A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers script is here for all you fans of the Wayne Wang movie. This puppy is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of the movie to get the dialogue. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and all that jazz, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. At least you'll have some A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers quotes (or even a monologue or two) to annoy your coworkers with in the meantime, right?

And swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards -- because reading is good for your noodle. Better than Farmville, anyway.

A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers Script

This is the rocket scientist
I was sitting next to on the plane.

Mr. Shi, this is
my sister Barb.

how do you do?

My daughter.

- Oh, hi. I'm Yilan.
- Hi. Nice to meet you.

Mr. Shi told me the most
fascinating stories.

Old stories.
I'm retired.

Well, you have a
wonderful visit in America.

- Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you. Bye-bye.






Good afternoon, sir.


No, thanks.

Good morning.

Good morning.

What are you writing?


Well, it's a beautiful day.

Uh, yes.


You no work today.

You no work yesterday.


Yeah, well, I'm unemployed
at the moment.

I can't seem
to find a job.

What you do?

Oh, well, I studied to be
a forensic scientist.

- Scientist?
- Yeah.  Uh-huh.

Oh, good good.

I scientist--
rocket scientist.

Oh my God,
that is so cool.

That is so cool.

I want to be
a forensic scientist.

Have you ever been
in a cadaver lab?

It's very peaceful.
It's very peaceful.

We once had a brain that we
sliced up like a loaf of bread--

Well, pretty much everything
sliced up for our convenience.

A lot of people think
I'm weird and morbid,

but I think I have a very
sunny outlook on things.

Oh, yes,
you like sun.

- Uh-huh. Yes.
- Good good.

Uh, goodbye.

Oh, bye. Bye.


Good weather.






17 years.

Come up.




Sing one summer-- die.

Zari-Jon, salom.

To park.

Adult school.


Hello in Farsi--

Say salom.

- Say salom.
- No, salom.


Salom, hello--


Ni Hao.

Ni Hao.


Cell phone.

Have cell phone?


My wife--

Oh. Oh.

She die.

No phone.

No cell phone.


Liver cancer.

Good afternoon, sir.

How you do?

Good good.

This is Elder Reilly
and I'm Elder Leach.

How are you today, sir?



You look like you're a little
worried about something.

Are you okay?

Sir, have you ever thought
about finding answers

to all the questions
you have?


like cold water.

No good to stomach.


Sir, have you ever heard
of the prophet Joseph Smith?

Or of this book,
the Book of Mormon?

Joseph Smith brought the
Book of Mormon to the world

and we believe it
to be

the most correct book
on the earth.


"awake, my sons.

Put on the armor
of righteousness.

Shake off the chains
with which you are bound

and come forth
out of obscurity

and arise
from the dust."

What it means is

this is a prophet

and he is talking
to his sons.

And he's telling them

to break--
break out of the chains,

to be strong.

To stand up.

Workers in the world,
come together.

You free.
You have world.

You know who said this?

No, I'm afraid not, sir.

Marx, Engels.

You too young.

Is he a Chinese wise man?

Yes, clever.

Sir, there are
many wise sayings

by many wise people,

but what we seek
to learn,

what helps us

answer the questions
we have

are the words
of the prophets of God.

I not know

your god.

China no have god.

That's why we're here
talking to you, sir.

Yes yes.

Do you have any questions?

Questions many many.

I not know English.

Would you like some
Chinese missionaries--

speak to missionaries
to help you understand?

I see you--

I remember myself.



- Okay.
- Thank you.

I finish book--

I see you.

"Indian summer."

"Indian summer."

"Indian summer."

 one little,
two little 

 three little

My daughter--

My daughter--
she not happy.


It's good.
Have daughter is good.

Be happy.


Her husband--

He go China,

no back.
No back.


I ask.

My daughter
no talk.


Yes, my husband,

husband of mine left.



Another woman?

My-- husband of mine



three years.


Iran-- return.

- Oh.
- Return to hell.





I study Russian.



Communist no bad.

Communist in bad hands.

Bad hand, bad foot,

bad Kalle.
Communist bad.

I-- I love America.

Yes yes.

- Yes yes.
- Yes?


Thank you.

I love America.

My son,

big son,

here-- doctor.

Good life.

Good car.

Good house.

All America.

You have son-- good.

My daughter

close to mama.

I make rocket.

We no talk.

I-- no good father.


"Men seeking men."

"Women seeking women."

Oh, hi.

Well, if every child did the
right thing with the parent,

We would lose half of our
traditional Chinese literature.

Yes, you're right.

Yeah, I'll try.

All right, I'll see you
in a little bit, okay?


I need go.

You come.
I know here.

You sorry.
I sorry.


Baby son.
Son baby son come.


- Son have son.
- Son have son.

Baby son.


Where grandson?


I go hospital.

Where you go?

my friend drive.

Oh, no.

I take bus.
How do you do, madam?

Hello, sir.


I must tell to you

I had daughter.


In Iran.

Not here?

No, not here.

She died in Iran.

Look look.



Eight years war.

Two crazy men--

Lose daughter.
Lose daughter.

Sad story.

You look good side.

You two sons.

You baby grandson.

You grandmama.

You good.
You good.


Hello there.

How do you do?

Can I help you?

I looking something.

Take your time.

I have a feeling
I have here in my store

Exactly what you're
looking for.

So what are you
looking for?

Present-- my daughter.

Something old,
very old.

I see.

How about this?

A friend of mine has a
trading post in Montana.

His great-grandfather
used this knife

in Custer's last stand.

Have you ever been
to the museum in Montana?

You see, Custer stood
maybe about that tall.

He had little feet--


Something good luck.

I see.

Now I get you.

What about this--

Good luck
for Native Americans?

Good luck American.

Native Americans.
American Indians.

These bears
were very special

and thought to possess
magic powers.

The spirit of the bear--
very good luck, see?

I can find the tribal
certificate if you want to see.

Forget the certificate.

Take my word,
it's one of a kind.

Is this old?

Well, honestly,

maybe it's not
that old

but if you want something
from 300 years ago,

you need to pay
big bucks.

And this conceptually

is as old as
a 300-year-old piece.

- Dad.

Oh, Yilan.

 No one is available to take your call.

Please leave a message
after the tone.



Good morning.

I go here.

Oh, I'm going downtown and I can
transfer you to the right bus.

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

Sir, your I.D., please.

I look--

I'm sorry, sir,
this facility

is only for
the college community.

She work here, library.

My daughter.
My daughter work--

I'm sorry, sir,
but this facility

is for law students and
college community only.

I'm sorry.


I'm father.


Madam okay?

Grandson okay?

Madam fine.
Grandson fine.

She wasn't going to the
hospital to see her grandson.

I moved her into
the retirement home.

Retire home?

Old people home.

Old people

Madam big son,


she say
he take care madam.

Big house.

Not anymore.

Him and his wife--
they don't want madam

to take care
of their baby.



- Mister manager.
- Yes, sir.

Uh, more bus?

No, sir, that was
the last one for tonight.

My daughter no home.

I wait.

The least she could have
done was giving you a call

And saying that she'd either
be out late with friends

- Or working late.
- Yes yes.

I spent 11 years
with the C.I.A.,

so when my kids would
take off for a little while

I always knew
where they were,

or at least
I thought I did.


Mm-hmm, yes, I was
with them 11 years.

But, you know, our kids
worry us all the time.

We feed them. We clothe
them. We love them.

And then they turn
around and they bite us.

I worry.
I worry.

Well, that's all we
can do as a parent,

is worry and hope,
you know?

Hope good.
Hope good.

I'll have to agree
with you there.

You know,
when she gets home

sit down and have a
little talk with her.

And if that doesn't work, give
her a swift kick in the shins.

Good night, sir.
You have a good evening.

Oh, good.
Thank you.

You know, in China

we have an old saying--

What does it mean?

"It takes 300 years
of prayers

to cross a river
in a boat with someone.

It takes 3,000 years
of prayers

to share a pillow
with someone."

How many prayers
did we say?

Not enough for us to
become husband and wife.

You know,

you probably
should work

on getting your wife and
daughter to come to America.

I'll see if I can get
another Russian class

to T.A. next semester.

You may think
how much money you make

is important
to your daughter,

but maybe

you just don't know
girls as daughters.

And someday

before it's too late

you may want to explain
something to her--

something about love,


and all the things that
her mother doesn't know.

I'm perfectly fine.


 I waved to you 

 as my boat
was leaving 

 hats flew up 

 and everybody cheered 

 but you turned 

 as I guess
someone spoke to you 

 and in a sea
of arms 

 you disappeared 

 I live a life 

 of a ragged soldier 

 the secretary 

 to a rebel king 

 he kept us
drunk and hungry 

 in a jungle 

 tangled in the lilies 

 of his scheme 

 we gambled 

 and we fought
with one another 

 we had no Code 

 to give us unity 

 most died among us 

 without god or honor 

 as blood became 

 our faith and currency 

 but all the while 

 I kept your name
beside me 

 I wrote it 

 but refused it
on my tongue 

 believing you a song 

 still there
inside me 

 I feared your loss 

 if ever it was sung 

 I found myself
at last 

 on a shoreline 

 I booked
my passage home 

 and stood in tears 

 with a bag of apples 

 and a forged passport 

 the first I'd seen
my face 

 in seven years 

 now I wonder
at the day 

 when I might
find you 

among the living 

 at your door 

 will you have
a husband 

 and some children? 

 will we
share a secret 


 oh, life is brutal 

 to the weak
and sober 

 its powers
of persuasion 

 dark and grey 

 it pushes
its way up 

 to the railing 

 and it turns
its face 

 as you start
to wave. 

Special thanks to SergeiK.