“I’m a human being, God damn it!”

Classic scene from Paddy Chayefsky’s Network (1976).

From the screenplay:

— and, suddenly, the obsessed face of HOWARD BEALE,
gaunt, haggard, red-eyed with unworldly fervor, hair
streaked and plastered on his brow, manifestly mad,
fills the MONITOR SCREEN.

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
I don’t have to tell you things
are bad. Everybody knows things
are bad. It’s a depression.
Everybody’s out of work or scared
of losing their job, the dollar
buys a nickel’s worth, banks are
going bust, shopkeepers keep a
gun under the counter, punks
are running wild in the streets,
and there’s nobody anywhere who
seems to know what to do, and
there’s no end to it. We know
the air’s unfit to breathe and
our food is unfit to eat, and
we sit and watch our tee-vees
while some local newscaster
tells us today we had fifteen
homicides and sixty-three
violent crimes, as if that’s
the way it’s supposed to be.
We all know things are bad.
Worse than bad. They’re crazy.
It’s like everything’s going
crazy. So we don’t go out any
more. We sit in the house, and
slowly the world we live in
gets smaller, and all we ask is

please, at least leave us alone
in our own living rooms. Let me
have my toaster and my tee-vee
and my hair-dryer and my steel-
belted radials, and I won’t say
anything, just leave us alone.
Well, I’m not going to leave you
alone. I want you to get mad —

ANOTHER ANGLE showing the rapt attention of the PEOPLE
in the control room, especially of DIANA

HOWARD
I don’t want you to riot. I
don’t want you to protest. I
don’t want you to write your
congressmen. Because I wouldn’t
know what to tell you to write.
I don’t know what to do about the
depression and the inflation and
the defense budget and the Russians
and crime in the street. All
I know is first you got to get
mad. You’ve got to say: “I’m
mad as hell and I’m not going
to take this any more. I’m a
human being, goddammit. My life
has value.” So I want you to
get up now. I want you to get
out of your chairs and go to
the window. Right now. I want
you to go to the window, open
it, and stick your head out
and yell. I want you to yell:
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not
going to take this any more!”

DIANA
(grabs HUNTER’s
shoulder)
How many stations does this
go out live to?

HUNTER
Sixty-seven. I know it goes out
to Atlanta and Louisville,
I think —

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)
— Get up from your chairs.
Go to the window. Open it.
Stick your head out and yell
and keep yelling —

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