Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Fisher King (1991)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Fisher King (1991)

In Terry Gilliam's mystical fantasy fairy tale about a radio shock-jock seeking redemption:

  • the opening sequence of the "off-hand," snide and insensitive comments made to psychotic, unstable radio caller Edwin Malnick from late-night caustic talk radio DJ Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges) who was hosting "The Jack Lucas Show" - Lucas had dismissively advised unlucky-in-love Edwin to not fall in love again with his latest acquaintance - "this beautiful woman" he had met at a "chic yuppie watering hole" - a Manhattan bar-restaurant known as Babbitts: "You'll never get this tart to your dessert plate....Come on, now. I told you about these people. They only mate with their own kind. It's called yuppie inbreeding. That's why so many are retarded and wear the same clothes. They're not human. They don't feel love. They only negotiate love moments. They're evil. They're repulsed by imperfection, horrified by the banal. Everything that America stands for, everything that you and I fight for. They must be stopped before it's too late. It's us or them"
  • the unintended results of Jack's advice to Edwin - his suicidal mass-murder killing spree (of seven innocent individuals) in Babbitt's - at the peak hour of 7:15 pm - and the tragic unwitting murder of one man's wife with a shotgun blast to the head
Mass-Murder Killing Spree in Manhattan Restaurant
The Hallucinations of a Red Knight
  • the hallucinations experienced by crazy, disheveled ex-Hunter College medieval history professor Henry Sagan (who took the name Parry) (Robin Williams) - he would envision a horrid, pursuing nemesis: a symbolic demonic, giant apocalyptic figure of a black horseback-riding, fire-spewing Red Knight with a tattered cloak -- reminding him of the traumatic slaughter of his wife when she was shot in the head with a shotgun in the restaurant, and blood splattered onto his face
  • the night-time rescue scene of Jack - depressed and drunk and about to commit suicide near the Manhattan Bridge by jumping into the East River, who was mistaken by street thugs under a bridge for a homeless man, who beat him and threatened to light him on fire with gasoline: ("What are you doin' here, man? You shouldn't hang around this neighborhood....People spend a lot of hard-earned money for this neighborhood. It's not fair, looking out their window and see your ass asleep on the streets")
  • the now-homeless, delusional Parry came to Jack's rescue by accosting the two thugs, using medieval words and acting like a Middle Ages knight: ("Hold, varlet or feel the sting of my shaft! In the name of Blanche De Fleur, unhand that errant knight!...Mendacity! Why are two attractive city squires like you abusing a knight like this?") - and shooting an arrow into one guy's groin, and confronting them when other homeless joined him; Parry advised before counter-attacking: ("You know, boys, there's three things in this world that ya need: Respect for all kinds of life, a nice bowel movement on a regular basis, and a navy blazer. Oh, one more thing. Never take your eye off the ball! Of course, the ability to bean a s--thead can be a fabulous advantage"); Jack was reluctant to be rescued by such a crazy man: ("I need a drink")
  • the scene of Jack's tough, strong-willed but devoted girlfriend Anne Napolitano (Oscar-winning Mercedes Ruehl) response to Jack's question about God and the nature of good and evil ("Do you still believe in God?"): ("You gotta believe in God! But I don't believe that God created Man in His image. 'Cause most of the s--t that happens is because of men. Naw, I think men was made in the Devil's image, and women were created outta God. 'Cause, after all, women can have babies, which is kinda like creating. And which also accounts for the fact that women are so attracted to men. 'Cause let's face it, the Devil is a helluva lot more interesting. I've slept with some saints in my day, and believe me, I know what I'm talking about. Egh-boy! So, the whole point of life, the whole point of life, I think, is for men and women to get married so that God and the Devil can get together -- and work it out. Not that we have to get married or anything. God forbid"
Parry's Monologue in Central Park
About The Legendary Fisher King and Quest for Holy Grail
  • the half-insane Parry, completely obsessed with the story of the Fisher King and on a personal Quest to find the Holy Grail (the cup from the Last Supper), who delivered an emotionally-tender monologue to Jack in Central Park (while they both laid on their backs in the grass), (doing what he called "cloud-busting"), next to despairing, guilt-ridden, suicidally-despondent radio DJ Jack Lucas; he explained how a King guarding the Holy Grail had suffered a wound for being prideful: ("...As the King began to drink, he realized that his wound was healed. He looked at his hands, and there was the Holy Grail that which he sought all of his life! And he turned to the Fool and said in amazement: 'How could you find that which what my brightest and bravest could not?' And the fool replied: 'I don't know. I only knew that you were thirsty')
  • the magical, beguiling, and surreal fantasy scene in Grand Central Station that began with Parry tracking the woman of his dreams, shy Lydia Sinclair (Amanda Plummer) - and inexplicably, the sight of thousands of bustling, rush-hour commuters suddenly transformed into waltzing couples (oblivious to him); later Parry and Lydia shared a double-dinner date with Anne and Jack, and, soon after, Parry nervously asked for a kiss after confessing: "And I know you hate your job and you don't have many friends. And I know that sometimes you feel a little uncoordinated. You don't feel as wonderful as everybody else, feeling as alone and separate as you feel you are, and I love you. I love you. And I think you're the greatest thing since spice racks. And I'd be knocked out several times if I could just have that first kiss"
  • the scene of Parry, again catatonic and lying in a mental ward hospital when Jack brought the Holy Grail to him (it was a simple awards trophy that Parry believed was the Grail): ("All right, I did my side of the bargain. Here's your cup. You gonna wake up now? You want to think about it a little more? OK, take your time") - the cup was acquired by Jack from the Upper East Side 'castle' of a rich and famous architect named Lanny Carmichael, and later, Parry's awakening from his catatonia to tell Jack that his life had been restored: ("I had this dream, Jack. I was married. I was married to this beautiful woman. And you were there, too. I really miss her, Jack. Is that okay? Can I miss her now? Thank you")
  • the final reprised image of Parry and Jack, both naked, again lying face-up in Central Park and looking up at the moon on a beautiful night

Henry Sagan (Robin Williams) (aka Parry)

Parry's Rescue of Suicidal Jack Lucas

Jack's Girlfriend: Anne Napolitano

Jack with Parry, Incapacitated by Vision of Red Knight

The Magical Sight of Waltzing Couples in Grand Central Station

Double Dinner-Date: Jack/Anne, and Parry/Lydia

Parry's and Lydia's First Kiss After Dinner

An Awards Trophy ("The Holy Grail") Brought by Jack to Parry in a Mental Hospital

Ending: Reprise of Lying on Central Park Grass and Gazing Up at the Sky Above


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