The Libertine is a 2004 British drama film about the last years in the life of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, a 17th century poet who famously drank and debauched his way to an early grave, only to earn posthumous critical acclaim for his life's work.
- Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don't. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing your conclusions from a distance than you would be if I got my tarse up your petticoats. Gentlemen. Do not despair, I am up for that as well. And the same warning applies. Still your cheesy erections till I have had my say. But later when you shag – and later you will shag, I shall expect it of you and I will know if you have let me down – I wish you to shag with my homuncular image rattling in your gonads. Feel how it was for me, how it is for me and ponder. 'Was that shudder the same shudder he sensed? Did he know something more profound? Or is there some wall of wretchedness that we all batter with our heads at that shining, livelong moment. That is it. That is my prologue, nothing in rhyme, no protestations of modesty, you were not expecting that I hope. I am John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester and I do not want you to like me.
- When I wake in the country, I dream of being in London. When I get here, it's full of people like you. (Speaking of the Merry Gang)
- I wish to be moved. I cannot feel in life. I must have others do it for me in theater.
- The theatre is my drug, and my illness is so far advanced that my physic must be of the highest quality.
- But life is not a succession of urgent nows. It's a listless trickle of why should I's.
- I shall never forgive you for teaching me how to love life.
- Here he lies at the last. The deathbed convert. The pious debauchee. Could not dance a half measure, could I? Give me wine, I drain the dregs and toss the empty bottle at the world. Show me our Lord Jesus in agony and I mount the cross and steal his nails for my own palms. There I go, shuffling from the world. My dribble fresh upon the bible. I look upon a pinhead and I see angels dancing. Well? Do you like me now? Do you like me now? Do you like me now? Do you like me... now?
- [Handing Rochester his winnings] No one likes a clever bastard.
- Rochester: And yet you do not draw the moral of the incident.
- Billy Downs: Which is?
- Rocheste:: That any experiment of interest in life will be carried out at your own expense. Mark it well.
- Rochester: Did you miss me?
- Jane: I missed the money.
- Rochester: Good. I don't like a whore with sentiment.
- King Charles II: Your father spirited me out of England when my life was at stake, so I looked after him and after you.
- Rochester: You put me in the Tower.
- King Charles II: And I let you out. The time has come for you to pay your dues. People listen to you, Johnny. If you took your seat in the Lords, you could make great speeches that would influence events. Anyone can oppose, it's fun to be against things, but there comes a time when you have to start being for things as well.
- Rochester: This is your first season on the London stage?
- Elizabeth Barry: It is, my lord.
- Rochester: Mrs. Barry, you must acquire the trick of ignoring those who do not like you. In my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: The stupid and the envious. The stupid will like you in five years time. The envious, never.
- Rochester: There is spirit in her.
- Jane: When a gent sees the spirit, and not the eyes or the tits, then a gent is in trouble.
- Rochester: I don't mean to upset people, but I must speak my mind. For what's in my mind is far more interesting than what's outside my mind.
- Alcock: Makes you impossible to live with, though. You see?
- Countess: [contemptuously] Anyone can drink.
- Rochester: Not many can match my determination.
- Johnny Depp - John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester
- John Malkovich - Charles II of England
- Samantha Morton - Elizabeth Barry
- Rosamund Pike - Elizabeth Wilmot (née Elizabeth Malet)
- Tom Hollander - Sir George Etherege
- Johnny Vegas - Charles Sackville
- Richard Coyle - Alcock
- Rupert Friend - Billy Downs
- Jack Davenport - Harris
- Kelly Reilly - Jane
- Clare Higgins - Molly Luscombe
- Francesca Annis - Rochester's mother