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Quotations from The Life of Emile Zola

The Life of Emile Zola is a biographical drama film that follows the life of Émile Zola, a French muckracker during the late 19th century. The film begins by showing the young and struggling writer sharing a Paris attic with painter Paul Cézanne. Zola receives his first breakthrough when he meets a street prostitute when she is hiding from a police raid. He ends up using the basis of her story along with what she tells him to write his first best seller, "Nana". The film continues throughout more best sellers and eventually his involvement in the Dreyfus affair. Directed by William Dieterle. Starring Paul Muni, Joseph Schildkraut, Gloria Holden, and Gale Sondergaard.

The Life of Emile Zola won three Oscar awards, including Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay. The film is now preserved within the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Continue reading for some quotes from The Life of Emile Zola.


Émile Zola: What does it matter if an individual is shattered - if only justice is resurrected?
Émile Zola: At this solemn moment, in the presence of this tribunal, which is the representative of human justice, before France, before the whole world, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent! By all that I have won, by all that I have written to spread the spirit of France, I swear that he is innocent. May all that melt away; may my name perish if Dreyfus be not innocent. He is innocent.
Émile Zola: [reading from his letter "I Accuse"] I shall tell the truth. Because if I did not, my nights would be haunted by the spectre of an innocent man expiating under the most frightful torture a crime he never committed.
Émile Zola: Why didn't Picquart say anything?
Lucie Dreyfus: Colonel Picquart is a good officer. He kept silent at the request of his superiors.
Émile Zola: You mean they KNEW and they ordered him to suppress the truth? Why,that's monstrous!
La Rue: We've been watching your writings, young man. You're a troublemaker! These articles of yours, attacking our leading men of letters, the arts! Criticizing the civic authorities!
Émile Zola: Perhaps you know of something better for me to criticize?
Émile Zola: Not only is an innocent man crying out for justice, but more, much more—a great nation is in desperate danger of forfeiting her honor!
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