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To Kill a Mockingbird, pages 67 - 82 of the screenplay by Horton Foote

Author: Based on the Novel by Harper Lee


Atticus rises and walks toward the jury.

They watch with no show of emotion. As Atticus talks, he looks into the eyes of the men of the jury as if to find one to encourage him.

Atticus. To begin with, this case should never have come to trial. The State has not produced one iota of medical evidence that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place. It has relied instead on the testimony of two witnesses . . . whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. There is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Mayella Ewell was beaten savagely by someone who led almost exclusively with his left. And Tom Robinson now sits before you having taken the oath with his right hand, the only good hand he possesses. I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the State. She is a victim of cruel poverty and ignorance. But my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man’s life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt. Now, I say guilt, gentlemen, because it - was guilt that motivated her. She has committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time^ honored code of our society. A.code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with. She must destroy the evidence of her offense. But what was the evidence of her offense? Tom Robinson, a human being. She must put Tom Robinson away from her. Tom Robinson was for her a daily reminder of what she did.. And what did she do? She tempted' a Negro. She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something

that in our society is unspeakable. She kissed a black man. Not an old uncle, but a strong, young Negro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards. The witnesses for the State, with the exception of the Sheriff of Maycomb County, have presented themselves to you' gentlemen, to this court, in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted. Confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption, the evil assumption,' that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women. An assumption one associates with minds of their caliber, and which is in itself, gentlemen, a lie, which I do not need to point out to you. And so, a quiet, humble, respectable Negro, who has had the unmitigated temerity to feel sorry for a white woman, has had to put his word against two white people. The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is. Now, gentlemen, in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal.

(The faces of the men of the jury haven't changed expression. Atticus' face begins to perspire. He wipes it with a handkerchief.)

I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system. That is no ideal to me. It is a living, working reality. Now I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this man to his family. In the name of God, do your duty. In the name of God, believe Tom Robinson.

(Atticus turns away from the jury. He walks and sits down next to Tom at the table.)


Jem is leaning on the rail of the balcony.

Reverend Sykes is behind him, with Dill sleeping next to him. The Reverend fans himself with his hat.

Jem. How long has the jury been out now, Reverend?

Sykes. Let’s see . . . (He pulls out his pocket watch and looks at it.) Almost two hours now.

Jem. I think that’s an awful good sign, don’t you?

(Reverend Sykes doesn't answer him.)


The jury comes back into the courtroom.

Tom is brought in and walks toward Atticus. The jailer unlocks the handcuffs from Tom. Tom sits next to Atticus. The Bailiff enters the courtroom, followed by the Judge.

Bailiff. Court’s now in session. Everybody rise.

(The group in the courtroom rises. The Judge climbs to his chair and sits down. The spectators are then seated.)

Judge. Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?

Foreman. We have, your honor.

Judge. Will the defendant please rise and face the jury. (Tom Robinson rises and faces the jury.)

"What is your verdict?

Foreman. We find the defendant guilty as charged.

(Tom sits down beside Atticus.)

Judge. Gentlemen, this jury is dismissed.

Bailiff. Court’s adjourned.

{The Judge rises and exits through the door. The crowd murmurs and begins to disperse. The jailer moves to Tom and puts handcuffs on him. Atticus walks, with Tom.)

Atticus. I’ll go to see Helen first thing in the morning.

I told her not to be disappointed, we’d probably lose this time.

(Tom looks at him but doesn't answer.)

Tom . . .

(Atticus-turns from the door and walks to his table. He starts to gather up the papers on his desk. He puts them in his briefcase. He starts to leave the courtroom. He walks down the middle aisle. Scout is leaning over the rail watching her father and the people below. As Atticus walks down the aisle; the Negroes in the balcony start to rise until all are standing. Scout is so busy watching Atticus that she isn't aware of this. Reverend Sykes taps her on the shoulder.)

Sykes. Miss Jean Louise . . . Miss Jean Louise.

(Scout looks around.)

Miss Jean Louise, stand up, your father’s passin’.

(Scout rises. The Reverend puts his arm around her. Everyone in the colored balcony remains standing until Atticus exits out the courtroom door.)


Miss Maudie is alone on her porch. She sees Atticus and the children coming down the sidewalk. She goes out to her yard. Atticus and the children come up to her.

Maudie. Atticus . . . {The children go to the porch and sit down.) I. . . I’m sorry, Atticus.

Atticus. Well, thank you, Maudie.

(A car comes down the road and stops in front of Miss

Maudie's house. Heck Tate is at the wheel.)

Tate. Atticus, can I see you for a minute?

Atticus. Would you excuse me?

(Maudie nods, and Atticus moves to the car and talks to

Tate. Maudie sits next to Jem on the steps.)

Maudie. Jem.

Jem. Yes’m.

Maudie. I don’t know if it’ll help, but I want to say this to you. There are some men in this world who were bora to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father’s one of them.

(Heck Tate drives off. Atticus stands quietly for a moment

and then walks back to the steps.)

What’s the matter, Atticus?

Atticus. Tom Robinson’s dead. They were taking him to Abbottsville for safekeeping. Tom broke loose and ran. The deputy called out to him to stop. Tom didn’t stop. He shot at him to wound him and missed his aim. Killed him. The deputy says Tom just ran like a crazy man. The last thing I told him

was not to lose heart, that we’d ask for an appeal. We had such a good chance. We had more than a good chance. I have to go out and tell his family. Would you look after the children, Maudie?

Jem (starting after him). Atticus, you want me to go with you?

Atticus. No Son, I think I’d better go out there alone.

Jem (still going after him). Atticus, Atticus, I’m goin’ with you.

Atticus. All right, Son.

(He waits for Jem to catch up to him. Maudie, DiH, and Scout stay huddled together on the steps watching them go. Atticus drives the car out of the garage and they go off.)


■The house is dark and quiet, as are all the little houses near It. Atticus drives the car in and shines the headlights on the porch of the house where the Robinson family is seated and standing, talking. Spence,

Tom's father, sits on the steps of the house. Atticus and Jem drive up to the house. Atticus stops the car and gets out.

Spence sees who it is and comes to him.

Spence. Hello, Mr. Finch. I’m Spence, Tom’s father. (They shake hands.)

Atticus. Hello, Spence. Is Helen here?

Spence. Yes Sir. She’s inside, lyin’ down, tryin5 to get a little sleep. We been talkin’ about the appeal, Mr. Finch. How long do you think it’ll take?

Atticus. Spence, there isn’t going to be any appeal now. Tom is dead.

(Helen Robinson comes out of the front door. They all move toward her. Atticus takes off his hat.)

Helen . ..

(Helen gives a little moan and falls over into the dirt of the yard. Spence and Atticus go to her. They lift her. She is crying. They half-carry her into the house as the others watch.)

(Bob Ewell comes up the road and stands near Atticus' car. He calls to one of the Negro children in the yard. Jem watches from inside the car.)

Ewell. Boy, go inside and tell Atticus Finch I said to come out here. Go on, boy.

(The boy goes inside the house. Ewell stands in front of the car. He turns and looks at Jem. Atticus comes out of the house and stands on the porch. He walks down the steps, past the Negroes, and goes to Ewell and stands in front of him. Ewell spits in Atticus' face. Atticus stares at him, wipes off his face, and starts to get into the car. He and Jem drive off as Ewell watches them angrily.)


Jean Louise (voice over). By October, things had settled down again. I still looked for Boo every time I went by the Radley place.

(Scout is walking on the sidewalk by the picket fence. She turns and runs to the house.)


She comes in and takes her Halloween costume.
Jean Louise (voice over). This night my mind was filled with Halloween. There was to be a pageant repre­senting our county’s agricultural products.


Scout, in her Halloween costume, comes out followed by Jem. .

Moving shot They walk to the school building, past carriages and cars parked on the street They exit into the building.

Jean Louise (voice over). I was to be a ham. Jem said he would escort me to the school auditorium. Thus began our longest journey together.


The carriages and cars are now gone. Jem is seated on the steps of the schoolhouse.

He gets up, walks up the steps to open the door, and looks inside.

Jem. Scout.

Scout (off camera). Yeah.

Jem. Will you come on. Everybody’s gone.

Scout (off camera). I can’t go home like this.

Jem. Well, I’m goin\ It’s almost ten o’clock and Atticus will be waitin’ for us.

(He turns and comes down the steps.)

Scout (off camera). All right. I’m cornin’.

(He turns and looks as Scout comes out of the door with her ham costume on.)

But I feel like a fool walkin’ home like this.

Jem. Well, it’s not my fault that you lost your dress. Scout. I didn’t lose it. Just can’t find it.

(She comes down the steps to Jem.)

Jem. Where are your shoes?

Scout. Can’t find them either.

Jem. You can get ’em tomorrow.

Scout. But tomorrow is Sunday.

Jem. You can get the janitor to let you in. Come on. (They start out)

(Moving shot. They walk into the wooded area. Jem stoops down and picks up sticks and hits trees with them as they walk along. It is black dark out there.)

Here, Scout, let me hold onto you before you break your neck. (Takes her hand as they walk.)

Scout. Jem, you don’t have to hold me.

Jem. Sshhhh.

Scout. What’s the matter?

Jem. Hush a minute, Scout. (Moves and looks to his right.) Thought I heard somethin’. ^Ah, come on. (They go about five paces when he makes her stop again.) Wait.

Scout. Jem, are you try in’ to scare me?

Jem. Sshhh.

(There is stillness except for the breathing of the children. Far away a dog howls.)

Scout. You know I’m too old.

Jem. Be quiet.

Scout. I heard an old dog then.

Jem. It5s not that. I hear it when we’re walking along. When we stop, I don’t hear it any more.

Scout You hear my costume rustlin’. Halloween’s got you. (Moves and then stops.) I hear it now.

(The two of them stand still and listen.)

I’ll bet it’s just old Cecil Jacobs tryin’ to scare us. (She yells.) Cecil Jacobs is a big wet hen.

(There is not a sound except the word "hen" reverberating.)

Jem. Come on.

(Scout and Jem start walking. Jem looks frightened. He holds his hand on Scout's head, covered by the ham costume. More than a rustle is heard now. Footsteps are heard, as if someone were walking behind them in heavy shoes. Jem presses Scout's head. They stop to listen. They can hear someone running toward them.)

Run, Scout

(She takes a big step and she reels; she can't keep her balance in the dark. A form descends on her and grabs her, and she falls to the ground and rolls. From nearby, she can hear scuffling, kicking sounds, sounds of shoes and flesh scraping dirt and root Jem rolls against her and is up like lightning, pulling Scout with him, but she is so entangled by the costume they can't get very far.)

Run, Scout!

(They are nearly to the road when Jem's hand leaves her. There is more scuffling and a dull crunching sound, and Scout screams. The scuffling slowly dies away and then there is silence. She can see a man now. He groans and is pulling something heavy along the ground. The man walks away from her, heavily and unsteadily, toward the road.)

(She makes her way to where she thinks the road is.)

(Scout's point of view. She looks down the road to the street light A man passes under it He is carrying the limp body of Jem. The man continues on, crosses the Finch yard. The front door opens and Atticus runs down the steps.)

(Back to Scout as she runs to him, and he picks her up.)

Atticus. What happened? What happened?

Scout I sweat; I don’t know. I just don’t know.

(Calpurnia comes out of the door. Atticus turns and carries Scout up the steps.)

Atticus. You go and tell Dr. Reynolds to come over. Calpurnia. Yes Sir.


Atticus enters with Scout. He puts Scout down in the front of Jem's room. Jem is lying on the bed.

Atticus. You all right?

Scout. Yes Sin Atticus. Are you sure?

Scout. Yes Sir.

(Atticus rises and leaves the room. Scout turns and looks at Jem lying on the bed.)


Atticus goes to the phone. Scout runs to


Atticus. Sheriff Tate, please.

Scout. Atticus, is Jem dead?

Atticus. No, he’s unconscious. We won’t know how bad he’s hurt until the doctor gets here. {Talking on the phone.) Heck? Atticus Finch. Someone’s been after my children.


Jem's door is slightly open. Calpurnia opens the door all the way for Dr.

Reynolds. Atticus and Scout are there. Dr.

Reynolds enters and examines Jem.

Dr. Reynolds. He’s got a bad break, so far as I can tell, like somebody tried to wring his arm off. I’ll be right back, Atticus.


Dr. Reynolds goes out of the front door.

Tate comes on the porch with the ham costume.

Tate. How’s the boy, Doc?

Dr. Reynolds. He’ll be all right.


Tate is at the door of Jem's room. The room is dim. Jem's reading light is shaded with a towel. Jem lies on his back, asleep. There is an ugly mark on the side of his face. His left arm is out from the side of his body.

The man who brought Jem stands in a corner, leaning against the wall. Atticus is by Jem's bed. Scout ancf Heck Tate come in.

Atticus. What is it, Heck?

(Tate runs his hands down his thighs. He looks around the room.)

Tate. Bob Ewell’s lyin’ on the ground under that tree down yonder with a kitchen knife stuck up under his ribs. He’s dead, Mr. Finch.

(Atticus gets up from the bed. He looks shocked.)

Atticus. Are you sure?

Tate. Yes Sir. He ain’t gonna bother these children no more. Miss Scout, you think you could tell us what happened?

(Scout goes to Atticus. He puts his arms around her.)

Scout. I don’t know. All of a sudden somebody grabbed me. Knocked me down on the ground. Jem found me there and then Mr. Ewell, I reckon, grabbed him again, and Jem hollered. Then somebody grabbed me. Mr. Ewell, I guess. Somebody grabbed him, and then I heard someone pantin’ and coughin’. Then I saw someone carrying Jem.

Tate. Well, who was it?


Scout Why, there he is, Mr. Tate. He can tell you his name . . .

(She points to the man in the corner who brought Jem home. He leans against the wall. He has a pale face and his hair is thin and dead white, and as she points to him, a strange spasm shakes him. At this moment, it comes to Scout who he is, and she gazes at him in wonder as a timid smile comes to his face.)

Hey, Boo.

Atticus. Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley. I believe he already knows you.

(Scout is embarrassed and tries to hide her embarrassment She goes to cover Jem up.)

Heck, let’s go out on the front porch.


(Atticus and Tate start out the door. Scout walks to Boo, standing in the corner behind the door.)

Scout Would you like to say'good night to Jem, Mr. Arthur? ■

(She holds out her hand and he takes It Jem is lying in bed asleep as Boo and Scout walk to the bed.)

You can pet him, Mr. Arthur. He’s asleep. Couldn’t if he was awake, though. He wouldn’t let you.

(Boo looks down at Jem.)

Go ahead.

(He bends down, and his hand reaches out and pats Jem, asleep in bed. Then he withdraws his hand from Jem's head. He straightens up, still looking down at Jem. Scout takes Boo by the hand.)


Scout, holding Boo's hand, opens the door and they both come out on the porch.

Atticus and Tate are there.

Scout. Let’s sit in the swing, Mr. Arthur.

(Scout and Boo walk to the swing and they sit down in it)

Atticus. Heck, I guess that the thing to do is ... good Lord, I must be losing my memory. I can’t remember whether Jem is twelve or thirteen. Anyway, it’ll have to come before the County Court. Of course, it’s a clear case of self-defense. I’ll. . . well. . . I’ll run down to the office . . /

Tate. Mr. Finch, you think Jem killed Bob Ewell? Is that what you think? Your boy never stabbed him.

(Atticus looks up. Boo and Scout are seated in the swing. Scout looks up at Boo.)

Bob Ewell fell on his knife. He killed himself. There’s a black man dead for no reason, and now the man responsible for it is dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch. I never heard tell that it’s against the law for a citizen to do his utmost to prevent a crime from being committed, which is exactly what he did. But maybe you’ll tell me it’s my duty to tell the town all about it, not to hush it up. Well, you know what’ll happen then. All the ladies in Maycomb, includin’ my wife, will be knockin’ on his door bringin’ angel food cakes. To my way of thinkin’, takin’ one man who’s done you and this town a great service, and draggin’ him, with his shy ways, into the limelight, to me, that’s a sin. It’s a sin, and I’m not about to have it on my head. I may not be much, Mr. Finch, but I’m still Sheriff of Maycomb County, and Bob Ewell fell on his knife.

(Atticus looks over at Boo. Tate's meaning dawns on him.)

Good night, Sir.5

(Tate goes down the steps of the porch and to his car. Scout and Boo are still seated in the swing. Scout gets up and walks over to Atticus.)

Scout. Mr. Tate was right.

Atticus. What do you mean?

Scout. Well, it would be sort of like shooting a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?

(Atticus hugs her to him. Boo walks over to Jem's window, bends over, and looks inside. Atticus walks over to Boo at the window. They shake hands.)

Atticus. Thank you, Arthur. Thank you for my children.

(Atticus turns and walks into the house. Boo and Scout go off the porch.)

CMoving shot. They walk along the sidewalk. They turn in at the Radley gate and go up the front walk.)

Jean Louise (voice over). Neighbors bring food with death, and flowers with sickness, and litde-things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a knife, and our lives.

{They go up the steps and onto the porch to the front door. Boo opens the door and goes inside.)

One time Atticus said you never really knew a man until you stood in his shoes and walked, around in them. Just standin’ on the Radley porch was enough.

(Moving shot Scout turns and walks down the steps of the porch.)

The summer that had begun so long ago had ended, another summer had taken its place, and a fall, and Boo Radley had come out.

(Scout turns at the gate and looks back at the house. She turns and goes down the walk.)

I was to think of these days many times; of Jem, and Dill, and Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson . . .


Atticus and Scout are inside Jem's room on Jem's bed.

. . . and Atticus. He would be in Jem’s room all night. And he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.



DMU Timestamp: March 07, 2019 02:52