American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988)

 

Preston Thomas Tucker Presents Closing Argument

Audio mp3 delivered by Jeff Bridges

Tucker: When I was a boy, I used to read all about Edison and the Wright brothers, Mr. Ford. They were my heroes. "Rags to Riches" -- that's not just the name of a book, that's what this country was all about. We invented the "free enterprise" system, where anybody, no matter who he was, where he came from, what class he belonged to -- if he came up with a better idea about anything, there's no limit to how far he could go.

I grew up a generation too late, I guess, because now the way the system works the loner, the dreamer, the crackpot who comes up with some crazy idea that everybody laughs at, that later turns out to revolutionize the world -- he's squashed from above before he even gets his head out of the water because the bureaucrats, they'd rather kill a new idea than let it rock the boat!! If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he'd be thrown in jail for sailing a kite without a license!

It's true. We're all puffed up with ourselves now 'cause we invented the bomb --dropped the -- beat the daylights out of the Japanese, the Nazis. But if big business closes the door on the little guy with a new idea, we're not only closing the door on progress, but we're sabotaging everything that we fought for! Everything that the country stands for!!

And one day we're going to find ourselves at the bottom of the heap instead of king of the hill, having no idea of how we got there, buying our radios and our cars from our former enemies.

[a juror laughs incredulously]

I don't believe that's going to happen. I can't believe it because if I ever stop believing in the plain 'ole common horse sense of the American people, be no way I could get out of bed in the morning.

Thank you.

Preston Thomas Tucker


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American Rhetoric.
HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.