American Splendor

Synopsis: Harvey Pekar is file clerk at the local VA hospital. His interactions with his co-workers offer some relief from the monotony, and their discussions encompass everything from music to the decline of American culture to new flavors of jellybeans and life itself. At home, Harvey fills his days with reading, writing and listening to jazz. His apartment is filled with thousands of books and LPs, and he regularly scours Cleveland's thrift stores and garage sales for more, savoring the rare joy of a 25-cent find. It is at one of these junk sales that Harvey meets Robert Crumb, a greeting card artist and music enthusiast. When, years later, Crumb finds international success for his underground comics, the idea that comic books can be a valid art form for adults inspires Harvey to write his own brand of comic book. An admirer of naturalist writers like Theodore Dreiser, Harvey makes his American Splendor a truthful, unsentimental record of his working-class life, a warts-and-all self portrait.
Production: Fine Line Features
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 31 wins & 49 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

Trick or treat.

Well, look at this.

All the superheroes on our porch.

Ain't that cute?

We got Superman here, and Batman...

and his sidekick Robin.

The Green Lantern.

And what about you, young man?

-What about what?

-Who are you supposed to be?

-l'm Harvey Pekar.


Harvey Pekar?

That doesn't sound like a superhero to me.

l ain't no superhero, lady.

l'm Just a kid

from the neighborhood, all right?

Forget this!

Why does everybody have to be so stupid?

Okay, this guy here, he's our man.

Okay, this guy here, he's our man.

All grown up and going nowhere.

Always a pretty scholarly cat.

He never got much of a formal education.

For the most part, he's lived

in sh*t neighborhoods, held sh*t jobs...

and is now knee-deep

into a disastrous second marriage.

So if you're the kind of person

looking for romance or escapism...

or some fantasy figure to save the day,

guess what?

-You got the wrong movie.

-That's great.

So now you got four takes. You ought

to be able to patch one together from there.

Right? Let's go to the next one, all right?

Hold on a second.

Do you want some water or something?

-No, l got lots of orange.

-Do you like orange soda?

Yeah, orange is all right.

All right, let's go to the next sequence.

Did you actually read the script?

No. A little bit.

just to check the construction.

You know, how the piece was constructed.

l didn't read it word for word.

Do you feel weird saying this stuff?

No, l don't feel weird saying it.

l don't know how long

my voice is going to hold out.

Doc, you gotta help me, man.

My old lady's dumping me

'cause l can't talk.

She says l'm a social embarrassment.

Now that she's got a PhD,

she's some hot-sh*t academic star...

and l'm nothing but a file clerk.

Me being a file clerk was fine when l was

signing the damn checks for tuition.

Harvey, stop talking, please, and open wide.

l started worrying

my voice would never come back.

Say ''Aah,'' Mr. Pekar.

lt's torture, l'm telling you.

What? ls it bad, Doc?

lt's not good.

lt's cancer.

First l got marital problems, and now

you're telling me l got throat cancer.

-For Christ's sake, man.

-Harvey, calm down, it's not cancer.

You have a nodule on your vocal cords,

probably from screaming and yelling.

lf you don't give it a rest,

you're gonna lose your voice completely.

Okay. But for how long?

-A few months.


-Hey, come on, what is this?

-Exactly what it looks like.

What do you mean?

You mean you're dumping me? For what?

This plebeian lifestyle...

Just isn't working for me anymore, okay?

l gotta get out of here before l kill myself.

just listen to what l have to say, okay?

Don't go.

l need you, baby.

Please don't go, okay?

Here's our man.

Yeah, all right, here's me.

Or the guy playing me anyway,

though he don't look nothing like me.

But whatever.

So it's a few months later, and I'm working

my flunky file clerk gig at the VA hospital.

My voice still ain't back yet.

Thank you, Harvey, dear.

Things seem like they can't get any worse.


Where the hell did she get that sh*t, man?

''Avoid the reeking herd

''Shun the polluted flock

''Live like that stoic bird

''The eagle of the rock''

-Hey, Mr. Boats.

-You know what that means, son?

Yeah, it's from an Elinor Hoyt Wylie poem.

lt means.... Excuse me.

lt means stay away from the crowds

of common, ordinary people...

-and do your own thing.


lt means don't compromise yourself

for women. lt ain't gonna do you no good.

Get away from them as soon as you can.

l ain't got no woman now.

-l'm living like the stoic bird, man.

Rate this script:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Harvey Pekar

Harvey Lawrence Pekar was an American underground comic book writer, music critic, and media personality, best known for his autobiographical American Splendor comic series. more…

All Harvey Pekar scripts | Harvey Pekar Scripts

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "American Splendor" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 26 Jan. 2022. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    The Marketplace:

    Sell your Script !

    Get listed in the most prominent screenplays collection on the web!


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.