The Departed – Good and Evil tells us that “Nobody gives you anything” and this sentence is what we want to talk about today in our weekly column Citations from the Cinema
The thriller by Martin Scorsese The Departed – Good and Evil offers a series of high-level quotes and dialogues. Among the phrases that have a strong impact on the public we have chosen “Nobody gives you anything“. This phrase is said by Frank Costello, interpreted by the extraordinary Jack Nicholson.
In the incipit of the film, the criminal boss of the neighborhood introduces himself explaining how important it is for him to be alone and grow up in an environment that must become his own area. Since his is a criminal career he is certainly not the right example to take, but the initial speech he makes is certainly something to draw inspiration from. Here is the entire monologue made by one of the protagonists of this film:
I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be my product. Years ago we had the church; it was just a way of saying we were united. “The Knights of Columbus” were authentic troublemakers, real Italians, and dominated their slice of the city. In those days an Irishman couldn’t find a fucking job, but twenty years later we had the President, rest in peace. This is what the niggers don’t understand; if there is one thing I don’t like about black friends, it is this; no one gives you anything, you have to take it.
His speech is almost an invitation to roll up your sleeves and get busy. It sounds strange from a criminal who doesn’t show mercy for more power, but what he does offer is an important warning.
Get the most out and take what you want
“Nobody gives you anything”Is a simple sentence that holds a vast meaning. It means that nothing should be expected of anyone. Everything has to be earned and it takes perseverance, commitment and sacrifice to get the status you want to have. This is true in every area, be it family, work, training or sports.
Frank Costello’s character warns that it is very wrong in life to believe that you always have the easiest option at your fingertips and that there is always support or help from someone else. In reality, the climb is a hard path full of obstacles and a person can only reach the top if he starts from the assumption that he will have to do everything possible with his own strength, without expecting any kind of facilities.
The support from those close to us is often there but things can only be achieved if the person who carries them out is determined to make a decisive and important change. Expecting another person to take the first step for him is the most wrong action you can take. It is therefore correct to get to work, play your cards and seize the opportunities that arise.
What we are told in this film is that the final result is the consequence of our choices and our willingness to do everything possible to achieve our goal. Not necessarily there will be someone ready to reach out and there will probably always be difficulties to face, so you need to start a journey with the awareness that this is not a gift. The desire to go all the way must overcome the fear of not making it and being alone. If you really want something you have to do everything possible to take it and not give up because, as Costello says, “Nobody gives you anything“.