Defending Your Life

Synopsis: Yuppie Daniel Miller is killed in a car accident and goes to Judgment City, a waiting room for the afterlife. During the day, he must prove in a courtroom-style process that he successfully overcame his fears (a hard task, given the pitiful life we are shown); at night, he falls in love with Julia, the only other young person in town. Nights are a time of hedonistic pleasure, since you can (for instance) eat all you want without getting fat.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Director(s): Albert Brooks
Production: Warner Home Video
  5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
112 min

I was thinking this morning:

In two months,

I will have been here ten years.

And you're like my real family.

Isn't that tragic?

My mother called

and wished me happy birthday...

...and hinted to the fact I wasn't making

enough money.

If you can call, "Still making

the same salary, honey?" a hint.

My ex-wife used to say that too,

but she never used the word "honey."

-In three years, can I double my income?

-Good luck.

-Four years?


You're great people

and this is a great present.

I wish I could squeeze all of you

into one pretty woman.

If you'd like to go into my office, I'll try.

Thanks a lot.

I'll be home soon.

I'm taking Daniel to get his new car.

-What'd he get?

-BMW convertible.

Oh, my God. Leather?


-Oh, yeah.

-I want one.

-All right. Kiss Alex for me.

-I want one.

-She says, "happy birthday."

These are great. Thanks.

-Just stuff I like.

-It's great.

Why do you drive this?

I see people driving these.

What, is a flood coming?

Hoover Dam broke?

I like this car.

It's a battering ram.

This is what Patton drove.

"Hey, you, soldier, forward."

In an 8.5 earthquake, you'll beg for a Jeep.

In an 8.5 earthquake, I'll beg for a coffin.

-What are you doing tonight?

-Taking a long drive.


-Unless someone comes with the car.

You don't want to be alone

on your birthday.

What better day to be alone?

I don't have that hang up

about birthdays and parties.

You're born alone, celebrate it.

Celebrate aloneness.

That's what birthdays are for.

Never thought of that.

It's a pitiful theory.

I've had these cars before

and there's something wrong.

The smell is making me sick.

That's a normal smell.

That's a protective coating,

it's not oil burning.

-You look fantastic. You lose weight?

-Did I what?

I was talking to someone else.

-Did any lights come on the dash?

-I don't think so.

That means you're okay.

If there's any trouble, they come on.

We have a saying around here.

"If you smell something

and don't see lights, try dry cleaning."

Try what?

She has no sense of humor.

Dry cleaning?

If it smells on Monday, bring it in.

-I'm sure it's nothing.

-I'm sure it's something.

Trouble with a new car?

She's a lunatic. Boy, you have lost

a lot of weight!

A lot of weight?

You saw me three days ago.

You look different. Why?

I don't know.

I just wrote you a check for $39,000.

That's it. That's the look. $39,000 lighter.

Let's go get it.

Let's get her.

What's in the box?

-It's my birthday. I got a CD player.

-Happy birthday.

-You got a CD player in the car.

-No, I don't.

You paid for it.

You wanted the best.

The best radio comes with a CD.

You'll love it.

There she is.

It's gorgeous!

Look at it. It looks huge! It's beautiful!

That's not it. That's a 750. That's it.

What a cutie.

Try not to show the 750 first.

My car looks like a turd now.

If I had to choose between this car

and yours, I'd take yours every time.

You're an idiot, Jim.

Do we all have to hear that?

Come to me.

Good afternoon,

and welcome to Judgment City.

You just had quite a journey,

so relax and enjoy the ride.

Considering your recent transformation,

you won't have any choice.

If we've done our work correctly... should all be from

the western half of the United States.

Even though this isn't the Earth...

...our surroundings should seem pleasing

and very familiar to you.

Why you're here...

...and what you'll be doing

will be explained later.

No need to worry about that now.

Soon we'll be dropping you off

at your hotel.

You'll sleep tonight and when you awake...'ll feel wonderful and raring to go.

You'll find many activities to enjoy

in Judgment City.

How many like to play golf?

You won't be able to get

your hands up yet...

...but we have

three championship golf courses.

Sit back and have fun.

You'll be here for five days

and we want you to enjoy yourselves.

Those staying at the Continental Hotel

will be escorted from the tram.

The rest of us will depart momentarily.

Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome.

My name is Stan.

Because of what you've been through,

you'll want to go fast asleep.

You're already checked in.

Nothing to worry about tonight.

Everything will be explained tomorrow.

Have a good rest.

If you have any questions, I'm here to help.

Thank you.

Excuse me, sir.

Mr. Miller, this is your room.

Make yourself at home.

I'll be right back.

All the clothing you'll need for the time

you're here is in this closet.

We call these tupas.

They're like caftans. They fit everyone.

Would you like to shower,

or are you too tired?

Too tired?

I understand. There are five channels

of programming on the television.

Channel 3 tells you about Judgment City.

Have a wonderful night's sleep.

If I can do anything, I'm at your service.

I'd be surprised if there's anything in there,

but I appreciate the attempt.

Sleep well.

Good morning, Alan.

Good morning, Philip.

Glad you could make it, Leonard.

-Good morning, Susan.

-Good morning, Mr. Diamond.

-Who's prosecuting?

-Lena Foster.

She'll have a field day with this.

She lost last Thursday.


There is a God.

Okay, call him up, please.

-Hold on for Bob Diamond, please.



Diamond here. How are you? Good sleep?


-Amazing, isn't it?

Listen, you're going to get up, shower,

put on those nice clothes...

Rate this script:4.8 / 15 votes

Albert Brooks

Albert Lawrence Brooks (born Einstein; July 22, 1947) is an American actor, comedian, writer, and director. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for 1987's Broadcast News and was widely praised for his performance in the 2011 film Drive. His voice acting credits include Marlin in Finding Nemo (2003) and Finding Dory (2016), and recurring guest voices for The Simpsons, including Russ Cargill in The Simpsons Movie (2007). He has directed, written, and starred in several comedy films, such as Modern Romance (1981), Lost in America (1985), and Defending Your Life (1991). He is also the author of 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America (2011). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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