MAX: Well, I’m just tired by all this hysteria about Howard Beale. And I’m tired of finding you on the goddam phone every time I turn around. I’m tired of being an accessory in your life. After six months of living with you, I’m turning into one of your scripts. But this isn’t a script, Diana. There’s some real actual life going on here. I went to visit my wife today. She’s so depressed my daughter ﬂew in from Seattle to be with her.
Yes, I feel lousy about that. I feel lousy about the pain I’ve caused my wife and kids. I feel guilty and conscience-stricken and all those things you think sentimental but which my generation called simple human decency. And I miss my home because I’m beginning to get scared s—less. It’s all suddenly closer to the end than to the beginning, and death is suddenly a perceptible thing to me. You’ve got a man going through primal doubts, Diana, and you’ve got to cope with it. Because I’m not some guy discussing male menopause on the Barbara Walters show. I’m the man you presumably love. I’m part of your life. I live here. I’m real. You can’t switch to another station.
I just want you to love me. I just want you to love me, primal doubts and all. We’re born in terror and we live in terror. Life can be endured only as an act of faith and the only act of faith any of us are capable of is love. You understand that, don’t you? (The phone rings. They stare at one another. Finally she picks it up.) You are a wasteland, Diana.
*For Paddy Chayefsky’s original film version of this monologue, click here.