When Nora Met Nora

06.27.12

Nora Ephron’s Best Quotes

She was one of our wittiest writers, in any form, and she’s perhaps best appreciated in her sly, wisely original lines—they are works of beautiful brevity. Here are some of her best.

Nora Ephron was our Dorothy Parker, but she was a multimedia Dorothy Parker, excelling in books, films, scripts, humor. Perhaps her genius is best appreciated in her sly, aphoristic brevity. There is music in her quotes—note the “my heart does a little dance” and the “bounce bounce bounce.” Her prose wears tap shoes. Here are some of her best lines.

“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”
Heartburn

“I always read the last page of a book first so that if I die before I finish I'll know how it turned out.”
—Billy Crystal to Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally

“We all look good for our age. Except for our necks.”
I Feel Bad About My Neck

“I don't want to be someone that you're settling for. I don't want to be someone that anyone settles for. Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it, isn't it?”
—Walter from Sleepless in Seattle

“One of the only movies about marriage. Of course it's also about drinking."
—On The Thin Man, The Daily Beast

“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”
I Feel Bad About My Neck

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self.
—Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail

“I have for many years been puzzled by the persistence of Hugh Hefner. Why is he still here?”
—“Why Won’t Playboy Die?” Newsweek

“I have to murder and dismember a crustacean.”
—Amy Adams in Julie & Julia

“You are the butter to my bread, you are the breath to my life.”
—Paul Child to Julia, from Julie & Julia

“Suddenly, one day, there was this thing called parenting. Parenting was serious. Parenting was fierce. Parenting was solemn. Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading and worrying.”
—“Parenting in Three Stages”

“Whenever I get married, I start buying Gourmet magazine.”
Crazy Salad Plus Nine

“If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters. The beginning is glorious, especially if you're lucky enough not to have morning sickness and if, like me, you've had small breasts all your life. Suddenly they begin to grow, and you've got them, you've really got them, breasts, darling breasts, and when you walk down the street they bounce, truly they do, they bounce bounce bounce.”
Heartburn

“When you give up your apartment in New York and move to another city, New York becomes the worst version of itself.”
—"Moving On,” The New Yorker

“Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together ... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home ... only to no home I'd ever known ... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like ... magic.”
—Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle

“Sometimes I believe that some people are better at love than others, and sometimes I believe that everyone is faking it.”

“‘I need my umlaut,’ Blomkvist said. ‘What if I want to go to Svavelsjö? Or Strängnäs? Or Södertälje? What if I want to write to Wadensjö? Or Ekström or Nyström?’

It was a compelling argument.”
—“The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut,” The New Yorker

“Beware of men who cry. It's true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”

“My mother was a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you.”
Heartburn

“The Wonderbra is not a step forward for women. Nothing that hurts that much is a step forward for women.”
—1996 Wellesley College commencement address

And, the greatest of all:

“I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
—Billy Crystal to Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally