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Decision Before Dawn (1951) Poster

Quotes

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Lt. Dick Rennick: [Intro narration] Of all the questions left unanswered by the last war, and probably any war, one comes back constantly to my mind. Why does a spy risk his life... for what possible reason? If the spy wins, he's ignored. If he loses, he's shot.

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Lt Pete Gevers: And what are your political convictions?

Sgt. Rudolf Barth aka Tiger: My political convictions? I've never been able to afford any.

Col. Devlin: Then why do you want to work for us?

Sgt. Rudolf Barth aka Tiger: Because you are winning the war. Isn't that a good enough reason?

Col. Devlin: Well, good or bad, I suppose it's a valid one.

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Sgt. Paul Richter: "When we've won?" You still believe in that?

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Lt. Dick Rennick: [Concluding narration] A man stays alive as long as he's remembered, and is killed only by forgetfulness. So long, Happy. Let your real name remain unknown, but let the memory of your sacrifice serve as a key to the meanings of treason.

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American NCO: Come on, Kraut-heads. Get movin', you're holdin' up the war.

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Lt. Dick Rennick: Otherwise, the war hasn't changed much - crowded in the rear areas, and lonely as you got nearer and nearer the front, with nothing but a map to tell you where the enemy was supposed to be. But you soon discovered if your map was accurate enough.

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Sgt. Rudolf Barth aka Tiger: I didn't expect the job to be safe or pleasant. Why should you take Germans for safe work when your own people are in danger?

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Sgt. Paul Richter: We just closed our eyes and went along, until we found ourselves forced to fight the wrong enemy.

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Sgt. Paul Richter: The trouble with me is I want to stay alive. Like most of us, I talk but do nothing.

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Lt Pete Gevers: Even if means fighting against your own people?

Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy: I believe fighting against them now is fighting for them.

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Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy: I believe in a life in which one is not always afraid, in a life in which people are free and honest with each other. And I know we won't have this in Germany... until... until we have lost.

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Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy: Not any harder than fighting for something I knew was wrong.

Lt. Dick Rennick: You were a medic. You didn't really fight.

Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy: [pause] To be there is to fight.

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Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy: [amused, while having his fingerprints taken] I thought in America only criminals are fingerprinted.

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Col. Devlin: Furthermore, in any disagreement that might come, no matter what, Rennick will always be right. Get that through your head, Barth. Lieutenant Rennick will always be right.

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Col. Von Ecker: I had forgotten that people like that are too weak. They would never have the courage to kill, even if it is to save themselves.

Cpl. Karl Maurer aka Happy: Sometimes it takes more courage not to kill.

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Col. Von Ecker: Corporal, your profession is to save lives, even the unworthy. Well, mine is to take it, even the worthy.

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Col. Devlin: A kid like Happy, even if he came through it alive, a traitor's always a traitor, no matter what his reasons are.

Lt. Dick Rennick: We didn't hesitate about using him.

Col. Devlin: In a war, to save lives, you use whoever you can. Trouble is, you always lose the best ones 'cause the best ones are willing to take a chance.

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Lt. Dick Rennick: A soldier's not much good if he can't find his way back to his own outfit.

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