Harry Wormwood Quotes in Matilda (1996)


Harry Wormwood Quotes:

  • Matilda: Daddy, you're a crook.

    Harry Wormwood: What?

    Matilda: This is illegal.

    Harry Wormwood: [hands the car drill to Mikey, then walks to Matilda] You make money? Do you have a job?

    Matilda: No, but don't people need good cars? Can't you sell good cars, Dad?

    Harry Wormwood: Listen, you little wiseacre: I'm smart, you're dumb; I'm big, you're little; I'm right, you're wrong, and there's nothing you can do about it.

  • Narrator: Everyone is born, but not everyone is born the same. Some will grow to be butchers, or bakers, or candlestick makers. Some will only be really good at making Jell-O salad. One way or another, though, every human being is unique, for better or for worse.

    [Harry takes his first look at Matilda, grunts, and leaves]

    Narrator: Most parents believe their children are the most beautiful creatures ever to grace the planet. Others take a less emotional approach.

    [Harry and Zinnia are leaving the hospital with the baby]

    Harry Wormwood: What a waste of time!

    Zinnia Wormwood: And painful!

    Harry Wormwood: And expensive, $9.25 for a bar of soap?

    Zinnia Wormwood: Well I had to take a shower, Harry!

    Harry Wormwood: $5,000? I'm not paying it. What're they going to do, repossess the kid?

  • Harry Wormwood: A book? What do you want a book for?

    Matilda: To read.

    Harry Wormwood: To read? Why would you want to read when you got the television set sitting right in front of you? There's nothing you can get from a book that you can't get from a television faster.

  • [after listing prices of cars bought and sold]

    Harry Wormwood: What was my profit for the day?

    Mikey: Could you repeat the last one?

    Matilda: [interrupting] $10,265.

    [long pause]

    Matilda: Check it if you don't believe me.

    Harry Wormwood: [he, Zinnia, and Mikey glance at the paper, then at Matilda] You're a little cheat, you saw the paper.

    Matilda: From all the way over here?

    Harry Wormwood: [suspicious] Are you being smart with me? If you're being smart with me, young lady, you're going to be punished.

    Matilda: Punished for being smart?

    Harry Wormwood: For being a smart aleck! When a person is bad, that person has to be taught a lesson!

    Matilda: Person?

    Harry Wormwood: Get up, get up...

    Narrator: Harry Wormwood had unintentionally given his daughter the first practical advice she could use. He had meant to say, "When a child is bad." Instead he said, "When a person is bad", and thereby introduced a revolutionary idea: that children could punish their parents. Only when they deserved it, of course.

  • Matilda: I love it here! I love my school... it isn't fair! Miss Honey, please don't let them...

    Harry Wormwood: [interrupting] Get in the car, Melinda!

    Matilda: Matilda!

    Harry Wormwood: Whatever.

    Matilda: I want to stay with Miss Honey.

    Zinnia Wormwood: Miss Honey doesn't want you. Why would she want some snotty, disobedient kid?

    Jenny: Because she's a spectacularly wonderful child and I love her.

    Matilda: Adopt me, Miss Honey! You can adopt me.

    Harry Wormwood: Look, I don't have time for all these legalities!

    Matilda: One second, Dad. I have the adoption papers.

    Zinnia Wormwood: What? Where did you get those?

    Matilda: From a book in the library. I've had them since I was big enough to Xerox.

  • Agatha Trunchbull: I need a car, inexpensive but reliable. Can you service me?

    Harry Wormwood: In a manner of speaking, yes. Uh, welcome to Wormwood Motors. Harry Wormwood, owner, founder, whatever.

    Agatha Trunchbull: Agatha Trunchbull, principal, Crunchem Hall Elementary School.

    Harry Wormwood: Huh.

    Agatha Trunchbull: I warn you, sir, I want a tight car, because I run a tight ship.

    Harry Wormwood: Oh yeah, huh, well, uh...

    Agatha Trunchbull: My school is a model of discipline! Use the rod, beat the child, that's my motto.

    Harry Wormwood: Terrific motto!

    Agatha Trunchbull: You have brats yourself?

    Harry Wormwood: Yeah, I got a boy, Mikey, and one mis-*take*, Matilda.

    Agatha Trunchbull: They're all mistakes, children! Filthy, nasty things. Glad I never was one.

  • Zinnia Wormwood: Look, Miss Snit, a girl does not get anywhere by acting intelligent! I mean, take a look at you and me. You chose books - I chose looks. I have a nice house, a wonderful husband... and you are slaving away teaching snot-nosed children their ABCs. You want Matilda to go to college? Ha, ha, ha, ha...

    Harry Wormwood: College?


    Harry Wormwood: I didn't go to college. I don't know anybody who did. Bunch of hippies and cesspool salesmen, ha ha ha ha...

    Jenny: [insulted] Don't sneer at educated people, Mr. Wormwood. If you became ill, heaven forbid, your doctor would be a college graduate.

    Harry Wormwood: Yeah...

    Jenny: Or - or say you were sued for selling a faulty car. The lawyer who defended you would have gone to college, too.

    Harry Wormwood: What car? Sued by who? Who you been talking to?

    Jenny: N-nobody.


    Jenny: I can see we're not going to agree, are we?

  • Harry Wormwood: Any packages come today?

    Matilda: Mm-mm.

    Harry Wormwood: [noticing her books] Where'd all this come from?

    Matilda: The library.

    Harry Wormwood: The library? You've never set foot in a library. You're only four years old.

    Matilda: Six-and-a-half.

    Harry Wormwood: You're four!

    Matilda: Six-and-a-half!

    Harry Wormwood: If you were six-and-a-half, you'd be in school already.

    Matilda: I want to be in school. I told you I was supposed to start school in September. You wouldn't listen.

    Harry Wormwood: Get up, get up, get out of here, give me that book.

    [He drags Matilda, throwing the book aside, to where Zinnia is]

    Harry Wormwood: Dearest pie, how old is Matilda?

    Zinnia Wormwood: Four.

    Matilda: I'm six-and-a-half, mommy!

    Zinnia Wormwood: Five, then!

    Matilda: I was six in August.

    Harry Wormwood: You're a liar.

    Matilda: I want to go to school.

    Harry Wormwood: School? It's out of the question. Who would be here to sign for the packages? We can't leave valuable packages sitting out on the doorstep. Now go watch TV like a good kid.

    [Matilda leaves]

    Zinnia Wormwood: You know, sometimes I think there's something wrong with that girl.

    Harry Wormwood: Hmph, tell me about it.

  • Harry Wormwood: [to Michael, who is choking on a carrot Matilida shot at his mouth with her powers] Chew your food; you're an animal!

  • Harry Wormwood: Are you in this family?

    Matilda: Mmmm...

    Harry Wormwood: Hello?

    [short pause]

    Harry Wormwood: Are you in this family?

    [switches the lamp off]

    Harry Wormwood: Dinner time is family time. What is this trash you're reading?

    Matilda: It's not trash, Daddy, it's lovely. It's called "Moby Dick", by Herman Melville.

    Harry Wormwood: Moby *what*?

    [snatching the book from Matilda and tears the pages out of the cover]

    Harry Wormwood: This is Filth! Trash...!

    Matilda: It's not mine! It's a library book!

    Harry Wormwood: I'm fed up with all this reading! You're a Wormwood, you start acting like one! Now sit up and look at the TV.

  • Matilda: Dad?

    Harry Wormwood: What do you want?

    Matilda: Yell at me, okay?

    Harry Wormwood: SHUT UP AND LEAVE US ALONE!

    Matilda: Yell at me again!

    Harry Wormwood: [in a rage] Yell at ya?

    [storming towards her]

    Harry Wormwood: I'll come in there and pound your miserable hide! What do I have to do to gain respect around here? I'm gonna give you a tanning like you never had in your life! My word is my law!

    [Matilda uses her powers to slam her bedroom door in Harry's face just as he reaches it]

  • Harry Wormwood: [Matilda arrives home from school late at night after Bruce Bogtrotter's encounter with the Trunchbull] Young lady, where were you?

    Matilda: Miss Trunchbull kept the whole school late because this boy ate some chocolate cake.

    Harry Wormwood: That's the biggest lie I've ever heard. Did you see all those packages outside? They were left out there for the whole world to see because you weren't here to take 'em in!

  • Matilda: [after Matilda destroys the Wormwoods' TV with her powers] I didn't do it.

    Harry Wormwood: Of course you didn't do it, you little twit.

  • Zinnia Wormwood: [cutting off Harry's hat with scissors] I still don't see how you glued your hat on, Harry. I mean, I know you say you didn't, but obviously, you did.

    Harry Wormwood: I did *not* glue my hat to my head! The hat shrunk! The fibers fused to my hair!

  • Harry Wormwood: [appalled at Zinnia talking with FBI agents Bill and Bob] What is this, a hot tub party? Get the hell outta here! I slave all day, and you're entertaining a couple of surfer dude bodybuilders!

    Matilda: [off to the side] They're cops, Dad.

  • Harry Wormwood: From now on, this family does *exactly* what I say, when exactly, when I say it!

    [turns off his lamp]

    Harry Wormwood: And right now, we are eating dinner and watching TV!

  • [Harry has ordered out of the house the FBI agents, whom Zinnia had just been talking to]

    Zinnia Wormwood: You don't let me talk to people! I live in a cage, Harry! I need to talk to SOMEBODY besides our stupid kids!

    Harry Wormwood: Oh, yeah? Well, a man is entitled to come home and find dinner on the table, without having to wait for a convention of male strippers!

  • Harry Wormwood: Since you're an educator, I'll make you a deal.

    Agatha Trunchbull: You'd better.

    Harry Wormwood: Let's do business.

Browse more character quotes from Matilda (1996)