Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Terms of Endearment (1983)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Terms of Endearment (1983)

In James L. Brooks' Best Picture-winning signature tearjerker film:

  • the memorable theme song
  • the persistent womanizing by raunchy ex-astronaut Garrett Breedlove (Oscar-winning Jack Nicholson) of his neighbor - Texas widow Aurora Greenway (Oscar-winning Shirley MacLaine), when she quipped back at him: "Imagine you having a date with someone where it wasn't a felony"
  • their first lunch date when he realized she was very uptight: ("I, uhm, think we're going to have to get drunk....You got me into this, and you're just gonna have to trust me about this one thing. You need a lot of drinks....To kill the bug that you have up your ass"); subsequently, she ordered Wild Turkey bourbon
  • his wild car beach drive (steering with his feet while she accelerated) into the ocean, while he was yelling out: "Wind in the hair! Lead in the pencil! Feet controlling the universe! Breedlove at the helm! Just keep pumping that throttle! Keep giving it that gas! I see the Gulf of Mexico below me!...Give it a chance....Fly me to the moon!" - when she applied the brakes, he was propelled into the Gulf of Mexico water; when she tromped over to him, he joked: "If you wanted to get me on my back, you just had to ask me" and then when they kissed and he reached for her breast, she complained: "Get it out of there!...Get it out!...We were having such a good time and you had to go do this!"
  • and then when they returned to her home and she invited him inside, he replied: "I'd rather stick needles in my eyes!" She responded: "Everything would have been just fine, you know, if you hadn't gotten drunk. I just didn't want you to think I was like one of your other girls"; he told her: "Not much danger in that unless you curtsy on my face real soon" - and then admitted: "I don't know what it is about you, but you do bring out the devil in me"
  • the scene of Aurora learning of her daughter Emma's (Debra Winger) pregnancy -- she screeched: "Why should I be happy about BEING A GRANDMOTHER?"
  • Aurora's hospital scene when she went beserk panicked and shrieked over her 30 year-old daughter's terminal cancer and demanded that the nurses give her dying daughter her overdue shot of morphine: ("I don't see why she has to have this pain....It's time for her shot, do you understand? Do something...My daughter is in pain! Give her the shot, do you understand me? GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE SHOT!!")

  • Emma's hospital goodbye scene with her children in which youngest son Teddy (Huckleberry Fox) told off his bratty older brother Tommy (Troy Bishop): ("Why don't you shut up, shut up!") as she explained to them that she wouldn't be around for her family in the future, that reluctant Tommy should "be sweet" and how he would eventually admit that he loved her after she was gone: ("And stop trying to pretend that you hate me. I mean, it's silly...I know you like me. I know it. For the last year or two, you've been pretending like you hate me. I love you very much. I love you as much as I love anybody, as much as I love myself. And in a few years when I haven't been around to be on your tail about something or irritating you, you're gonna remember... that time that I bought you the baseball glove when you thought we were too broke. You know? Or when I read you those stories? Or when I let you goof off instead of mowing the lawn? Lots of things like that. And you're gonna realize that you love me. And maybe you're gonna feel badly, because you never told me. But don't - I know that you love me. So don't ever do that to yourself, all right?")
Emma's Goodbye Scene With Her Two Sons
  • the nurse's words to Emma's awakened husband Flap (Jeff Daniels): ("She's gone"); and Aurora's piteous sobbing to Flap: ("I'm so stupid, so stupid. Somehow, I thought, somehow I thought when she finally went that - that it would be a relief. Oh, my sweet little darling. Oh dear, there's nothing harder! THERE'S NOTHING HARDER!")
  • the final end credits scene set at Aurora's house after the funeral where raunchy ex-astronaut neighbor Garrett Breedlove provided needed support to the older boy Tommy following Emma's death ("Good-lookin' suit there") and won over the reluctant boy, while Aurora was with young Melanie (Megan Morris)

Breedlove's Lunch Date with Aurora

Wild Car Beach Drive

After the Date, Breedlove to Aurora: "You do bring out the devil in me"

Emma Looking Over at Husband Flap and Her Mother Just Before Dying - Almost Asking Permission to Die

Nurse to Flap: "She's gone"

Aurora's Grief: "There's nothing harder!"


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