Alan Arkin Quotes

“I know that if I can’t move people, then I have no business being an actor.” – Alan Arkin

“It’s murder to doubt yourself in life. It took until I was 45 to get to that point. As hard as it is in your work, it’s harder in your life. But it can be done.” – Alan Arkin

“Truth is always unfolding. It’s not an absolute.” – Alan Arkin

Truth is always unfolding.

“Marriage requires searing honesty at all costs. I learned that from my third wife.” – Alan Arkin

“But one of the things I learned from improvising is that all of life is an improvisation, whether you like it or not. Some of the greatest scientific discoveries of the 20th century came out of people dropping things.” – Alan Arkin

“I don’t believe in competitions between artists. This is insane. Who has the authority to say someone is better?” – Alan Arkin

“That’s what we’re all doing, all the time, whether we know it or not. Whether we like it or not. Creating something on the spur of the moment with the materials at hand. We might just as well let the rest of it go, join the party, and dance our hearts out.” – Alan Arkin

That's what we're all doing,

“I don’t believe there’s anything in life you can’t go back and fix. The ancient Vedas – the oldest Hindu philosophy – and modern science agree that time is an illusion. If that’s true, there’s no such thing as a past or a future – it’s all one huge now. So what you fix now affects the past and the future.” – Alan Arkin

“I used to watch the world as if it was a performance and I would realize that certain things that people did moved me, and certain things didn’t move me, and I tried to analyze, even at that age, six and seven and eight, why I was moved by certain things they did” – Alan Arkin

“I don’t love the business. I never wanted to be a part of it. I don’t think any actor does. Most of the time, I’ve been really fortunate to work with people who are really fun to work with. It doesn’t mean we don’t take it seriously, but no one is under the delusion (that we’re) bringing world peace.” – Alan Arkin

“No matter how much time you spend reading books or following your intuition, you’re gonna screw it up. Fifty times. You can’t do parenting right.” – Alan Arkin

No matter how much time

“Hollywood is a strange place. The class structure here is more rigid than almost anyplace I’ve ever experienced. It’s made more difficult by the fact that it’s constantly changing. You never know what class you belong to unless you’re one of the two or three people that have been in the same echelon for a long, long time.” – Alan Arkin

“Is it possible to have an endless series of successes without falling on our faces? I suppose it is, but I think it would entail doing the same things over and over again without taking chances, without taking risks or exploring our limits, without finding out what we can and can’t do.” – Alan Arkin

“TV has taken reflection out of the human condition. People didn’t use to have a ready answer for everything, whether they knew something about it or not. People think they have to have an answer for everything because the guys on TV have an answer for everything. But it’s bullsh**t! Reflection is crucial.” – Alan Arkin

“Creativity means learning where the rules exist, and then breaking them! Saying, “It’s better this way.” But you have to know the rules in order to break them with any grace.” – Alan Arkin

Creativity means learning

“I read somewhere that some people believe that the entire universe is a matrix of living thought. And I said, “Man, if that’s not a definition of God, I don’t know what is.” – Alan Arkin

“I’ve always considered myself an actor, but I wasn’t making a living as an actor.” – Alan Arkin

“All I can say is if the part doesn’t delight me in some way, or I can’t feel any compassion for it, I just can’t do it.” – Alan Arkin

“Things are never going to turn out how you think they will.” – Alan Arkin

Things are never going to

“Every physicist knows that things connect with each other. To isolate things is not the way the universe works – winning best actor is arbitrary.” – Alan Arkin

“A product is most easily sold when it has an identity. So they wrap you all up and put a label on you. And then that’s what you have to be. But what I’m looking for is the opportunity to explore what I can do, probing the limits, learning.” – Alan Arkin

“‘Catch-22’ was a huge failure, and it rubbed off on everybody connected to it. I had a bunch of lean years where I had to do things, a lot of which I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about.” – Alan Arkin

“I had a hard time treating my field as if it’s horse racing, putting actors in competition against each other. I see how the industry and the studios feel it’s important, but I don’t really have a feeling for being in competition. I want to feel sympathetic and close to others, not opposed to them.” – Alan Arkin

I had a hard time treating my

“I don’t live in L.A. on purpose because I don’t wanna be immersed in that. I have to have a real life, with real people, in order to inform what I’m doing; otherwise, it just becomes the snake eating its own tail. Vampirism.” – Alan Arkin

“My favorite kind of film is serious comedy. Comedy with serious underpinning.” – Alan Arkin

“[The business is] more corporate and more formulaic and less experiential.” – Alan Arkin

“No matter what you do or where you are, you’re going to be missing out on something.” – Alan Arkin

No matter what you do

“If I’m going to make a fake movie, it’s going to be a fake hit.” – Alan Arkin

“I gotta keep busy. I’m not happy unless I’m working on two, three things.” – Alan Arkin

“I don’t think it does the audience any good to know what I do to prepare. It keeps it more of a surprise. I don’t feel like it has to be a mystery.” – Alan Arkin

“I played guitar. I’ve always considered myself an actor, but I wasn’t making a living as an actor. So I was in a couple of folk groups that managed to keep me in underwear and burritos.” – Alan Arkin

I played guitar. I've always

“Two-thirds of American movies are extensions of commercials — they tell you how to feel and they tell you how to think — rather than letting you figure it out on your own.” – Alan Arkin

“You know what Andy Warhol’s sole contribution to this country has been? He made Campbell’s Soup a household word.” – Alan Arkin

“There’s a familiarity that sometimes shocks and annoys the hell out of me. People want a relationship with you that they haven’t earned.” – Alan Arkin

There's a familiarity that sometimes

“Either you’re growing or you’re decaying; there’s no middle ground. If you’re standing still, you’re decaying.” – Alan Arkin