SS officer: [to Sophie] You’re so beautiful. I’d like to get you in bed. Are you a Polack? You! Are you also one of those filthy communists?
Sophie: I am a Pole! I was born in Cracow! I am not a Jew. Neither are my children! They’re not Jews. They are racially pure. I am a Christian. I am a devout Christian.
[the officer comes back]
SS officer: You are not a communist? You are a believer?
Sophie: Yes sir, I believe in Christ.
SS officer: You believe in Christ the redeemer?
SS officer: [looks at Sophie’s children] Did He not say… “Suffer the children, come unto me?”
[Sophie remains silent]
SS officer: You may keep one of your children.
Sophie: I beg your pardon?
SS officer: You may keep one of your children. The other must go away.
Sophie: You mean, I have to choose?
SS officer: You are a Polack, not a Yid. That gives you a privilege, a choice.
Sophie: I can’t choose. I can’t choose!
SS officer: Be quiet.
Sophie: I can’t choose!
SS officer: Make a choice. Or I’ll send both of them over there. Make a choice.
Sophie: Don’t make me choose! I can’t!
SS officer: Shut up! Enough! I’ll send them both over there! I told you to shut up! Make a choice!
Sophie: I can’t choose! Please! I can’t choose!
SS officer: [to an officer] Take BOTH children away!
[Sophie clings on to her son while the Nazis take her screaming and crying daughter away from her]
Sophie: Take my little girl! Take my baby!
— Sophie (Meryl Streep), SS Officer (Peter Wegenbreth), Sophie’s Choice (1984), screenplay by Alan J. Pakula, based on the novel by William Styron
The actual clip is here.
The Daily Dialogue theme for the week is World War II, suggested by Phil. Sophie’s Choice suggested by Teddy Pasternak.
Trivia: Meryl Streep did the final scene (her choice) in one take and refused to do it again, saying that as a mother, she found it too painful and emotionally draining. Years later, Streep appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show and the scene of her choice was shown. Meryl was uncomfortable while the clip was playing and she revealed that she had never watched the scene before that very moment.
Dialogue On Dialogue: Has there been a more gut-wrenching movie scene than this?