A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.
Chance the Gardener: I like to watch.
[With other poor black seniors, watching Chance on TV] Louise: It's for sure a white man's world in America. Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I'll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between th' ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jackass. Look at him now! Yes, sir, all you've gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want. Gobbledy-gook!
Dennis Watson: You know, I've never met anyone like you in Washington before. Chance the Gardener: Yes, I've been here all my life. Dennis Watson: Really? And uh, where have you been all MY life? [laughs] Dennis Watson: Ah, tell me, Mr. Gardner... have you ever had sex with a man? Chance the Gardener: No... I don't think so. Dennis Watson: We could go upstairs right now. Chance the Gardener: Is there a TV upstairs? I like to watch. Dennis Watson: You like to uh, watch? Chance the Gardener: Yes. Dennis Watson: You wait right here. I'll go get Warren!
[last lines] President "Bobby": Life is a state of mind.
Chance the Gardener: All I've got left is that room upstairs.
President "Bobby": Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives? [Long pause] Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden. President "Bobby": In the garden. Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again. President "Bobby": Spring and summer. Chance the Gardener: Yes. President "Bobby": Then fall and winter. Chance the Gardener: Yes. Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy. Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring! Benjamin Rand: Hmm! Chance the Gardener: Hmm! President "Bobby": Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time. [Benjamin Rand applauds] President "Bobby": I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.
Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say? Chance the Gardener: I can't write. Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I'll provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers... Chance the Gardener: I can't read. Ron Steigler: Of course you can't! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television... Chance the Gardener: I like to watch TV. Ron Steigler: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads!
Morton Hull: Do you realize that more people will be watching you tonight, than all those who have seen theater plays in the last forty years? Chance the Gardener: Why?
Abraz: Bullshit. Who sent you here, boy? Did that chickenshit asshole Raphael send you, boy? Chance the Gardener: No. Mr. Thomas Franklin told me I must leave the old man's house. He's dead, you know. Abraz: Dead, my ass. You tell that asshole, if he got somethin' to tell me, to get his ass down here himself! You got that, boy?
Doctor Allenby: This won't hurt a bit. [Sticks Chance with a needle] Chance the Gardener: It did hurt.
[Riding in a car for the first time] Chance the Gardener: This is just like television, only you can see much further.
[upon walking out of an elevator] Chance the Gardener: That was a very small room.
Abraz: Now move, honky, before I cut your white ass.
[Thomas and Johanna are watching Chance's interview on TV] Thomas Franklin: It's that gardener. Johanna, girl with Franklin: Yes, Chauncey Gardiner. Thomas Franklin: No, he's a real gardener. Johanna, girl with Franklin: He does talk like one. I think he's brilliant.
[first lines] Chance the Gardener: Good morning, Louise. Louise: He's dead, Chance. The old man's dead. Chance the Gardener: I see. [Chance goes back to watching TV]
Pallbearer: A man's past cripples him. His background turns into a swamp and invites scrutiny.