeff Bridges) is strangely affected and this leads to revelations about his own mother and feelings of betrayal and loss. As the night wears on the mood changes as everyone has the their faith and dreams slowly destroyed by Hickey. As the anger builds everyone turns on Hickey about his wife and the iceman. This leads to more revelations and with Hickey having the faint questioning of his own new found convictions.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): John Frankenheimer
Production: American Film Theatre
  3 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
239 min

for my living

in this dump.

Shrewd businessman

who doesn't miss

an opportunity

to get on in the world, huh?

And that's me;

grab another ball,


You'd never think

all these bums

had a bed upstairs

to go to.

Scared if

they hit the hay

they wouldn't be here

when Hickey showed up,

and they'd miss

a couple of drinks.

Me, it's not so much

the hope of booze,

but I've got the blues.

And Hickey's a great one

to make a joke of everything

and cheer you up.

Yes, some kidder!

Remember how he works up

that gag about his wife

when he's cockeyed?

Crying over a picture

and then spilling in

on you all of a sudden

that he left her in the hay

with the iceman?


Yeah, I wonder

what's happenin'.

You could set your watch

by his periodicals

before this.

We always got here

a couple of days

before Harry's

birthday party,

and now he's only got

'till tonight to make it.

This dump...


is like a morgue with

all these bums passed out.

It's a lie, Papa!



Poor devil.

Ah, the hell with pity!

It does no good,

I'm through with it.

Dreamin' about

his old man.

From what

the old timers say,

the old gent

sure made a pile of dough

on a bucket-shop game

before the cops got him.


I've seen him bad before

but never this bad.

Look at that get-up.

Sold his suit and shoes

at Solly's two days ago.

Solly give him two bucks

and a bum outfit.

Yesterday he sells the bum

one back to Solly

for four bits

and gets these rags

to put out,

now he's through.

That's Solly's

final edition

and he wouldn't take back

for nothin'.

Willie sure is

on the bottom.

I ain't never seen

no one so bad except Hickey

on end of a couple

of his bats.

It's a great game,

the pursuit of happiness.

I don't even know

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Thomas Quinn Curtiss

Thomas Quinn Curtiss (June 22, 1915 – July 17, 2000) was a writer, and film and theater critic. He is also well-known for his relationship to author Klaus Mann. more…

All Thomas Quinn Curtiss scripts | Thomas Quinn Curtiss Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Iceman Cometh" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 23 Oct. 2021. <>.

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