CLASSIC SCENE: “It takes brass balls to sell real-estate”

Film: GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
Screenplay: David Mamet.

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Setting the scene: In a tough Chicago real-estate office, three salesmen: SHELLEY LEVINE (Jack Lemmon), DAVE MOSS (Ed Harris) and GEORGE AARONOW (Alan Arkin) are confronted by BLAKE (Alec Baldwin), telling them about their future as salesmen, while their unsympathetic supervisor JOHN WILLIAMSON (Kevin Spacey) looks on.

Blake
Let me have your attention for a moment! Cause you’re talking about what? You’re talking about…

[He puts out his cigarette before continuing]

…bitching about that sale you shot, some son of a bitch that don’t want to buy land, somebody that doesn’t want what you’re selling, some broad you’re trying to screw and so forth. Let’s talk about something important.

(He turns to Williamson)
Are they all here?

Williamson
All but one.

Blake
Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important!

[Levene is at the back of the office, making himself a coffee.]

Put that coffee down!! Coffee’s for closers only.

[Levene scoffs as Blake walks towards him]

Do you think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Levene?

Levene
Yeah.

Blake
You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?

Moss
I don’t gotta listen to this shit.

Blake
You certainly don’t pal. Cause the good news is… you’re fired.
The bad news is you’ve got, all you got, just one week to regain your jobs, starting tonight. Starting with tonights sit…
Oh, have I got your attention now? Good! Cause we’re adding a little something to this months sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize?

[He holds up second prize]

Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. You get the picture? You’re laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them! You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you are shit, hit the bricks pal and beat it ’cause you are going out!

Levene
The leads are weak.

Blake
‘The leads are weak.’ Fucking leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business fifteen years.

Moss
What’s your name?

Blake
FUCK YOU, that’s my name!! You know why, Mister? Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That’s my name!

(to Levene)
And your name is “you’re wanting.” And you can’t play in a man’s game. You can’t close them.

(at a near whisper)
then go home and tell your wife your troubles.

(to everyone again)
Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! You hear me, you fucking faggots?

[Blake flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABC, and AIDA.]

Blake
A-B-C! A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!! A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.
Attention – do I have your attention? Interest – are you interested? I know you are, ’cause it’s fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks! Decision -have you made your decision for Christ?! And action.
A-I-D-A; get out there! You got the prospects comin’ in; you think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don’t walk on the lot unless he wants to buy. They’re sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

(to Moss)
What’s the problem pal? You. Moss.

Moss
You’re such a hero, you’re so rich. How come you’re comin’ down here and wasting your time on a such bunch of bums?

[Blake takes off his gold watch and lays it on Moss’ desk]

Blake
You see this watch? You see this watch?

Moss
Yeah

Blake
That watch cost more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see, pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids!

(to everyone)
You wanna work here? Close!

(to Aaronow)
You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can’t take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don’t like it… leave.

(to everyone)
I can go out there tonight with the materials you got, make myself fifteen thousand dollars! Tonight! In two hours!

(to Levene)
Can you?

(to Moss)
Can you?

(to everyone)
Go and do likewise! A-I-D-A!! Get mad!! You son of a bitches! Get mad!! You know what it takes to sell real estate?

[He pulls something out of his briefcase. It’s two brass balls on a string and he holds them over his crotch, pausing for a moment]

Blake
It takes brass balls to sell real estate.

Blake
Go and do likewise, gents. The money’s out there, you pick it up, it’s yours. You don’t, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, close, it’s yours. If not you’re going to be shining my shoes. And you know what you’ll be saying? Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar…

(in a mocking weak voice)
“Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman, it’s a tough racket.”

[From his briefcase, he takes out a large stack of red index cards tied together with string]

These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away.

[He hands the stack to Williamson]

They’re for closers.
I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it.

(to Moss, as he puts on his watch again)
And to answer your question, pal: why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to, they asked me for a favour. I said, the real favour, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.

[Blake stares at Moss for a second and then picking up his briefcase, walks away to the inner office with Williamson]

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40 Responses to “CLASSIC SCENE: “It takes brass balls to sell real-estate””

  1. Haven’t seen that in a loooong time! Great choice and its a movie I’ve needed to catch back up with!

    Like

  2. Great scene Mark, I just recently saw this film for the first time and I absolutely loved it!

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    • Man, I remember the first time I seen this years ago. I didn’t expect much as I think it went straight to DVD and it ended up blowing me away. Fantastic film filled with solid performances across the board. Baldwin just about steals the show, though.

      Like

      • Yeah Baldwin is a hoot and honestly I didn’t think much of him until I saw this.

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      • I think Baldwin can be very underrated sometimes. He doesn’t normally get roles that he can really sink his teeth into but he does here. In fact, the role was specifically written for him. His character in the movie didn’t appear in Mamet’s stage play.

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  3. Not seen this yet Mark but just watched the clip and it looks great. I think this is on Netflix at the moment so i’ll try and check it out soon.

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    • Aww, Chris. You have to give yourself a treat and watch this movie. It’s absolutely superb. It’s based on Mamet’s own play and that exactly how it feels when your watching it onscreen. The whole cast are great, but this cameo from Baldwin just about steals it.

      Like

  4. A classic scene from an absolutely classic film.

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  5. Awesome scene! Really need to see GGR.

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  6. God I need to watch this again.. I’d love to see a stage play of it. Would be interested in an all-female cast too, just because.

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  7. LOL, this is a classic scene. There was a certain point in time when I had it essentially memorized and could quote along with it as it played. πŸ˜€ Fun stuff, wish I had time to catch up with it again right now!

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  8. I REALLY need to see this movie. It’s been on my Netflix queue for ages. Your post definitely makes me want to see it straight away. Have a great week Mark, I’m off to my long-planned trip to San Diego tonight πŸ˜€

    Like

    • Have you still not got a hold of it, Ruth? Man, you’re in for a treat. The acting and dialogue are first class.

      All the best on your travels. Hope you have a ball! πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. GaryLee828 Says:

    I did this scene for my monologue in an acting class in college. I also performed it for an audition for a play; i think I did pretty well b/c I got called back for the next round of auditions…

    Great entry! πŸ™‚

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  10. Popcorn Nights Says:

    One of the all time great sequences. I love it, and it says it all that it stands out in a film that’s full of brilliant scenes. I can’t think of many films that have as many outstanding performances as Glengarry but Baldwin almost steals the film with this cameo. I’ve got a great record that samples the line “…you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That’s my name!”

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    • It is a sublime movie filled with outstanding performances. Baldwin is electric but Jack Lemmon was absolutely superb as well. It’s one of my favourite Lemmon shows. I mean, how many films do you get where Pacino isn’t the guaranteed scene stealer?

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      • Popcorn Nights Says:

        True! There are about six people in the film that all have the ability to out-act each other in a way. Harris, Arkin and Spacey are superb too. Haven’t seen Ed Harris around in a while, gonna head over to IMDB to see what he has been in of late.

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      • Indeed! The only one I’m not that keen on is Pryce. He’s not a bad actor but I just don’t like his style.
        As for Harris, I’m a big fan of his but you’re right, where’s he been lately?

        Like

  11. A classic one indeed, this scene convinced me what an amazing actor Baldwin is.

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  12. Hi, Mark:

    Very well done!

    Alec Baldwin can surprise sometimes. And this brief, near cameo role fits like a glove!

    The entire cast is worthy of Mamet’s written words. And Baldwin’s brevity and Jack Lemmon’s bag of tricks pull the film together magnificently.

    Would have killed to have seen the stage play before it was made into a film. With Peter Falk as Shelly Levine. And Joe Mantegna as Ricky Roma.

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    • Hey jack!

      Yeah, Baldwin near enough runs away with the film for all the 10mins (or less) that he was on screen. Lemmon was something else as well, though. Outstanding cast and these two are the definite highlights.

      I would loved to have seen it on stage as well, but I wasn’t aware that Falk played Levine. Can’t see him doing any better than Lemmon, though. Mantegna doesn’t surprise me as he’s a friend of Mamet’s. do you know if William H.Macy was involved at all? He’s another Mamet favourite.

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  13. Absolutely perfect. Fantastic scene, amazing movie.

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  14. Baldwin is a genius with monologues. It doesn’t matter if its comedy or drama..

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    • Couldn’t agree more, man. I’ve always liked Baldwin and I always respect an actor than shift from drama to comedy, and Baldwin can do that effortlessly. He deserves more recognition sometimes.

      Like

  15. Wonderful scene, wonderful film.

    Like

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