…No, I’m just gettin’ warmed up. I don’t know who went to this place – William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan, William Tell, whoever. Their spirit is dead, if they ever had one. It’s gone. You’re buildin’ a rat ship here. A vessel for sea-goin’ snitches. And if you think you’re preparin’ these minnows for manhood, you better think again. Because I say you are killin’ the very spirit this institution proclaims it instills! What a sham! What kind of a show are you guys puttin’ on here today. I mean, the only class in this act is sittin’ next to me. And I’m here to tell ya, this boy’s soul is intact. It’s non-negotiable. You know how I know? Someone here, and I’m not gonna say who, offered to buy it. Only Charlie here wasn’t sellin’….
Out of order, I’ll show you out of order! You don’t know what out of order is, Mr.Trask! I’d show you, but I’m too old, I’m too tired, I’m too f–kin’ blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I’d take a flame-thrower to this place. Out of order, who the hell do you think you’re talking to? I’ve been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And I have seen. Boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there isn’t nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that. You think you’re merely sending this splendid foot soldier back home to Oregon with his tail between his legs, but I say you are executin’ his soul! And why? Because he’s not a Baird man. Baird men. You hurt this boy, you’re gonna be Baird bums, the lot of ya. And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are out there, F–k You Too!…
I’m not finished! As I came in here, I heard those words – ‘Cradle of Leadership.’ Well, when the bow breaks, the cradle will fall. And it has fallen here. It has fallen. Makers of men. Creators of leaders. Be careful what kind of leaders you’re producin’ here. I don’t know if Charlie’s silence here today is right or wrong. I’m not a judge or jury. But I can tell you this. He won’t sell anybody out to buy his future! And that, my friends, is called integrity! That’s called courage! Now that’s the stuff leaders should be made of. Now I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard. Now here’s Charlie. He’s come to the crossroads. He has chosen a path. It’s the right path. It’s a path made of principle that leads to character. Let him continue on his journey. You hold this boy’s future in your hands, Committee. It’s a valuable future. Believe me. Don’t destroy it! Protect it. Embrace it. It’s gonna make ya proud one day, I promise you.
There was a Italian version of this movie in 1974, called “Profumo di donna“.
The Youtube clip. My question, after watching the clip, is during the shouting and cheering by the boys in the background Al Pacino leans in and whispers something in Chris O’Donnell ear, did he stay in character, was it something written down or did he just say, ‘the script calls for this so here I am whispering in your ear’.